Hi guys! It’s been a couple weeks since I wrote a blog, but luckily I’ve gotten some additional help from my teammates, so I can focus on preparing for our Kickstarter campaign. You can look forward to hearing from them, and getting an inside peek at even more aspects of our game development in the future. Today though, I want to talk about a subject that I think is integral to any fantasy fiction: the magic system.
Like many young nerdlings, fantasy has always appealed to me (some of my favorites being: The Dark Tower, Dresden Files, His Dark Materials, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Lord of the Rings), and the worlds that I’ve always found most fascinating are the ones where magic is real, but it also has very clear limitations and rules. The best example I can think of in that regard is the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I absolutely love how that show took such a grounded, formulaic approach with the alchemy. From the very beginning, the rules of alchemy are completely laid out, showing that this power could only be wielded in very deliberate ways with very clear consequences. This enhanced the drama, as the characters all knew the rules and risks, yet still strove to overcome them for the sake of those they loved. To me, this is the essence of the human condition, and it is an element I very much intend to bring to Project Resurgence. We want the magic to be real and powerful yet also limited and costly, and not a deus-ex-machina solution to all problems.
Terms and Basic Concepts
First things first, a quick terminology lesson!
- Weaving – the act of combining Threads together through force of will (casting)
- Threads – lines of energy that connect all life and can be manipulated by Makers (spell components)
- Maker – anyone who can Weave competently (caster)
- Weave – a combination of Threads that produces a specific effect (spells)
- Channel – a piece of ambrosia that focuses and amplifies a Maker’s power (wand/staff)
Ok, now let’s get into exactly how magic works in Resurgence. Everyone born on Lumen has the innate ability to sense and manipulate the energy of the world in some capacity. We liken it to the ability to sense when someone is looking at you, when danger is near, or a dear friend is about to call. This ability can be further amplified by an element native to their world: the strange purple crystals known as ambrosia. Of course, while everyone has the potential to become a Maker, the results vary greatly depending on the individual’s talent and training. It’s a skill, just like anything else, and it must be exercised and developed. Most people know basic first aid, but very few become neurosurgeons. It is much the same in Resurgence, where any simple farmer can get an ambrosial ring and create sparks with a thought, but only those who have devoted their lives to mastering the arcane arts will truly unravel all their secrets.
In our world, the Selysian sages were the first to discover the special properties of ambrosia that make Weaving possible, and it was only through years of disciplined study, experiments, and error. They discovered much of exactly what makes Weaving possible, what its limitations are, and the basic rules on which it operates. As for how Weaving is performed, focus and discipline are key. The Maker must first clear their mind and focus all their will on the desired effect, then extend their consciousness out and visualize plucking the desired Threads of energy out of the air. Once snared, absolute focus in required to successfully hold these Threads and Weave them into a useful pattern, and most Makers will mimic these actions with similar body movements to maintain concentration. Losing that clarity of mind, even for an instant, can backfire—causing unpredictable results or even harm to the user and others nearby. The more powerful the Weave, the more concentration is required, which has become a leading tennent in Selysian culture. Only those who have mastered their hearts and minds can command the true power of ambrosia.
Rules and Limitations
As useful and powerful as Weaving can be, it is also a mentally exhausting activity. A Maker’s intellectual stamina is the main factor in determining the kind and number of Weaves they can manifest, and the most experienced Maker’s know exactly where that line is (and how to cross it). Another limitation to note is that without a proper channel, the power of most Makers is so diminished they are rendered completely useless. The ambrosia crystals are what really amplify a Maker’s force of will, and these channels are often embedded into wands, staves, and other forms of gear for that very purpose. Beyond those basic limitations, the Selysian masters also discovered that some things remained outside the grasp of even the most advanced mass ritual Weavings. To date, it remains utterly impossible to cure the Mist infection or raise the dead, and attempting these Weaves is taboo. But be they fools or visionaries, there will always be ambitious mavericks who continue to push those limits, regardless of the danger.
So that’s a very basic rundown on the intentions for our magic system, and how it all works. Thoughts? What do you like/dislike about magic systems in general? What’s your favorite example ever created, in game, film, or literature? Let us know what you think, and come join us on the forums if you haven’t already! Thanks for continuing to read my ramblings, and have a lovely week! 😀
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