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    Default [WIP] Custom Magic Mechanics

    Over the course of this thread, I went from a basic idea to a very fleshed out system, but it still has some holes! I'm looking for PEACH and suggestions, questions and ideas in where to go from here! Below is a magical system created for my own homebrewed world and based on the power of belief. This project is for a novel series I've been working on for about 12 years (getting close to 13). Please don't be daunted by the wall of text. I'd break it up further if I could, but since this was one of my first threads, I didn't think to add extra posts.

    Ancients - The Wielders of Magic

    Ancients have “the spark”, which gives them the ability to affect reality through magic. In other words, everyone has the power of belief, but only the Ancients can affect reality with that belief. That power to affect reality is what we call ‘Magic’.

    Ancient Characteristics:

    The Ancient race is one of the three founding races in Aldain. They are often referred to by the Elves as "True Men", as they are the ancestors (at least partially) of the "Hewn men", the race that was born through the coupling of Ancients and Elves. The Ancients used to be one of the leading populous until civil wars and crossbreeding with other races nearly wiped out the race completely. There are currently only a known handful of them left (between one and two hundred).

    Ancients do not have a written or spoken language. They communicate by memories. This means when communicating a recount of what happened an Ancient need only transfer the memory to do so. Other more complex things can be communicated through senses, feelings, memories of object and even emotions. The Ancients with this ability can sense other Ancient’s minds in a close proximity, and custom dictates permission must be asked before one talks to (or rather enters the mind of) another Ancient. A connection can be blocked off at either end in a communication at any time. Connections can be maintained once started over a long distance, but the farther from someone is the more energy it takes to send information. It takes minimal amounts of energy to communicate to someone you are in contact with or in the close vicinity of. Additionally, sleep or unconsciousness ends the link.

    The only exception to this rule is in the connections that the Ancients have with their animal companions called “Creatures of the Bond”. These connections are a sacred bond that each Ancient shares with their respective animal, and they can communicate through a much longer distance than ancient to ancient. The connection between an ancient and their creature is very similar to the normal connection between two ancients, save that it is more powerful. Female Ancients have cats of prey like lions, panthers, cougars, jaguars, tigers, and more while male Ancients have birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and so on. These creatures are sentient companions to each. Mental bonds in general can be disrupted by an external party, and can even be magically blocked if one is committed to the task, but these bonds cannot be broken by anything but death.

    The Broken Bond – An Ancient that has lost its Creature of the Bond, or a Creature that has lost its Ancient, will never be able to repeat this connection in another. This separation if left to its own devises can cause the respective half to go mad. To counteract this, most Ancients that have a broken bond are tasked with becoming teachers to train other Ancients in casting, or other tasks in which they are often in contact with other minds, to prevent madness.


    Magic

    Magic is a power that functions through belief. Originally, all peoples believed in magic. When the Ancients existed as a complete race, it was common knowledge that magic existed, and so all believed in it. Now that the Ancients have all but died off, people inherently want to believe in the fantastic, but do not see magic as fact. Therefore, the amount of power of a spell correlates to the amount of belief-belief of the one casting, and the belief of others that witness or are directly involved in the spell. This causes a witness to directly influence a person’s ability to influence the witness’s reality, and therefore causes a precarious balance of perceptional dominance between the caster and the witness. A commonly overlooked fact is that magic does not happen of its own accord. The caster is essentially the "igniter" of an effect. Without a caster's spark, belief is just a pile of kindling. There are three forms of magic that make up the spectrum of which magic is used: Visual, Mental, and Physical magic. Visual magic draws from internal and external belief, mental magic only draws from external belief, and physical magic only draws from internal belief. A caster can only use one form of magic. As implied in the application of the word “use”, magic is a tool. Therefore, it is neither good nor evil, just as an axe can be used to chop down a tree or to kill another.
    (Illusionist, Mentalist, Alchemist?)

    Visual Magic is forcibly manifesting your beliefs into an observable phenomenon. This draws on a caster's energy to maintain. Once the illusion is formed, it draws on the belief of any who observer to become reality. Unobserved, a visual caster could only cast small spells based on their own belief. A spell stops drawing on the energy of the caster when it stabilizes into reality through the belief of an audience. If a caster tries to push too far into conjuring a spell that is not wholly believed, they could expend their energy quickly and become exhausted. The more believable a spell is, the less energy it takes to cast. It is easier for an illusion to be cast in a place that this item would characteristically be. An example: One could create the illusion of a cactus in the water, but it would be significantly more accepted by a witness if it were in a sandy area. Other conditions might factor into this as well, such as climate or surrounding area. Some casters use a material component such as a sketchbook or notebook to assist them in visualizing all the elements of the spell, or visual aids that would assist in convincing a viewer of the spell.

    Mental Magic is to forcibly affect the perception of another person. This can be as subtle as observing the perceptions of another person, or more powerful uses could include manipulating the thoughts of an individual, inserting false memories, and forcibly controlling a person. This can extend to encouraging certain emotions in a person or even cause someone to fall asleep or wake. This form of magic can be very effective for individual people, but not as effective for a group of people, unless a leadership role is manipulated to act upon a group, such as making a king decree orders. A material component of mental magic could be a caster disguising them self as a person of higher status. Some casters use a specific gesture or phrase to assist in focusing the spell, such as pointing at ones temples or saying the phrase “would you kindly”. Some casters prefer to use a personal trinket of some sort such as a pendent or spinning top, to both assist esteem in the caster and focus the subject of the spell into one thought.

    Physical Magic is to alter your perception of an object (and thus, the object) directly in your field of view. This could be the size of the object, or even the composition. However, this process expends a great amount of energy, and the denser the material, the more time and energy is needed to cast. Since changing the object means altering your perceptions of an object, a caster must trick them self into believing what it really is. Often mind tricks assist in this process, such as covering one eye to lose depth perception or to close both after studying an object and picture it as the desired size. Often for changing the composition of an object, a caster would have the material they wished to change an object to handy to assist in the casting process. Then both objects can be studied for the spell. Additionally, due to the 3rd Barrier, it is rare that an object is changed into something that is not of a similar composition or has a relation. An example of an item that is not of similar composition, but has a relation is water to ice. Due to the limitations of this magic, only still or contained liquids can be affected by a spell, as the subject must remain in the field of view. Healing would also fall into this form of magic.
    (Writer’s note: With physical magic, the objects are sent to/pulled from The Ulterior Realm)

    Spells have 3 basic stages:

    1. Drawing Stage: Caster decides the who, what, where, when, why of the spell. This is the period a spell is planned and crafted. The quality of belief (interior) is determined at this time.

    2. Casting Stage: This is the period where the spell is actually cast. During this period, the subject of the spell begins taking on the desired effect, whether this be an illusion, person, or object. The quality of belief (exterior), when applicable, is determined at this time. The spell begins drawing on the energy of the caster at this time.

    3. Stabilizing Stage: The spell is completed or dispelled. Concentration and the quality of the spell determine whether a spell stabilizes or not. Once the spell stabilizes, it no longer draws on the caster's energy.

    A caster must overcome several basic Barriers in order to successfully cast a spell:

    Barrier 1: Conception-
    Caster must believe they can cast.

    Barrier 2: Self Esteem-
    Casters are only as powerful as how much they believe can be achieved by themselves. As they grow in knowledge and experience, they grow more confident in their abilities. Some casters will have an advantage to this based on their own creativity.

    Barrier 3: Reason-
    People can only believe in the unbelievable until Alderic's Cusp, or the point at which the suspension of disbelief collapses. People inherently want to believe in the fantastic, and that is why magic CAN exist, but still, there are some rules that people believe to be true, such as gravity. It is very hard to break these truths without heavily convincing the audience of the act. In this way, it is very difficult to get the subject of mental magic to kill his mother (unless he already harbored disliking). Often the knowledge of a person influences how much they believe a certain spell as well, especially in specialized areas such as a job class. Further, the more familiar a subject or witness is with a spell may find the occurrence more or less believable as a reality. The mechanics of magic are kept from common knowledge, otherwise magic would never be more than an illusion. "A magician never reveals his secrets."

    Barrier 4: Reception-
    A small audience that believes in your casting is much better than a large one that is partially convinced. The more people that witness the act, the more convincing the illusion needs to be. As a result, the more convinced an audience is, the easier to cast. It should be noted that an observer often takes what they see for granted, and so objects that they are peripherally observed are often automatically accepted to be real.

    Barrier 5: Concentration-
    Magic automatically sides with the caster's intentions so long as they concentrate on the spell before it "stabilizes". If events cause the caster to lose concentration or become distracted, the spell becomes rampant. From this, the spell has two options. The first is that it collapses and has no ill effect other than the dissipation of the spell. The other option is that the spells intention could spread to that of a witness. To explain, say a caster wanted to fly, so they projected the image of them flying over a few people in order to do so. However, they become distracted by something, lowering the quality of the illusion. A witness to the illusion looks up and thinks the image is falling, and even calls attention to it. The caster then gets transported into the air like they intended, but then plummet to the ground. If the caster did not keep their illusion low to the ground, this blundered spell could be their last. For mental magic, rampant spells could damage or even backfire on the caster as the subjects mind rejects the spell. In physical magic, rampant spells often make the object no longer able to be altered (this is sometimes used as an advantage).

    Despite these barriers, there are circumstances where these rules might be ignored. Casters who are in a state of heightened urgency or emotion, such as in sudden defense of a loved one or when in a rage, become totally engrossed in the task at hand and subsequently forget their limitations. This task often uses much more effort and magic than the task requires and so when the event concludes it leaves the caster vulnerable and exhausted. If a caster is sure of death as the only outcome to the situation, a caster might willingly use a lethal amount of magic for a desired effect and then perish upon completion of the task.

    A delusional or mad caster is another example of a caster without barriers (save perhaps the 5th Barrier). A caster who lacks sanity lacks reason, and nonexclusively projects their personal reality. This is a terrifying concept in theory, but it should be remembered that the insane still have an interpretation of reality, just not one that is cohesive to the actual one. So, while they may seem to have no limits in their power, they often are more limited than the normal caster in ways that do not make sense. An example of this might be that an insane caster can only cast on Tuesdays, or refuses to affect anything that is the color blue. These casters should always be met with caution, as they are vastly unpredictable.

    Power = Interior Belief (knowledge and experience create esteem) + Exterior Belief (quantity of viewer and/or quality of belief from viewer) x Quantity of Casters
    Quality of Belief (Exterior) = (Inherent belief of magic) x (Quality of Illusion or Suggestion) + Material Components
    Quality of Belief (Interior) = (Ability) x (Experience) + Material Components
    Ability = Creativity (Imagination and knowledge of casting) + Study (knowledge of object used in illusion)

    Magic is unlimited to draw from. However as earlier stated, it is limited by what the caster believes they are capable of and what their ability allows them to accomplish. Therefore, Magic is partially inherent (in terms of how creative and imaginative one can be) and partially through scientific study (in terms of studying a wide variety of objects that may be used for a spell). The greater one understands an object, the more accurate the object will become in illusion, or manipulated within physical magic. So, the less you know about casting, the less confidence you have in casting. This causes you to be limited in what you are able to cast. Also, not studying objects or practicing spells often diminishes the quality and effect of a spell. In essence, power is derived (as the equations say above) from interior and exterior of belief. A caster’s interior belief regulates their capacity for magic. The less capacity a caster has the more energy it takes to create spells. Further, in visual and mental magic, it also causes maintained spells to have shorter life spans before the caster would need to rekindle it. At lower power, a fly spell could be something akin to a large hop, as it consumes energy at a rapid rate. As a caster gains power, the flights would grow longer and longer in distance, however power will never make a spell unlimited.

    A caster that has exhausted them self casting can recover by means people commonly use to recover from normal exhaustion. Casting is like any other activity a body performs and so recovers similarly from it. Over exhaustion could cause hospitalization or even in some cases - death. The body often attempts to stop a caster before they reach the point of exhaustion, and will begin shutting down to avoid mortal exhaustion. Still, a so willed caster can force their body to beyond this point. Since the ability to cast derives fundamentally in the belief that you can cast, it is common for a caster who has experienced a traumatizing situation or loss by magical or non-magical means to find them self unable to cast for a period of time.

    Magical Instruction: Training begins as soon as possible for an Ancient. At first, the parents are responsible in magical instruction. A child when they are in this stage could exhibit some affinity for a particular form of magic. Once a child shows signs for a particular school of magic, they begin to be schooled in that path. As stated earlier, many instructors for magic are Ancients who have had their bonds broken. They take on pupils and work with them at a young age to overcome the five barriers to casting.

    Each person varies on how quickly or slowly they grasp and understand these principles, and so the time it takes for each caster to be trained varies greatly. The instructors also hone the caster’s talents that would aid them in casting, such as public speaking or persuasive writing, acting, music, or visual art. To become familiar with the material components of a spell, Ancients study natural and physical sciences, history and culture. These seemingly rudimentary tasks will greatly aide casters not only with their interactions with people, but in reality in general. The use of magic is considered by the Ancients to be an art form. Each uses their talents in different ways, and so the results of a spell often are dependent on a caster. Think of casting like a fingerprint. Each result of a spell is similar, but they don’t happen quite the same way. While it is possible for an Ancient to start training after childhood, results vary as to its effectiveness, as it is harder to grasp ways around some of the harder barriers, as age exhibits a more formed belief system than a youth.

    Dueling: When magic was fact, dueling could exist. Today, dueling is much more complex and difficult. Dueling is not at all the scene in which one would imagine for two casters who are dueling – spells being cast back and forth at one another as it was when magic was fact. Instead, now that one relies on illusion to facilitate the reality of a spell, casters can no longer directly cast at each other. In fact, now casting takes place in one of two places: in combat or within the mind; sometimes both. Mainly, since magic cannot be used, duels are fought by hand-to-hand combat. The only variation to this is if one caster surprises the other, they might be able to cast an offensive spell at the other without the caster realizing it is a spell until after the effect.

    If two casters are mental magic users, they could battle as if both could cast. These battles are interpreted differently. In these duels, they are battles of the mind where one caster is attempting to dominate the other’s mind. This battle is conducted in something similar to a dream, and resembles magical dueling of old within the mind. Each attack on the other resembles a spell or weapon, but is in actuality a thrust of will. Each spell is a siege attack on the other’s mind, attempting to break the other’s defenses. A caster must counter spells that could do damage to the defenses, as well as attack to attempt to do the same to the enemy. This dreamlike battle is the way the minds interpret the conflict, and draws on the psyche of both to operate. Once one mind is dominated, the dream collapses as one of its two supports has been cut off. Very rarely, one of esteemed mental capacity could battle within and out of the mind, thus fighting a caster in the midst of a battle ground. The rarest form of duel is when two casters fight both within the mind and in hand-to-hand combat.

    Cumulative Casting: This technique occurs when two or more casters of a similar caliber work together. Commonly, cumulative casting is where several people of different forms of magic work together toward a common goal, each facilitating a different condition of the goal. An example of this might be a mental caster causing someone to be more receptive to an illusion that a visual caster was projecting.

    Cumulative casting can also be implemented for casters that are from the same form of magic. In other worse, this is two or more people working toward one spell for a common goal. This act decreases the amount of effort it takes to cast the spell, as well as the amount of exterior belief needed. It also aids in extending the length of a spell and often the effect of one. For this type of casting to occur, two casters must link their minds and become one thought or risk the likely failure in casting. This risk is occurs because while two casters may believe they are casting the same thing, even a slight variation or distraction may cause a confliction in the spell, or worse, there could be a dangerous backlash to one or both casters. Even with both casting with one thought, if an event caused one mind to become separated from the other, there could be risk of a rampant spell or an overload where the spell of two rests in one awareness and is too much for one to cast without exhausting.

    It should be remembered that once a spall is amplified, it is unable to be deamplified. When the spell is completed, the joined minds release each other. One could cast with any number of people, but each time a person is added, it becomes increasingly difficult for the next to link as well. Due to the low population of Ancients, as well as the ratio of each in the various forms of magic, linking is not common over a pair, maybe a trio in certain areas of higher population. Often, spouses and families cast spells together as one mind, because the close relations and emotional bonds aid in connection.


    Subsumal Magic: A form of magic that has been hidden from knowledge to all of the remaining Ancients is a thing referred to as Subsumal Magic. Subsumal Magic is where each of the main forms of magic is combined. This combination is directed at a living thing or several living things and transforms them into a new form. This often has unexpected consequences. When this magic was first implemented it was discovered that such changes were irreversible, and the subject no longer remembered any of their former life. Because of this, any loyalties a subject had before the spell should not be counted on post transformation.

    Another side effect is that the spell is unalterable and irreversible. Once a form is created, it can only be destroyed, nor recreated. Additionally, it is often hard to predict what a combination of creatures will become. Some subsumal spells are the alteration of a living thing (such as the Dwarves), while others are the combination of several (such as Merfolk). The first subsumal magic accidentally created the race of Faeries. Much of the original creature(s) capabilities remain after a transformation, even if to a lesser degree. Dwarves are able to use a form of Physical Magic, as they once were ancients. Centaurs instinctually knew how to walk in their new form when created, despite not ever having taken an actual step. This magic eventually was developed to end wars quickly. If a war could be ended by incapacitating the leader or an entire section of an army, it was felt to be an acceptable technique. This decision became a leading factor in the downfall of the Ancient race when civil war nearly annihilated them, and nearly ripped the world asunder. It was the decision of the remaining Ancients and other prominent races to erase all knowledge of this magic.

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    Magic in my world is based on a belief system. It’s difficult to fully explain that since I don’t have all the mechanics down yet, but here is how I was inspired: a dream.

    In my dream, I was soaring over a red clay desert. I am immediately exhilarated by the fact that I am flying. I notice next to me someone else is flying along side of me. I realize it is a green skinned orc, canines protruding and calm. We seem to be familiar with each other because he’s keeping pace with me and responds when I speak to him in a friendly manner. “How are we flying?” I ask. He then points down to a village built into the cliffs down below. I notice people gathered below, the look like small white blurs against the desert background. They’re staring up at us, some pointing. He then says, “Those people down there? They believe we are flying. So we are.”

    I call it the Fairy Theory. In Peter Pan, the fairy Tinkerbelle and the whole fairy race was directly influenced by the factor of belief, even to the point that if someone said they didn’t believe in fairies, a fairy would die. The opposite being that Tinkerbelle’s life was saved by the audience believing in her. I’ve always loved that idea, and I’m glad (even if subconsciously) I thought to implement it.

    I know the belief system of magic has been done, but it isn’t anything I can even salvage any additional inspiration on - this capacity I’m referencing the Diskworld series, by Terry Pratchett. In his books, magic is somewhat of the light hearted variety, like Piers Anthony’s Xanth Series, where as I want a more serious variety of magic. Anyway, on to the magic!

    Magic is split into 3 different categories, each having varying connections to the belief spectrum: Visual, Mental, and Physical.

    Visual was the kind that I and the orc were using in the dream. We projected our images into the air, and when enough people believed we were up there and flying, we were. Visual is illusion that becomes real with belief. It is solely dependent on others to believe in since the caster knows it’s an illusion.

    Mental magic affects how you want someone to perceive something. This can be akin to brainwashing someone, providing false information (such as phantom senses), reading the thoughts of another, and so on. Both Visual and Mental affect the perception of a person, influencing their belief in something. Visual influences externally, while Mental influences internally.

    Last there is Physical magic. This magic causes a lot of problems at the moment, and its mechanics need to be worked out more. This power separates into two functions – additional magic and subtractional magic: the creation and destruction of physical things. However, the object cannot be created out of nothing. One can make a tree grow, or rocks shrink. In other words, there must be a root object one is adding to or taking from. Not making objects appear from thin air (though this could be done through sleight of hand and a pebble growing into a boulder). The main thing physical magic needs is a conservation of mass – where does the mass go/come from? Can the subtracted items mass be used to create a larger mass of rock? Can this be done to living things? Why? Why not?

    A few other rules to add –
    A user can only use one category of magic. When a child shows signs toward a certain affinity, they begin being schooled down that path.

    Magic is neither good nor bad. It is a tool, much like an axe which can be used to chop wood or kill.

    A main rule is that people inherently WANT to believe in magic. Though magic users are now rare in my world, they still believe in it (otherwise, would it even exist at all?!).

    My main problem is the balance of things. I don’t want all spell casters to be overpowered, or have the same amount of power. I was thinking maybe [knowledge] + [belief] = power. What I mean by this is that the more overall knowledge one has, the more convincing their illusions will be, the more successful it will be to trick an individual’s mind, the easier it will be to know how to create and destroy in an aiding capacity. But how does belief work? How much does one need to believe? I assume there will be an initial barrier of being able to use magic at all: one must believe they can wield it in order to be able to.

    After that, how much belief does it take to get a certain effect? What are the limitations of how powerful something can be? I don’t want things to get as out of hand as a city believing a ruler to be a God, and so he ascends or something so ridiculous. How long does belief have to last? The whole time? Initially? The dream would suggest initially, but then how long can you maintain what’s been created?

    Does this power tax you, and how? Things like this are things that I don’t know, and need help or suggestions with.

    The last bit of information is these 3 magics can be combined when 3 or more users cast together, which causes a fourth kind of magic – Curses/Blessings. This targets a creature, or area, and changes it. And by changes it, I mean alters it permanently (and often dramatically) into something else. During wars, people were used as weapons by being changed into ferocious beasts, or sections of a cavalry were incapacitated when they suddenly were turned into half man and half horse. This magic cannot be undone, and the subject forgets what they once were, believing they were always this new form (despite occasionally not knowing how to function at first).

    I can answer any questions anyone might have, and I’m open to suggestions of how to go forward, or ideas you might have!
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-10-25 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Reworking intro

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    Default Re: Custom Magic Theory - assistance need

    So the basic idea is that the only "Real" magic that casters can use on their own are illusions, and that their main power comes from people believing in these illusions to the point that they become reality? A very interesting idea. So you are working on this system for a book, and not a game, right? That'll change how I draft my response a bit.


    Now, some random ideas:
    1. As you mentioned, the initial barrier is the caster believing in their own power, which can be a very difficult thing to overcome. This'll be important for some of my following ideas.

    2. People do not have an idea of what "Limitless power" is. Casters find it impossible to imagine themselves as beings possessing no limitations. They are inherently limited by their own beliefs about what they think they can achieve. As they grow in experience and "Power", they become able to believe that they have an increasing amount of power and capability. This is a trait of their belief in themselves, not some other factor. Just like self-esteem, though, you can't just choose to increase it. It takes time and effort.

    3. When characters are "In the moment", totally engrossed in a dramatic task (Such as saving a loved one or taking revenge) they can forget about their limitations. This means that they can temporarily use much more magic than they would otherwise be able to, but leaves them exhausted when they realize what they did.

    4. For the Physical Spells, I'd use something along the lines of the "Z-Space" from Animorphs - an alternate plane where matter can be drawn from or stored in, but only temporarily. Alternately, you could use an explanation like the molecules of the object either expanding or contracting - they're mostly empty space anyways. This second explanation could have very peculiar side effects, namely surrounding the fact that the overall mass of the object didn't change. So you could shrink the boulder into a pebble, but it'd still weigh the same.

    5. The Law of Reason. At some point, people simply stop being able to believe in what's going on. There is a limit on how far they can suspend their disbelief. This is the "Hard Cap" on casters' powers. They may be able to believe in shrinking a rock. Flying. Fireballs. Maybe even summoning a monster. Splitting the world in half? That's probably too far. Just as with 2, their belief can wear thin upon repeated uses of magic.

    6. I'd use the balance formula (Belief from Self)+(Belief from Others)=Power. As described in idea 2, your self-belief is very difficult to build up. It is necessary for spellcasting, but in most cases not sufficient. The more people and the stronger their belief, the more powerful the magic. This will result in casters being charismatic individuals capable of convincing large numbers of their power before even starting to cast their spells. Casters will love an audience. In many cases, they may require one. There is a logarithmic curve when it comes to the number of people and the sincerity of their belief - It takes more and more people believing in the magic to make it one step more powerful than the last. This makes a "Soft Cap" on how powerful spells can become, and limits the potential of Casters having entire nations believe in them to be crazy powerful. They'll still be extremely strong, but not linearly so.

    7. The true skill at work here is the wise use of your magic. There is a finite amount of belief that you can muster, how can you use it to its greatest effect? Casters will be encouraged to be much more exact in their use of magic. It will truly be an "Art". There will be a balance between small spells used with finesse in order to minimize the waning belief of the watchers, and very ostentatious spells used to try to convince the watchers of the caster's power. Too much ostentatious magic, and the watchers will start losing their ability to believe that such a powerful person exists. Too many finesse-spells, and the watchers will start believing that the caster isn't really all that powerful.

    8. There will be a very interesting conflict involving the need for believers and the potential want to keep a low-profile. I don't think that you specified it, but if casters want to stay secret, they won't be able to leverage many methods that would otherwise allow them to become extremely powerful. Covert casters would have to result to subtler means, and carefully control who believes what about them. Perhaps rumor-spreading could be used to foster a greater acceptance to supernatural happenings without specifically identifying the caster as someone capable of using magic. When a passerby does witness magic, they would be more willing to believe in it.

    Hopefully these help give you some ideas!
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Theory - assistance need

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    Hopefully these help give you some ideas!

    So based on your feedback, and a few ideas of my own, I have this:

    Power = Interior Belief (knowledge and experience create esteem) + Exterior Belief (quantity of viewer and/or quality of belief from viewer).

    There is a balance of each. The more Interior Belief you have, the more ability and diversity you can have casting. So, the less you know about casting, the less confidence you have in casting and the less you know how to do. Training is also a factor for this. Teachers could teach specific ways to make the students more susceptible to believing. Get the caster while they are young, and they'll be more effective as a caster. The main character in my book is not like this. In fact, he has much against him. He was raised believing he couldn't do magic (mainly to protect him). So he's going to have a very difficult time casting. The exception to this is some magic he's done without realizing he'd done it. As in, in times of "in the moment" as you say. I never had an explanation for how he could do this, but you hi the nail on the head. I guess it was just in the back of my mind, and I couldn't put words to it.

    Exterior belief still needs some sort of basic permutation, such as what consists of a small spell, and which spells require how much belief to work. Basically a table or estimate to what needs what. Looking into #8, I really like the implications, however I think to modify that its more like when someone is unobserved, the spell can only be on a small scale, and would require conditions to function. So in other words, if one wanted to disappear or meld into shadows, it would be much easier to do so if one were wearing proper clothing - such as dark clothes at night. Then, when someone does look upon where they are, will make the illusion substantiate more readily than if they were burning a torch and drawing attention. This also implies something that I like - casters cannot rely on magic to accomplish their goals, only aid them. I'll get into limiting information and spreading misinformation later.

    I think I have balance down based on 5 Barriers that casters must overcome when casting:
    Barrier 1: Caster must believe they can task.
    Barrier 2: Self Esteem-
    Casters are only as powerful as how much they believe they can achieve. As they grow in knowledge and experience, they grow more confident in their abilities.
    Barrier 3: Reason-
    People can only believe in the unbelievable until Alderic's Cusp, or rather, the point at which the suspension of disbelief collapses. People inherently want to believe in the fantastic, and that is why magic CAN exist, but still, there are some rules that people believe to be true, and it is very hard to break truths without a heavy amount of convincing. The more familiar a person is with an illusion, the less believable it would be. So, the mechanics of magic is a highly kept secret. Otherwise it would never be more than illusion. "A magician never reveals his secrets."
    Barrier 4: Quantity and Quality vs Audience
    A small audience that believes in your casting is much better than a large one that is partially convinced. The more people that witness the act, the more convincing the illusion needs to be. The more convinced they are, the easier to cast.
    Barrier 5: Concentration-
    Magic automatically sides with the caster's intentions so long as they concentrate on the spell before it "stabilizes". Magic doesn't happen on its own. The caster is essentially the "igniter" of an effect. Without a caster's spark, belief is just a pile of kindling. If events cause the caster to lose concentration or become distracted, the spell becomes rampant. From this, the spell has two options. The first is that it collapses and has no ill effect other than the dissipation of the spell. The other option is that the spells intention could spread to that of the witness. To explain, say a caster wanted to fly, so they projected the image of them flying over a few people in order to do so. However, they become distracted by something, lowering the quality of the illusion. A witness to the illusion looks up and thinks the image is falling, and even calls attention to it. The caster then gets transported into the air like they intended, but then plummet to the ground. If the caster did not keep their illusion low to the ground, this blundered spell could be their last.

    I am pleased that you recognized the casting system as an art form. That is ultimately what I was going for. And with that, the care and precision at which it must be used in order for it to not work makes it extremely limited, but at the same time extremely powerful when used correctly.

    I also thought of children and how much they believe in things that "grown ups" do not. I think that may be something to implement. Other candidates that could be "preyed" upon due to there susceptibility may prove invaluable to a caster.

    Things still to work on:

    Energy cost for casting. Is there any? If so, does it also feed off of the witnesses since it uses their belief as well?

    Why can only a certain race use magic yet everyone can influence it? Not sure I need a reason, just that that is the way it is, but I don't like loose ends.

    I've decided that ultimately this magic comes down to the perception of reality and the acceptance of an impressed one. I also signify that the caster's reality is dominant to the witness (unless circumstances differ dominance). However, witnesses also directly influence that persons ability to influence their reality (wow).

    Casting in numbers greater than one is significantly more powerful. Casters can support each other's spells to have a greater effect, especially if they're from different schools of magic.

    Is there a sacrifice for having this ability? Will the less stable be able to cast? What if someone is delusional and believes with all their heart that they have a high level of power. If people believed him, that could be a VERY dangerous situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Exterior belief still needs some sort of basic permutation, such as what consists of a small spell, and which spells require how much belief to work. Basically a table or estimate to what needs what. Looking into #8, I really like the implications, however I think to modify that its more like when someone is unobserved, the spell can only be on a small scale, and would require conditions to function. So in other words, if one wanted to disappear or meld into shadows, it would be much easier to do so if one were wearing proper clothing - such as dark clothes at night. Then, when someone does look upon where they are, will make the illusion substantiate more readily than if they were burning a torch and drawing attention. This also implies something that I like - casters cannot rely on magic to accomplish their goals, only aid them. I'll get into limiting information and spreading misinformation later.
    Interior Belief can suffice for the most minor of magic, but anything substantial (Affecting more than a small inanimate object like a lock).

    Example table, using "Belief Units" - BU. You could have 5 people with 10 BU each be equal to 50 people with 1 BU each. You can say that people that "Truly" believe have a very steep increase in BU. So it's more likely that you'll have "Partial Believers" and "True Believers" than people in the middle. This will replicate the effect you described with the "Quality versus Quantity":

    {table=head] BU | Spell Power
    1 | 7
    2 | 11
    3 | 14
    4 | 16
    5 | 18
    6 | 20
    7 | 21
    8 | 22
    9 | 23
    10 | 24
    11 | 25
    12 | 26
    13 | 26
    14 | 27
    15 | 28
    20 | 28
    25 | 33
    30 | 34
    35 | 36
    40 | 37
    50 | 39
    60 | 41
    70 | 43
    80 | 44
    90 | 45
    100 | 46
    125 | 48
    150 | 50
    175 | 52
    200 | 53
    225 | 54
    250 | 55
    275 | 56
    300 | 57
    350 | 59
    400 | 60
    450 | 61
    500 | 62
    600 | 64
    700 | 66
    800 | 67
    900 | 68
    1000 | 69
    1250 | 71
    1500 | 73
    1750 | 75
    2000 | 76
    2250 | 77
    2500 | 78
    2750 | 79
    3000 | 80
    3500 | 82
    4000 | 83
    4500 | 84
    5000 | 85
    6000 | 87
    7000 | 89
    8000 | 90
    9000 | 91
    10000 | 92[/table]

    This is an imperfect table based off of the equation Y=10*Log(X+1). It oughta give you a rough feel of the type of thing I'm thinking of. The challenge then is to define the BU values of regular people, how Interior Belief affects this, and finally the Power requirements of certain spells. I'd have most "Minor" spells require only 1-30 Power, followed by Intermediate spells needing 31-50 or so, and finally Major spells needing 51+. Of course lower level spells can make use of greater Power to create more potent effects.

    I'd also like to note that I very much like the idea of using mundane items to supplement spells, as they increase the believability. If you have magic items, a Cloak of Invisibility is much more believable than a Crossing-Guard's Vest of Invisibility. It could also lead to the use of Wands and Staves for similar reasons. It's up to you if you want that type of thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Energy cost for casting. Is there any? If so, does it also feed off of the witnesses since it uses their belief as well?
    Believers should never be taxed simply for believing in a spell, though it is worth noting that your Third Barrier applies here. They aren't taxed, but there's a limit on the amount of Belief they can put out.

    The Caster them self is a slightly different story. I think it would be very reasonable to say that there is physical-exhaustion involved as a result of the "Spark" that they create to start the magic. It isn't something that's easy to do. Heck, you could explain it as something like the Universe's attempts to assert its dominance, limiting the extent to which magic can redefine reality. This is very much dependent on the the origin of magic in your setting and whether such a repercussion fits the flavor.

    Alternatively, you could say that the Illusion-Creating is forcibly manifesting your Beliefs without any support, something that is inherently strenuous. It is only after the Illusion is formed and others (and yourself) begin to truly believe in it that it gains its form and stops drawing energy from the Caster to sustain itself. This could lead to interesting situations where a Caster tries to push too far, conjuring a spell that no one believes in, resulting in quick exhaustion. Know your audience. I personally like this method.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Why can only a certain race use magic yet everyone can influence it? Not sure I need a reason, just that that is the way it is, but I don't like loose ends.
    Well you've already discussed how Casters create a "Spark" to start a magic, through the Illusion. I'd say that the Spark is something unique to the Casting race, whereas Belief is ubiquitous.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    I've decided that ultimately this magic comes down to the perception of reality and the acceptance of an impressed one. I also signify that the caster's reality is dominant to the witness (unless circumstances differ dominance). However, witnesses also directly influence that persons ability to influence their reality (wow).
    This makes sense.

    I also think that Caster-Battles are worth spending a bit of time thinking about. If one Caster tries to attack another, how would that work out? Would Casters learn defense techniques based on trying to disbelieve incoming spells? In this circumstance the "Getting lost in the moment" concept can be very dangerous. If you don't keep a level head, that fireball's going to fry you.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Casting in numbers greater than one is significantly more powerful. Casters can support each other's spells to have a greater effect, especially if they're from different schools of magic.
    Cooperation=Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Is there a sacrifice for having this ability?
    Hmm.. Such a sacrifice does not seem readily apparent. Perhaps being free of earthly bonds is a requirement? Casters must be primarily self-reliant to build up their self-confidence. A romantic partner is entirely out of the question. The dependence necessarily involved in a romantic relationship could entirely undermine the sense-of-self required for Casting.

    As is, I think that this isn't currently a problem. In fact, a romantic partner can help one better understand who they are and thus become more confident in their abilities. But hey, if you want a limitation, I don't think that the above explanation is a bad one. You just need to say that that's the way it works.

    Or perhaps the problem with romantic relationships stems from how much they know about you. As per Barrier 3, their intimate knowledge of the Caster would preclude the use of any of said Caster's magic on them, rendering said magic useless. This could in turn ruin the Caster's impression of their own power, resulting in them losing their powers. I can entirely imagine a dramatic arc in which a Caster falls in love, is happily married for several years, then fails to use magic to heal their spouse when they become terminally ill. Grief-stricken, the Caster loses all faith in their magic, which disappears due to this.

    When it comes to sacrifice and magic, the inability to have a stable romantic relationship I think is a very good option, and one very easily exploited in stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Will the less stable be able to cast? What if someone is delusional and believes with all their heart that they have a high level of power. If people believed him, that could be a VERY dangerous situation.
    This is a terrifying concept. "Mad Wizards". I'd say that the delusional CAN use magic. But keep in mind that delusions are rarely so simple as "I can kill anyone I want". Rather, they often include peculiar terms, conditions and limitations of their own. Perhaps one particular Mad Wizard loses all their powers when faced with the Dreaded Cheese.

    One way or another, I love the idea of Casters banding together to take down Mad Wizards. It would be a pretty easy starting point for a story, with a group of Casters joining forces to take down a local Mad. So much less cliche than "We met in a bar". That's really dependent on the story you're going for, but I'd like to note that it's an option.



    I find it interesting that your seeking advice for a novel here of all places. I relish the opportunity to think up creative ideas to problems like these, but I'm a bit curious as to why you decided to use the Homebrew Forums. Would you mind enlightening me?
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Theory - assistance need

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    I find it interesting that your seeking advice for a novel here of all places. I relish the opportunity to think up creative ideas to problems like these, but I'm a bit curious as to why you decided to use the Homebrew Forums. Would you mind enlightening me?
    To be honest, I have no one to talk to about such things in my area. Some people listen, and say "that's cool" and then offer no form of suggestion, criticism, or other forms of constructive feedback. I joined the forums recently, and saw a lot of people helping each other with D & D items and story arc ideas for campaigns. I figured why not some small mechanics in my book (not that magic is "small"). I've been in need of someone to bounce ideas off of for a while, and while being hesitant at first to post some of my original ideas on a forum, I decided to give it a shot. And here we are. I chose homebrew because it didn't really fit anywhere else. World creation maybe, but I saw a few others posting here. I've been playing D & D since I started getting into creative writing, and it has inspired me before. Why not try it!

    Anyway, I was not disappointed! Why do you ask? Because people might use my ideas? It’s out of place?

    Getting into the response now (with some semblance of order):

    The Quantity vs. Quality table I will most likely be tweaking for a very long time, but it gives me a base to go off of, so thank you. I don't know if there is going to be a cohesive mainstreamed way to work out necessary "BU", as spells might need to be dependent on a case by case situation. One person could cast a spell one time, and then later the same spell with a variety of different situations, and therefore need more belief in order to cast.

    Glad you like my "material components" idea. It doesn't make sense to me for one to try to create an illusion of a cactus in a river. It does in a desert. If one wants to appear to look like someone else, dressing like them would greatly decrease the amount of Belief needed to cast the disguise. Just like creating a desert around your cactus would take more energy than making one IN the desert. In fact, that really fits well into the 3rd Barrier of reason.

    A thought I had branching off is that I never took into account someone who is intelligent and harder to convince vs. someone who knows little of something and would be easier to convince. In other words, say I know a lot about cacti. If that cactus didn't have everything exactly as it should, I might be inclined to disbelieve it more than someone passing by and just say, "Oh look, a cactus."

    This might even factor into Belief quite a bit. People often take what they see for granted. If they aren't paying direct attention to something, they might believe in something inherently. Or they might not notice it at all. So an all or nothing thing. This might aid covert casters. People often if they don't notice a difference will believe it is normal. So that suit of armor that has always been there won't need to be called attention to in order to provide an illusion that substantiates. In fact, it would be in the caster's best interest for someone observing the area not to notice, and thus believe there is nothing there. Hmmmm, this kind of reminds me of Mystery Men where a character was invisible until someone looked at him. Not quite to that extent in my way of thinking, hahaha.

    Alternatively, you could say that the Illusion-Creating is forcibly manifesting your Beliefs without any support, something that is inherently strenuous. It is only after the Illusion is formed and others (and yourself) begin to truly believe in it that it gains its form and stops drawing energy from the Caster to sustain itself. This could lead to interesting situations where a Caster tries to push too far, conjuring a spell that no one believes in, resulting in quick exhaustion. Know your audience. I personally like this method.
    I also like this method a lot more, and am already getting some good ideas for story from it. I was thinking similarly, but you stated it much more clearly than my thoughts allowed! I think recovery would be similar to other strenuous activity. Sleep and eating and various forms of upkeep will help one recover.

    I think I still need to decide on the who relationship verses non-relationship setting for casting. I immediately thought of places and characters in the story I could see this being implemented easily, but there are some things it would affect in other areas. I like it, though.


    Dueling was definitely something I meant to mention and never ended up getting around to. I think it would most likely have to be an "in the moment" situation for both casters, or they'd be able to nullify each other's magic by disbelieving a spell. Or! Maybe casters can't duel magically based on the disbelief something is real, and must then battle it out "the old fashioned way". Maybe battles between casters are something that is in the mind of each caster, and doesn't come to light to the visible eye. Maybe that is the way two casters cast who know each other completely. They connect their minds together to cast, thus eliminating any in between. One thought.

    I still do like the tragic idea of relationships hindering magic though, so how does this sound - since their minds need to be connected to cast, it takes a deep level of connection for one to be able to get around the Third Barrier, and perform "cohesive casting". Furthermore, if one is distracted, or worse, unconscious, the link cannot be made or falls apart. In terms of the character that loses his wife due to a terminal illness, if she is unconscious or too weak or distracted by pain, he cannot heal her, thus he loses his faith when he loses her.

    Thanks again for all this. Organizing my thoughts and getting a new pair of eyes on this has really helped me out creatively!
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-06-01 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Spelling Fails

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    Default Re: Custom Magic Theory - assistance need

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    To be honest, I have no one to talk to about such things in my area. Some people listen, and say "that's cool" and then offer no form of suggestion, criticism, or other forms of constructive feedback. I joined the forums recently, and saw a lot of people helping each other with D & D items and story arc ideas for campaigns. I figured why not some small mechanics in my book (not that magic is "small"). I've been in need of someone to bounce ideas off of for a while, and while being hesitant at first to post some of my original ideas on a forum, I decided to give it a shot. And here we are. I chose homebrew because it didn't really fit anywhere else. World creation maybe, but I saw a few others posting here. I've been playing D & D since I started getting into creative writing, and it has inspired me before. Why not try it!

    Anyway, I was not disappointed! Why do you ask? Because people might use my ideas? It’s out of place?
    I was mostly curious because it isn't the type of thing that you see that often. I'm one of the few people that will start the occasional "Discussion Thread" here. It simply isn't something that most people do. I am of course more than willing to contribute my ideas to such an effort. I would be a little concerned about the potential for thought-theft, but not greatly so. As you probably know, the people around here are pretty awesome. As long as you aren't posting actual text, you oughta be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    The Quantity vs. Quality table I will most likely be tweaking for a very long time, but it gives me a base to go off of, so thank you. I don't know if there is going to be a cohesive mainstreamed way to work out necessary "BU", as spells might need to be dependent on a case by case situation. One person could cast a spell one time, and then later the same spell with a variety of different situations, and therefore need more belief in order to cast.
    As I said, it was imperfect and simplistic. As you say, it is meant to be a starting point. Specific circumstances would of course alter the way that the system works. It also currently doesn't take into account the exact way in which certain material componenets would effect it. When I use numbers in this fashion, I'm not suggesting that you actually ascribe numbers to all the spells you create, but rather it is a way for you to have a rough idea of what is required to do what. Guidelines, of a sort.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Glad you like my "material components" idea. It doesn't make sense to me for one to try to create an illusion of a cactus in a river. It does in a desert. If one wants to appear to look like someone else, dressing like them would greatly decrease the amount of Belief needed to cast the disguise. Just like creating a desert around your cactus would take more energy than making one IN the desert. In fact, that really fits well into the 3rd Barrier of reason.
    Total agreement. It makes sense with everything you've determined up till now and will greatly increase the flavor of Casting in your world. I think its worth noting that the implications would be twofold: Material components intended to bolster Interior Belief and ones intended to bolster Exterior Belief. The latter would include things like you've described - Using mundane means to get closer to the desired result, then using magic only for the last step. Interior Belief Components would be more like the staff/wand suggestion that I mentioned earlier. Things to convince the Caster themselves that they are a spellcaster. Things to reinforce their belief in their power. Wearing robes, wielding arcane impelements, creating complex magic circles and such could all be used to convince themselves of the power of the spells that they are casting.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    A thought I had branching off is that I never took into account someone who is intelligent and harder to convince vs. someone who knows little of something and would be easier to convince. In other words, say I know a lot about cacti. If that cactus didn't have everything exactly as it should, I might be inclined to disbelieve it more than someone passing by and just say, "Oh look, a cactus."
    I believe that this is the usual explanation for how disbelieving an illusion in D&D works. You're able to pick out inconsistencies and thus overcome your inherent belief. Higher level casters craft more accurate illusions, thus making disbelief more difficult. In this manner, there is an amount of skill and knowledge also required to be a Caster. Your ability to make a convincing illusion is paramount to getting watchers to believe in your spell. One could further define the Belief of a watcher as Belief=(Personal Belief)*(How convincing the spell is) or a similar function.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    This might even factor into Belief quite a bit. People often take what they see for granted. If they aren't paying direct attention to something, they might believe in something inherently. Or they might not notice it at all. So an all or nothing thing. This might aid covert casters. People often if they don't notice a difference will believe it is normal. So that suit of armor that has always been there won't need to be called attention to in order to provide an illusion that substantiates. In fact, it would be in the caster's best interest for someone observing the area not to notice, and thus believe there is nothing there. Hmmmm, this kind of reminds me of Mystery Men where a character was invisible until someone looked at him. Not quite to that extent in my way of thinking, hahaha.
    This reminds me a bit of the Witches from Diskworld, with their "First Sight, Second Thoughts" mantra. People tend to see things, then interpret what they see as whatever makes the most sense to them. Wanting to believe in magic, they see magic. Someone that embraces the "First Sight" technique would be more capable of seeing the inaccuracies in a given illusion and thus be more able to disbelieve it. Good thing that your average person isn't terribly observant. And having the default be towards people wanting to believe in magic certainly helps. This COULD be a method that Casters learn as part of their training.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    I also like this method a lot more, and am already getting some good ideas for story from it. I was thinking similarly, but you stated it much more clearly than my thoughts allowed! I think recovery would be similar to other strenuous activity. Sleep and eating and various forms of upkeep will help one recover.
    I agree. A Caster pushing themselves to their very limit should easily be able to be hospitalized. Extreme caution is advised. This inherent danger in how magic works will certainly help you create the more serious mood for which you are aiming.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    I think I still need to decide on the who relationship verses non-relationship setting for casting. I immediately thought of places and characters in the story I could see this being implemented easily, but there are some things it would affect in other areas. I like it, though.
    I can see how it could both be very helpful to a plot, and also disruptive to prior plans you may have. I do think that it would be a good addition, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Dueling was definitely something I meant to mention and never ended up getting around to. I think it would most likely have to be an "in the moment" situation for both casters, or they'd be able to nullify each other's magic by disbelieving a spell. Or! Maybe casters can't duel magically based on the disbelief something is real, and must then battle it out "the old fashioned way". Maybe battles between casters are something that is in the mind of each caster, and doesn't come to light to the visible eye. Maybe that is the way two casters cast who know each other completely. They connect their minds together to cast, thus eliminating any in between. One thought.
    The number of possibilities on this topic are varied enough that I can't come up with a single solution. It seems like you have more than enough ideas of your own on the matter anyways! When you've settled a bit more on one description of how Caster-Duels works, I'd be happy to provide suggestions on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    I still do like the tragic idea of relationships hindering magic though, so how does this sound - since their minds need to be connected to cast, it takes a deep level of connection for one to be able to get around the Third Barrier, and perform "cohesive casting". Furthermore, if one is distracted, or worse, unconscious, the link cannot be made or falls apart. In terms of the character that loses his wife due to a terminal illness, if she is unconscious or too weak or distracted by pain, he cannot heal her, thus he loses his faith when he loses her.
    Hmm.. I think that this would work. I'll need to do a bit more thinking about the full implications, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWombatOfDoom View Post
    Thanks again for all this. Organizing my thoughts and getting a new pair of eyes on this has really helped me out creatively!
    Happy to help! I find all of this extremely interesting.
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    So darn tired. I'm going to be busy a lot of this weekend...but I will try to knock out a decent post sometime tomorrow or the next day.

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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - PEACH/assistance please

    Alrighty. Now for some knowledge that might help in deciding some factors now or later: The people that can use magic.

    The group of people that can cast magic are known now as the "ancients". Thats how I've always called them, but technically they're the "true men" of my world. The ancients have a much longer lifespan than humans, and most importantly for our conversations, are able to communicate through thought to each other. What I mean by this isn't telepathy, per se. It's more like...say I have an experience. I can then send the feelings I felt, the things I saw, the smells I had...they communicated in memory. To get information to each other, they'd send impressions for conversation. They can sense another Ancient's presence, though it is not an exact science, such as exact location or exactly who unless you are attuned to that person. At a very young age, each ancient was also mentally linked to a bird of prey (male) or cat of prey (female).

    Despite all this, I'm not exactly sure how magic fits in with these characteristics. Things like my mental link with a mate for casting make a whole lot more sense in this setting. As for how a people all being able to cast and affect each other...well...

    One idea I had is magic that we've previously talked about is how things are in the present time period of my book. However, when the ancients reigned...since it was widely understood within their culture and throughout the world that they could do magic, maybe it wasn't a problem of belief or not belief, because everyone believed. In other words, they knew about a few of the barriers, but they never understood the root of where magic came from. This is an interesting notion, and I'd like to hear your thoughts.

    EDIT: (had some more thoughts)

    I'm also detecting a certain level of focus on visual magic while mental and physical magic have a certain lacking in substance. I'm currently trying to figure out exactly what from visual we can carry over to encompass the other two, and what will we need to branch off and make seperate rules for that variant. I definately need the other two elements in my story, I just need to figue out how they work into an illusion system, since illusion can do much of what physical can do (only differently), and mental is similar to illusion only in some ways more powerful. However, I don't want different levels of the same power, where physical is the lowest, visual the middle, and mental the highest. They are 3 magics that are seperate but compliment each other.

    Additionally, I wonder this: If someone doesn't believe in magic what-so-ever, whether through their upbringing or what other conditions, are they immune to magic? I'd be inclined to say visual magic most definately, but the other two?
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - PEACH/assistance please

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    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - PEACH/assistance please

    Alright. A mega post (Gods, I'm thorough!) on a culmination of what has been gathered so far. At the bottom I will list additional components I thought of while I wrote this. I also ask your opinion as a whole to wording, suggestions, ideas, contradictions, and overall scope of what I have typed up here (especially some new things I've brought to the table).

    Let us begin...

    Ancient Characteristics:

    The Ancient race is one of the three founding races in Aldain. They are often referred to by the Elves as "True Men", as they are the ancestors (at least partially) of the "Hewn men", the race that was born through the coupling of Ancients and Elves. The Ancients used to be one of the leading populous until civil wars and crossbreeding with other races nearly wiped out the race completely. There are currently only a known handful of them left (between one and two hundred). Ancients do not have a written or spoken language. They communicate by memories. This means when communicating a recount of what happened an Ancient need only transfer the memory to do so. Other more complex things can be communicated through senses, feelings, memories of object and even emotions. The Ancients with this ability can sense other Ancient’s minds in a close proximity, and custom dictates permission must be asked before one talks to (or rather enters the mind of) another Ancient. A connection can be cut off at either end in a communication at any time. Connections can be maintained once started over a long distance, but the farther from someone is the more energy it takes to send information. It takes minimal amounts of energy to communicate to someone you are in contact with or in the close vicinity of. Additionally, sleep or unconsciousness ends the link. The only exception to this rule is in the connections that the Ancients have with their animal companions. These connections are a sacred bond that each Ancient shares, and they can communicate through any distance freely. Female Ancients have cats of prey like lions, panthers, cougars, jaguars, tigers, and more while male Ancients have birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and so on. These creatures are sentient companions to each. (more to come)
    Ancients have “the spark”, which gives them the ability to affect reality through magic. In other words, everyone has the power of belief, but only the Ancients can affect reality with that belief.

    Magic

    Magic is a power that functions through belief. Originally, all peoples believed in magic. When the Ancients existed as a complete race, it was common knowledge that magic existed, and so all believed in it. Now that the Ancients have all but died off, people inherently want to believe in the fantastic, but do not see magic as fact. Therefore, the amount of power of a spell correlates to the amount of belief-belief of the one casting, and the belief of others that witness or are directly involved in the spell. This causes a witness to directly influence a person’s ability to influence the witness’s reality, and therefore causes a precarious balance of perceptional dominance between the caster and the witness. A commonly overlooked fact is that magic does not happen of its own accord. The caster is essentially the "igniter" of an effect. Without a caster's spark, belief is just a pile of kindling. There are three forms of magic that make up the spectrum of which magic is used: Visual, Mental, and Physical magic. Visual magic draws from internal and external belief, mental magic only draws from external belief, and physical magic only draws from internal belief. A caster can only use one form of magic. As implied in the application of the word “use”, magic is a tool. Therefore, it is neither good nor evil, just as an axe can be used to chop down a tree or to kill another.
    (Illusionist, Mentalist, Alchemist?)

    Visual Magic is forcibly manifesting your beliefs into an observable phenomenon. This draws on a caster's energy to maintain. Once the illusion is formed, it draws on the belief of any who observer to become reality. Unobserved, a visual caster could only cast small spells based on their own belief. A spell stops drawing on the energy of the caster when it stabilizes into reality through the belief of an audience. If a caster tries to push too far into conjuring a spell that is not wholly believed, they could expend their energy quickly and become exhausted. The more believable a spell is, the less energy it takes to cast. It is easier for an illusion to be cast in a place that this item would characteristically be. An example: One could create the illusion of a cactus in the water, but it would be significantly more accepted by a witness if it were in a sandy area. Other conditions might factor into this as well, such as climate or surrounding area. Some casters use a material component such as a sketchbook or notebook to assist them in visualizing all the elements of the spell, or visual aids that would assist in convincing a viewer of the spell.

    Mental Magic is to forcibly affect the perception of another person. This can be as subtle as observing the perceptions of another person, or more powerful uses could include manipulating the thoughts of an individual, inserting false memories, and forcibly controlling a person. This can extend to encouraging certain emotions in a person or even cause someone to fall asleep or wake. This form of magic can be very effective for individual people, but not as effective for a group of people, unless a leadership role is manipulated to act upon a group, such as making a king decree orders. A material component of mental magic could be a caster disguising them self as a person of higher status. Some casters use a specific gesture or phrase to assist in focusing the spell, such as pointing at ones temples or saying the phrase “would you kindly”. Some casters prefer to use a personal trinket of some sort such as a pendent or spinning top, to both assist esteem in the caster and focus the subject of the spell into one thought.

    Physical Magic is to alter your perception of an object (and thus, the object) directly in your field of view. This could be the size of the object, or even the composition. However, this process expends a great amount of energy, and the denser the material, the more time and energy is needed to cast. Since changing the object means altering your perceptions of an object, a caster must trick them self into believing what it really is. Often mind tricks assist in this process, such as covering one eye to lose depth perception or to close both after studying an object and picture it as the desired size. Often for changing the composition of an object, a caster would have the material they wished to change an object to handy to assist in the casting process. Then both objects can be studied for the spell. Additionally, due to the 3rd Barrier, it is rare that an object is changed into something that is not of a similar composition or has a relation. An example of an item that is not of similar composition, but has a relation is water to ice. Due to the limitations of this magic, only still or contained liquids can be affected by a spell, as the subject must remain in the field of view. Healing would also fall into this form of magic.
    (Writer’s note: With physical magic, the objects are sent to/pulled from The Ulterior Realm)

    Spells have 3 basic stages:

    1. Drawing Stage: Caster decides the who, what, where, when, why of the spell. This is the period a spell is planned and crafted. The quality of belief (interior) is determined at this time.

    2. Casting Stage: This is the period where the spell is actually cast. During this period, the subject of the spell begins taking on the desired effect, whether this be an illusion, person, or object. The quality of belief (exterior), when applicable, is determined at this time. The spell begins drawing on the energy of the caster at this time.

    3. Stabilizing Stage: The spell is completed or dispelled. Concentration and the quality of the spell determine whether a spell stabilizes or not. Once the spell stabilizes, it no longer draws on the caster's energy.

    A caster must overcome several basic Barriers in order to successfully cast a spell:

    Barrier 1: Conception-
    Caster must believe they can cast.
    Barrier 2: Self Esteem-
    Casters are only as powerful as how much they believe can be achieved by themselves. As they grow in knowledge and experience, they grow more confident in their abilities. Some casters will have an advantage to this based on their own creativity.
    Barrier 3: Reason-
    People can only believe in the unbelievable until Alderic's Cusp, or the point at which the suspension of disbelief collapses. People inherently want to believe in the fantastic, and that is why magic CAN exist, but still, there are some rules that people believe to be true, such as gravity. It is very hard to break these truths without heavily convincing the audience of the act. In this way, it is very difficult to get the subject of mental magic to kill his mother (unless he already harbored disliking). Often the knowledge of a person influences how much they believe a certain spell as well, especially in specialized areas such as a job class. Further, the more familiar a subject or witness is with a spell may find the occurrence more or less believable as a reality. The mechanics of magic are kept from common knowledge, otherwise magic would never be more than an illusion. "A magician never reveals his secrets."
    Barrier 4: Reception-
    A small audience that believes in your casting is much better than a large one that is partially convinced. The more people that witness the act, the more convincing the illusion needs to be. As a result, the more convinced an audience is, the easier to cast. It should be noted that an observer often takes what they see for granted, and so objects that they are peripherally observed are often automatically accepted to be real.
    Barrier 5: Concentration-
    Magic automatically sides with the caster's intentions so long as they concentrate on the spell before it "stabilizes". If events cause the caster to lose concentration or become distracted, the spell becomes rampant. From this, the spell has two options. The first is that it collapses and has no ill effect other than the dissipation of the spell. The other option is that the spells intention could spread to that of a witness. To explain, say a caster wanted to fly, so they projected the image of them flying over a few people in order to do so. However, they become distracted by something, lowering the quality of the illusion. A witness to the illusion looks up and thinks the image is falling, and even calls attention to it. The caster then gets transported into the air like they intended, but then plummet to the ground. If the caster did not keep their illusion low to the ground, this blundered spell could be their last. For mental magic, rampant spells could damage or even backfire on the caster as the subjects mind rejects the spell. In physical magic, rampant spells often make the object no longer able to be altered (this is sometimes used as an advantage).

    Despite these barriers, there are circumstances where these rules might be ignored. Casters who are in a state of heightened urgency or emotion, such as in sudden defense of a loved one or when in a rage, become totally engrossed in the task at hand and subsequently forget their limitations. This task often uses much more effort and magic than the task requires and so when the event concludes it leaves the caster vulnerable and exhausted. If a caster is sure of death as the only outcome to the situation, a caster might willingly use a lethal amount of magic for a desired effect and then perish upon completion of the task. A delusional or mad caster is another example of a caster without barriers (save perhaps the 5th Barrier). A caster who lacks sanity lacks reason, and nonexclusively projects their personal reality. This is a terrifying concept in theory, but it should be remembered that the insane still have an interpretation of reality, just not one that is cohesive to the actual one. So, while they may seem to have no limits in their power, they often are more limited than the normal caster in ways that do not make sense. An example of this might be that an insane caster can only cast on Tuesdays, or refuses to affect anything that is the color blue. These casters should always be met with caution, as they are vastly unpredictable.

    Power = Interior Belief (knowledge and experience create esteem) + Exterior Belief (quantity of viewer and/or quality of belief from viewer) x Quantity of Casters
    Quality of Belief (Exterior) = (Inherent belief of magic) x (Quality of Illusion or Suggestion) + Material Components
    Quality of Belief (Interior) = (Ability) x (Experience) + Material Components
    Ability = Creativity (Imagination and knowledge of casting) + Study (knowledge of object used in illusion)

    Magic is unlimited to draw from. However as earlier stated, it is limited by what the caster believes they are capable of and what their ability allows them to accomplish. Therefore, Magic is partially inherent (in terms of how creative and imaginative one can be) and partially through scientific study (in terms of studying a wide variety of objects that may be used for a spell). The greater one understands an object, the more accurate the object will become in illusion, or manipulated within physical magic. So, the less you know about casting, the less confidence you have in casting. This causes you to be limited in what you are able to cast. Also, not studying objects or practicing spells often diminishes the quality and effect of a spell. A caster that has exhausted them self casting can recover by means people commonly use to recover from normal exhaustion. Casting is like any other activity a body performs and so recovers similarly from it. Over exhaustion could cause hospitalization or even in some cases - death. The body often attempts to stop a caster before they reach the point of exhaustion, and will begin shutting down to avoid mortal exhaustion. Still, a so willed caster can force their body to beyond this point. Since the ability to cast derives fundamentally in the belief that you can cast, it is common for a caster who has experienced a traumatizing situation or loss by magical or non-magical means to find them self unable to cast for a period of time.

    Dueling: When magic was fact, dueling could exist. Today, dueling is much more complex and difficult. Dueling is not at all the scene in which one would imagine for two casters who are dueling – spells being cast back and forth at one another as it was when magic was fact. Instead, now that one relies on illusion to facilitate the reality of a spell, casters can no longer directly cast at each other. In fact, now casting takes place in one of two places: in combat or within the mind; sometimes both. Mainly, since magic cannot be used, duels are fought by hand-to-hand combat. The only variation to this is if one caster surprises the other, they might be able to cast an offensive spell at the other without the caster realizing it is a spell until after the effect. If two casters are mental magic users, they could battle as if both could cast. These battles are interpreted differently. In these duels, they are battles of the mind where one caster is attempting to dominate the other’s mind. This battle is conducted in something similar to a dream, and resembles magical dueling of old within the mind. Each attack on the other resembles a spell or weapon, but is in actuality a thrust of will. Each spell is a siege attack on the other’s mind, attempting to break the other’s defenses. A caster must counter spells that could do damage to the defenses, as well as attack to attempt to do the same to the enemy. This dreamlike battle is the way the minds interpret the conflict, and draws on the psyche of both to operate. Once one mind is dominated, the dream collapses as one of its two supports has been cut off. Very rarely, one of esteemed mental capacity could battle within and out of the mind, thus fighting a caster in the midst of a battle ground. The rarest form of duel is when two casters fight both within the mind and in hand-to-hand combat.

    Cumulative Casting: This technique occurs when two or more casters work together. Commonly, cumulative casting is where several people of different forms of magic work together toward a common goal, each facilitating a different condition of the goal. An example of this might be a mental caster causing someone to be more receptive to an illusion that a visual caster was projecting.

    Cumulative casting can also be implemented for casters that are from the same form of magic. In other worse, this is two or more people working toward one spell for a common goal. This act decreases the amount of effort it takes to cast the spell, as well as the amount of exterior belief needed. It also aids in extending the length of a spell and often the effect of one. For this type of casting to occur, two casters must link their minds and become one thought or risk the likely failure in casting. This risk is occurs because while two casters may believe they are casting the same thing, even a slight variation or distraction may cause a confliction in the spell, or worse, there could be a dangerous backlash to one or both casters. Even with both casting with one thought, if an event caused one mind to become separated from the other, there could be risk of a rampant spell or an overload where the spell of two rests in one awareness and is too much for one to cast without exhausting. When the spell is completed, the joined minds release each other. One could cast with any number of people, but each time a person is added, it becomes increasingly difficult for the next to link as well. Due to the low population of Ancients, as well as the ratio of each in the various forms of magic, linking is not common over a pair, maybe a trio in certain areas of higher population. Often, spouses and families cast spells together as one mind, because the close relations and emotional bonds aid in connection.


    Subsumal Magic: A form of magic that has been hidden from knowledge to all of the remaining Ancients is a thing referred to as Subsumal Magic. Subsumal Magic is where each of the main forms of magic is combined. This combination is directed at a living thing or several living things and transforms them into a new form. This often has unexpected consequences. When this magic was first implemented it was discovered that such changes were irreversible, and the subject no longer remembered any of their former life. Because of this, any loyalties a subject had before the spell should not be counted on post transformation. Another side effect is that the spell is unalterable and irreversible. Once a form is created, it can only be destroyed, nor recreated. Additionally, it is often hard to predict what a combination of creatures will become. Some subsumal spells are the alteration of a living thing (such as the Dwarves), while others are the combination of several (such as Merfolk). The first subsumal magic accidentally created the race of Faeries. Much of the original creature(s) capabilities remain after a transformation, even if to a lesser degree. Dwarves are able to use a form of Physical Magic, as they once were ancients. Centaurs instinctually knew how to walk in their new form when created, despite not ever having taken an actual step. This magic eventually was developed to end wars quickly. If a war could be ended by incapacitating the leader or an entire section of an army, it was felt to be an acceptable technique. This decision became a leading factor in the downfall of the Ancient race when civil war nearly annihilated them, and nearly ripped the world asunder. It was the decision of the remaining Ancients and other prominent races to erase all knowledge of this magic.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Inquiries:
    I'm trying to decide on how long a spell can be maintained (such as flying) before it ebs and must be re-cast, or if it does not need to be recast, what would the upkeep of prolonged casting cost. I'm inclined with the first, since spells cease to draw power from the caster when it stablizes...but I don't have more than that.

    Animal Companions (kinda) - I need a better wording than Animal Companion. I hate how D&D it sounds. Suggestions?

    On a similar note (animals, not renaming) the birds and cats...can they aid in casting? Should they? How? I'm inclined to say they don't, but I feel there should be an ulterior function in terms of magic of some sort. Especially due to the bond they share. Maybe they can share a form breifly (wild shape-were-creature-esque) or some sort of thing? Not rightly sure...

    Additionally, I am debating on what happens to one if the Ancient dies, and visa versa. Chance of madness (good way of getting these mad casters)? both die if one does? (That I'm seriously on the fence about. It's easy to shoot down a bird...:/) Loss of magical powers (though i'm inclined to say that shouldn't be, since Ancients had the spark before these bonds occured in their history. Just something I wanted to throw it out there. Could be temporary...) Thoughts? New? Old? If one does survive, I'm sure I don't want either side to be able to take another bond.

    I mention overload briefly in cumulative casting. This is because its a concept that makes sense to me, but needs to be fleshed out or gotten rid of. Any ideas?

    That's about it on my side. Why do I feel like there's more but I can't think of them?
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-07-03 at 08:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - PEACH/assistance please

    HOLY MEGAPOSTS, BATMAN!

    Yeah, that is the single largest wall of text that I have ever seen. I sadly don't have time to more than skim the bulk of it at the moment, but it looks like you've done a superb job of condensing and refining the ideas that we've discussed!

    Maintaining spells: I like the idea of having to renew spells periodically. It could directly tie into the belief system, in that belief in a spell wanes over time as it becomes forgotten. Long-lasting spells either require upkeep from Arcanists, or rumors and legends to be spread about the local populace, causing them to believe in the spell through generations. This is another circumstance where there's a dichotomy between wanting power and wanting secrecy. If you want a long lasting spell to be low-profile, you'll need to be frequently recasting it with some buddies. If you're alright with it being known about, you can start a local legend around the spell, and said legend may be passed down through generations, continuing the spell.

    Animal Companions: "Familiar" is the stereotypic name, the earliest reference I know of being Macbeth. Perhaps something like "Soul Creature" or "Bonded Beast"? Those sound really cheesey... I'm not sure.

    Animals in Casting: Given what you've set up, the Animals cannot be necessary for casting, as the Ancients had the Spark before they started making these bonds. I'd suggest allowing the Ancients the ability to sense out of their Animal (See out of its eyes, hear from its ears, etc.) and give it empathic commands. Additionally, the Animal acts as an easy source for Belief. They could have the unique ability to implicitely trust in the spells cast by their master. It is an easy observer that is almost always present.

    Death of Animals: Obviously if an Animal dies, their Master loses the benefits described above. There could be broader social implications of an Animal-less Ancient, possibly warranting an entire "Outcaste" social class, or similar repercussion. I'd agree that such a bond shouldn't be able to be remade. I'd suggest Master-less Animals become feral and wild, living in the wilderness, distraught and confused with the loss of their Master.

    Overload: I VERY much like this idea, and it allows for some very dramatic situations. One example would be a circle of Arcanists working on a spell, then them being taken down one by one while the rest struggle under the increasing burden. The question is how easy it is for an over-burdened caster to release it. I'd say that this should not be an easy task, trying to safely "Step back from" the spell. What other questions do you have about the way Overload ought to work?

    That's about all I can think of!
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    Yeah, that is the single largest wall of text that I have ever seen. I sadly don't have time to more than skim the bulk of it at the moment, but it looks like you've done a superb job of condensing and refining the ideas that we've discussed!
    Oh, like you’re one to talk. Those essays are substantial fortifications of their own. If Lexicon monsters were to attack our realms of writing, I’d want you as my chief wall of text builder! Together we’d literally (ha) be able to discuss our way out of any problem (ha ha). As for not having time, I completely understand. I did not expect you to give me a full response immediately. Since that wall of text is substantial, I think I’ll just add to that section and change the color of new material from here on out. That way this thread doesn’t tower over the realm.


    Maintaining spells: I like the idea of having to renew spells periodically. It could directly tie into the belief system, in that belief in a spell wanes over time as it becomes forgotten. Long-lasting spells either require upkeep from Arcanists, or rumors and legends to be spread about the local populace, causing them to believe in the spell through generations. This is another circumstance where there's a dichotomy between wanting power and wanting secrecy. If you want a long lasting spell to be low-profile, you'll need to be frequently recasting it with some buddies. If you're alright with it being known about, you can start a local legend around the spell, and said legend may be passed down through generations, continuing the spell.
    I think I’ll implement the renewal in system in maintaining spells for ones that affecting a person, but objects could be treated differently based on things like legend. (Who hasn’t heard of the vorpal sword?) What if I implemented this: if it is a weapon that assists in slaying a certain type of creature, that creature must believe it works this way in order to it have this effect. I can see this derive from a sword carried by a king that is called the “Elfslayer” after it had been used in battle many times against the Elves. If the king is successful at killing many Elves with this sword, it might then be enchanted to better kill Elves. The name and the deeds maintain the spell through inherent belief. Though, based on the rules already set up, it would be this way if any of a certain amount believed the sword worked this way. Maybe I’ll just stick with that. I’d say enchanted items might be one of the few things that might last the fall of the ancients. These legends were meant to be spread, and could be a supplement for me in writing stories a child might be told before bed. I also have a creature in mind that would survive based on this principle.

    Animal Companions: "Familiar" is the stereotypic name, the earliest reference I know of being Macbeth. Perhaps something like "Soul Creature" or "Bonded Beast"? Those sound really cheesy... I'm not sure.
    Cheesy indeed, though combining the two gives me less cheesy options – “Creature of the Bond” or “Soul Beast”. I think Creature of the Bond has some potential. I certainly don’t like “familiar” either. Too…well…familiar. One of the main themes of my fantasy world is that it takes advantage of the stereotypic understanding of common elements in fantasy to surprise the reader when they find out they’re not exactly the same as the others. An example to this would be how magic intrigued you based on its mechanic being unique. Dwarves don’t mine with pickaxes. They sing to shape the stone to their liking. Dragons are in my world, but are mainly a sentient and cultured society. I like that element of surprise that is a product of popularized fantasy. It encourages me to make unique ideas while entertaining familiar aspects. I’m not reinventing the wheel, just the material the wheel is made of, and possibly using it for a different function. /Tangent.

    Animals in Casting: Given what you've set up, the Animals cannot be necessary for casting, as the Ancients had the Spark before they started making these bonds. I'd suggest allowing the Ancients the ability to sense out of their Animal (See out of its eyes, hear from its ears, etc.) and give it empathic commands. Additionally, the Animal acts as an easy source for Belief. They could have the unique ability to implicitely trust in the spells cast by their master. It is an easy observer that is almost always present.
    Since these animals are sentient, they act as if they were an Ancient in many ways. The bond acts similarly to connecting to an Ancient – the permission fact is in effect here. Though, since this bond is often more intimate (not physically!) than that of a friendly interaction. It isn’t necessarily a violation to enter your creatures mind, but they can definitely block you out. But yes, the ability to give empathic commands and sense through the animal was already in the works, just previously unmentioned (and will soon be rectified!) An interesting side-effect of this connection is to understand the communications of other birds of prey or cats of prey (mainly of that type). This is actually more complicated than it seems. For example, a bird of prey does not understand speech just as an Ancient does not understand bird calls. What instead happens is a shared processing of information. This means that if one is not shut out from the other mentally, one can hear the communication that it does not understand and then send it to the other to process. That mind then processes and translates, and then the first mind is able to understand the translation through the connection. I should come up with a good name for that. It isn’t exactly “shared consciousness”…more like an external hard drive that has certain additional functions. This can branch off into casting… (bare with me talking out loud, I basically had this mechanic of processing just come to me while writing).

    So for casting, animals can work many ways to assist the caster. One, these animals certainly assist in the 1st barrier of magic, since the Ancient can basically talk to an animal, though this can still vary from person to person since they can talk in the same way to other Ancients. They also assist with internal belief OR external belief, based on what side needs more assistance. With internal belief, I’d say the minds must be connected in order to function, and externally, the minds must be blocked. Additionally, they can’t support a spell in any other way, so do not get drained of energy when an Ancient casts. I won’t put this into the equations to keep them from getting too bulky and just say they are blanketed within the external and internal terms. In terms of death, the advantages would obviously be lost on both ends. The animal would still be able to mentally communicate with other Ancients, but would be unable to bond, as we’ve mentioned. When a caster loses their animal, they become demoralized and likely will not be able to cast for a grieving period. One might have become so reliant on that “belief buffer” that they find it very difficult to cast even normal spells, which may cause them to also doubt their magic and lose it.

    I love the idea of an out-caste, though this would be more historical information than current. The out-castes could have been the first to have relations with other races, or could create sects that devote themselves to one theme of task, such as research or training other Ancients (mentors). Others still may go mad or in an animal’s case, go feral. I’d say the occasional animal might withstand the loss of a master and take on a role in Ancient society (similar to the one themed task idea in an Ancient).

    Overload: I VERY much like this idea, and it allows for some very dramatic situations. One example would be a circle of Arcanists working on a spell, then them being taken down one by one while the rest struggle under the increasing burden. The question is how easy it is for an over-burdened caster to release it. I'd say that this should not be an easy task, trying to safely "Step back from" the spell. What other questions do you have about the way Overload ought to work?
    I agree this should not be easy. I think of it as something like a group of people picking up a large piece of furniture, and then one by one someone lets go until the remaining people cannot support the weight. To throw off this weight, one must struggle to set it down (dispel it), cut it into manageable bits (lessening the spell), or heave it away (send it to another Ancient, possibly the disrupter). There are a whole lot of eventualities to this that need to be covered. Setting the weight down might be difficult to do without “dropping it”. This would require a backlash and/or a release of an unstable spell as a consequence of “dropping it”. I’m not sure exactly what that would be. Maybe the effect of the spell affects the casters to some degree, such as with Subsumal, they change instead? At the very least, the spell would exhaust the casters, some might even collapse. Cutting a spell into pieces might be to remove elements of the spell to make it “lighter”. Since larger spells would be complex, there would surely be some items one would be able to sacrifice. In this capacity, I’d say it would be a race between figuring out which element to remove and the spell overloading. (It would be more convincing if I had examples but for once I’m at a loss.) Tossing off a spell would most likely not work in many cases (especially the lower the number), and even if accomplished, would exhaust the entire group. It would most definitely be a last ditch effort at solving the problem of an overload before it affected the casters involved. Tossing off also requires a receptor. Perhaps an object could be used as a focus, but I was thinking of singling out a caster to take on the load (possibly even an enemy caster, if conditions were just right). This caster would be “crushed” by the spell.

    Generally for large spells it would be common practice to have extra casters for support in case something happens to someone during the process to keep overloads from happening. Such additional casters could be solely for assisting in bearing the load or making less of an energy drain for the other casters when the spell is cast. Caster’s might also form a spell in a certain way to avoid an overload by creating an “emergency pull string” or an element of the spell that when removed would dispel it or make it minimally harmful.

    One concern I have in this tangent is the ease in order one can be disrupted from the Cumulative Casting. By this I mean that based on the current specifications, if I were to say, knock out a few people, they easily are removed from the casting and will not suffer the eventual penalties should the spell fail. That means if a spell was failing, I could knock out someone I cared about to save them while the others would suffer even greater. Additionally, one with mental magic might be able to enter a caster’s mind while casting and disrupt the spell. So maybe the extra casters would be “shielding” the group from this act.

    This whole idea needs a few rules in place in order to be more…digestible. I currently feel I’ve bitten off a mouthful and I’m gagging on the excess. This should also take into account that some casters will be able to bear more weight than others, and that some spells would likely be more unstable than others.


    I’ll withhold more inquiries until we conclude some of these cans of worms.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - PEACH/assistance please

    :( No love for the magic thread. Any chance of love soon? Not being impatient, just wondering what the time frame is for your response. I'm looking forward to finishing this up! I see light at the end of the cave system!
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Alright Welk. I'm trying out your chunk idea. Is this small enough?

    Overload: I VERY much like this idea, and it allows for some very dramatic situations. One example would be a circle of Arcanists working on a spell, then them being taken down one by one while the rest struggle under the increasing burden. The question is how easy it is for an over-burdened caster to release it. I'd say that this should not be an easy task, trying to safely "Step back from" the spell. What other questions do you have about the way Overload ought to work?
    I agree this should not be easy. I think of it as something like a group of people picking up a large piece of furniture, and then one by one someone lets go until the remaining people cannot support the weight. To throw off this weight, one must struggle to set it down (dispel it), cut it into manageable bits (lessening the spell), or heave it away (send it to another Ancient, possibly the disrupter). There are a whole lot of eventualities to this that need to be covered. Setting the weight down might be difficult to do without “dropping it”. This would require a backlash and/or a release of an unstable spell as a consequence of “dropping it”. I’m not sure exactly what that would be. Maybe the effect of the spell affects the casters to some degree, such as with Subsumal, they change instead? At the very least, the spell would exhaust the casters, some might even collapse. Cutting a spell into pieces might be to remove elements of the spell to make it “lighter”. Since larger spells would be complex, there would surely be some items one would be able to sacrifice. In this capacity, I’d say it would be a race between figuring out which element to remove and the spell overloading. (It would be more convincing if I had examples but for once I’m at a loss.) Tossing off a spell would most likely not work in many cases (especially the lower the number), and even if accomplished, would exhaust the entire group. It would most definitely be a last ditch effort at solving the problem of an overload before it affected the casters involved. Tossing off also requires a receptor. Perhaps an object could be used as a focus, but I was thinking of singling out a caster to take on the load (possibly even an enemy caster, if conditions were just right). This caster would be “crushed” by the spell.

    Generally for large spells it would be common practice to have extra casters for support in case something happens to someone during the process to keep overloads from happening. Such additional casters could be solely for assisting in bearing the load or making less of an energy drain for the other casters when the spell is cast. Caster’s might also form a spell in a certain way to avoid an overload by creating an “emergency pull string” or an element of the spell that when removed would dispel it or make it minimally harmful.

    One concern I have in this tangent is the ease in order one can be disrupted from the Cumulative Casting. By this I mean that based on the current specifications, if I were to say, knock out a few people, they easily are removed from the casting and will not suffer the eventual penalties should the spell fail. That means if a spell was failing, I could knock out someone I cared about to save them while the others would suffer even greater. Additionally, one with mental magic might be able to enter a caster’s mind while casting and disrupt the spell. So maybe the extra casters would be “shielding” the group from this act.

    This whole idea needs a few rules in place in order to be more…digestible. I currently feel I’ve bitten off a mouthful and I’m gagging on the excess. This should also take into account that some casters will be able to bear more weight than others, and that some spells would likely be more unstable than others.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    I haven't read through the full thread (just mostly skimmed the first few posts) but an idea came to me. Take the idea of External Belief and turn it into Fame.

    What that means is that anyone can make claims to possessing magic. Anyone can claim to slaying the dragon in the Farlost Mountains single-handedly. Any country bumpkin can perform some minor illusion magic. However, the great spellcasters not only need to possess great magic but need to do so in front of large numbers of people. Displaying magical feats in the town square may work for "powering up" low levels of Fame, but greater claims of power require greater displays of power.

    This implies two things. First, beyond a certain level (about the level of a large stage-show) a character has a difficult time raising their Fame on their own. Sure, they might be able to magically craft a castle from a pebble, but they'll have trouble getting people to believe it - the spellcaster might just have made an illusionary castle, or made it invisible beforehand and just revealed it. As such, spellcasters looking to increase their Fame either require public displays against other spellcasters of higher Fame or require making a magical claim and then following up on it. A spellcaster who proclaims that they can create a castle in an open field within a week, or use their magic to slay a dragon, and then does so sees their Fame increase.

    (You'll notice that they don't actually need to use their magic to do so. A wizard who already had a castle build and is hiding it invisibly, or one who slays a dragon through mundane means, still gets the Fame increase. It is people believing they can do such things, not their actual capability doing such things.)

    The second is that failing to accomplish things lowers your Fame. Losing in a duel, or journeying to slay a dragon but failing to do so, will lower a spellcaster's Fame. Again, it isn't how well known the character is but how capable people think they are. If a spellcaster can't beat Johnny McWizard is a magic duel, then people will think they're weaker than Johnny McWizard.

    Having high Fame will also mean they are, well, famous. Lots of people know them, and know what they can do. If a character is famous for reading minds, then it would be reasonable for anyone familiar with the character to assume they're going to try to read their minds - someone of a discouragement to keep people from using magic unsocially, at least when they might get caught.


    One last thing on the Fame angle - it means that spreading rumors can have an influence on magic. Spread rumors about Elder McWizard being old and losing his magical power, and he will. Spread rumors about a high-Fame character raising the dead, and lots of people may end up believing it.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    I haven't read through the full thread (just mostly skimmed the first few posts) but an idea came to me. Take the idea of External Belief and turn it into Fame.
    *snip*
    This is all well and good if everyone could do magic. It's good flavor for earlier times when that was the case, so I'll think about it for this. However, at the moment only about 200 can in the entire world.

    If you'd like to catch up, look to the post that says "Ancient Characteristics" at the top. That one has all the official info so far. The rest is conjecture, jargon, and discussion that is summarized there.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    I've been following this for a bit, but this was the first time I really had to sit down and digest it. Here's some things I've noticed.

    First off, when talking about cumulative magic and the fact that some individuals might knock out a loved one in order to shield them from the backlash, that sounds like a fantastic reason to fear cumulative magic. Build up the magic too far and someone might back out to try and hit a bunch of people with a backlash. Especially if it can alter them permanently in a subsumable magic-manner. I can just imagine a group getting together to cast a particularly powerful spell, but one of the characters wants to get rid o a rival and purposefully overexerts himself, rendering himself protected but leaving others open to harm. Or someone who conspires to have multiple people back out simultaneously to destroy another? So many possibilities.

    Second, I'm not seeing much of a difference between Visual Magic and Physical Magic. Does Visual Magic only create an illusion, while Physical Magic fully and completely creates on object? If so, what are the limitations of having only an illusion? If you create the illusion of healing a character, will they be able to get up and act normally until they die? Or will the spell just immediately fail due to there being the pain and whatnot? Is Visual Magic solely based on the sense of sight, or is it more based on the different senses?

    Next, onto the idea of Fame and Exterior Belief. If the beliefs of others influences the power of the magic, the reality of the magic, then some very interesting things can result. (Note, some of this is working on the assumption that Visual Magic can create actual changes in the world, not just in perceptions)

    I mean, say I'm a caster. If I pull out an unloaded pistol and point it at a person, then create the illusion of it firing (producing smoke, making a BANG, my arm jerking back [would my arm jerking back be considered a material component of the spell?]), then would the person actually be shot? Because that sounds fantastic.

    Or, to take it another way, if I create a persona, let's call him Flying Mouse Man, and then start rumors about what he can do, but then start following it up by doing things that fit in the rumor (staging fights, perhaps even using magic to do so, defeating monsters, flying, &c.) in front of people, and eventually pulling off major illusions in front of large crowds of people, would the persona actually gain those abilities? If my Flying Mouse Man is rumored to be able to fly on wings of the purest darkness and able to rip a man's head from his shoulders with a single tug, would he actually gain that ability? Or would there need to be a caster to "spark" the actual spell? Even if the caster is required, they would still be able to pull off more power from all of the exterior belief, correct?

    And, looking at the power of belief, let's assume Physical Magic makes an actual, physical object. If someone refuses to believe that the object exists, does it suddenly cease to exist? As in, can the physical object be dispelled, or is it fully real upon being created?

    Actually, let's take that further. Could one spell piggy back on another? Could I say that Bladey McSwordson's ornate axe has a crack in it, spread the rumor, make a visual illusion of a crack, and then capitalize on the belief (maybe even on Bladey's own belief in the crack?) to make the illusion real, and then break the axe?

    Finally, looking at the math and suggested formulas for the system, I see something of an issue. If everyone is constantly creating positive motivation (since Exterior Belief is added to Interior Belief), then won't time only increase the chance of a spell succeeding? I would suggest introducing negative modifiers, so that the chance of a spell occurring rounds out around 0, meaning that a significant number of disbelievers could just sap any possibility of a spell occurring.

    I feel like there are all sorts of possibilities for this, but that it needs to be cleaned up a bit. I'm actually very intrigued by this idea, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    EDIT: Oh, totally forgot to add this part. I feel like Caster Duels would be intense fights, mostly because a clever mage would be able to try and mix in working weapons and illusions to try and deceive his opponent. One quick flash of light and BOOM! Your gun just backfired.
    Last edited by Domriso; 2012-07-05 at 12:23 AM.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    It’s good to see a new face! Thanks for taking to read this long winded jargon and bibble babble. It’s heartening to hear others liking this system!

    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    First off, when talking about cumulative magic and the fact that some individuals might knock out a loved one in order to shield them from the backlash, that sounds like a fantastic reason to fear cumulative magic. Build up the magic too far and someone might back out to try and hit a bunch of people with a backlash. Especially if it can alter them permanently in a subsumable magic-manner. I can just imagine a group getting together to cast a particularly powerful spell, but one of the characters wants to get rid o a rival and purposefully overexerts himself, rendering himself protected but leaving others open to harm. Or someone who conspires to have multiple people back out simultaneously to destroy another? So many possibilities.
    Cumulative Magic is something I really like, however fear might be too dangerous. How can I realistically get any caster to agree to it when there are so many things that could go wrong? I’m not sure. I’ve been considering putting in some things casters could implement to assist in protecting them from these eventualities in some way, without completely removing the risk. I’d like to keep Cumulative Casting as much as I can, because in a writing sense its gold for a dramatic scene. Every time this kind of thing occurs, they’d be wide open for all kinds of things. It would be a climactic moment indeed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    Second, I'm not seeing much of a difference between Visual Magic and Physical Magic. Does Visual Magic only create an illusion, while Physical Magic fully and completely creates on object? If so, what are the limitations of having only an illusion? If you create the illusion of healing a character, will they be able to get up and act normally until they die? Or will the spell just immediately fail due to there being the pain and whatnot? Is Visual Magic solely based on the sense of sight, or is it more based on the different senses?
    Let me try to clear this up a bit. Visual magic is something that’s very flexible and all encompassing. It’s not reliant on the physical nature of an object to be cast. So, details that go against nature such as enchantments (flying, modifying speed, ect) are possible, where in physical it isn’t. Another detail about visual magic is that it is not a permanent casting. Eventually you have to come down from flying to recast the spell. It doesn’t last. With physical, this is not the case. Physical magic has some major limitations as well as benefits that contrast visual. Physical magic doesn’t need to be re-cast, because it’s changing an object in some way. It cannot create something out of nothing, like visual can. The principle I had originally came up with physical is additional and subtractive forms. One can decrease or increase an existing item (make more wood from the wood I have) or decrease an existing item (take away stone from a section of wall to make it unstable, or to pass through). I also during the thread came up with being able to change an item to a similar item. So say, gold from silver, or something of the sort. One couldn’t make gold out of thin air, or such, so it seems to follow some sort of alchemical nature. These changes can often be changed back, unlike subsumal magic, save certain cases. If not changed back, these changes will stay. Keep in mind also that this process is also very tiring.

    Let’s use healing as an example for this since you mentioned it. With physical, one can heal a person. The more complex the injury, the more energy it takes (since many different things would need to be created). One could draw on the energy of the patient to reduce the spell’s effect on you, but in major injuries this is not advised, for obvious reasons. With visual magic, think of the healing as the extra con points a barbarian gets when he rages – eventually it’s going to go away. I can cast the illusion that I’ve healed you and use material components such as a pain killer, and perhaps putting my hand over the wound to mimic a physical caster. Think it along the lines of the placebo effect in medical studies to a greater degree. Eventually, the spell is going to wear off. It can buy time, but that hole in your shoulder is going to return.


    On a note, I’ve read many studies where things like cancer and other ailments have disappeared based on belief in a treatment, only for it to return if the person began to doubt it or was told the treatment turned out not to do anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    I mean, say I'm a caster. If I pull out an unloaded pistol and point it at a person, then create the illusion of it firing (producing smoke, making a BANG, my arm jerking back [would my arm jerking back be considered a material component of the spell?]), then would the person actually be shot? Because that sounds fantastic.
    This can indeed happen with visual magic, though maybe not exactly how you originally thought. The illusion is the gun firing, not the bullet itself. So, to do this, I cast the illusion of smoke from the gun, the flash of the barrel, and the material component would indeed be jerking my arm. To make a sound, you’d need a mental magic user, so the sound would only be produced if the illusion becomes reality kind of like a confirmation of casting). The spell might be harder to pull off without the sound, so a team effort might need to be used between a visual and mental caster. The target would actually get shot and cause actual, non fading damage based on two things: The gun and the bullet are real, not illusion. All of the elements are there; you just needed an effect to ignite them. Now I bet your brain is going wild with the possibilities of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    Or, to take it another way, if I create a persona, let's call him Flying Mouse Man, and then start rumors about what he can do, but then start following it up by doing things that fit in the rumor (staging fights, perhaps even using magic to do so, defeating monsters, flying, &c.) in front of people, and eventually pulling off major illusions in front of large crowds of people, would the persona actually gain those abilities? If my Flying Mouse Man is rumored to be able to fly on wings of the purest darkness and able to rip a man's head from his shoulders with a single tug, would he actually gain that ability? Or would there need to be a caster to "spark" the actual spell? Even if the caster is required, they would still be able to pull off more power from all of the exterior belief, correct?

    First, this brings up an interesting point! One that I didn’t think of until now – Could a non caster be effected by a spell. Yes, but it would be difficult. There would be two layers of illusions to put out, and they would have to be in two places. One illusion would be dedicated to convincing the subject of the intended spell. So in the circumstance of flying – make an illusion beneath them making it look like they are rising off the ground. The second illusion would be the normal one – project an image of him rising off the ground. The separate place condition would be that if either side notices the other illusion, they would likely automatically disbelieve the spell.

    The other side to the paragraph is the whole “legend” or “hero” persona. I’d say rumors would aid in visual magic, and might even aid in the longevity of the spell, but the spell would have to be cast. You can’t just have someone gaining abilities just because of rumors. So say Flying Mouse Man was a caster, he could indeed be more powerful to some degree. I wouldn’t say he could rip off heads willy nilly. I’m actually moving away from the idea of the tangent I had on the “Elfslayer” Blade I mentioned in an earlier post. But the whole “hero rumor thing” could grant him abilities…think of it almost like preparing a spell. The public believes you can do this so all you have to do is spark the spell, and it automatically happens, skipping the first two stages of casting. One of the villains of my story acts on this principle; however this also ends up being his undoing. The problem with this is the fact that a rival knows exactly what you can do readily and be prepared for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    And, looking at the power of belief, let's assume Physical Magic makes an actual, physical object. If someone refuses to believe that the object exists, does it suddenly cease to exist? As in, can the physical object be dispelled, or is it fully real upon being created?
    Indeed. I don’t believe in fairies. (Fairy dies.)

    Edit: Actually, this is not true. This would not affect physical upon creation, especially since physical is self-reliant. With the others, non-belief would factor into ratios of belief to determin if the spell is toppled or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    Actually, let's take that further. Could one spell piggy back on another? Could I say that Bladey McSwordson's ornate axe has a crack in it, spread the rumor, make a visual illusion of a crack, and then capitalize on the belief (maybe even on Bladey's own belief in the crack?) to make the illusion real, and then break the axe?
    Yes! Spell weaving is very much a priority to amplify spells. Spells react to one another to aid or hinder. Say I wanted to make the blade look cracked but he wanted to make the blade look whole? Well then you have a duel of beliefs. The rumors would certainly assist your cause and hinder his.


    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    Finally, looking at the math and suggested formulas for the system, I see something of an issue. If everyone is constantly creating positive motivation (since Exterior Belief is added to Interior Belief), then won't time only increase the chance of a spell succeeding? I would suggest introducing negative modifiers, so that the chance of a spell occurring rounds out around 0, meaning that a significant number of disbelievers could just sap any possibility of a spell occurring.

    The system works both ways. Exterior belief could be a negative number or a positive one. Interior belief could be as well. So the system already has negative modifiers because people need to be convinced in the first place. There are variables that I cannot account for, such as conflicting circumstances in spells and actions…but I may come up with a formula for that that can be applied to the others. That is by no means a completed list, so suggest away!

    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    I feel like there are all sorts of possibilities for this, but that it needs to be cleaned up a bit. I'm actually very intrigued by this idea, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    I agree, there are MANY possibilities with this system, and I’m trying to be as thorough as possible in it. Thank you for asking questions and ideas! It certainly helps me a bunch, and brings me that much closer to completing it. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    EDIT: Oh, totally forgot to add this part. I feel like Caster Duels would be intense fights, mostly because a clever mage would be able to try and mix in working weapons and illusions to try and deceive his opponent. One quick flash of light and BOOM! Your gun just backfired.
    Duels are probably going to be the most trying things to write. There’s just so much that COULD happen. The element of surprise is going to be relied on heavily, but it’s going to be counteracted to some degree on a caster’s scrutiny. However, I’d say if a caster scrutinizes everything, they might become paranoid. Luckily, casters cans sense other casters! Still, a caster doesn’t have to be close by for an illusion to be maintained. Oh, that’s not solid ground. That’s a crevice. Crap. Or say I have 2 swords in hand. One is real, the other an illusion. What then!
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    frown Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Well, I started off reading all of this, but somewhere around post 6 I lost track of my memory/mind links and had a brain fart. Somehow, I still have a couple of coherant (hopefully) thoughts about this which I hope aren't already covered in this truly prodigous ocean of text!

    1. Physical magic brings me time and again to the 'Equivalent Exchange' principle of alchemy. Thing is, it occured to me that a magic based on belief would make the EE principle a whole new beast. Ancient wishes to create a massive barrier for protection, how much should be exchanged for this would be decided by the observers right? How much is that wall worth? Perhaps the mass exchange is irrelevant, it's all about how much the crowd expects.

    2. Mages duels would be an odd combination of magical prowess and psychological warfare. As such I can see mages being a combination of charming, perceptive and sadistic. Charming, because they have to be able to convince strangers of incredible things on a daily basis. Perceptive, because to influence someone you have to be able to understand the way they think. Sadistic, because they would have to believe in all their actions morally to be able to live with themselves, especially if facing another mage. The first mage to lose their resolve and absolute self-belief would lose, you have to believe in destroying another's belief to retain your own, and that is kinda dark.

    3. Magic would leave it's practitioners on the point of delusional and almost certainly a bit crazy. It might be appropriate therefore to link certain mental conditions to it's practice as standard, perhaps some form of dementia where truly strenuous magic use can remove old memories, perhaps specific people or events would disappear or become changed in your memory. Running back to my earlier bit on EE, perhaps the toll on heavy magic use simply equates to which memories you're willing to sacrifice or make bitter for your magic?
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Welcome to the dizzying amount of text walls, Veklim! Horray for love for the thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim
    1,2,3
    1. Physical Magic is indeed similar to equivelent exchange, though to what capacity each value and wieght is is something I'm not sure I'll get into. It seems unlikely that gigantic structures will be able to be cast alone. Perhaps a group effort. Remember, physical doesn't require any other belief but your own. It's self perception.

    2. Dark, but also, think of it as survival tactics. When you're life is threatened, instincts often take over, and you lash out. Sure it's a bit sadistic in some ways - "How do I get into this guys head?" - but this culture is very different than ours. They have more intimate connections to people, as they communicate by memories, impressions and so on. So, it can be assumed that some of their morals might be a bit skewed from ours. Now the main character, who was not raised in this culture at all? Yeah, he's gonna have some issues. In fact, he's going to be rubbish at casting for quite some time.

    3. You raise an interesting point. Perhaps one of the things in training will need to be "steeling the mind" to prevent this, or perhaps even emptying the memories at times to deal with the stress of practice. Maybe I can equate these penalties with the "overload" issue I'm trying to work out. You go mad or die. I'll have to consider this a bit, though. I don't want all my casters to slowly go mad. That would be scary, and inconvienient for plot. But for some to...that would work very nicely. Very nicely indeed.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    I see your point on the madness issue, it's not for everyone! The ones who keep their sanity would probably become very detached I take it? I mean, it's hard to feel close to much of anything when you know how ephemeral it all is. Maybe that's what happens when one 'half' dies btw, the tether they keep on 'reality' gets broken, and although perfectly sane, they end up behaving as if in a constant dream-state, kind of like ambulant, coherent catatonics..?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    I see your point on the madness issue, it's not for everyone! The ones who keep their sanity would probably become very detached I take it? I mean, it's hard to feel close to much of anything when you know how ephemeral it all is. Maybe that's what happens when one 'half' dies btw, the tether they keep on 'reality' gets broken, and although perfectly sane, they end up behaving as if in a constant dream-state, kind of like ambulant, coherent catatonics..?
    I'd say many ancients see magic as just another - albeit a very complicated and dangerous - tool. I'd say one could manage to maintain a normal state of being if they used it in moderation. Especially since this race has had this power for thousands of years, its safe to assume they've developed a way to compartmentalize it so as not to have adverse reactions to the impermenance of it all. Sure, some are still afflicted. Some even could become mad. But at least half should be able to come to grasp with it. Think of elves and their ability to deal with immortality, or dwarves and being able to live underground without being effected mentally. Save for some smaller percentage, they're alright in their standards. Still, other races might view some of their behavoirs as queer or outright unnatural.

    Interestingly enough, what you're suggesting is something I'm working on for the MUHA, only branched out to everyone. Being a hero takes its toll over time. Using magic can twist the mind or body, swing a sword - joint problems and blood lust or depression. So on.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Love for magic! Love!

    Welk's gone for a bit, but anyone have any ideas or opinions on the Creatures of the bond? Velkim mentioned something that I didn't notice: The creatures of the bond could keep the ancients down to earth...as in they are the tether to reality, and after than the effects he mentioned start taking hold. What do you folks think? Domriso? Haven't heard from you in a bit!
    Last edited by TheWombatOfDoom; 2012-07-18 at 09:44 AM.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Hey

    So I'm sorry, I don't know if this has been covered (I didn't read ever post) but I did have a thought about casters "not going mad".

    So, presumably the amount of energy a spell takes is proportional to the size of the spell. Also, the more belief others have in you determines how much energy it requires. So for example, someone with more people believing in them can cast more.

    Now if the ancient race is associated with magic, doesn't it make more sense that people would believe more deeply that they can do magic? Ergo, they don't have to use as much of their own energy, casting becomes easier, and they don't go mad? This also brings up the idea that they don't want people to forget they exist, or they can't do magic. It's a catch-22. They are thought to be better casters, so they are. The same can be said to be true for the other races: everyone "knows" that elves are immortal, so they are. Essentially I'm proposing extending magic on a universal, subconscious level, which your system seems to support.

    Extending this to pets, you forge a subliminal bond with pets. You believe they are better than they are, and a part of you joins them. you believe they will always be there for you, as do your friends who grow to see you as a pair, and so it is so. After a generation, if your pet kitty that you had been seriously convinced was immortal dies, it would shatter your perceptions of reality and your faith in your own power. Essentially, you believe this magic that you don't even realize you are casting so strongly, and have so much faith in your beliefs, that when they are shattered you suffer terminal worldview collapse.

    Just a thought.
    Last edited by corran_132; 2012-07-18 at 03:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by corran_132 View Post
    Now if the ancient race is associated with magic, doesn't it make more sense that people would believe more deeply that they can do magic? Ergo, they don't have to use as much of their own energy, casting becomes easier, and they don't go mad? This also brings up the idea that they don't want people to forget they exist, or they can't do magic. It's a catch-22. They are thought to be better casters, so they are. The same can be said to be true for the other races: everyone "knows" that elves are immortal, so they are. Essentially I'm proposing extending magic on a universal, subconscious level, which your system seems to support.
    On the Ancients. I get into describing the race in general a bit on post 11 (where the information from the whole thread is gathered into a giant, but useful post). I know it might be better placed at post 1, but that interrupts the conversation, and I’m not fond of breaking OP.

    Anywho, while I described the Ancients, I left out an important detail I’ll likely have to add: No one remembers them. Well, I mean the elves do, and the dragons do, but to everyone else, Ancients are considered hewn-men. And the Ancients don’t deny it. In fact, that’s why they (the original race) are called “the ancients” instead of a more specific name. The hewn-men (I’m just calling them humans from now on) know the cities they’ve discovered or live in were built long ago by some –ancient- race. They don’t really know much about them however. Since the ancients kept records by storing impressions and memories, not written word, there is no text on their history. Dragons are withdrawn from most of the world now, and live on their homelands, so their records are far away and in their own language. As for elves, well, they have hidden this text, and kept the memory of this time to spread at the request of the last ancients. If you’ve read my detailing on the Ancients on post 11, you know that there was a terrible war. It wracked the land and created horrible abominations. Out of the Ancients that were not wiped out by the war, many of them chose to settle with the Elves, and the offspring of these relations were the first humans. Well not the first, these relations had been going on for some time, but the first in any great number. So, it came to be that humans quickly spread over the world, and the Ancients diminished, trying to amend for their deeds of long past. Unfortunately, even in this they were divided, but that gets dangerously close to my actual story. For now, just think of the Ancients as some hidden people that are attempting to be caretakers of the world, in each’s mind. Humans too over cities that used to be inhabited by Ancients, thinking them belonging to an earlier form of human (and being kinda right).

    So based on this, while the Ancients are a VERY old race, there are not as many that have a general increased belief because of this. Even the other old races need convincing sometimes, however often they’d also be very good audiences. These races are wary to Ancients because of this later statement. Ancients inherently have more capacity and power around the old races because they remember. Knowledge is power! (to Ancients) See, magic used to be widely understood. Back in the golden age of the Ancients, everyone knew and believed in magic. There wasn’t any need for belief mechanics because there wasn’t conflicting belief. It was a truth. Magic was like gravity. Time. So on. When the Ancients died off, this changed, because it was tied to the existence of those that could use it. Magic is myth now. The proof of the Ancients was erased, and this cannot be undone. But I like this idea of magic on a universal level. It was what I originally was shooting for. Somewhere along the way, however, I found that kind of thing to be a very difficult setting to write a story in. I chose not to make it like the Disk world series where magic is all encompassing, mainly because it doesn’t make sense that other races can’t do magic and the Ancients can. So, think of magic kinda like the force. The Ancients have the ability that others do not. And instead of random or driven by fate, the power is hereditary.

    So, originally when the purge happened, Ancients WANTED people to forget about magic. And that changed the system, possibly forever. These mechanics I have been working on is the direct outcome of that choice. Magic isn’t forgotten. But it very well might someday.

    ...Does any of this make sense?

    I'm loving this. Asking questions is groovy.
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Hrm, on topic here, so bear with me. in 40K, the Orks use a lot of technology which they hobble together out of looted enemy stuff and random gubbins (bits'n'pieces, odds'n'sods, etc) which makes no mechanical or even logical sense to other races. These pieces of tech only work because the Orks are tapped into a psychic range whereby their belief in the technology's function actually makes it do so. Red trucks really do go faster, because Orks know it to be so, blue armour is lucky for the same reason.

    You could use the belief thing everywhere without resorting to it being 'all-encompassing magic' without a trouble. If you lack for flavour, then perhaps different races/cultures have their own forms of 'magic' which could range from steam-tech to alchemy to 'divine' blessings (since enough people believing in something like science or a god for so long would allow the occasional 'miracle' to happen because everyone expected/wanted it badly enough.) Examples of plot twists could include using 'Ancients gone bad' who manipulate churches, universities and governments by making the populace believe in their own devised dogma. Even the best of intentions could become very evil in such circumstances.

    On another thought I had, relating to my (previously overlooked, not that I mind ) comment on the idea of the creatures of the bond being 'anchors' for the ancients, perhaps the idea of Anchors could be used in a more widespread way. Allow me to waffle in a semi-coherant manner:

    For an Ancient, the only Anchor they need is the body they preside over, since that body interacts with the physical world, and the Ancient's perception of that world is flexible enough (one would hope), then the magic may occur as it should. If they lose that body, then perhaps they go loco, maybe slowly, maybe not. Perhaps they could even find other ways around the problem, but magic comes at a higher cost without an Anchor.

    Now translate to a city state, high in the hills, built upon the ruins of an Ancient city, with vast defences and a powerful army. The ruler of this city state has won every campaign he has embarked upon, his city walls have been reinforced to be the finest on the continent, and his people are prosperous. The ruler may or may not be aware that it is in fact the populations belief in the city state (and more directly the flag, and their own cultural identity) which 'Anchors' their power, allowing for a golden age in their city. Without that national identity, that symbol of the flag, and the knowledge that their city is nigh-impenetrable, the power may fluctuate. All it would take is enough people to be shaken by something which made them question their Anchor, and consequences would emerge.

    Imagine a world where this is the underlining mechanic. A mighty warrior, a lone mage, even a court jester could change the balance of power, if they did enough to gain belief, politics would be IMMENSELY important in such a world, as would espionage, and wetwork-style assassinations would likely be common.

    Think I'll shut up now, enjoying the sounding board approach to 'brew btw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    Hrm, on topic here, so bear with me. in 40K, the Orks use a lot of technology which they hobble together out of looted enemy stuff and random gubbins (bits'n'pieces, odds'n'sods, etc) which makes no mechanical or even logical sense to other races. These pieces of tech only work because the Orks are tapped into a psychic range whereby their belief in the technology's function actually makes it do so. Red trucks really do go faster, because Orks know it to be so, blue armour is lucky for the same reason.
    This is an idea I've been toying with. I'm glad you mention it. Waffle away!

    While mechanically I'm trying to avoid any more modern or industrial technology (time stamp close to gun powder discovery...so around the time of the english longbow...16th centuryish) I like the concept. I was thinking along the lines of - Luck, Destiny, and Magic. Magic being the one we've discussed, Destiny and Luck being underlying characters that involve religion and superstition on a subtle or not so subtle manifestation. However, I don't want them to be...the same as magic. I mean the basic idea - sure. But I'd say the more one is in power the more the other two are more passive.

    So when magic became passive with the purge, we could go to the luck or destiny spectrum. I'd vote destiny, because religion is fun to mess with. I'm undecided about how I wanted to tackle religion, since the more I get into it, the more people think I'll be talking about one IRL religion or the next, and then we'll get into book bans or burnings or some silly things like that. But I also want to be gutsy. And I know I can't have both. So rabble the crowds, I think I'll commit to that. At least between the purge and now. We could get to the age of enlightenment in this story, where luck gets its turn!

    Perhaps there could even be a race attributed to each aspect. After all, there were 3 races in the beginning: Ancients, Dragons and Elves. Right away I see dragons be luck, and elves destiny, so I automatically would like to mix it up and do the opposite...but maybe I'll go with my gut with this. Any thoughts on any of this?

    Sounding board? As in brainstorming style? I think best bouncing ideas off of others. Heck, the other doesn't even need to talk much, explaining it usually gives me tons of ideas! I also like fresh ideas from others to see how they'd work and get me thinking about things in a way I didn't consider. Glad you're enjoying!
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Hrm, so humans (being Ancient/Elf hybrids of some sort) would have magic and destiny, with no luck in there at all? Sounds about right! Perhaps all the younger races should have a balance of 2 of these forces?

    In many respects, luck for dragons makes much sense. Likewise destiny for elves, although be mindful of the difference between destiny and fate, I would have thought that's something which could have split the elves a long time ago. Do you choose your destiny, or succumb to your fate? Is there even a way of knowing?

    But I'd say the more one is in power the more the other two are more passive.
    I like where that idea could take this, but I have a small problem with it. Whereas I can see how destiny (a pre-defined path) and luck (an unforeseen event) happily sit on opposite sides of a coin, I don't see how magic would fit on a third side easily.

    So you'd see this 'second era' as the era of destiny I take it? Not a bad starting point for a campaign I must say! Would that not put some onus on the Elves as having a rather important part to play in current events, or am I missing something?
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    Default Re: Custom Magic Mechanics - WIP

    Hmmmmm. I didn't think I'd have to do descriptions of all the races, but in light of expansion I'll forge forward! I may need a new thread for all of this...

    Elves - Elves have a power, but it by no means has to do with magic. Elves are in tune with the elements. The Wood Elves, Wind Elves, Ember Elves, and Water Elves. The older they get, the more in touch they are with the element they are attuned to. In otherwords, the more knowlegable and experienced they are, the more power the element gives (trusts to) them. The only exception to this is the Ember Elves, who's element is fire. They start off at the peak of their power at youth, and grow weaker as they get older. But! How does this tie into destiny? I have no idea. Seriously. Fresh out. The elements could be the influncers of fate perhaps? Or since the elements are meant to keep balance in the world, perhaps they work in this way? I don't know.

    Humans - You'd think that a creature that could use magic and a creature that could use the elements would turn into this epic thing of awesome. Instead they get pooped on. Poor humans. The blood of Ancients and Elves doesn't mix very well. They can't cast, or control elements. But they can influence and understand both. Elves call them the Land Elves, the rest Hewn Men (Half men).

    I'd throw in dragons too, but dragons are a closely kept secret of mine. A huge project in evolution and cultured with language and sentience. Unbelievably complicated. Let's just say there's 11 kinds, and most of them are removed from other races (they retired to their homelands after the purge).

    Magic, Destiny and Luck

    In this case, I'd say Destiny is synonymous with Fate. It's a predetermined role in the world in at least some aspects of your life (plot). Luck as you said is the unforseen events. The unplanned bits and happy or unhappy coincidences that fate doesn't take into account. Magic can be one of two things for the third. It could be the correction to the course when luck interferes with destiny. Or it could be a choice. Magic could be choosing your own fate.

    Oh my, we're in the rabbit hole now. There's lasagna everywhere!
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