In my world, I have certain artifacts that bestow magical powers to its user.

For instance, a user is equipped with a ring that could control liquid freely within 2 meters, removing this ring will also remove the power. But over time, or upon reaching certain mastery of the artifact, s/he can use the power freely without using the artifact anymore.

What could be a good explanation for this inheritance effect?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I guess that would depend on how your magic works. Is it Harry Potter style then you could say you create a bond with the magic. Or is it like Sorcerer's Aprentice where it's understanding molecules? Then you could say understanding well enough the concept of the world you could use it without catalyst etc... It would be good to have more precision on how your magic works. $\endgroup$
    – Mederic
    May 31, 2017 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ I would have to give a little backstory. In my world, there are mystical beings. These mystical beings are a mental projections of the user's immense desire for power (but they are only seen by their user). They just grant power (just like that). Now later on, there would be a materialization of these beings that makes them physical objects and that makes anyone available to utilize their power. I haven't really thought about how my magic will work but it's mostly centered on the desire for power. $\endgroup$
    – Bwrites
    May 31, 2017 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ Please consider if you actually need an explanation for this - which btw sounds intuitive and entirely believable in a story without further explanation - or if you should rather work on such statements as "control liquid freely". If I were you, I would've asked that question - what this means and what you could do with that $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    May 31, 2017 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ Like support wheels give kids the magical power to ride a bike, but over time they can do it without support wheels? $\endgroup$ May 31, 2017 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ There are hints wands and spoken spells in the Potterverse work exactly like that. $\endgroup$
    – pojo-guy
    May 31, 2017 at 12:17

5 Answers 5


The power is realized by sentient beings on another plane of existence. I’ve explained before how magic must be controlled by an intelligent agent; that is, a thinking mind.

These spirit beings are like dogs. They have basic intelligence to deal with the world, and are smart, like Shepherds. To get one to do tricks for you, you start out needing to make it pay attention to you, so you carry bacon in your pocket. It needs to know what you have in mind, so you use a pointer stick and a clicker as training aids.

The magic ring serves these various functions for the spirit beings. It gains attention, and provides a mental link so it can see where you are directing power and get its reward of your positive emotions.

But once the dog is trained, you don’t need the props anymore. Likewise with the analogous atrial plane dogs — once they know you, you don’t need the ring to command them. Once they establish a deep familiarity, they don’t need the ring to get their “treats” and at this point you can do without it.

Note that between the two stages, you can make occasional use without the ring, with mixed results. But a second attempt may go badly since they did not get their great! And repeated use without their reward will break the training.


Anyone can actually use any sort of magic, but it's extremely hard. What the items do is make it significantly easier for their users to produce the magical effect. But as the users use the item, they become more and more familiar with how to produce the effect, and after a while, they no longer need the item at all. However, they might find that they need to practice without their item to get used to doing without its assistance in order to get the full potential.

(To give credit where it's due, my inspiration for this was Annie's blinker stone from the webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court; this is more a generalization of that premise.)

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    $\begingroup$ Like stabiliser wheels on a bike! $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    May 31, 2017 at 9:59

What could be a good explanation for this inheritance effect?

Why not Osmosis? Just adapting the Wikipedia definition:

Osmosis is the spontaneous net movement of magic properties through the use of a magic item into the item user, in the direction that tends to equalize the magic properties on the two sides.

This could lead to interesting settings:

  • Avoiding to overuse an item in order to avoid lower the item power
  • Avoiding to use low-level items because you don't want it to suck your magical powers out.
  • Kidnapping or extort powerful magicians in order to "charge" items.
  • Explain the origin of some magical ítems: "The great archmage Coolnamedwizzard used to bear this ring and it still have some of the bearer's power".

It might be a quite cheap shot, but I would go along the lines of unlocking a hidden potential.

Lets say the people of your story has very limited and hidden psychic/telekinetic/... abilities. Then usage of your artifact allow the wearer to train those abilities, and eventually making them "freely-available", without necessity to be channeled through artifact.

This might be a similar process like doing bench-press. In beginning you cannot lift much, but over time you get better and better. (I know it is quite lacking analogy, but you got the point.)

However, this leaves a certain risk/opportunity for story to get a twist: If some person is born with an ability strong enough to use without a previous "training" with the artifact, you might get a natural wizard without need for his/her training.


What about some sort of Magical Radiation?

I mean like when your using devices that control the elements there could sure be some side-effects, right?

Similar to when you are exposed to the sun for a long time your skin changes, it gets darker and you will get some slightly burning sensation (you might not enjoy this though!).

This Magical Radiation might eventually trigger some sort of evolution in your humanoids over a long period of time. Cause them to lose hair, gain(or lose) a tail, get the ability to control watery substances, other physical/magical treats.

Surely some might die, the strong will survive and breed, creating more humanoids with the power. Eventually you will have an entire race with this power.

Just give it a couple of million years, you'll be fine.


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