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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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? Responses (12)
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.
Nothing to add. I am not sure how you would do this, mechanically, but it is a verrrrrry cool idea.
If magic must be in a game, this is a great way to work it.
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!
I miss collaborative pieces like this. We should do this more often.