73 – Limits on Magic

The Mythcreant Podcast

While it might be fun to imagine a world where magic has no limits, it won’t work for your story. Without some sort of limit, magic will destroy all conflict and make a mockery of your setting. This week, we discuss how best to put limits on magic, and which stories have done particularly good or bad jobs. As always, Chris is super prepared with actual rules and patterns while Oren and Mike think it’s a great idea to get into the details of dragon-supply logistics.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

How to Create a Rational Magic System By Chris Winkle

Time Turner from Harry Potter

Luck Potion from Harry Potter

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) by Jim Butcher

Valkwitch (The Valkwitch Saga, Book 1) by Michael Watson

Bloodbending from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: Legend of Korra

The Final Empire (Mistborn, Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson

Force Powers from Star Wars

Star Wars: Dark Forces and sequels from LucasArts

The Runelords (The Runelords, Book 1) by David Farland

House-elf from Harry Potter

Devil’s Trap from SupernaturaD

A Secret Atlas (Age of Discovery, Book 1) by Michael A Stackpole (accidently referred to as Cartographer Series in podcast)

Weave from A Wheel of Time

Ebberon Campaign Setting

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Book 1) by Scott Lynch

Grief Seed from Madoka Magica

Willow Rosenberg from Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Willow (1988)

Dragons from the Temeraire Series

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  1. Quinte

    When you were talking about magic through appeasing higher entities I was curious if you had read Bartimaeus trilogy? The magicians have no power of their own but they can summon and enslave demons to do their will.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Can’t say I’ve read that one, but it sounds neat. Do the demons appreciate this?

      • Quinte

        No. The demons only follow orders under the threat of murder and torture. The titular character Bartimaeus regularly schemes to kill his master and avoid doing his work.
        The setting is also pretty awesome. The mages being powerful took over the English government and they rule the public despotically and the plot of the books centres around various attempted coups.
        I’d recommend the books, they have deep characters and explore some dark themes. The books are written for the same age range as Harry Potter, though I’d say they are better.

  2. Pyrut13

    About ATLA bending, bending with little to no movement was around as early as season 2 of the first series, remember Bumi bending with just the muscles in his face?

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Bumi’s facebending was a pretty natural extension though, since it’s still movement and he was established to be very skilled and eccentric. The real leap was Sparky Sparky Boom Boom man, who could just cause explosions with his mind and we had no idea where he came from or how he did it.

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