fantasy

The beginnings of a system of magic

This is based partly on what I've come up with over the past year or so, and partly on a conversation I had with anathelen tonight over dinner.

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Magic seems to function much as electricity or magnetism, only with different effects. As with electricity, is more or less present in everything.

Needs to be tied to something physical—usually through symbols: tattoos, etchings, etc. Certain types of matter hold a magical “charge” better than others—spells cast on living things set easily, but are much more temperamental than those set on stone or metal or other inert matter. Magic that isn’t channeled through something else is extremely dangerous, much like lightening. It must be handled with care, like most of what you’d find in a chemistry lab.

Everyone has more or less the capacity to perform magic—just as anyone can sing or do chemistry—but not everyone has the aptitude or interest.

While most spells are used simply for sort of enhancing ordinary physical traits—paint spelled so it won’t peel, strengthening of building materials, spells to regulate certain functions of the human body—there are some things which circumvent entirely physics. Wards are basically invisible fences that let in/out only certain people, and are used in place of security systems. Wendecker wings are completely non-physical, spending most of the time as nothing more than tattooed wings on a person’s back. They’re triggered by free fall through a certain distance, and run off of the person’s energy (I’m not sure whether magical or physical)—so they can be used only sparingly, or else very bad things will happen.

As might be expected, this sort of spell has many possible side-effects and the potential of going *very* wrong if done incorrectly.

Chemistry is much closer to a systematized version of alchemy.

There might be magic storms, which would either move very quickly or very slowly, and do things like give rocks the appearance of life—stuff like vampire fields, perhaps.

(I haven’t figured out yet how the presence and usage of magic would affect the development of technology, or how exactly magic might have first been discovered and harnessed.)

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Please feel free to give suggestions, ask for clarifications, or tell me to stop being silly and go do my homework.
  • Acoustics: Mozart's Requiem
Indexing:
I think magic would have been discovered like most scientific discoveries, through observation then experimentation. Maybe even discovered by accident.

In terms of technological developement, I can see technology developing as it would in a world without magic, but with magic it is enhanced such as with the examples you gave (spells to keep paint from peeling). It's also possible that some types of magic don't work well with certain types of technology (maybe cars, or computers, for example) so magic had no influence on them.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. And it's not silly. I've got a story that's a modern day fantasy taking place in a world where magic coexists with technology and have been nitpicking the ways it's possible. And loving it. It's just so much fun figuring out how to make magic work for different stories.
I like the idea that some things simply aren't really affected by magic/don't work well with magic - I've been trying to come up with an excuse for no television, and that might do it. Although there needs to be computers of some sort, given how necessary they are in Atlantis.

It is an awful lot of fun, trying to sort everything out in a way that's believable.
Magic could have a negative affect on radio waves. Perhaps there's a subtle difference between what puts an image on a TV and what makes a computer run that magic doesn't agree with. Or, computers being more complex, has a larger resistance toward magic than television.