Magic is probably the foundation of all things fantasy. It comes in many styles, systems, flavors, and colors. Some fantasy authors use detailed, almost science-like systems for their magic, while others leave their magic a mystery for all but their world’s most skilled wizards. That variety is a good thing, for everyone likes their magic differently.
This week, our team looks at these various magic systems. Here are our favorites:
|Magic from The Dresden Files
|The system from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files just has to make the list. There’s something about every practitioner being able to customize magic to fit themselves that really appeals. Harry Dresden’s magic is very fire and force-focused, with pseudo-Latin for his incantations, while Elaine Mallory likes electricity and uses Ancient Egyptian for incantations, and Carlos Ramirez prefers water and entropy magics based on natural physics, with a Aztec or Olmec base for incantation. And that’s just for starters.|
|Magic with words from Spellbound
|My favorite system is Blake Charlton’s system from Spellwright and Spellbound. I love language, so the idea of being able to do magic with words is particularly attractive. If only magic spells came with spellcheck, I’d be set! Unfortunately, I think I’d end up struggling with it a lot.|
|Chromaturgy from Black Prism
|Chromaturgy allows drafters (Magic Users) to harness light of a particular color(s) and turn it into a physical substance called luxin. Blue luxin is hard and brittle, green is springy and strong, yellow highly unstable but extremely strong when drafted perfectly, and so on. Some people can draft more than one color, some can draft colors better based on their ability to perceive subtle shades of color. The entire society is built around a chromaturgical leadership and economy and its just damn cool.|
|Fire-and-Forget from The Forgotten Realms
|I’d actually have to go with the fire-and-forget magic system of the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting. In FR, practitioners memorize their spells at the start of the day, and once a spell is cast, it is gone until they have time to rest and prepare again. I enjoy it because it’s so very hard to actually write magic vs non-magic conflict in a way that isn’t just a phenomenal advantage to the magic-user. The ability to wait out the wizard until they’re out of spells without that old tired “final burst of energy” trope keeping the caster safe really levels the playing field and makes for interesting conflict.|
|The Force from Star Wars
|While there are many fascinating magic systems I’ve encountered over the years, the Force remains the one I constantly wish was real. It’s so versatile: you can use it for telekinesis, telepathy, brainwashing, healing, meditation, illusion, extrasensory perception, and more! I know I’m not the only one who often idly extends a hand, trying to flip a light switch or summon an object to hand from across the room, before lamenting the lack of the Force and getting up to do it the mundane way.|
What’s your favorite magic system? Let us know in the comments below!