Donatello Trumpus, the greatest scientist mage of his era, discovered that one can summon the magical energy found in nature for their own purposes. His theory of e =mc2 revolutionized magic by proving that energy is never destroyed, but simply transferred from one place to another. By transferring the energy of nature into the body of an individual, they can use that energy in the application of spells, leading to the creation of the branch of magic known as Dryadism. This form is conducted through the use of a transmutation circle, along with nine individuals. These mages, called a coven, take place within the circle, with the ninth standing in the middle as a conduit. The incantation summons the energy of nature, accumulating within the ninth and spreading out to the other members of the coven. This creates a circuit, with the mages acting as valves in which the energy flows through. The spell remains activated and is continuous so long as the circuit remains open.

The magic is deactivated when the circuit closes, signaling the end of the spell, and causing the energy to flow back into the environment. The more energy is used in the process, the more powerful the magic. However, ending the spell is more complicated than it seems. A coven cannot simply end the spell instantaneously by stopping the enchantment, as it would be dangerous to the mages. Simply "switching off" the circuit will likely kill the participants. Instead, a separate incantation different from the original must be performed in order to end the spell. The time it takes to kill the circuit would be double the time it took to activate the magic. So if it took 30 minutes to accumulate the energy for the spell, it would take an hour to dissipate it.

Theorettically, it should be easier to release this energy than create it, as it would take less work. Why would cause energy to dissipate more slowly than its accumulation?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm a fan of Donatello... but even I admit that his greatest magic achievements were all slight-of-hand. :-) Although isn't the claim to someone else's invention reserved for the even greater mage, Alfonsus Gordolly? Also, how will you judge a best answer? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 3, 2020 at 14:44

4 Answers 4


It's like pumping water uphill.

The nature of the magic is that they have to make it more attractive to the power that its natural environment; metaphorically, they have to make the circle "downhill" so that the power flows into it. Failure to do this means the spell will fail for lack of power.

The danger springs from the way such a concentration of magic has to be kept moving or it will react. (In this, it's more like a critical mass of uranium.) Fortunately, this can be diverted after the spell to pump the power back up, but it is still working against the gradient you constructed.


That which is in motion tends to stay in motion:

This answer is a bit like the one from Mary, but I think sufficiently different to merit (upvote to Mary).

Think of the flow of manna like a flow of lava from a volcano. There's a lot of pressure, but without a precipitating event, that pressure stays bound up. If the pressure was too extreme, you might have a spontaneous magical event, but for the most part, it's meddling mages poking a hole in the manna (magma) chamber.

Once you poke a hole, manna starts gushing out, and if you provide safe channels for your Manna to flow down (spells) it follows those. But once your channels are filled with manna, it's still gushing out of the hole your wizards poked.

STOPPING a volcano from erupting is way harder and more dangerous than just poking a stick in where it doesn't belong. You are dealing with powerful, violent and pressurized material that will burn you up trying to get out.

In this model, it might be actually safer to cast a REALLY big spell, since more of the pressure would drain off and there would be less cleanup. Or perhaps part of the shutdown process may involve additional quick and sloppy spells designed to bleed off enough manna to allow the mages to seal the hole.Subtle magic would be the hardest of all, with the most pressure to deal with.

I envision the afterward process as a desperate struggle, with weird light discharges and random clouds of butterflies or rain materializing. The better the mages, the cleaner the after-show. Depending on how you want your world to work, there might be damage to reality in the places used for casting. The spells are easier to cast in a spot where the barrier to the manna is weaker, but a good mage knows the messy cleanup afterwards makes using such places over and over incredibly hazardous because they are harder to fix.


This magic system works like any other type of compression.

Taking in more magic and holding it is a lot easier that trying to release it. Like an air compressor, the pressure can be handled and channeled through a rubber tube but requires a metal nozzle or else the release of pressure erodes the rubber. If your coven doesn't carefully let small quantities out it could try to take the path of least resistance and try to leave one member simultaneously. Taking 9 people worth of magic into 1 person tends to turn that person the magical equivalent of radioactive goo.

Thankfully, as the magical pressure decreases so does the risk of explosion leading to faster drainage later on and much leaner tolerances.


You don't even need magic to explain this sort of phenomenon.

  1. When humans take vigorous exercise, they build up excess heat. To get rid of this heat, they have to use an active mechanism - sweating. Under warm conditions it is easier for a human or animal to build up heat than to lose it.

  2. In the old days of valves, a TV set was potentially very dangerous - even after being switched off. The charge was retained in condensers (capacitors). If these discharged rapidly (through a human for example) the human would die and the TV would likely catch fire. Fire would almost certainly result if a condenser was shorted out by a metal object.

  3. DO NOT TRY THIS!!! Almost any modern device, whether toy or tool, will catch fire if you short out the rechargeable battery. Even if fire doesn't occur immediately, you will get severe burns if you try to touch the battery.


Treat manna like static electricity that can flow if shorted out.

LIPO killer - never short circuit a LiPo battery! imagine this happens in your backpack or car



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