World Building 101 – Magic

Over this month, I’ll be posting on world building. Throughout March, I’ll be posting on the basics of world building, geography, history, magic, religion, and government. Today, I’ll continue the series with MAGIC.

Magic is a big subject, and there’s a lot of things to figure out. The big thing to decide is the limitations of magic. There needs to be limits, otherwise, what’s to stop the wizard from simply waving his wand and the story can be over.

What does it cost a wizard to use magic? To their spells get weaker and weaker? Or perhaps magic exhausts them? And how to wizards use make their magic? Do they say a few incarnations, or do they have to drink a potion? Wand? Crystal ball?

How can you learn magic? Do  you go to a special school, or are you born with it? If you need to learn magic, how? Where? What costs are involved?

How do wizards make a living? Do they use magic to make money, or do they need a day job?

How long does it take to cast a spell? Hours? Minutes? Or a few seconds? Can using the help of another wizard speed up the time? And can a wizard help another to cast more powerful  spells?

How do different races view magic? Perhaps Dwarves are scared of magic, and forbid in their city? Perhaps Elves believe that magic is sacred, and shouldn’t be used often?
Along these lines, are wizards above or below they law? Are there certain spells which are illegal? Because of the effect, or what is required to make the spell? How are wizards using these spells caught and punished? Is there a special court to trial these wrong-doers?

How is magic used in warfare? You should consider how magic might be used to an army’s advantage. Perhaps making strong armour or more powerful weapons?

Lastly, you need decide on magical transport. Do your people have magic carpets, or can they teleport? Who can use these transport methods? Only wizards, or can the common person use these? Keep in mind that this will affect your story. If characters can teleport, why would they need to spend days walking to a certain destination?

In the next post, I’ll look at religion.

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2 Responses to World Building 101 – Magic

  1. Wendy says:

    Fantastic post, little Scribbler. You have introduced much food for thought and posed many interesting questions.

    May have to give this post a gold star in Google Reader 🙂

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