Tag Archives: mages

World-building Athron: The Magic System: Some Basics

The magic system of Athron, developed when world-building Athron, is based on the gaming system I was working on for a time. As a result, it is a rich system that perhaps is too complicated for world-building a novel. So be it. I will still present what I can here.

 

First, like many gaming systems, there are two different types of magic: scholarly (as in wizards and mages, etc….) and priestly (as in priests and clerics). Technically, I suppose the priest system isn’t magical; it is more prayer-based, but in terms of game mechanics they are quite similar. Anyway, I will start with the scholarly magic.

 

There are three major skills that scholars can enhance that relate directly to magic use: crafts, rune lore, and alchemy. Crafts refer to spells that are incantations consisting of a series of hand gestures and spoken words that harness magical energy. Rune lore is the study of runes: arcane symbols that are inscribed upon inanimate objects that provide magical enhancements. Alchemy is the study of potions and their making: a wizard with this skill can combine a variety of ingredients to fabricate different types of potions each with a different type of effect. Each of these major skills (crafts, rune lore, and alchemy) exists as a subset of a spell type like fire, earth, water, or wind. That is, there are flamecraft spells, fire runes, and fire-based alchemy. Similarly so for earth and the others. All three of these skills are fueled by energy. If a wizard casts a flamecraft spell, he uses so much energy. If he makes a fire-based potion or inscribes a fire rune, he uses so much energy. A wizard can increase his skill in energy to increase his potential power. A powerful wizard will have great amounts of spell energy at his disposal allowing him to produce incredible works of magic from his pick of magical skills.

 

Each of the spell skills bestows certain benefits as the skill in question increases. For example, increasing skill in a spellcraft will permit the spell-caster to learn new spells. Increasing skill in rune lore will similarly allow the spell-caster to learn new runes. And again for alchemy. Likewise, failure rates—something which rarely comes up in a novel, but may prove more important in an RPG—are decreased as the skill level increases. Going from this it is clear that a well-rounded wizard will have a formidable array of abilities to bring to bear against a problem; perhaps she has a spell to resolve an issue, or a rune she can inscribe, or maybe a potion to imbibe. Her options are many, and that makes a wizard a potent force in both the novel and the game.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

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Fantasy World-Building: Magic Systems

One task a fantasy writer faces during the process of world-building for his world is developing a coherent magic system. I use ‘coherent’ with a grain of salt, for what is magic but something that doesn’t exist in our own world that does not follow the normal rules of logic and science. Still, most fantasy writers today would argue that a good fantasy magic system is one that follows its  own inherent and consistent set of rules, much like science does. In a way, a fantasy writer’s magic system is his or her own “parallel science.” The purpose of any magic, be it a spell or potion or something altogether different, is to accomplish some end more quickly and efficiently than normal means allow. In that regard, it is similar in function to technology. Indeed, I believe it was Arthur C. Clarke who said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Why is this so? What is the connection between the two? Basically, both provide either a shortcut for a mundane effect or, even more intriguing, the only possible means for something more spectacular. You wish to dig a hole? Technology gives you a shovel and then later a shovel truck (if that’s what it’s called—can’t seem to recall a more technical name); magic gives you a snap of the fingers and the deed is done. Magic also allows other feats, some of which might be deemed impossible—at least, as far as our current level of technology allows. Teleportation, demonic summoning, fireball … all these are outside the normal scope of the mundane. Actually, a fireball could be managed with technology, and teleportation is, I think, currently being studied and developed, but demonic summoning, at least, is not on the radar anytime soon (we’d need proof of demons first).

 

Basically, current thinking is that the best magic systems are those that adhere to and follow rules. That way, they don’t provide an “easy fix” if the writer happens to write himself into a corner. If the magic system is clearly delineated, he can’t just summon up some random spell to get his character out of a fix. The magic system will not allow that if it has rules and, most importantly, limitations. That said, I’m not sure I agree. Some days I do. But some days I feel very contrarian: who are we to say that some enterprising author cannot develop a magic system that defies easy encapsulation? Perhaps, it embodies pure randomness or is the “system without a system” or something else equally provocative and mysterious. I leave to some enterprising writer to buck the trend and do so.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs

1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
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