NOTES || Magic System & True Magic

World-building Notes

Magic System & True Magic

World-building notes on the system of magic, and the two main sources of magic energy, featured in DEITIES Project. This first part of the notes focuses on True magic.

Similar to the mythology, True magic is linked to a deity’s energy, and that energy is drawn inwardly from the deity’s ka — the lifeforce aspect of their soul. Generally, if a deity has the energy, skill, and focus, they can reliably use their magic. All deities, major and minor, learn to activate their ka and naturally use True magic.

INDEX || WORLD-BUILDING NOTES


TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION & COMMENTARY

Based on what I’ve researched so far, the concept of magic in Ancient Egyptian religion was a core part of their beliefs and livelihood. Ancient Egyptians believed magic existed within the real world, and that it could manifest in various instances and forms — such as within their language and symbols, within certain food and medicines, and through their art and writing. Magic was especially present in the stories they shared that were a part of their religion, and became part of Egyptian mythology.

This concept for magic, as well as inspiration from other stories I’ve enjoyed, is the framework that I’ve developed into the magic system for DEITIES Project, and places magic as a vital feature within the world. I want magic to be something pervasive in the world and that the deities use and rely on regularly, since it’ll be a key factor that sets the main story in motion. Additionally, I wanted to include the dual concepts of order and chaos within the magic system, but still remained close to the general understanding of magic derived from the religion.


MAGIC DUALITY

Within the world of DEITIES, there is a duality between order and chaos, and similarly there are two distinct sources of energy and magic.

The first source is most closely related to how magic is described in the mythology and religion; while this energy is often simply referred to as “magic” by the characters, for the purposes of distinguishing it from its counterpart, this energy and magic will be called “True magic.” The second source of energy, mainly adapted for DEITIES, is chaos energy or “Chaos magic.”

[EX: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.]

The remainder of this page of notes will focus primarily on explaining the first source of magic; additional notes can be found in the following notes for Chaos Energy and Chaos Magic.


TRUE MAGIC

Similar to the mythology, True magic is linked to a deity’s energy, and that energy is drawn inwardly from the deity’s ka — the lifeforce aspect of their soul (see notes for Aspects of the Soul). Literally speaking, the Ancient Egyptian word for magic, heka, means “activating the ka.” Generally, if a deity has the energy, skill, and focus, they can reliably use their magic.

The energy used for maintaining a deity’s ka — and thus their source for magic — can be replenished with time, rest, sustenance, and overall worship and devotion received from their mortal devotees. Their ability to access energy from their ka is also regulated in part by the Aten, the ancient sundisk that provides life throughout the world, and is protected by Lord Ra and other higher deities.


AFFINITIES OF MAGIC

All deities, major and minor, learn to activate their ka and naturally use True magic. The affinities of magic that a deity becomes skilled with often correlates to the domains or phenomena they’re associated with. There’s no true limit to the amount of affinities a deity can learn, but certain affinities of magic are more common than others, and some may come more easily to certain deities. See notes on Affinities of Magic for more information and examples.

[EX: Horus is associated with the sky, and is particularly gifted with wind magic; Sekhmet is a goddess of fire, so her skills are with fire magic; and Thoth has been mentioned to be proficient with healing magic.]


MAGIC SYSTEM & METHODS

The energy used for magic within DEITIES, especially for True magic, tends to be fairly systematic. While certain instances of magic don’t require a large amount of power, other instance can be very complex and demand a large withdrawal of energy. Furthermore, the same affinities of magic can have different levels of minor and major uses.

As an example, transformation magic is a high skill in itself, but most deities learn to transform to and from their sacred animal forms with ease; they don’t need a formal spell and it uses very minimal magic, and deities will swap their forms fairly often to suit their needs (see notes for Introduction to Transformation). If a deity needed to transform into something novel or unfamiliar, however, it would require more energy and a precise spell or charm.

[EX: It’s easy and second nature for Horus to transform into his sacred animal, a falcon. But it’d take much more energy for him to transform into, say, a hippo…]

Deities can also manifest their magic through various methods. Many forms of magic can be applied via thought, where skilled deities can guide their magic towards the intended result through their will. But magic that requires more precision may need to be spoken or written, to ensure an accurate result. Some magic may also be amplified with certain objects or materials, or even by key moments of time, as well as directly channeled through tools or weapons (see notes for Divine Weapons).

There are additional forms of magic that are still not fully understood even by the deities, but it remains a subject of study among members of the pantheon.


LIMITATIONS WITH MAGIC

Energy, skill, and focus are the key traits all deities need to rely on to cast their magic. However, should any of those traits be hindered, it may limit the amount of magic that can be used. Ignoring these limitations can create the potential for things to go wrong, which can lead to unfortunate consequences for the wielder, the target, and even others within range of the magic.

The most common limitation for a deity’s magic is overdrawing their available energy. By using too much magic at a time — such as for an incredibly large spell; using several spells in quick succession; or casting a spell for a prolonged period of time — the user would risk injuring or exhausting themselves. In the worse case scenario, they can completely deplete their energy from their ka, and risk dying.

That said, most deities train themselves to build endurance and develop a fairly high limit for the amount of magic they can use at a time, but they still exercise caution when they feel their energy tax.


DESIGN NOTES

In DEITIES verse, color is a visual indicator and link to a deity’s magic. When True magic is used by a deity, it appears with a colored aura or glow that matches the color of the deity’s ka. The color of a deity’s ka is often revealed in a deity’s eye color.

Similarly, a deity’s eyes will glow when they’re actively using magic. The glow can be very faint for small spells, or very bright for strong ones. This glow may also extend as a aura that surrounds a deity’s extremities, weapons, or entire body, if used to direct magic toward a target.

True magic appears in a light, bright glow of color (in contrast with Chaos magic). It turns the sclera of the eyes into a lighter shade of the iris, and moderate and strong uses of magic will also turn pupils white — similar to the eyes of the ka.

[EX: Isis’s eyes are blue, as is her ka, so her magic will appear with a blue aura. Nephthys’s eyes and ka are orange/amber, so her magic color is the same.]

Visually, chaos energy appears as a dark flow of energy surrounded by a red aura, though the aura can sometimes change in color if the energy is channeled into magic. Using Chaos magic will darken the sclera of the eye into near black, and may also cause a faint red glow, regardless of a deity’s eye color.

[EX: Set’s eyes are yellow, but they produce a red glow with darkened sclera when he uses Chaos magic.]