Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY SKILLBUILDING' started by Jorick, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. “But Jorick,” I'm sure some of you thought upon reading the title, “magic can't be realistic, it's MAGIC~!

    “But reader,” I say in response to my fabricated hypothetical objection, “shut up and read the thing.”

    Man, I'm a rhetorical genius.

    On a more serious note, what I mean by “realistic” is not that it matches reality, because a magic system matching reality would be a non-existent magic system. Instead I am talking about magic that operates via rules as close to the rules that govern how things work in reality (AKA physics). This may sound daunting, but it's simply a different framework for magic than you're probably used to. You can have a realistic magic system and still have wizards throwing massive fireballs and dragons flying around and necromancy all over the place and so on, because there are some easy workarounds to the potential limiting factors of realistic magic that don't violate the realism aspect, and I'll explain some of those as they become relevant. First though, there's an obvious question that must be addressed:

    Why Should You Use Realistic Magic?

    Because reasons. Aw yeah, still got that rhetorical skill on my side.

    If you're creating a magic system for a roleplay, realistic magic does a few things that you as a GM might enjoy. The big thing is that it will lay out some simple rules to regulate magic so that you don't have to worry over borderline cases of godmoding nonsense with magic; instead it'll be a simple matter of “Did this follow the realistic magic rules? If yes, great, if not, DIE GODMODER DIE!” For players who like having actual limitations on their power level, realistic magic provides a nice balance of fantastical shenanigans and logic to dictate what is possible or not. Another good reason for it is that realistic magic is uncommon, thus it's a novelty that might draw in extra interest from people who haven't really experienced what it's like. Bowling enemies over with a blast of wind is fun and all, but when you add in realistic physical laws that make the mage also get flung back, well, that just adds a whole extra level of fun to things, doesn't it?

    If you're creating a magic system for something else that will be read/viewed rather than played, realistic rules will help turn magic from deus ex machina silliness to a satisfying plot device. Very generally speaking, audience satisfaction with magic being used to solve problems is closely correlated to how well they can understand the rules of the system. A sorceress winning a magic battle by outwitting her opponent with a clever use of magic is great; a wizard pulling out a clutch super duper hardcore badass magic spell in his time of dire need despite being supposedly exhausted is just silly and horribly overdone. Realistic magic is rather easy to understand since you've got to lay out the rules for it up front at some point, so that makes magic a plain old useful plot device all the time, so long as you stick to the rules you set up.

    If none of the above appeals to you, that's alright, it's not for everyone. You could always use some of these concepts and disregard others to have a fantastical magic system with some elements of realism, so reading this may not be a complete waste of your time if you choose to keep going. For those who do like the idea of realistic magic, now comes the tedious fun part: the laws of physics that will govern such magic systems.

    Conservation of Energy

    The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is simply moved around or transformed. A campfire is a great way to explain how this works. Starting a fire may seem like the creation of energy, but it is in fact just change and movement of energy. All methods of starting a fire that I can think of (everything from the low tech method of rubbing wood against wood really fast to get a spark to the modern method of using a lighter) are ways of transforming the physical energy of movement into thermal energy to get enough heat going to set the wood on fire. Fire is the product of a chemical process called oxidation, which shoves oxygen into existing chemical bonds; this releases a lot of energy in the form of fire, which is energy spreading out and dissipating. Once the fire burns out there is still energy left in the burnt wood and ashes, just far less than there was in the wood to start with. No energy is created or destroyed, just changed or moved around.

    This is a major factor in determining whether a magic system is realistic or not. In your classic fantastical magic system, magic users create energy all the time by making giant fireballs poof into existence out of nothing. There may be something that makes it look like there's a transformation of energy going on, such as the mage getting tired after throwing a lot of fireballs, but there's a problem with this that can be expressed by a very simple inequality formula: energy in >= energy out, or energy in is greater than or equal to energy out. This means that to achieve a desired energy output you must put in an equal or greater (because energy transfer usually isn't 100% efficient) amount of energy to achieve it. In fantastical magic systems you're often given no explanation about how mages recoup their magical energy, or if you are given information on it it tends to be something simple like the mage needing a rest and a meal to be fine. How the hell does one get dozens of fireballs worth of energy from a nap and a sandwich? By breaking the law of conservation of energy, of course.

    In a realistic magic system you'll want to avoid that sort of thing. Does that mean you'll need to have mages gorge themselves on food to store tons of energy in order to cast fireballs when needed? Well, no, but the idea of using body fat as energy storage for magic is a pretty amusing one, so feel free to take it and use it with my blessing if you so desire. All you need to do to keep things realistic is to pull some shenanigans with the energy input side of things. Remember those workarounds I mentioned in the introductory section? This is where those come into play. I'll give you a few examples of ways to rig the energy in >= energy out system so you can have all the crazy magic fun you want while remaining in the realm of realistic magic, but it's by no mean an exhaustive list.

    Workarounds for Conservation of Energy (open)
    The God(s) Did It method, as I like to call it, is a simple one. Gods are beings that exist outside of the bounds of physics, which is totally fine in a work of fantasy even if you're striving for realistic magic, so they can totally break energy rules. If a mage's power is derived from a divine source, you could say they're tapping into the divine energy pool and that's effectively infinite so all is well. However, this will effectively make the energy portion of your magic system work the same way as a fantastical one, because to regulate power level and power usage you'll probably have to say a character gets tired after a while of acting as an energy conduit for god powers. Alternatively you could set an arbitrary limit on how many spells a character can perform each day with the god-granted energy, or just randomly make the god annoyed at the pesky mortal for being so demanding and just cut them off from the holy mojo tap for a while. Whichever way you choose to go, this workaround will make your realistic magic system appear to be quite a lot less realistic on a surface level.

    The Fantasy Material method is also pretty simple. Essentially what you do with this workaround is you create some fantasy material that is the source of magic power in your world. You could use something like crystals that are just the solidified form of magic power itself, of you could have some kind of metal mined from deep in the earth, or you could even have something like super special fruits that grant magic power. Whatever form it takes, this fantasy material is just chock full of magical energy and a mage just needs to touch it or consume it to take in its power and recharge their own storage of magical energy. This works just fine because it's fantasy, you're totally allowed to make up random things that exist, and if mithril and such can exist without question then so too can magical uranium. With this workaround the method of regulating magic power will be to regulate the supply of the fantasy material and place some guidelines on how much of that material equals a certain amount of magical energy. You can be a bit vague here, but keep things as close to realistic as you can manage; if 1 unit of magic material can create a single fireball, then it should definitely not be enough to open a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon under an enemy's army, for instance.

    The Vampire method might appeal to some. There's a lot of mysticism and superstitious thought about there being some mysterious power inherent in life itself, so you could take advantage of that and use the generally acknowledged concept as the basis for your magical power. Call it the soul, the spirit, whatever, have your mages devour them to gain their power. Alternatively you could go with a slightly more tame version of generic life energy and have that gained by just consuming blood (thus the method's name), because people also generally accept the idea of supernatural powers inherent in blood. The regulating methods here would be similar to the Fantasy Material ones of determining how much of the source of power is worth how much actual magical output, plus you've got the ability to decide which life forms provide this power in what amounts, how exactly it has to be gathered, and how available the supply will be.

    The Mr. Freeze method, AKA Exploiting Thermodynamics For Fun And Profit, is a method I just came up with off the top of my head, and if I can think of weird things that work for realistic magic then so can you. Heat is a form of energy, and this method would be a mage simply stealing that energy from his or her surroundings (thus making it very cold around them) in order to fuel their magic. It would require a bit of shenanigans, specifically by way of saying mages can somehow steal thermal energy in their vicinity because reasons, but that's not really a big stretch for a world where people can do magic in the first place and the lack of rock solid logic has never been a problem for fantasy before so that's fine. The issue with this method would be regulating how much magical juice the thermal energy would give them, but it comes with the fun side effect of mages being able to give themselves hypothermia and frostbite and even the chance to freeze to death if they try to use too much magic in a short period of time.

    The Pseudoscience method, AKA Mages Are Actually Organic Nuclear Power Plants, is another one I've just come up with, this one as I was writing up the Fantasy Material method. I've never seen anything like it actually used before, but it could totally work in a realistic magic system. Basically the idea here is that what makes mages special and able to do magic is that their body possesses some abnormal organ or process that does nuclear fission or fusion reactions in the body and transforms the released nuclear energy into magical energy. This would suffer the same regulatory problems as the God(s) Did It method, but instead of the divine intervention to keep things sane you could instead say that a mage that pushes too hard too fast ends up with radiation poisoning or parts of their insides exploded due to destructive nuclear reactions. Science is fun.

    Conservation of Matter

    The law of conservation of matter states that matter is neither created nor destroyed, it is simply moved around or transformed. Sounds familiar, right? That's because it's very closely related to conservation of energy. This one is very simple though, so it'll be short. In a realistic magic system, things cannot just be created out of nothing. Fireballs can slide by since those can be viewed (incorrectly, but that's fine) as just balls of thermal energy. However, something like poofing a piece of wood into existence would not work. Manipulating things that exist would be totally fine, even to the point of taking something like sand and manipulating it to transform it into a piece of wood somehow, but flat out creation is just not viable if you want magic to be at all realistic. This also goes for totally making things magically stop existing: smashing, burning, or disintegrating it is fine, but you can't have things completely disappear from existence or else that's matter being destroyed.

    The only real workaround here is to bullshit the system with gods. Gods are overpowered and can hypothetically do anything, physics be damned, so they can create matter and not really break your realistic magic system.

    Newton's Laws of Motion

    There are three of these here laws courtesy of Newton, but the first two come down to super simple common sense things that won't require a lot of thought or effort.

    The first law is commonly defined as "objects at rest tend to stay at rest, objects in motion tend to stay in motion." This is just inertia at work, and it's not likely to matter much for your magic system. Basically what this is saying is that something will stay still if no outside force acts upon it, and something will stay moving in the same direction and at the same speed so long as no outside force acts upon it. Gravity and wind resistance are outside forces that can affect moving objects, so you can maybe try to take those into account for spells being thrown long distance, maybe by having mages throw spells in an upward arc to hit a long distance target for the same reasons that archers don't just point the arrow at the target and fire, but it's not a big deal if you don't worry about this law of motion at all.

    The second law is commonly defined by its simplest equation: "force equals mass times acceleration." In layman's terms, this means that the force required to move an object depends on its mass and how fast you want it to go. The heavier something is, the more force is required to move it; the faster you want something to move, the more force required to move it at that speed. This is why firing a 9mm bullet requires only a tiny amount of gunpowder and such to be shot at very fast speeds, whereas a six pound cannon ball takes literally pounds of gunpowder to fire at almost the same speed... at least until these first two laws of motion come into play and the greater mass of the cannon ball plus the more powerful wind resistance it would face make it slow down much faster and travel a lesser distance than the bullet. The practical application of this law in a realistic magic system is simple: more magical force should be required to lift heavier things, and more magical force should be required to make something move faster.

    The third law of motion is commonly defined as "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Explaining this one in simpler terms isn't really going to happen, because that definition is pretty basic already, but it should be clarified that the action and reaction are forces acting upon physical objects. Consider the simple example of sitting on a bench. You exert a force (that of gravity pulling your mass toward the center of the Earth) upon it, but it doesn't just collapse or break due to that force (unless it's a pretty crappy bench, I guess). The reason for this is that it exerts an equal and opposite force against the force of your weight, thus balance is achieved and it doesn't break and you don't get shoved upward off the bench. However, if too much force is applied to one of the objects, then it can indeed break. For example, let's say a guy punches two walls. The first wall is plain old drywall with nothing behind it where he punches, and he exerts enough force to break the drywall without really noticing the opposing force. The second wall is concrete, and he punches it with more force than his bones can handle, so the equal and opposite force from the wall breaks his puny bones whilst the wall remains unmarred (except for some blood probably). Explaining why exactly this stuff happens would require a whole lecture about how atoms work and how they bond with one another and the forces involved there and so on. If you want that kind of info, go look up lectures on Newton's laws of motion, preferably ones with experimental examples because those are always fun.

    Anyway, this third law is the big one that ought to impact a realistic magic system. Taking the example I teased in the section where I extolled the virtues of realistic magic, let's say we've got a wind mage who wants to give someone a very personalized flight to the other side of the country. In a magic system that ignores physics this mage would just dramatically point their hand at the target in a menacing way, shoot a blast of wind at the target, and bye bye goes the target with nothing happening to the mage other than a sense of great satisfaction and maybe some dramatic robe flapping in the wind action. In a realistic magic system, that mage just exerted HUGE force from their hand, so there should be an equal and opposite reaction. Y'know how there's a lot of recoil when firing a gun? A similar principle should apply here, and our smug wind mage should be sent flying back in the opposite direction of the hapless target. The same ought to go for any magic used that generates large forces from the caster toward a target, from throwing fireballs to hurling rocks to whatever else you can think of.

    There isn't exactly a comprehensive workaround for this one other than ignoring that it exists. Mages aren't always going to be knocked around by their own spells if you do choose to make use of Newton's third law though. They could cast some kind of encasing shield around them to dispel the force over a greater area and maybe only push them back a bit, or they could make themselves much heavier for a few moments (perhaps by encasing themselves in rock or making gravity much stronger in the area right around them, whatever works) to prevent it. If they use a staff to case magic, they could plant the butt of it in the ground so that the force just shoves the staff hard into the ground. You can also simply limit magic users to only casting kinda smaller spells, like no throwing thousands of pounds of rock or summoning personal hurricane winds, meaning they'd only get pushed back a little for throwing stuff with less force. However you want to make it work, honestly this one comes down more to being a flavor thing than being intrinsically required for your magic to operate realistically.

    Miscellaneous Other Bits of Realism

    There are things that you can add in for a greater sense of realism that don't require laws of physics to explain. For example, when casting fire magic, why is it that the caster and their clothes and such never get burned by it in most magic systems? The heat of the fire should cause some damage before it gets tossed away at an opponent. Or how about earth mages opening up chasms in the earth that drop enemies into the abyss but they are not affected by that at all? That should cause some localized earthquake action at the very least. How come magical plagues never seem to affect the one who created or released them? Why is it that summoning a lightning storm does bad stuff to enemies and unsuspecting trees but never gets out of control and zaps the mage or their pals? Why is it that someone with superhuman speed never runs into things that they're rushing toward faster than they ought to able to process? How come someone teleporting to another place never randomly gets stuck in a wall or other people?

    Basically anything about magic that has ever made you think "wait, why doesn't it work like in real life?" or "why doesn't this ever go wrong?" can fall under this nice little catch all section. All you've got to do is think of them and then decide that those bits of reality and failure can happen in your system and you're all set.


    That's really all there is to making a magic system realistic. You can have all sorts of crazy fantastical stuff happen, it's just a matter of minimizing how many unrealistic things you dismiss with "it's magic, it just works that way." Picking and choosing which parts of physics apply to your magic system is a good way to customize things, because despite my dismissive tone in the little introductory bit, seriously, it's MAGIC~! You can get away with only using a little bit of realistic magic elements if you feel like it, and I doubt anyone will care unless you implement it poorly. Magic is a pretty flexible tool, use it as you wish. This workshop is just a guideline for some new things you can try, not a mandate for how magic ought to work.

    And finally, if you want some examples of more or less realistic magic systems in action, check out the systems used in the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson and the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher; neither of them are great at the conservation of energy bit, but they do follow the laws of motion rather nicely.
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  2. 8D I love it when magic seems plausible, it helps story immersion tenfold; excellent guide.
  3. I really think a more general way to say this is:
    Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.

    In essence, the usefulness of a system is NOT in how well it implements realistic physics, but in how well the reader understands the system. If allow magic to violate the thermodynamic laws, that doesn't make it a bad magical system, as long as the reader will be able to

    Really, when thinking about systemic magic, Sanderson's Three Laws are great:
    Sanderson’s First Law: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
    Sanderson's Second Law: Limitations > Powers
    Sanderson's Third Law: Expand before Adding.

    Of course, that's systemic magic, or "Hard" magic as Sanderson describes it. On the other hand it is possible to have magic that is not well explained, does not have clear rules, and still works well in the story by simply making it window dressing and not central to the plot. I don't really want to post a novel here, and I would just be quoting other, more eloquent writers, so I will simply direct anyone interested to the references below, specifically Sanderson's First Law and The Great Magic Debate.

    Sanderson's First Law (blog post)
    Sanderson's Second Law (blog post)
    Sanderson's Third Law (blog post)
    The Great Magic Debate (blog post)
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  4. I really love how Tamora Pierce handles magic in her books (Tortall and Magic Circle). For some it's a tap on their life, if they use too much for too long they will die. For others they have so much power that it is awe-inspiring, but they have trouble doing simple things (example: Numair, one of the greatest wizards to ever live, can turn a person into a tree using a "word of power" and it may leave him drained and recovering for days, but he will be fine; however, Numair cannot use magic to light a candle or start a fire in a hearth without melting said candle or causing the hearth to explode). When dealing with shape-shifting and learning how, Daine has a very hard time learning how to stop being the animals she becomes. And for some truly great and terrible works of magic, the characters only achieve said magical goals because they are aided by their gods.
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  5. This is actually suprisingly helpful.

    M = Magic

    S = Science

    M + S = fun
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  6. I've been saying magic should be realistic for years and even developed my own complicated-as-fuck system for realistic magic, but I'll only comment on this part right here.

    The truth is, Science directly means the study of the world around us. Why should magic be realistic? Because assume you are in a world with magic, magic would be around you, which would mean you can study it, which would mean magic would, in itself, be a science of its own. I used this principle to adjust my system, once you decide magic is a special form of impossible science, you can start to play around with more ideas. It's not that the laws of physics govern magic so much as magic is in itself a part of those laws.

    Maybe I'm just thinking too hard.
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  7. There are two systems for magic that i think you might like as much as this workshop

    First of all, my GMing favourite, Legend of the Five Rings: in this setting we are from the samurai caste in a mythological feudal asia. There, the mages (called Shugenjas) are priests thought to hear and chat with the elements, being they the 5 of the traditional asia: fire, water, earth, wind, and Void.

    Shugenjas don't cast magic. They are simply people that is heard by the spirits of the elements, or Kami. Every kind of Kami has it's own ways and Shugenjas are thought the ways of the Kamis, prayers and meditations the kamis like. Every spell is just the shugenja negociating with the kamis so they act as he wishes.

    A shugenja can cast just certain amount of spells every day, based on how much they are respected by the kamis: water kamis ask to be tamed by those perceptive and physically strong.
    Earth kamis can be comanded more by those resilient and determined.
    Fire kamis are comamded by those intelligent and quick on their feet, and finally wind kamis ask their "employers" to be charismatic and gracile.
    The void kami is different for he asks only that the shugenja reaches the harmony, because void is every element, and none.

    The other system i love and it's magnificent is the one of Mage the ascention. The idea is that all the laws of physichs don't work because they are, but they all work because people belive in them. A mage sees this and understands that reality is a lie, and so they alter reality for it is nothing, truly.

    They can do nothing, but they belive they do, and their will is so strong, it can change reality for it is the idea a million little wills have. To do magic, you just have to belive... And know what you're doing.

    Some reference: [Let's Study: Mage: the Ascension] Part 2: Setting
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  8. The magic system used in the Mage games by White Wolf, is based on postmodern philosophy (Belief shapes the universe). Which makes for a good narrative, but doesn't actually make for a systemic way to handle magic. Which is why Mage then has a number of types of mages who all apply their postmodern viewpoint differently.

    As far as L5R goes, it's a rather fun card game with a very nice setting and mythology, but again I don't consider it a realistic magic system or a highly systemized one.

    If I'm looking for a "real" magic system then I want something that produces understandable effects from what the reader knows. Not something that produces deus-ex-machina on demand. On the other hand, a magic system need not be "realistic" or follow a system, but in that case it will just be a narrative tool of "this works this way this time because I an the author/GM/creator" and not "this is a logical extrapolation of uses you already know."
  9. Couple ideas I wanted to suggest before I throw in my attempt at the idea.

    Idea #1: Entropy is the irreversible decay of energy into its lowest quantum state (excluding quantum tunnelling), also referred to as the transformation from an orderly system (minimum entropy) to a chaotic system (maximum entropy). Perhaps in a realistic magic system, a mage would still need to gain magic energy as it naturally ebbs away due to entropy.

    Idea #2: Dark Energy and the Higgs field are theoretically all-pervasive fields of energy and natural parts of the universe. Perhaps in a realistic magic system, magic is a similar energy field or a fundamental force that permeates throughout all of spacetime. This can bring up some interesting questions such as whether there is a force-carrier particle for magic or not, if humans are the only species capable of magic or if certain alien races can use it as well, or even how we'd detect it through non-magical means. I once wrote a story (It's in my scraps folder right now) about the development of a new branch of science devoted to the study of magic (Thaumatology) and how it brings about the Magitek Age.

    And here's my version of the scientific magic system as it appears in a series I'm writing, with a bit of lore as well

    Magic relies on multiple factors. It requires a medium, energy, and a conduit. The Medium is the form that the Conduit channels the Energy into and manipulates. An example would be casting a water spell. Mages aren't so much batteries of magic as they are channellers of it, so they would need to draw in magic energy from their environment to use. When casting the water spell, the environment itself does play a part in the spell's various qualities. Magic is affected by entropy, but in a different way in that it is only affected when it is actively being channelled as part of a spell, which can result in unusable magic from a spell that uses the available magic, as opposed to how normal energy decays even when not actively being used. In an area that Mages have frequently used magic in, the amount of used magic outbalances the usable magic, thus meaning the water spell would be fairly weak already. Areas largely untapped by Mages have a very high amount of usable magic, thus meaning the water spell can be very strong already. However, the non-magical part also affects the strength of the water spell. A desert would only allow one to manipulate trace amounts of humidity with the water spell, even if it was a desert with high amounts of usable magic. A shore or forest would have a much larger amount of water to manipulate, even in an area of mostly used magic.

    Humans are capable of manipulating magic due to a genetic mutation that can be traced back to the Homo Erectus species in what was previously assumed to be "Junk DNA." This mutation can result in the body building a specific type of cell referred to as a Thaumocyte that repurposes the epidermis to function like a solar panel for magic, absorbing magic and transferring it into an energy molecule that is stored for later usage. Certain life-forms from other groups such as protista, flora, and even other fauna are sensitive to magic and some have evolved to make a very limited usage of it. Scientists had recently discovered and revived a Giant Virus with the same genes found in the Thaumocyte that they think might have been what gave the Homo Erectus the genes in question through infection and heredity

    Moving out of biology, Magic, despite its fantastically specific properties in relation to life, is still the Fifth Fundamental Force of Nature, and has prompted revisions to the Standard Model to account for this newly discovered force. Much like how Electromagnetism is mediated by the Photon and Gravity is (theoretically) mediated by the Graviton, Magic is mediated by a boson with the placeholder name of M-boson. When a magic user casts a spell, they are using M-bosons that interact with baryonic matter by forming covalent bonds, which makes a state of matter currently referred to as Thaumic Matter. This form of matter acts like programmable matter for the mind, responding to commands and acting accordingly. This has led some Thaumatology circles to theorize that magic may be responsible either for life or for thoughts. As Magic is likewise affected by entropy, these same circles believe that if we use up all usable magic in a system, all life would go extinct in the system. However, something unique about Magic is that it is only affected by entropy only when being used as Thaumic Matter, leading some to suggest that pure Magic is the key to surviving the Heat Death of the Universe.
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  10. Ummmm just going to point out that if you want to make magic more "real" there is this thing called Arcane which is literally the studies of mystical arts aka magic.
    It straight down is pretty much a way to introduce a science field on magic <__________<

    All you need then is to introduce a new set of rules that can interfere or change the known physical laws as we know them.
    Make the energies that are involved with magic (mostly known as Mana) Observable.
    Then add in how this would influence your world and viola realistic magic right in the world you created. O____O
    It isn't that hard.
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  11. Ok, building further from this:
    As Silvir mentioned, what you all are reffering/reaching for seems to be some branch in arcane studies of magic, as what you apparently want to put in the shame-corner is something often called "mystical magic".
    (Not to be confused with divine forces, because please, keep the poor gods out of this. They might use magic, or they might not, doesn't really make a difference regarding the conceptual discussion.)
    This kind of magic does not seem to follow any arcane rules, or it might even refuse to be studied properly (though it is more than likely it is due to the researchers ignorant eyes), but nonetheless it should not be confused with the former version of magic that you have decided you want in your story. I feel I might not want to take the discussion regarding the subparts as such but more argue about the broader picture.

    Now, arcane magic is very often used in known fantasy works as you have mentioned, like dresden files, mistborn, wheel of time, shannara and so on and so forth. Some honorable mentions are the Kingslayer trilogy, which makes its mages convince the world that it works differently. Nick Perumovs fantasy series Keeper of the swords, where he should be saluted for showing a much broader spectrum of dimensions and worlds than most other authors. Now, a special example is one of David Eddings series, the belgariad, which contain mystical magic, that follows more scientific laws of cause and effect than most of the arcane stories I have seen.

    But back to the issue at hand, if you want to science up your magic system, don't be too eager to implement it into actual science and physical laws, because then it is more than likely to become something used in SF, mental powers (or any other name which you would rather prefer to use). And you could always do like STAR WARS, take a lovely vague mystical magic and turn it on its head to make some disgusting SF-magic field spread across the galaxy far far away...

    Regarding something that has been brought up a couple of times, the case of "creating something out of nothing"... there is no such thing, I am completely serious here, there is not anything that is created out of nothing. Be it only the simple thought to create it. And answering the immediate problem with how much energy that thought just made real, well, ideas have power. But I'm getting off topic.

    Something to remember is that most magic systems assume that the writer already has a general understanding of how magic systems tend to work, and what is possible within them. The reason for OP-fuckups is more often than not the fault of the writers bad interpretation of the storys magic-system rather than the system itself, even if some GMs tend to be very lax with explaining said system, perhaps hoping for the writers to know some restraint and shame.
  12. You were clearly asleep when writing this Lithel xD
  13. -insert typical "technology becomes magic when it seems to break our social barriers of what seems possible, and what seems not" response-
  14. I've had some rather interesting thoughts into the whole Teleportation idea; It just won't work.
    At all.

    Not in any Sci-Fi or Fantasy setting will Teleportation ever be possible, not without killing the person who teleported, and whoever was standing around him at the time of his teleportation.
    Teleportation, -for those that need the definition,- is the act of taking one object or creature and changing their location from hither, to tither, almost always being instantaneous in time.

    Your body is a hunk of matter bonded by means and reasons I feel not motivated to explain or repeat, and if you were to "teleport" away, what happens to your mass? What of the spot where you used to be? Your destination?

    Person A teleports out of the room, and person B, C, and D are suddenly all dead and blown to bits while person A suddenly drops dead at the end of their teleport, maybe looking just a little bit bloated. Why?
    Well, for example, you can use a certain video I can't find that shows what happens when you fire a bullet under water recorded by a super slow-mo camera. The bullet, as it parted the water, created small mini implosions that would expand outward as the bullet pushed the water away, collapsing in on itself time and time again as it slowly lost that energy.
    I emphasize this; It expanded outward, then collapsed into the space, again and again, producing sound and light, and no doubt some form of force.

    All space is filled up with matter, matter takes up space, yada yada.
    Where person A just teleported from, their body matter which was there just moments ago is suddenly gone, and now you have a huge human-sized gaping hole where that person used to be.
    Now, imagine that same mini implosion caused by a 9mm bullet.
    Now imagine that implosion the size as a person.
    In open air.
    With no water buffer.

    The result would probably be equal to setting off five mini nukes in your own kitchen.
    Anybody standing near your would probably be sucked in and obliterated. And even if they survived, they would be blinded, cooked like bacon, or deafened completely.
    Energy most commonly comes into forms of motion, heat, and light. And let's not forget about sound, either!
    Maybe my facts are mixed up with mass and all that, but this is me.
    I'm a librarian, I don't do smart stuffs.

    Take a light bulb. Stare at it.
    Bright, right?
    The inside of a light bulb is completely airless, everything sucked out in order to expand the life span of your thread of wire thousands of times more than what you would get if you let it sing with electricity in open air.
    After teleportation, the resulting implosions would probably be like setting off a "I AM THE SUN!" flash bang.
    Multiples times.
    Femtoseconds away from each other. A femtosecond is the SI unit of time equal to 1015 or1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of a second. That is one quadrillionth, or one millionth of one billionth, of a second.
    Or so says Google.

    I couldn't find anything that explained light in a very detailed way, how your eyes react to it, but.
    All it takes is 80 lumens to blind a person, most household lights produce around 60 lumens.
    Sure, if you stare into it long enough you see a odd discoloration and can't see for a while, but that's because of 1, you were looking into the bloody light. And 2, it's not that powerful.
    Referring to above, imagine being directly next to a sun-like light bulb.
    In an enclosed room.
    Say night night to your eyes.

    If you ever want a nice barbecue, just teleport! Heat is most always caused by friction, which is the rubbing of two objects together to produce a bit of warmth. The heat caused by your space heater is actually the electricity struggling to pass through the coils, lines, or whatever. Friction!
    There is a small crab which I also can't remember the name of that can close its claw to fast it produces a mini implosion under water and can produce temperatures as hot as the sun.
    Now, imagine that claw the size of a human.
    Oh yeah, we're eatin' good tonight.

    You can make a pretty loud sound by clapping your hands, maybe even making your ears ring and your hands sting a little bit.
    Take the size of a human body and mash it together at a speed faster than light, and I'm sure you could imagine how loud that would be.
    I won't go into the specifics as to what sounds are, but more or less they are vibrations. And I'm certain several powerful implosions in a short manner of time makes a lot of vibrations.
    "150 decibels is usually considered enough to burst your eardrums, but the threshold for death is usually pegged at around 185-200 dB. A passenger car driving by at 25 feet is about 60 dB, being next to a jackhammer or lawn mower is around 100 dB, a nearby chainsaw is 120 dB. Generally, 150 dB (eardrum rupture) is only achieved if you stand really close to a jet aircraft during take-off or you’re near an explosive blast."
    Things clapping together, as we've all discovered, can make very loud sounds. I would go into detail with this manner, but I simply just don't know how to.
    I could only know that those in close proximity to the refined person A would be killed instantly, and eardrums blown to smithereens hundreds of meters away.

    Now there is also the cause of all these coming together, the implosion of the surrounding matter in order to fill the space that was just vacated. I could only imagine an unlucky bystander being sucked into the spot, being mushed into pancakes and sugar sprinkles instantly.
    It might be like opening a black hole for a quarter of a second on a much, much smaller scale.

    But, Miki! Why did person A suddenly DIE?!

    Well, that can be quite easy to explain.
    It's the complete opposite of where they used to be, instead of leaving space to implode in on itself, suddenly you're appearing where there is already matter present.

    Two things could happen from this, with my thinking.

    One; The resulting conflicts would 'poison' you worse than sodium cyanide. The only thing you take in from the air is a small amount of oxygen filtered from what you breath with your lungs, everything else is just purged back outward.
    But now, suddenly, all that air is now cramped into your body and between the atoms holding you together. I'm certain this would produce some very strange complications worthy of any mad scientist. Organs would burst or fail, your brain would just fart and turn to mush, maybe your eyes will turn into candy?

    And two; ANOTHER mini nuke. If the person does not merge with the surrounding matter, then there is only one place for it to go.
    The force from person A's sudden appearance would cause an explosion equal to, or greater than that of the initial implosion, surely with the same results. The chances of them not being effected are probably quite slim, it might be like putting on and flipping the switch to a jacket full of C-4.

    That's all I can really recall on the art of Teleportation, but just remember.
    Don't do it at home.
    Don't do it if you want to live.
    Don't do it if you like your house.
    Don't do it near your buddies.
    Don't do it.
    #15 Miki, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
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  15. @Miki that is a very interesting take on teleportation, but unfortunately you're a bit off on one key point and there is a very easy way to make teleportation work without any of the problems you described.

    The force of the implosion caused by a person vanishing from a spot ans leaving the air to rush in to fill the void would not be anywhere near equivalent to an explosion. The things you described in the wake of a bullet being fired into water looks so impressive and devastating precisely because it was in water, which is far denser than air. Air displacement happens all the time and there aren't any horrible side effects unless it's absolutely massive in scale, like in the wake of an actual nuke being used. There's nothing more than a cracking sound of air collapsing in the wake of a 9mm bullet fired through the air, and what little force is created isn't even enough to crack nearby windows, much less kill things. The air displacement from a person vanishing would be more extreme, but not enough to do real damage. If it worked that way then the first catapult ever used would have exploded from the air rushing in to fill the void left behind the boulder.

    The simple solution here is to make teleportation not a one way thing. By this I mean instead of just sending a person or object to another location, make it so at the same time whatever matter is in the destination gets teleported to fill that air void that would otherwise be left behind. Boom, no air displacement, no catastrophic merging of matter.
    #16 Jorick, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
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  16. @Jorick

    I should remind myself not to make crazy statements while on the verge of passing out.

    Five mini nukes was a product of my imagination and several other energy drinks that were coursing through my veins. But I do agree on that part. If there was a way to switch their placements, it would work out pretty well, no?
    The immediate proximity will probably FEEL like that, I suppose that's the whole deal with the water. But then again you remind me that things disperse very nicely in open air. The demonstration I mentioned involved a bullet being fired beneath the waters surface, not into it.
    Now if you were to take the pentagon and teleport that, I think that would produce results more along to my standards.

    I'm probably leaning more toward science than Magic, but I can't but help to scratch my head as to how that would be.
    Maybe it may be possible to send matter thousands (or even inches?) to an alternate location instantly, without being under the influence of anything. But how does it get there? Simply a non-conspicuous poof and the two are swapped?
    Do they travel the distance? How does matter not get lost or replaced by something else.
    I don't know about you, but I'd rather not appear on the other side of Tokyo was a piece of boat anchor as a left hand, a very confused sailor over yonder about why his anchor is suddenly gross and meaty.
    We're not developed enough as a species to grasp it. We haven't even mastered our own planet, so we have quite a long way to go before running amok as gods.
    IF, we reach such atonement.
  17. What if I wanted to teleport and so what I did was open a portal, akin to a wormhole, the exact shape of my body and whatever happens to be on it, and do the same at a destination. The wormhole is opened instantly and matter is transferred from A to B and B to A instantly because that's kind of how that crap is supposed to work if my basic understanding of wormholes is correct. Perfectly safe assuming you know the location where you're teleporting too, which I could achieve with scrying or another type of magic that's more easily explained.

    But you're talking about making magic realistic when it isn't a real thing, so of course there are going to be limitations on what an individual might be able to grasp, whereas another might lack the knowledge of or otherwise not care about specific real world rules that would inhibit their magic from being possible.
  18. Yeah, I'd go the wormhole route. It makes sense scientifically (and allows time travel too), and frankly, teleporting via summoning a gateway and stepping through it looks so much more dramatic than just disappearing.