Questions tagged [magic]

For questions that have to do with magic, as opposed to science/technology. Remember to explain any limits.

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26
votes
20answers
7k views

How to limit magic mirrors so they're not overly powerful?

Based on a set of questions by Pavel Janicek about how to address and then monetize magic mirrors in today's modern world. The short version of these magic mirrors is that any one magic mirror can ...
19
votes
10answers
3k views

In the magic==math trope, how do “they” know when we're doing spells?

Take Charles Stross’s Laundry stories as an exemplar for this modern day approach that makes explicit the analogy between computer geeks and fantasy mages. If P = NP then magic is possible. Here’s a ...
15
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2answers
3k views

Elves have alcoholic blood

From further investigations I see that someone came with an idea that gives support to my theory that elves don't have body fat. Their idea was that Elves store their energy as ethanol in their ...
13
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14answers
1k views

How long would it take for heritable magic talent to become universal?

Inspired by a previous question on this site. If magic were real (handwave - see 1) and in some way heritable, would it be likely to become fixated in the general population? If so, how long would it ...
23
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8answers
3k views

Creating a dark world - How can I not completely handwave the dark cloudy atmosphere

Primary question What is going on with the atmosphere that the world is so gloomy and dark? Information I have had a low-magic fantasy world I have been wanting to solidify for a while now but ...
15
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5answers
535 views

Feasibility of a Crystal Ecosystem

In my Fantasy world there exists a crevice. Plants and animals made of glittering, iridescent crystalline structures in abundance. The crevice can contain any arbitrary materials that might make the ...
11
votes
10answers
4k views

How can enchanted items be explained?

Let us define enchanting as binding a magical effect to or channeling it through a physical form. Background: Magic is an "energy," or exotic matter/energy perhaps, that exists essentially as an ...
9
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6answers
3k views

How can I determine the color of my magic? [closed]

Background For my own entertainment, I have been designing how I would hypothetically make a spiritual sequel to Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magic Obscura. It is hypothetical as the work needed to do ...
39
votes
15answers
6k views

What would be favoured weapons and weapon styles of a four-armed human?

I have a race of humanoids with 4 hands. They are on average 7 feet tall and are as dexterous with each of their 4 hands as a human is dexterous with each of their arms. What kinds of weapons would ...
34
votes
21answers
5k views

My magic system “pays the price” by drawing its energy from the future: should that affect luck, heat, or life?

I'm developing a magic system that has as its weakness or limitation the fact that the energy used in the magic is drawn from the future. I'd like the system to experience a form of "resistance" such ...
23
votes
12answers
9k views

In a fantasy world where physical training has no hard limit, why isn't everyone a superhuman?

I have been building a 'magic' system in a fantasy setting and have a number of ways a human can gain power. Most of these are limited to who can access them by royal bloodline, being god's chosen, ...
21
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12answers
4k views

Simplest explanation for societies to know about only one kind of magic of the two existing ones?

NB: this question has had some extensive editing. I apologize to those who replied early based on unclear premise. TL; DR two societies (druids & nomads) each discovered one kind of mana (resp. ...
17
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3answers
2k views

What effect would elemental magic have on the work force

Imagine a society where everyone controls a variation of one of the four elements: earth, fire, water, and air. What I mean by variation is some might control metal, but not rocks. Others control ice, ...
16
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8answers
1k views

How would a city with high defences fare against airborne creatures?

This always has been a point of trouble for me as a World Designer. How would a fantasy city be well-protected against airborne creatures? In all the examples we have on our own world (Earth) being ...
14
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10answers
3k views

How to handle dangerous, potentially unstable children/teenagers

Imagine if one day, in the future, random children were born with the ability to cast magic. This magic comes naturally to them, like an instinct, so they need not be taught how to use it, though ...
11
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5answers
812 views

In a realm with limited magic, who would govern?

In my question In a world with magic, who would govern?, I asked who would govern that world, magicians or mundane warlords/nobles. Now, suppose that exactly the same rules I described in the ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Will my magic system decrease its credibility? [closed]

I have read the laws of magic and related articles, that is why I came upon this question. For my world building I have been working on a magic system, it took me quite a while to find something ...
5
votes
4answers
624 views

Equation for magic system involving negative resistance and exposure time

I am devising a magic system that requires the user to output their energy (say, metabolismic calories) as a trigger, thus letting the sea of mana do the rest. Still, the sea of mana would multiply ...
68
votes
20answers
15k views

Why would society not cremate its dead in a world where necromancy is possible?

Necromancy is a type of magic that forces a soul back into a body after it has been killed. Through a dark ritual, the soul is forcefully removed from its eternal rest in the afterlife and is anchored ...
31
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8answers
3k views

Where to hide my evil Overlord? [closed]

Story: I am a evil necromancer Overlord who has many evil minions loyal to me. However a hero has greatly wounded me, and I have to go into deep sleep in order to heal and regain my dark energy. My ...
27
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19answers
5k views

Why couldn't/wouldn't people use someone else's summoned familiar, ordered to obey them, rather than their own?

So, in my story, there are six main categories of magical abilities, and everyone's able to have 5 abilities at a time. Each category of power has its own limitations on, and rules for, their use, and ...
24
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12answers
3k views

How might one explain (pseudo-scientifically) the generation of a “projected,” guided darkness?

The Details: We have ways to generate light and direct it with our own technology. Humans have had the ability to do this for even longer. Within the last number of decades, we have begun ...
19
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8answers
2k views

How will a god gain belief?

Assume a medieval magic world, where Gods are worshipped and the most popular God is the most worshipped. The Gods gain their power from the belief & prayers that comes from the believers, and ...
18
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11answers
2k views

What if Santa does not want Norad to track him?

The North American Aerospace Defense Command track Santa Claus' position each year as he delivers presents. Santa has mostly been cool with this (it's made him a little nervous in the past), but he's ...
12
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4answers
1k views

How would humans defend themselves against mice that are sentient and intelligent?

In How would sentient intelligent, normal-sized mice fight against humans? Humans are not doing well at fighting against the mice. They are small, smart and deadly. Humans will have access to ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Believable magical transmutation of elements

I want transmutation of elements (for example, changing lead into gold) to be possible in my world, using magic rather than nuclear physics. I want the overall energy input or output to be consistent ...
5
votes
12answers
556 views

How to limit the growth of a magic item that eats other magic items to gain their abilities?

I'm trying to design a magic item that can eat other magic items to gain their abilities. However, I keep running into a problem. Eventually, the magic item becomes semi-omnipotent as the abilities ...
43
votes
17answers
10k views

Zombie army is bad idea. But why actually?

In my custom fantasy world, raising the dead is really simple. Before the Great Act of Beautiful Death, raising a body and keeping it alive (undead?) for at least a week was a part of entrance exams ...
43
votes
24answers
10k views

How do I keep my remains safe from being summoned as a skeleton?

Imagine a magical world similar to this question, where everyone uses skeletons as soldiers. There are mages running around searching graves for bones to summon them into skeletons. How do I keep ...
27
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I preserve the long term cooperation of a witch coven?

A coven is a group of witches that have come together for a single purpose: apotheosis. This is a divine state of being in which a person becomes an idealized version of their own vision of perfection....
26
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4answers
3k views

What is the ecological role of the common fantasy monster, the slime? [closed]

This was a sudden thought during the world build I'm currently doing. What is the ecological purpose of a slime? Most monsters in a fantasy universe can be put into a food chain without much thought....
13
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5answers
2k views

What changes to human society would be necessitated by a race with small size and the ability to fly?

I have a world where the magic system is based pretty much on the Ars Magica RPG and a technological level roughly equivalent to 17th century Earth. Co-existing (in the same geographical areas but ...
9
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9answers
2k views

How to make magic different from science [duplicate]

I am building a world that has both magic and technology. I'm wondering how to make magic that is different form fields of science such as biology or chemistry. Simply put I don't want magic to ...
8
votes
6answers
965 views

Specifics of magical symbols and casting: How to purposefully, quickly create new spells where its near impossible to make any with implicit purpose?

This is a continuation of my Specifics of magical symbols and casting series of questions. In the process of splitting my post up, I noticed my final question got a bit broad. So to specify how magic ...
3
votes
3answers
734 views

Defining and Balancing Entropic Magic

For my Thaumaturgic magic system I chose five elements Fire (Heat). Light. Electricity. Force. Which includes Alchemy, by using vibration to warp the structure of matter. Entropy. Other abilities ...
36
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18answers
7k views

With some exceptions, what makes the most powerful mage on the planet, not kill a merchant and steal his goods? [closed]

So I am the most powerful mage on the planet. A merchant offers me an artifact that is too expensive for me to buy. With some exceptions, what makes me, the most powerful mage on the planet, not just ...
32
votes
8answers
5k views

What would poverty be like if there was an infinite supply of food?

Taking into account a medieval-ish lifestyle, one of the most important things, I would imagine, correct me if I am wrong, is food. If you could eat food, you were probably also not poor. Now, ...
27
votes
31answers
8k views

Why would magic users not try to take over kingdoms? [closed]

I am writing a fantasy story, set in a period that is, technologically, much like 15th century Europe. Warriors still ride horses, swords are used in combat, and the occasional plague often hits a ...
25
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4answers
4k views

What would be the side effects of a massive, strong magnetic field?

A permanent static magnetic field appears on the surface of a planet that is sufficiently large and strong to attract non-magnetized ferromagnetic objects up to 100 miles distant from the source, with ...
22
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5answers
2k views

How to hide from the world that you are a “Groundhogger”?

So Joe is no longer that much pennyless anymore. He drank the potion, won the state lottery, and now is having much missed comfort in his life. But he miscalculated the effects of the groundhog ...
21
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15answers
7k views

How do dwarves defend their City-under-the-Mountain from a dragon?

The Kingdom of the Dwarves has been rich and prosperous since the days that the first Dwarf-father awoke in the roots of the mountain. In the uncounted ages since he rose, the depths of the mountain ...
17
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14answers
3k views

What can god(s) be afraid of? [closed]

People are afraid of (probably) everything you can think (animals, open spaces, closed spaces, death, and so on). Of course that not everyone is afraid of everything, but generally it is. But is ...
15
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11answers
5k views

How would weapons and armour be affected if metal weight was negligible?

Related to How would a weapon act if it negates the effects of gravity for itself? I'm in the middle of building a fantasy world with one core component – a reasonably rare magical metal that gets ...
13
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8answers
6k views

Real life explanation of inheritance of werewolves' curse

Let us imagine later medieval society, very close to our 15 century society. This society struggled with Great Plague. The legends say, that they signed a pact with some supernatural forces, and the ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

Where can I look up information for creating a magic system based on Tarot?

I am currently trying to find information about different magic systems for an RPG. There are a lot of possibilities as to what could be a potential starting point for a magic system and I recently ...
12
votes
3answers
633 views

How would it affect a human to suddenly have a sense of smell comparable to a wolf?

I want to change the biology of one human being via hand-waving to allow this individual to have abilities similar to a gray wolf - focussing for this question on an enhanced nose which should be able ...
8
votes
3answers
303 views

'Magic Came Back' Catastrophes - Wood-based Disasters

Referring back to https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/2781/magic-came-back-catastrophes In the interest of narrowing questions down, I am splitting these out into particular elements ...
8
votes
4answers
837 views

Magic carpet maximum flying speed and height

I have a magic carpet, but the only thing magic about it is that it flies where and how its owner directs it. No bubble around it, no other magic; she has to hold onto it. I'm wondering how fast ...
6
votes
2answers
615 views

Limitations of magic as an energy conversion process

My world has magic and I would like to check a few things about it. Feel free to correct me if I'm way off-base. My magic is basically an energy conversion process. You take energy from your ...
6
votes
2answers
289 views

Composition of this cosmic material

In my story idea, there is a fluid material that also has many similarities to plasma. The strange matter (through means that I would also like to understand) converts regular forms of energy into ...