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  1. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    Magic = MC^2

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by stormcat, Apr 24, 2015.

    Like many authors here, I plan on using magical elements in my story. However, Unlike the typical wands and wizards magic, I want to make it a form of measurable, quantifiable energy. Characters will have X amount of magic, which is measured in terms of "sparks". Magical energy basically works like alchemy a la Fullmetal Alchemist, except there's no need to draw circles first.

    Long story short, I need help reigning in this strange power. I need to set boundaries for it, but since I'm terrible at physics, I need some help.
     
  2. TheWingedFox

    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    I like this idea...

    But do you need to go by the laws of physics as we see them.....couldn't you just even create your own rules? I'm assuming it's based in a fantasy world, but if it's the here and now, my knowledge of physics won't be of any use, I'm afraid!

    Alchemy suggests it's more chemical related..?
     
  3. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Will your characters have a way to recharge themselves?
     
  4. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    I'm going by one of the laws of energy I actually know, it cannot be created nor destroyed. If someone wants their magic back, they have to take it back from the object or process they lent it to.
     
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  5. Megalith

    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Using 'Spark' Elixers?

    To answer the OP's question... that does seem like a decent idea, but how exactly do you determine how much spark energy is used? If I am trying to structure a wall from the stone off the street, how does that compare to exploding someone by turning the water in their bodies to steam? And can you do things like create people using the same chemicals we are made of?

    The specifics of physical scientific law fixing into this is nearly impossible without changing the way the game works. You could do something like
    'Scrap Princess' where the magic is technology. That way it doesn't change much of the science, but just have technology that is leagues beyond our own as a secret effect over the World. You would have to mix the idea into your plot, so if your going more for 'God's who can change the way the World works'
    like FMA and other Fantasy magical works, then again, you don't have to worry about anything specific pertaining actual science.

    Equal Exchange <---- That is really all you need.
     
  6. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Pratchett's corollary: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
     
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  7. sprirj

    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I'm going to agree with everyone here and say it is a good idea. If you want to put some maths into it, you could suggest that their is a average sparks rate for witches/wizards, that grows with experience and age, perhaps wizards start low but overtake witches in later years. There could also be a 'terminal verlocity' of sparks, a known end point. Perhaps one of the characters is able to exceed this? Good or bad?
     
  8. Ivana

    Ivana Contributing Member

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    There's a similar premise in "The Name of the Wind" (The Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss. Characters (some of them) do possess a certain amount of magic, or talent to manipulate energy, but it takes some amount of their own energy to do some things (for example, they could light a candle, but that would draw their own body heat out).
     
  9. Grenwickle

    Grenwickle New Member

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    Like you said, energy cannot be created or destroyed. But energy can be changed into matter, and vice versa (a nuke is an example of matter being changed into energy), and transformed in other ways. Some types of energy are Kinetic, Potential, Mechanical, Thermal, Chemical, and Radiant, but it has many forms. You could think about what happens if someone were to use too much magic on something - would it get released into the atmosphere, or converted into something else?
    You also said people can only get sparks back by undoing what they used it on - does that mean each person has their own unique magic signature, so to speak, since they can't get sparks back from what other people have used magic on? And is it possible to steal other people's sparks, or get them though another source? Do trees and animals also have a magic store?
    Do you plan to have the magical energy connected to people's life (as in, you run out you die)? 'Cause if people are born with it, that would make sense.
    You could have it so that the magic energy is another side of the coin for real energy - so that it could obey a lot of the same laws, and people could gain some sparks from eating, etc. Energy's all interconnected with everything anyway.

    Here are some helpful links -
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy
    http://physics.about.com/od/physics101thebasics/p/PhysicsLaws.htm
     
  10. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Find Larry Niven short stories, "Not Long Before the End," and "What Good is a Glass Dagger?"
     
  11. croak3r

    croak3r Member

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    I think having some kind of 'spark level' for each person like how Star Wars had midichlorians would be a good idea. That way you can justify having people who are more powerful than other mages. I dont think you should try and restrict it based on real world facts though, that just seem a bit to boring for me.
     
  12. JetBlackGT

    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Metachlorians ruined StarWars. :-( Not as bad as JarJar Binks but pretty close.
     
  13. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    Sparks are a unit of measure for the magic. The typical wizard will have around five sparks, but the coven elders can easily have up to fifteen. I'm considering adding a villain who steals other people's sparks, but that might take away from the story's center on magic-powered technology.
     

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