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Thread: CWBP 2: Magic in our world

  1. #1
      Falconius is offline
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    Post CWBP 2: Magic in our world

    Ok, we have decided to go for a mid-magic world (in a mid fantasy genre). What that means, as far as my understanding goes, is that magic is fairly common, people are cognizant that it exist even if they have never necessarily experienced it for themselves. Magical items are likely to be rare and special rather than used at a whim, especially consumables. Most people will not be able to use magic so readily, but for those trained for it or who have natural inclinations towards it, magic can be a powerful tool.

    I'd like to get more details on how magic interacts with our world. I think the basis of this ought to be our magic system. Having a magic system will provide a foundation for us to build up the details. What a magic system basically consist of is how the magic is accessed, the basic magical tenants of the world (like laws of physics ie. "When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body."). We need to understand what magic costs those who use it. For instance in Fullmetal Alchemist the magic is pretty much fueled by blood and death. In generic D+D there is no noticeable cost really, there is no real mechanic needed to access it (other than choosing spells at the beginning of the day if you're a wizard).

    Also under consideration we should keep in mind the magical structure of our world. People seems pretty keen on Ghostman's nodes idea, which we hacked out a little on the other thread, also upon "the guilt that haunts" idea presented by gspRooster (at discussion found here and here respectively).

    As I understand it, we have reached a point with the Ghostman proposal where we know we are going to have these magical nodes, or gates, and that they exert influence on the world. So much so that a magnetic compass aligning to the poles cannot be reliably used. Some or all of these nodes have pathways or tunnels leading to other nodes, or who knows where. These tunnels have dimensions (so can be mapped) but tend to be quicker journeys if one can handle their magical nature (I was thinking there aspect, but that has not been determined). Thus affecting trade and so forth. We need to develop these ideas a bit more and work it into our world more seamlessly. Let us do so at this linked thread.

    With gspRooster's Guilt That Haunts (GTH from no on) proposal my understanding is that death (perhaps) attracts our otherworldys, which we are calling demons, and feeds them or gets them high in some manner. So like crows to carrion they tend to appear in greater numbers and stronger forms the more death is around. The demons are not existent on our world but can cross over and appear if the fabric that separates them from our world is weakened enough. We need to develop these ideas a bit more and work it into our world more seamlessly. Let us do so at this linked thread.
    Last edited by Falconius; 02-10-2014 at 07:48 AM.

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      Azelor is offline
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    I have an Idea... As someone suggested earlier; magic could be present naturally in the universe. Magic is a source of energy, it could be life, the light, heat... The source of magic radiation could be a star, life or the plane (the current universe) itself.

    Let take the star as an example: everyday it produce a large amount of energy. One part is directed toward the world. Naturally, the environment stock that energy. Generally, the capacity is limited and when the level of saturation is attained, the energy flow toward lower energy sites, just like the wind blow from high to low pressure zones. Lifeforms absorbs energy too, probably in greater quantity. So most people have magic energy inside them but have no idea how to use it. When casting a spell, a mage could use his surroundings to fuel his spell. he could go as far as killing other lifeforms if he pushes too hard.

    Magic could exist in the form of thermal energy; it mean that casting a spell will make the area colder. The hotter the place, the more powerful the spell can be...
    Or it could be more like in the Forgotten realms: magic exist in the world and replenish over time but we are not sure of it's source.

    Using magic would then be dangerous to use. The mage have to stock energy inside him , and that alone could hurt him. And using spells that way will also tire the mage.

    One could use a catalyst in order to gather magic energy for future uses. It's safer but also limited in capacity.


    Different forms of magic could exist. For example, one that is based on the shadow, the moon, or that other star (it's a far and much colder star).
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      Jalyha is offline
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    I'm seriously panting over your second star idea
    Have you "liked" a post today?

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      Ghostman is offline
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    I prefer to keep magic a fairly mysterious thing, something that can be used by those who know how, but isn't really understood by anyone, beyond some vague and unproven theories that only scratch the surface. Not that some arrogant wizard couldn't come to believe that he's got it all figured out, though

    I also like magic to be a bit unpredictable, just enough so as to keep it from being used casually without some consideration (except by truly reckless sorcerers), but not so much that it would be too dangerous to be relied on when you really need it.

    I like the idea that excessive use of magic can fatigue the user or affect them in some other way, such as by burning them. Basically each magician would have a certain limit (depending on their skill or talent) on how much and how quickly they can draw upon magical power. As long as they stay under the limit they won't suffer any harm, but if they go over it they risk exhausting or hurting themselves.

    Magic as "life force" could have interesting repercussions. If all living beings possess it but only sorcerers are able to manipulate it, unscrupulous ones may feel tempted to exploit other beings as a source of magical fuel.

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      Azelor is offline
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    We pretty much agree on the basic working principle of magic then.

    I'd like to know where magic comes from and how it can be used... (with nothing or using catalyst like magical wand or other stuff) I like having both, magical wands are used to store magical spells in DnD.

    It exist in the nature and flow naturally in the world.
    It is generated naturally.
    It could come from the stars. From it's light/heating or the particles emitted. That mean that some place would have more magic than others. Unless the magical nodes serves as high or low pressures zones used in the flow of energy.
    Magic could come from another world through these nodes.

    These are just ideas for discussion.
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      Ghostman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azelor View Post
    It exist in the nature and flow naturally in the world.
    ^ I like this one, with the addition that it's not necessarily equally distributed. Some areas might be deprived of magical potential, while others are overflowing with it.

    I also don't see any need to define the origins much further than that. It's fun to leave room for interpretation so that we might have different cultures/schools of magic develop in the world and argue over the details. Better to focus more on questions of what magic can do and how it can be accessed.

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      Scoopz is offline
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    My proposal for those who practice magic, or 'mages'.

    In a military context:

    Mages are powerful force multipliers, and while they COULD be used to destroy/weaken an enemy army, once a mage is exhausted he would leave himself AND his forces (I won't say army because realistically field-armies would probably have a fair number of mages in their ranks and one mage would not be able to protect even a sizable fraction of one) open to obliteration courtesy of an enemy mage. Therefore, mages act a lot like cavalry or skirmishers in that their first duty on the battlefield is to seek out and neutralize/hamper/kill enemy mages.

    Also, given the potential scope of a mage's ability they are most likely a breakthrough weapon in that they would be used to open up enemy lines for assaults by the much more numerous infantry/cavalry. (Or for destroying walls during sieges, but again given mages want to conserve their power, that is a task perhaps better left to the siege engines.) Unfortunately, given that they would almost likely be using their full powers for duels or aforementioned breakthroughs mages would tire quickly and once stripped of most of their supply of magic would be very liable to counterattack by enemy infantry/cavalry/missiles.

    To partially counteract this, I imagine many nations would maintain at least small contingents of warriormages/battlemages/etc. who would be trained/armored/equipped for combat.

    Of course, magic would also probably play a large part in enchantments/wards for weapons/armors, etc. etc. and also in the baggage train/supplies areas.

    In a civilian context:

    Although mages have HUGE potential for shaping materials, I like to think that their primary use in the civilian fields would be for transport. Transport for building materials, and to a lesser extent, for trade. Furthermore, I imagine that engineers, builders, and mages often work close together to more quickly construct larger works. Castles, public works, etc. Magic also makes a poor building material. Magic is just energy and over time, dissipates. (arguements for how long magic takes to dissipate may very, but I'll stick to my guns!) So mages can really only HELP the building process instead of doing all the building.

    Seeing as mages are relatively scarce, I imagine most would 'belong' to the crown, and a smaller amount would work for nobles, especially in and around cities. Smaller towns and villages, would almost certainly NOT have access to magic under normal circumstances.

    Magic would also be used for various other aspects of life, and most readily attainable by those rich and/or powerful, but ultimately a large percentage of the world's population doesn't have access to magic on a normal. day-to-day basis.

    On the nature of mages/magic:

    Magic would be viewed differently by all cultures, from cherished to abhorred, but either way no-one can deny the pros of using magic and thus all nations/states/etc. use it.

    How nations treat/use/misuse their mages, differ. Some might give them relatively free reign, others may treat them similar to the mentally ill, and still others might use them as slaves. Regardless, it's common that there are STRICT guidelines and regulations places on magic and mages.

    ADDENDUM: I think that the use of magic my better be fleshed out once physical nations are defined and characterized.
    Last edited by Scoopz; 02-16-2014 at 08:35 PM.

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      Falconius is offline
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    We can also decide that the rules differ for different peoples or races etc. More than just in the sense that supernatural creatures have use of magic.

    The ideas Azelor and Ghostman express closely parallel those that can be found in Patrick Rothfuss' Kingslayer Chronicles series. Which I'd recommend to read anyways.

    Personally I'm always a big fan of making mages and such suffer and bleed. Preferably as a result of plying their craft. Quite frankly the idea of mages hurling fireballs and lighting around a battlefield totally turns me off. It's far to overt and flashy for me to accept in a mid magic world. At least in any serious quantity. I think magic at that kind of level should cause enough of the mage to cause them to explode in a mist of blood.

    Taking the principles of Azelor and Ghostman up there this could reasonably be expected. AzelorNewton's fourth law of magic works wonderfully at this. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It keeps magic subtle, but present.

    I'm with Azelor for a more fixed understanding of how magic works, not that I don't appreciate the mystery of leaving it undefined would give it. The problem I think with that is that this project is being developed by many hands, if we don't have a clear understanding its going to lead to a lot of crossed wires. Defining it more would also assist users of the CWBP 2 to better plan and develop their plots.

    I can't for instance see magic having nothing to do with the node tunnels. Clearly there is an interaction there. What is it? What does it mean? Does it feed on magic? Is it where magic comes from? Or is it a symptom of something in the world the same as magic? For instance the reality of the world is just unstable enough for souls to take and manipulate how reality is?

    Actually having the worlds reality just slightly unstable would tie in nicely with all the elements we have so far, from the second star, the second moon, the tunnels, to the GTH, to magic. The reality is warbling, and just loose enough so that those who know can effect it. The tunnels are a manifestation of this. Maybe when that first star came apart it also tore the fabric of the dimension enough to cause some sort of dimension convergence that then somehow stabilized....

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      Scoopz is offline
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    Well I was raised off of R.A. Salvatorian ideas of high magic (i'm aware we're at mid magic, I just lowered it from high fantasy levels... at least my interpretations of them), so i'm admittedly a fan of that kind of thing. Don't get in your mind however that just because mages are powerful on the battlefield doesn't mean they're "hurling fireballs and lighting around". There are certainly other, less "flashy" ways of killing people with magic.

    What i'm not a fan of is making mages bleed for magic. I can only really associate it with blood magic and again that's really only one side of magic in my mind. Now i'm quite familiar with the concept of blood for magic (going so far as to have a read a book by Orson Scott Card on using similar rules for fantasy novel writing) and to me, it really drains the humanity from mages. That's just my opinion though.

    EDIT:

    I should say that in my mind, I imagined a world where the restrictions placed on mages by society made it very difficult to prepare spells, having to store them on parchment or some other means of enchantment before discharging them. It would also be very grueling to create spells. They would require extensive knowledge and lots of time. I also like to imagine that this evolved from a time of wilder magic. Where there weren't these restrictions and magic came more easily to mages.
    Last edited by Scoopz; 02-16-2014 at 11:12 PM.

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      Azelor is offline
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    I agree that we need to define some guidelines about how magic works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falconius View Post
    We can also decide that the rules differ for different peoples or races etc. More than just in the sense that supernatural creatures have use of magic.

    The ideas Azelor and Ghostman express closely parallel those that can be found in Patrick Rothfuss' Kingslayer Chronicles series. Which I'd recommend to read anyways.

    Personally I'm always a big fan of making mages and such suffer and bleed. Preferably as a result of plying their craft. Quite frankly the idea of mages hurling fireballs and lighting around a battlefield totally turns me off. It's far to overt and flashy for me to accept in a mid magic world. At least in any serious quantity. I think magic at that kind of level should cause enough of the mage to cause them to explode in a mist of blood.

    Taking the principles of Azelor and Ghostman up there this could reasonably be expected. AzelorNewton's fourth law of magic works wonderfully at this. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It keeps magic subtle, but present.

    I'm with Azelor for a more fixed understanding of how magic works, not that I don't appreciate the mystery of leaving it undefined would give it. The problem I think with that is that this project is being developed by many hands, if we don't have a clear understanding its going to lead to a lot of crossed wires. Defining it more would also assist users of the CWBP 2 to better plan and develop their plots.

    I can't for instance see magic having nothing to do with the node tunnels. Clearly there is an interaction there. What is it? What does it mean? Does it feed on magic? Is it where magic comes from? Or is it a symptom of something in the world the same as magic? For instance the reality of the world is just unstable enough for souls to take and manipulate how reality is?

    Actually having the worlds reality just slightly unstable would tie in nicely with all the elements we have so far, from the second star, the second moon, the tunnels, to the GTH, to magic. The reality is warbling, and just loose enough so that those who know can effect it. The tunnels are a manifestation of this. Maybe when that first star came apart it also tore the fabric of the dimension enough to cause some sort of dimension convergence that then somehow stabilized....

    Your are talking just as if the world was going to get torn apart

    Finger of death is a pretty subtle way of killing people. But mages don't need to kill themselves to do their tricks. Blood magic is a possibility but I expect that it is even less well accepted than necromancy.

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