PDA

View Full Version : Sources of Magic



ChampionWhatever
08-20-2013, 10:49 PM
Hello, everyone.

I've recently been reading up on various fantasy novels, campaign settings, and information on various worlds in video games in order to gather inspiration for developing the history of a world that I am currently working on. One of the most intriguing aspects of fantasy worlds (assuming that the fantasy world in question utilizes magic) is the very source of magic and how it is distributed and used. There's a literal plethora of sources of magic and the means by which they are used: the True Source and the One Power from The Wheel of Time series, the world being made with a magical core and distributed through magical leylines, and even the branding of mortals by gods or some other entity such as in Suikoden II (where "magic" in that game is generated by the branding of Runes.)

If you have a favorite source of magic, or if you have come up with a source of magic, feel free to post here.

Azelor
08-21-2013, 12:29 AM
There is so many sources of magic, it's like every author inveted one

Well I think magic need to be balanced to prevent mages from taking the world over. That is why I like the magic system in The Forgotten Realms. As I recall, it's like a web where magic flow. When someone uses magic, it drains the energy and slowly regenerate. We never appllied it I think but if you overuse magic, the ressource will be depleted. It is supposed to regenerate over time but not if it's completly destroyed. It's like a natural ressource. When are the fishes are gone, they can't regenerate anymore. But in Faerun it's nearly impossible ...

The other one is when someone need to do some sort of sacrifice to perform magic. It could be gore, requiring the sacrifice of livings or part of the body... or simply that the mage get some exhaustion after each spells. Both mental and physical.

Falconius
08-25-2013, 10:47 AM
You can also put more than one source in the same world like having blood mages sacrifice blood for results and have other mages draw life from plants or whatever.

One of my favorite magic systems was the Full Metal Alchemist one where (spoilers?) essentially they were drawing on lives sacrificed in a parallel world.

I am also particularly fond of the one from Patrick Rothfuss' new series The Kingkiller Chronicle which really melds scientific principle with magic in a kind of seamless way. As well as having and dealing well with latently magical things like fairies and whatnot. So you kind of have two approaches that he managed to work together. I'm hard put to describe it correctly. Go read the books, they are great.

seycyrus
08-27-2013, 10:37 PM
Regarding a "source" of magic, I always thought the concept behind the Xanth series was clever. Basically, a supernatural entity has to ponder the new rules to a cosmological game. This takes thousands of years, and over that time, parts of his essence, become integral to his global environment.

006
08-31-2013, 10:17 PM
Alot of magic sources I really find generic, I haven't really seen anything besides standard "old powers" that never are fully fleshed out, if anyone has any other suggestions that would be awesome

kurtzknight
09-06-2013, 11:42 PM
This is something i have pondered a lot about over the years for in most cases I find that the source of magic is not developed enough.
I liked the story of Materia in FFVII, where the "Life Stream" of the planet is condensed. An idea I have played around with is "True Knowledge" magic where those that truly understand the rules that govern there world can manipulate there world in different ways i.e. if someone truly knows why and how gravity works they can change the direction or strength of gravity in there immediate surroundings. In this system mages are more like scientists than classic mages.

Frohtastic
09-15-2013, 09:16 PM
This is something i have pondered a lot about over the years for in most cases I find that the source of magic is not developed enough.
I liked the story of Materia in FFVII, where the "Life Stream" of the planet is condensed. An idea I have played around with is "True Knowledge" magic where those that truly understand the rules that govern there world can manipulate there world in different ways i.e. if someone truly knows why and how gravity works they can change the direction or strength of gravity in there immediate surroundings. In this system mages are more like scientists than classic mages.

well in the world that I was creating, the source of magic would be much like the life stream, in addition to the forgotten realms thing where you drained from the surrounding area.
Of course users of magic would spend a lot of time to harness the energy, or those that lived too close to the ley lines could be able to do it as is. ( much like 3.5 sorcerer )

as you can see its still being fleshed out as it were

mbartelsm
09-17-2013, 03:05 PM
Mana, in my universe mana is the element that makes up souls and gives life, this element is invisible and can be bound to the elements of nature, this means that through your soul's mana you can control the elements.

Ilanthar
09-17-2013, 05:45 PM
Well, I'm trying, as much as I can, to find specific and coherent ways to define and explain magic.

I studied sciences, so I especially like the statement of Arthur C. Clarke "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
In my Elzevir universe, I explain magic by the possibity to act through an other dimension, a kind of parallel universe. The "magicians" are in fact using tools of this other dimension, and have the talent, at some point, to mingle the two for an instant. So, the magician is using a weapon from his point of view, but for the normal people, he is just moving his hand toward is target (if you follow me).

In an other of my rpg, I'm using the "eggregor" esoteric/philosophy concept (the name of the game by the way) which states that the more people believe in something, the more real it becomes.

Anyhow, an interesting and fundamental basis for a lot of "imaginary" and fantastic worlds !

Larb
09-17-2013, 06:08 PM
Magic in my world is tied to elements and their existence in the local environment, so much that people who use it are more of a conduit able to control it than anything else. But the local environment is very important. So if you're in the middle of a desert and you want to use magic dealing with water - well you're out of luck. Mostly. You could dessicate yourself or a companion. But that would be eeeeevvul!

That's the main source of magic anyway.

Tomalak
09-18-2013, 10:24 PM
My favorite form of magic for stories is based on animist religious beliefs. To wit, everything has a soul. Magic, therefore, is simply knowing how to ask a thing properly to do you a favor. What kind of favor a rock, fire, or cloud might do for you is based on its nature, as is what it might expect in return. The challenge to magic is partly in being able to supply what the spirit you address desires, but mostly in being able to communicate with it.