The time has come for five important questions. Before I give them to you, let me restate the importance of sticking to the simple and very general answers. Think of this as the frame of the house. It gives the overall shape, but nothing more. The rest will come later, and as in construction, it too will come in stages. However, that is yet to come. Let’s then begin with what is right in front of us, and discover the frame of our system of magi
1 – Origin: Where does the magic come from?
It may be a naturally occurring energy. It may be a gift of the gods. It may be bestowed by union with demons and angels. Maybe it is a gift from an alien race a la The Greatest American Hero. In broad strokes, where does the magic come from?
2 – Wielder: Who can use magic?
For the time being, let’s get very, very broad. You may choose either a) everyone, or b) a select few. I know more detailed answers are likely bubbling up within you. Set them aside, it’s not yet time.
3 – Scope: What are its limitations?
It is here that we will set the scope of a wielder’s power. To do so, draw a line with various hash marks. The first mark will be 1, the next 5, then 10 followed by 25, 50, 100, 1000, and 10000. These numbers represent skilled, non-magical warriors. Mark the maximum number of opponents a skilled magic user is capable of defeating alone. That’s it. No more. If you like you can make it average vs. average, but choose a number.
4 – Price: What are the costs involved?
This is the great limiter. What price must be paid to tap into these wondrous, or not so wondrous, powers? A favorite example from Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – body parts! A bit gruesome, but it has loads of potential. Another recent favorite from the workshop itself, mental capacity. You may be asking right now, “What does that mean? Mental capacity? That’s rather general, isn’t it?” The answer would be yes, and that is OK. It spawned several wonderful concepts that all fit the bill. Right now, keep it simple. If you wish, you may add another cost. Some very general favorites are time, life energy, stamina, health, risk… Which will you choose? Let me also remind you again, keep it general. We’ll flesh out the frame later.
5 – Method: How is magic used?
Incantations? Hand motions? Enchantments? Runes? Enchanted Items? Willpower? Alchemy? Drawings? Faith? Intent? Touch? Sleeping? Don’t worry about working it all out right at this moment, this is something that will grow as you flesh out the other questions. Make some broad strokes and get ready, the basic frame is pretty much done.
These 5 questions will give you a good start, but we’re not there yet. So the next post will take us a little deeper beginning with question 1. This will be the beginning of the parade of a 1000 questions. We’ll follow the trail of bunnies to greater and greater detail in our magical system.
Until then… Have fun!