Angry Rants: Why Do We Care How Magic Works?

Category Rants 800 x 450There are a lot of similarities between Star Wars and Star Trek. They are both franchises geeks have fond memories about. They were both so utterly destroyed by a series of movies no one asked for that they might as well have been jettisoned into space. And now both series have been rebooted by J. J. Abrams. But, discounting J. J. Abrams, who clearly only made the Star Trek movies as a sort of job application for rebooting the Star Wars franchise, there is a major difference between the two. A Star Trek fan can explain to you how everything in their universe works. A Star Wars fan doesn’t care.

Well, table top gamers need to be more Star Trek and less Star Wars. Read the whole rant at The Mad Adventurers Society…

2 thoughts on “Angry Rants: Why Do We Care How Magic Works?

  1. I’ll have to mention that a lot of the article echoes Brandon Sanderson’s “laws of magic” (that are actually laws of using magic in fiction). In special the first one:
    For those that don’t want to read the entire thing is you that you can’t use magic to solve a problem if people don’t understand how it works – otherwise it would just be deus ex machina “oh, and he magically solves the problem with a spell coming from nowhere”. This is pretty much the problem with the dinglehopper on the article, and is the reason why Star Trek uses technology to solve problems. As for limitations, that is the second law (magic must have more limitations than powers so that it makes the story interesting). And the third law would be that it is better to expand on the same logic than to add new cases.

  2. Well, they are more like guidelines.
    ou can solve problems in a story with magic the reader does not understand, but the point of Sanderson’s First Law is that doing so wouldn’t be satisfactory to the audience. Something just happens, but the audience does not know why. You don’t have to explain your magic, but then you also shouldn’t use it to solve probems. Lord of the Rings is a good example of magic being completely unexplained, but it also is never used to solve problems. When people try, they usually just make things worse. When the audience is also the characters, they can’t create solutions to their problems if they don’t understand what the problems are and what options they have to deal with them.

    “Embrace Restrictions” is Sanderson’s Second Law: “Limitations are more interesting than powers”.

    Good article explaining both principles in the context of roleplaying games.
    Without mentioning the source once. Tsk, tsk…

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