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    124 KB Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:12 No.14584699  
    I need idea for nasty horrible magic systems that make you go "That's some baaaaad magic, kid."

    Magic that's fueled by death is an obvious one. Or fueled by pain; its practitioners are skilled torturers, and covered in the scars left behind from when they draw power from their own pain. Magic that's powered by love ala Black Mage, destroying your ability to feel love (or emotions in general) bit by bit with every spell you cast.

    Any other ideas?
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:14 No.14584723
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:33 No.14584925
    You're looking just for sources of magical power?
    How about making spells remove something from existence; that is, when you use magic, depending on the strength of the spell something appropriately significant in the world will cease to have existed. You have no control over what is taken, though. It could be a pen knife on the other side of the world, or it could be the cleric you've been traveling with for the last eight years.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:35 No.14584941
    Equivalent Exchange?
    except there is no real world to take power from, so you have to take power from the world you're in.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:38 No.14584973
    you could also tweak who it is that doesn't remember what's gone: it could be everyone (though the question arises how anyone knows that this is happening), it could be everyone but the caster, or it could be just the caster.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:44 No.14585026
    Blood Magic is a bit overdone, but always an option.

    Developing more magical power by self-mutilation and pain could work too. Mages will take those who have lack technical skill, cut off their limbs, remove their eyes, ears, nose, lips, and tongue, and keep them in constant pain while wearing them as backpacks to use as magical batteries. Any apprentice who doesn't make it through the academy becomes one of these.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:49 No.14585074
    Berserk: You have to sacrifice whatever you cherish the most.

    One that causes progressive memory loss. Keep using magic and you end up as somebody who can't remember their past at all.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:50 No.14585081
    Here you go:

    The Runelords, by David Farland.

    Basically, there's elemental magic - which requires philosophical dedication and ultimately a loss of humanity.

    But then there's Rune Magic.

    Using rods of Blood Metal - mined from ancient battlefields - and Runes learnt from subterranean horrors, it is possible to draw Attributes from another man.

    Take his Brawn, you have the strength of two men. Take a thousand Endowments of Brawn and you can juggle boulders, though physics still applies and your bones aren't reinforced.

    Enough Scent and you can track like a hound (you can draw attributes from animals, but it makes you less human). Enough Sight and you can see a candleflame on the Moon.
    Ten Endowments of Stamina and you need never sleep. A thousand and you wounds heal almost before they open.
    Take Wit and you have a whole other brain to memorise things for you. Take enough Grace and juggle fifty razors with your feet. Take Metabolism and move twice as fast - but age twice as fast as well.
    Take Voice and gain a silver tongue, take enough and bring castles down in ruin.

    The downside? Those Attributes only last as long as the Dedicate who gave them. Kill your rivals Dedicates and he is a mere mortal once more. Fail to provide for your Dedicates and no man will offer his eyes, ears, nose, touch, grace, brawn, stamina, grace, metabolism, wit, beauty or Voice.

    You have to care for every single cripple you plunder for your power and killing those innocents is often the best way to win.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:55 No.14585125
    Hemalurgy from the Mistborn series. You can steal power by tying a person to a table, laying on top of them with part of your body over their heart, and having a third person ram a spike through the two of you. You gain their power as long as you keep the spike inside you.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)20:56 No.14585142

    If you take an attribute, the Dedicate loses ALL of it, up to the point of death in many cases.

    Grace and muscles cannot relax or be controlled - stomach included. Dedicates survive on pastes.

    Strength and the heart may be too weak to beat.

    Metabolism and the Dedicate falls into ageless slumber.

    Stamina and a cold is lethal. Wounds barely heal.

    Wit and they lose all memory and learning.

    The sensory attributes are much kinder - blind, dumb, deaf, etc etc. But still crippling.

    Each person may only ever grant one Endowment, so if you kill a Runelord you have a small army of loyalist men freed from their servitude and nothing you can use them for.

    You can chain endowments - a Runelord with fifty endowments of Brawn, persuaded/forced to grant Brawn to you, channels those fifty and any new endowments he gains. Called a Vector.
    >> kurakles 04/13/11(Wed)22:01 No.14585912
    The way magic works in my custom setting (used it for ten years, pretty fleshed out):

    1. When you die, you become a disembodied, completely immobile spirit that can't affect the physical world, and slowly lose your memories, individuality and sanity.
    2. Spirits cannot be perceived by normal humans, except those in extreme pain and/or near death.
    3. Once you gain the ability to perceive them once, you can use it again by recalling the pain (additional cues, like actually wounding yourself, help).
    4. When you perceive spirits around you, you can also communicate with them.
    5. You may initiate in a battle of wills with a spirit; whoever proves the stronger cannibalizes the other's soul.
    6. If you win, you gain some of the spirit's most prominent memories (usually including its dying moments) and learn any Spells it knew if it was a mage in its life. If you lose, it consumes you and takes control of your body.
    7. Consuming a soul also gives you a piece of Mana. There's no way to gain Mana other than consuming souls. You perceive pieces of Mana in yourself as the last thought of the spirit you consumed to gain it.
    8. You have no understanding of the mechanics of your Spell casting, you just will to cast a Spell and it happens.
    9. You can't create Spells or learn new ones by any other method besides consuming a spirit that knew it.
    10. Your children may inherit the ability to use some of your Spells (which ones and how many is random); they still have to unlock the ability to perceive spirits to become aware of the Spells they know however.
    11. To cast a Spell, you need to expend a piece (or more) of Mana.
    12. Every Spell is completely unique, the effects are wide-ranged, and more often than not extremely powerful.
    >> kurakles 04/13/11(Wed)22:01 No.14585919
    The setting more or less consists of extremely powerful mages murdering scores of normal humans and consuming their spirits for Mana, waging massive wars between each other for supremacy and searching for tombs and places of death of ancient mages so that they can consume their spirits and gain their powers (which often ends with the re-emergence of an ancient mage as he wins the battle of wills and takes over - tombs of more savvy mages are usually designed for luring and then weakening a potential robber before this battle, rather than stopping him). They usually spawn lots of children in their harems, and once they kids are old enough they're repeatedly tortured to near-death until they gain spirit perception. Then they're evaluated based on what Spells they know, and usually murdered so their spirits can be used as bargaining chips ("My child inherited my Spell of Life Extension and I'll trade you his soul for your allegiance").

    Then there's normal humans fighting horrific wars in thrall to their spellcasting masters, people who gained spirit perception unrelated to deliberate mage meddling, insane spirits who stole bodies from foolhardy mages, children of mages who managed to escape or take over a would-be host, and many others.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)22:12 No.14586045
    >Read Rules
    >Think "Mages are going to be evil little shits"
    >Read Setting
    >Setting involves mass producing your own children, torturing and murdering them for personal gain
    >Snip posts and name "Fucking evil mage setting"

    Nicely done
    >> kurakles 04/13/11(Wed)22:36 No.14586309

    I like it myself since many interesting (often horrible) things follow right from the established rules. Like the fact powerful mages are mostly male (much easier to make lots of children), that the standard practice is cannibalizing your most powerful children so that nobody else can gain the most powerful and unique Spells you wield, and that the default way to make custom followers is this:
    >have several traumatized kids with Spells you'd like the follower to have and kill them
    >train fanatically loyal follower and kill him
    >traumatize someone to be extremely weak willed and torture him into gaining spirit perception along the way
    >trick the weak-willed slip of a mage to engage in a battle of wills with the spirit of your follower
    >your follower wins, consumes the weak-willed mage and takes over his body
    >have your embodied follower consume the spirits of your children

    voila, gestalt minion!
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)22:38 No.14586343
    sacrificing a portion of your sanity/intelligence/memory
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)22:40 No.14586369
    awesome thread, great idea op. got my imagination cogwheels a-turnin

    Maybe a bone-fueled magic. So the more you use it, the more your bones deteriorate and shrivel. It would mean that magic users of this kind would always be in overcompensating shoulderpads, would wear shoes and thick gloves, beards--anything to hide their deteriorating frame.

    It means magic users appear physically strong, but you know that... underneath... something is wrong. Also, it helps the wizards=glass cannon kind of thing.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)22:43 No.14586405
    complex ruleset is complex
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)22:52 No.14586476
    Magic users all receive a tattoo upon officially being inducted as a Mage in a specific order. This tattoo is made of specially prepared inks and the blood of a sacrificed animal. The more powerful the sacrifice, the stronger the tattooed mage can become, and there have been reports that the highest ranked magi have used the blood of their slain rivals in their initiation ceremonies.

    Now, all the different schools of magic are locked in a war with each other, so this tattoo marks your commitment to your chosen side. None of the factions can risk the others getting a hold of their own secrets, and so if you are captured, killed, or turn traitor, the tattoo turns on its owner and destroys him or her completely, not even leaving the soul to be captured and extracted.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:00 No.14586548
    How did the first spells get invented? What happens when an Archmage gets eaten by some absurdly strongwilled normal guy? Does the guy get his spells?
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:03 No.14586591
    Not him.
    1) ?????
    2) Normal guy gets magic and some knowlege and mana.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:07 No.14586647
    You have to give up your emotions in order to use magic.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:24 No.14586843
    Mages work their spells through sheer strength of will, forcing the magic out of the ether and into the physical world, this causes a backlash that causes the mage great pain, sometimes even physical harm, eventually ending is either the death of the mage, or gibbering madness as their mind snaps from the strain.

    there are two ways to alleviate this, one: a network of mages joins their power together and shares the backlash among themselves, this is the most common method.
    the second is rather more dark. in the ether there are demons, the twisted remnants of dead mages. a living mage can offer his body as a host to a demon, giving him great power, as the demon has a greater connection to the ether, which alleviates much of the backlash...this comes with two major consequences, however. the first is that the mages body, unable to handle the shee energy coursing through it, begins to take on changes, becoming increasingly obvious depending on the power of the demon, ranging from subtle changes in skin tone, to their entire body twisting into new and horrifying shapes..the latter being, of course, excruciatingly painful.

    the second price is that the demons force compulsions onto their hosts. sometimes it can be something as small as OCD like tendencies, such as having to dress in a certain order, or repeat a certain action..to horrible acts..torture, cannibalism, rape, and all other wanton acts the twisted mind can come up with.

    A mage can become host to as many demons as he can find, eventually becoming twisted, violent abominations..but capable of changing the world with a single thought
    >> kurakles 04/13/11(Wed)23:32 No.14586933
    1. The Origin of Magic is vailed in much of in-setting mythology and nobody knows for sure. The most common tale speaks of a mighty God creating humans in his image, except not giving them magic. Ten thousand humans who were to become the first mages murdered the God, ripping him to pieces and consuming his remains. From this it's proverbially said that there's ten thousand Spells in the world.

    2. In the first place, for a normal guy to initiate a battle of wills with an Archmage spirit, he'd need to have spirit perception, so he wouldn't be all that normal. There are recorded instances of novice mages consuming vastly more powerful ones, but these are rare and usually caused by the powerful spirit being weakened or giving in deliberately. If you're talking about a normal human spirit winning a battle of wills against a living Archmage attempting to consume him, that's pretty much impossible since the spirits of people who died without ever having spirit perception are usually confused, terrified things forever reliving their last moments. If he would win though, he'd totally get all the Spells.

    I'd just post my notes straight, but most of them are not in english and/or handwritten.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:33 No.14586952
    I've been trying to remember the name of that series for months. Thanks.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:35 No.14586969
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    It's been a while since i read it, but the magic system in WFRP seems pretty much centered around the use of magic fucking up the user.
    >> Necbromancer 04/13/11(Wed)23:36 No.14586981
    Magic that runs off calories. Use too much at a time and you emaciate and starve in minutes.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:40 No.14587023
    I've thought of writing up a form of Chronomancy that ages the practitioner. Which would effectively keep it from being broken because abuse of the magic would cripple you pretty quick. I'm not sure if the aging effects should be permanent or a temporary magical impairment.

    I've also thought about making a -big bad- that subverts the aging mechanic by diverting that effect to his minions or innocents or perhaps another magical source.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:41 No.14587038

    The series is still going.

    It's one of those mostly-unknown classics, I'm not sure why except that the books aren't doorstops.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:45 No.14587082

    Perhaps small instances of Chronomancy would leave small temporary impairments, such as slowing time to evade attacks or short-range teleportation (stopping or slipping out of time to move to a different location) or slowing down time for a space (to let people get out of the way of a boulder or something, the boulder is still technically -going- the same speed, it's just caught in a slower flow of time), etc., while larger abuses of Chronomancy (mainly, going backwards or forwards in time by much more than seconds) leaves the lasting impressions on the user.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:46 No.14587099
    there's a mud, called lost souls
    originally stuff was based off of a mishmash of /tg/ based concepts
    there's a jungle in the south where you can become a cultist of nurgle (they've probably changed the name recently) where you're powered by rot
    the reapers make altars of corpses, powering them by piling body upon body onto them
    the ringwraiths can actually get more powerful by killing each other and devouring each others rings
    the kazar are possessed by interdimensional magic vampires, and they bull through people solely so they can devour their magic items
    the kazarzeth are weapons of blue crystal that will amplify and protect their wielder and exhibit awesome killing magics providing you keep giving them blood. the problem is they're very greedy and immature and their tastes for blood (by race) switches very once and awhile, along with a certain type of blood that they hate. and if you keep feeding them blood they don't like, they'll literally turn on you and cut off your arms and legs. it isn't helped that they refuse to let you wield other weapons.
    the ELF (my personal favorite) essentially offer themselves to every god in every pantheon (from cthulhu to ra), throwing up items and bodies and so forth as offerings. of course, gods are fickle, and you're just as likely to be granted a boon as to be pulled into their sanity-destroying presence or smacked down or have not only your enemies smited but you and your allies.
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:47 No.14587114
    the story seemed to get away after awhile
    but the people like what the people like
    in the past few years wheel of time, then song of ice and fire have gathered all the attention
    >> Anonymous 04/13/11(Wed)23:52 No.14587159
    Dave Duncan wrote a series where magic was only doable by people with magic words. One essentially made you an awesome person, two allowed you to do magic left and right, three you were verging on godhood and four was unspeakable (I might have the numbers wrong). Words could 'dim' in power by having a bunch of people know them, so if you wanted the power they granted you had to keep them to yourself.

    [spoiler]I'm pretty sure spoilers don't work here but wth. The magic words are actually the true names of these cute little fairy people wizards ripped from their own dimension a long time ago and imprisoned on an island. When they say their name (the only word, I believe, they can say) they die as the magic leaves them.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:00 No.14587250
    Have you looked at Unknown Armies, OP?
    It might be right up your alley.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:13 No.14587380
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    >OCD like tendencies
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:14 No.14587400
    I think we're going into Awesome/Interesting Magic Systems... but there we are...

    Here's one I just finished reading about:


    The magic is called Awakening.
    Everyone has a Breath, which may or may not be their soul.
    They may give it to others, who reach levels of power that grant certain boons (50 breaths gives Life Sense, 100 gives Perfect Pitch, 250 gives Perfect Colour Sight, 2000 gives Immortality)

    The big thing though, is that this Breath can be used to grant a semblance of life to the inanimate, using command words. The closer it is to a living form the easier.

    So grab a rope and say "Grab once thrown" will make it choke the fuck out of whatever it hits.

    Awakening your leggings with "Become as my legs and grant me your strength" and your sleeves with "Upon call, become as my hands and grab what I must" gives you an exoskeleton of enchanted cloth.

    Vague commands are harder (cost more Breath) and less predictable.

    You can also animate the dead with Breath, they fight as well as they did in life, but have resiliance and obediance. You never get it back though, the Breath fuses to the body.

    Use of the Breath to awaken things drains the colour from items, leaving them grey - but you can probably bleed yourself to get a source of colour if you want.

    All this is pretty cool right?

    Except these probably are human souls being thrown around like candy, and they only come from humans. So all those mages running around enchanting ropes to thrown boulders and armies of thousands of Lifeless are all fueled by the souls of humans, whether bought, coerced or tricked away.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:18 No.14587447
    There was a real disparity in the payments there.
    >fold page-corners in a book
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:23 No.14587506

    >Give everyone one superpower...
    >Have them roll for their OCD tendency.
    >Make chart completely random from 'cross your fingers' to 'EAT PEOPLE'
    >Enjoy rping.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:24 No.14587514
    Magic requires little flecks or shards of a rare alien crystal which became scattered around several parts of the fantasyland by a meteor shower looong ago. In order to use the magic, one clutches it in their closed fist, meditates (entering their mind into the crystal) and then shatters the crystal at their feet, unleashed the potent and now keyed up energy. Anything is possible, limited only by the users imagination... although, for more difficult things several crystals may be required.

    The downside? Every time you use the magic a little bit of your soul is spent, and if you aren't a strong-willed enough individual the crystals power may go awry, inflicting body horrors, mental trauma and evil on you as the caster.

    Imagine it as being like a Psyker in Dark Heresy, only less: "You smell now, lol" and more: "Your hands shrink to half their size" or "All the bones in your face shatter at once."
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:25 No.14587522
    don't forget:
    Break your fingers
    drink alcohol
    eat an egg
    age backwards in time
    cut your self
    line up rocks
    and eating burgers
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:37 No.14587657
    there's a guy in the book of vile darkness who has a magic suit of armor that is powered by having children chained to it (it has chains)

    as a bonus, when you hurt him, it damages the children
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:38 No.14587668
    Bargain magic. There are supernatural entities, sure. And they're incredibly powerful. That power can be yours...for a price.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:38 No.14587678
    urotsukidoji and cthulhutech have rape engines that rape many people at once to create rape magic
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:41 No.14587707
    Alright, so magic works, but it's ludicrously complex. Even fairly simple spells are like doing brain surgery on a rocket scientist. Spellbooks are enormous and require years and years of intensive study.

    Soooo... the 'price' of magic is sheer, unrelenting, inescapable geekdom. Wizards are unbelievably socially awkward and find it impossible to talk to girls. Sometimes they have spaghetti in their pockets. It's that bad.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:42 No.14587720
    ...I love you, /tg/.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:43 No.14587732
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:46 No.14587769
    Miss Misery was a character in Sleeper (great comic). Spent her youth being a good girl. In her teen years she found herself getting sick, not knowing why, and it looked like she was going to die. I believe she decided at one point to steal something, maybe from another patient or something, and she surprised herself by feeling better.

    She eventually found that she actually gets healthy and more powerful (overall, limited enhancements to body) the more evil she does.

    This complicates her love life, as once she falls for a guy she starts weakening, and has to cheat on him to balance it out.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:51 No.14587824
    Bah, nothing more than Tantric magic on an industrial scale.

    Bargaining magic? That shit only works in three ways: The first, the other being is normal in its own world, but you are able to grant each other weird advantages by sharing traits from the other world, which would mean the 'normal' ability of fire-breathing could be yours, provided he gets your normal ability of, say, 3D vision. Could either be a permanent trade, time-share, or sympathetic effect.
    Next are beings that are beings that are higher up on the foodchain and would like to have some easy eatings, like the classic "Demon eat my soul and give me strength", where the greater being has the power yo enhance you because it is greater, while it gets a free meal.
    Lastly, you have divine or alien beings that only make bargains for the sake of curioisty, amusment, and interest, as they are either too different or too high up to make a meaningful impact in your 'world', and instead don't mind you allowing them to alter you so that you do interesting things for them, like god empowering a human because it's funny, or an eldritch being gifting a human with some of its own attribtes because it interests it, much like a mad scientist would transplant human-ish organs onto his pet cat so he could better communicate or observe it.
    >icescr science
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:53 No.14587852
    All magic is inherently drawn from the Far Plane.

    The more people use it the more anchored the horrors that lie beyond the stars shall lurk on this Earthly plane and cause their terrors.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)00:58 No.14587909
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    >Mages murdering scores of normal humans and consuming their spirits for Mana. (...) They usually spawn lots of children in their harems, and once they kids are old enough they're repeatedly tortured to near-death (...). Then they're murdered so their spirits can be used as bargaining chips.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:00 No.14587932
    I knew a guy (actually claimed to have written a book that was published). Made a frozen volcano where ice daemons were summoned, then killed, then raised to make ice daemon zombies.

    The sheer inefficiency of it bothered me then and the ridiculousness of it bothers me now.

    That's pretty bad.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:00 No.14587935
    >All magic is inherently drawn from the Far Plane.
    I like it. Change it from "anchors horrors" to "permanently warping reality on a local scale, and slowly but surely damaging space-time with the strain" and we could get some money out of it.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:02 No.14587967
    >ice daemon zombies
    but can you argue with the result?
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:07 No.14588024
    Yes. A thousand times yes. I was here at the birth of the internet. I can argue with the god damned result.

    Take one: Cruel, fast, powerful spellcasting monster brute
    Kill it
    Turn it into: Powerful brute.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:08 No.14588045
    I GMed a party that solved all their problems by having the Ranger hunt and kill loads of small furry animals, the Alchemist stuff them with crafted explosives, the Necromancer raise them as undead, and the Mage turn them invisible. Undead stealth homing exploding foxes and rabbits, those were.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:12 No.14588091
    please tell me there was more to your party
    like a cleric or warrior
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:19 No.14588153
    There was not. In their own words, it was a party emphasizing the two great virtues of Cowardice and Unconventional Tactics.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:30 No.14588240

    >Invisible undead stealth homing exploding foxes and rabbits, those were.

    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:40 No.14588338
    I conceived of a system once where the practice of magic in the world was limited to individuals whose bodies were attuned to particular scientific elements (as well as those who practice music or practice spirituality). These elemental mages could influence particles of matter that were composed of their attuned elements. Typically, this could be expressed as shaping metals for crafting jewelry, armor, or architecture.

    Some mages could influence specifically the element of carbon, many of whom might choose to become necromancers or voodoo priests. By manipulating carbon found in all living things, they could infuse a lifeless body with a new spirit for control. The deadliest power they possessed was the ability to remove carbon from another living creature at the molecular level.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:44 No.14588379
    "Stealth" was there for "invisible"; in the aircraft sense, see?
    >> GL Pretentious Hipster !!NU1qDw5ZF2C 04/14/11(Thu)01:51 No.14588450
    There is no such thing as objective reality. There is only consensus reality.

    For example, the reason that boulder falls instead of hanging in mid air is primarily due to the fact that we all expect it to.

    A Mage is someone who, through sheer force of will, can change reality. If that Mage believes "That Boulder is going to float there, damn it," harder than the other three hundred people looking on expect it to fall, it floats there, damn it.

    Naturally, things like that happening tend to upset people, and "reality" tries to reassert itself -- blatant, colorful violations of consensus reality can be dangerous for the Mage. Reality doesn't like being warped out of its normal shape.

    Magical Power is directly tied to belief -- you believe that it's going to happen, so it happens. Mages go out of their way to either make Magic appear beyond the understanding of lesser mortals, either through making it appear horrifically complicated, or making it appear disturbing or painful or disgusting to use, or through other means, because we can't let the populace catch on to the truth.
    >> GL Pretentious Hipster !!NU1qDw5ZF2C 04/14/11(Thu)01:51 No.14588456
    Of course, people who have the sheer force of will to be Mages are extremely rare, but if you have that strength, you don't need any training -- children being taken in by Orders and Schools for "magical" training are actually being segregated so they can be brought into line so that the rest of the populace doesn't catch on.

    Mages often don't get along, and Mages of different schools, which amount to little more than different means of making yourself believe extra hard, often get into conflict. Some schools are aligned with each other, while others are very opposed. One thing all the schools agree on is coming down very hard on renegades -- those who fuck with the masquerade being carried on to deceive the non-magic users. It doesn't matter who you are, what your allegiances are. If you break that rule, you are fair game. Any other mage has free reign to take you down, and virtually the only situation in which mages from schools and philosophies which normally are at each other's throats will set aside their differences is when they are hunting a renegade.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)01:55 No.14588492
    How is that
    >baaaaad magic, kid
    >> GL Pretentious Hipster !!NU1qDw5ZF2C 04/14/11(Thu)01:59 No.14588528

    Very few people are actually aware of the truth of the matter, however.

    Getting back to that first example of the boulder, the crowd of course expects the boulder to fall, but then, when they notice the funny smelling robed guy over in the corner muttering under his breath, they expect it NOT to fall.

    This is using the consensus reality to your own advantage -- the boulder still wants to fall, it still has mass. However, your task is made easier because people expect something unusual to happen because you're a funny man muttering under his breath.

    This can cause non-mages to appear to perform magic, and can cause non-mages to become mages if it happens enough over a long enough period of time, as the person can come to believe that they really do have the powers, and if they can come to believe it strong enough, it will be true.

    The Gods are all mortals who for various reasons came to be worshiped and, through the belief of their followers, gained amazing ability to warp reality.
    >> GL Pretentious Hipster !!NU1qDw5ZF2C 04/14/11(Thu)02:05 No.14588580
    Virtually every mage you'll ever meet thinks that the magic happens for some particular reason or another. There are many, many schools of magic all operating on contradictory, complex, sometimes outlandishly silly theories. All manage to achieve the same magic. It doesn't matter what "system" of magic you're using, as long as you have sufficiently willpower and sufficient "belief" that the magic works.

    The most powerful mages are those who are aware of the truth -- that magic is nothing more than the exertion of willpower to alter reality. That there is really no such thing as Magic as it's commonly believed. That the reason things happen is because I want them to happen, not because I wave my hands and mumble -- those things are just "mood music" or "foreplay" for making the magic happen.

    While the most powerful mages, this secret is the most closely guarded one in the world -- something that even the Gods, if they know it, deny the truth of. Because while knowing the truth can make an already powerful mage into an insanely powerful one by freeing him of the trappings of ritual, it can also destroy the belief of a Mage in their own power, and thus rob them of it completely.

    Once a mage learns the truth about the consensus nature of reality, and about how people with sufficiently strong wills can influence it, they have before them the means to ultimate power and deityhood: Lying out their ass.
    >> GL Pretentious Hipster !!NU1qDw5ZF2C 04/14/11(Thu)02:06 No.14588591

    Ultimately, Magic comes from belief. Power flows from belief. So those who truly desire power, who want to become Gods, have a few routes available. The easiest is to become a tyrant or despot. They inflict themselves upon populations, terrorizing and demoralizing a population. To become the stuff of nightmares, the stories told to children to make them afraid. Because the belief generated in the minds of those who make the stories to tell, and in those to whom the stories are told, are power, and can elevate someone from the realm of mortality to immortality, and, eventually, to Godhood.


    Yeaaah. I had an idea in there somewhere, how it was supposed to be evil and all, and it kind of got lost. Sorry.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:16 No.14588702
    Oh hai, Seikon no Quaser.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:18 No.14588728
    What happens if a Mage believes he can give power to others? A Von Neumon style thiung, with all the new Mages reinforcing on another.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:19 No.14588744
    I have qualms about posting original stuff I use in my writing online, but if I kept my stuff hidden forever, I guess I'd be contradicting why I write.

    My campaign's world was created by a goddess who infused her energy into the planet to spark life. Sort of like Final Fantasy VII's Mako, and Dragonball's Chi, the energy of the goddess flows through the world and all living things. This power can be harnessed by the sentient inhabitants by having unique runes ritualistically carved into their skin. Magic is largely for warfare, but there exists master magicians who seek to discover further uses by manipulating the runes and combining them to create new spells.

    Magic is useful, but requires extensive training to master, though some ranks in the human military are required to be skilled with certain spells.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:22 No.14588774
    Why would a powerful Spirit give in?

    Also, I'm imagining secret methods to maintain a degree of individuality even after being consumed. So some mages would have voices in their heads, etc. . .

    Is there any special benefit if spirits decide to merge with one another? What are some example spells?
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:23 No.14588785
    ... Yeah. You don't need to worry about posting stuff like that online.

    Mostly because it's completely unoriginal.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:26 No.14588817

    What? How is it unoriginal?
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:28 No.14588842
    I give you a hint:
    >Sort of like Final Fantasy VII's Mako, and Dragonball's Chi, the energy of the goddess flows through the world and all living things
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:43 No.14588965
         File1302763400.jpg-(61 KB, 549x390, Earthsea_Trilogy.jpg)
    61 KB
    magic through using the true name of things to have complete control over it.

    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)02:54 No.14589047
    So, uh, these last few magics haven't really been evil at all.
    Evil, guys?

    Also, magic power gained from unwilling subjects via stress.

    For example, in a masquerade-ish scenario, the higher-ups in charge of administering standardized tests (SAT, ACT, AP, MCAT, etc.) are actually mages who feed off the mental torment of students as they feverishly cram for their all-important grades. The more stress is caused, the more power they gain. The ultimate goal? World domination, of course.

    Actually, that one's a bit more tongue-in-cheek than evil...
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)03:02 No.14589131
    Magic operates on pain and loss.

    When you cast a spell, depending on the power of the spell, the person about whom you care the most suffers an appropriately bad fate. You cast a witchlight? Your girlfriend stubs her toe. Fireball? BFF loses both legs in a tragic accident. Wish? Everyone you've ever loved is raped to death by the dickwolves.

    And there's the evil thing about this magic. You can only use it if you care about others. And if you use it, you hurt them. You can't sacrifice nameless strangers, and you can't sacrifice yourself. You have to torture your friends and lovers.

    For a better villain, make it work in reverse - you cast magic, the person who cares the most about YOU suffers. So BBEGs are basically emotionally manipulative bastards, trying to garner the affection of others just so they can suffer horrible fates to fuel magic. Cue heel-face and face-heel turns when characters fall into love and it's returned, OR when they're forced to cast a spell... and the person they love most in the world feels nothing. Someone else suffers instead, and the apple of their eye never really loved them at all.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)03:16 No.14589241
    Another approach to "horrible magic systems" is to make the direct effects, rather than the power source or side effects, horrible.

    Magic is only capable of producing dangerous, twisted, or unpredictable effects. Perhaps it lacks finesse and is simply a brute force application or is simply incapable of doing anything aside from harm.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)03:17 No.14589253
    A simple one
    Using any spell requires the sacrifice of a person.

    So mages travel in caravans full of slaves who they sacrifice to their spells as they go.

    As such most of the world lives in terror of being enslaved by mages, who can do near anything with their powers, depending on how many they sacrifice to fuel the spell.

    Simple and evil
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)03:27 No.14589347

    Do something like this but make the exchanged item be something significant to you. The more power needed for the spell the more significant the exchange. Doing simple party tricks for your friends might result in a few of your pencils disappearing; raising someone from the dead might cost you the life of someone close to you.

    If you start to become jaded and uncaring you also lose the source of your power because if there's nothing important enough to you that you will feel the pain of losing it then you're unable to power your most powerful spells.

    Suddenly all those dark, tortured wizards have a reason to exist
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)05:31 No.14590222
    Magic powered by spamming
    Black Mage had an ultimate spell powered by love
    "the divorce rate goes up everytime I use it"
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:37 No.14590929
    best villain i ever came up against was a witch done the way a witch should be done,
    she can't cast directly she must imbue dead objects with her magic and cast through them, like charms, so when attack a witch all her household objects are very likely full of magic. This witch was ancient, so we were sensible and burnt her house down, she then attacked us, all she had was the few hairs left in her head, one tooth and a finger nail, she killed every single one of us......
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:39 No.14590935
    magic that costs you your memories, eventually turning it all compleatly blank.
    >> kurakles 04/14/11(Thu)07:40 No.14590945
    There's no personal advantage per se, since a consumed spirit ceases to exist. But some less evil mages might well decide to not extend their life but rather designate a successor - they could die of old age with a beloved student at their side, and allow their spirit to be consumed to pass on their powers. This of course allows for some delicious abuse - one storyline I led was based wholly around the fact that one such highly-regarded dynasty of benevolent mages was actually one extremely old mage pretending to do this, but instead consuming his unsuspecting students every time and simply adopting their personas.

    The Spells are varied and aren't really created with simple mechanics in mind - they range from things like Fireballs, Curses ("If the target's Spirit is consumed within the next hour, the consumer dies in three days"), Spells that can be used to trigger others (one of the most common being the Final Gasp, which is a Spell that triggers another one in your arsenal when you die - in the case of powerful mages it could trigger a Spell that transports his spirit into a designated tomb) to outright plot devices (like Eternal Youth) that can be introduced on the spot as ancient, forgotten magic.

    As for maintaining individuality after being consumed - that's generally impossible, but some mages circumvent it in creative ways - one notorious ancient mage uses several powerful Spells to ensure whoever consumes him loses his memory and has it replaced with the the ancient mage's own. So he still dies, but his killer is brainwashed to believe they're the same person and carries on his work.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:48 No.14590983
    Magic that actually need scientific knowledge. So wen people think it is something mistic, is in fact the product of years and years of scientific study.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:50 No.14590994
    Do this, but steal directly from 'Button, Button'. Everytime you cast a spell someone- someone you don't know- dies.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:53 No.14591012
    Sympathetic magic is easily the best way to make every single magic spell have a cost and require at least some investment. Just make every single spell or effect sympathetic in nature.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:53 No.14591015
    Unknown armies had some good ones.

    Irascimancy, you gain power by making people angry at you but you are not allowed to express your own anger even though you are filled with the seething rage of those you have made hate you.

    Annihilomancy, Power though the destruction of all things of meaning. Lives, money, friendships, heirlooms, all the things with emotional investment. Unable to fix anything or be forced to lose all power.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)07:53 No.14591016


    The hadokens power source is love, every time its cast, love is directly siphoned out of the universe and used as a beam of pure energy.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)08:07 No.14591115
    Just go classic medieval with it. Magic can only be gained my forming a pact with a literal embodiment of evil, the pact is individualized to the person and the power they desire. Some weaker powers can be gained by sacrificing others, stronger by sacrificing parts of yourself, the strongest by having others willingly and knowingly sacrificing themselves for you.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)08:16 No.14591187
    I had a setting written up but never used where acquiring magic powers requires a permanent, physical and frequently debilitating sacrifice on the part of the user. Each form of ritual maiming has its own associated superpower and caste of freaks, so you have a society upheld by blind oracles, mute healers, castrated super-soldiers and so forth who are simultaneously revered and reviled by the general population.

    The main bad guy was to be a dude that discovered how to become literally untouchable by cutting off his own skin, so that arrows veer around him and his feet don't touch the ground.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)08:21 No.14591224
    I read a short story called The Alchemist the other day, which fits this thread.

    Magic itself wasn't innately bad or anything. Maybe a little addictive, but hey, control of the fundamental natures of matter and energy has that effect on people.

    The problem was that there was a plant that fed on the residual energy magic left behind, and this plant was terribly poisonous, very durable, it grew incredibly fast when 'fed', and it spread seeds when it was attacked. So, casting magic became an incredibly selfish act. Every spell down to the smallest cantrip was directly attracting and empowering the creeping green apocalypse.

    Was kinda interesting.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)11:13 No.14592217
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)16:34 No.14594572
    A love spell used for great evil.

    I love you, /tg/.
    >> Anonymous 04/14/11(Thu)18:32 No.14595558
    We didn't come up with it, the guy who writes 8-bit theater did

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