Tuesday Toot – G+ is
closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.
Background: This is an incomplete magic system that I posted about, back in early 2016, … maybe now that G+ is closed I will finish it. I had some very good comments back in the day, and hope to incorporate them … Below is the original post unedited (excepting for the most egregious typos), with some added pictures for interest:
I had an idea for a new (at least I think it is new) magic system.
When I say ‘system’ I mean a concept. Unlike Vancian magic, it might be too awkward to make into set of workable rules. Maybe someone out there knows better …
Here’s the idea:
There is a huge desolate plane, riven with craters, troughs, ravines, gorges and cannons, and in the reverse, there are hills and mountains that pile upwards. In short, the plane of magic defines an infinitely thin surface of very irregular shape.
Most of the plane is a barren waste. In few places there is ‘precipitation’ that falls and then pools to form puddles, ponds, lakes and even oceans. Some areas of the plane are in a ‘static phase’ where no precipitation has fallen for eons, and others are wracked by raging typhoons. In some places the pools only slowly evaporate and in other places they boil frantically.
The ‘precipitation’ is of course magical energy, and in many ways this energy is recycled in the plane like water in the water cycle, i.e. ‘evaporating’, forming ‘clouds’ and ‘raining’ down again.
Every self-aware creature has a ‘conduit’ to the plane of magic opening somewhere at its surface. For most the conduit links to a desolate ‘dry’ area with no magic energy present. They therefore have not access to magic energy.
For the lucky few the magic conduit connects to a pool of magic energy from which, with the right training, they get can draw from. Those lucky few can train to be magics users.
There are two kinds of magic users.
(i) ‘Dead pool’ magic users – In the first kind the conduit connects to a ‘dead pool’. That is, the pool only has a certain amount of magic energy stored within it and will not fill again with magical energy in the lifetime of the magic user. This pool might be small as a puddle or in theory be as big as an ocean.
(ii) ‘Live pool’ magic users – In the second kind, the conduit connects to a magic pool that gets topped up with magic energy periodically, i.e. a ‘live pool’. In most cases this topping-up of the pool is a regular occurrence, hourly, daily, monthly, but it could be just once in their life time. Once the pool is full obviously it cannot fill any further until some draining occurs.
For most would-be magic users, the conduit lies at the base of a shallow, ‘dead pool’. During training the pool is drained and that is then end of their career. They are given a few years to see if their pool will fill again. If not, they can stay on as envious servants or are put out of the magic school.
In some ways it is easier for magic users when they drain their pool and it fills again, that way they know their limits and can cut their cloth accordingly. Like a man with a steady income.
It is more difficult for a magic user who has not yet ‘gone dry’. Do they have a ‘dead pool’ or not? One day will the magic all be gone, just when they are at their prime? These kinds of magic users tend to be thrifty with their magic not knowing if it will ever end. It’s like living off an inheritance without knowing how much money is left in the bank, and if it is getting topped up (or not).
Each magic user also has an internal ‘well’ within themselves.
Magic energy travels from the pool in the plane of magic, down the conduit and fills the magic user’s internal ‘well’. Once the ‘well’ is full no more magic can enter the magic user from the plane of magic (until it is used up in casting spells). So, the size of the internal ‘well’ limits the size of the spell they can cast. With training (and levelling up) the internal ‘well’ size increases as does the width of the conduit (so the internal ‘well’ fills faster). Generally, the internal ‘well’ can not exceed the size of the pool on the plane of magic.
In this system, you could imagine two extremes – a magic user with a small pool on the magic plane that fills rapidly. The magic user might never be able to cast more than a magic missile but could shoot these out like a machine gun.
Next you have a magic user with a ‘dead pool’ the size a lake. Only their internal well can hold them back. In theory at very high level (as their internal well increases) they might be able to rip a castle up from its foundations and hurl it through the air. But one day the magic might simply end, and then they would be nothing more than a commoner again. A commoner with lots of enemies.
Magic items have their own internal ‘well’. They are either filled will magic when created, and so have a limited number of charges, or they are connected to the plane of magic via a conduit, and so do not run out of magic. Some wands/staves can be filled by magic users with magic energy and so can be used as a ‘reserve’ tank of magical energy. Clearly, such wands are sought after by magic users with small ‘live pools’.
Magic creatures – these are born into a race predisposed to tap into the same large pool of magic. If it is a dead pool the magic might simply end for the species someday.
Twins are an oddity and connect to the same pool of magic, but not necessarily at the same height, so one might run out of magic before another. It is also not impossible, but very rare, for two unrelated magic users share the same pool.
Gods, greater devils etc. obviously have access to massive pools of magic. Over eons their internal wells have become massive.
Clerics are selected by Deities, they are ‘called’ into their service. Deities always select individuals connected to ‘dry pools’, i.e. so with no access to magical energy. The deities then fill those dry pools with magical energy which the clerics can use. The deities often select individuals with very large dry pools, and so have the potential (as they level up) to access lots of magical energy, if given to them.
After spells are cast using energy from the internal ‘well’, it returns to the magic plane.
So that’s the general idea – is there a workable mechanic for it?
I think the idea is fun, but it needs work, well to be workable …
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Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.