I'm currently working on devising a magic system in which all the standard laws of physics are upheld (Conservation of mass/energy, thermodynamics/entropy, and more).
'Powering' the Spell:
To keep it brief, my magic system allows spellcasters to convert one state or type of energy to another and project that energy outside of their own bodies. A typical spellcaster would fuel their spell using the chemical energy from their bodies/muscles (ATP). "Forms of energy" or "Types of energy" include classical energy types like Mechanical, Electrical, Magnetic, Gravitational, Chemical, Nuclear, Radiant, Thermal, etc.
After a spellcaster has chosen an energy source, they can begin to "channel" the spell at a specific rate. Doing so expends energy (Joules, Kilocalories) and happens at a specific power, or rate of energy expenditure (Watts). How much power a spellcaster can channel from their physical bodies is shown in the graph here.
For example, if my spellcaster is super fit and is going "all out" they'd be able to channel ~2000 Watts for three seconds before they collapse from exhaustion.
'Casting' the Spell
Once the spellcaster has harvested some energy, they can convert this to any other type of energy. Where and how this energy manifests itself is up to the spellcaster however its power decreases roughly with the inverse square of the distance to the spellcaster. Additionally, the energy can't manifest itself directly inside mana-rich regions such as other creatures (this prevents pinch-the-brainstem style attacks).
The form this energy can take is diverse and primarily limited by the spellcaster's understanding of reality/physics. This means to cast a spell which draws upon Nuclear power or other more advanced power sources requires an intimate understanding of how it exactly works.
The question: How would combat look with this magic system?
More specifically, what method would spellcasters use to attack others (spellcasters and non-spellcasters alike) while expending as little energy and power as possible?
Examples of spells:
- Applying kinetic energy to small projectiles and building up their speed by orbiting them around the spellcaster until releasing them at a target
- Generating a "laser beam" or bright beam of intense light to blind or stun opponents
- Electric shocks on skin contact to stun attackers