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Monday, November 26, 2012

Low Magic Worlds - a twist

One of the things I've noticed about many fantasy settings is that they attempt to be low magic. Pretty much all of them achieve this by having the peasants hate and fear magic, and run around pitchforking mages. A growing subset actually makes magic inherently evil, granted by demons or cthuloids, which actually makes the angry peasant mobs make sense.

I'd like to see a low magic world but one where magic is celebrated. Powerful mages are the Hollywood celebrities of their era. They have fan-bases, and if they get into a big battle or magical duel, it's "televised" magically, and the mages involved get a cut of the proceeds.

Of course, magic is still rare. You have to find and read ancient, often encrypted, texts, which can be incredibly valuable. You also have to have the ability to cast spells. Many wannabes have read multiple tomes, practicing daily, yet couldn't even light a candle. Some marvels read a spell and can immediately turn invisible. It's kind of random. You just have to have the gift.

Of course, more than a few people are willing to fake it. They have elaborate stage set-ups, and perform phony "duels" with other charlatans, and reap in the profits. Their biggest worry is being challenged by a real mage.


Dungeon Smash said...

sounds something like Jack Vance

Anonymous said...

Yep, definitely the Vance stories, except without the televising duels bit. Would make a fun campaign, especially if the charlatan was a character class.