marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

magic and stuff

Well, I was reading through an installment of jonathanmoeller's Choose Your Own Adventure posts, and our hero came across someone who was cursed.

Whereupon my impish little muse suggests that we hunt around the house and look for evidence, like a poppet under the hearthstone, of something that was used to lay the curse.  Very tradition folk wizardry -- indeed the whole gimick of natural magic, which is to natural philosophy what engineering, pharmacopeia etc are to science.  Not so fantasy wizardry.

It would have its disadvantages, to be sure.  There's a limit to what you can lug about.  (Though, there, you have free ways to limit your hero's capabilities vs. the villain whose lair he invaded.)  A wand and willpower, and magical words, can be lugged about, but if you start getting into gems, and bones, and feathers, and dried herbs, the suspension of disbelief starts to strain if you do not use a different thing for each effect.  Sure, some of them can be mortared together -- a bloodstone to cure a blood disease, stanch a wound, and track someone might work -- but using the magical properties of stuff means that you have to nod to the unlikelihood of one object having all the magical properties that can be desired.  (Hmm.  A small metallic thing with holes, in which you can put chips of gemstones and use each one -- but that would also bind the magic of the story to certain forms.  Besides, you'd still have to fill up your metal with the right sort of chips.)  Exactly how much could any one person lug about?  And wouldn't it get used up?  The herbs, at least.

Oddly enough, mucking about with all these stuff tends to make the muse think that the spells are nastier.  LIke the aforementioned curse.  Even when a witch goes to conjure the figures in a carpet to life.  She can still cope with healing herbs and gemstones, though.  Maybe it's just memories of Conan the Barbarian.  The sorcerers in that used a lot of stuff, and you just had to hear what it was to know how wicked they were.  Or the prevalence of bones and other unpleasant things.
Tags: realism, world-building: magic (objects), world-building: magic (technique)
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