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Re: Rules based and freeform magic systems Big and complex magic system is one thing, and how it is showed and explained - another.
Readers don't usually care about 10000 pages book about magic system in actually. Maybe some nerds. I don't.
Magic system should feel complex, but be easy (or at least not VERY hard) to understand. Well - actually just like real-world physics.

We know there is gravity and electricity. Things fall on earth when you throw them up. Lightbulb emits light when you hit the switch. Lel - MAGIC! Then you learn there are actual physical formulas to calculate how fast things will fall and electricity is created by flow of electrons. etc. Then you learn, that there is mysterious something called "gravity field" and "electromagnetic field" and everything has it and creates fluctuation in it (sounds like magic - isn't it?).
And that's actually almost everything one needs to know about how things work. If something is heavy - it will be harder to pull up. Why? Gravity. If you will put your finger in electrical outlet you will get hurt. There is electrical resistance etc...

What I don't need to know is that there are some quantum fields, and this fields have particles, and they are called gravitons (which are massless) and they create gravity fields and gravity is much stronger in higher dimensions and... Well... Maybe you can tell me about it as some kind of little curiosity. You don't have to show me every quantum-formulas behind functioning of battery. I will learn it at University. If I will have to.

How it relates to magic in fantasy world?
Well. We know there is Magics. Everything has a little of it, but some things are more Magics and some less Magics. This guy - The Villain - was sealed from Magics when he tried to destroy the world. Now he can do Magics but because of the effect of the seal he is less Magics then he was before. But still more Magics than anyone else.
We can say - Wow! How strong The Villain is! He was sealed but he can still Magics! Much Strengths. Many Powerfulls.
Basic things.
Then you get to know that to Magics you have to suck Magics from your surroundings. The more you suck, the more powerfull you are. To stop The Villain, The Hero needs him to stop suck Magics or suck even more than The Villain. And yes - I know how it sounds.

What I can know next is there are "sucking fields" and there are people who uses Magics to prevent people from sucking on Magics and cast Magics. Splendid.

But if an autor is going to drown me in quntum formulas for sucking Magics and all of the technical issues and full manual to "AntiMajicks unSucker 3000" and it REALLY isn't relevant to a plot (it does not create or resolve problems and mysteries) then... God have mercy over his soul. And mine too...

Let's say Malazan magic system is simple at first glance. There are magicians, there are dimensions related to it. Magician opens it and he can do things related to it's aspect. Yay!
Then throught the series we get to know it's much more complex. Dimensions have their own names, they can be shatters of bigger dimensions. There are dragons and stuff. Everything plot related. We get to know it's "hows" and "whys". I can't really recall anything about this magic system what was just "a curiosity" and wasn't later mentioned at some point as "problem maker"/"problem resolver".

So... Yet again. It's not about complexity of the dish. It's about how it is served to us.

Edit: I actually like complex magic systems. If it is showed well and everything ticks, autor should be recognized by it. If something happens because something happens, then there is too high of a chance of Deus ex Magic.

September 18, 2015, 09:24:12 PM
Re: Explain your magic systems When I saw discussion on FB group, and another similiar tread at forums by you, I knew this tread will show up. :D
But there is surprisingly low amount of contributors (beside OP). I think that people might be too scared to show their magic systems, in fear it will get stolen by someone :P especially when it's Work In Progress - like mine, or to be laughed off by someone.

Funny thing is - my system works very similiar to yours. It is based on actual scentific theories and some philosophical ones with a big dose of imagination. It was inspired by "virtual particles", "shadow particles" and "string theory" but also Platon's "slaves in a cave theory". But to a relief it has it's own "flavors".

Some of my WIP magic system and propably spoilers to "However it will be called if actualy ever realeased series of shattered (I like this world - just how it sounds) something":

Spoiler for Hiden:

The Source of Magic.

Reality consists of 3 "breaches" or "tears". One is inhabited by normal creatures, another by souls and gods. The third one is a horrific world filled with will-fibers and essence. Doing things in one of them, means doing something in all of them - as every of these worlds is just an interpretation.

Soul is what makes every living thing "tick". Every plant, every creature and every man. Souls are immortal and they can reincarnate in many beings, collecting strength. No soul means no live (there are exceptions), but also it means no magic. Soul is able to use it's energy to affect normal world by manipulating it's own dimension.

But because souls are beings on their own - they are not going to do everything what magicians want to. Sometimes - to cast more powerfull "spell" - mage has to ask his soul for it. And by ask, I mean they need to make incantation and gestures - to let their souls know what they actually want - similiar to how you are using commands and gestures to make your dog sit. So when mage is bored of his little fire balls - he just sings a song, and summons GIANT METAL MELTING BONE BREAKING @55 WHOOPING PRESSURE WAVE OF DOOM STORM. He also then dies - because his soul was just strong enough to create a storm, but too weak to do anything more after it - life support goes off.

This is why mages are usually only able to use little portions of soul's energy at once without proper incantation. When soul runs low on energy - it begins to feed on caster's life force. And beause exchange rate isn't very fair, person quickly becomes exhausted and can eventually fall in coma to prevent further usage and death (or even worse fate).

What magic can do

Magic is about making things move. Even living is a form of magic. Mage can try and lift someone to throw them around, but it won't usually work, because his target's soul will prevent it. Levitating a rock at someone will be more effective, but mage could just throw it with his hands. Instead of this - magic users can create pressure and heat waves - more or less concetrated. They can make air(or water) in certain area around to vibrate, to create shield against such attacks, as well as physical ones.

Magic users can also train to use magic in melee combat - to make their body move faster and to hit harder than they actually could without the use of magic. This method isn't very common, as it is hard not to reap your muscles apart. REALLY skilled mages can burn their own body to fuel their souls - just as we burn fat during heavy exercises, or even muscles during starvation. This is why many mages are accused gluttony.

Sometimes soul can unlock all of it's potential to magic user during dangerous situations. Because of this - cornered mages are to be feared and some stories about little girls burning a village or slaugtering attacking army heppens to be true, as it only comes to one's soul strength to do so -and this strength varries. It is also true that most of such new-born talents dies right after it, because usage of soul's power simply killed them.

Also: no fast healing in my world.

How magic is used

To hurt other people really. There are some artisans who live simple life, using their talents to craft i.e. jewelery, but most of best trained and most powerfull magic users fight in wars. Some are trying to use it to break the locks, but many better secure systems are magic-enchanted, so they just end up heatening yesterday's soup with their bare hands. Helpfull when you want to eat something hot - but when in no position to start a campfire.

The Essence

Soul isn't the only source of power. There are people who are using their own will to use Essence. The Essence resembles simple matter, but it changes, according to Essence user's demand. It can be used to enhance one's body(it actually allows for fast healing - even other people) or to create weapons. However Essence users are not able to use normal magic, as Essence "taints" their souls. Sometimes Essence can corrupt creatures with very weak willpower and turn them in horrible monsters. Because of this, using the Essence is considered a blasphemy and Essence users are killed on sight, even if they were trying to use it for humble reasons (it's the only way of fast healing - but such treatment can actually turn patient into a demonic monster - which is unfortunate if it happens).


It's a group of beings, who are not using their souls or will to do magic. Instead, they can i.e change matter's properties with their own mind (i.e. make metal harder and more durable). Such people are very rare and only specialised in just one thing. Also - it's all genetics. And yes - I'm using this to break my own rules. How wonderfull isn't it?
 Deaus ex texente inc.
Well - I made it, because I wanted to have some abilities, that are more "magical" and "unexplained" than simple soul-magic.

The hollow
There are creatures that can live without souls, clinging to life with their powerfull Will. Some of them are Weavers - so they can still use some kind of magic, but most of them are Essence users. Such creatures are usually very hard to kill, because they are already dead. It doesn't matter how much their body is going to be destroyed. As long as there is Will, for that long it will remain dangerous.

The Stagnation and Moths
If magician or essence user overuse their powers, they fall in coma or die. But it's not how it always was. There were times, were planet was traversed by creatures who could make an "energetic debt" with their souls, and even gods feared them. But the more "debted" they were, the more their soul was hurt. In the end, soul could go stagnant - and this is fate worse than death. Soul will swallow your will and mind into an eternal nightmare. Stagnated creatures - The Moths - start to feed on surrounding's energy, but they can never "pay the debt" this way, as they immidiately burn the energy. To pay their energy debt, they must swallow giant ammounts of energy at once. Because of that, Moths are walking around the world, pursuing places where they sense energy. They cannot be stopped. If Moth is coming to a city - it is doomed. To prevent further stagnation of souls, gods changed their creations to not to stagnate so easily.

I updated and ended my post because I was doing it very late, and english isn't my native language so it's devastating for me (time wise) to write huge chunks of text.

So as you can see - it's rather medium-core magic system. At least for now as whole world is WIP. There are some rules, and exceptions to them. Some total breaking of them just to have things I want to (I really need to fill that hole made by Weavers).

@Yora At first, when I started to read your system, I was little terrified how similiar my system is, though there are some differences, like new-born talents. It's funny how different the results of our approaches are, but still how well explained and... hmmm... "magically realistic"?

September 19, 2015, 01:51:27 AM
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
Malazan does this to me all the time, in fact I'm sure I pronounce most of the names wrong. Like how the hell am I meant to pronounce Kruppe or Tiste Andii?

Try with K'Chain Che'Malle. Or any other name with (') in it. Keszein Szeemalle??? Erikson pls.
I'm actually pronouncing it with 'chain'. But still there are some other names...
I think it's a thing in every (more or less) epic fantasy.

If I can digress a bit. I think I mentioned it somewhere else, but in my language "Capustan" (still from Malazan) means something like 'Cabbage-town'. It's funny when you read something like "in a battle for Cabbagetown..." and it's actully meant to be tragic but you can't stop laughing. Who were they fighting with? Magically conjured demon-cabbages?

Spoiler for Hiden:

October 12, 2015, 01:53:54 AM
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation I have managed to find this little 'pearl':
This is why trying to find a good way to pronounce fantasy name is destinated to fail from the very beginning...

October 13, 2015, 12:45:20 PM
Re: What are you currently writing? Propably most of us are now writing (dum tu du dum) — outlines. For NaNo of course. Just like me now :p
October 20, 2015, 03:48:05 PM
Re: What are you currently writing?
The most basic idea behind my plans is that most high fantasy worlds have a lost past that is much more magical and fantastical, and whose great wonders have been lost to the current age. Lord of the Rings did it, because that was the theme of the book, and everyone copied it, but without questioning the reason for it. I almost always find the old days of the past much more interesting and often would rather hear the stories that are mentioned of ancient heroes than that of the protagonist of the story. So the central idea is a world in which dragons and minor gods walk the earth, the world is almost all wilderness, and heroes are exploring strange places never seen before by mortals and encountering spirits and great monsters.
The world is entirely forests and oceans, with the people being ruled by tribal leaders and minor kings, and worshiping the spirits of nature that sometimes can be seen on holy mountains or near sacred springs. There are trolls and wild men living in the hills, giant monsters in the sea, and great castles of fey lords in the forests. Witches, shamans, oracles, shapechangers, dryads, talking animals. The whole program.

Im telling you: 'magical dinosaurs'. Humans (and all other humanoid races) are boring.
I also always loved when author had mentioned something about the past of his world. Great magicians, powerfull demons, raging dragons. It always seemed so much more interesting than protagonists wandering through human-infested world, searching for 'whatever-that-is-there-that-they-desire'.

Wild world with changing rules.

This is my life's purpose. My only aim and goal for now. To create a story about the world, from it's very beginning, to the very end. It might never be published. It can rot in my drawer. But it will be there.

October 26, 2015, 11:02:15 PM
Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet It's very dangerous job you know?


November 23, 2015, 06:47:02 PM
Re: Ta'veren at 3,000 Let me give you both a kiss  :-*

November 25, 2015, 07:23:51 PM
Re: Fantasy-Faction NaNoWriMo Group......... First NaNo with 14 351 words. That's not even 500 words a day. :F
Notes to myself for the next year:

- You might think you are a pantser, but in the end the only thing that covers your tears now, are those pants you sticked on your head to hide your regrets.
- Dude. Like... you have a laptop. A tablet. And a smartphone. Dude. Why have you decided to write on paper? Just why...
- It's really irrelevant for a story what kind of metabolism your monsters have and why. Or what kind of enzyme do they use to transport oxygene.
- You also don't need a scheme of it.
- What you need is an outline. Story outline. But not a simple: " Magical dinosaurs are doing stuff, screaming 'Witness me', and dying".
- It's zero draft so it will look as bad as you in a mirror.
- Speaking of which - if you had been writing on your pc, you would be able to edit everything with ease.
- But you were not...
- I'm not telling you that you are stupid. But neither you are smart.
- Better luck next time. <sobs in a corner>

December 01, 2015, 12:44:31 AM
Re: Calling All Maps! I have 6. Fun part is that I knew only one of them for sure. The rest of them was like "there are no places that I know from a b and d. That must be a map of c.'
I also guessed the one with 'Eartsea'. :p

December 06, 2015, 03:26:03 AM