Magic Compass YKTTW Discussion

Magic Compass
A compass that operates on something inexplicable rather than magnetism
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(permanent link) added: 2013-01-10 18:24:56 sponsor: Tallens edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2013-02-06 20:30:54)

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Now has companion in Magic Map.
Will: "How can we sail to an island nobody can find with a compass that doesn't work?"
Mr. Gibbs: "Aye, the compass doesn't point North. But we're not trying to find North, are we?"

A compass is used to point to magnetic north, which allows travelers to get their bearings and find their way. The Magic Compass works on different principles to point to something else. Whether it only points to one specific place or object, or to different things at different times, its use is to lead whoever holds it to something that is lost or hidden.

To be a magic compass, it must indicate a direction. It cannot be something that leaves a trail nor is it a map. It's method of operation should be something inexplicable and/or incomprehensible, quite often artifacts of a wizard or a Sufficiently Advanced Alien.

Forms may take a traditional spindle compass or some object that indicates a specific direction by some means. May also be used alongside a Magic Map.


  • One Piece:
    • Rather than point north the Log Pose, a special compass used to navigate the Grand Line, instead points to nearby islands. This is because islands on the Grand Line have magnetic fields of their own so powerful they make any normal compass useless. Once you arrive at an island, the Log Pose "logs" the island after enough time passes and begins pointing to the next island.
    • There is also the Eternal Pose, a compass permanently locked onto a specific island which can be used to navigate to that island and only that island.
    • In the second half of the Grand Line, the New World, a Log Pose using three needles is used. The force with which the needles move are an indication of the danger level of the island to boot.
    • A non-magnetism example would be Vivre Cards, slips of paper which are linked to a person's life force and can show where they are located. Put the paper on a table or in your hand, and it will move on its own in the general direction of the person it's linked to. Luffy had once for his brother Ace, which he used in his rescue attempt in the Impel Down arc.
  • The way to Laputa is shown when Sheeta accidentally activates her pendant which, in addition to activating a dormant robot that absolutely trashes a military base, shines a beam of light in the direction Laputa is.

  • Jack's compass in Pirates of the Caribbean which points to whatever the one holding it wants.
  • The Alethiometer in The Golden Compass pointed to the truth.
  • From Titan A.E., the star chart embedded in Cale Tucker's hand reorients its pointer while Cale stands on the precise spot where his father once stood on the planet Sessharrim.

  • In one of the Lord Darcy stories, Master Sean enchanted a splinter left behind by a murder weapon and used it to find the rest of the weapon.
  • In E. E. “Doc” Smith's Skylark Series, it was possible to create an "object compass" which, once attuned to something, would always point towards it.
  • Inverted with the Point Me spell in Harry Potter, which uses magic to make the caster's wand briefly point north.
  • In The Scar, when pirates are on long voyages away from the floating city of Armada, they have compasses that always point to Armada to find their way back.
  • In Tales Of The Ketty Jay, Grayther Crake makes daemon-bound compasses for the crew of the Ketty Jay that always point towards their captain Darian Fray.
  • On Gor compasses point to the Sardar Mountains, home of the Priest-Kings (the gods of the world).
  • The Kane Chronicles
    • In The Red Pyramid Amos throws sand into the air which forms into an arrow pointing to Las Cruces. It even seems to tell him how far it is. Sadie apparently has learned something similar by the second book.
    • In The Serpent's Shadow they find Apophis' shadow using the Book of Thoth, which Carter describes as a combination compass, tour guide, and farmer's almanac.

Live-Action Television

Religion and Mythology
  • The Book of Mormon: As Lehi's family is journeying toward the promised land, one morning outside Lehi's tent, they discover an exquisitely crafted sphere-shaped compass. One of its spindles points the direction they should go in the wilderness, but only when they are righteous and trust in the Lord. For example, it stops working when they quarrel and tie up Nephi, and it works when they're working together and praying for guidance.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • 2nd Edition Tome of Magic. The Elemental Compass glows yellow when its owner is headed in the direction of a planar portal or planar boundary the owner is seeking.
    • The Arrow of Direction could be thrown in the air and commanded to point toward the nearest example of one of eight things: stairway (up/down), sloping passage (up/down), dungeon exit/entrance, cave, cavern. When it fell to the ground it would be pointing the correct way.
    • Al-Qadim setting spells
      • The Wind Compass spell allows the caster to know when he's facing in a particular compass direction (south, north by northwest, etc.).
      • The True Bearing spell allows the caster to know the direction in which a specific landmark or geographical site (city, town, significant land feature etc.) lies. It only works if the caster has been there before and the location is on the same plane of existence.
  • Compasses in the Ravenloft setting do point north, but this is presumably a magical effect because the Land of Mists is not a globe, so doesn't have poles. Just what force it is that attracts compass-needles there is a bit of a mystery.

Video Games
  • A Minecraft compass points to the world's player spawn point.
  • Finding Monkey Island and the ghost ship of the undead zombie ghost pirate LeChuck tends to involve constructing one of these.
  • Soulbringer allowed you two different compasses at the same time: the usual and a magic one that points to hex stones.

Web Comic

Western Animation
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