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On Magic and Miracles

This is the second article in the Deconstructing Armageddon series, and it's a very special topic we're discussing today. To many fantasy readers, the magic system is the foundation of what makes one's fantasy unique and their world special. I tend to disagree with this statement, and would be perfectly fine with a fantasy world that doesn't even utilize magic, as long as it kept it's foundations deep in the world of myth. Nevertheless, I did choose to use a magic system, but more importantly I choose to follow my own personal beliefs and use a "miracle system."

I was raised in a very religious family and though I think there was a lot of good in that, I also think some of it was a bit misguided. Still, being prevented from ever seeing anything to do with magic, or evil -- to watch He-Man, play Golvelius, D&D, or even watch Smurfs -- all steered me towards developing a monotheistic system of miracle bestowment. Was I simply calling magic another thing: miracles? Perhaps, but couldn't magic just be another name for miracles anyway? And when it comes down to it, I designed the miracle system for the Armageddon RPG I created back then, and with that being the case, isn't it just a bunch of numbers used to calculate damage, or healing, or some other sort of special event anyway? Of course. Yet again though, I've strayed, but isn't that what blogging is for?

When creating Caball, the planet in the Armageddon fantasy world, I wanted to do something that a lot of fantasy doesn't do (I know, with me and all my love for classic fantasy, I did have to change something). I wanted to build the world with a single god, even called The God. There's so much polytheistim in fantasy that I wanted to do something else, something more western based than eastern (in this case). I also asked myself a question: What if everyone was born, knowing they were created by The God, as it were? Its an interesting question, and one that will begin to be explored more as the books go on.

The miracles granted by The God in Armageddon, are all filtered through the Seraphim. If you're familiar with the word, the Seraphim are the highest order of angel, and in the Armageddon world, all of the elements used throughout the universe are filtered from The God, through these Protectors of the elements, or Seraph's. Everyone on Caball knows that the clerics and priests are the most capable of amazing doings, while those who practice magic are frowned upon by The God. Nevertheless, magic too, exists.

The magic is more of a mystery in its origins. There are words spoken to cast spells, but none of the magic users are sure where those words come from, nor do all magi speak the same magical language -- they are varied and diverse. The Gewurmarchs, the evil sorcerors who lead the Dragon Army in the Armageddon series, are masterful magic users. I don't want to give too much away of the ongoing plotlines beyond the first book, but the Gewurmarchs use a special kind of magic more mysterious than all the others. We'll begin to discover what this is starting in book 2 and continuing on throughout the series.

I also mentioned that all folk know that they were created by The God. With that knowledge, all war based on religion is thrown out the window as long as we continue to agree on the statements passed from The God through his angels to the ancient folk of Caball. From that point, anything can happen to the writings that were meant to be written, but primarily, the teachings remain in tact for most people. So war now only hinges on other differences of opinion. Or, war can be started when those who know The God created them, choose to do something other than what's generally believed to be good. Or war can begin at the hands of those evil creatures and monsters that were NOT created by The God (I know I said all folk, but I mean all humanoid folk and animals, and not the evil monsters and goblins and orcs and imps and gnolls that walk the world). You see, quite an interesting question to think about, right?

Hopefully I've given you a bit more insight into what feuled my writing for the Armageddon series, and hopefully you'll one day be interested in reading it, or any other fantasy novel, if you never have.

Terry Tibke

Reader Comments (2)

I like your approach. Certainly a lot of fantasy tends to lean toward polytheism as you mention, so it's interesting that you chose to create a monotheistic society. My Christian background has also influenced me in the writing of my novel, and you can pick up on those themes if you're looking for them. I've tried to make the themes subtle, however.

I also agree that fantasy should not have to rely on magic to be considered fantasy. I chose not to use magic at all in my novel, though it's more of an historical fantasy than pure swords and sorcery type fantasy. Still, I prefer the use of limited magic or no magic at all in fantasy. Miracles are perfectly acceptable to me. Not quite the same as magic, but both have similar attributes. I suppose the term "miracles" tends to make me think of something supernatural or spiritual, while magic conjurs up images of witchcraft and sorcery. Both are present in Biblical texts, and I've considered going back into my novel and adding more of both these elements.

Steven Till

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

Hi Steven. I am glad that you both find the monotheistic idea interesting, and that you've employed it yourself. I also appreciate the comment, as its the first one recieved since I started up this blog. Thank you! Its the little things that we should find appreciation in.

June 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Tibke

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