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Reality is both cruel and unjust when it comes to the point of absorbing magical power from a slain monster: every adventurer notices the significant boost in their magical power when they defeat lesser monsters found loitering around the kingdom but pathetic gains from the high reward bounties usually issued by the guilds. This phenomenon has been called the magic scaling asymmetry problem since ancient times and remains unsolved to this date. King User VMDCCLX had to put up a decree to ban bullying of lesser monsters due to the mounting pressure from the conservation activists. I am wondering: how could the slaying of lesser monsters grant more magical power compared to monsters of higher caliber?

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    $\begingroup$ “This phenomenon is called the magic scaling asymmetry problem since ancient times” — that sounds like what modern scientists would call it, not like anything ancients would have called it. Before the conceptual framework of modern science, it probably wouldn’t even have had a specific name — people just knew that you get a lot of good magic out of a fat little frogatrice, and not much from a big bearilisk, and so on. $\endgroup$ – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine May 31 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ Those who study matters have technical terminology for it, and have since ancient times. It might be phrased in a different manner, but we still use ancient Greek terminology. And magic would be intensely studied. $\endgroup$ – Mary May 31 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ Those poor monster babies $\endgroup$ – Cireo May 31 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Cireo: don't worry those monsters egg are generally unfertilized and I will be releasing a new update to patch such exploit and the king will also ban those adventurers permanently unless they broadcast their apology kingdom wide ;D $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jun 1 at 0:29

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The more powerful the monster, the more efficiently it uses up the magic and thus the less left to boost the slayer's.

It is possible that this could be counter-acted by slaying the monster very quickly, but also possible that the monster is using up the magic all the time, not just in battle.

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    $\begingroup$ An extra justification for this: every creature (humans included) has the same amount of magic. Large monsters just use more of it than smaller monsters. $\endgroup$ – Vilx- May 31 at 15:49
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The magical power of each and every creature is somehow proportional to the ratio between surface area and volume of the monster.

$MP \sim {surface \over volume} \sim {k_1 R^2\over k_2R^3}={k_1 \over k_2}{1\over R}$

The smaller the creature, the larger the magical power MP.

This is also what happens with the metabolic rate in animals: the smaller the animal the higher the surface to volume ratio and thus the more energy loss that needs to be compensated by the metabolism.

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    $\begingroup$ This is easily proven by the energy-to-mass ratio of humans. As children, having very little mass, there's energy abounding and the little honkers run around all day! BUT! As we humans grow older and endow ourselves with additional mass, that ratio drops and we suddenly find the idea of afternoon siesta absolutely genius. I consider this an absolute proof of L.Dutch's theorem of why lesser monsters (no, not children, monsters!) provide higher magical power. $\endgroup$ – JBH May 31 at 5:42
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    $\begingroup$ Where k is... and R is ? $\endgroup$ – Mazura May 31 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ "The smaller the creature, the larger the magical power MP" So I guess it means that you can get more energy by slaying young cubs of big monsters, instead of killing adult big monsters $\endgroup$ – user161005 Jun 1 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ @user161005 a whale cub is still way bigger than a mouse $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 1 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Mazura k1 and k2 here are two arbitrary constants. The idea is that k1/k2 is a fixed number, and MP is only dependent on 1/R (R being the "radius" / length of a creature). $\endgroup$ – parasoup Jun 1 at 18:20
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  1. Monster, especially magical, are dangerous. Slaying them require expensive ammunition and rare ingredients even for experienced groups. Even elite hunters could perish and become prey for monsters. In terms of loot/(risk*expenses), hunting for (relatively) small monsters is just brings more profit because require less expenses. Bigger monsters don't get more precious or expensive ingredients.
  2. This world is really cruel and big monsters eat smaller one... if could find them and catch. So, if you see small monster which survive couple years, you could sure it has some ability like invisibility or extreme speed. It means it has some gland which could provide similar ability for human (being properly extracted and refined). Tracking and killing small monsters is tricky but in general is less dangerous. If you are lucky or just have good enough equipment, you would prefer hunting for small monsters which could get rare abilities which big monster just don't need. Since average slayers can't differentiate monsters, they are slaying every small monster in hope that someone would have something unique.
    It's put more pressure for small monsters: they are not live long enough for developing their abilities and/or produce next generation. So smart people want to limit hunting like in our world hunting at spring is banned: let game to breed next generation and grow.

Probably, you could combine these options.

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Larger monsters do give off more magic-increasing energy than smaller monsters, but the sheer quantity means that it's not usable by your everyday adventurer.

Imagine trying to capture a rush of water in a wineskin. If it's a trickle of water, capturing it is easy, and your wineskin is partially filled. If it's a torrent of water, your wineskin will be ripped from your hands and emptied out when the water recedes.

Small monsters release a small trickle of magic power, while big monsters release a torrent -- but it's the small trickle that's useful to those nearby, not the large torrent.

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Magical energy gained is according to the inverse of magical energy owned.

I am a newbie adventurer, armed with a pointed stick and my wits, and a codpiece. I slay a lurking GRUE. A GRUE has intrinsic magical worth of 100. My own magical worth is 2. 100 * 1/2 is 50. A GRUE is worth 50 points for me.

Lord Murderhobo has magical worth of 1000. Many and varied are the things he has killed. He kills a GRUE as part of his stretching exercises. This GRUE is worth 100 as well. 100 * 1/1000 = 0.1 magical points for the Lord.

Should I, the newbie, by clever artifice manage to slay a feral FLANGHOUND with energy of 10000 points I would obtain 10000 * 1/52 = 192 points. Lord Murderhobo would obtain 10000 * 1/1000.1 = 10 points. Of course the chance of me with my GRUE-stained stick slaying a FLANGHOUND is vanishingly small.

Thus is it that experienced adventurers must seek ever greater adventurers to receive comparable payback for their efforts.

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The high bounties are on monsters which happen both to be more powerful and also to reward the adventurer more poorly. You don't have to tie the two together. For example:

  • The city was founded somewhere that just happened to have fewer powerful monsters (that's what made it a good place to found the city!) or the powerful monsters just don't like to approach the city because of the immediate and disproportionately brutal reaction on behalf of the city guard. This explains the fact that lesser monsters are easy to find.
  • The more powerful monsters live in an area which makes it hard to get magic from their slaughter. For example, they live in an area where the bedrock naturally absorbs magic with high affinity (so the energy released on the death of a monster is immediately drained away into the Earth). This explains the fact that the powerful monsters release less usable energy: it's not that they release less energy, just that they happen to live in conditions which make that energy unharvestable.
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Magic potential differentiates as power grows:

Magical energy as measured by gains from slaying monsters is intrinsic to all monsters. Each is born with an identical amount, but as they slay heroes, burn villages, ect. this energy goes into making the monster more powerful (just as it makes the magicians gain from the killing of the monster). A huge ancient red dragon has converted all this potential into city-killing magic might and has none left to steal. A lowly goblin is filled with energy and hasn't converted hardly ANY of it to power. Strong monsters kill others and grow stronger because of it. They also become less attractive as victims because they have less potential. Thus weak monsters are magic prey, and strong monsters are predators.

Logically, these powerful monsters can no longer gain in strength without killing new monsters. So if your wizards lay off the weaklings, the big baddie monsters will step in to fill the ecological niche they leave. Conservationists need to concentrate on breeding programs, not the end of hunting. Otherwise it merely leaves more magic on the tables for the super-killer monsters to become Godzilla.

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Quantity of souls

In this world, magic power is gained by consuming souls of magical creatures. As it turns out, the process cares about the quantity of these souls, not the quantity of them.

Killing a dragon allows you to absorb a magical soul. Wiping out a group of five harpies will give you five souls. But a skilled gremlin hunter can get a hundred souls if he finds a decent breeding ground of these small creatures, and all that with much less risk than confronting a dragon.

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That's what evolution would do.

Due the law of energy conservation, magical energy is obtained by converting food, lots of food.

Smaller monsters' metabolisms require relatively little energy, and therefore they can easily eat much more than what their metabolism require and use the excess to fuel their magic.

Bigger monsters' metabolisms already require a large amount of energy, and thus food, just to keep them alive and moving. There's not enough food to harvest without stripping the land bare.

Add to the fact that bigger monsters are so powerful and tough without magic, and you can see how harvesting magical power would be detrimental to them: little benefit, huge food handicap.

It's just evolution at work.

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How can a easily dispatched (well, you can call it that) fat hens give more nourishment than strong ferocious lean wolves? Because of different balance of resources inside them that you consider useful for some particular cause - be it nourishment or drawing of magic, of course!

Not every greater monster is magical - it could be greater physically instead: stronger, faster, better armored. And without a single drop of magic.

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Bigger monsters retain more magic

Bigger monsters retain much more effectively the magic in their bodies even after death. That is why they are so strong during life.

This means that for an adventurer it's much more difficult to draw that magical power.

The main problem is that non-one has found an effective way to draw that magic easier yet.

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