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Author Topic: In creating your own magic system,  (Read 4441 times)

Offline SarahW

In creating your own magic system,
« on: December 30, 2014, 05:19:32 PM »
Are there basic rules to keep in mind while doing it? I'm less averse to magic than I used to, though I'm still in large part a beginner to the process.

I generally prefer magical items over magical technique and spiritual influence. Though when all is said and done, I'm not sure I would tell the difference by the effect that happens.

The one magic system I loved growing up as mana eggs. Then using a junctioning system to combine something like lightning and forest to make fire.

My apprehensiveness was more, can I do this well?

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 08:56:50 PM »
For creating your own magic system, I've found Brandon Sanderson's three laws very helpful. They're not just good for creating magic systems. They're good storytelling principles as well.

Offline cupiscent

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 10:32:46 PM »
I find Holly Lisle's questions about special physics in worldbuilding to be a useful framework when thinking about how magic's going to work in a story - On this page, under "A — Special physics".

My key concern always, when including magic, is making sure I don't break the story tension. If everything could be fixed with a snap of fingers (*cough*eagles*cough*) then there's no drama.

Offline fairbetty

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 05:45:47 PM »
For creating your own magic system, I've found Brandon Sanderson's three laws very helpful. They're not just good for creating magic systems. They're good storytelling principles as well.

And just to provide an easy link to those three laws... http://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/
http://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-second-law/
http://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-third-law-of-magic/
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Offline SarahW

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 08:53:25 PM »
Awesome, I'll be sure to look.

I always liked system that had a sort of consequence. That way you can use easy solutions, but in exchange it takes away a little bit of your life force.

Offline Timothy L. Cerepaka

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 12:07:01 AM »
I've never heard of Sanderson's laws until now. Reading over them, there is a lot I already agree with or practice in my own fiction (such as not giving characters random powers as the plot demands, for example), but they're still good and got me thinking about my own magic systems. Will definitely read them again if I'm ever designing a new magic system.
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Offline SarahW

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2015, 04:03:29 PM »
I think the part about consistency in application could apply to regular writing too.

I decided on natural art as my magic system, and just go with that. That kind of magic, that seems more like nature gone wrong without explanation.

Like the first thing comes to mind: Dead trees whose branches merge together to form a seemingly endless tunnel. Rivers that turn red on their own, and general feelings of uneasiness in a historical setting that can't quite be explained as ghosts. Technology plays a big part too, with technology making it subtler and more dangerous. Not gone.

Not sure if that makes sense.

Offline Totem

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Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2015, 07:02:26 PM »
I always lean towards magic systems that make sense. I know that's broad, but what I mean is, put yourself in the shoes of the characters, and think about what you would do with this magic you just created. What are the boundaries and what are the COSTS. Magic should always have a cost, just like technology usually has a cost, even if it's the draining of ammo or power cells that will need refueling.
Energy is neither created nor destroyed.
So if you're magic is very powerful, try to explain (if only to yourself) how the magic gets its energy. Even if you don't get into it too much in your book and even if the answer is "the sun" or "invisible prana floating in the air"…as long as there is a probable recharge requirement or limitation, it can be a useful tool and not a limitless device that feels too unbelievable.

Offline Yora

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2015, 08:13:24 PM »
I like the idea of magic having side effects. Not necessarily burning out the mages body, but the regular use of magic will have an effect that gradually changes them.

Offline SarahW

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2015, 08:42:44 PM »
Well I don't really use magic in that way. You might have magical creatures, but you can't caste magic. Magic being more of a feeling (sort of like experiencing art.)

So I suppose to cost would be risk to life (in the case of maze like forests.) I know that sounds really vauge, it's just hard to be specific without making it sound like magic realism.XD

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Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2015, 05:54:49 PM »
I have just finished Bloodrush (The Scarlet Star Trilogy, #1) by Ben Galley the story was okay and a bit slow in places but I thought he came up with a good magic system.

From the book

Bloodrushing,or Haemomancy ,is the consumption and and exploitation of blood.There lies a power in the blood of most animals,accessible by those with the ability to rush,or 'stomach' it.

if the rusher took Piranha it would give a rusher a mouthful of sharp teeth.side effects can often include the severance of a tongue,difficulty speaking, and damage to the inside of the mouth

or if he took duck it would make a rusher's  skin impervious to water but is reported to cause massive dehydration


His come up with loads of animal power/side effects
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Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2015, 05:57:36 PM »
Dart frog,skin becomes poisonous to the touch.rushers can develop halitosis with prolonged use  ;D
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline K.S. Crooks

Re: In creating your own magic system,
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2015, 12:38:01 PM »
For any type of special abilities, whether you call it magic, super powers or something else, it is important for the author to know which characters can obtain the powers, how they get them, can the powers be taken away, what are the limitations of the magic/powers and what can other characters do to defeat the people with these abilities.
Know what you want your characters to be able to do and their goals. Consider the obstacles you want them to face. The more powerful you make the magic/powers the more important the ways to counter them. It is all about being able to defeat people with powers. Whether they are being used for good or evil, otherwise the person with them always wins, which means a boring story.
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