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Thread: Magical Artifacts
December 5th, 2008, 06:41 PM #1
Did a quick search and didn't come up with anything ... What do you guys think of (powerful) magical artifacts? Are they cliches that should be avoided no matter what, or can they be interesting if the author is creative with them?
December 5th, 2008, 06:59 PM #2
Artifacts are okay, as long as:
1) There is a reasonable explanation for why it was created and/or how it shows up in the story. I don`t like seeing artifacts that happen to show up at just the time the "hero" needs a magic artifact to save the day.
2) It is interesting and different in some way.
3) There are limitations. There is no fun in an artifact that can do anything and everything without limits.
4) The artifact isn`t the answer to every problem the "hero" encounters.
December 5th, 2008, 07:30 PM #3
Hmm ... interesting. #3 is the one I consider the least.
Would you reconsider that point if it were in the hands of the villain?
Edit: Oh, never mind. That's a cliche right there.
December 5th, 2008, 09:01 PM #4
Artifact that can do anything: Eddings did a fine and fun job with it in the Belgariad and the Elenium. Unfortunately, he kept doing it.
Tolkien did it, but did the opposite, in which the Ring corrupted whoever possessed it.
Donaldson's Covenant possessed a ring that could allow him to do anything. For him, it was a curse.
So, yes, an artifact that can do anything is fine, but if it solves all problems, probably a bit dull.
December 6th, 2008, 11:01 AM #5
Okay. Thank you both very much for that.
I was wondering because I just picked up The Elfstones of Shannara, and unless my outline drastically changes, it factors largely into my own writing.
December 7th, 2008, 04:13 PM #6
Last edited by Aurian; December 7th, 2008 at 04:29 PM.
December 22nd, 2008, 12:22 PM #7
December 22nd, 2008, 12:33 PM #8
Talismans and artifacts are an easy way to make the hero less capable and thus their objective seem more futile. It adds different directions and purposes.
And Covenants ring was nifty and gave him control over White Magic, but it couldn't do ANYthing, and it failed him on many occasions. the Illearth Stone in the same novels could be considered something of a do-it-all talisman.
I for one think the biggest factor is in the description of the artifact itself. A sword or staff is as cliche an artifact as you can get, but if you make it interesting and inventive, it doesn't matter WHAT it is. It's all about delivery if you ask me, which you technically didn't so I'll shut up