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  1. elfdragonlord

    elfdragonlord Member

    Dec 6, 2006
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    Manchester, England

    Magic - some questions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by elfdragonlord, Jan 16, 2007.

    How important is it to have rules for magic that prevent magic-users from being too powerful?

    I have noticed that if a magic user is not somehow limited in his magic using ability then a group of people in a fantasy story wouldn't need to travel by horse, because they could simply transport wherever they wanted to go. The party get captured - no problem, surely a magic user could just turn the prison walls to mud. It gets silly because a magic user could potentially do anything.

    Hence you need to limit magic in scope (how many spells a magic user can cast), potency (how powerful a spell the magic user can wield) and frequency (how many spells a magic user can cast at any one time - otherwise even a single, low powered fire spell could be used over and over again to almost invincible effect)

    But how important is this need to limit magic and let the reader know that magic users' power is limited? Do fantasy readers even ask these questions when they are reading fantasy?

    Also another question - how can a writer succesfully merge fantasy and science fiction - and bring magic into a technological, futuristic setting? Any thoughts?
  2. Mike R

    Mike R New Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    It really depends on what you need to happen. many times casting spells weakens the magic user and others, some things are impossible for them to do. Do whatever fits your story.

    Mine has several different elements. Some of the entities called on to make stuff happen recoup the energy needed to do it from the spellcaster, some not. One limitation I put on is that the more intelligent the creature, the more likely any spell designed to control it will have unintented consequences.

    Your story, do what works for you.

  3. Spherical Time

    Spherical Time Contributing Member

    Aug 13, 2006
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    Everywhere, Always
    I think it's vital for a balanced story . . . sometimes.

    Also, you have to remember that in worlds with powerful mages, there will be others that are just as powerful that have learned to deal with the reckless evil mages.
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Ohio, USA
    Wouldn't it be important to have some limitations? Writing a story/novel; where every user of magic has unlimited power, would be the same as basically writing about gods, right? Probably there is a story in there, I don't know.

    Common limitations include for users of magic are, expendature of energy reserves needs time to replentish, years of study, archaic and limited access of the magical arts which are hoarded and guarded, genetic gift of varying degree, specific realms specialized in, inabilty to do other things if one uses magic--carry metal/use swords, use of magic ages one or destroys part of their body/soul, those known to have magical ability are feared and hunted down and slain at youth, etc.

    An example of merging SF and Fantasy would be Zelazny's Amber series. Another would be Saberhagen's Swords series (including Empire of the East) is ultimately about magic merged with technology.

  5. Robert

    Robert Banned

    Nov 21, 2006
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    The questions you're asking are natural ones, and touch upon the need to think about and plan the world you're going to create in some detail before you begin writing, not just the magic involved but the futuristic setting. Of course, the only limitation is your imagination, after that it's down to your writing ability. But think it through, make it credible, and keep it conistent within the story world.

  6. IW-Cavalier

    IW-Cavalier Member

    Dec 5, 2006
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    Well if the effects of the magic are directly effecting the story and it's effects are immediate then there need for some kind of structure is very important. However with Lord of the Rings, and correct me if I'm wrong as it's been quite some time since I last read them, magic was more of something that was there, rather than something wielded directly by characters.

    For magic systems, I like to directly relate the power of a "spell" to the willpower of the caster, and the drive behind their reason for their actions. For instance, if a lower level magician was casting a fire shield to deflect an ice beam type thinggy, in order to protect his girl or something like that, he'd be pissed off that someone is attacking the one he loves, therefor fueling his rage, and his willpower, and the strength of his shield. Also as to the limitations of magic, I think it's safe to say that after a certain amount of fight, a caster will get tired physically, as I like to think of magic as drawing directly off the casters strength.

    I always just kinda wing it on a characters limitations, which can be extended or weakened by circumstances. Adrenaline lends incredible strength and speed even in real life, which can also correlate to the strength of magic. In the heat of a battle when a character is caught up in the fight and his rage spills over, that should be expressed in the way he uses his weapons and his magic.

    Just my little philosophy on magic. I thought up an actual system once and it worked but I never got the chance to write it down. I get all my good ideas lying in bed.><

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