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World Builder
August 12th, 2004, 07:54 PM
Since a lot people around these parts seem to be working on a Fantasy story of one sort or another, I thought this would be a fun topic to discuss. Most, if not all, fantasy stories have some magical elements. These elements vary from story to story, and that's where this thread comes in. What makes your magic different? How does it work? What are its limitations? And what's the going exchange rate for such powers?

These are questions I've been struggling with in my fantasy story. I've got some of the limitations planned out as far as who can do what. But as for the price of power, I'm not sure what the use of magic costs a wizard/witch/mage/Poet/Makkrå/etc. There obviously has to be some sort of price, or magic-users could pull a miracle out of a hat whenever it's needed.

As a little example of what I'm talking about, I'll use the name in the above list that your most unfamilar with. The Makkrå are a caste of wizards from a sea-going people. The name means "storm-tamer," and the have the power to control the weather. That's their only magical ability. If it isn't weather related, they can't do it. A further limitation is that their magic takes a long time to prepare. A very old and experienced Makkrå might be able to stir up a hurricane given only a day's preparation, but the storm would be short lived. For the average storm-tamer, two months would be needed to summon up a rainstorm to save an island from drought, by which time a natural storm might have already swept through bringing more rain than the Makkrå could have brought. They're primary function in their society is to clear paths for ships, give them a good wind and clear skies. But you might have noticed, I haven't said how they control the weather. That's because I haven't figured that part out yet. I have a general idea--it might be something as simple as mediation and concentration: the more extensive the Makrrå's control is intended to be, the more time and effort is needed to perform the task.

So, what little tricks do the rest of you have rolled up your sleaves?

Hellsfire
August 13th, 2004, 03:55 AM
Since a lot people around these parts seem to be working on a Fantasy story of one sort or another, I thought this would be a fun topic to discuss. Most, if not all, fantasy stories have some magical elements. These elements vary from story to story, and that's where this thread comes in. What makes your magic different? How does it work? What are its limitations? And what's the going exchange rate for such powers?

These are questions I've been struggling with in my fantasy story. I've got some of the limitations planned out as far as who can do what. But as for the price of power, I'm not sure what the use of magic costs a wizard/witch/mage/Poet/Makkrå/etc. There obviously has to be some sort of price, or magic-users could pull a miracle out of a hat whenever it's needed.

So, what little tricks do the rest of you have rolled up your sleaves?

I based my magic system on something I learned in Anthropology class. Of course, there's a whole mess of systems but I used the one I was most familiar and comfortable with.

As for limitations, I basically use a Star Wars type tactic. Basically, there are no limitations, if you put your mind to it. There are exceptions, of course. Usually with rituals.

Rira
August 13th, 2004, 11:30 AM
i like my magics to be more natural. earth magics and the such. alot of it has to do with the spirit, and will, kinda starwars based. kinda the knowledge that we belong the the earth, and some people have more of a connection to it. ... i cant really explain it beyond that... but the limitations? exaustion, death even, i guess. like with any activity, you can only do so much, before your exausted, and if you exceed that, you can burn yourself out, injure yourself. and since its not sorcery or spells, it doesnt take alot of preparation, but can be more difficult to learn, because its not words or ingrediants, but a mind thing, a connection that you have to master.
but thats all ive got. not much, but what ive come up with so far.

kassimir funk
August 14th, 2004, 03:26 AM
I try to take as much as I can from actual real world sciences and what we know about how things work. One potential method for limitations is the use of complexity.

Like the maakra and the hurricane. For a hurricane to form a lot of conditions need to be present. Like low barometric pressure... which is affected by air temperature... which is affected by the temperature of the ocean water... which is affect by the jet streams in the ocean. So in order to create a storm of great magnitude a maakra might have to do a whole slew of mind boggling things like divert an ocean current or heat the water around the area for a few miles to put more moisture in the air. Stuff like that. This kind of makes a limitation by requiring your potential mage to be something of an expert in every aspect of weather. Concentration and ability isn't enough.. you have to know what you're doing and when and where to do it. Think about it... if you want to change the winds in a given area... what you really need to do is go upwind and change it there so the streams carry down right?

This of course will require some studying on your part. But what the heck. We're fantasy dorks. What's a little studying?

Da Funk

World Builder
August 14th, 2004, 11:44 PM
This kind of makes a limitation by requiring your potential mage to be something of an expert in every aspect of weather. Concentration and ability isn't enough.. you have to know what you're doing and when and where to do it. Think about it... if you want to change the winds in a given area... what you really need to do is go upwind and change it there so the streams carry down right?

Shh... You're getting dangerous close to figuring out the precise mechanics of the Makkrå wizardry. :) They don't control the weather directly, they control the things that control the weather. It's like a magical Chaos Theory; they're the Peking butterflies that cause rain in Central Park, only they put a conscious effort into it. That's why it takes the inexperienced so long to get a weather system up and running. They can only play a few strings on the instrument, but a grandmaster can perform symphonies. But eventually they reach a certain level of skill at which their weather-bending abilities becomes more thaumaturgical than meteorological.

Hereford Eye
August 16th, 2004, 09:15 AM
Think about it... if you want to change the winds in a given area... what you really need to do is go upwind and change it there so the streams carry down right?
Da Funk
Not necessarily. What if I just make a hole (a great low pressure zone around me). Something has to fill it up. If I don't like what I get the first time, I just do it again. Whatever it is, it's going to be moving pretty fast.

JRMurdock
August 16th, 2004, 11:33 AM
with my own fantasy, I haven't fully developed the magical system yet, but I use magic sparingly. Those who do use magic aren't the main characters so I haven't explored what make magic work or it's limitations, though I do know it's not unlimited. This will be explored in later books as I get deeper into the world.

kassimir funk
August 17th, 2004, 08:45 PM
Not necessarily. What if I just make a hole (a great low pressure zone around me). Something has to fill it up. If I don't like what I get the first time, I just do it again. Whatever it is, it's going to be moving pretty fast.


How do you make the whole(a low pressure zone)?

James Barclay
August 18th, 2004, 05:26 AM
A good topic. Critical to any fantasy that operates a magical system is that it has limitations or the magicians (or whatever you chose to call them) would be in charge because of their limitless power and that makes for dull reading up until the point they destroy each other and take the world with them.

In my books so far, the key limitation is stamina. After a few castings, the mage gets tired and has to rest. Simple but effective. Doesn't matter how many mages you have against you, if you can force them into casting, they will eventually tire themselves out. And that's a warfare tactic I've used a few times.

NOM

Chlestron
August 18th, 2004, 08:42 PM
In my magic system, the spells a mage can cast depends on their temperment and views of the world. For example, an aggressive person would have a LOT of trouble casting a protective spell, but an offensive spell would be much easier.

As well, the magic can only affect, or create, physical, tangible things (i.e. stuff you can see and feel) but not insubstantial things (like feelings, a person's mind, etc). Finally, the magic is limited by the casters understanding of what can and can't be done and their imagination. Teleportation is possible for a creative person if they don't think too much about the impossibilities of it. Flying without wings isn't possible for most people because gravity is a much harder thing to doubt. In my system, doubt is the killer and breaker of spells.

As for the cost, well every spell costs a bit of energy from the caster (i.e. stamina). By focusing their thoughts and ideas into more clearly defined purpose and definition, a caster can lower how much energy a spell takes. This focusing comes with experience and study.

Example: To cast a spell that will protect a mage from harm is very open ended and the magic will respond in a very inefficient way maybe creating a huge field around the wizard that will stop all assualts. To cast a spell that will create a shield that will move to protect a mage is much more controlled and efficient.