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Discussion: Limiting Magic

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Today’s topic comes from QSFer Freddy MacKay:

World limitations that help plot, or how to limit your character so they are challengeable. AKA Setting up magic rules.

Freddy makes a good point, and I’m gonna take a part of it and run with it. Magic, to be interesting in a story, has to have some limits. Imagine if a character could just “magic” whatever result they wanted?

Limits can be many things:

Physical – channel too much magic and you destroy yourself/burn yourself out/need top recharge

Emotional or Ethical – you *can* do many things, but your moral code limits what you are *allowed* to do

Type – You can do a certain class of things with magic – teleport, or read minds, or transmute/transform things. But you can’t do things in other categories

Spells – You can do many things, but a separate spell must be learned for each

There are many ways to limit magic to make a story more interesting.

So do you agree that magic must be limited to make a story interesting? If so, how would you limit it so that your characters have to work to attain their goals, even if they have magic?

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