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  1. #1

    Magical Artifacts

    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?

  2. #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.

  3. #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.

  4. #4
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #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.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Radone View Post
    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.
    Agreed, but at least Eddings' Elenium artifact had limitations. It couldn't be used too often, it did not like being used, and you needed a ring to use it.

    And yes, I dislike villains having all-powerful artifacts with no limitations. Make the villain work a bit please!
    Last edited by Aurian; December 7th, 2008 at 03:29 PM.

  7. #7
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mage- View Post
    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?
    Like any element of a story that has been utilized extensively in the past, magical artifacts or talismans, can be interesting. As always, that is the writer's responsibility to make it work without seeming cliched.

  8. #8
    I Has Good Writing WyrvenGuard's Avatar
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    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

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