Templates Project: Spells (Compiling)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minibit, Jan 9, 2015.

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  1. curses, blessings, attacks, defences, utility, and more! Magic can do anything in a world from putting guards to sleep or tying your shoelaces for you if you use the right spell.

    Magic is a lot easier to write about and use in a story if we know how it works. In this template, let's scrutinize spells specifically, classifying a spell as anything that uses magic to accomplish something
  2. What does the spell look like when it's being cast?

    Is it very difficult to cast?

    Can this spell be learned in a book, or would it require a teacher?

    Is this spell naturally occurring the way walking and talking are?
  3. I find @Jorick's guide here an excellent base to start with. A lot of your questions revolve around the culture of and behind spellcasting rather than the spell itself. Which is, while very important for worldbuilding, a completely different subject. A complex world is best built in iterations, rather than trying to do everything at once.

    As with the other templates, I strong suggest working things from the ground up. First build the skeleton, then start working on the meat. As it stands I feel these templates are better tools for reviews than building. Which is fine in and of itself if that's your intention, but yeah.
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  4. If you feel there's other aspects that should be included, @Kestrel, please go ahead and submit questions to include :) if you want to go over some of the spell exercises and workshops and squeeze some questions out of them to post here, that'd be great, too!
  5. It's not so much my point something is lacking, it's my point that in order to build a magic system into your world it's best to go layer by layer.

    Like for example, after taking the basic template I linked to and filling it in, you can start thinking "Okay, so this is how it works." And ask questions such as to how much of said system is discovered and utilised. Like, if your world is at war it's likely that mages would prioritise the study of destructive magic, whereas in a world with limited resources they might attempt summoning rain.

    If you know how much of it is discovered and what can be done with it, this information will help you determine how much or if it's taught. If you can make tiny flames in a world where everyone can buy lighters for under a buch, it's probably not very popular. Whereas if you can save lives with white magic, every doctor and their dog would try their hand at studying it.

    If you know what it does and what it's used for, you can ask questions about the public opinion. Is it considered an every day tool, is it considered dangerous, is it considered a blessing of the gods? Each and every single one of them will affect your world differently. One makes it akin Harry Potter, accio salt and pepper, and probably has it's practice widespread. Another might have people scared of practising it, magic would be limited to an underground occult activity, with practitioners branded witches to be burned at stake. The last example might have wizards feel uppity and look down on others, using their power to elevate their status and rule over the muggles because they've been granted that 'divine' right and this position would make them want to keep the knowledge to their selves.

    Magic has many facets and can have great impact on the world, even if just one aspect changes. This is why I think it's best to do it layer by layer. AKA, if you have X information it's easier to answer Y question.
    #5 Kestrel, Jan 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  6. Although I agree with Kestrel's reservations about how magic systems are a lot more complex than just a list of spells that can be cast, I'll go ahead and add some questions for the template anyway. I won't use it, but hey, to each their own.

    What is the source of the energy used to cast this spell (caster's soul, power of the gods, human sacrifice, etc)?
    How does a magic user gather or build up the magic energy to cast this spell (concentrated effort of will, gather energy in a magic circle, prayer, etc)?
    What mental preparation or emotional state, if any, is required to cast this spell?
    What physical actions, if any, are required to cast this spell?
    Are there any negative side effects to successfully casting this spell, and if so what are they?
    Are there any negative side effects to attempting and failing to cast this spell, and if so what are they?
    How frequently can the spell be cast?
    Does the spell make any noise?
    If the spell is elemental based, do the elements behave as normal after the magic is done manipulating them or are the permanently altered in some way?
    How long does it take to cast this spell?
    If the spell creates any lasting effects (magical burning, confusion, mind control, etc.), how long do they last?
    Is the spell rigidly locked in size and scope, or can it be made bigger/smaller or affect more/fewer targets by altering some aspect of the spell casting?
    Can the spell's effects be combined with other spells to make different things happen?
    Can multiple people cast the same spell at once and combine their energy to make it more powerful?
    Is there any way for someone other than the caster to reverse or redirect this spell?
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  7. There is going to be more General 'magic' template, I just thought spells might be a simpler place to start :) a lot of how one fills out any template is going to be very contextual, we just try to cover all angles as much as possible, which is why this is a public project, so we can get multiple POVs!
  8. Is it spoken in a certain language?
    Do you have to say the spell to use it?
    If so, can it be spoken in different languages?
    What type of spell would it be classified under?
    Can it be learned by any?
    When casting the spell is there any indication of it? If so, what?
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    • Can someone cancel the spell by distracting or otherwise break concentration?
    • Is there any harmful effects on the caster after casting the spell?
    • Does releasing this mystical energy effect the environment, and if so, how?
    This is all I could think of at the moment, good job so far though!
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  9. Does the spell make a smell?
    Does the spell cause any physical sensation on the caster while it is being cast? (ie: nausea, dizziness, strength, tingling, etc)
    Where is this spell typically used? (in the home, on the battlefield, etc)
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