Tips on creating a Unique Magic System and User's name.

Cottencandytrill

A creature you best stay clear of
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
12
Location
Somewhere with access to cottencandy
Pretty Much I would like tips on creating unique Magic Systems and Unique names for the Magic Practitioners in my fantasy story. I would like to stray away from calling Magic users Wizard,Magician, etc. I also since I watch alot of Anime would like to create my own complex unique magic systems like for instance the chakra system Naruto has.
 

Zoe Mackay

Not all those who wander... Oh, actually, I am.
Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
491
Location
London
Some thoughts:

Your magic system should fit in with your world, and with your characters. What's the "feel" you're going for? Is it a super-realistic fantasy world, or is it more ... impressionistic? Are there active deities? Where does the power that works the magic coming from (internal to the magic user, drawn from the natural world, borrowed from spirits, a gift from said deities etc) ? What does it take to become a practitioner? Is it a innate talent or a learned skill or a combination? What does it take to learn said skill?

From those kind of questions, you can start to think about how it might work.

In terms of names, obviously that can then flow from the magic system you've come up with. Calling people "Thaumaturge" when they don't do anything like thaumaturgy is a bad idea.

Also, avoid calling a rabbit a smeerp : If you do magic by waving a wand and yelling pseudo-latin, you're a wizard, Harry, not a mooklemarkler... or whatever.
 

tinkerdan

∞<Q-Satis
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
5,488
Location
x² + y² = r²:when x~∞
I'd agree that it relies on your world to find the names.
That means we would need to know everything about your world that makes it so different from ours that they wouldn't use wizard- mage- magician.

Bottom line unless you have time to tell all; then it still might be up to you to find the names.

ie::
If your world was a corporate world they could be white shirts and blue shirts.

They could be plumbers- builders- and electricians in another world.

They could be heavys-hitmen-bosses in another world.
 

Ihe

Forum Revolutionary
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,119
Are you planning on doing a manga story or a conventional book? How you will approach this will rely on the genre you choose.

As you can see from other answers, what you're asking for is very broad, with no context whatsoever. If your story is about magic users, it really is up to you to work out the main mechanics of the magic, as it probably is an important plot element. Here at the forum we're glad to help you refine what you already have, but the thing is it doesn't seem you have anything more than a vague half-idea for now. I'd say you should develop something first, then we can help with modifications and proper advice. We can't do the core of the work for you.

With that said, we might be able to help you find inspiration. In regards to Naruto, the chakra system wasn't really invented by them. They do use it in innovative ninjaesque ways, but the foundation of it exists in Hinduism and Buddhism. You might want to research real-world "energy centers" and whatnot, then modify until you make it your own. Also, if you want to really have a serious, proper magic system, don't rely on anime/manga too much. Manga/anime have some nice concepts that are more "cool" than they are practical, and in a more serious story, the consequences of such phenomena will need to be realistic regarding impacts on society, personal development, industry, etc. You'll have to be much more thorough than you see in anime.
 

AnyaKimlin

Confuddled
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
6,099
Location
North Scotland
A lot depends on who is telling the story what you can get away with. I get away with more in stories where the narrator is ignorant of the magic and doesn't know how it happens because I can imply there is a logic rather than having to explain it.
 

Overread

Searching for a flower
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
4,301
Location
Hunting in the woods
On the subject of magic systems and rules Anime is a good example where magic systems often have very lax rules. The powers are often a case of continual increasing powers through a series. You get characters showing X level of power only to then surpass that in the next episode then again surpass it once more etc... Whilst there is a growth aspect its often not tied to much; its basically running more on the "it looks cool" and "makes for a good story in an episode"

Of course this varies greatly on the story and anime is not alone in doing it.

What you want with magic are strict rules of how it works. These are then the backbone to how the story can work. It's much like the way things work normally; take a ball and drop it and you know its going to fall and maybe bounce (depending how fast/what its made of). Magic wants to be the same. By giving yourself a strict structure it gives your magic limitations which means that you avoid the easy pitfall of magic solving all the problems that your characters encounter. It also helps you a lot because when you've got the rules you know how to pace and describe events and know that they will come to a certain conclusion.
You don't have to explain the magic rules to your reader, but you can get key concepts through the story itself and the underlaying rules that you're working with will keep it feeling structured. Without any rules or making them up totally as you go you can easily run the risk of a character using a power in a latter part of the book to solve something when that power could have been used much earlier to solve a similar or identical problem; or vis versa a character with a lot of power suddenly being overcome with something that a simple cantrap would have resolved.


As for making it up its hard to say; magic has no bounds as such so its really your choice. Many magic systems often base on a mythology which can also serve as a good base for the story and world setting in general. It helps provide some structure backbone that's already developed that you can modify for your own needs in your own story.
 

Cathbad

Level 30 Geek Master
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
9,201
Location
Everywhere.
I have written out the rules for magic in my world - but I don't even try to explain them in my stories.

In my view, magic shouldn't have "lax" rules, and I follow the restrictions of those rules. It's too easy to use magic "willy-nilly", to solve all problems. And readers will soon realize that's what you're doing. Yes, it's a fantasy world, but even so, there should be rules.

So, I have no advice on how your system of magic should work :D but I would encourage you to have one, and be consistent with it.
 

Ihe

Forum Revolutionary
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,119
For further examples of well-structured magic, I would recommend checking out Patrick Rothfuss's "Kingkiller Chronicle" where the magic works almost as a science, based on equal energy transfers and has very strict rules. It's not overpowered, as many magic systems are. When you make an overpowered magic system, that usually leads to a lot of easy way-outs of plot pickles, as others have mentioned.
 

Overread

Searching for a flower
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
4,301
Location
Hunting in the woods
Another thing to consider that is often overlooked is collateral damage. It's very easy to hurl fireballs and incinerate whole buildings; but there should be collateral where appropriate. Nothing worse than having huge magical battles that appear to have no effect outside of the combatants when they are in a pitched battle in a crowded area. And that includes both in the moment effects and the after-effects.
 

Phyrebrat

www.beanwriting.com
Supporter
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
5,949
Location
In your bedroom wardrobe...
I've had a quick search but I'm on the hop between jobs and can't get too involved. That's my way of saying I can't find the thread on this we had relatively recently, so maybe someone else can point you in the right direction :)

pH
 

Mirannan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
1,791
Another thing to consider that is often overlooked is collateral damage. It's very easy to hurl fireballs and incinerate whole buildings; but there should be collateral where appropriate. Nothing worse than having huge magical battles that appear to have no effect outside of the combatants when they are in a pitched battle in a crowded area. And that includes both in the moment effects and the after-effects.

Seconded. Fantasy RPGs are very bad for this; imagine the effect of lightning bolts and/or 40' diameter spheres of flame in a mediaeval town - usually built of wood. Or on a forest, for that matter. Any responsible spellcaster should be using more subtle, or at least more targeted, magics in a crowded and/or fragile environment. Maybe one of the bad guys is not so much evil as careless?
 

Cathbad

Level 30 Geek Master
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
9,201
Location
Everywhere.
Seconded. Fantasy RPGs are very bad for this; imagine the effect of lightning bolts and/or 40' diameter spheres of flame in a mediaeval town - usually built of wood. Or on a forest, for that matter. Any responsible spellcaster should be using more subtle, or at least more targeted, magics in a crowded and/or fragile environment. Maybe one of the bad guys is not so much evil as careless?

When I GM'd AD&D, I was very strict about collateral damage - which was often the PC's, since most didn't have a good grasp of geometry. :LOL:
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
3,650
That's what the Selective Spell metamagic feat is for. That, and its why most of the adventures happen in dungeons. Honestly people, its not hard. Besides, why bother with blasting anyway...


Okay. To be useful:

Google Ideation. Ultimately, what you are asking for is help on how to have ideas and develop them. That's what Ideation is.

What I'd suggest is writing down all of the things you associate with magic. Pick one central thing not to change - presumably the change of reality through supernatural means - and then start looking at the other associations and change them.

So, for example, "Executed by making mystic gestures and words" might become "Executed by burning ritually significant drawings". Or maybe a magic that can't be used to kill. Or things like that. And keep changing around until you find things you like.

Also, I second Vaz in looking at Sanderson's works on the matter.

Also, maybe look at real world occult traditions, RPG magic systems, and so on, seeing if you can find an interesting spin on things that you can spin further. Maybe you'll see an interesting idea like "Magic works by consuming metal" and be able to riff off of it.

But that's what it really comes down to. Better construction of ideas.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Vaz

Cottencandytrill

A creature you best stay clear of
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
12
Location
Somewhere with access to cottencandy
Where my fantasy story is based on , is the western hemisphere in the 1500's. It has a lot of inspiration from Latino and Caribbean culture and I would like to take inspiration from them for my magic system. I'm creating a book not a manga though I am inspired by anime where I've seen much more unique systems. The magic in my world would be in 3 castes being from very attuned to nature to having almost no affinity to it. I also may have a astrological magic, sort of the median of the two. I don't really want to use Shaman or witch doctor because I don't think those names convey really what my magic users are.

I'm mainly struggling in deciding if my nature magic should manipulate the elements or what my Non-Nature Based Magic does in the first place.
I'm thinking of Calling the Magic Users for Nature Magic thing the "Maya" but I don't think that's a good name. I don't even know what I will call "magic".
I'm not sure what my astrological magic thing will do besides explosions since that's all I ever see when it comes to star "magic.
 

Ihe

Forum Revolutionary
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,119
Astrological magic could deal with gravity, light, the void, radiation, energy bursts of course, and all of this could be very dependant on star/planet configuration throughout the year, the moon and sun cycles, etc. Tarot and seeing the future could also have to do with this type of magic. For nature magic you might want to check out the wiccans, nature religions, and elemental spirits. The other type of non-nature magic would have to do with more specific Caribbean religions/occult traditions concerning black and death magic (zombies and necromancy, communion with spirits, possessions, demonic magics, voodoo, poisons, curses/hexes, etc).

Just be mindful that the moment you start categorising magic in this way (astrological, nature/elemental, withdoctor-type, etc) you will most likely miss out on innovative, unique, and/or complex magic systems. Categorising everything is something anime/manga does a lot, to be able to calculate power levels and rankings("the sage is as strong as the 3 elder monks put together, he battled them all 3 to a standstill..." or "it's over 9000!"), identify different warriors/clans (ninja of the Mist, ninja of Sound, etc) and to simplify battle tactics (water magic beats fire magic, lvl.5 runic armor is immune against lvl.3 runic swords, etc). Everything is categorised to make the increase in powers and abilities of the MC be linear and his/her growth as a fighter (usually) is therefore simplified. Be mindful of this blatant linearity in skill progression. It has its uses, but lacks opportunities to surprise the reader, and oversimplifies inner conflict regarding growth.
 

Similar threads


Top