Asking for ideas about magical damage

Mirannan

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#1
I am about to write a scene involving a magical duel, and it occurs to me that just about all the forms of combat damage have been done to death. Fire, electricity, wind, poison gas, summoned monsters and cold are fairly common; acid somewhat less so.

In a brief bit of brainstorming, I came up with gravity control, ionising radiation and weaponised dimensional vortices - none of which I've seen in fantasy works although they may be in something I haven't read. Any more? Evil ideas are welcomed. :devilish:
 

chrispenycate

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#2
Differential time rates - we all know that one night underhill can translate into a century of outside time. Focus this tightly, and if somebody's sword arm is metabolising 35,00 times faster than the rest of his body it will run out of blood and die off, which is not very promising for the rest of him. Even more sadistic put just the head and brain into slow time so the rest dies while the eyes keep on observing the body rotting away. If shielding spells kept attacks away from the opponent's body, environmental effects would spoil concentration.

Transmutation - if a certain percentage of the iron in your blood was transmuted to arsenic, it would be difficult to continue. Medusa used a similar technique, though she was a little less educated in elementary science, so went wholesale.

Transport spells are standard fare - just transport a small portion of your opponent to - say - a mountain peak. Say, his liver, or prefrontal lobes.

If transformation spells - like turning yourself into a dragon, for example - are a standard part of your armoury, try changing the size of space, so only a portion of your foe transforms. A mix and match organism just has to be less effective.

Conjuring water in a desert is a standard trick. If your enemy has a defensive spell rigged to rebuff projectile weapons like arrows, fill it with water and wait for him to dissolve it before shooting at him. Actually conjured solid objects could destroy the concentration required for a decent magic duel - say dirty diapers and a rubber duck.
 

Brian G Turner

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#3
If you want something a little more different and a little more true to magick - rather than RPG/game "magic" - then The Teachings of Don Yuan by Carlos Castenada has an interesting climax.

Staying with shamanic rituals, our Harebrain - writing as Bryan Wigmore - makes shamanic conflict a core feature of his The Goddess Project and The Empyreus Proof.
 

Ihe

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#4
Think less magic and more biological or physical: body-boosting magic/adrenaline rushes, diseases through summoned viruses, own inner organ and muscle control to avoid injury to internal organs, etc. You could also damage other things that arent the body: mental/psychic damage (confusion, panic, brainwashing) maybe u could damage their mana source to leave them powerless, or their very soul... Dont be limited to fireballs and flying.
 

hopewrites

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#6
I thought from the title of the thread that we would be discussing damage to magical casting abilities or to one's source of magic.
Now I'm thinking that might be a really high stakes duel if the castors went straight to targeting each-others ability to cast at all.
 

K.S. Crooks

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#7
Time as a weapon- could cause parts of a person's body to become old or very young (elderly knees with a child's mind would not work too well). Evolve or de-evolve plants or animals into something that to suit present needs.
 

Mirannan

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#8
One thing I have to do is find justification for deathspells being difficult to cast. After all, the difference between a live body and a freshly dead (but intact) one is really rather small.
 

Cathbad

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#9
A deathspell should cost the caser dearly - physically, in my opinion. Perhaps aging somewhat - or a bit of withering?
 

hopewrites

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#10
Or something of the killed entity is attached to the live entity.
Could be consistent, like you take on all their troubles, or all their emotions, or all their memories, or what portion of their life they haven't lived yet.
Could be inconsistnat and the risk added to the taboo of casting it would be that you dont know if by using it to kill the dragon you will gain their life essence, or their ablity to breath fire, or their insatiable need to hord treasure, or their taste for devouring rotting whale carcasses...
 

Robert Zwilling

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#11
You can have the nerve bundles that go from the torso to the end of the fingers and the toes be used as whips with real cutting power. Instead of hurling energy bolts the range would be limited to actual length of the virtual whip. Just imagine lines of force traveling through the nerves that are longer than the nerves themselves, they extend out past the end of the nerves in the fingers or toes and are manipulated the same way a whip would be.

These extended virtual nerves would be able to cause blunt physical damage or be wielded as a cutting edge. The damage to the body would be real and can result in death. The distance the virtual whips extend would be a couple of feet, and the energy intensity in them would diminish as the distance got farther from the body. It would require talent to focus the energy past the hand or the foot.

Then there is the problem of where does the energy come from. If you wanted something physical to power it, it could be chemical or bacteria of some sort. An energy based system could take energy out of the space around the person and they channel it through their body, or it could be limited to whatever power they can pull out of their body.

The brain could be used to program the nerve cells to act like wires with zero resistance, or negative resistance to get more power moving faster. Or a single type of bacteria could function like a wire network within the body that handles the power in a coherent fashion.

A more powerful nerve whip but much harder to control would be one that came out of the spinal cord, either the top or the base, as an invisible tail. Just because one could wave their arms around and cut somebody up, it wouldn't mean they could ever do the same thing by manipulating the nerve trains in their spinal cord.
 

The Big Peat

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#12
Chrispenycate has got a lot of the good ones, but...

Transmutation - don't just attack the other mage, but attack their environment. Lock them in a room and change all the air to carbon dioxide. Or the area around them to water/copper, putting them at the centre of a brand new electrical circuit. Or the floor below their perch to sand.

Wielding a weapon? Superheat the handle.

Illusions - why yes, the walkway does extend that far into the air... not.
 

paranoid marvin

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#13
Don't worry about being completely original; after hundreds/thousands of years of storytelling, there are no truly original tales left to tell.

It's more important to be entertaining than original, and of course you want the reader to be able to visualise what is happening. How about the combatants fight by projecting their wills into animals; if the animal they have commandeered dies, the wizard's mind is trapped and so they have to exit the body of the animal before this happens. They can project their minds/wills into any animal they can physically see, so they might carry scorpions in their pockets, snakes around their necks, leopards on leashes or hawks on their shoulder.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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#14
I am about to write a scene involving a magical duel, and it occurs to me that just about all the forms of combat damage have been done to death. Fire, electricity, wind, poison gas, summoned monsters and cold are fairly common; acid somewhat less so.

In a brief bit of brainstorming, I came up with gravity control, ionising radiation and weaponised dimensional vortices - none of which I've seen in fantasy works although they may be in something I haven't read. Any more? Evil ideas are welcomed. :devilish:
Sounds pretty standard fare for you're typical magical stuff. (Dr. Strange springs to mind)

Trudi Conava did a good job of magic battling in the Black Magician series.

Old Potter had some good scenes too (much as it pains me to say it)

"The Raven" duel made an impression - I was young - pity about the camp aspects but the Carloff Price scene was most enjoyable at the time and at the forefront of special effects too.

So, for something new.

I'd resist acid attacks - Far too dodgy in todays world. You wouldn't want to be quoted come the next attack - Plus it's hardly magical.

The real problem - is not finding the attacking magic, but the defensive magic against it.
As in Rock, Paper, Scissors.

A big hole in the HP tale is the lack of an anti curse against the issuing of the killing curse. If all you have to do is say the words and point your wand and someone across the room is dead, it doesn't leave a lot of room for the hero to guard against it.

Sneak out from behind a tree and say the world and your enemy pops his clogs.

The the Cruxious curse and HP shielding against it was better.

So we have:-

Fire - Water - vacuum, damping gas.

Water -fire, vacuum, drains/holes.

Poisonous gas, fire, water vacuum, window blast.

and so on.

How about:-

Projecting into solid matter - guarded by the attackee realising and crating a bubble around himself.

Sudden appearence of holes/earthquakes guarded against by levitation.

Similar to water being plunged into at depth guarded against by the bubble again.

Wind v Wall building

Energy beam v mirror

Insect attack v poisonous gas, bubble.

Tossed into space v bubble, coming straight back.
 
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#15
Perhaps starting with the names/titles for spells, scrolls and items is another approach: The Rod of Worming, The Spoon of Scooping, Potion of Insides-Out, The Talisman of Buscopan, Embarrasing Powder, Tincture of Blobs, The Helmet of Dithering etc. To be serious, I guess there's no end to variety without having to resort to parody.

If you're considering -

gravity control, ionising radiation and weaponised dimensional vortices
as acceptable mechanisms, does that mean your variation of fantasy has a modern technological flavour to it?

Would that allow for techno-mages, Necrobotics, holographic Djinn, conferring gigantism onto the opponent's internal flora and fauna to burst them with bacteria? Create a vacuum around them and watch them boil off and other delights? I know most of that stuff falls within trad fantasy magic categories (transmutation, alteration, conjuration, necromancy, elemental summoning,) just wondering how your world context limits the framing of magics - if at all.
 

Mirannan

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#16
Perhaps starting with the names/titles for spells, scrolls and items is another approach: The Rod of Worming, The Spoon of Scooping, Potion of Insides-Out, The Talisman of Buscopan, Embarrasing Powder, Tincture of Blobs, The Helmet of Dithering etc. To be serious, I guess there's no end to variety without having to resort to parody.

If you're considering -


as acceptable mechanisms, does that mean your variation of fantasy has a modern technological flavour to it?

Would that allow for techno-mages, Necrobotics, holographic Djinn, conferring gigantism onto the opponent's internal flora and fauna to burst them with bacteria? Create a vacuum around them and watch them boil off and other delights? I know most of that stuff falls within trad fantasy magic categories (transmutation, alteration, conjuration, necromancy, elemental summoning,) just wondering how your world context limits the framing of magics - if at all.
Well, dimensional vortices are standard fantasy fare as well. Usually used for transport, but...

I managed to get a DM to approve a high level (8th) spell once, which he would have to step on hard if I ever really used it. It was a straight steal from the Excellent if Obscure novel "Space Eater" by David Langford.

It's a modified Gate, within the same plane rather than between planes and of limited size (hence the lower level) but with unlimited range (up a bit!) Size is about 1cm.

Now: Consider the effects of a 1cm hole between your enemy and the bottom of an oceanic trench. For even more giggles, further consider the other end being, instead, the core of your local sun...

I suspect the offending mage would get one use of that variant. The local gods would probably look askance at gigaton-level explosions on a mediaeval-tech world! Of course, one might get away with it as a defence against spelljammers, perhaps.
 

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