I am a fan of what I refer to as Hard Magic, similar to Magic A is Magic A in concept. Basically, magic systems where magic has very hard and set rules that must be followed. All the rules may not be known by all characters within the story, but the magic itself has rules and works based off those rules. The characters in the story may not know all the rules, or may be learning and discovering them as time goes on, but the rules always apply and set boundaries for the magic. This is obvious analogous to hard science, where science has exact rules and worlds must function within those rules.
I'm wondering if a tag for worlds that use Hard Magic is worth having, and if not rather we have some other way of expressing the concept with existing tags. I think it not only would address the ability to better describe your magic system and intent of question, but may also help address a previously mentioned problem by encouraging the very answer chosen for it to occur: How can we make magic-based questions as interesting to answer as the various levels of science-based questions?
To give an example of the sort of questions that may be tagged with a [hard magic] style tag:
- I want a world where magic is used in a specific way with specific limits, what set of rules would meet these needs while also fitting some theme
- In a magic system which works with these rules would it be possible for my protagonist to achieve effect X.
- My magic works with this set of rules, how would my world's mages safely explore and discover the rules.
- My magic system abides by thermodynamics and can be powered by converting energy in this way, what method of fueling large spells would make most sense for my community
- In a world with magic limited in this way what things would people find easier to do with magic and what would be best done with mundane method
- I have a magic system which I wanted to abide by these rules, but I want some effect that can't be achieved in such a system, how can I tweak my rules to allow such an affect while keeping with some desired principle for the world
many of the examples above could be tagged with just 'magic', but they all focus on the idea either that rules already exist and they want to see the result of the world given the exact rules, or that they need help defining the rules better. In both cases a very exact set of rules is required.
This is where I'm inclined to create a hard magic tag. My biggest problem being that I'm not sure others will know it exists. If the tag is known it could be useful, but if no one is aware of the tag it doesn't do much good (that's why I suggest hard magic, because someone thinking of the hard science tag may naturally go with the hard magic as the obvious analog tag's name).
I could see a hard magic tag only defining that a magic system abides by enter link description here sort of system, with questions focusing on creation or use of these rules. Or it could be a tag that focuses on a more general concept of realism in a world with known magical rules. Ie. the tag could include concepts such as
- How would Hard Science interact with my magic rules in realistic way. For example example 4 above is clearly looking for a scientist view on thermodynamics and energy generation to help define how his magic could be used.
- Realism of a magical system within a world. For instance examples 3 and 5 sort of touch on this. Given a magic system how do I create a realistic world that logically results from the rules implied by my magic. (though probably this would be covered by [reality-check]?)
So my question is, do we need a tag to cover these concepts, and if so what should the tag look like. I guess that could be broken into a few sub questions
- should the tag exist at all in some format; and if not what tags serve to address the sort of questions asked
- Should this be one tag or multiple tags, for instance maybe instead what we need is a [rule creation] tag for creating rules for a system, be it magic or sci-fi rules for some new technology/device or rules of a society legal system.
- If this is one tag that should exist what exactly should it cover, ie what should the description look like
- What should it's name be. I'm not committed to Hard Magic, though I lean towards it since it's similarity to Hard Science and use elsewhere makes it seem the easiest for others to figure out.