February is World Building Month. Day Fifteen: Worldbuilding Meta

[personal profile] piratekitten has declared February world-building month.

Every day in February, I will answer one question about any one of my settings.

The question post is here, please feel free to add more questions!

The fifteenth question comes from [personal profile] kelkyag and is a meta-question

How do you-the-author develop the rules of magic in the various ‘verses that have magic? (Or Mad Science, in the worlds that have that.)


To be honest, T. came up with the magic system for Addergoole/Faerie Apocalypse. I wanted something powerful, teachable, and with limits; he offered a modification of an already-extant roleplaying system and we kept modifying until it was our own thing.

For Tír na Cali, I started with a single character – Lady Tekenna, who has the power to command minds – and extrapolated from there, mostly via roleplaying, until I had a general idea of the powers the world could have.

Dragons Next Door, for instance, and Fairy Town are completely story-based: when I need something to happen, there’s a magical way for it to happen if a mundane way won’t work. Ditto science in Science! and superheroes verse, as well as in the space-colony stuff.

For Reiassan, T. and I sat down with a large piece of paper and plotted out a lot of what we wanted, because they have an actual, limited magic system. Then again, very little of that came up, and it was already working around things Rin had done way back in the first story.

Short answer: I’m not very good at coming up with magic systems; I generally “pants” it based on something I want to happen in the world. When I need a system – for a world that’s going to be more complex, for instance – I tap the Spousal Unit, and we start using role-playing mechanics to figure things out.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/670891.html. You can comment here or there.

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