While I'm working on the Magical Artillery, let's look at another common spell.

Mage Light is a very handy invention. When cast, the spell creates an orb, 13 cm in diameter. The orb radiates white light, usually between 30-50 candelas in luminous intensity, though it can be decreased or increased at the mage's convenience, but brighter lights dim sooner.

The orb is very lightweight and lukewarm or warm to the touch. While it can last quite long, if its light begins to dim, a special fluid has to be poured into the orb to slowly restore its brightness to the preferred level.

Also, the orb can hover around people. It usually has an orbit (preset by the caster) that it tries to follow. However, it’s easy to detach or stop them; you can do it with one to three fingers.

The spell requires a very tiny amount of material components (not counting the fluid that it uses).

Magic is actually ancient technology in this world. Given that and the info above, how can my Mage Light actually work?

  • $\begingroup$ there are lots of ways to generate light, (heat, chemical, electricity, ect), explaining how the orb can hover and follow the mage is much harder. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 9, 2020 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ I saw a big yoyo on ebay, it has LEDs and you need to pour a little lubricant ;P $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Mar 9, 2020 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ Magic =/= science. Just put it down to 'handwavium'. $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2020 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to add in that your Magic is technically powered by nanobots or micromachines. Not everyone will have read your previous questions and not everyone will go through the effort of looking into it. The robot tag is nice, but its easy to miss. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Mar 9, 2020 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from handwavium $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2020 at 7:51

4 Answers 4


Tiny luminous nanobots in a utility swarm. ‘Light’ gathers them together in one spot and they start to glow, providing a strong point light source. The nanobots require fuel to glow, fuel which they usually passively harvest, but which needs actively supplying in times of high usage.

Also can be used to create ‘fairy lights’ to distract foes, if you just need low level all-encompassing illumination, ‘dispel darkness’, or outline foes in blue-green ‘faerie-fire’


the orb can hover around people.

The orb is nothing more than a small, gasoline or alcohol propelled drone.

The orb is very lightweight and lukewarm or warm to the touch. While it can last quite long, if its light begins to dim, a special fluid has to be poured into the orb to slowly restore its brightness to the preferred level.

Inside the orb there is a catalytic membrane where a small amount of the fuel (which you call special fluid) is burned to give off light and heat. Pouring the liquid is actually a mere refueling.


The orb is the mage.

The orb is driven by autonomic functions of the mage, like the heartbeat or peristalsis of the gut. This autonomic function of following is contingent on the mage being alive - if a mage dies the orb drops to the ground.

It might not go out. The orb is powered by the mage as well, tapping energy reserves of fat or glycogen. Making an orb glow and move requires caloric expenditure on the part of the mage. Many mages cultivate an onboard caloric reserve, putatively for this reason. A mage who was physically going all out (example, running at top speed) might have his orb dim in brightness.

The fluid poured on the orb to restore it is of a high caloric value and is actually being poured into the mage. The fluid should restore his energy level and so improve the brightness of the orb. Mead is a favorite but distilled spirits work very well also. Many mages carry a flask containing orb restorative, putatively for this purpose.


It is magic. It does not need real world explication. Look at Harry Potter: absolutily nothing "magic" makes sense, but we love it. May be casting the spells in a dead language like latin makes the trick. I dont Know. Avoid things like "3 cm in diameter" "between 30-50 candelas", this is scientific/technical talk. Magic is not scientific. It could tell: "a orange sized light orb", "so bright as five bee-wax candles".

"how can my Mage Light actually work?"

But if you insist on a scientific expanation (sort of) Static electricity is your friend. Will-o'-the-wisp and St Elmo's fire are just plain gas and electricity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will-o%27-the-wisp https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Elmo%27s_fire

How do the Magic controls them? Electricity! Human brain works based upon electricity. It is all just a matter of electricity.


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