"Well, today is another day to nail down the rules for how your magic… work[s] in your story."
I'm conflicted. On the one hand that's what I've been doing right along and it was even the start of the idea for the story in the first place. On the other hand the details have been escaping me and that's why I came to the 30 Days of World Building in the first place, I was looking for a guide for generating a Magic System.
I haven't really gotten any help with creating a Magic System in these exercises. I can regurgitate what I already have for rules, but I still have a lot of questions.
What is magic? What is the power that the Sourcerers produce? How exactly do the Wizards, Priestesses and Paladins use it?
Let me give you the rest of the exercise for today and then I'll compile all the rules I have so far in this post.
I boiled the exercise down to three bulleted question and two bulleted instructions:
1. What are the limits of your speculative element?
2. What is that cost? If there's no cost, then what's the trade-off?
3. What keeps it from being used all the time, for everything, or is it used that much after all?
1. Write down your rules, specifically focusing on what's impossible…
2. Establish the limits and boundaries of your spec element today.
Things we already know about Magic:
From Day 7 – Recent History:
1. The people of the GOE don't have magic at all and think they can sacrifice Sourcerers to get it. It doesn't work that way.
2. Wizards can make magical devices, given magically "charged" raw material to work with.
3. Magic is known/available only to descendants of the aliens, but it was not known to the aliens when they lived in what is now Emptyland. It also didn't appear as soon as the Mega volcano erupted, but thousands of years later.
4. The most powerful source of magic is the Sourcerers of the Golchin, followed by Sourcerers of the Fidchin, the Paladins of Fjordland and least of all by the Sourcerers of the Desert people.
5. Several groups have been formed to control magic. This started with the Old Priesthood of Magic (OPM), then the Klelryn Priestesses and the Wizards. Each had a slightly different way of using magic.
6. Magic can be and has been used to great effect in war, but it is not all powerful.
7. People without magic can be very powerful, but they must acknowledge and respect the power of magic wielding people, even among Golchin and Fidchin.
8. Once you have set your magic system in place it doesn't seem that you can waver from it (e.g. Wizards only work with inanimate objects and are powerless to affect people directly).
9. Sourcerers are really not in control of their own lives or destiny.
10. Magical devices (not just magical items) had to be invented.
11. Magical devices are more effective in war than the way the Klelryn use magic.
12. Wizardry is regulated by a Wizards' Council. Though I hadn't thought of it at that time, this council would be subject and under the control of the Academies.
13. The Klelryn didn't always lock every Sourcerer away. This development somewhat mirrors the development of insane asylums as the industrial revolution grew.
From Day 8 – Economics and Politics
14. Magic seems to be a byproduct of the alien originated races and so it is absent from the people of the GOE. They never really needed it when they didn't regularly encounter magical people. They substituted community.
15. The greatest resource of Goldland [Goldan] is Magic. Only Golden [Golchin] people produce pure Sourcerers. They have fought over this resource among themselves for hundreds of years, but recently it has become a valuable commodity outside of Goldland [Goldan].
16. Sourcerers born to Forestlanders [Fidchin] are usually less autistic and less powerful magically. They are always abducted by the Klelryn.
From Day 11 – Focus In
17. The Klelryn are divided into Village Priestesses, who have no interest in any more power than to be able to aid and nurture their villages; and the Klelryn Web, or the "nobility" of the Klelryn who fight amongst themselves and with and against the nobility.
From Day 12 – Speculative Element
18. Here was where I wrote about many images of things within my magic system.
19. Wizards do not cast spells, they create magical artifacts that can be manipulated and/or triggered.
20. Klelryn Priestesses do cast spells, with words, song, music, dance, gestures and most potently with sex.
21. Fjordlander magic was explained pretty thoroughly.
Then there is Day 13. Day 13 is almost all about the magic, so go there and read it.
This was about education and there we found out that Wizard magic can be learned by anyone bright enough and with a flare for it, just like any advanced degree we have in reality. Priestesses learn their craft in seminaries and abbeys. Sourcerers are born, but they can be coaxed and taught to go into deeper, longer trances if they aren't particularly powerful. The most powerful are the most like people with autism; no one can teach them or coach them to be more or less than they are.
Paladins are born with abilities and have to be taught to use them. They must devote their lives, and must be trained as clerics.
So there you are. What is magic? I'm still not really sure. How exactly is it manipulated by Wizards and Priestesses? It is drawn out and stored until it is used, like energy, but there are still details I haven't decided.