Of sorts. Everything on both sides of the equasion must be balanced. The spell caster must generate the energy to create the equasion and move it upon the universe.
Laws of magic have been stipulated from time to time and tradition to tradition, from thrice bless hermes to the gamer next door. The most comprehensive and modern set came from Isaac Bonewit's classic tome, Real Magic. Currently out of print, you can only get these laws in either The Magician's Handbook OR Authentic Thaumaturgy (SJ Games).
Here are is a link that has a good article on them.
I keep reading the title of this thread and think of Sir Issac Newton's magic, rather than magic based upon one of his physical laws.
I am ignoring the Illuminati membership. I am ignorring his Mason association. I am ignoring his association with Dee or his associate (if memory serves). I am ignoring his connections to the precursors of the Golden Dawn.
I am thinking about magic of mathematics. This man invented calculus, among other things. Calculus is the branch of mathematics that deals with limits and the differentiation and integration of functions of one or more variables. (the math of altering volumes, changes in motions/ equasions). It is a method of analysis or calculation using a special symbolic notation. This is the important one for magics.
Newton once said, that the world was defined by mathematical laws set down by God. To understand God, we needed to understand those laws.
So lets say he managed to extend his understanding of math and physics to the mystical level. Using his complex equasions and calculus to solve them, he managed to define and redefine the world around him. (By embedding a derivative inside a deriviative, you would get the base delta for the world as it changed around you and define the new baseline).
Newton's magic would be powerful. It would effect the physical realm, no true mental effects. Things would move. Things would change, as if they were being reacted against. Shapes would be redefined. Things could teleport. All of this would be done by holding huge mathematical equasions in the head and altering variables to first match the movement of the world, then adjusting the variables (and their deltas) to achieve the desired effect.
Most people would need to have prework the equasion on a scroll or book page. This formula would be read and set into the mind of the "caster"/ physicist. This matrix of formuli would become the symbolic version of the world. It would also serve as the vehicle to change the caster's mental state to one of a trance like one. Then the mental manipulations would be applied to the equasion. Changes in the world would occur as the matrix was altered, to match the changes... if it was all manipulated properly.
This is pretty cool, I was reading this series of books by Harry Turtledove where the magic systems were based the Law of Contagion (I think that's how it is spelled sorry) and the Law of Similarity. It was realy interesting, you could use a piece some one had touched or made to find a person or some one related to it. I'm not going to explain it was pretty confusing, and off post for me.
If magic was truly and completely balanced there would be two different magic systems, the law based magic system, and somesort of chaos magic that defied every law in the ohter system. Since the other system law based, and in a sense "good". Thi opposite magic system would be completely chaotic, evil, completely random and out lawed. If the law based system required scrolls and precise calculations and careful thinking. Then this system would be emotional, potent, and rely on your will would control no silly words, or drone calculations. It would be seductive but impossible to master and never reliable, if using law based magic would allow magic to flow through you and change something, then this magic would burn you up like a conduit to small to hold it's charge.
This is a very interesting outlook on magic. I've never thought about it before, but it makes perfect sense. Magic can't simple come out of thin air, so in that case it is similar to energy and the law of conservation of energy (energy cannot be created or destroyed). with that said, magic is with everyone and everything, and the amount and side effects that result depends on the level of knowlege the person has with magic. A strong wizard, for example, would have a vast knowledge of how to use his own magic energy, allowing himself to use smaller and smaller amounts of it, depending on what he is doing.
So in a way, every character and thing has some sort of power and the same amount. When a spell is used, it doesn't really take another person's magic away, only his/her own. This creates backfire effects by draining so much of the person's energy that they may simply collapse or become dizzy. The more they know on how to control this, the less of their energy they need to use to accomplish a given task.
This idea is kind of like the jedi in Star Wars. The Force is with all living things and is not created or destroyed; only used. The more the jedi's knowledge of the Force increases, the more they can do with it and the less tired they become when using a large amount of it. Go to Comment
Two thought came to mind while reading this thread, one was the basic law Conservation of Mass, and the second was the concept of inertia. Conservation of mass would go along nicely with Ria's comments on conjuring and summoning, it all has to come from somewhere. The prime example might be the summoning of an elemental where at least some amount of the elemental being summoned must be provided. Taken to one extreme, this might require a raging bonfire as opposed to a candle to summon a fire elemental. On the other, following with Luke's mention of the magical theory of contagion, the candle is merely a symbolic link of fire and the elemental is able to draw enough ephemera/elsewhere fire to create its mass. Summoning food, or mundane monsters becomes more problematic. Summon a warhorse, somewhere else, the spell has effectively stolen a warhorse. This could be circumvented with the assertation that all conjuring and summoning spells summon 'celestial' or 'infernal' beasts that just mimic normal creature and thus are not included in the conservation of mass.
Inertia is another concept that might bear explaining. Thus goes with the assumption that the concepts of fate and destiny are very real, something quite common in most accepted fantasy. Things are intended to happen, for whatever reason, ranging from maintaining the cosmic balance of mischance and good luck to the games of divinity. Perhaps it was designed that a person should break their arm for X reason, be it humilty, or the continuing of a mundane healers experience. When magic is used to effectivly unbreak the arm, inertia seeks to correct its course. Perhaps the character suffers another broken arm in short order (though this might seem heavy handed to players who avoided the first broken arm) or someone in the general vicinity becomes the recipient of the injury.
My two cents.
Conservation of mass - matter can be neither created or destroyed, only altered in physical form. In practical terms, a fire doesnt destroy a piece of wood, it turns it back into en equal amount of smoke, heat, and gas. Go to Comment
I like this idea a lot, and have over time struggled with it so here are my one-and-a-half cents.
manfred- Necromancy would need some kind of life force or energy for it to work right? Or else why would there be all of the dead animals and the like around a necromancer's lair? And the more life the "sacrifice" have (like a kid would have all of its life-force, as opposed to an old man whose life is almost over) the more you could get out of it.
There would also be a great need to understand, and have written into the spell, where the energies or forces are going to come from. You have to know and "tell" the spell whose are is going to break, or where the life-force is going to come from (once again I can't help but think of rabbits!) in order for the healing spell to work. This would create a high demand for spell components to be used for the source of the energy (E=MC^2) and all most all spells would need to be custom made, or at the very least, modified for use. Go to Comment
Well, if you really want to carry on with the math, eventually, you'd end up in the realms of probability manipulation too. If classical (newtonian) mechanics can be affected by the caster on the macro scale (our scale) then he can probably manipulate them at the micro scale (1000th of inches) or even nano scale.
This would lead to the equivalent of being able to directly affect the mechanics of each molecules in the room (remember, calculus can be all about motion), which is really a way of saying that your caster can affect statistical mechanics, or probability (this would curdle a physicist's blood, but you get the idea).
He could then force all the air in a room to reside within a single cubic inch of space
(remember, each particle is a distinct newtonian body obeying newton's laws of motion, and whose path can be interpreted using calculus, and with statistical method, one can derive the behaviour of X numbers of particles, treated as a whole)
Or heat it up to spontaneous combustion. God almighty! he could even heat it to fusion point if he controlled the energy distribution of air particles. (see boltzman distribution) in fact the math for this is pretty simple and can be done in your head today, with a good high school level. (no calculus needed even)
Effectively, the logical implications are enormous, since it is statistical mechanics which gives 'time' a unique direction (let's not dwelve too long on the last 50 years of RL how they come into it) so effectively your mage would be capable of reversing time's unidirectional arrow. ie: the broken vase could be made whole again, or you could make one half of an open room cold and the other one hot by controlling the motion of particles through variable changes in calculus math. (see maxwell's demon to see what i mean conceptually)
newton's work is so fundamental, and so truly universal that the mage's power would become *limitless* if used with any insight. And that's without even talking about his work on gravity and celestial motion nor his deductions on inertia.
This is it, i think, what separates real science from the fantasy type magic. if you start messing with the fundamental natural laws discovered so far, we enter universes so alien to our own that our minds stop being able to comprehend them. (indeed, it is quite hard to comprehend the universe into which we evolved, let alone one where the rules of the game are utterly diferrent) It is not simply a matter of being a powerful form of magic, but being the very fabric of reality which you are wielding. One arithmetic mistake and poooof!!!, the standard nuclear mass for hydrogen is tenfold too big, and most of the matter in the universe collapses to a singularity. Oooops.
(I make similar mistakes daily.)
In magic, vague restrictive concept can be used: "that takes too much life-force to cast" or "not enough mana" or even "the gods wont allow it" but there is no such security valve for math/physics. you can change one rule, nay, one variable, and you become God.
Changing the laws of physics (calculus inc) is not an option. one must comply, it is why they are called laws. Our math changes to reflect the world. ( and so our mage uses natural laws) but if the world changes to reflect our math, as you seem to suggest, that is a totally different ballgame.
(Oh. PS: I know this comment is about two years late ignore at will) Go to Comment
What about if instead of the opposite happenning in a random, indeterminate way, the mage decided where and how the opposite occured, so that a pyromancer mage would in effect select an area to heat up, and an area to cool down by an equal amount.
PLAYER: i throw a fireball at the critter, taking the energy from the room
DM: suddenly, as a great ball of flame leaves your hand, the air in the room becomes intensely cold, freezing your breath as it leaves your lungs
and hence, not only does magic follow newtonioan physics, but it also follows the laws of thermodynamics. the mage can then be considered a very efficient heat engine that does work, the work being the magical effects!
this also serve as a built in game balance! who is going to get a big enough heat reservoir to cast an epic level fireball? Go to Comment
The post itself could have gotten a 4 had it not been that I really do not like the Dul'Gholam function. It seems too silly, even for a fantasy setting. Too bad really because, like all your work, this one is well written and interesting. The beginning is very promising and I WILL definitely use some kind of eroding Golem Moss in my setting. It is highly unlikely that it will create any Dul'Gholam though :)
You get a .5 bonus for the wonderful idea at the bottom of all this. Go to Comment
Actually, something of note to the ending: flesh actually has less energy than plants. Life within an ecosystem tends to not get beyond the fourth or fifth tier if I remember right, simply because there isn't enough energy within the last tier to support another. 3.5/5 - Good, but has some flaws. Go to Comment
Somehow, someway, a band of gnomes learns how to be ninjas. In fine gnomish style, they open an academy to teach this art to other gnomes. Wacky Hijinks ensue. Or the gnomes become some of the finest assassins in the land. Or both.