Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

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liberonscien
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Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby liberonscien » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:34 pm UTC

What is the most realistic magic system? How could it be made more realistic without removing the magic?
I personally believe the magic system in the Young Wizard series seems somewhat realistic in that it takes into account some real physics like escape velocity and some quantum mechanics, I think.
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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby PeteP » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:14 pm UTC

Define realistic. Based on some pseudo science to try justifying how it works (see some stuff with psychics)? Based on fictional physics but a logical well thought out system based on these physics? The users making use of real physical effects? The magic having physic based consequences (as in the initial action is magic but the results are derived from physical calculations from that point)?

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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:29 pm UTC

While I have a soft-spot for Discworld's magic (such that at its most basic, a wizard attempting to move an object by the power of his mind alone means that the force needed to move that object applies in reaction against the caster's brain - which is squishy!), there's also a lot of implicit/explicit messing with those rules, usually in ways that the universe doesn't realise quickly enough that it is being 'gamed'...

I did, though, rather like the system developed by Weis and Hickman for the Darksword Trilogy, and then published as an RPG book. Especially that all magic (except the Ninth magic, which is why the so-called 'Death' type is considered so dangerous and outlawed by the 'Church') requires a quite specific power. Limited primarily by the caster's ability in the standard use/recover cycles, but could be suplemented by the (not banned) non-casting 'Life' order of magic, who are conduits ('Catalysts') to allow more extravagent acts of thaumaturgy. And skill/ability is needed to handle larger flows, just as you need more robust electrical apparatus to handle mains power, and you can blow fuses (if not more) if you get it wrong.

I was quite impressed with the Darksword Adventures mechanism, certainly, but that was the late '80s. I' ve never side-by-side compared it with something more recent (like GURPS Magic or the like) to spot its failings. But, for 'realism', it seemed at the time to be quite comprehensive (without being too restrictive or casually disinterested). The works also dealt with how to meld with a non-magic world (or even an alternate-type magical world, should a gaming group of either origin come across a portal leading to the Darksword world), and the question of the magic(/Life) being removed is also addressed.

Maybe I should try to look up the system again. But consider this as a pointer, if not a full explanation of the idea...

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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby Xanthir » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:18 pm UTC

All of Brandon Sanderson's novels use unique and interesting magic-physics systems, where there are hard rules that the magic always obeys.
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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby liberonscien » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:29 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:Define realistic. Based on some pseudo science to try justifying how it works (see some stuff with psychics)? Based on fictional physics but a logical well thought out system based on these physics? The users making use of real physical effects? The magic having physic based consequences (as in the initial action is magic but the results are derived from physical calculations from that point)?

Any of the above.
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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby liberonscien » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:19 pm UTC

I think Diane Duane's system is pretty good. It takes thermodynamics into account.
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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby Himself » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:38 am UTC

I'd say a good candidate is what Patrick Rothfuss came up with for the Kingkiller series with Sympathy. It basically accounts for a decent amount of physics with much of it based on applying the right amount of energy from the right source.
A close second would probably be the pymary in the webcomic Unsounded, which works somewhat along the lines of entering commands into a computer, only that computer works a bit like the Force. It works by moving around aspects such as heat, solidity, sharpness, etc. The only shortcoming I see is it is not explained what are and aren't useable aspects.

Or you could go with real life. We have mastered and largely understand processes that were once seen as magical or the work of the gods. Compared to say, ancient Greece, we are in the territory of sufficiently advanced technology/sufficiently analyzed magic.
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Re: Most realistic magic system and areas for improvement

Postby Peaceful Whale » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:25 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:All of Brandon Sanderson's novels use unique and interesting magic-physics systems, where there are hard rules that the magic always obeys.


Seconded. Also, any other cosmere fans?

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