I recently read Brandon Sanderson's articles on magic systems and they gave me a lot to think about, especially in the form of costs and weaknesses. I think I came up with a fairly interesting system for those two things. (Questions are forthcoming, I promise.)
Essentially, magic at its core is influencing the energy flow of the world. To do this, you have to immerse yourself in it, feel it, then subtly nudge or forcefully redirect it. Doing so, however, causes you to lose your own individuality and draws you further in. You risk becoming disconnected from reality. To avoid this rather nasty consequence, you have to have some kind of emotion or feeling to anchor your sense of self.
This anchoring has its own ramifications. When you immerse yourself into the flow of magic and fixate on your anchor emotion, it becomes the only thing that you can distinguish as yourself. You become that emotion, for lack of a better word, in order to keep yourself grounded in reality.
That's the basis. Some other details:
- The desire to delve deeper into the flow requires self-control to suppress, and without it you will eventually dive too deep and become hopelessly disconnected. Using magic becomes a struggle between your emotion, self-control, and the desire to pull more power.
- Obviously, more powerful anchors are required in order to delve deeper into the flow. While past memories can serve as weak to medium strength anchors, the strongest ones are feelings that come about in the moment and are immediate.
- Emotions require a drive to be powerful anchors; they can't be just happy or sad. Even love and anger are circumstantial. While love can bring about the desire to protect, by itself it is not a particularly strong anchor, and likewise anger in general will be a weak anchor but can carry the desire to injure or destroy.
- Actions that are outside the scope of the anchor emotion wreaks havoc with the delicate balance mentioned in the first bullet point, in addition to creating more stress on the user of the magic.
- Very important: the deeper into the flow you are, the stronger the emotional anchor needs to be and the more that emotion becomes you. You have the most conscious control over the magic when you are using very small amounts with a weak anchor; using close to your capacity of magic with an intense anchor leads to little more than instinctual actions aligned with the feeling.
So, onto my questions.
- Are there any obvious flaws with the system I don't see? (Only talking about the costs and weaknesses aspect.)
- How will using magic with this system affect a person's personality? Will it make them prone to emotional outbursts in the moment, scarily self-composed, or somewhere in between?
Thanks for all of your answers ahead of time. This is my first post on the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, so be gentle and tell me if I can do anything to clean up my post. Also, any ideas not related to my questions are welcome as well.