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Background: Alendyias is a world that was formed inside the Fracture of Reality, one that is still forming as the Fracture in Reality grows and absorbs other worlds in its path. Absorbed worlds and all life in and on them are saturated with Chaos Energy, which in many cases turns ordinary creatures into monsters like trolls (formerly large apes) and goblins (monkeys).

Chaos energy and magic go hand in hand (are practically synonymous), so various creatures have turned the Chaos Energy infusing them into something we call Enchantments, a magical effect they hold during life and grant to whatever kills them upon death. (The link explains how this works for one specific monster, a slime-type creature called a Plop.) As an example, Cats may be Willful or Independent, goats may be Stubborn or Univorous (capable of eating literally anything).

EDIT: To clarify, Enchantments are not just imposed by the Fracture, they are reflections of a creature's innate nature. If a creature evolves in such a way as to develop a new nature, it will develop a new Enchantment as well.

The trouble is, I need a creature that has Focus; a creature that can control the effects of any Enchantment it gains. If it gets Rubberized, its teeth, bones, and claws will be unaffected but its flesh (plus fleshy organs, like heart and eyes) and muscle will be (because Rubberization would benefit those parts of its body). If it gains Explosive from a Cherry Bomb, it won't be doomed to explode but can instead exert explosive force when it chooses, leaping much higher/farther or striking with lethal force.

Enchantments are based upon a creature's nature, so a creature with Focus would need:

  1. Enough magical sensitivity to sense and distinguish the different magics inside it, as well as their nature and potential uses;

  2. The intelligence and creativity necessary to harness gained Enchantments in a beneficial way;

  3. A strong enough will (self-control, discipline) and sense of self to direct its inner magic ("I won't let this enchantment blow me up because I don't want it to, I'll make it do this instead). In other words, it must understand cause and effect and have the attitude and willfulness necessary to take control of its magic (or the Enchantments it gains) and bend it to its will.

In other words, a creature with Focus must believe it can change the result of any magical force acting upon it (control the effect of magic upon it), come up with a more beneficial result than the natural result of the magical force acting upon it, and have enough willpower to make it happen. This of course makes it necessary for it to be intelligent, creative, and able to perceive the magical forces acting upon it, but that's covered in #1 and #2.

Yes, I could just handwave this creature's existence, but all of my other creatures have a logical basis somewhere, so this creature needs one as well. Thus, my question is How Can a Creature With Focus Come To Exist?

Specifications:

  1. An answer must determine a creature that could evolve to meet the specifications above; ie. one that has the potential to either gain Focus upon entering Alendyias or could evolve to have the Focus enchantment.

  2. An answer must also determine how the said creature would need to evolve to gain the Focus enchantment and what conditions are necessary for making it happen.

Yes, I know this is asking a lot. A creature with Focus would need to evolve a very specific and unusual mindset, not to mention an unusual sensitivity to magical energy. The last one may evolve naturally, as natural selection will likely favor creatures that can sense higher "level" creatures (those with more potent Chaos Energy, so they can hunt or avoid them) and can determine the Enchantments on potential prey (to avoid getting killed by an Enchantment like Rubberization or Explosive), so that at least shouldn't be a problem.

I wish you luck, thank you for your input!

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know why you keep asking questions about magic and avoid using the magic tag. Added. $\endgroup$ May 10 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias Kamen rider agito/kabuto-like mental state. Deep focus should definitely help, and so would self-perfection. $\endgroup$ Jun 8 at 13:25
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They didn't evolve at all, because they they aren't living creatures per se. They are extremely advanced machines from a forgotten past.

So before we begin, let's lay out what we want these creatures to do: according to your requirements they must be able to:

  • be able to keep track of all spells/magical abilities acquired, what they do and how to use them.

  • essentially human level intelligence in order to be able to not only use these abilities efficiently in their most basic form, but also to be capable of thinking outside of the box, coming up with new unconventional ways to use and even combine said abilities in order to achieve its objectives (despite the presence of other animals which are highly intelligent, I'd say humans are still the best example around of a creature with all of these, that's why I classify it as human level).

  • enough confidence, essentially to the point of absence of doubt, that it's capable of performing these tasks without flaw in order to be able to efficiently manifest these abilities.

But what if these creatures weren't actually something that evolved naturally? What if they were made, BUILT by someone else who needed such a thing to exist?

You said that Alendyas is a world present within a fracture of reality that's constantly growing and absorbing new worlds. However, if it has always been absorbing worlds, one of them had to be the first (warning, the following concept contains high levels of cliches regarding magical worlds with ancient civilizations, please bear with the lengthy text).

Their origin is the following: one of the first worlds absorbed into Alendyas housed a species of highly intelligent beings much like humans in overall anatomy and physiology. While these forerunners (as I'll refer to them) didn't have a solid understanding of magic or any remarkable ability to manipulate it at first, they were incredibly advanced in the field of technology, and skilled in the art of robotics and artificial intelligence.

Being now trapped in a world filled with creatures which at first would seem pathetic, but later prove to be very troublesome, if not lethal, as well as with a new, never before seen source of energy just existing all around, it'd be no surprise that these forerunners, being the only group of sapient beings around and with plenty of time after settling the proper fortifications, would immediately turn their attention to magic and start studying it, it's workings and how to use it to their advantage.

Over time, they came to understand exactly how enchantments worked, how to exploit them and how to control the ways these would manifest, but there was one problem left: despite understanding magic and the enchantments attributed to its existence, they were almost completely incapable of harnessing it themselves, a problem they would bypass through the creation of constructs.

Constructs were specialized machines, similar in many ways to pieces of armor, meant to serve as an extension of the forerunner, absorbing magical energy from the environment and transforming it according to the user's will. These became a part of the lives of many forerunners, with the exception of those revolted at their new life and contrary to the uses of magic. These constructs, at first simple pieces of gear with only basic AI meant to perform mostly simple tasks, became more and more advanced as time went by, until the point when the first E.M.E Unit was made.

The E.M.E (Exploration and Monster Examination) unit was a particularly advanced construct with a clear purpose: to learn new information about the world and pass it on as well as to study the many monsters that existed. It was, at its core, a conglomeration of specialized nanomachines controlled by a complex AI capable of abstract thinking and advanced problem solving capabilities, as well as top notch magic conversion technology. Thanks to that, and the fact that it was essentially powered by magic, it was a being to be reckoned with, being incapable of becoming tired so long as there was magic for it to absorb. Even at its most basic level, it was already fairly powerfull, with its core mechanics being:

  • A process similar to digestion in order to acquire matter and base materials to replicate its nanomachines and repair damages sustained on its own, eliminating any need to return from its exploration mission for repairs and reducing the risk of destruction of the unit.

  • the ability to morph its body into weapons (for self defense) and tools (for collecting samples for analysis), as well as to alter its body shape and morphology into whatever form it deemed most efficient according to its surroundings in order to efficiently reach the locations it deemed as worthy of exploration.

  • the ability to absorb and control magic, using it as a power source, as a complement to its "digestion" and self repair mechanisms as well as for self defense in the form of simple attack spells.

Due to its innate knowledge of magic and ability to manipulate it, it was also capable of controlling the enchantments acquired from monsters it killed, manifesting them according to its needs.

Despite its might and potential in deepening the forerunners's understanding of the world, only one of these was ever made, due to the sheer amount of resources necessary to build a single unit, a great problem in a society with most of its infrastructure regarding the harvest of metals and other key components for technology being very limited.

As a result, this souped up research drone worked for decades as the main source of information to the forerunners (which mostly remained in their city), learning and updating its programming and acquiring new knowledge, which it'd constantly relay to its creators. the many enchantments that it learned via various processes via trial and error, from consuming dead monsters to simply killing them to others, were also incorporated into its arsenal and database. Overtime, it learned how to use its repair ability and magical power to essentially reproduce, creating copies of itself as a means to cover more ground and to prevent the end of its mission due to unforeseen circumstances such as its destruction, at which point the units began transferring information to each other as well as to its creators.

However, there's a reason the E.M.E unit is one of the only remains of the forerunners, and why their makers are nowhere to be found: The appearance of ideologies about some individuals being better than others, fights for power and disagreements with groups that were against the use of magic resulted in the rise of a gruesome Civil war, which destroyed most of their main civilization and drastically reduced their population, as well as causing them to separate into smaller isolated communities. These communities, now much weaker and incapable of recreating most technologies due to the loss of archives and destruction of supply chains for the necessary materials, were slowly wiped out by a mix of monster attacks, genetic issues related to inbreeding over several generations and extermination operations carried out by the E.M.E, being finally wiped out from history along with most of their knowledge and technology.

As for the E.M.E themselves? They're fine and still active. Their creator, worried about the dangers that the forerunner technology could be to any future societies, entrusted the world to them, sending 2 last commands to the best of their creations right as the war began: " Defend your existence at all costs, and eliminate all traces of [forerunner's actual name] presence possible.". Now they roam the lands performing their primordial objectives: to learn all there is to learn, and see all there is to see.

After this overly large, but (as far as I see) necessary origin story, I'd say the E.M.E check out all of your demands for a" focused" creature:

  • they have basic human level intelligence as well as the abilities to solve problems, be creative and think outside the box.

  • they are designed to sense and use magic extremely well in order to carry out their primordial tasks.

  • they have a strong enough will as they fully trust their programming and skill to manipulate their abilities and acquired enchants efficiently in order to achieve their objectives. They could potentially be able to make these decisions much faster than an organic creatures could as well.

-it has an actual origin story on how it came to exist that isn't "one day it started existing out of nowhere and everyone just went along with it".

So yeah. My answer to your question? "Nanomachines, son!", except these ones make up an advanced research/military superdrone from a forgotten civilization. It can technically digest stuff, it does have a protocol ("""instinct""") of self preservation and it can technically reproduce if they gather enough matter for it, so it's understandable why it could be taken as a very weird monster instead of a robot (especially when you know what a monster is, but not what a robot is, at which point you just call it a metal monster and start running).

Now, if the creature has to be an actual organic being at all costs because the plot calls for it. Well they were extremely advanced, what is to say they weren't also very good at genetic manipulation couldn't simply modify one of the existing creatures to boost its intelligence and magic prowess/sensitivity? I'd not advise to give a species human level intelligence if you want them to be slaves forever though, unless you have a way to ensure they all have a thing for serving your species or something similar. Either way, it stopped serving, is out there now and helped with the forerunners' extinction so there are currently little to no traces of their presence in the past (unless you want to give your humans some cool advanced weapons without leaving the overall medieval tech level scenario).

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  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting, thank you! I already planned to have some ancient civilizations in Alendyias, with the foremost being sapient dragons, so your E.M.E should fit right in! However, the E.M.E sounds a little overpowered....do you think something will develop to keep it in check or? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    May 3 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ That is very depressing way to put it , though I would say there is no way to learn everything; there's always a different facet to analyze. The E.M.E will probably spend ages learning everything there is to know about everything there is, and it may never stop running until the end of the world terminates it. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    May 3 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ Given the OP nature of the enchantments, any monster whose main goal is not to be left alone would immediately become the apex predator alongside or instead of humans. Sure, bears are strong, but bears with the strength of 50 bears and laser eyes will stop any permutant human habitation in bear territory. $\endgroup$ May 10 at 0:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Alendyias if you are interested in suggestions, one thing you could do is add a "magic saturation" property to the materials of your world, as in: some materials are better suited for dealing with enchantments, being able to accumulate more enchantments than others. This also helps create a tangible market factor on each weapon and tool other than sheer quality and resistance. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex: this is long overdue, but I want to thank you again for your answer, as it gave me needed inspiration and enabled me to reinvent monsters I call 'Scrap Soldiers." Basically, they're evolved E.M.E.s who went rogue and developed into their own species. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 9 at 23:11
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The creatures eat the magic

Assuming you have all this magic floating around you, something might eventually stumble upon a way to exploit the stuff. At first, it is just the cell that has its internal structure modified so that magic can go in, but not out. Then trapped magic provides warmth or energy that the animal uses. Then cells specialize in the same way the intestines and lungs specialize to get nutrients from food and the air (oxygen is the nutrient in the lung's case). In the same way you get thirsty, hungry, or out of breath, the animal would become magic deprived in any one of the storage organs that specialize to control specific types of magic. This would let them know what kind of magic they have and how much of it.

Smarter because of magic

The creatures then evolve to manipulate the magic. While it is not clear how or why intelligence evolves, it may be possible that intelligence evolves when being in a position to use tools or be smarter is advantageous. Magic is a tool that doesn't even require you to be intelligent to gain if you can just passively acquire it. If having magic and not using it correctly is dangerous, then creatures will gain willpower since the ones that don't will die, or more likely just evolve to not to eat magic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, this gives me some great ideas for my story, as well as the evolution of monsters! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    May 3 at 13:35
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Magic Eating Flesh Parasite.

(Inspired by Charlie's answer.)

The organism began as a colony of bacteria that eats ambient chaos energy. The same way plants feed off ambient C02 in the atmosphere. Bacteria can evolve much faster than macro-organisms to take advantage of a new food source.

Colonies of this bacteria take the form of a mould in highly magical areas and on the corpses of slain magical creatures. Extreme amounts of the bacteria can cause an area to become less magical.

Bacteria is known for having a 0 speed stat. So it was lucky some magical creature started eating the colonies. This led to the bacteria evolving to be parasitic, living inside the animal and feeding on the ambient magical energy of the host.

The problem is this makes the host less magical, hence less able to keep itself alive. Parasites don't like it when the host dies too soon, as this makes the parasite die too.

So the bacteria evolves to only feed off the magical energy that is not useful to the host. For example this means feeding off the Sharpen enchantment in the animal's flesh but not their teeth and claws, and feeding off the Strengthen enchantment in the shell but not the eyeballs. This actually makes the host more effective and makes the colony more likely to survive.

Bonus: Colonies of this bacteria on their own have many alchemical uses to strip the magic from an area or individual.

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    $\begingroup$ At that point, they'd have transitioned from parasite to symbiote. $\endgroup$
    – Madman
    May 11 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Madman parasitism is a type of symbiosis $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    May 12 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Madman The distinction is unimportant here. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    May 12 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting idea on magic-eating bacteria, I will be considering that! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jun 3 at 3:35
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if an enchantment is given to an entire animal, why not have more than one?

my idea is basically that a group of species with different specialized features became mutualists so as to allow simultaneous use of each other's features. an example it might have evolved from is the portuguese mano'war, which is a set of many different mutualistic species who work together as one. over time, they "figured out" that by killing an enchanted monster with only a specific member of the mutualist, it will only be transferred to the one member. this way, those who won't benefit/will lose from an enchantment wont be enchanted because they didn't kill the enchanted beast. since it evolved from a microscopic mutualistic system, the animals are extremely specialized for their mutualism and are all functionally the same. for example, there's one that acts as the muscles, inflating and deflating when other require it, another acts as the nervous system and brain, getting information from others and transferring it to those who need it, etc. thanks to a lack of anything keeping it in a specific shape, and evolving from a simple colony of species, its amorphous, allowing it to change which animals are exposed and thus which animals are enchanted. now, about the specific understanding of magical energy, its very simple: expendable organs. they have sacs with the sole purpose of getting an enchantment, giving data to the creature about what happened, and then dying as a backup of the organ produces a new one in its place. basically, once this strange beast kills something, it now knows about its enchantments, how they are used, and what they can be used for. over the course of its early development it'll memorize many different enchantments and once mature it can apply this knowledge to making itself as efficient as possible with its use. the reason for their intelligence is thanks to: as they evolved to gain knowledge about enchantments and apply it, they also evolved to learn how to apply knowledge, getting more and more skilled at taking data in and applying it in varieties of ways, and because of this, were able to understand many diverse concepts by simple observation and use of its expendable testing organ. eventually they figure out they can transfer knowledge better by having many colonies of these animals working together. this solution completely sidesteps the need to even have the focus enchantment, but to add it back, you can simply say that as these creatures evolved to make use of magic, their colonies also evolved to be more closely knit, eventually becoming effectively the same creature with just an extreme level of control over its entire body, so in response it eventually learned how to enchant its offspring, and from there how to manipulate the enchantments passed on, targeting only specific parts, developing an enchantment of its own in the form of Focus. (also sorry for making basically a wall of text)

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  • $\begingroup$ It's fine, I thought it was a very intriguing answer overall. Going off the answer to Realistic Fantasy Slimes, this siphonophore could become a very interesting slime.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    May 17 at 17:22
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Octopus

Speculative evolution is not necessary, the octopus is already a really good candidate for what you are describing.

An octopus is already one of the most intelligent creatures on Earth. Their capacity for making complex plans closely rivals that of humans, and even though they are not tool users by nature, they are very good at manipulating human mechanisms like latches and door knobs. In some ways you could even say they are even better at manipulation than humans when you consider the sheer complexity of their articulations. This level of intelligence will be important for how well your Focus creature can be conscious of how it manipulates magic.

Their capacity for planning alone makes them a good candidate for focusing their powers, but they have other qualities that should meet your theme too. For starters, they already have rubbery bodies; so, instead of this being a magically inherited trait, it is something that is already true about them, though perhaps you could emphasise their rubberiness by giving them Mr. Fantastic like flexibility.

Another good reason for the octopus is that it already has unparalleled conscious control over its whole body. Their peripheral nervous systems are so advanced than that they can reshape their bodies and control their skin pigments to mimic nearly anything that they see. So, when its body is imbued with magic, it would make since that an octopus would have a similar flexible control over that magic instead of the more single structure = single purpose way that rigid bodied animals would.

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  • $\begingroup$ bold to assume that just because they can manipulate many other features about themself they could also manipulate their own gained magic. also, it asks how they could evolve the enchantment themself, not just what they could do with it. $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    May 12 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @zackit Since enchantment reflects the nature of an animal, what the OP is describing is an extension of what is already an Octopus's nature (focus, flexibility, adaptability, mimicry). Any fictional creature that might be a better fit for this would just be an octopus like alien. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    May 12 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @zackit Also, the OP specifies that the enchantments don't evolve, they are imposed on normal animals by the Fracture of Reality. A creature just needs to evolve to the point that it's nature reflects the theme of the enchantment. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    May 12 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Very thorough and clever answer! I edited to clarify; Enchantments aren't just imposed on animals, they are reflections of an animal's nature. That said, this doesn't make your answer any less valid. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    May 17 at 17:31
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    $\begingroup$ Interestingly enough, octopi are also the Designated Predator of Plop, a naturally rubbery 'slime', so they'll be naturally rubbery to begin with, and possibly Amphibious as well. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    May 17 at 17:33

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