alpharaposa: (micahicon)
[personal profile] alpharaposa
I've started a Weekend World Building thing on Twitter (hashtag #WWB if you want to join in). This week's question: Science or magic, or both? What do people use to manipulate the world?

The latest world I'm working on are elves. They use what we would think of as magic. There are dunny elves, sunlish elves, and wift elves (or weft? wys? still turning that one over). Each of them can directly manipulate one category of stuffs. Dunny elves can work inanimate things. Sunlish elves' domain is the weather. Wift elves manipulate living creatures.

So...

Dunny elves harvest the strength of diamonds to harden armor, or alloy a bend in a stream into a ship's keel to let it flex in the water.

Sunlish elves do things like twist wind into ropes and spin clouds into threads. They catch sunlight or moonlight if they want to make something that glows.

Wift elves can give a goat soft, luxurious wool, and change the wings on a gryphon. They can steal the reflexes of a cat to weave into a cloak.

The important part is that nobody does magic by waving their hands and saying magic words. Instead, the elves can grab and use unusual things to make new items with special properties. A hammer may have real thunder in it. A ship may have a dolphin bound into the keel. A guard dog might be given fire in its daily meat to keep it fierce.

Date: 2016-09-09 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prester-scott.livejournal.com
Wift elves sound terrifying -- it sounds they can do all kinds of weird and horrible stuff to you casually.

Date: 2016-09-12 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stryck.livejournal.com
They can all be frightening, though body horror is particularly threatening. Not coincidentally, the wift elves fill out most of the nobility (the sunlish elves like to travel and are overrepresented in the merchant class, and the warrior class has a great many dunny elves).

There are limits. An elf has to be able to reach whatever they're working on, either by their own hands or with a tool appropriate to the job. If a sunlish elf wants to spin clouds when there isn't any fog, he's going to need some way to hook one down to himself.

Also, complicated work remains complicated. Forging a good blade and building a good ship require more than fantastic materials. They require good craftsmen. A wift elf may be able to easily cause damage, but repairing such damage (or doing something fantastic, like grafting working wings onto another elf) requires knowledge and skill.

Lastly, there are religious limits, customs, and a few laws to allow redress for harm.

Date: 2016-09-09 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tuftears.livejournal.com
Are these things one-shot magic items, i.e. if you bind lightning into a hammer, is it expended when you hit something once?

What happens to the poor cat whose reflexes were stolen? >_>

Date: 2016-09-10 01:22 pm (UTC)
ext_76029: red dragon (imagination)
From: [identity profile] copperwolf.livejournal.com
Yes -- what happens to the dolphin? Is it like a captive spirit?

Date: 2016-09-12 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stryck.livejournal.com
It would no longer exist separately from the ship. Its presence would contribute heavily to the character of the vessel, but it wouldn't be a discrete entity. If you did it to a person, it'd be murder.

Date: 2016-09-12 08:12 pm (UTC)
rowyn: (Me 2012)
From: [personal profile] rowyn
I feel kinda bad for the dolphin. c_c

Neat magic system, though!

Date: 2016-09-12 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stryck.livejournal.com
I'm afraid the cat becomes a walking YouTube video.

Date: 2016-09-12 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tuftears.livejournal.com
*facepalm* :)

Date: 2016-09-13 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stryck.livejournal.com
To answer your first question (which I forgot about because of cat), a piece of disease forged into a sword would be part of the sword as long as the blade was whole. But if somebody hastily tied it onto the blade before going into battle, it would quickly work loose (which might be a worse problem).

Arrows break fairly often, but hammers don't. A hammer full of lightning would last a long time. Of course, to do that, you'd first need a sunlish elf who managed to grab a stroke of lightning from a storm. Epic deeds lead to epic loot.

Date: 2016-09-13 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tuftears.livejournal.com
Well okay then! So probably artisans are a big deal here too, because well-crafted things will hold together better.

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