I have a love of symbols and logos, and that extends to runes, sigils, glyphs, circles, and wards. I also love geomantic magic such as ley lines, places of power, etc. Diabolists and Summoners from the Palladium Fantasy rpg were one of my favorite magic using classes. I had a magic system that I developed about twenty years ago where magical power came from a substance that was essentially a drug. And of course my favorite video games, Thief and Dishonored, have magic that features symbols.
Naturally when I started thinking about magic for the setting I’m working on, Cradle, I returned to these same concepts. I knew I wanted magic power to have a physical component as its focus. Yet also something that would allow for everything from glowy symbols traced or floating in the air ala The Dragon Prince, Doctor Strange, and various anime; to magical tattoos; to runes or wards placed on objects; to magical living things.
Out of a number of concepts, the one I liked best was an ore or element that infuses the entire game world. It’s everywhere, from large deposits of ore to trace amounts in every living thing. It can be mined, gathered, extracted, smelted, refined, mixed into things, you name it. It drives the newly developed magitech of the setting, and at the same time is at the heart of the setting’s oldest magical disciplines.
I still need to pin down exactly what can be done with different implementations, how powerful it can be, etc. I know I want it to be usable as a power source, something that could allow say locomotives. I think I want to have airships. It will also be usable as a gunpowder replacement in firearms. I also know I want it to have some reality-bending properties… Just but not exactly how powerful yet. I’m hoping to be able to sit down this week and work out some more about it.