NOTE: This question is about whether the idea of having guidelines is merited.
Not actually creating them...yet!
You decide you want some magical creature in your land. eg dragons with wings etc. You have also got a little/lot of magic in your world. This is not about worldbuilding with no 'magic'.
You want to be realistic to your world, so you do a little creature research and/or put your question through the Anatomically Correct Series and realise that it's just not feasible with IRL parameters. The Square-Cube Law is especially adept at bringing your creature crashing back down to Terra Firma.
...but you are really set on having that fire-breather or chimera or giants or whatever magical creature that is not technically feasible. You still want to be as logical as possible. You don't want to use your magic to create fire-breathing flying dragons when the rest of your magic can only be controlled by adept water-wizards. How is that logical?
Many a question ends up either closed as Too Broad, answered as "it's not possible with IRL parameters", or "you have magic, just use that".
Is it possible that we provide a General set of Pointers/Guidelines on how to use the magic in your world to help you create this creature? That is preferably not creature specific. If it is creature specific, then I think a Magical Creatures Series may be needed.
This is not about defining other peoples magic systems. That would be insane!
For instance Sanderson's Three Laws give some guidelines on how to create Logical Magic Systems. The 3 laws are pretty bared down to basics already. Could we expand these 3 laws into guiding questions with Logical Magical Creature Creation in mind.
Most magic questions seem to be wanting to limit the use of magic in explaining their creatures. They appear to be wanting HARD magic. They are wanting one or two things to be explained by 'magic' in a limited way and the rest to follow logical IRL parameters. Can we help them figure out some questions to ask themselves so that they can then go back to the drawing board and figure out their creatures a bit more before they attempt a second and third question (that inevitably seems to be closed as well)? Guidelines on when it would be ok to ignore the square-cube law and when they have to follow it?
So you have to define your magic to yourself. Where does the magic come from. How do your creatures access it. How are your creatures affected by it. Is the effect permanent or once off. Did it happen back in prehistory, or is it still affecting your creatures today.
- Are your creatures fully magical themselves
- your dragon can always fly...and could probably curse you in the old tongue
- Are your creatures only magical because of constant contact with invisible magic source
- your dragon can always fly while connected to the all-present magic
- Are your creatures only magical because of intermittent contact with magic source
- your dragon can only fly while the ingested magic-rock juice is working
- Are your creatures only magical from a once off contact with the source
- your dragon didn't have large enough wings to fly until magic magically enhanced one/two/three aspects of it's physiology. The dragon is now no more magic than you or me...but it can fly.
- within your magic constraints (eg water-magic), is your creature's "magic" ability actually what you think
- your dragon has the capability of floating on the water molecules in the air. The wings are non weight-bearing, just for balance and sexual attraction. The fire-breathing can be explained scientifically.
- if your magic is only one "thing". How can you use this and it's side-effects to explain away the issues you are having with your creature design. Are there further unintended side-effects.
- your world has magic water users. They can control and manipulate large and small amounts of water molecules. Your dragon utilises this by controlling the water molecules in the air around them. They then use this ability to appear to fly with giant wings acting as rudders and balancing stabilisers. The wings no longer have to be able to be able to bear the weight of the heavy dragon, as the water magic takes care of this. No longer need as much musculature to support the weight, no longer need super light but strong bird bones, no longer needs such a giant heart and all sorts of square-cube rule errors can fall away. Possibly.
- Side effects: your dragons have the ability to create storms. They have an affinity for playing in large pools of water. They like to eat lettuce and roasted fish, not people. They may have accidently flooded an area or two when excited. They don't like living in deserts.
This is in no way comprehensive but I think it gets the idea across. You are wanting a magical creature that has been previously shot-down as not possible, probably due to the pesky Square-Cube Law. This set of guidelines could possible provide some ideas on "you have magic, just use that" without leaving your world too chaotic and unbelievable.
Should and could this set of rough guidelines be created? or is it up to each person to figure out how to figure out a solution for themselves?