I'm really excited that this topic actually exists here. For the past weeks I've been thinking about creating my own fantasy world - because there are not quite enough yet. My primary aim is to make "magic" plausible. Thus, it has to be actually part of the laws of nature, which makes it less magic but compared to our world, it still counts.

Anyway. The basic concept is as follows:

There are six different strings: fire, water, air, earth, force, life. The four element strings make up all of the matter by being woven into each other, thus creating this world's types of "molecules".

Force strings will attract each other, thus allowing for gravitation. As in our universe, each force will have its own mediators. Life strings will be necessary to allow plants and animals (people) to grow, have consciousness.

Some people have an additional organ, which allows them to manipulate one kind of string. This happens by creating a field which only affects one kind. For example. if you're a fire-weaver, you can exert influence on all fire strings in your surrounding area thus have the possibility to control fire. However you cannot create new strings, so water-weaving in the desert is significantly more difficult than on an ocean.

As stated, this is the basic concept, which I want to be fairly plausible before I go further into more details.

I'm looking forward to your feedback!

So in response to Zxyrra's answer (thank you very much for that! :) ), here are more details:

First of all the fantasy world inevitably has to differ from our worldview. I don't know if reality-check is even the right tag here.

Physical characteristics As of now, I'd only say they're smaller than microscopically perceivable. To form matter, they are woven into each other. Depending on patterns and density, they form different substances with different properties.

Phaenomena / Differences between alike substances: Generally speaking this depends on the purity of the element. Soil for example would have a high concentration of earth strings with minor impurities of the other elements. Sand on the other hand would have more impurities. Also, the arrangement - or weave patters - are important.
has different properties than
though it consists of the exact same strings.

I think we have to abandon our present world view. The air element in my fantasy setting is not to be confused with the air on our planet (N, O, CO_2,...).
Aggregation states could be borrowed. This allows water and other elements/substances to vaporize or freeze. Only substances with firestrings in it can burn. The higher the concentration, the more intense the fire and the easier it is to ignite (firing point at lower temperatures).

Life Strings I'd simply postulate that it is possible :P Same goes for the manipulating organs. By carefully positoning resonaters, found in these organs, it is possible to create an elementary-field (as a result of interference of the single resonators) of almost any complexity , which affects the strings in the surrounding substances.

My question exactly is: Are there any flaws, where this falls out of place, or is this somehow plausible?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site. What, exactly, is your question? All forms of magic are plausible, provided you detail it enough for your purposes, though there's no requirement to detail how magic works at all. (See Sanderson's First Law) $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Oct 22, 2016 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ Chinese cosmology was divided into 5 elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Wood. Wood (so far as I understand this) was also the essence of life, since the other elements represented material and energy. You might also try for a "spherical" cosmology, with the traditional "Earth, Air, Fire, Water" arranged on the cardinal points, and "Light and Dark" at opposite poles. Any way you want to work this is fine so long as you keep your definitions and effects consistent. Nothing hurts a story more than the Hero pulling S**t out of a hat with no plausible explanation beforehand. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Oct 23, 2016 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-second-law talks about WoT which uses elemental string magic as well. There's plenty of magic systems that use this setup. $\endgroup$
    – anonymouse
    Oct 24, 2016 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ We should add a hard-science tag, after all this is about.. wait for it... string theory. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2016 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you can, suggest you add the tags for magic and classical-elements $\endgroup$
    – Catalyst
    Nov 30, 2016 at 23:56

1 Answer 1


Edited based on question edits based on my previous answer

+1 for creativity and uniqueness, this sounds like an awesome idea. I feel bad picking it apart now.

  • If fire represents flammability, your matter probably won't change all that much from the presence of fire strings. "Flammable" water wouldn't need to suddenly turn into gasoline - maybe it would look slightly different or smell different, but in essence it would still be water. This is a problem because the distribution of fire strings in this scenario is unpredictable, and it means any given environment may or may not be flammable.

  • Life strings still should not work like that There is no property or defining material that distinguishes living things from non-living. At the fundamental level, living things are just combinations of chemicals working together, changing, and reproducing. Adding strings of Life would have to cause extremely specific characteristic changes in surrounding strings and structure to cause all the traits of life. Furthermore, if strings capable of producing life as we know it exactly exist at all, why aren't some rocks alive? Or some parts of the air? Surely these strings exist in nature.

  • Organs, A) While resonation is your best bet - you're on the right track - organs that operate on the atomic level, controlling specific objects, need precision unparalleled by any living organ to ever exist :P The evolution of an organ so precise is incredibly unlikely, past the point of "the least likely option happened" and nearing "this should not happen, ever".

  • Organs, B) The evolution of an organ like this is extremely unlikely, precision aside. Organisms evolve complex and unique structures only if their bodies have the energy to maintain them. If we had the energy to evolve something cool during our evolutionary process - that is, we consumed more than we needed, so new organs would not starve - we would probably spend it on something simple and directly practical, such as a better brain, claws, faster running, etc. An organ like the one you are proposing would require a significant amount of energy before it became practical, which humans could not afford during evolution.

  • Physical characteristics of matter will be wonky at the boundaries between substances. If water ends and soil begins, your water and Earth strings will have be cut - with overlapping ends, so as not to create a vacuum or lack of matter - leaving a transitional zone. This would mean all or many boundaries between substances would be poorly defined, and would cause a ton of problems in your world.

Don't get me wrong, I love your idea and there are ways to make it work. It's just challenging.

  • $\begingroup$ Hey, thank you for your detailed answer. I think the biggest challenge in a different setting is to abandon our current world view. I've updated the OP to give more specifics. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2016 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ There is no property or defining material that distinguishes living things from non-living. This is not true. Living things perpetually decrease their internal thermodynamic entropy at the expense of free energy obtained from their surroundings. Or, to do away with scientific language, living things can extract heat from a colder environment, can replicate themselves, they react to stimuli, and do not decay while alive. $\endgroup$
    – cowlinator
    Apr 21, 2020 at 22:38

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