What are some real word diseases, disorders, drugs, effects, etc. that interfere with a person's thinking-ability (but do not cause blackout)? I am creating a magic system in which I want to create spells that interfere with another person's ability to think clearly. These spells should mimic real world sources of mental impairment. Which is why I have tagged this question as science based.

Some off-the-top-of-my-head examples of inducing mental impairment are nausea from spinning, or poor perception from alcohol poisoning. I am not looking for an exhaustive list of things that can interfere with thinking, but a few examples of chemically induced mental impairment, and a few examples of disease induced mental impairment.

Background of my magic system as extra information:

This is extra information so you can understand why I want to interfere with someone's ability to think, but is just supplemental information.

The magic system I am creating uses willpower, imagination to power spells. So far I have come up with certain abilities; like you can heal wounds, diseases, and regrow limbs if you have a thorough understanding of how the muscles and bones are structured and how a disease works, but not if you don't. So a person's ability to think critically is crucial.

You can also “enchant” things such as shields by willing them to be much more resistant to certain things like fire, but that requires a mixture of a certain magical paste infused with an item related to your desired enchantment, or knowledge of how to restructure the shield's properties. Willing is focusing your attention and imagination onto something, and changing it methodically. Your willpower is based on your upbringing, education and discipline.

So I imagine a scenario where spellcasters battling each other hurl mind altering hexes at each other to disrupt each other's ability to focus, concentrate, remember details, etc.

(Thanks to Molot for improving my question structure)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hello and Welcome to worldbuilding Sebastian. Since this is a magic system you are developing and have done some work on, can you help us out by explaining what magical abilities are available? Blasting out pure negative energy doesn't do much if you don't tell us what negative energy is associated with. Can you also highlight you question? Because you ask at least 2 questions and then seem to imply you want us to design the magic system for you by not making spellcasters demi gods. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Nov 5 '18 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ perhaps "negative energy" enhances the ability of cortisol and such, and impairs the ability of dopamine and such, to bind to receptors? $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '18 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ Hi SebastianMorfin, and welcome to Worldbuilding! Your question is currently quite difficult to answer satisfactorily because we don't know anything about the "pure negative energy" you describe in your question. Thus, anyone can have an opinion on the topic and the question is primarily opinion-based. I've voted to put your question on hold so you have a chance to edit it with more information before you get swamped with unhelpful answers. $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Nov 5 '18 at 2:55
  • $\begingroup$ @DestructibleLemon The OP needs to clarify this for us because we can't be certain. I like magic based questions and wished there was more on WB, but magic questions are often very broad and not well phrased leaving the chosen answer to be whatever the OP had in their mind, rather than expressed in the question. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Nov 5 '18 at 3:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee no i meant that as an idea, but one which isn't detailed enough to be an answer. $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '18 at 3:44

Telekinetic ability

Hold on, let me explain... Keeping our everyday force-field magic, fireball jutsu and wand waiving aside, you might want to take this ability into consideration.

Lets break down this ability step-by-step.

Telekinetic ability, as defined by Wikipedia, is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without physical interaction. This sets a stage for so much imagination and possibility.

Imagine a human, in the dark ages, who dedicated his entire life to control water (I know, waterbending, but bear with me...) as much as he could. The steps for telekinesis is to feel the physical object before you could actually control it. So, one day, he just starts to feel all the water around him and, to his surprise, he could sense the water inside another person. After this discovery, numerous experiments were conducted to get the limits and damage that could be done by controlling this liquid( by the way, I am referring to blood). Since, then the anatomy of human body was thoroughly researched and, in this world, is the standard education for humans.

Now, lets consider this, if person A tried to control the blood flow of person B, we can easily achieve what you want and some more. But before all that, lets set some premises:

  1. Both are experienced ability users and have a very in-depth knowledge of the blood vessels and how it affects the body.
  2. Both can control the blood flow of themselves and that of others.
  3. Magic power is directly proportional to willpower.

Considering these, we can easily get to the conclusion, that, person A will try to stop or change the rate of blood flow to B's vital organs (brain, heart, etc.) and stop person B from controlling his own blood flow. This would start a war of control of blood flow. The more powerful A is from B, the more he could reduce the blood flow to his brain, the more damage that would do to his brain.

Results :
1. The stronger the willpower, more the damage to brain, hence, more effects such as hallucinations, trauma, even coma.
2. In a battle of closely matched individuals, both parties would suffer.
3. The battle time would be decided by the difference between the willpowers.

There are many more strategies and side stories that you could make about this, like how the experiments were conducted on humans to find the limits and many more such theories...

Happy building. :)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ i completely read through this, as i was busy at the time of my early comment and i have to say kutos to you. This is extremely inspiring and well thought out. Thanks a bunch :) $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '18 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ You are welcome. As this is my first answer, its really awesome to see such comments. I left out a lot of loopholes in this theory. You can easily fill these out as plot points too... ;) $\endgroup$ Nov 6 '18 at 6:35

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

If your magicians can manipulate magnetic fields, they could possibly do things such as read their target's minds, implant false images, cause pain/hearing loss/disorientation/short term memory issues or even destroy tissue by manipulating iron-carrying red blood cells.

Proximity and power output would both play key rules on what negative or positive effects the magician could create, preventing the magician from being all powerful.

  • $\begingroup$ I just want to point out that this might be a decentish explanation in some fictional work with a bit of glossing over the details, I dont know what the op wanted, assuming it's this, I don't think it's a good world building answer. You can "manipulate" magnetic fields - unknown step - you get some sort of result. The unknown step is quite complicated. It's fine that it just can be done, but then I ask myself why not skip the magnetic stuff where you can easily ruin your work unless you are an expert and assume anything can just be done $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Nov 5 '18 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 I'm pretty sure by including the word 'magic' in his title and question, that he is working on a fictional book. And the same could be said about any magic really. Why fling a fireball at someone when you could just teleport them in to outerspace? Why try to move a switch with your mind when you could just lift the stone door? Most readers don't want "this magic allows you to do anything to anyone". My answer gives a plausible sounding, and even scientifically based, solution. $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '18 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ @ColonelPanic i used the term "magic" to get some sort of understanding of what i want,(classic "i move big rock) telekinesis and manipulation of magnetic fields would be god like powers and are not what i really want to go for. Maybe deities could accomplish this but attempting to lift up a boulder with your mind would kill a human in my setting $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '18 at 17:23

You could create a 'curse' that's like a parasite in your victims neck:
It manipulates incoming electro impulses of the body to:
Lock the host out of the real world and show him pain/ an alternate reality / whatever the caster wants to do with his victim
Hope this helps :)

PS: Before someone says:"you need understand sth, before you can change it", I want to play a game with you (I'm not Jigsaw). The game's name is 'the why game'. I ask you a question of how sth works and always, when your finished I just ask 'why?'.
->You cannot explain everything. At some point you give up, most likely when I ask: "why do atoms do that", or if you're better: "why do quantum paricles do that". You say at some point: "they just do that/ it's just that way".
-> the whole Magic system cannot work on knowlegde.

  • $\begingroup$ This is an excellent idea. The analogy of the parasite means that you basically get an arcane translator "the caster's intention -> the neurological result." The fact that we don't know how the translator works in detail is circumvented by that simple analogy. I might steal that idea. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Nov 5 '18 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ i edited it if it helps $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '18 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @SebastianMorfin I Edited too $\endgroup$
    – user55267
    Nov 5 '18 at 15:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.