Effects of Magic on the Real World

One of the major issues I have associated with fantasy settings is that a world filled with magic is essentially medieval plus wizards. It seems even more silly in the context that many settings purport to be thousands of years old. So, what I want to do is make a basic game that could help model the effects magic on an otherwise realistic world.

Originally, I was thinking about setting this up in the ancient / dark ages since my interest is primary on the fantasy realm. Player knowledge would become a significant hindrance though. Effectively players would have unfair knowledge about technological development that could be leveraged with magic. In order to deal with the problem, the game should likely be set in modern day.

I am thinking of setting up a small self contained scenario for this, kind of like Lady Blackbird, with pregens. I want to keep the characters disassociated from the players in order to avoid weirdness. The scenario would kick off when the group uncovered a set of “items of power.” That essentially give those in possession of the items the ability to wield magic. Magic should not be limited in functionality, other than the final result of the effects cannot create paradoxes.

The question becomes, how to model the interaction of magic within the world. I’m thinking a basic die mechanism that can be used to measure the degree of success when attempting to use magic for something. And, while the player always succeeds, their margin of success determines the level of complication created by the act. Complications would scale relative to the effect desired.

As far as complications are concerned, I am thinking about creating some tables that could be rolled against in order to generate some ideas. But, complications that are directly relevant would be preferred. The trick of the matter is trying to figure out how something like, an unlimited supply of free gasoline would affect the world.

What would be the best way to model such a thing?

Author: Jeff

Born a cantankerous old man, mellowed ever so slightly by age.

2 thoughts on “Effects of Magic on the Real World”

  1. Suggest you look into the Mage: the Ascension paper-RPG system by White Wolf publishing, which is so amazing to me that it even exists that I consider it a product of genius. While that’s set in modern day, there’s also adjunct books that support it which provide a medieval setting you might be interested in as well. Of course you could just as easily provide your own setting, using only their magic system.

    1. Anenome, I appreciate the suggestion. And, there are definitely some interesting aspects to the Mage game. However, it suffers from the same flaws that all White Wolf games suffer from. While it has rich color developed for the setting, it does not really have the mechanics to back it up. It is a very traditional game, and I don’t think that play would adequately cover the perspective I’m looking for. I am glad you found the game, and receive so much enjoyment from it!

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