Edit: Don't use google spellcheck! It messes with the post formatting!
[quote who="pigeonpigeon" reply="5" id="1987358"]I sincerely believe that trying to work physics into the magic system will only result in a needlessly complex and overly limiting system; when instead we should be aiming for as simple/intuitive a system as we can while still allowing for extreme flexibility.[/quote]
Okay forget physics then, that was simply the most convenient example at the time. The only requirement for magic in a game setting is that it makes sense. We don't need to understand how it works, in fact that is the whole point of magic. What is important is that when magic is used and things happen, we understand what is going on and why.
Physics is simply the best way to explain things. Fruit of the Loon is a strange spell, but you all understand what a coconut is and what will happen when that coconut falls on your head from cloud level. I don't have to explain the exact difference between a shower of tomatos and a shower of watermelons, its already obvious that one will go splat and the other will probably kill you.
[quote who="pigeonpigeon" reply="5" id="1987358"]No teleportation, for one[/quote]
Imaginary physics can still be consistent. Teleportation means travelling from one place to another without any movement in between. It doesn't mean anything else and can't be confused for anything else. I forgot who said it but any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Current technology can't prove that teleportation is possible, but then we can't prove it to be impossible either.
[quote who="pigeonpigeon" reply="5" id="1987358"]We definitely need to be able to combine elements. I'll be really disappointed if there aren't multi-school spells - lots of them. It doesn't matter that bringing very hot in contact with very cold results in boom. We're talking about schools of magic, mixing schools shouldn't result in ice fireballs or whatever.[/quote]
I have a diagram sitting on my desk which I am using to try to imagine categories of magic. Each category is part of an opposing pair, these pairs complement each other because they can't exist at the same time. The current pairs are:
- Fire - Ice
- Chaos - Order
- Air - Earth
- Time - Stasis
- Nature - Technology
- Life - Death
Some of them are obvious enough such as Fire and Ice. You can't set a block of plain ice on fire just as you can't freeze flames solid. Others are a bit more complicated. Nature for example opposes Technology because technology would never exist in a natural setting. The computer you are using to read this right now is not a natural object, without a thinking mind to create it the computer might never have existed. Each category has subcomponents. Here I am still trying to wrangle the specifics. Fire for example encompasses Fire, Heat and Light. Ice as its opposite is made up of Ice Cold and Shadow. Some of them are a bit more abstract, Air for example is also Weather and Flight, Time is also Speed and Entrophy.
Spells can be composed of one component alone, or a mix of more than one. A fireball spell for example is a mix of Fire and Air. Fire for flame and heat, Air for flight. If you mixed Earth with Fire, you could make a tunneling fireball, imagine that Even polar opposites can be combined. What happens when you mix Life and Death together and they cancel out? Immortality.
To give you a more exotic example let me pull something out of my thinking hat. What do you get when you combine Fire and Ice together? Coldfire.
- Coldfire is a blue flame that acts just like regular fire only it freezes anything it touches and consumes heat instead of fuel. So getting burned to death by coldfire would turn you into an ice statue instead of a pile of ash.
- Instead of putting out light, coldfire actually consumes it and emits a tiny portion. Coldfire appears pitch black with dark blue edges. The "hotter" the fire burns the less black there will be and the blue edges will brighten towards white.
- Being a form of fire Coldfire still requires air to burn so you could still put it out with water (must be cold water) or a blanket. As well it will only "ignite" things with a sufficient level of heat. Casting it on a block of ice would do nothing. Casting it on a hot tub would result in a small skating rink.
- Just as normal fire can be drowned by too much fuel, coldfire can be put out with overwhelming amounts of heat and will not ignite in the presence of too much heat.
The limitations of it make it very hard to employ, its essentially as opposite from fire as you can get without it becoming something else. But the implications of its abilities are terrifying. Imagine a coldforest fire blazing out of control at midnight in the middle of summer.