Welcome to this weeks Craft Post, as we continue with our series on Magic Systems. Today’s marks the third entry in the series, if you haven’t read the previous two, you can find the first one Magic: Mysterious or Scientific here.  The second Sanderson Other Two Laws of Magic here. While you don’t need to read those posts, it will probably be in your best interest as I will more than likely refer to them as I will be going over how I go about developing my Magic Systems, and as the title says, it is all about power.

For the past two months, I have been retooling the magic systems in my longest developing series, Forbidden Realm. There are currently seven systems, two are more race abilities that I still need develop more. The remaining five, one is not going to have much to do with the series so I only developed it enough for the role it will play. The other four got completely revamped and while I will say a few a similar there are deistic differences. Working on these systems is the biggest reason why I decided to do this series. Since this is a retooling of what I already had, it is not completely how I will develop a magic system from scratch. I will add that part when I do that for another series.

The first thing I do was read through what I have written and think through what I want to achieve from this system. I am a visusal person so, I have to know what it is going to look like when the magic is used. That is important. For Forbidden Realm, I had that already and took that and made changes based on what I was changing. The next thing I thought about was limits, you know Sanderson’s Second Law. (Read the second post to know what I am talking about). When I say limits, I mean what prevents the user from being to do whatever they want.

Yes, all of my magic systems you can technically do anything with them. The limits are character driven. To give you an example, two of the systems that were basically the same, the limits in place were physical. The users can only draw so much energy to cast their spells, and if they went beyond their bodies would be damaged. Depending on how much over their limit determined how much damage. Too much could lead to physical problems that never go away or death. With time and use, their body becomes stronger and able to draw more, but there is always a limit.

The other limits are how much energy is used to cast the spell. This all ties into how spells work, and can you cast any spell regardless of how much energy you can draw upon or making the spell as strong as the energy put into it. Or do spells require a specific amount of energy? If the user doesn’t have it, then the spell is unable to be used by them until they can meet the energy requirements.

From there I follow Sanderson Third Law of expanding on what I have. What I mean by expand is make what I have go deeper and able to do the most you can before adding some new power. I do sometimes add new powers or abilities and with each new addition. To give you and idea of what this, is I will add levels to the system so when the user reaches that level they gain something new but it isn’t really new. It is something that can be done, but the user needs the experience to reach it. The skill or ability usually removes some of the limits of the system. Only when I feel I have reached the end point where you can’t go any further will I add something else.

When a new power or ability that is added, must expand what can already be done but is different enough that it is its own thing. The new additions can make thing easier as it is something new and how it works has to work with what I already have. If that is the case, more limits are brought into as well. I do this until I reach the end point where if a character were to ever reach the end of the system they would be able to do whatever they wanted. Note, this is within the system. What I mean this, if the system is a combat magic system, at the top of the system and most powerful will be able to do any kind of combat they want, they won’t be using it to alter reality.

To sum up what I do is, know what the kind of magic I want, combat, tools, powers (think superheroes), etc. Then I take it to its absolute max power I want. Not all magic has to make a true master a god. From there it goes to the visual of what it looks like when used to the costs to cast and limits and expanding until I hit the max level of power I desire for that system.

Yes, I do. What, you are wondering why I am saying yes? The yes is to I develop the magic far beyond what could be seen in the story. I do this, so if I ever decide to tell other stories in the worlds they exist I have growth already in play and don’t have to come up with something new. Though most likely my characters will get very close to the top of the magic systems. Not always.

That is all I got this week, next week will be the last post in the series before the wrap-up. That is if I don’t find something I forgot to cover in the next two weeks. The Penultimate post will be ways to help you develop your own magic systems. From questions to ask yourself, or how other writers methods. Check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up post for this week.



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