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The Undiscovered Limits of Magic

Writing Magic in the modern day and beyond

By BlankmarksPublished about a year ago 6 min read
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The Undiscovered Limits of Magic
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Have you ever noticed that Magic is rarely present in advanced sci-fi stories?

In most fantasy worlds magic is the opposite of science and technology.

Science grows over time while magic declines.

There are few stories that show magic in the modern era but even those don’t show magic growing like science does.

What we forget is that magic is a science too and has the potential to grow in the same way.

Despite all the power that magic has shown, we’ve only seen it at its most basic.

Magic appears mostly in medieval fantasy and not in sci-fi worlds.

That’s the idea of this article, what would magic look like if it grew like science?

I’ll break this analysis into three main parts; the norm, the reasons for decline and the possible future.

The Normal State of Magic

Generally, magic takes the form of mana and is within everything.

Mages use it to change the world in many crazy ways.

After extensive uses of magic and just natural decay, the age of magic would come to an end to make way for science.

The Reasons for Decline

Every story has its own unique reason for the decline but what I want to focus on is the common causes.

From what I’ve seen, the 3 main causes for decline are:

1. Limited Resources

Mana is usually shown to be an energy source that comes from nature, the body or both.

The energy in nature is not infinite and does dissipate over time.

This leaves places and items being the only things with large amounts of mana in the modern era.

Think of it like fossil fuels in our world.

Internal mana shouldn’t disappear but since external mana is usually more important, it helps in the decline.

It’s worse if the mana inside needs to draw mana from the outside when the mage is a baby.

2. Magic Tools

A magic tool’s job is to make it easier for everyone to use magic. The need for effort and knowledge would decrease.

Why study and practice when you can press a button and a near-perfect spell is cast?

This wouldn’t be a problem if all spells could be used with tools but the strongest ones can’t.

When combined with peaceful times, most would see stronger magic spells as unnecessary.

After some time, these spells would be forgotten or hidden away for the few to exploit.

To be clear, this only applies to magic tools that replace magic study.

Convenient magic tools that parallel scientific inventions would advance normally.

3. Lost Knowledge

This goes for science too but dangerous or forbidden magic is hidden or destroyed.

This could lead to a decrease in general knowledge of magic.

Neglect and lack of dedicated book preservers can play a role too.

The Future of Magic

Science and Magic allow us to understand reality but only Magic allows us to harness and shape it directly.

The ability would allow get greater and more expanse the more we understand reality.

These are the 5 main things I think would happen if magic study continued into the modern day.

The Magic Gunner and the Modern Mage

Although I hate the idea, Magic Guns would be the norm. Assuming magic tools don’t cause any decline, this is what the average soldier would use.

This would be the death of the magic archer and possibly even staffs. Combat would look like an advanced form of what’s in the anime “Tanya the Evil”.

This would only affect at most mid level offensive and some debuff spells.

The elites and large scale weapons would be the only things that can use high-level spells.

Illusions, Summoning, Alteration, and some others would still be used by hand or a small medium.

Combat uniforms and weapons would have built-in Enchantment and Runes.

Aside from common soldiers, I imagine metal golems piloted by A.I or soldiers would be the preferred way to wage war.

This would save lives in war but only on open battlefields. Stealth and small scale mission would still need common soldiers.

Like what’s seen in the Manhwa “MookHyang - Dark Lady”.

A Dangerous World

Unless the ability to use magic is genetic, everyone would want to learn it. This also means everyone would have the potential to be walking nukes.

Life would be both exciting and dangerous to everything living. Strict restrictions would have to be put in place to preserve safety.

How far you want to take that, it’s up to you.

Regardless, everyone would be able to launch a fireball and manipulate small objects.

Also, if magic doesn’t decline the supernatural creatures might not either….

Now you could be thinking:

”What if magic was genetic and rarer?”

Well, let’s be real there would be a huge social divide between those with and without magic.

The Elites, soldiers and leaders in the workforce would all be mages on some level.

Everyone else would be in manual labor or similar jobs. That’s if those jobs aren’t taken by magic powered A.I.

This would turn into a dark modern fantasy if magic was rare. I don’t see how it wouldn’t unless magic was heavily depowered.

Faster Casting

Like in other worlds, society would eventually move past chanting.

There also would be less reliance on spirits or gods for spells.

This would only happen if it’s discovered that you can use magic can without it. If not then religion would have an even bigger presence in society.

This can also cover simple magic tools that allow common people to use magic fast. Many stories I’ve read show this as a phone app that can cast minor spells.

Soldiers would have something similar but not in app form.

A Solar Civilization?

Depending on how strong your magic system is, I can see a magic-based society outpacing ours.

If we have spells from the alteration or cosmic types then I predict that society would grow far faster.

With the ability to teleport, enhance our bodies and build buildings fast, I'm sure we could colonize other planets.

With enough time, I’m sure we could colonize the entire solar system.

The effects on society and magic are so great that I can’t even fathom it at the moment.

Some questions that pop to mind include:

1. Does every planet have mana? Does it have the same amount?

2. Does each planet have its own unique type of mana? Does it produce different effects?

3. How would this affect Druid society? Their magic changes with the nature of the planet.

4. If Aliens exist, how would they react to magic? Can they use magic?

5. Do other planets have spirits or gods? How would that affect Earth’s gods and spirits?

Longer Lifespans and a Healthy World

With spells from the life type and research into common utility magic, we would have healthier lives.

• Medicine would have few side effects

• We would’ve extended life or cured death by now

• Created Spells to clean easier

• No Electric or Water bill if we can create it with a spell

Conclusion

Overall, this all depends on what type of magic your world has.

If given full power, what I’ve described is most likely what would happen in a Sci-Fi Magical world.

There were two reasons why I wrote this:

• To give ideas to writers who want to write a modern day or beyond fantasy world

• To explore the upper limits of what magic can do

I’ve said all I wanted on this subject, I hope I accomplished both goals.

The last thing I want to do is recommend some manhwa that do some of the things I’ve mentioned here:

• I am the Sorcerer King [MC created an A.I and a Spaceship. Closest to Sci-Fi High Fantasy I’ve seen]

• City of Dead Sorcerer [More Modern and includes the magic app idea]

Finally, here are some videos about the relationship between Science and Magic by World Anvil.

With that, I’m done.

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About the Creator

Blankmarks

I’m Blankmarks and I love magic and fiction. I’ll write about various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds. I'll also post short stories, writing tips, and more.

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