1. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri

    Magic in everyday life

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ITBA01, Jun 28, 2018.

    When I first started writing my book, it took place in the real world, but there was magic that was a secret (typical for YA novels, I know). However, I noticed how limited magic was in this setting, and that it was too much of a hassle to come up with how it's secret (I never understood how the world of Harry Potter remains secret, especially with wizards being born in muggle homes, but I'm sure some hardcore fan will explain to me how it makes perfect sense). So, with that decided, I spent the last couple of months constructing a magic system, and a world in which it operates. Magic is more or less everywhere (think the force from Star Wars), and is commonplace in everyday life. As I was working on this, I was wondering in what ways magic would realistically effect life. I came up with several ways (magic clothes, drugs, and even diseases), but I wanted to know what suggestions everyone else had. If you can think of any ways magic would effect everyday life, let me know. Also, for further context, the world I've designed is similar to the 1930s in regards to advancements.
     
  2. Andi. Just Andi.

    Andi. Just Andi. Active Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2018
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    59
    Maybe your world has people who are unable to use magic and they are discriminated against if everyone else can use magic. Additionally, are there any laws in your world regarding how magic can and can't be used?
     
  3. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    Most people actually can't use magic, at least not naturally. Only certain races are natural magic users (fairies, for example), with others needing to use symbols or materials to use magic, or gain their magic from an outside source (the main character forms a contract with a demon in exchange for power). Humans who can naturally use magic exist, but they're very rare. It's more everyday items that are magic, because they're made from materials that have magical properties. As for laws, magic pretty much runs by the laws of physics (which are slightly different in this world), and is a force of nature. There's not really a limit to how it can be used, but it does tire people out (which means no blowing up planets, as it takes too much energy), and if you don't know what you're doing, you could end up doing way more harm than good (like trying to use healing magic, but having no medical knowledge).
     
  4. Andi. Just Andi.

    Andi. Just Andi. Active Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2018
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    59
    By laws, I meant more along the lines of how the government restricts magic. Also, this brings me to another question: how would different types of magic be performed, and how would that affect how different careers are done (surgery, data-tracking, etc.)?
     
  5. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I've considered that a bit. There's a lot of different cultures in my book, so not all laws would be the same. One major law would be the prohibition of using alchemy to create gold (or other valuable materials), due to potentially causing an economic collapse. Another would probably be selling medical potions without a license. As for your second question, it's a very good question, and one I'll have to consider more. Seeing as it takes place in a 1930s time frame, I'm not sure if there would be any data-tracking, and I'm much of an expert on surgery in the first place, so I'll have to research it more.
     
  6. Andi. Just Andi.

    Andi. Just Andi. Active Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2018
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    59
    Just a suggestion, but perhaps for healing magic, one would have to have a visualization of a wound being healed or something along those lines. Like, they would visualize a proper surgery taking place, tools and all, and the magic would take the place of those tools.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    14,269
    Likes Received:
    11,431
    I have to disagree with you here--the Force isn't commonly known in the Star Wars universe, at all. You just happen to spend a lot of the movies inside the tiny, tiny community that knows about it.

    Personally, I find magic interesting only when it's extremely rare. When it's common, it's basically just technology. ("Any sufficiently common magic is indistinguishable from technology...?")
     
  8. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,290
    Likes Received:
    2,782
    Public accessibility for the disabled?

    There would probably be healing magic available, but 1) it probably wouldn't be 100% effective and 100% available for 100% of everybody, and 2) more importantly, even if it was, you still wouldn't want to set up a society that punishes people – actively or passively – for not taking advantage.
     
    deadrats likes this.
  9. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I was more comparing it to how Obi Wan described the Force (its all over galaxy, and binds everything together). Also, magic in my book is pretty much studied like science, so it permeates many aspects of technology.
     
    Cohen likes this.
  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    1,744
    Magic can encompass a lot. Does your magic cover just about everything? If so, you might want to hone in these powers and make them more specific. I think picking the 1930s is something that will or is making it harder for you. And a book like you are talking about with all this magic that takes place in that time period might be a hard sell as well.
     
  11. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I'm aware that this book won't be for everyone, but it's the book I want to write. As for powers, I pretty much have that part figured out, and it's more the everyday uses of magic that I was looking for suggestions on.
     
    SolZephyr likes this.
  12. SolZephyr

    SolZephyr Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    64
    It sounds like your world has some similarities with my WIP. In my WIP, magic is common as well, though only one (spoilers: two) races can wield it to its full potential without using magical materials as a medium.

    For the races that can't use magic willy-nilly, common uses include things like mining (explosives, moving rock), weapons (obviously), as an cheap energy source and as cheap lighting, among other things.

    The magic wielders themselves don't usually take advantage of their abilities much unless it's profession specific. At least in my world, I've found that most solutions that can be formulated with magic can be just as easily, if not more so, constructed using technology (magical or otherwise). This leaves most wielders only interested in learning simple uses for magic that provide trite conveniences, such as summoning a beer from across the room. After all, how many people learn to make their own shoes these days when it's so much more convenient to buy them from a store? That's my view on it, anyway.

    Oh yeah, one thing I like is the idea of using magic simply for decorative purposes. Fancy shmancy fashion and styles and home decor and whatnot.
     
    ITBA01 likes this.
  13. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I agree with you on fashion and home decor. Things like that make the world feel real, in my opinion. As for my world, I've divided magic into several different categories. The first is Natural Magic, which is magic that appears in nature and in different species (think of it like how different animals in the real world evolve different adaptations depending on their environment). The second is Spellcasting (or magick as some occultists would call it), which is accessing magic through tools and rituals, and can take years to learn. The third is Alchemy, which is similar to Spellcasting, but takes a more "scientific" approach, and focuses around using the magic found within nature to alter the properties of matter, and create new materials. The fourth is Magic Weapons, which are weapons that are made magic through either Spellcasting, or Alchemy. The fifth is Celestial Contracts, which involves forming a deal with an angel or demon in exchange for power. The sixth is Rare Magic, which isn't really a category, but more just certain types of magic that are very rare, and can fall into any of the other categories.
     
  14. Cohen

    Cohen Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Leeds
    I suppose it depends how these categories lend themselves to the story. It sounds more like an introduction to a history of famous mages and magettes (proper nomenclature clearly needed). Does the conflict for the characters come from their inability to use magic, or from someone too powerful taking advantage of this fact? Because once you have a central conflict, it would probably make it easier to build a realistic home around these people because you know what the require, what they lack, and what world can exist around them. I didn't see whether magic was legal or illegal, which would have a massive effect upon how it was utilised.

    I agree with Zephyr that as convenience allays the need for home-made materials, there would be a clear industry approach to the utilisation of magic, magical items, and the convenience around it. I tend to be a firm believer in the mentality of magic is the occurrence of things that science can't yet explain (obviously in fiction this is stretched greatly, but it still works most of the time). This, therefore, means you can allow magical developments to run relatively parallel to the technology of real life.

    All this is to say, any advice or suggestions I could give, would be more useful if based around a core conflict, rather than background scenery.
     
    ITBA01 likes this.
  15. Solar

    Solar Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    898
    Likes Received:
    608
    Everyday magic: Breathing. The continuation of life.
     
    flawed personality likes this.
  16. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I see your points, and I agree. Most of this stuff isn't going to be talked about in the story (at least not at the beginning, and certainly not all at once), and is just there so I have a framework to base magic around. I feel that you don't have to explain everything about magic (or advanced technology) to the reader, but you, the author, should have a general idea of how it works. The industry approach is one of the ideas I had, which is why I spent a lot of time putting magic into categories, and so I would now how mass production would work (for example, alchemy is often used to create new, stronger materials, which go into the making of houses). As for conflict, I have a general idea as to how the story progresses for the characters, and how their abilities fit into everything.
     
    Cohen and SolZephyr like this.
  17. GB reader

    GB reader Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Have a look at:

    Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal.
    Magic used only for decoration.

     
  18. S A Lee

    S A Lee Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Messages:
    940
    Likes Received:
    1,103
    Location:
    Greater London, England
    I think the short way to describe the reason for magical beings hiding themselves from the world is that they don't trust human nature.

    Taking Harry Potter as an example, there are three curses that would horrify the average person, they are called the unforgivable curses in universe. One allows you to control another person, one puts them through excruciating pain, and the last kills without leaving any injuries. Imagine these being common knowledge, it would cause absolute chaos to the judicial system, citing not being in control of one's own actions as a defence against criminal deeds. The only way to prove someone used the death curse is to catch them before they use their wand to use a different spell as far as a reader of the entire series is aware.

    A lighter part of the spectrum is that the secrecy gives a sense of privacy. Hagrid mentions that if muggles knew about magic being real muggles would expect magic to provide an instant solution to their problems in the first book.

    I agree with what's previously been stated about making lives easier the way technology has, maybe owing to its ease and your setting magic is ahead of technology sometimes (I don't think dishwashers were common in the 1930s, but perhaps you could have magic scrubbing brushes, tea towels and gloves that do the work for you with just a magic word) or gemstones like the one used in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker that Tetra slips into Link's pocket as a precursor to mobile phones.
     
  19. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I understand why magic is kept a secret in Harry Potter, I just don't understand how it is. Literally, all it would take is one person going out in public and doing magic, and the whole secret is revealed. That, and it makes no sense how every single wizard community unanimously agrees to keep the secret going. What about countries like Japan, who, during WWII, were obsessed with their nation, and would use any tool they could to win the war? It's one of the main problems I have with urban fantasy; it's pretty wild to think that the world would still be the same as it is in the present if even one group of people had magic.

    On the topic of gemstone phones, I actually did have an idea just like that. It's essentially a certain type of crystal which can store magic energy, allowing for a wide variety of uses (it's actually quartz, because I found it actually does have similar properties in the real world).
     
    Malisky and SolZephyr like this.
  20. Privateer

    Privateer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2017
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    200
    What, um, 'level' of magic are we talking, here?

    Wizard duels, fireballs, objects whizzing around the place?

    Or is it the normal, more subtle kind ie. keeping disease at bay, making sure the rain comes when it should and your crops grow well and keeping weird things with pointy teeth out of your house? Because that sort of magic has been- and still is- part of people's day to day lives forever.

    I quite like your system of magic, if only because it gels fairly well with what I know of real-world magical beliefs.

    Your average punter is probably going to be focussed on things that keep him happy and safe and largely unconcerned with 'higher' things. You're looking at medicine, protection from enemies (natural and supernatural), good luck charms and that kind of thing. If they're technologically and socially in the 1930s (but the '30s where?) they'll probably have lots of fun magical gadgets and novelties, too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
    ITBA01 likes this.
  21. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Missouri
    I spent months studying magic in preparation for designing my magic system, and read many works from occultists, so I'm glad that you noticed. As for the level of magic, most everyday magic is the more subtle kind, with a lot of magic devices that fill the roles of technology in everyday life. There are some naturally magical races (some of which, historically, people would've tried to use charms to protect themselves from), but in this world, most of them have actually integrated with society. Humans are only one of many sentient races, and their population isn't nearly as high as it is in the real world. The makeup of society depends on the region; centaurs live mostly in Southern Europe, yokai are quite abundant in Japan, and fairies tend to live in many different places. Some races choose to live separated (Elves, for example), while others are just rare, so they aren't seen much in society. As for where in the 30's this takes place, the first book takes place in Athens, and moves on to other countries as the series progresses.
     
    Malisky likes this.
  22. Zerotonin

    Zerotonin Serotonin machine broke Contest Administrator Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Location:
    Chicago
    One use of magic that you could use in this instance could be magic used for criminal detection and apprehension. Say a benevolent magic user sees the plight of the police in trying to track criminals, especially in the early 1900s, so they create a number of magical devices to help them in their chase. They could have magical devices that act as glorified blue lights to see fingerprints and the like. They could have a device that can show a loop of time, say 12 hours, but only in a small radius. Depending on your story's details, this could also be used to help track down the antagonist (just taking a shot in the dark).

    Another use that you've alluded to is the use of magic in everyday chores. Don't want to sweep the floor? Buy a magical broom that will do it for you from Bob's Magical Broom Emporium! Things like this, however, would create a schism between normal people and the magically inclined. We're seeing something similar today with technology, but more and more jobs would be overtaken by magic. Everyone would want magical products, so non-magic folks would have a hard time selling any homemade products. Things like that.

    Magic could also be used for transportation. Flying cars, super-fast trains, etc...
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  23. The Syreth Clan

    The Syreth Clan New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    4
    In my series, I usually take the following approach when I find a magical doing something that just feels too ordinary:
    1. Determine what part of the object or action can be replaced with something more convenient and 'magical'.
    2. Come up with a replacement that's grounded in reality to some extent and/or feels not too outrageous for it to be part of a system.
    3. Implement and fine-tune.

    The graveyard witch Sierra doesn't dig graves with a shovel, she strikes the ground with her broom and it implodes beneath the bristles. Vampire carriages aren't pulled by horses (yuck) but moved by magic gems in the hubs and the leashes.
     
  24. Malisky

    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    The Middle of Nowhere The Center of Everywhere
    I also have trouble believing that existing magic would remain a myth nowadays, but back in the 30's maybe the technological advancements of the time might have been deficient to spot it, in case all the magical beings wanted to remain hidden. But yeah, why would they? Anyhow.

    Hypothesis 1) Political factor.

    a) All magical, intelligent beings, after wars that happened let's say 3000 years ago or something, decimated themselves and thus at some point had to form a truce. In this truce there are specific regulations, different for each specie, since their abilities that help them survive and their lifespans differ.
    b) Since there are beings that can't use magic, like animals and humans, which are part of the ecosystem, furthermore, magicians are also human, then a specific regulation concerning the balance between them, must be made. Humans might be outpowered individually, but then again, magicians and other magical beings are outnumbered. Nobody wants to return to war again, especially after the industrialized revolution. So, maybe the other magical beings set the regulation that magicians should hide their powers from humans and should only take action upon the human society, using their magic in very specific cases, and should also have a hierarchy in order to be constantly checked upon. Like a regulator or even regulators (from other species as well). Internal and external. The other species would have a great disadvantage if magicians were to unite with humans, since they'd have magic and numbers on their side. (Maybe 3000 years ago, that was one of the main issues that lead to war, since magicians became leaders and humans depended heavily upon them. Maybe other species made pacts as well, like fairies and elves, which now is prohibited).

    Hypothesis 2) Stigma.

    Once a magician is born, other magicians are able to recognise (that the baby will have powers) from some kind of stigma, or print or call it whatever, that only magicians can see. Maybe it's not something they see, rather than feel. Idk. Something anyhow, perceived only by them. (I use this in one of my works. My mc has a tattoo pattern all over his body, only magical eyes can see). Magical beings are able to recognise magical beings, one way or another. So, it's the regulators job to take the baby, into custody somewhere where it can grow up with its kin. Maybe, magic manifests after a certain age in humans, so maybe the regulator addresses to someone down the ladder to keep close watch on the child and take it later...? This happens to keep the secrecy, as well as to protect the child from itself, as well from other mal intended, anarchistic beings.

    Hypothesis 3) Magician - Human relations.

    One motto would be 'Don't piss off humans in case you don't want to get dissected. They' re our kin as well, so let's not make a tragedy out of it'. Why not have though, specific human societies that are an exception to the main rule. Some native american tribes, african tribes or whatever tribes, that were always co-existing peacefully with magicians or even other beings. These societies could serve as resting clouds in your story.

    This is what I came up with so far.
     
  25. Mink

    Mink Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Messages:
    629
    Likes Received:
    844
    Depending on the extent of what the magic could do, it could affect physical appearance. I know I sure as hell use it for that if I could. I would also use it for stupid stuff like pulling my shoes over to me or making a pencil dance across a table when I'm bored. I don't think magic just has to be used to affect grand things. Most people would use it to do stupid stuff because people like to have fun. If they got drunk then the chances of magical related deaths or injury would probably rise 1000%.

    So, I would say anything mundane and ridiculous that we do now would probably be affected by magic.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.

Share This Page