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supernal

What's your favorite magic system and why?

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This is partially due to "I was raised on this" bias, but I tend to like low or moderate magic systems, depending somewhat upon the overall setting.

Star Wars is one of my favorite settings, where The Force (basically space magic) is technically "present" everywhere, but mostly unseen by the bulk of the people in the Galaxy. It's presence is stronger in some places, weaker in others. Overall, most people can reasonably choose not to believe in The Force at all, since most won't encounter it personally. Those who do use it are few and far between, but can become reasonably powerful after years of grueling training and practice. I'd call Star Wars "Mid-Fantasy", though I suppose it is technically a low-powered High Fantasy. I dunno.

I also like how certain action adventure universes handle magic. Good examples would be Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and the first Pirates of the Caribbean. These are low-fantasy universes where the magic/supernatural is largely focused in artifacts or lost/fringe practices, and most of the action is still classic swordplay or gunplay. But the supernatural element adds a nice creepy vibe to the otherwise mundane setting. The problem is that series like this tend to start going too far in their sequels and they lose the magic of the original films by... ironically... adding too much magic and fantasy in the sequels.

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So for the Star Wars example in terms of “low” magic, that’s about availability (limited number of people use or are aware of it) instead of amplitude (capability of the magic)? Because I consider the ability to shoot lighting and hypnotize people to be pretty powerful stuff 

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19 minutes ago, supernal said:

So for the Star Wars example in terms of “low” magic, that’s about availability (limited number of people use or are aware of it) instead of amplitude (capability of the magic)? Because I consider the ability to shoot lighting and hypnotize people to be pretty powerful stuff 

It's more that only a tiny fraction of the populace is even capable (you must be "Force-sensitive"). And it takes years of training to be able to hone the ability to shoot lightning (only two people to use it in the movies were both old guys) or to use the mind tricks. The movies focused mainly on the Skywalker line, who were supposedly some of the most powerful force-users ever, and even they needed years to learn. That said, generally there is/was a much higher power level in the expanded universe (video games in particular), but even in the games where there are a lot more users, they're still a relatively small fraction of the population.

Ignore the current Disney crap they're putting out now. You don't learn how to mind trick people within a couple hours of discovering the Force even exists, or learn the mental focus capable of lifting huge boulders within a few days of knowing (but never meditating or training). The people making the movies now are just pushing stupid agendas and not really giving a shit about how the lore was constructed.

Anyway, so in summary: The number of magic-users in Star Wars is very low (there were only a few hundred, maybe a few thousand Jedi at any given time, in a Galaxy of billions of people), and the Force is difficult and time-consuming to hone, but you can be pretty powerful if you live long enough to reach your potential.

Edited by Tyler

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I have two!

The First:

I don't know that it is technically 'magic' but I've always been partial to the Avatar 'bending' system.

A very specific, but flexible power set which can only be learned by the talented (of which there are many) and has some sort of regional or ethnic specificity. 

It's relatively 'low tier' in terms of actual power, save for an exceptional few - and it leaves enough room for tribal or regional specialties, taboos, and 'rule breakers' like Sand Bending, Metal Bending and Blood Bending.

The Second:

Warhammer Magic. Exceedingly dangerous, potentially mind warping and poorly understood.

Causes damage to the world by inducing impossibility on it, ripping at the very fabric of reality to produce it's effects.

Users are either highly trained and heavily regulated or utter mad men.

Harsh feedback for over using, but can allow users to do incredible feats if they are willing to accept that feedback. 

 

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44 minutes ago, The Rabbit Emperor said:

The First:

I don't know that it is technically 'magic' but I've always been partial to the Avatar 'bending' system.

A very specific, but flexible power set which can only be learned by the talented (of which there are many) and has some sort of regional or ethnic specificity. 

It's relatively 'low tier' in terms of actual power, save for an exceptional few - and it leaves enough room for tribal or regional specialties, taboos, and 'rule breakers' like Sand Bending, Metal Bending and Blood Bending.

In its ability to effect / do things beyond the natural capabilities of the real world I’d consider it magic. They may not be doing spells but they’re definitely throwing fireballs and ice walls 

And the lightning. Let us never forget the lightning 

I really like this one too! The limitation of a single element and then the creativity within that element. People learn cetain “katas” and fundamentals and then beyond that are expected to apply some ingenuity to how those powers manifest. It’s the difference between early Azula and Zuko; the ability was inherited by both but one of them was prodigal with it. Cross-disciplines are interesting too, not at the multi-element avatar level but how Uncle was able to learn to redirect lighting by studying water bending 

On that note it isn’t a purely learning kind of system. There does seem to be some inheritance at play. And it doesn’t always go down to the children - see Katara and Sokka. But once latent it still needs to be trained to be practical as a skill / ability 

I’m putting my eggs in this basket 

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Favorite magic system? I've always loved Skyrim magic and how it involves playstyles. Normally magic isn't done by most races in Skyrim but in the College of Winterhold we have a Khajiit, a Nord, and an Orc there too. Skyrim's magic is definitely based on what the character is and does. Necromancy being a 'bad' and is normally seen done by enemies and only two followers, one a vampire and the other a Daedra worshipper. Summons like, atronachs, are useful for a person who wants to not die immediately and take the focus off them and the kind of atronach is based on style too with storm being the most versatile one. Bound weapons are a neat idea for those who want to do magic but still hammer down on the enemy with a 'weapon'. 

I could go on and on about the different things but as a person who loves Skyrim's magic I love that the variety of magic can be used by playstyle and can only be acquired through normal means when you're proficient enough in the magic tree. So if you're a pure mage who wears robes and you don't use flesh magic to up your defenses but constantly use destruction and conjuration than you might be in a bit of trouble later on. Sure you can shoot a literal lightning bolt from your fingertips and summon an army of atronachs but what happens if you blindsided by a bandit chief. Well then you just took a lot of damage because you're focused more on damage yourself.

In other words I like that Skyrim offers a means of roleplaying a necromancer or whatever but the only way to get the spells you need are to progress through the magic tree. Do you focus one over the other? Do you go alchemy and buy ingredients for health potions or do you go restoration? Do you go armored gauntlets and boots or go alteration? Do you run away or use illusion? Sword or destruction? Follower or conjuration? Going one or the other unlocks more for your character but to be a pure magic user in Skyrim is definitely to be a wizard yourself.

Edited by SteamWarden

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Im still a hardcore fan of how old-Ayenee handled magic. The old Tier of Supremacy (T.O.S System) and Sphere of Supremacy System (S.O.S System) made things very simple as far as what trumped what, outside of that it was just broken down based on origin...

Alchemy

Black Magic

Necromancy

Spell Casting/Enchantment

Summoning

Sorcery 

 

Simplistic pillars of the practice, combined with the two systems made magic not only very user friendly but power scaled it efficiently as well.

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6 minutes ago, supernal said:

What’s the difference between sorcery and spell casting? And necromancy and black magic? 

I know in some instances it can all probably be put under the same umbrella as just plain ol magic but, at least back in the day they all stood out enough for differences to give them their own individuality.

 

Black Magic - Dark Arts, or forbidden arts, typically anything that had DIRE consequences or called for taboo circumstances to be met in order to bring about the fruition of the power sought was deemed "Black Magic". More often then not these arts were among the most powerful and most sought out instances among mages, sorcery and so forth because of the amount of power, range, influence ect these arts had.

Spell Casting - Was always a  form of magic utilized only through speaking certain rites, or phrases. Envoking the forces of mysticism into action through proper verbage. Rune usage, magic through using outside elements or things not normally associated or of the casters personal innates typically fell under this category.

Sorcery - At least by my understanding as always been a casters ability to manipulate, harness, absorb, utilize or store vast quantities of mystical ENERGY for their own personal use.  Their efficiency came from utilizing raw mystical energy and shaping it for the purpose of carrying out goals and objectives, still, that vast quantity of raw mystical energy could be stored within themselves or harnessed from an external source. THrough sorcery an adept could transmute raw mystical energy for a various number of functions that others such as spell casters could ONLy accomplish by envoking a higher being.

Necromancy: Focuses specifically on forces controlling the dead, who inadvertingly may be controlling what few people among the living they can reach or contact and facilitate their goals.

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I've always been fond of the intricacies of every mafic system, but I lean more towards how the magic system influences its world. Like how the Force turns Star Wars into a battle between good and evil, or the bending in Avatar where the benders live in the environment familiar to their respective elements. Bonus to Avatar for implementing their elements principles or qualities into the benders way of living. A trope I've always liked about magic systems.

🤔 A good example I alway fall into would be the Sanderson novels, notably Warbreaker. Here the magic starts with the "Breath" which exists in every person.

The "Breath" is something simar to a soul which gives color to a person's life.

A "Breath" be given to another once a person says the magic words.

The more "Breath" the person has the more complex magic he can use.

This means anyone can become a practitioner of Magic provided someone is willing to give up their "Breath" for them.

Losing one's "Breath" turns a person into a "Drab" a state similar to the "Tranquil" in Dragon's Age, someone who only sees grey in the world, having no drive, ambition or pleasure, with only apathy left within them.

With that set onto the world itself, there is this empire wihich thrives on the "Breath" itself and is fully of vibrant colors and hedonism. Here, slavery is also rampant with "Drabs" being treated as lower class citizen. It's rather common for a persom to acquire another's "Breath" through conning or more forceful means.

Then there are the independent states outside the empire who have this "Drab"-like religion where they live a life of simplicity and away from worldly pleasures something similar to say a Buddhist or the Abnegation in Hunger Games.

Edited by Thotification

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13 hours ago, Thotification said:

I've always been fond of the intricacies of every mafic system, but I lean more towards how the magic system influences its world. Like how the Force turns Star Wars into a battle between good and evil, or the bending in Avatar where the benders live in the environment familiar to their respective elements. Bonus to Avatar for implementing their elements principles or qualities into the benders way of living. A trope I've always liked about magic systems.

🤔 A good example I alway fall into would be the Sanderson novels, notably Warbreaker. Here the magic starts with the "Breath" which exists in every person.

The "Breath" is something simar to a soul which gives color to a person's life.

A "Breath" be given to another once a person says the magic words.

The more "Breath" the person has the more complex magic he can use.

This means anyone can become a practitioner of Magic provided someone is willing to give up their "Breath" for them.

Losing one's "Breath" turns a person into a "Drab" a state similar to the "Tranquil" in Dragon's Age, someone who only sees grey in the world, having no drive, ambition or pleasure, with only apathy left within them.

With that set onto the world itself, there is this empire wihich thrives on the "Breath" itself and is fully of vibrant colors and hedonism. Here, slavery is also rampant with "Drabs" being treated as lower class citizen. It's rather common for a persom to acquire another's "Breath" through conning or more forceful means.

Then there are the independent states outside the empire who have this "Drab"-like religion where they live a life of simplicity and away from worldly pleasures something similar to say a Buddhist or the Abnegation in Hunger Games.

Or forcefully gifting another your breaths in order to run the git through while the absorption process incapacitates him.

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https://hunterxhunter.fandom.com/wiki/Nen

I generally just like how they map out and explain their use of "magic". Especially for the way the system pushes give and take. Abilities increase in strength based on the sacrifice ones willing to give. For instance one character, wagers his life on his "ultimate technique". Should he ever use it against the sworn targets its meant for, he would die.

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4 minutes ago, Twitterpated said:

https://hunterxhunter.fandom.com/wiki/Nen

I generally just like how they map out and explain their use of "magic". Especially for the way the system pushes give and take. Abilities increase in strength based on the sacrifice ones willing to give. For instance one character, wagers his life on his "ultimate technique". Should he ever use it against the sworn targets its meant for, he would die.

This is one I like a lot too!

For the uninitiated what’s one of its major principles or even a character specific application of the system that you particularly liked? 

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