Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Energy

I knew that magic would play a part in Talia's story from the very beginning, but I wrote the whole draft before sitting down to work out how that magic would work. When the time came I knew I wanted the marriage of science and fantasy to continue with my rules of magic. What better way to do that than by looking at Energy?

Researching energy in all its forms was fascinating. It lends itself perfectly for a realistic look at how magic could work. Today I'm going to break it down into simple bite sized pieces.

The definition of ENERGY in the world of physics simply means the ability to do work. In order to move something you must exert energy--pushing, pulling, standing up, etc. You can learn all about the different categories of energy over at How Stuff Works "Energy".

There are some very basic laws of energy that I used when coming up with my rules for magic.

1. All matter has energy--this is anything that occupies space. You, me, trees, dirt, earth and everything on it, anything you can think of...
2. Conservation of Energy--basically the amount of energy remains constant. You can't create or destroy it, but it can change forms--potential (think waiting) and kinetic (action).

Note: the really cool thing is energy and matter are two forms of the SAME thing. One can be converted to the other. 

That's all you really need to understand about energy in order to understand how I came up with my rules. But first the laws governing the rules.

1. Law of Magical Reaction: Every action has an equal and opposite, but aligned, reaction. There are natural consequences to action and casting spells. If you push a stack of books they will fall--that kind of thing.
2. Law of Magical Inertia: Inertia holds; spells in force tend to remain in force unless acted on by an opposite force. Spells in latency (not doing anything/sitting still) tend to remain in latency unless acted on by an opposite force. For my purposes, TIME and DISTANCE are opposite forces that weaken or stop spells.
3. Law of Magical Conservation: Magic, mass and energy all conserve. You can't create or call magic from nothing, it must be converted or borrowed from energy and matter already in the area. Magic conserves by returning to the wildlife, planet core and into space as it dissipates.
4. Law of Spellcasting: The force of the spell cast will be equal to the energy used multiplied by the number of casting magicians, minus conversion energy.
5. Law of Spellshielding: The damage done by a spell will equal the energy sent minus the capacity of the buffer (or defending mage).
6. Law of Harm: Every spell used to inflict harm, damage, pain, or death, no matter the nature of the target, carries a negative charge. Degradation of cellular structure similar to radiation poisoning, death of surrounding nature, possible death of caster (dependent on strength of mage, strength of spell, strength of defender)
7. Law of Neutrality: Anything that carries a neutral charge can be affected by and drawn to either positive or negative charges. Neutrality is a position of weakness, not strength.

The rules of magic 

Magic is hard work
Magic requires effort. There's a kickback effect for magic used, a sort of karmic boomerang that will slam the user with a force equal to that which the user applies. Mainly, a draining or exhausting of life energy. It will renew, but the magic user is rendered weak until they have time to recover. Prolonged use of magic can in effect kill you if you do not pull energy from other life sources. If you take life from other sources you shorten or end their life depending on how long you steal energy.

The only sources of energy that a mage can draw from without noticeable effect are the suns. Of course, this also shortens the life of the suns, but the energy drawn from them is so infinitesimal that it is almost immeasurable. 

This won't eliminate the use of magic—after all, if you know the punch is coming, you can brace for it. And magical defenses will be effective. The majority of people will choose not to use magic on a regular basis, especially in a scientifically advanced society like Sendek.

Magic can be augmented by group work 
Magic works on an individual basis, but a group of people working together can make the spell more powerful and sustain it longer. Especially helpful if the group consists of young or inexperienced mages. 
There will be a few rogue mages, hungry for power, and they will gather like minded people to their cause. 

Effects of the rules of magic 
  • Because it is so rare, its practitioners will aim big—the main goal of evil magic will be the acquisition of power, good magic to protect the defenseless from the power hungry.
  • Magic will be a tool of war. 
  • Sendek specific—scientist will want to study the differences in those who have magic and those who do not in an effort to duplicate the effect.
  • Eventually, with Talia’s help, they will use magic to push science farther than they could without it. 
If you could work magic, what would you want to be able to do the most?