The world I'm making is primarily sci-fi with a few elements of hard fantasy (the fantasy is mostly aesthetic). The magic system I've come up with so far consists of these premises:

1) Everything in the world is made up of infinitesimal vibrating strings called Filaments, which vibrate at different frequencies.

2) A select group of people evolved a series of mutations which created specialized organs and/or brain structures that allow them to perceive and produce these vibrations, which are collectively called the Pulsation.

3) The mutants’ powers come in 3 categories: An’di (mind-based powers such as telepathy, empathy, mind control), Tava’i (like bending in Avatar, but with magnetism and electricity as added elements), and Ji’uu (body-based powers such as accelerated healing, enhanced physiology, control over one’s metabolism like certain Buddhist monks).

4) The mutants have minor variations to their mutations depending on whether they practice An’di, Tava’i, or Ji’uu. However, they all share the organs and structures that allow them to perceive and produce the Pulsation.

5) The powers do come with a cost. If, say, a Ji’uu user were to heal themselves, their wounds would be gone but they’d end up starving and cold from the calorie burn. If a Tava’i user launched a fireball at you really fast, they would be pushed back from the force. And there are various “side effects” from exerting oneself too much, which range in severity from nosebleeds to seizures.

With all this in mind, does my magic system seem at least somewhat grounded in reality? If not, what changes should I make? Constructive criticism, please; this is my first time worldbuilding.


1 Answer 1


[D]oes my magic system seem at least somewhat grounded in reality?

Not exactly. Reality doesn't have infinitesimal vibrating strings of which certain people have the mutation which allows them to manipulate them in order to screw with people's minds, heal faster than they should be biologically capable of, or whip around water as if control by telekinesis. The explanation you gave is more or less flavor text.

That said, it's perfectly fine and valid flavor text! Adding a layer of depth to your magic system and explaining how the magic works rather than just saying 'a wizard did it' is always a good thing, and it does help explain why certain people can use certain magic and people can't at all, rather than just the 'they were born with it' excuse. It also has the potential to be developed further if you want to play around with 'hard magic' systems.

The classification is fine as well, and adding it consequences to your magic system to prevent abuse is good from a writing perspective as well. But please don't fall into the trap of 'my magic system has to make sense, scientifically'. It doesn't. Magic is magic. It has to follow rules, sure, because otherwise the readers will feel like you're just making stuff up as you go along (see Sanderson's Laws), but your system is fine. Don't worry about it making perfect sense scientifically, because that's never going to happen.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks so much; I admit that I tend to get sucked into overthinking and stressing over these things. And thanks for the link; I'll definitely check it out. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2020 at 19:06

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