What? My website isn’t enough for you? Huh? Huh?!
Just kidding. I want you to have absolutely EVERYTHING you need to build a kick-ass magic system for your story and there are some amazing resources out there.
At the moment, there are just a handful of foundational articles, websites, and forums, but I’m always looking to add new resources. Let’s get started!!!
Sanderson’s Laws of Magic
Sanderson’s Laws of Magic are practically foundational for most people’s magic-building efforts. Of course, they aren’t laws at all but rules Brandon Sanderson tries to follow whenever he builds a new magic system. They are always a great place for any aspiring magic-builder to start.
"An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic."
Sanderson’s First Law
“The author’s ability to resolve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY proportional to the readers understanding of said magic.”
Magic thrown into a story without thought or care can do more harm than good to a story. In this article, Brandon talks about why its important for the audience to understand the magic and gives an introduction to the core types of magic systems.
This article is the framework I used to identify and build my core types of magic systems.
Sanderson’s Second Law
“Limitations are more interesting than power.”
This is something I come back to over and over again in my articles, books, and while coaching. Overpowered characters and overpowered systems are just plain boring and limitations are essential for a potent magic system. One good limitation can do more for your magic system than any number of magic abilities.
If you’re struggling to build your own limitations then you should check out my workbook, Restrictions May Apply: Building Limits for Your Magic.
Sanderson’s Third Law
“Expand what you already have before adding something new.”
This final essay by Brandon is all about exploration and extrapolation
When building a magic system, it’s soooo tempting to throw in everything you can think of and then add some more. Believe me, I get it. We want our magic to be interesting and expansive.
Sometimes a simple but thoroughly explored system is better.
The writers over at Mythcreants have created a haven that I didn’t know I needed until I found it.
Both in the blog and on the podcast they provide a great deal of information on a variety of topics. Most of their discussions lean heavily toward the tabletop roleplaying game side of storytelling.
Mythcreants is also one of the few resources that talk about magic systems and worldbuilding on a regular basis. On several occasions, their insights have shaped my own views and practices in the art of magic-building. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
Magic-building is fun and all, but sometimes you need to have a conversation with another human being.
Well, allow me to introduce you to a friendly community of magic-builders.
I stumbled on this subreddit several years back and it is positively brimming with creative ideas and insightful feedback. If you want some fast feedback on your magic system or have a specific question you can’t find an answer to, give these wonderful people a try.