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help developing a magic system

Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Gomorrah, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Especially since the Dark Knight Rises did explain how he escaped the blast: he'd fixed the autopilot ahead of time without telling anyone.
     
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  2. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    The film showed him still in there with only a few seconds left. So no it doesn't.
     
  3. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    Let's see, in order:
    They explained how he escaped - It was a mediocre explanation, but an explanation nonetheless (Presumably he jumped out and glided down to the water. Falling doesn't take very long.)
    Yes, it would have been, because that would have been cool to see.
    Yes, because that made the whole ending make less enjoyable.
    No, because presumably Alfred just had faith in Bruce - After all, they've spent three movies overcoming impossible odds.

    You're using a movie that is generally regarded as pretty mediocre to make your point, so I'm not sure if you really thought these examples through. Even if you did, though, these aren't examples of movies breaking their own rules: Just because we're not shown these things doesn't make it impossible. YOU, however, are advocating the explicit breaking of a story's internal rules. YOU are saying that act one should establish "It is impossible to do this", act two should reinforce "It is impossible to do this", and then act three should have some amount of resolution come from a character doing that.
     
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  4. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    He was shown still in the cockpit with a relaxed face with only 5 seconds left. Saying "autopilot" doesn't explain how he got out in 5 seconds.
    And Alfred thought he was dead. He cried over his grave in the previous scene.

    It's a story that's only mediocre to people like you, who require every little thing explained. Quote me where I said that part about act 1 and act 2. I don't use omniscient so there is no objective establishing of "impossible". Any character who believes that believes it subjectively, from their perspective.

    Batman getting out with only 5 seconds left is breaking the rules as he can't teleport.
     
  5. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or that was a filming error. If scenes were in perfect chronological order, you couldn't show two things happening at the same time because you would have to cut chunks out of each action to preserve the real-time effect, so the idea of frames being shown out of order is inherent in the concept of filming more than one action. How do we know that the scenes of him in the cockpit aren't out-of-order with the scenes of the flight?

    Still not good, but better than the alternative.
     
  6. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    They could have easily shown it in chronological order. Or y'know, Cut to Batman only with 18 seconds on the clock and then cut to something else then cut to 2 seconds left then boom.
    Proposing filming errors is part of the fan theorizing I said fans will do to explain things that don't make sense as presented.

    You're doing exactly what I said fans will do. Audience participation.
     
  7. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    Ah, but that's not what happens. I checked.
    Batman sighs contentedly. Presumably, this is him deciding to pull the escape lever.
    *Then we have a cutaway to a wide shot. At least five seconds pass before we cut tight to the bomb again, meaning Batman actually had more than ten seconds.

    It's worse than that, though, because the movie used clear time dilation - At a point earlier, the bomb says there is 1:57 until detonation, but it takes well over two minutes to explode. (Thank you, timestamps on Youtube.) So, thanks to that cutaway, he could have had upwards of twenty seconds to fall perhaps two hundred feet to the ocean, which is plenty of time.

    It's one thing to nitpick a movie, but you're nitpicking it BADLY.

    I established a moment ago that Batman could have easily survived. Of COURSE Alfred was crying, because even if he had faith in Bruce, he was still at Bruce's funeral, and there wasn't any certainty either way. Even though he believed, he's an old man, and an emotional wreck because of it.


    And I was paraphrasing, but I think almost everyone on this forum will agree that your words are pretty clear. Either your intent was bad, or your intent was good but your communication was so poor as to mangle it.

    And, just so we're clear: Having a character misunderstand something is not in any way, shape, or form the same thing as breaking the rules of your story.
     
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  8. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    Time dilations is fan theorizing. This is what I said would happen if you leave things unexplained. Breaking the magic system well means you leave potential explanations. example: If the story has gods, perhaps the gods intervened.

    "I established a moment ago that Batman could have easily survived. Of COURSE Alfred was crying, because even if he had faith in Bruce, he was still at Bruce's funeral, and there wasn't any certainty either way. Even though he believed, he's an old man, and an emotional wreck because of it."

    He wasn't reacting as someone who was surprised to see him alive. This isn't a matter of uncertainty, he knew, contradicting the previous scene. Again "uncertainty" is fan theorizing.


    I've given clear examples of breaking the rules of my story to better effect which you haven't even addressed. Having magic be a system where everything is explained means it's not magic anymore. It's science.
     
  9. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    And if Gandalf can withstand the impact of free fall with a Balrog, why he worried about getting hit by wargs in the Hobbit or the Cave Troll (where he staggers backward) or any of the orcs. If he's that invulnerable he can walk out and just tank their attacks. How would being thrown about in his duel with Saruman even hurt him? Neither would be hurt.
     
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because he knows his friends aren't invulnerable.
     
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  11. OJB

    OJB Contributing Member

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    Yes, but Gandalf is minor angel-like spirit given human form, and he dies shortly after his fight with the Balrog from the injuries he endured.
     
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  12. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    That doesn't address my point. He was alone in Dol Guldur yet he's running from Wargs. Why? He's invulnerable enough to withstand free fall with a balrog off Durins bridge.
    He could walk up to the cave troll without fear and just stab it.
     
  13. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    He didn't actually. After massive impact with the water at the bottom, he followed the Balrog all the way up the endless stair and then fought him again and then eventually "died". But he didn't die from the impact.
     
  14. OJB

    OJB Contributing Member

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    And my point was that Gandalf is not mortal in the traditional sense, and it takes more to kill him. It is not he is invincible, it is 'he's much harder to kill.' In fact, If I remember the book correctly, he is on the same 'level' of power as a Barlog just that he is good, and takes the form on an old man, instead of the form of some fiery-giant demon.
     
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  15. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    Not fan theorizing, but using the actual information present in the movie. We can explicitly see that he has at least ten seconds to escape - More than plenty. We also can infer that time in the film is not moving realistically, because the film demonstrates this when it cuts away to lengthen the scene.

    If we assume that the duration between shots doesn't fluctuate, that means Batman has 12 seconds. Assuming anything otherwise involves a bit of speculation, sure, but since he's pretty close to the water (no more than 100 feet,) he very easily had enough time to get away from the blast and shielded from the worst of it.


    "I established a moment ago that Batman could have easily survived. Of COURSE Alfred was crying, because even if he had faith in Bruce, he was still at Bruce's funeral, and there wasn't any certainty either way. Even though he believed, he's an old man, and an emotional wreck because of it."

    He wasn't reacting as someone who was surprised to see him alive. This isn't a matter of uncertainty, he knew, contradicting the previous scene. Again "uncertainty" is fan theorizing. [/quote]
    Aren't you the one who's theorizing here? Because when I watch the clip, I see surprise in the actor's face before he passes into recognition. Maybe you should stop projecting your own biased into the film.



    I read your example. I didn't respond, because it's so vague as to be entirely useless. Are magic users in your world Pokemon, with Hitpoints that get drained, or are they people? Because in real life, people survive normally-deadly encounters all the time.
    Firstly, the magic in Lord of the Rings is explicitly vague. The rules aren't broken so much as they are nonexistent, and as such, it's one of the most commonly criticized elements of the films whenever Gandalf pulls a trick out of his pipe to save the day. (Second only to the Eagles.)

    Secondly, being able to withstand a fall doesn't mean he's indestructible. To assume that surviving the fall makes him unkillable is, guess what, speculating. It's far more likely that he cast a spell to protect himself, but since magic is neither unlimited, instand, or free, he still had reason to be afraid of powerful enemies.
     
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  16. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Contributing Member Contributor

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    The last shot we saw of the bomb when he attached the cable, he had 1:56 seconds left. It takes 2 minutes 25 seconds of screentime to dispose of the bomb. That's very close to real time if one accounts for the slow motion of Gordon's flashback of kid Bruce.

    Based on what's actually shown, he has ten seconds. And he made no attempt to get out at that point. So subtracting the time it takes him to get out, it's alot less than 12 seconds. Assuming the shots are not in real time is coming from you, not the film. That's fan theorizing to make it fit. I could just as easily say maybe that shot was just what Gordon imagined was happening in the cockpit.


    Aren't you the one who's theorizing here? Because when I watch the clip, I see surprise in the actor's face before he passes into recognition. Maybe you should stop projecting your own biased into the film. [/QUOTE]

    He barely even emotes. Any surprise is extremely subtle. There was NO uncertaintly shown by the film. The film showed him crying over the grave and saying he failed him. You're projecting this uncertaintly concept completely out of your ass and smearing it onto the film. Anyone can watch that scene for themselves:


    The first one who was weakened (OHKO'ed) is nigh omnipotent. Created the entire universe.
    The second is an elf hero who trained for 3000 years straight, but is exhausted from everything that happened in act 1 and 2.

    By the rules if the first is KO'ed the second should at least be as well. Because the people who did the weakening, are in the same ballpark of strength.

    But going by the rules is a massive anticlimax that makes the story worse.Things like willpower, defiance, against limits, passion, fighting for more than oneself,
    It is sold to the audience through showmanship. For example the goddess uses the power of the very land the hero has gone through hell to protect and save, against the hero. This causes great anger and the scene works on emotional levels.

    You seem to be saying the person who should win on paper, based on the rules of the magic system, should win in a story, which is bullshit.

    Actually that's you speculating because the film cuts away only a split second before impact. So he can apparently cast spells in free fall, while in combat with a Balrog, almost instantaneously. And then still have the endurance to chase him up to the highest peaks and fight him again. If he can do all that, and beat a Balrog him running from Wargs is BS. Him getting hurt so easily (Saruman too) against Saruman is nonsense. Why would he hold back against the fallen Saruman? Why would Saruman not cast that spell to make himself tougher?

    If you have a character than beats a god or an ancient demon and then runs from bandits or wolves. That would make no sense. But it can work through showmanship and under layers of narrative even if it isn't explained.

    Again, what you're doing with the Gandalf example if no different to saying a character can only cast 1 spell a day by the rules, and then when shown casting 2, inferring maybe the character's location has something to do with it. Maybe the character drew energy from the allies in their party. Maybe a god or some other being intervened. There's something going on that allowed it. The character could be surprised that it happened. It doesn't require explaining because magic is not made up science where everything about it needs to be understood. As long as the breaking of the rules is not cheap and leads to better drama, there's nothing wrong with it.

    Your idea that something is always bad in a craft as open ended as writing, again shows inexperience.
     
  17. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    WI'm going to let you in on a little secret that you seem not to understand:
    Any time you consume fiction, you are speculating. It is literally impossible for an author or creator of any work to fill in every detail, note, and comment about the world that a story inhabits. Are you assuming that gravity works normally? Well, congratulations, you're speculating unless that story went out of its way to explain the gravity on the planet the story takes place on - Even then, you're still speculating, because it's possible that the story is using a different metric than the one we use in real life, and it just happens to have the same name.

    In the case of film, any time there is a cut in the shot, the audience has to take it on faith that 1, no time passed between the two shots and 2, the two shots are somehow related. Silence of the Lambs has an excellent subversion of this when it shows a SWAT team knocking on a door, and Buffalo Bill going to answer a door - The audience assumes that the two shots are linked, but it is then revealed that they actually took place far away from another, and that the movie was tricking the audience by putting those shots together.

    Now, I'm exaggerating here, of course - It's crazy to assume that any given story has wonky gravity or that time jumps an hour between every cut or that cats are purple or anything else, but my point is that nothing in a story is ever concrete. You are given a set amount of information, and that information will without fail have to be digested, translated, and contextualized by the reader. It is impossible to read any story without making assumptions.



    So, with that in mind, let me ask you this: Why exactly do you treat that as a bad thing?
    For some reason that I cannot fathom, you seem to despise all readers, assuming that they are stupid, or at the very least assuming that anyone who takes a second to think about what they are thinking about is somehow reading the book 'Wrong'. Anyone who has a question about a plot hole is the greasy nerd from the Simpsons, and anyone who infers meaning beyond the explicit written text is 'projecting a concept out of their ass and smearing it onto the work'.


    To talk about your book specifically, I'm going to reiterate that I don't have a lot of information about how your magic system works. I do know how real life works, though, and in real life, things can sometimes be fatal or not depending on little more than luck. People can get shot in the arm and die, or they can get shot multiple times in the chest and pull through. For a bit of fun trivia, Wenseslao Moguel was shot eleven times by a firing squad (ten times by the squad, and then one more shot to the head by the officer,) and pulled through. I have zero problem believing that someone could survive a wound that someone who is normally considered to be 'Tougher' found fatal.

    And on that note, another thing: You seem to be conflating 'Breaking the rules' with 'Making the main character lucky/strong/stupid'. It's not breaking the rules of a story to have someone survive a typically fatal accident. It's not breaking the rules of a story for the main character to fight an enemy at impossible odds. It's not even breaking the rules of the story to have someone like Gandalf make stupid tactical decisions that cost the group a lot of time and effort. Those aren't rules being broken.



    I went back and rewatched the clip from the Lord of the Rings. They don't hit hard ground, they land in a lake. Plus, the Balrog hits first, which would break the water tension, making Gandalf's landing much safer. Furthermore: Do you notice how it visibly pains him to fight? Even at the beginning, using his magic to slow down the Balrog and break the bridge is clearly causing him discomfort. Magic powers or no, he's a tired old man. Not to mention that, while he can eventually beat the Balrog, that doesn't mean that he's capable of doing it while also preventing collateral damage. He's not scared of the orcs because they could kill him, he's scared of the orcs because fighting them would be long and painful, and he can't protect his friends.


    I may be telling a new writer that following certain rules is almost always good, but you're arguing that breaking rules and throwing out continuity and logic is better for a story. You're also demonstrating a clear lack of understanding for many storytelling tools for several mediums, and insulting anyone who disagrees with you. You think audience participation in a story is a bad thing. Heck, you think audience *interpretation* is a bad thing.

    NOBODY in this discussion agrees with you.

    Being older doesn't make you correct.
     
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  18. Gomorrah

    Gomorrah New Member

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    SHADE! Anyway id like to thank you all in your participation, however i believe i have it figured out now. Im not gonna break any rules that I set in place, I hate that in other stories so id hate it in my own. As far as id go is bending the rules, but thanks anyway.
     
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  19. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Active Member

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    Sanderson's First Law of Magic: "An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic."

    (Just inserting this piece of genius into here.)
     
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  20. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Phil Mitchell In one episode of Leverage, Parker (the cat burglar who scales buildings, jumps laser grids, and navigates air vents, not the hitter who gets into fights with security teams) grabs the teams temporary ally Tara (played by Jeri Ryan) by the throat and holds her over the edge of the roof.

    Later in the car, Tara's rubbing her incredibly sore throat and tells Parker "You're really strong." Was it be more dramatically satisfying for:
    • This not to be mentioned as being unusual, Parker playing the role of the hitter should not be mentioned
    • For Parker to tell Tara "Eliot [the hitter] has been secretly training me for as long as we've been working together."
    • For Parker to tell Tara "Adrenaline does crazy things"
    • Or for Parker to tell Tara "I hang from buildings by my fingertips"
     
  21. Commandante Lemming

    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    At the risk of shamelessly plugging curriculum I like to use - Brandon Sanderson has a TON of resources and podcasts and lectures on how to build magic systems
     
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