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 5e Magic System in the Forgotten Realms
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Jrenlund
Acolyte

8 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2021 :  22:35:42  Show Profile Send Jrenlund a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hello all! I have been thinking (probably overthinking) the current magic system in 5e Forgotten Realms. Looking through the DM's Guide and the Players Handbook, magic is not really all that defined (probably on purpose to fit the different campaigns). It occurred to me that you could take The Great Wheel world model (default world model - DMG pg 44) and hash out how the different types of magic related to the planes - it would be easy for players to understand how magic works and what their power sources are for each type. I feel this is important since the different editions use different types of magic and don't really explain the power sources for each type. The beauty of this system is you can include other types of magic as 5e develops into its maturity (like the reintroduction of psionics in Unearthed Arcana).

Below is my theoretical model - PLEASE tell me what you think!

Magical energy is everywhere and can be grouped by planes using the Great Wheel cosmology (I think of it as an atom or sphere, not a circle). In order to have energy - you need a power source.

The core or center of all planes is the Material Plane - it contains Arcane magic (8 schools of magic) and is powered by the weave (with spellfire as its chaos magic)

The Inner Planes contain 8 types of magic - 4 Elemental magics powered by the 4 elemental planes (air, fire, earth, water) Feywild magic high magic powered by the fey weave, Shadowfell magic shadow magic powered by the shadow weave, Ethereal magic soul magic powered by the fugue plane, and Self magic (psionics/Ki powered by the individual's mind and body). Elemental Chaos is the mixing of 2 or more types of these magics.

The Outer Planes contain Divine magic powered by each celestial plane and Fiend magic grouped by type (devils, demons, or yugoloths AKA daemons). I tried to get 8 types here also but ran out of ideas...

Surrounding the Outer Planes is a Magical Void (nothingness, zero energy or even negative energy - maybe like deep space?). There are also pockets of Magic Voids inside every plane that remove all magic or energy from that spot (think black holes). A distinction here - void magic is not anti-magic, anti-magic fields from the spellplague were areas missing the weave and only Arcane magic would be affected. In my mind anti-magic fields would still support Elemental or other types of magics - just a thought.

Again, please let me know what you think and maybe I am overthinking this!

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7413 Posts

Posted - 25 Jan 2021 :  00:00:44  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
D&D defines some careful (though often arbitrary) distinctions between arcane magic and divine magic.

But Realmslore does not. Mystra is the goddess of magic, all magic, all kinds, even for those who are devoutly pious, even for those who are stubbornly impious. Failures of the Weave (dead-magic zones, wild-magic zones, tainted-magic zones, Mystra interregna) affect all types of magic regardless of their source or nature.

There are forms of magic which operate outside the Weave. It's reasonable to expect such forms of magic to be dominant in worlds or planes which lack Mystra's presence.

[/Ayrik]
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4104 Posts

Posted - 25 Jan 2021 :  23:25:36  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik



But Realmslore does not. Mystra is the goddess of magic, all magic, all kinds, even for those who are devoutly pious, even for those who are stubbornly impious. Failures of the Weave (dead-magic zones, wild-magic zones, tainted-magic zones, Mystra interregna) affect all types of magic regardless of their source or nature.


I'd say the only caveat here was when magic drew from Shar's Shadow-Weave (pre-Spellplague) but otherwise - correct. Still, I don't think Mystra's Weave affected Ki as that was sort of internal or Psionic (as that was also internal, though mental). These created magic-like effects but not goverened by the Weave. Then you had 3.5's "Blade Magic" a la Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords, yet I'm not aware if those SU (supernatural abilities) were governed by the Weave or not?


4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10107 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2021 :  12:19:19  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm somewhat counter to canon here on THIS topic, because I think this is somewhat Mystra's propaganda machine. To note, this may not be entirely intentional or malicious. It's just to encourage people to "use her system".

You see I don't view the weave as a power SOURCE... I view it as an operating system like for a computer. Her weave is a series of subroutines that people can use in order to create affects. Periodically, there may be "bugs" in this operating system that come to life. There may be "viruses" that abuse the tools of this system. There are power resources that this weave is anchored to, and many of them have been acclimatized to running her "weave"..... similar to how a server which has its own memory, disk, network connection, and power can be adapted to running a certain operating system and running certain services. In order for Mystra's "weave" to function there need to be enough of these "weave anchors" or "power sources adapted to her" to keep things going. When things like the Time of Troubles or Spellplague happen, its like something major happening on a network (for instance, the DNS server going offline and then noone can convert candlekeep.com into an IP address to talk to it or anything else on the internet).

So, from this, other people can come to Toril and use their spells. They're using a different O/S and drawing on the background power sources that the weave is also tied into.

So, then why do people use the weave? Well, why do people use windows instead of linux? It's what they're familiar with and its been made easy to use.

This also very much explains why certain magic spells work a certain way in the realms, but may work a different way elsewhere, and also why there may be certain spells in the realms that ONLY work in the realms. Essentially spells are like "apps" and some are generic enough that nearly everyone imports them into their O/S (i.e. netflix or a web browser for instance), but some "spells"/"apps" only work on a certain O/S. People from another plane might be able to come here and use THEIR version of a spell (i.e. using another O/S), but in order to do so they need to use some kind of power source in the realms that isn't "running the weave O/S". Such can be found (for instance, for a while there were a bunch of "nodes" running the shadow weave O/S.... but these seemingly were ruined during the spellplague for some reason... which maybe had something to do with the karse stone). To a degree, the concept of "worldfire" might be seen as doing this, in which a being comes to Toril but "draws upon the magic of another world".... which might imply that a power source isn't TIED to the plane that its on.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 26 Jan 2021 16:18:17
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34710 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2021 :  14:01:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I personally regard the Weave as something akin to the power grid that transports electricity to homes and businesses. Those power lines don't create the electricity -- they ensure that anyone that needs to can plug into it.

The Weave also filters and regulates that power... The generators and such that create our electricity put out way, way more than any individual user can use or even handle; the power grid and all its components turn that 20 megawatts into the simple 110 volts our home equipment can handle. The Weave has a similar function, turning that raw, unconstrained energy into a manageable flow that can be managed with the right spells.

At least, that's how I think of it.

To me, it also explains how wizards can travel back and forth to other worlds without issue: it doesn't matter where the power is coming from, it's still the same plug that goes into the socket to tap that power.

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Jrenlund
Acolyte

8 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2021 :  13:59:11  Show Profile Send Jrenlund a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I'm somewhat counter to canon here on THIS topic, because I think this is somewhat Mystra's propaganda machine. To note, this may not be entirely intentional or malicious. It's just to encourage people to "use her system".

You see I don't view the weave as a power SOURCE... I view it as an operating system like for a computer. Her weave is a series of subroutines that people can use in order to create affects...



I Love the idea of something different from my theory but still works to account for different types of magic. It is interesting to bring up computers, such that maybe D&D is actually a post apocalyptic earth after the battle of humanity against the machines Not that would by any type of FR lore and would be so metagaming! Thank you for the interesting perspective.
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Jrenlund
Acolyte

8 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2021 :  14:04:13  Show Profile Send Jrenlund a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I personally regard the Weave as something akin to the power grid that transports electricity to homes and businesses. Those power lines don't create the electricity -- they ensure that anyone that needs to can plug into it...

To me, it also explains how wizards can travel back and forth to other worlds without issue: it doesn't matter where the power is coming from, it's still the same plug that goes into the socket to tap that power.



Also an interesting perspective. Again, it explains different types of magic for the realms - if you have an American plug in the material plane you can't plug into the European sockets in Shadowfell! Love it
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Jrenlund
Acolyte

8 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2021 :  14:08:14  Show Profile Send Jrenlund a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you all so far for your replies. Again, I am just trying to wrap all of the FR lore into something that makes sense for me and maybe others. Keep you thinkin' caps on!
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10107 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2021 :  15:58:19  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jrenlund

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I'm somewhat counter to canon here on THIS topic, because I think this is somewhat Mystra's propaganda machine. To note, this may not be entirely intentional or malicious. It's just to encourage people to "use her system".

You see I don't view the weave as a power SOURCE... I view it as an operating system like for a computer. Her weave is a series of subroutines that people can use in order to create affects...



I Love the idea of something different from my theory but still works to account for different types of magic. It is interesting to bring up computers, such that maybe D&D is actually a post apocalyptic earth after the battle of humanity against the machines Not that would by any type of FR lore and would be so metagaming! Thank you for the interesting perspective.



No problem. One thing I'd also point out in my perspective is the idea in previous editions that high level wizards can learn a new "form" of magic. In 3e it was called "epic magic". Essentially in this conceptual magic, a wizard can define any spell they want to use and build it out using "spell seeds".... which read as "bits of code". Essentially the idea here would be that these people using "epic magic" have learned that Mystra's weave is just an O/S and they're starting to learn to code magic themselves using something akin to assembly language or a programming language. It becomes much more cumbersome to do than "picking up something already coded and packaged", but its much more flexible as a result.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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