Too old for Narnia and done with Westeros? Step into Tales of the Known World
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Magic of the Known World: a mystic resource

Magic of the Known World: defining properties of magic #TotKW A worldbuilding resource by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 1 of a series.
This post is Part 1 of a series to augment The Worldbuilder's Handbook available for free download.

This and other mystic resources are gathered in my Magic Directory for you to explore.


Magic is prevalent in the Known World. With few exceptions, literally everyone has some sort of magic at their disposal. The humans of this world have their own kinds of magic, as do the elves, faeries, merfolk, and nymphs. Everyone is born with some natural access to certain magics.

Beyond these natural talents, there are magics that anyone can learn to wield if they study. While study obviously requires free time and access to education, the magics themselves are equally attainable by anyone willing and able to put in the effort.

Properties of Magic

Any magic can be defined by three unique properties: Inception, Study, and Limit.

The inception of magic deals with how the magic arises and is wielded. If you think of magic as a well, then inception would be how the well came to exist - either from a natural spring or from deliberate construction.
Magic can arise instinctively in young children, or it can arise intentionally in students of magic. It can be wielded unconsciously as a natural reaction to circumstances, or it can be wielded deliberately as when a spell is cast.

Magic can also arise independently of any other abilities, or it can arise within the practice of a related skill. For instance, a young girl might be born able to speak with animals, needing no other abilities to communicate successfully. But an elf might only uncover his metal magic once he apprentices to a blacksmith and learns how to use a forge.

Check out The Worldbuilder's Handbook for more free resources!

The study of magic deals with how the magic develops and is mastered. Think of magic as a well, and study is how the well is refined, deepened, and reinforced.
Magic is either developed by feel and mastered through repetition, or it is developed by thought and mastered through technique. For instance, a girl could gain experience speaking with animals and become better at it over time. Conversely, a student of magic must hone his skillset and refine his techniques in order to improve his abilities.

As with inception, a given magic might develop independently, or its development might be dependent on related skills and previously acquired magics.

The limit of magic deals with whether or not the magic has infinite potential. If magic is a well, then limit is how deep the well can go. Some magics can be developed forever, and other magics have limitations on how far an individual can improve.
Limit also deals with how a magic's inception is impeded. In my Tales of the Known World saga, some magics have an inherent limit, after which inception stops entirely. The well can go no deeper, because the water source goes no deeper.

Other magics reach a natural limit, which changes their inception and study. An instinctive magic developed by feel could shift to a learned magic developed by thought. In this case, the well must be deepened in a different direction, because the water source has shifted.

That's it for this post! Up Next: The four types of magic autonomy...

Download The Worldbuilder's Handbook here, or start your adventure below.

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1 comment:

  1. Hello there! My name is D.N.Frost, and I'm a fantasy author, cartographer, and world-builder. My love for storytelling drives me to build the Known World, map its lands, and tell its tales. Let me send you my free ebook at!


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