Posted by: kshayes513 | December 10, 2011

Comparative Rules of Magic

Geek sci-fi news site io9 has just put out a massive chart of comparative magic: “The Rules of Magic According to the Greatest Fantasy Sagas of All Time.”

Here’s a very small piece of it. To view the rest, you’ll have to jump over to the article and click on the image (I recommend downloading the large version so you can browse at leisure).

io9 rules of magic

This chart is a great place to start thinking about how magic works in your universe. The column headings (see the whole chart) pose some essential questions about magic, and the columns give answers imagined by dozens of authors.

As an exercise, you might want to write out your own answers to each question. And I’ll add one more:

“What are the magic’s inherent limits?”

This question comes from the fantasy rule that is generally considered one of the most important: magic must have some kind of limits or consequences. If it doesn’t, your characters can just magic up anything they need, and magic away any problem.  Kind of like the replicator in Star Trek.

In building your own world’s magic, what rule of magic did you think about the most, and why? And what is your favorite example of a good use of that rule?


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