When creating a magic system an often forgotten detail in the worldbuilding is how a spell is cast. There are many things this can influence, from combat to the world’s culture.
There are 5 main ways to cast a magic spell and here are they are along with their effects.
The most common is when the mage speaks one of 2 things:
• The name of the spell
• Incantations of either a prayer or just a cool phrase or two.
These can be spoken normally or in reverse. The words can be in an ancient language or even undecipherable for those that like cosmic horror.
These tend to be the easiest to use, able to be cast with ease but without the speed.
The incantation part can be great for characterization or worldbuilding. When casting unique spells, they can either connect with the character or the world’s history.
If you want something fancy, easy to use, and a way to connect to worldbuilding then the spoken word is a good choice.
This is a harder way to cast spells, just think about it. You need a solid visual of the spell in order for it to work.
This can be used with the Spoken Word, either as an improved method or the norm while Spoken Word is used for special spells.
Most of the time, thought-based spells are only for high-level mages. They have grown so much that they don’t have to speak the words to cast a spell.
Other than that it's just an easy way to show high-powered magical battles, the other methods slow down the action.
• Want a battle-heavy story?
• Dislike the spoken word?
• Want to show the difference between a novice and master mage?
Then use the Thought method of spell casting.
This method is great at showing the scientific and dark sides of magic.
This method is for those that want to show the hard work that some mages have to do and what happens when an experiment goes wrong. This is a part of the Alchemy side of magic.
Because of that, this is the slowest when it comes to casting and battles. When battling using this method, it’s best to make the battle more about intellect than brute force.
This can be used with Writing and the Spoken Word but I’ve seen it only with ritual or summoning spells.
So if this is something that sounds appealing to your world and story, then use this method of spell casting.
This could be within Materials but It did not fit with the intellect theme I was going for.
This is used a lot with Materials as shown in Alchemy but it does not have to be. Sometimes you see magic circles when casting spells using the spoken word or thought.
It’s either a byproduct of the Spoken Word/Thought or a necessity for Materials.
As for the Writing, that is when a mage writes something and whatever they write becomes a spell that’s cast. You can write in the air or in a book.
You can use this method as a support to the others or a jumping-off point to something completely unique.
Movement and Dance
The fanciest and unique method of spell casting, a way to make a dance off an actual fight.
Movement is like the Magic Circle, it's mostly a support method for the first two but it can work by itself.
A great example is the hand signs from the series Naruto (It’s not magic but you get what I’m trying to say).
Dance is rarer, it’s when a mage performs a dance that eventually casts a spell. This can include large or unique spells, probably only use dance for those.
Dance is generally used with another method but it can be the basis for the entire system.
Well, that’s all I have. If I made a mistake or missed something then please comment below. I'll credit you and adjust the post until it’s perfect.
I hope this gets you thinking about which method your magic system operates on. Thanks for reading.
About the Creator
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.