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 Post subject: Physics-based magic system--needing some help
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 12:24 am 
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I'm currently working on a novel, still in the brainstorming stage, that is a fantasy set in a mid-eighteenth-century European setting, where the four sentient races--elves, humans, orcs, and dwarves, live in an uneasy state of diplomacy. Elves and humans are the only races able to wield magic, and I'm currently working on developing the (hopefully somewhat unique) physics-based magic system. I've hit a few snags, and I was hoping somebody smarter than I might want to take a look at this and give me some ideas. :p

Basically, the magic system is based on the idea of manipulating either kinetic or potential energy.

Humans utilize a magic system based on the idea of manipulating kinetic energy.

Elves utilize a magic system based on the idea of manipulating potential energy.


Tier A: Powers of Storing

Humans: Absorbing kinetic energy from an object and using it as a temporary performance/healing boost.

Elves: Absorbing potential energy from an object and using it as a temporary performance/healing boost.


Tier B: Powers of Moving

Humans: Manipulating the velocity and direction of a moving object.

Humans: Transforming potential energy in an object into kinetic energy (Note: the object can be sent in any direction, but can no longer be manipulated once it has been set in motion.)

Tier C: Powers of Ghosting

Humans: Manipulating the density or mass of a moving object.

Elves: Manipulating the density or mass of an inert object.

Tier D : Powers of Teleportation

Humans: Switching the location of two moving objects in space. Both objects take on the velocity and direction of the other.

Elves: Switching the location of two inert objects in space.

Only a handful of humans and elves are gifted with power, and each magic wielder has only one Tier power. However, a human-elf crossbreed, if he or she comes from parents with different Tier powers, is capable of wielding a powerful combination of two Tiers.

For example, my main character, Fitz, is a crossbreed with a human Tier B father and an elven Tier A mother. So he has the capability to absorb kinetic energy from an object, converting it to potential energy inside his body, and then utilize it to either gain a physical enhancement proportional to the amount of energy absorbed, or simply unleash a wave of raw energy in whatever direction he chooses.

My main problem: I am not a physics guy, and my understanding of the subject is very limited. Mostly I'm struggling with the potential energy side of things--coming up with creative ways of utilizing potential energy is much harder. Sorry, elves.
Elven powers on Tier C and D are what I'm foggiest about--I've come to the realization that just because an object is inert doesn't necessarily mean it has potential energy. So effecting the mass and density of an inert object, while that would be a very cool and useful power, might not actually work within the rules of my system...

So that's kind of my conundrum. If you guys have any other critiques or thoughts or nitpicky stuff, that would be great too. This is my first time developing a magic system, so I'm pretty green. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Physics-based magic system--needing some help
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 2:43 pm 
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Of course, any magic system messes with physics. But the idea of using the energy of something is perfect.

I suppose when you use the energy of something it loses it?
This would be useful in itself.
If you took the energy of wind it would slow, or stop. If you took the potential energy of something's weight it would become weightless.

You could also use the chemical potential energy of wood, making it non-combustible. Or the the chemical potential energy of food, which would make it indigestible, though it would look the same, and taste the same. You could starve someone doing that.

Could you imagine if someone used the kinetic energy of the earth? Slowing the earth's rotation slightly (making days a few nanoseconds longer) could provide someone with all the energy they could ever use. Or using the potential nuclear energy in something (after you used the chemical energy), that might give you as much energy in potential energy as the rotation and orbit of the earth would give you in kinetic energy.

I am very pleased with this idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Physics-based magic system--needing some help
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 1:40 pm 
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FiddleGuitarist wrote:
I've come to the realization that just because an object is inert doesn't necessarily mean it has potential energy.
Doesn't it, though? I mean, not in a theoretical way, just practically speaking any object that you might come across in anything but the very strangest surroundings would have potential energy, I'm thinking. If it is matter, I'd think it has potential chemical energy. If it's in an environment which has an effect of gravity, it would have gravitational potential energy. And so on.

Am I missing what you were trying to say (or just plain wrong ;))?

FiddleGuitarist wrote:
Absorbing potential energy from an object and using it as a temporary performance/healing boost.
I have doubts about healing being derived from taking an object's energy.... It doesn't seem to fit with what I know of what healing in the body actually is. * uncertain *

This seems like a pretty interesting idea, though. It brings science close up to the magic.

Makes me wonder, though – will magic wielders have to study physics and mathematics associated with it in order to get good at doing things with their magic, or will it be entirely intuition for them?


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 Post subject: Re: Physics-based magic system--needing some help
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Tsahraf ChahsidMimetes wrote:
I suppose when you use the energy of something it loses it?
This would be useful in itself.
If you took the energy of wind it would slow, or stop. If you took the potential energy of something's weight it would become weightless.

You could also use the chemical potential energy of wood, making it non-combustible. Or the the chemical potential energy of food, which would make it indigestible, though it would look the same, and taste the same. You could starve someone doing that.

Could you imagine if someone used the kinetic energy of the earth? Slowing the earth's rotation slightly (making days a few nanoseconds longer) could provide someone with all the energy they could ever use. Or using the potential nuclear energy in something (after you used the chemical energy), that might give you as much energy in potential energy as the rotation and orbit of the earth would give you in kinetic energy.



Ooh, good thoughts... I like the idea of manipulating chemical potential energy, I hadn't even thought of that.

MORE AND MORE POSSIBILITIES.

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FiddleGuitarist wrote:
I've come to the realization that just because an object is inert doesn't necessarily mean it has potential energy.
Doesn't it, though? I mean, not in a theoretical way, just practically speaking any object that you might come across in anything but the very strangest surroundings would have potential energy, I'm thinking. If it is matter, I'd think it has potential chemical energy. If it's in an environment which has an effect of gravity, it would have gravitational potential energy. And so on.

Am I missing what you were trying to say (or just plain wrong ;))?

FiddleGuitarist wrote:
Absorbing potential energy from an object and using it as a temporary performance/healing boost.
I have doubts about healing being derived from taking an object's energy.... It doesn't seem to fit with what I know of what healing in the body actually is. * uncertain *

This seems like a pretty interesting idea, though. It brings science close up to the magic.

Makes me wonder, though – will magic wielders have to study physics and mathematics associated with it in order to get good at doing things with their magic, or will it be entirely intuition for them?


Good points! I hadn't really thought about gravity... that makes things a lot easier for me. I'll have to think about the effects of manipulating gravitational potential energy vs. a stronger source of potential energy, like elastic potential energy.

And yes, there is some degree of intuition involved, but to truly understand and most efficiently use their powers, the wielders will have to study the science associated with them. Which means I do too, I guess... :/

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 Post subject: Re: Physics-based magic system--needing some help
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 3:35 pm 
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I'd think that if there were more energy available, then the body could put it to use for speeding up the healing process, but...

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