Writing: Thoughts on magic systems

This is still pretty true for how I tackle magic/systems. I have other characters and other systems. Some of them incredibly detailed. Some of them pretty simple. Overall, I love creating them….

2nd example for today – this year I’ve been building a magic system which is “seeded” by magical creatures (yes, I’m using the trope “when dragons are born they bring magic into the world”) with the twist of specific creatures have 2 attributes.  One side is the magic they add to the world, the other attribute is what they unlock in a mage.

So when dragons are born, they add earth-based magic into the world. When someone with mage-talent touches them they “unlock” a talent for water.  When a mage who already has healing touches a dragon their healing talent is expanded to maximum potential.  If the person’s natural talent is earth, they will now have potential for either healing or water.  But to “unlock” healing they will need to find a phoenix. To access the full-water potential they will need to find a griffon.

Dream by Day

As a fantasy and sci-fi writer and fan, I spend more time thinking about different magic systems than I probably should. In every system I design for my worlds, I like to answer several questions to myself:

  1. Are people equally equipped to access or utilize magic? (example: if the system is based on alchemy than the limiting factor would be the character’s ability to get raw materials)
  2. If there is inequality (mage A is stronger than mage B) what determines their relative strength? Genetics? Luck? Dieties? I get it, my protagonist might be the strongest mage, but why?
  3. Where does magic come from? Is it a limited resource, and how does it reproduce?
  4. Are all mages/magic users good at all types of magic or do they need to specialize in something?
  5. Does magic have rules for how it impacts the natural world? (ie: how does the presence of a…

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