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Old 03-02-2021, 09:05 PM   #7
khorboth's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Denver, CO
Default Re: Making science magic feel like science, not magic

In your worldbuilding, I think it will come down to the answers to two questions:

1) What is the source of power? Traditional fantasy magic systems answer "ley lines" or "connection to the gods" or "internal strength" or something like that. To make it more scientific, draw power from "aether" or "coriolis forces" or "redistributing tectonic movement" or "crystal harmonics" or... something else.

2) Why would a casting fail? Traditional magic might say that your faith is weak or your mana was low or the stars were misaligned. Insufficient skill works for both cases. Insufficient understanding as well. You could also use insufficient materials or that the ambient energy is exhausted or was incorrect to begin with.

From those fluff answers, design your crunch. Are we drawing big sigils with crystals to channel aether? Are we creating resonance in elements? Are we forced to specialize because nobody can possibly learn more than one narrow branch of alchemy? Are all effects "cast" ahead of time in precise laboratory conditions and frozen in expensive crystals?

Consider Fullmetal Alchemist. The magic was very scienc-ey. The source of energy was eventually revealed. People failed due to misunderstanding or due to not having proper resources. The limit on transmutation was also very much front-and-center. Yet, you still had fireballs, healing, secrets, and everything else you could want.
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