1. Dax8472

    Dax8472 New Member

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    Magic System Problems

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Dax8472, Jul 30, 2017.

    Hello, everyone, I am brand new to writingforums.org. I am totally stuck on figuring the last little bit of my magic system and found this place. I hope you all can help. So here we go:

    I am working on an urban fantasy novel. In it, magic is a cosmic creative energy that has moved and shaped the universe since the beginning. It is in everything and everyone. You could call it the Holy Spirit, Chi, Prana, The Force, Breath of Life. Only sentient beings have the ability to manipulate this energy. There are multiple ways an individual can access this energy. I have it divided into two main categories: Direct and Indirect.

    Indirect is combining things like plants, minerals, etc. in order to create potions, amulets, etc. It is indirect because it does not rely on the individual's ability or potential to harness magical energy inside their body.

    Direct magic is drawing straight from the source. In order to use it, an individual must have special pathways they use to pull on the magic. I divide this up further into two categories as well: Natural and Unnatural/Forced. A direct natural magic user has an inborn ability, like an elemental, or one created by a major genetic change, like becoming a shifter or other natural direct magical being. They naturally have the pathways needed to use magic. If you have natural direct magic you can not use unnatural/forced direct magic.

    Direct Unnatural/ Forced magic is learned. If you are not a direct natural magic user, you can learn how to use this type of magic. Even normal plain jane humans can learn it. They have to burn the pathways into mind. This can be very painful and potentially deadly. How painful or deadly this process is, is dependant on age. The younger you are the less painful it is but it is far more deadly. The older you are the more painful it is but less deadly. In order to burn them in the practitioner must attempt to channel the energy and shape it will their will.

    So that is the basics of my magic system. My current problem is that there is no power cap on a Direct unnatural magical user. My brain just can't think up anything that I like. If you have any ideas or see any other problems with the system PLEASE HELP.
    Thanks
     
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  2. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    Welcome to the forum!

    This all seems like a really good idea. I don't really do much with magic systems, so someone else may have a much better answer, but perhaps the direct unnaturals should only be able to "learn" a very limited set of skills/spells, whereas a natural can do much more. So (I have no idea what you're actually imagining your characters can do with your magic, by the way) an unnatural who can manipulate fire might be able to shape and grow a fire that already exists, but cannot magically summon one themselves or put it out themselves, whereas a natural can instantly start a fire with their magic, and shape it and grow it, and put it out again with a click of their fingers or whatever.

    Also, surely another power cap for everyone could be how much energy they have? Using magic must take a toll on your energy levels the same way that any activity does. At some point, a character may just have to stop.
     
  3. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

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    Hi,

    Sounds to me like you're describing the difference between an innate gift and a learned one. Now if this is like anything else, everyone has some innate abilities and some learned. So take writing for example. Everyone has some ability to write - some people have far more innate ability for whatever reason than others and they need less teaching / learning. The rest still have some ability but have to work far harder to achieve the same goal. At the same time, talent itself can be a sort of trap. If you are a natural writer with vast talent in this area, what's the likelihood that this will shape your life? So when presented with an issue - you write. When someone suggests learning dancing or accounting you find that far harder to do and so end up ditching this "hard stuff" an concentrate on writing.

    These would seem to be your caps. Natural / innate mages are extremely capable at the magical gifts they're born with, but poor at all other forms of magic. Forced / unnatural mages are not so capable at magic, but because they have to master everything magical by dint of study / hard work have no specialist issues. It will be equally hard for them to master any form of magic - which perversely means that if they're willing to do the work which they presumably are, they can master it all. So they can have every form of magic, but never as strongly as a natural in each particular field.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    I lack a bit of understanding on what you need a cap on?

    Could you go into more detail there? Power is relative, so if you mean pure power or how much one person can do. You just need balance between the cast. Or rather you need the lack of balance(villains and heroes) to not be too absurd.

    if it is the varitity that is an issue. You haven't really prescribed a limit. Except the whole potion like magic vs direct magic and unatural magic. Is this your issue? You need help giving them limits?

    Seems to be, the only real difference between the nautral/unnatural is the natural people are just born ready. While unnatural must become ready through a process. This seems fine. Its not really an innate thing though. Because I assume both still need to learn how to use it.

    The difference is the unnatural person needs help before is ready to learn.

    As a result. I wouldn't call it a different class of magic, in the sense of a different system. But a different class in the sense of elitism.

    "Oh, you poor pesant. You needed a X to use magic you unnatural pig!" Because at the end of the day, it sounds like they shoot the same fire, if they can shoot fire lol.
     
  5. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributor Contributor

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    I like @psychotick 's idea. Something else I thought of would just be to have the natural magic users come along extremely rarely--if there's only like a dozen in the entire world, you could get away with them being inordinately powerful without really "breaking" the setting too much. I think. But maybe you need there to be more than that for some other reason, or you need them to play a bigger role somehow.

    You could also have their extreme power come at some other kind of price--like maybe they go a little bit nuts, so while they are super powerful they aren't really purposeful or capable of planning or organizing much. Which in turn, would put a different kind of limit on what they can do.

    Anyway, just my $0.02.
     
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  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!

    ... That is actually very similar to my own magic ;)
    All magic starts out as what you would call "Indirect" ā€“ potions, spells, rituals ā€“ and can either be used to create an effect in the moment, or it can be stored for later in either the mage's own body or in an object of the mage's choice.

    However, if a mage uses the same spell enough times, then it becomes a part of their essence that they can start casting without needing to prepare specifically every single time.

    I think you did put a power cap on Direct Unnatural magic: the pain and risk inherent in learning it.

    If training for even weak magic is more painful than most people are willing, then only the most zealously committed masochists will ever force themselves to become stronger than that.
     
  7. Dax8472

    Dax8472 New Member

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    Thank you all do much... I felt like I was hitting my head against a wall. The natural magic users other than the mystical beings like vampires and shifter are extremely rare and very powerful if they learn to use their ability. My MC is one of these. The unnatural direct magic users are what dominate the magical world. And magic is not out to public world, it's all hush hush. After hearing your thoughts I feel like I was just over thinking things way to much and already had the answer. I would not have figured this out unless yall pointed it out to me. Thank you , thank you, thank you.
     
  8. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    in my opinion your cap is natural or the way I interpreted the natural/unnatural aspect. where the natural has a much closer relationship almost being a part of the energy around them.

    i would probably approach this as:
    the amount of energy which can be accessed, gathered, and stored. A natural direct would have the capacity to store energy needed in a disconnected manner and access this storage at will. An unnatural direct has to build up their internal storage capacity.

    in Qi gong the chi is gathered thru exercises on a daily basis, the more a person practices, the more chi energy they gather and store. Life long masters can internally store a large amount chi, however it is a part of their own yin and yang life force. What they cannot do is store it in some accessible disconnected storage repository. It must be replenished and using this energy over a continuous length of time leaves them drained and vulnerable. Whereas a natural can run on empty and simply access the energy directly and boost from any offset storage they may have created over time.

    unnatural works like a battery once empty it needs to be recharged, their power equation is tied to storage size vs. their rate of output. they can sprint and output much more than a natural can.
    naturals plug into the grid, and over time build out capacitor type storage arrays ... a capacitor will release energy all at once. To release this energy over an extended period of time it needs to be sequentially released from a bank of multiple capacitors in a timed array.
    although a natural has a steady natural flow from simply plugging in they can enhance or boost this flow with a capacitor bank array, once empty they go back to a natural flow, no internal storage needed.

    the capacitor bank would be an evolutionary step for the naturals, adapting to an unnatural's capacity to output above the natural flow of energy. natural's would be closer to marathon runners going for distance, and wearing their opponent down, vs. sheer force thru speed. they may have unlimited power but it's throttled to the flow energy in the environment, they can however use resistance to scale up this flow but it is on the spot and takes time vs. adjusting the output of what is being stored internally

    hope the above made some kind of sense.
     
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  9. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    Maybe you should look at other processes that channel forces, for example electricity and water. The cap on both is the limits of the device they are being channeled through. It seems you have three limits, the body, mind and will of the user. This could make for some interesting limits and variations in your magic users.
     
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  10. Andrae Smith

    Andrae Smith The Fool and the Master Supporter Contributor

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    Out of curiosity, you wouldn't, by chance, be a practicing or studying mystic/magician/witch/initiate would you? You description of magic and the way it works seems pretty sound and grounded in what some of us deem as reality. If so, we might have some things to talk about.

    At this point I don't exactly see a need for a cap. On one group it might be their innate ability makes them powerful in a type of magic but not so much in others--e.g. powerful psychics vs powerful elemental user. Or it might be that they are insanely powerful, but can't gain higher power. Or perhaps they are limited by ancestral practice. The other group maybe limited only by their knowledge or by their creativity or by their will--or lack thereof. it is really up to you.
     
  11. Dax8472

    Dax8472 New Member

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    I have studied metaphysics and other topics around those lines. I don't know if anyone would call me practicing due to the fact that parents, who I live with, are very very magic is evil Christian. When I started to wear crystals my mom asked me if I was worshiping them.... which is a thing, just not my thing. I consider myself an open minded Christian who does not put God in a box.
     
  12. Andrae Smith

    Andrae Smith The Fool and the Master Supporter Contributor

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    Glad to hear it. Stay on your path and see where it goes.

    Magick and metaphysics... paganism, spiritualism, occultism. All are just different angles if understanding and interacting with Spirit. Evil is a prpduct of the practitioner, not the practice.

    I dont want to high jack your thread, so DM me if you are curious.
     
  13. Mr. white Tiger

    Mr. white Tiger New Member

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    since the natural direct user has the ability to channel energy at will, and do anything they want but only disadvantaged at learning the direct unnatural, those that learn direct unnatural should have limit in some of the magic they are to learn so as to give the direct natural user an edge in power over those that learn the act.
    Just my opinion
    Iā€™m also new in the game.
     

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