Tough Traveling: Magic Systems
The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan of Review Barn, who has come up with the excellent idea of making a new list each week based on the most common tropes in fantasy, as seen in (and inspired by) The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynn Jones. Nathan has invited anyone who is interested to come play along, so be sure to check out the first link for more information.
This week’s tour topic is: Magic Systems
A system. For Magic. Don’t pretend y’all were not waiting for this one.
Blood Magic, Dragon Age
Because how can I not include blood magic, the system by which the veil between the real word and the Fade is opened wider through the use of blood.
“Seven bells are used by necromancers to summon and control the Dead. While many such bell-wielders will be Free Magic sorcerers, the most highly-accomplished wielders of the seven bells come from the Abhorsen family. They are always Charter Mages, and they use the bells to defeat the Dead and compel them to return into Death and pass beyond the Ninth Gate, from which there is no return.” [X]
In Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence series, black mages and necromancers wear pinstripe suits and your soul has far more value than you ever thought. Gods dream, love, and die, and magic swirls — though not everyone can use it. Learning the Craft takes training, determination, and a lot of hard work.
Narcomancy uses the power of dreams to heal or to bring eternal rest. Though the priests of the order are meant to use this gift only to bring peace to the dying, they are fully capable of using it to attack and defend. And when a rampant dreamer shares her powerful nightmare….
This is something we have never told mortals. Paper and ink are weak structures on which to build the framework of magic. Breath and sound aren’t much better, yet we godlings willingly confine ourselves to those methods because the mortal realm is such a fragile place. And because mortals are such dangerously fast learners.
But flesh makes for an excellent conduit
And then there’s, you know, everything by Brandon Sanderson…
Let’s just revisit my old quote about this:
This is a tabletop role playing game with a book (of course) with a very interesting magical lore that says that everyone can shape reality and that the reality people believe in (that magic doesn’t exist) is a lie perpetuated by a group called the Technocratic Union, a group that’s convinced the world that only science exists. Even the magic itself is very varied from the unusual things such as science (but in a way that the TU hates), philosophy, technology, inspiration, information and religion along with more traditional magic to name a few.
I can never say this enough about FMA. Science + Magic = EVERYTHING.
It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs – once thought of almost as gods – were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.
As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.
But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…
Such a creative endeavor by Alex Bledsoe that combines music and magic in such an amazing way. I can’t praise this series enough, and it really starts to throw you for a loop as you learn what the the Tufa truly are as this goes from magical realism to mythology. Excellent series.
Nothing explains this better than the description. Because who can’t love a book where the magic relies on spelling and the main character is dyslexic? And they don’t treat it in a way that feels gross or showing ableism (but I can’t be the ultimate judge of that because I am not dyslexic):
Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text… but he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation.
Yet he has always felt that he is destined to be something more than a failed wizard. When a powerful, ancient evil begins a campaign of murder and disruption, Nicodemus starts to have disturbing dreams that lead him to believe that his misspelling could be the result of a curse. But before he can discover the truth about himself, he is attacked by an evil which has already claimed the lives of fellow wizards and has cast suspicion on his mentor. He must flee for his own life if he’s to find the true villain.
But more is at stake than his abilities. For the evil that has awakened is a power so dread and vast that if unleashed it will destroy Nicodemus… and the world.
Looks like my co-bloggers have the epic fantasy handled this week! Which is good because things got pretty busy in the last couple days, but I just really wanted to chime in with a couple of my recent Urban Fantasy reads that I thought had the most awesome and mind-blowingly unique magic systems:
The magic system of osteomancy – wizards who ingest creature bones and other body parts to absorb their essence and gain their power — is as cool as it is disturbing. A chunk of sabertooth can grant great speed and agility, a bit of sint holo can give you the ability to turn invisible, some essence of firebird can allow the user to breathe flames, and so on. Where it gets really icky is when osteomancers start thinking about cannibalism and butchering other human beings to ingest the magic in their flesh and bones!
Imagine wanting or believing in something so badly, you can actually make it happen. This is the idea behind ‘Mancy, the magic system in this world. Essentially, if you’re a ‘mancer, the power of your obsession will kick the laws of physics in the ass so hard that reality literally comes undone. This is what gives rise to the many different kinds of magic users. The possibilities are endless. Deathmetalmancers! Videogamemancers! Origamimancers! Fastfoodmancers! Catgifmancers!