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ID: 1850


November 30, 2005, 5:01 pm

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Cheka Man

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Newtons Magic


Quote from: “Sir Isaac Newton” Every action has an equal and opposite reaction

What if, in a certain world, magic were based on this law? Where the use of magic creates an opposite effect, somewhere in the natural world.

Of course, in this world, magic would be abundant, and near everyone would be able to use it, at least to some extent.
For example:

A mage casts a fireball, so somewhere in the world, a lump of ice is formed, perhaps adding onto an iceberg or something inconspicuous like that. Also, with the magical heat generated from the spell, it gets colder, elsewhere in the world.

A necromancer raises the dead, so someone must die, somewhere in the world. Perhaps a requirement for necromancers to raise the dead, is a human sacrifice…?

So the world permits the use of magic, but the world is also structured on balance, so nothing can be created without another action happening to counter it.

The denizens of the world could either KNOW that their magic is balanced, or dont know:

If they know about it

*There would likely be strict laws set regarding the use of magic, so as not to have many changes happen to their world. Perhaps there is a law enforcement which can sense the use of magic, and will hunt down those who misuse it, and either kill or imprison them.

*People who have nothing to live for, or are just generally insane/evil may flee civilisation and practice magic in a remote temple/jungle/mountain/cave etc… Which will be cause for a ‘villian’. (Somone lost their lover, so decided to break the law by ressurecting him/her, thus making the person an outlaw.)

If they DONT know about it

*There will be much cause for superstition, and belief in gods who could punish or give gifts to townsfolk. (In a remote land, a farmer used magic to kill off a crop which had been mainly eaten away by locusts. And as a result, another farmer wakes up to find that his crop has grown overnight! OR A farmer uses magic to promote growth of his crop, so another crop fails.)

Perhaps, instead of the opposite reaction occuring randomly through the world, it occurs somewhere near where the first action occured, which means casters would have to be careful.

Some random ideas:

—-There is a renegade sorcerer who has been causing many problems, the adventurers have to go hunt him, using either normal weaponry or the CAREFUL use of magic. The problem is, the renegade will not hesitate to use magic however he pleases.

—-There is a huge crisis wherein the world/country is in danger (Comet coming for the planet? Huge storm about to occur?) And a decision needs to be made whether to cast a huge amount of magic to save everyone. The opposite effect of this magic could, however, end up bieng worse than the original crisis.

—-Barbarians attack the town, who have no morals and are not afraid to cast spells however they wish. The town must retailiate…

—-Magic is used to create the perfect creature, strong, trustworthy, handsome and friendly. Weeks later, reports come in of horrid, mutant beasts that have taken residence in the nearby forest. The adventurers have been sent to investigate.

And so on.

Please help ^_^ I just made this up on the spot then, and it is only the basics of an idea.

Additional Ideas (11)

I likes!

Maybe an extension: summoned/conjured things have to come from SOMEWHERE. Maybe you conjure, say, a plate of cookies, and somewhere in the world, a plate of cookies (the same plate for those not paying attention) just... vanishes. Bloop. Reverse is true for banishing/destroying things. Want to get rid of that beastie terrorizing your village? Easy. Bloop. And somewhere else, maybe very far away, beastie starts terrorising another village. Bloop.
Also brings to mind some potentially nasty things that you might not think of. You break an arm. Bloop. Your arm's fixed. Somewhere, someone else breaks their arm somehow. You use a love spell to win the heart of the girl of your dreams. Bloop. Another couple just... falls out of love. You use a mondo spell to kill your worst enemy once and for all. Bloop. Somewhere, a child is born with a black heart.
Or something like that.
I could see this working throught coincidence, although that would require that things be interrelated to an insane degree. The broken arm example: As you start casting the heal spell, someone else say, trips and falls. If you complete the spell, at the same instant your arm is healed, the other poor sap lands in such a way that he breaks his arm. The spell goes wrong or isn't completed, the person lands but doesn't break a bone.
Also, I should imagine that casting spells of opposite types of equal power at the same time would cancel each other out. I summon a fireball. At the same time, some one else summons an ice blast. Bloop. They cancel each other out, and the balance is unchanged.

2005-11-30 04:52 PM » Link: [1850#8746|text]
Ahhh... Realistic Thaumaturgy

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.

An introduction:
The Laws of Magic are not legislative laws but, like those of physics or of musical harmony, are practical observations that have been accumulating over the course of thousands of years, with remarkable similarity in almost every known human culture. Those of you who prefer to remain skeptical as to the reality of psychic phenomena and the systems of magic developed to control them will at least find these Laws an interesting and detailed guide to what psychologists and anthropologists so patronizingly refer to as "magical thinking".

Those of you who play magicians as characters will find these Laws a remarkably concise guide to the ways in which most magicians, at least on this world, believe magic to work. Most of the technical motivations of magic-using characters, before, during and after using magic, will be based on these laws.

2005-11-30 04:53 PM » Link: [1850#8748|text]
I could not resist.

2005-11-30 04:53 PM » Link: [1850#8749|text]
Those are great Ria!!!

2005-11-30 04:54 PM » Link: [1850#8750|text]
"Hey, where did Charlie go?"

2005-11-30 04:54 PM » Link: [1850#8751|text]

Interesting theories. (And a great comic!)

The broken arm example is really making things too insane... we could stick to energy. If we borrow some amount of energy somewhere, the same amount of opposite kind of energy emerges elsewhere. Or to put it otherwise, we have merely stolen the warmth for the fireball from somewhere. The opposite event happens mostly in one place (more probable with most spells), and allows water vapours to condense into that chunk ice.

An interesting affair for mighty wizards could be spells of little impact but great area of effect. A spell might warm up a piece of tundra a little, and in turn cool down a piece of desert. This would not last for long, but with repeated castings may make the life in both places nicer for humanoids. (And maybe upset some other cosmic balance, but that is out of topic here...)

A healing spell really takes some life-energy, or what it is, from somewhere else. Thus the existence of healing spells, that simply transfer yours (or other volunteers) life force to others. Other spells draw carefully on the life force of plants. Still other spells rip it out of anywhere, without asking. Those using such spells should think about the morals implications.


But Necromancy looks now a bit queer. Does it draw "unlife", effectively strenghtening life elsewhere? While this option has some irony in it (especially for the typical Evil villain), it might give a fine argument for using Necromancy. It actually heals the world, so what's so bad about it?

Hmmmm... I don't think so. Nor does the sacrificing of a humanoid to animate one weak zombie sound good to me. Let's return to the classical: animating what remains in a body after death. And as it traps a part of someones spirit, it is the good old immoral Necromancy we love and hate. The question that remains, is what kind kind of energy does it use up, and what reaction happens in turn? If it is some "binding" energy, does something somewhere become free? (In the widest sense possible... up to molecules splitting into atoms.) Not sure about it, but the actual effects may be of any kind, and may be reponsible for the association with Chaos.


So a wizard's magic is not the force that creates something, it is the power and skill to take energy from somewhere, and shape it to a new purpose.

Should this idea be researched deeper, a list of the various types of energy should be compiled, to see what kinds of effects can be created. Of course, we might theorize there is only one kind of energy with many "flavours", that could be converted into the right one. But this should be too hard for mortals, and it is better to take warmth for fire effects, life force for healing, etc. Freely creating any effect out of any energy, and (especially) choosing where the energy will come from, could be the domain of gods. Luckily it limits gods from doing anything every day, since the energy has to come from somewhere...


All in all, a very interesting idea. It puts magic on a quite different level, and it is no more some "power for free". It comes from somewhere, and whatever you do, you know it does also something different...

Also, magic is not the wonder itself, only the wondermaker. Can a magician do something with magic only, without influencing the world twice? The age-old Detect Magic may be the answer, as a way to detect spellcasting, and the side-effects. A special "Magic Sense" may be a part of a spellcasters repertoire, activated at any random moment by the cruel DM...

2005-11-30 04:54 PM » Link: [1850#8752|text]
And what price is paid for casting the Detect Magic?

Perhaps you should apply the uncertainty theorm as well - casting a divination spell will always have an impact of some sort on the target.

2006-07-12 11:45 AM » Link: [1850#17182|text]
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.

2005-11-30 04:56 PM » Link: [1850#8753|text]
Warning Slight Thread Drift

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.

Just a thought.

2005-11-30 04:57 PM » Link: [1850#8754|text]
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)

2007-08-30 09:54 PM » Link: [1850#29685|text]
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.

Just my two cents.

2005-11-30 04:57 PM » Link: [1850#8755|text]
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.

2005-11-30 04:58 PM » Link: [1850#8757|text]
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.

2005-11-30 05:00 PM » Link: [1850#8759|text]
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?

2007-01-15 02:29 PM » Link: [1850#24197|text]
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Comments ( 12 )
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November 30, 2005, 16:52
Very interesting thoughts. Makes you sit a moment and wonder.

The ideas imply that everything would be a constant in this world which might complicate the matters a little bit. There will always be so many people with a broken arm, so many with broken leg, etc.

Going to have to mull this over.
November 30, 2005, 16:59
Great idea!
Voted KendraHeart
December 1, 2005, 1:52
Nothing to add. I am not sure how you would do this, mechanically, but it is a verrrrrry cool idea.
Voted Ancient Gamer
December 1, 2005, 2:26
Only voted
Voted the Wanderer
December 19, 2006, 21:42
If magic must be in a game, this is a great way to work it.
Voted manfred
March 17, 2008, 17:55
BUMP! An old discussion on a great topic. For those, who have the patience, there is a topic-relevant comic hidden inside. That I call a bonus!
Voted MoonHunter
May 20, 2009, 3:03
I miss collaborative pieces like this. We should do this more often.
Voted DrTurtlesse
May 20, 2009, 18:22
Only voted

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