Magic is a form of sorcery that involves using the unlimited mana of the world around you (Gaia) and bending it to your will. Ritualized magic is essentially passive and formulaic, with the individual "borrowing" the world's mana, feeling it flow through them and guiding it along to perform a spell. It is a slow and patient process, with the magic being derived largely from the ingredients and the rituals of preparation. It is very similar to following a recipe and may be affected by the quality of the ingredients and the precision of the ritual. Short rituals are relatively easy to perform, simply requiring a ritual circle, few components, and easy to memorize. longer rituals are more complex, requiring hours of chanting or movement, and more ingredients. These steps are meant to control the flow of magic into the real world, and coax the energy into a specific form, similiar to cooking.

Wild magic is much more aggressive than its ritualized form. It involves dominating the world's unlimited mana and subjugating it to suit your needs in order to power a spell. It does not require ingredients or special preparation, only simple desire. Because of this, it is far quicker and more powerful. This is a taboo form of magic because it is seen as taking what isn't yours from the world for a selfish purpose. Nevertheless, mortals are tempted to use it because it is much easier to use and provides a quick avenue to power.

I want wild magic to have some consequence to the user and the surrounding area that builds up over time the more it is used. Why would this form of magic negatively impact the people who use it as well as the surrounding environment?


closed as too broad by sphennings, L.Dutch, Secespitus, Frostfyre, Vincent Sep 19 '17 at 13:32

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    $\begingroup$ "...She turned me into a Newt ! " ;) $\endgroup$ – Joe Sep 18 '17 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ Questions asking "How would x affect society?" are too broad. People and the environment is a much broader category than society. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Sep 18 '17 at 22:22

Unnatural magic has unnatural consequences

When you impose your will on the magic of the world, you are upsetting the natural order of things. Liken this abuse of power as "tearing" magic from the world and "forcing" it through yourself. Such magic is not clean or wholesome but tainted, and its use leaves damage within the person (physically or spiritually).

The manifestation of this forceful use of power can be varied. Perhaps, over time, a person loses their ability to channel mana from the world. Or they lose the ability to channel mana in a natural way, and can only use "wild" magic. Perhaps there is considerable internal or external scarring or disfigurement, which can lead to exile or difficulty in being healed. Perhaps such use will draw the ire of a deity, from whom punishment might be swift and severe.

The environment also suffers - patches of "dead land" where no mana flows may form from repeated tearing. Mana may flow into the real world in undesired manners from these tears, causing magical disasters and dangerous phenomena to occur. There may be fearful creatures that are drawn to the raw mana entering the world or manifesting from it. This tainted mana may not return to the world, and so even though mana is unlimited, this mana must remain in this world in some form or other - even after it has been used to the desired effect.

The old saying goes that power corrupts - in this case, you may corrupt the user, the environment, the magic itself, or all of the above.


Law of Equal Exchange

You take what isn't yours, then you must exchange it with what's yours.

Basically, you are putting your body and soul as the ritual ingredients. Low level spell may have unnoticed effect, but trying to summon rain with your sheer will alone will likely to consume your mind and tear you from limb to limb, if it goes unaided with magical ingredients.

Increased Failure Rate

A ritual circle defines how the mana should flow to perform the intended effect. Without it, you must precisely guide the flow yourself. Without great concentration and talent, the flow is likely to be disrupted. Spell failure means the collected mana will leak to the surroundings with the same effect as nuclear meltdown: mutation.

  • $\begingroup$ I think this should not be called law of conservation. It's more like a law of equal exchange. Law of conservation would state that mana cannot be created or destroyed like the equivalent laws of conservation of matter and energy. $\endgroup$ – Maciej Sep 19 '17 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ I originally was referring to the same law by Full Metal Alchemist. However I forgot the name until you reminded me. Thanks, @Empischon !! $\endgroup$ – Vylix Sep 19 '17 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, i thought I've felt the FMA vibe here ; ) It was a great series in many terms, including worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – Maciej Sep 19 '17 at 9:12

Ritual magic is constrained and focused by the mechanisms of ritual. It is generally impersonal, although it does require channeling through the user.

Wild magic is essentially unconstrained and relies upon the expression of will and emotion by the user to focus on the subject. It requires a superhuman effort to completely control and focus will and emotion on a subject, so there is always leakage. Although experienced users are much better at minimalising the leakage (as a percentage), because they tend to not only use magic more often, but also stronger types of magic, they actually generate more leakage in terms of volume.

Leaked magic tends to follow the unfocused background thoughts and emotions of the user; these tend to be typically towards the immediate environment, towards the user themselves and to other persons and objects to which the user is emotionally attached. A percentage of this leaked magic, say 20%, will be of the spell cast, but the rest will have random effects.

Knowledge of the danger of leaked magic creates a certain amount of emotional guilt, though this varies from person to person. This guilt, however, will direct an according amount of leaked magic back to the user.


It would destroy the world.

The balance of the Force must be restored.

Unlimited mana means unlimited energy supply. The energy is not conserved in the system. Moreover, this supply is readily available to all living organisms - from your description I gather that no advanced technology is needed to use wild magic.

There are various scenarios on how that could happen, with this description Your system in unstable on every level, from physics through chemistry to biology, and only luck and specific initial conditions would determine which apocalypse would take place. My favourite is bacterial apocalypse, with bacteria evolving to feed on mana, freeing themselves from competition for energy (since mana is unlimited) and devouring everything for matter to replicate. But most likely is some high energy physics catastrophe with unlimited mana fueling a chain reaction on sub-atomic level. I would love to elaborate more, it's very interesting topic, but I will stop here because this is not in scope of this question. Let me know if You'd like to talk about it!

Now, if mana was not unlimited, but simply very, very vast (given the size of the planet and the number of living organisms on it), constantly created and used up by the world's ecosystems, one does not need to search far to find examples of what happens when you have easily available sources of energy and malleable material. The black gold, petroleum, has given us exactly this and we used it both as energy source and to produce very useful stuff easily (plastics, etc..), and how did it end? We turned it into particles which nature either doesn't recognize and thus cannot recycle or into particles which nature cannot keep up recycling this fast. And we nearly devoured the entire worlds supplies of it in 150 years. It will last for 50, maybe 100 more.

The same would happen with mana fueled wild magic in your world. It would fuel rampant industrial devastation and poisoning of the ecosystems, thus, ironically, destruction of its own source.