Magical War Idea

7 Mar

I think I’ve discussed this idea before, but it just won’t get out of my head. (And it’s something I can’t really do in Schooled In Magic.)

There’s a large continent, dominated by an empire – of sorts. After a series of critical misjudgements and civil wars, the emperor is emperor in name only. Real power largely rests in the hands of his subject monarchs, sorcerers and the very rich wealthy merchants. For various reasons, the continent is largely isolated from the rest of the world.

Despite the best efforts of the nobility, things are changing.

First, there’s a slow shift from autocratic states to more democratic political units, with increased social mobility. In some places, a man can be born a slave and climb up to high office through sheer talent. This has started a series of actions and reactions as the serf population in autocratic kingdoms starts either running off to free states (which are more cities and smaller kingdoms) or plotting revolution.

Second, there’s a change in magic too. The original magicians – I’m calling them Sorcerers for the moment – were extremely talented and powerful, but they had to spend years honing their skills (partly in a master-apprentice relationship) before winning the title and taking their own apprentices. Some of the more powerful or older sorcerers are actually on the brink of near-insanity. They can work wonders – such as producing artefacts of power and suchlike – but they’re basically a cottage industry. There’s a very limited supply of anything they choose to make. Most sorcerers keep their secrets close, ensuring that some secrets are lost, rediscovered and then lost again.

Later (recently), a new group of magic-users – I’m calling them wizards, though again this will probably need to be changed – have been challenging the status quo. The wizards aren’t as powerful as the sorcerers, but they’ve been picking apart the secrets of magic and slowly learning how to do things differently. (Basically, instead of one simple spell, they’ve learnt how to use smaller spells to get the same effect.) Wizards are saner than sorcerers and they know how to work in groups – their artefacts of power are less powerful than those produced by a sorcerer, but they can produce them far faster (partly because they have non-magicians to do some of the work.) Wizards share secrets, allowing them to build on each other’s success.

This is an obvious recipe for trouble. The free kingdoms and the wizards are a direct threat to the autocrats and the sorcerers. Sooner or later, the two sides are going to come to blows …

… And the story would be about the war.

How does that sound?



22 Responses to “Magical War Idea”

  1. Muratcan Simsek March 7, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    Open source magicware should always win =)

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 7, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    IIRC your earlier version had the Sorcerers in one part of the Empire and the Wizards in another part of the Empire.

    If you can call a “civil war” manageable, that would be more manageable than if the Sorcerers and Wizards were “evenly spread” geographically.

    Oh, I’d like to see what you do with this idea. 😀

  3. georgephillies March 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    A fine idea. Should be good for about a dozen novels. Perhaps you could finish it in time for my 70th birthday, which is late July this year? (8^))

  4. Don Miller March 7, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    I would read that book. Maybe 3 books, prelude to war, war, end war/aftermath

  5. Stuart the Viking March 7, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    I have always liked the idea of differing concepts of magic all in one world setting. That the practitioners of those differing concepts would end up going to war should make an interesting read. Add to that the autocratic vs. democratic angle and it sounds like it could be wonderful chaos.

    Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Jared March 7, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    Sounds interesting

  7. Daniel March 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

    I would enjoy this as a short series idea trilogy to double trilogy idea. Especially if you are coming up on closing out sim

  8. Jack Boone March 7, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

    👍🏻 It sounds awesome!

    Jack Boone


  9. Mark C March 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

    That sounds like a lot of fun.
    To watch
    From a distance

  10. Enwezor Nzegwu March 7, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    I’m pretty interested in anything you write Chris! The backdrop to this story doesn’t sound as epic in scope as the schooled inmagic world but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great story. Look forward to it if it sees the light of day.

  11. Martin Conway March 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

    Nice! Try looking at the shadow campaigns series for ideas

  12. Catherine Howat March 7, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

    How does it sound?, START WRITING!:)

  13. Bruce Fullerton USN(ret) March 8, 2017 at 12:49 am #

    I have only one question why have not start the book/series yet?

  14. Stuart Robertson March 8, 2017 at 1:22 am #

    Sounds interesting. When will the first book be available?

  15. philippeO March 8, 2017 at 4:16 am #

    this does sound very similar to ‘Schooled In Magic’ ? is world difference on magic system and existence of necromancer ? it need more elaboration about basic story, protagonist, rough plot, etc; World Building difference is too little for good story.

  16. Issac March 8, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    Awsome… However it can still work in SIM, simply set yearsxyears after current plot…

    More SIM…

  17. Bewildered March 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    Might I suggest that before you start writing you look for some historic parallels then creatively (mis)apply them. For instance a unified continental state could be based on Australia, or to a lesser degree the Americas. Defining the geography could help shape your campaign and fracture lines. You’ve said power rests in the hands of your elite – subordinate monarchs, wizards, and merchants, but are they clustered or scattered across the empire? You’ve said a man can be born a slave then rise to high office, meaning race is irrelevant, but that slavery exists in some fashion in some places for reasons you’ve not made clear. Why does it exist? The divide between the few powerful sorcerers and the many weaker but more skilled wizards is clear, but how are they distributed? Is it city v country? And just to throw a spanner in the works, just because someone is an autocrat doesn’t make him a villain. Perhaps show several viewpoints, one of which is a good guy working for the ‘bad guys’. Think Rommel or another such officer who despite serving the Nazis was consider an honourable and dangerously competent opponent. Good luck! 🙂

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      Just a comment, historically race (as we see it today) wasn’t a major factor in slavery.

      In some cases, slaves were either “those who lost a war” or “descendants of the losing side”.

      In other cases, people could be sold into slavery (or sell themselves) as payment of a debt.

      While fictional, I read a story where a character “sold himself into slavery” so that his tribe (a poor one) would be “less poor” because of his sale.

      IE In the story, some slavers were looking for gladiators and asked the character’s tribal leaders if they would sell the character (who had won a warrior contest). Once he knew what was going on, he “pushed up the price” that the slavers would pay.

  18. Kell Harris March 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    I think it sounds good. I would recommend multi characters in third. Maybe a young wizard with as a leader in his age group. Since having groups is important. Maybe an aristocratic woman that handles some political perspectives. You might need a sorcers perspective as well to keep it from being black and right. He would need to be old respected and the voice of reason who is nevertheless watching it all fall apart. These are some ideas.

  19. Dick Moncure March 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    Promising. I like the idea of exploring how wide economic change works on existing societal arrangements.

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