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In a magic/fantasy world I am building, the main type of magic, magic has this limitation: that after using it, if someone uses it at a pretty normal rate, they become a lifeless, mindless body after some time of using it. For the average magic user, this time is about a year and a half. The stronger you are, the longer you can last.

In this world, the use of magic is controlled by a select group of people in the government who are not the nicest. These people cannot do magic themselves, but they comb the world looking for magic-users and force them to use the magic to their own benefits and to be safe for the rest of the world. How much would magic influence the world?

NOTE: magic can be used easily to levitate or move objects a small distance, like opening a book, throwing a rock at a window, or opening a door; but larger material things are almost impossible and might kill the user much earlier, like knocking over a small house or throwing a table at a wall. Things in the spiritual world are easier, like making someone less tired or making a ward against evil, but things like possesion and influence are still substantial. Lighting fires, making light and illusions are pretty easy also.

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    $\begingroup$ Interestingly the "So you want to be a wizard" series is sorta like this, only the stronger you are the faster you burn out. The short end of the stick is usually still about 20 years though. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s Jan 28 '16 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ "magic can be used easily to levitate or move objects a small distance" - so can picking them up and carrying them, with much less risk of harm. Other than a few specialist uses for this telekinesis (moving things into/out of dangerous locations), this seems very limited. Are there any clearly valuable abilities that would clearly offset the risk? It is your magic system, so if you need help understanding the implications of this high cost, you need to describe the benefits in more detail. $\endgroup$ – Neil Slater Jan 28 '16 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ This is way too broad. Please limit the amount of questions per question post, and clarify what this magic system can do. For example, are there any limits to how many objects can be moved? Please define a "small" distance, and "small/large" materials. Does a massive hollow car sized paper box take the same amount of magic power as lifting a car? Is it a weight limitation for moving distances? What else can this magic do? How accurate can it be, and at what distance can it be used? For example, can I use it to unlock a door without a key from 30m away? 50m? $\endgroup$ – Aify Jan 28 '16 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ It would work fine. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Jan 28 '16 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ What can the magic do that a pair of hands cannot? If the answer is nothing then nothing. If not then is that more valuable than a human life? $\endgroup$ – Tim B Jan 29 '16 at 15:45
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But what if the magic WAS addictive? What if, when learning magic, it became like a drug and you slowly wore yourself out by doing it? What if the people controlling magic knew that but kept it a secret? Also, maybe think about what happens when the witches die. Does the government have to replace them? Is there magic therapy? I guess I'm posing more questions than answers, but I think these are important things to think about for your story and may give you some ideas.

EDIT: Alright, so I did pose more questions than answering yours, but the point is to make you think. So for the sake of argument, I'm going to say magic is addictive and the government knows this. They, however, are greedy and try to use magic for themselves. I would assume they actually have an academy for recruited talents to show off what they can theoretically use or to do magical exercises. It's a really great opportunity for talented, aspiring witches to go to this academy. The government could pay them or have some sort of incentive for the witches as well. However, once they arrive at the academy and become addicted to magic, they can't (and don't really want) to leave. The government owns them now, essentially. That actually would end up being the reverse of a therapy/addiction center, which definitely interests me. So your task now would be to figure out what happens there and how the government covers up the deaths/brain deaths of all these witches.

Therefore, magic would end up being very important because it is saving the planet. However, everyone is oblivious to the fact that the cost of saving their world is some very talented individuals. What you do with that information is all you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding! As you already figured yourself, these are more questions for clarification, rather than answers. Try to answer the question, and expand your post. You can also post a comment if you want to give input for clarification, as soon, as you have the reputation needed. As it stands now, your "answer" is likely to get deleted $\endgroup$ – T3 H40 supports Monica Feb 3 '16 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ That's much better! And your questions provide the OP the opportunity to enclose his very broad question. Good answer! $\endgroup$ – T3 H40 supports Monica Feb 3 '16 at 7:03
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It would only be useful as a surprise, e.g fighting an enemy then unexpectedly pull a nearby sword to your hand. Otherwise it is basically taking a drug which gives short term ability then kills you.

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I think people would react negatively to magic. Sure discovering you bend the laws of physics has its perks but realizing that people would hunt you down to use you for your talents is a huge downside. Given your prereqs, people with magical abilities would go underground or would keep their skills a secret. Even if there were no organization hunting for them, magic would essentially be a curse. People would generally avoid using it in order to lead a regular life span. In this scenario magic becomes a cultural taboo, like heroin or crystal meth. The only difference is magic is not addictive.

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It depends. If someone had very little magic they may not last long. People could be separated into different classes based on their amount of magic they hold and its power. What type of magic is it? I made a magical fantasy world where witches used magic to regress adults and teens into babies and toddlers. There are many factors to think about. These are just a few.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can I hire one of these witches? I'm not as young as I used to be... - Some random guy $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 31 '16 at 21:23

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