Sunday 21st March 2021
I spent today working on magic systems. And yes, that’s right, it’s plural.
One thing I think I’m weak at is magic. It’s not that the magic that’s in my books is weak but I’m very much of the old school where magic is mysterious and it’s never clearly defined. The cost, and there always is a cost, is that the person casting the magic is exhausted and can’t cast for a while, or the object is somehow temporarily depleted. I work on mana bar principles, where magic costs mana and slowly recharges.
I want something a bit more structured.
What I also want is a framework. I want something that has a range of magics that I can pick and choose from when building a book.
My starting point was the World of Warcraft cosmology. A few years back they did this wonderful diagram which showed all the schools of magic and how they overlapped. That’s really stuck with me and I’ve thought it a good starting point to build a framework that could encompass a range of magic.
Now they have various schools of magic in World of Warcraft: Arcane, fel, nature, light, etc. and for obvious reasons this is something I don’t want to copy, so the first stage for me was listing various types of magic.
For the most part that got me nowhere.
I thought back to Black As Knight. That had an old style magic system and whilst there was a neat origin to it, I didn’t feel there was anything I could really take from it to help my framework.
But the religion…
There are seven gods in Black As Knight. They’re very much mythological entities, but what they represent (i.e. what they were god of) encompassed a sort of framework.
So I took that as my starting point. I then took various magic systems I’d encountered in books, games and movies and overlayed it on this framework.
They fit but some of the categories I now had, needed to overlap.
I’ve made a decision, thinking about the latest story, that any world I build has all these magics available, but each world has devised ways to access only some of them. That way if I’ve built a world using light magic, I have a get out clause if I need a necromancer.
I’m happy with what I’ve constructed. It’s going to serve me for years to come with building magic systems. I’ve already used it to build something new and unique for this group book I’ve just started outlining.
It’s possible it will need tweaking, and all going well, it’ll probably be years before I really talk about this system.
But it feels like the start of something.
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