Most fantasy is based on folklore, but why not set your fantasy in the modern age?
When you do this, you are forced to update some of the trappings of your fantasy.
If vampires can't safely go out in daylight, does sunscreen help them
? What about just shining a flashlight at them with a UV bulb? What about the UV ray from moonlight
? Given that Christianity was regarded as the one true faith in medieval Europe, it made sense that only crosses would affect them, but in a different region and time
, how well would that weakness carry over?
Would a cross work on a Taoist vampire
? What could you use on a Muslim vampire when Islam is against the use of symbols for its faith? Is it the faith of the wielder that matters? Can a Jew fend off vampires with a Star of David? Can Gordon Gekko
fend them off with his wallet
This is Post Modern Magik. It's what you get when you decide that magic shotguns make as much sense as magic swords, and vampires that don't show up in mirrors also don't show up on camera.
Even if a series tries to avoid modern day entirely, the tendency for magic to act like computer programs
has bled into the "pure" magical genre.
Can be common in Fantasy Kitchen Sink
, where you have robots and fairies both running around. However, many of those authors try to separate the sci-fi and fantasy elements; the most common way around this is to make a rule
that magic gives off an anti-technology field
(or vice-versa) so that at any one place only magic or technology works.
Note that this is not Magitek
. Magitek is the use of magic to recreate modern inventions, like a camera which is really just a box with an Imp inside drawing really fast
, or an "Internet" made from magic mirrors and living books. Post Modern Magik is when cameras work as normal, but aren't able to take pictures of vampires due to the use of mirrorsnote
, and demons are real, but can be beaten up by mutants
or be fooled by realistic androids
Common in Urban Fantasy
settings, and often seen where Our Monsters Are Different
). Now to figure out where this fits in Harmony Versus Discipline
See also Magick
for post modern spellings
of magick. Compare Muggles Do It Better
, when today's technology trumps magic.
Compare Magic from Technology
and Sufficiently Analyzed Magic
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Anime and Manga
- Durarara!!: Take the Dullahan. Without a head, it cannot speak. Imagine the horror, the isolation, the depths such a being would go being separated in communication from humanity...or you could give one a PDA and online message board membership.
- Fate/Zero has Gilgamesh in an ancient Babylonian spaceship dogfighting Lancelot in a magically enhanced F-15, and King Arthur riding a motorcycle to battle Alexander the Great in his divine chariot. Yeah, it's that kind of story.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has this in spades, involving things like robots using magic, a massive hacking battle between a robot and a magical girl, the (mage) protagonist using a cell phone, a magic internet that's somehow compatible with the mundane internet, guns that fire magic bullets, etc.
- UQ Holder goes further with app's you can dowload on your phone, that allows even the Muggles usage of simple spells (or more powerfull ones - if you're rich enough)
- Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, aka "Easy to Understand Modern Magic" ...it's in the title. Misa is the "Modern Day Mage" who uses the electronic patterns in computers and technology instead of "classic" magic that uses the earth's electromagnetic field and brain signals.
- Happens a few times in Spirited Away. What appears to be a stink spirit comes into the bathhouse. Turns out it is a river spirit that got polluted by a lot of human junk. The reason why Haku couldn't find his way home was because the River he is a spirit of was covered by an apartment block.
- Hellsing is an exercise in pushing traditional vampire rules as far into the modern era as possible. It starts with holy crosses melted into firearms and bullets, blessed bayonets, and Claymore mines being used to fight zombies suited in military equipment and weapons, used by Nazi vampires created by modern surgery by grafting bits of Mina Harker's exhumed remains, and eventually culminating in the 9th Crusade being waged against Britain with the crusaders in plate armor and rifles being flown in with helicopters.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica is this in atmosphere, if not a full example. The setting of Mitakihara City has an extremely gritty industrial or sterile digital feel that feels out of place compared to other Magical Girl settings, which tend to be set in more green suburban regions. As a result, the juxtaposition of frilly, pastel colored magical girls amid factories and skyscrapers creates a disconnect that assists in the Post Modern Deconstruction of the genre. Within the setting, there are straight examples, with Homura fighting with completely normal firearms to make up for her weak magic powers, and in one of the manga Spin Offs, a smartphone application is used to trace magic.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Stiyl Magnus used a photocopier to mass-produce the runes needed for his spells. When he was defeated the first time due to a fire sprinkler washing out the ink, he learned from this, printed the runes on cards, and laminated them.
- There are a number of magicians who utilise forms of Post Modern Magik in the series, from hiding magic within everyday items, to using industrial lasers to carve runes quickly, to incorporating a Magically-Binding Contract into the terms and conditions of a social networking service. Using magic in this way is limited and often illegal due to the treaty between Magic and Science Sides, though the border isn't clear - when facing Richard Brave, whose use of Vitamin B sprayed runes to support his Flaming Sword was deemed illegal, Stiyl notes that their positions could easily have been the other way around.
- Blue Exorcist has bits like this, what with one of the main types of Exorcists being The Gunslinger that has access to various kinds of special bullets, grenades of holy water, the entire cast using cell phones, and recently the Illuminati have created an artificial Gehenna Gate through obvious technological means.
- Kara no Kyoukai has several occasions where magic utilized the conveniences of the modern era. In the 5th movie, one mage, a talented puppet maker, saved time and space by creating familiars using an enchanted movie projector she carried around, while another turned an apartment complex into his personal fortress and drove all the previous occupants to suicide with some basic subtle psychology. The kicker, though, was the following sequel, where the protagonist had to deal with a mage who could manipulate people with his words alone. Solution? Music player and ear buds.
- The skyscraper headquarters of Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Queen Mina Tepes from Dance in the Vampire Bund takes advantage of this with features ranging from specially polarized windows so the daytime view can be appreciated to a fiber-optic network that can focus concentrated sunlight on any spot within the place at the touch of a remote control.
- John Constantine, Hellblazer, is a mascot of this trope. Complete with All Myths Are True. Vampires, Demons, and Gods walk among us in the cities, and it's a matter of time before something actually goes wrong. The comic series actually started and revolutionized the trope. Back then supposed to be modern day wizards were born in the modern world, but still lived like it was the Medieval age or the Victorian era, complete with accents and gentlemen-ish stuffs. Alan Moore said in an interview that he wanted to create a more believable wizard who is "functional on the streets" . The protagonist John Constantine grew out of that.
- Constantine also crosses paths and fights other magick users, with their magick taken from different regions of the world.
- In a Hitman story, Tommy Monaghan and the demon Etrigan need to get a hold of the "Ace of Winchesters", a demonic weapon forged in the old west, to take down the Mawzir, a powerful servant of the patron demon of gunpowder. This particular demon is immensely powerful in Hell since the gun became the dominant form of violent death in the world. The Mawzir himself is a ten-armed demon wielding a firearm in each hand, and he is made from the damned souls of five Waffen SS officers, who were Just Following Orders.
- In Astro City, a vampire is held at bay by holograms of the cross, and is defeated with a shoulder-mounted stake-firing BFG. Also, there's a cyborg monster-hunter with databases that reference thousands of occult tomes, and the ability to fire silver, holy water, etc. He doesn't fare too well.
- Neither did the guys who used the hologram crosses. That was one badass vampire.
- It should be noted the vampire in question was the hero of the piece, and that the cyborg survived (just barely) fighting a monster that took a time- and space-manipulating, centuries-old spirit to destroy.
- At a time when he was free of the Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze carried a shotgun loaded with hellfire. Similar weapons were also owned by the Caretaker and Vengeance. This showed up again in The Movie.
- Honestly, the character's core concept — a blazing demonic motorcycle rider — is a textbook example of this trope.
- During Jason Aaron's run, this turns out to be justified: the spirits of vengeance adapt themselves to the culture and era, taking the form of something appropriate.
- His kindred spirits Daimon Hellstrom and Jaine Cutter have both been in possession of a "breathing gun", an enchanted living gun that makes its own living bullets and is especially adept at killing demons.
- In the first issue of the Doctor Strange miniseries, The Oath, Doc is seriously injured by a silver bullet fired from Adolf Hitler's personal weapon. The shooter wasn't a sorcerer, but he figured (correctly) that a pistol with that kind of history would have enough Bad Mojo around it to blow right through Doc's protective spells.
- Phonogram, in which magic is intricately bound up with pop music.
- The Rock Zombies arc of Runaways did something similar - a spell was recorded and hidden in a song, then broadcast on a popular radio station, turning a decent portion of L.A. into monstrosities.
- Trese, a Filipino comic, features the eponymous character using variations of existing beliefs and supernatural traditions. Examples include trying to bribe a local goblin with imported chocolate instead of the local cheap kind, and using a watch in freezing a suspect in time. One memorable incident involved binding a God of War into eternal combat by making him a high level raid boss in an MMORPG.
- Wonder Woman villain Circe is no stranger to adapting magic to work with modern technology. When Wondy fought Medusa, Circe broadcast the fight on live TV and enchanted the camera so that if the gorgon ever looked into it, everybody watching would be turned to stone.
- Preacher's Saint of Killers uses a pair of revolvers that were made from melting down the Angel of Death's sword.
- In an XMen comic book, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine were fighting Dracula. When Wolverine held two of his claws in the shape of a cross, Dracula just laughed, saying that one has to have faith for a cross to work. Kitty tried with a real cross, but Drac just brushed it aside as well. He was burned by her Star of David medal, hanging around her neck.
- The three Blade films have the eponymous hero using advanced technology such as ultraviolet weapons (including bullets with a UV-emitting chemical inside, and a UV light), the vampires engaging in experimental genetics to overcome their weaknesses, and using low-tech such as sunscreen and UV-filtered motorcycle visors to protect themselves in daylight.
- The UV bullets were also used in Underworld against vampires. The vamps already had silver bullets for werewolves, but the UV bullets inspired them to make guns that fire Silver Nitrate bullets, a chemical which enters a werewolf's bloodstream and is pretty much impossible to get out.
- For that matter, the vampires in Near Dark do what the ones in previous Dracula-style vampire movies never seemed to have the common sense to do: they shoot guns at humans. Most movie vampires seem to think that's cheating or something.
- In DVD Commentary for Hellboy the movie, creator Mike Mignola mentions that Hellboy's entire shtick is taking mystical artifacts and objects and turning them into tools and other utilitarian object, specifically noting the scene where Hellboy's gear is presented. There's a sledgehammer in there, for instance, and let's not even get into the powers contained within his gun.
- Let's! The metal for the gun was obtained by melting down several holy relics. The wooden handle is carved from a piece of the True Cross (which is quite a feat, since most real-world relics which claim to be a piece of the True Cross are the size of a toothpick). The emblem set into both sides of the handle is in fact a magical amulet. Naturally on top of that there are various different types of bullets for battling different supernatural creatures, including ones containing silver and wood.
- The first two Evil Dead movies hinge on how playing a recording of a magical incantation is as effective as reciting it live, with the people who listened to it treated as the summoners. This gets taken further in one of the video game sequels, when the incantation's played over a live TV broadcast: the entire broadcast area is enveloped by the demon-summoning spell (let's be glad it was a local station).
- The core premise of Ghostbusters is that spirits can be classified on a modern scale and detected, fought and contained with the right technology. Its Expanded Universe went on to apply the trope to other kinds of supernatural beings, how they relate with the modern world and how best to fight them.
- The first quarter of Daybreakers establishes the logistics of a world run by Vampires, with shielded cars, underground streets and soldiers wearing full body gear to protect themselves from the sun. There are lots nifty details that make the film's world a more plausible place, even though the actual cause of vampirism is left as Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.
- Child's Play starts with a murderer almost dead from a gunshot wound in a toy store. Running out of options, the murderer put his soul in the Chucky Doll.
- Pretty much the premise of Ravirn is bringing Greek Mythology up to 21st Century tech. All of the gods have computers and it's changed how they do things, and the eponymous character constantly draws comparisons between programming and magic.
- Charles Stross:
- Played with in The Merchant Princes Series, which starts out as a fantasy novel where "world-walkers" commute from a parallel medieval universe to the present-day US. The world-walkers steal some nuclear weapons and threaten the US. Over six books, the US Government finds out that's happening, and Dick Cheney (!) puts Lawrence Livermore Labs onto finding out how, builds "world-walking" technology onto combat helicopters and aircraft, and we end in Tom Clancy territory.
- This is very similar to Stross' earlier story, "A Colder War", where the Soviet Union has weaponized Cthulhu, and the US has a base light-years away just to continue the government. The story ends when the Russians overreact to Reagan's "We begin bombing in five minutes" joke.
- The Dresden Files is almost completely based around this; its working title was Semiautomagik. Some examples:
- Using $100 bills in a love potion (as a substitute for powdered diamonds)
- Human zombies are proportionately more effective than animal zombies, but making human zombies is black magic compared to the more gray of animal zombies, and the older the zombie is, the more powerful it is. At the end of Dead Beat, the hero needs a necromantic aura to protect himself from an enemy ritual. He decides to use an animal zombie, but to fight the numerous centuries-old human zombies, he'll need the oldest animal he can get his hands on. So what does he do? Revive a T-rex from a skeleton at a natural history museum.
- Using a powder made from depleted uranium to bind ghosts to the earth (depleted uranium standing for weight in the sympathetic magic).
- Dewdrop fairies can still be bribed with milk and honey — but they'll do anything for pizza.
- Garlic powder is just as effective against vampires as the cloves are.
- Harry once defeated a vampire using holy water balloons.
- Another time he used a paintball gun that had ammo loaded with holy water and garlic powder.
- There's a rule that strong magic causes technology to fail. This means that the hero is forced to drive around in a Volkswagen Beetle, because any car made after the Sixties will die on him, and he can cause computers and closed-circuit TV cameras to short just by thinking at them.
- While regular iron can hurt beings from faerie, certain bullets can hurt them even more so.
- Also used as a bluff against faeries at one point. While in the faeries' domain, Harry throws down a handful of nails. Outraged that he would bring iron into Faerie, the faerie in question is distracted long enough for Harry to accomplish what he needed to before informing her that the nails are aluminum.
- Need to kill a powerful vampire duke in the middle of his well-defended estate in a hostile country while he's calling all of his minions to him with intent to return and kill everyone? Well, said duke's defenses are impressive, but he didn't design them to prevent you from using magic and yanking a Soviet communications satellite from orbit and dropping it on his head.
- Need a backup if the magic doesn't work? Carry a gun. A big one. The main ones are Harry's predilection for revolvers (he's had a .38, a .357 and a Dirty Harry a.k.a. M29 .44 Magnum), and Thomas and Ramirez go for Deagles and Murphy prefers (or preferred) a .45 1911.
- Don't have the magic to face a Naagliosi? Well, there's always the Nuclear Option.
- This goes the other way too. In Dead Beat Mab refers to technology as "human ferromancy".
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians takes this in an interesting way. The gods of Olympus are the heart of Western civilization, which means that they naturally change and adapt with the times, because they embody aspects of civilization. It blends surprisingly well with their ancient roots.
- For example: Dionysus loves Pac Man, Atlas hires mercenaries, Hephaestus is more of a mechanic than a smith, Zeus wears tailored suits, Ares drives a motorcycle and has a temple on a BATTLESHIP, Poseidon disguises his trident as a fishing rod, Aphrodite rides around in a limo, King Minos teaches someone how to summon the dead using cheeseburgers and coke, Apollo rides a sun Ferrari instead of a chariot, and don't even get us started on Daedalus...
- The Young Wizards books do this a lot: car antennas as wands, spells that use batteries and sugar cubes, and spellbooks uploaded onto computers.
- Harry Potter mostly avoids this in favor of Magitek, but does have a flying car and an enchanted train station. Also, the fourth book tells us that Hogwarts is enchanted so that electricity won't work on the school grounds. Potter fans are fond of debates about whether Muggle weapons could kill a wizard.
- J.K mentioned that in a battle between a wand and a shotgun the gun wins. (see Muggles Do It Better)
- It is actually justified why we don't see more of this trope. Enchanting muggle artifacts is actually illegal, although Arthur Weasley made sure there is enough loopholes to drive a flying car through. A few other examples still exist, such as the magical Knight Bus, or the magic radios they introduce in the last few books.
- Discworld also mainly has Magitek, but Carpe Jugulum had vampires who were able to condition themselves against fear of running water. Later books featured the Uberwald Temperance League, a sort of Alcoholics Anonymous for vampires that channels their cravings for blood into cravings for less lethal things, like coffee or photography.
- This trope is also applied to the Elves' weakness to iron, in that Elves seem to have some sort of sixth sense based on magnetism and contact with iron (especially magnetic iron) basically amounts to sensory deprivation.
- Robert Louis Stevenson's story "The Bottle Imp" might be one of the earliest versions of this. The hero has purchased the eponymous Artifact of Doom which grants wishes, but results in an eternity in hell if not sold for a price less than that which it was purchased. He is despondent after having to buy it back for a penny, but his wife astutely notes that due to exchange rates, coins do exist which are worth less than a cent.
- Carnacki The Ghost-Finder is possibly the first protagonist to fully embrace this trope, devising updated versions of medieval-era protective wards that incorporate electrical wires and multicolored neon lighting.
- One of his favorite weapons was the Electric Pentagram, a star formed out of early electric light tubes. Granted, this was a time when electricity was a pretty new idea and many people considered it pretty damn magical...
- China Miéville loves this trope. His novel Kraken has several examples, such as a prop phaser from Star Trek that's been enchanted so that it actually works.
- Perdido Street Station, in spades. Among other things, blood sacrifices have been replaced with electrostatic generators.
- The Pied Piper in King Rat overcomes his chief weakness — the inability to musically control more than one type of creature at a time — by mind-controlling a DJ and having her record mix tracks of his performances.
- The point of Charles Stross' The Laundry Series. All magic is based around very complicated mathematics. This made it very hard to do... until Turing invented the computer.
- "The Medusa Effect" (also found in basilisks and cockatrices) is caused by a tumor in humans, and "makes about 1 percent of the carbon nuclei in the target body automagically turn into silicon with no apparent net energy input", and is both a particle and a wave. And can be deployed from any Internet-connected CCTV camera in Great Britain. And a good deal of modern cell phone cameras and video cameras.
- Theoretical computational demonologists can develop a disease of the brain known as Krantzberg Syndrome, which some believe is caused by their own mathematical thoughts causing minor summonings in their own head.
- In the Mercy Thompson series, any holy symbol will work on a vampire, so long as it has meaning to the user. Mercy has a lamb (as in "the Lamb of God"), since she doesn't like crosses. Elsewhere, magic and technology don't interact much, though having the local witch on your speed-dial has to count for something.
- In Rick Cook's Wizard's Bane, a computer programmer pulled into a fantasy world from Earth develops a programming language for magic spells.
- In The Saga of Darren Shan, half-vampires look blurry in film, etc. while full-vampires can't be seen at all. This becomes a (minor) plot point in the ninth book, when the police are wondering exactly why they can't photograph one of the arrested "criminals".
- And dragons are made through genetic engineering.
- Also, apparently vampires and vampaneze aren't allowed to use guns. So, the vampaneze use ordinary people as gun-wielding foot soldiers. And then the vampires decide to use homeless people as a Bad Ass army of hobos with guns.
- In Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the main character spends a long time trying to find out which vampire-slaying myths are true. One he proves is that a vampire who was Jewish will be repelled by a star of David. He even applies modern psychology to the problem by concluding that this, and a couple other weaknesses, are entirely psychosomatic. The vampires think that they should be affected by holy symbols, so they react as if it were actually harming them.
- In the Kitty Norville series, police officers end up carrying spray bottles of holy water and pistol crossbows that fire wooden quarrels. Silver paint isn't just a chrome-like color scheme. Faeries wards work just fine if the herbs come in pill form. There's a DNA test for lycanthropy and vampirism.
- It's a plot point in the fourth book that vampires appear in mirrors and on camera if they want to or appear blurry or not at all if they don't; "it's all tricks of the light". Vampires tend to seem technophobic just because they're old-fashioned, but several have been seen using laptops and other modern technology. One vampire is perfectly willing to feed on someone with her fangs, but also uses a needle and syringe when she wants to be considerate to a wary, reluctant donor. And in the first book, a police detective brings Kitty to a murder scene so she can get the scent of the killer, and tries to treat her as evidence or witness to the crime just based on that scent even though she was nowhere near there when it happened.
- In Grunts! by Mary Gentle, a dragon collected modern weaponry from different realities. Orcs seized the hoard and were cursed to become cigar-chewing Marines. Pegasi don't last long against a Bell HU-1 helicopter armed with Sidewinder missiles, but guns are vulnerable to misfire spells usually used on bows. Luckily, there are magical countermeasures for misfire spells, and so on. And then the aliens came. The reverse later comes to apply; pegasi armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles and a dragon with a technological cloaking device.
- Stephen King's work is full of this:
- The climax of Stephen King's Christine: Evil possessed car threatening your day... do you find some magic spell to exorcise it? Bring the ghost closure so he can move on? No, you run over it with an oversized Caterpiller truck, crushing it and re-crushing it over and over until it stops healing itself, then have your local junkyard turn it into a 3 foot square cube.
- "Car possessed by ghost" qualifies all on its own. Especially as the novel's protagonist already theorises that it's a result of post-modern blood sacrifice magic ritual. Specifically, the previous car's owner's attitude towards the machine, and its history as well (two of the guy's family members died in it), equaled to having unknowingly performed a kind of enchantment ritual on the car.
- Another one of Stephen King's works, a short story called The Mangler, revolves around a demon-possessed steam-press ironing machine. Which got accidentally possessed because over time the various ingredients needed for the possession ritual have been on the clothes it's washed. Virgin blood? Check. Foxglove? Digitalis pills left in a pocket. And so on and so forth.
- The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall, by John Kendrick Bangs, is a short story involving a watery ghost who appears for one hour, every Christmas Eve, at midnight, to the owner of the eponymous Hall. They tried waterproofing, and it doesn't work. Steam-heating only shortens her visit by a few minutes and is hell on the woodwork. The correct solution is to wear several layers of warm, waterproof clothing and a diving helmet, then go out onto the lake so she freezes, then put her in a frozen warehouse, lined with asbestos with fireproof walls so it can't burn down. "Congeal, madam, congeal!" This was written circa 1894, by the way.
- Night Watch runs with this partly. The old battle amulets exist alongside things like enchanted SIM-cards to make people calling from a specific seem more persuasive.
- Final Watch also includes things like submachinegun bullets enchanted to be able to kill an Other up to the second Twilight (a magical dimension existing in parallel with ours) level. There is also a remote-controlled turret with enchanted rounds which will kill most Others because an inanimate object has no thoughts or malice and is very difficult to detect before you're filled with enchanted lead.
- Modern weapons also mean the Others must be ten times more careful about breaching The Masquerade. A nuke leaves an Other nowhere to hide, as the blast penetrates into every Twilight level, except teleport, which is a difficult and time-consuming process for most.
- It is mentioned several times that Anton must constantly replace his mini-disc players, which get fried every time he uses a moderately-powerful spell. At the same time, prior to the first book, he was an IT guy and is well-versed in computers. The Others, generally, have no problem with modern technology and are seen using computers and cell phones plenty of times. This makes sense, as many of them are not very old.
- It's mentioned several times that dropping The Masquerade will be disastrous for the Others, as modern technology has pretty much surpassed magic in terms of deadliness. Yes, a tri-blade will kill you with a simple flick of a wrist, but so will a punk kid from the block with a 9mm. One of the threats in Day Watch is the possible resurrection of a crazy and powerful Dark Other from the days before the Grand Treaty and the Masquerade, who likes to take the form of a dragon. The characters pretty quickly agree that the humans would be able to, if not kill, then at least seriously hurt the dragon, but it would still result in devastation and loss of life. Helicopter gunships vs a mad dragon? Bet on the gunships.
- Final Watch also describes how the Day Watch keeps track of all Others in their jurisdiction. Each person (especially an Other) has a unique aura visible only to Others. One of the first things that Others are taught is to recognize, remember, and send an aura to a different Other. The Others have an almost photographic memory for auras. However, there's no way for an aura to be inputted into a computer. Thus, the Moscow Day Watch employs a low-level Other who happens to be a talented artist and is their version of a sketch artist, except he paints auras, which are then scanned into a computer and entered into the database. Thus, when the Others' equivalent of an APB is put out, all Watchmen on patrol are given prints of the aura to remember. Certain tags are used to help querying the database for an aura, such as "is there a sharp curve in upper-left quadrant?".
- In the same novel, Anton is nearly killed when a high-level earthquake spell is used against him. The kicker? He's driving in the middle of nowhere. No one should be able to know here he is. Then he realizes that the bad guys are tracking the GPS chip in his cell phone. Luckily, Geser foresaw this and gave him an enchanted SIM-card that throws off the GPS coordinates enough for any spell to miss by a few miles.
- Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift series heavily features this trope, as sorcerers in this series draw power from the environment around them and are strongest in urban settings. Sorcerers can do things such as cast protection spells by using subway passes as tokens of power (because the writing on the back states that only customers who have paid for tickets can enter certain areas) and throw lightning bolts by siphoning off power from nearby electric lights. Golems are made from urban garbage, wizards can animate grafitti as attack animals, and gorgons have hair made of animated cables and cameras. London itself is full of guardian spirits such as the Beggar King, the Neon Court, and the legendary Blue Electric Angels- embodying the telephone system and the Internet.
- Digital Knight is all about this trope. Vampire? Good thing the hero lives next door to a tanning parlor. Werewolf? Go into the X-ray room of the hospital and grab a bucket full of silver chloride. Medusa? Mirrored sunglasses.
- Turns up from time to time in Cthulhu Mythos stories, as when Robert Bloch's "The Sorcerer's Jewel" shows what happens when a crystal once used by mystics for fortune-telling is ground into a camera lens, and photos are taken through it.
- Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters have elements of this. For example the lead of The Serpent's Shadow, Dr. Maya Witherspoon, used her largely untrained healing perceptions to help determine the effectiveness of new medical concepts like electrical stimulation and antiseptic surgery; in addition to using her knowledge of anatomy and the actual progression of tuberculosis to efficiently cure it via magic.
- Mercedes Lackey loves this trope. In Sacred Ground, the very first page mentions that the "sweatlodge" Jennifer uses for her ritual purposes is a modern electrically-heated sauna, and Jennifer's grandfather makes the point very clearly that the specifics of the ritual materials are irrelevant next to the essence of the magic.
- In Tinker by Wen Spencer, the title character, who lives in a Pittsburgh that alternates between existing in Earth and the dimension of Elfhome, creates a battery to store magical energy for those times when Pittsburgh is on Earth.
- In Temps, sorcerer Loric's briefcase contains, amongst more traditional tools, photocopies of a Tome of Eldritch Lore wrapped around "the disassembled neon tubes of a small but effective electric pentacle".
- In Dan Simmons' Summer of Night the Borgia Bell is said to have been created from Earth and Air (a meteor fallen to Earth) and can only be prophesied to be destroyed by the pther two Classic elements, Water and Fire. So the heroes use a tank truck filled with gasoline, a flammable liquid. They also bring holy water just in case though.
Live Action TV
- In Being Human, it's possible to kill a werewolf by placing him or her in a pressurized chamber during a full moon. Vampires don't show up on video, making for a unique subgenre of Snuff Film. They're also repelled by any object that a human puts faith in, which allows George, a Jew, to keep them at bay with his Star of David. Meanwhile, Death (or an agent thereof) can talk to ghosts through televisions.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a lot of these types of things, including:
- The demon who would possess anyone who read a particular book possessing a computer after the book was scanned.
- The demon who could not be killed by any weapon forged seems unstoppable, until the Scoobies realize that the trait is descriptive, not prescriptive, and weapon technology has come on a bit since that was written... leading to the page quote.
- Its implied that he's not actually dead (Buffy flat out stated they couldn't take chances) but he was introduced as a collection of limbs, a head and a torso that had to be collected and assembled together, and thats how he exits. Presumably he could be put back together again and would be resurrected, but the principle would be the same- bazooka beats demon.
- The Hell God who was fooled by a very realistic sex robot.
- The Buffy rpg ruled that the comicbook style superscience displayed by Warren and Maggie Walsh was actually down to unconscious use of magic - in other words the technological 'inventors' were savants who unwittingly created Magitek, that could not have been built anywhere else other than on a Hellmouth.
- Buffy Season Eight proceeds to contradict this by having Warren create secret bases and superscientific oddities outside of the Hellmouth.
- Jenny Calendar describes herself as a "Technopagan". Notable scenes include forming a pentagram of witches entirely over the Internet. They don't have to get anywhere close to the subject, and can still communicate.
- The Collector: The Devil's debt collectors used to have magic rings. Now they have magic cellphones.
- Reluctance to embrace this trope got a character on Highlander: The Series in deep trouble. Having already dragged his feet for ages before he even learned to read, the immortal Hugh Fitzcairn finds himself at a serious disadvantage in modern times, as he is computer-illiterate and doesn't know how to delete falsified evidence framing him for murder.
- Turned out to be quite a hassle for Jeannie and Tony in I Dream of Jeannie. It is stated that one of the rules of magic is that genies cannot be filmed or photographed. Any photos will come out with nothing but empty clothes, Invisible Man-style. This particular quirk was eventually forgotten during the show's run... and then re-remembered during their wedding episode.
- Dean and Sam of Supernatural frequently encounter and make use these. For example, one arc had them going after a weapon that was the only means of killing (no, not banishing, really killing) the monster from their tragic childhood. Rather than a mystic sword or something, turned out to be a revolver.
- In an earlier episode, they face a Wendigo, which can only be killed by melting its heart. They don't have any hot tallow to pour down its throat, so they shoot it in the chest with a flare gun.
- Death and War have replaced their horses with Mustangs, the kinds with engines, and Pestilence uses a pharmaceutical company to spread his diseases.
- Also the episode where the Christian apocalypse is happening, and they run into pagan gods who really aren't happy about this.
- The most prominent in the series is the shotgun shells filled with salt to banish spirits. The producers described it as sort of a Eureka Moment.
- A Dragon shows up, and can only be killed by a sword forged in dragon-blood. They found one, but it was trapped in a boulder ("it used to be all the rave"). When plan A (that the sword would accept Dean as a "valiant knight willing to step up and kill the beast") failed, out came plan B: Take out the C4 and blow up the boulder. This had the minor side effect of breaking the sword, but it still worked.
- Faries have hidden their kidnappings, light appearances, and their other effects by forming groups preaching it was done by aliens.
- In general, assorted supernatural nasties tend to be portrayed by ordinary-looking people. Which explains how they manage to not end up being killed unless folks like Hunters specifically know what to look for.
- Channel 4 series Ultraviolet works like this: It quite commonly sciences up vampire weaknesses, such as ultraviolet susceptibility (thus the title), carbon-based bullets, and videoscreen-based vampire detectors.
- And on the other side of the war, the "leeches" are quite willing to use things like genetic engineering and dodgy legal matters, and use psychological warfare tactics. As we find out in the series finale, their big plan is to use synthetic blood as a substitute for humanity. Because humanity will be extinct. Because they plan to kill them all after causing a nuclear winter to block out the sun.
- To expand on the videoscreen bit: The traditional vampire trait of not casting a reflection on mirrors is expanded to that they are not picked up on any recording devices. In the modern world this is also a hindrance, as it means vampires cannot use telephones directly, and unless a picture was taken before one is turned into a vampire, you can forget about getting a new photo ID.
- In an episode of Charmed, Billie combines her scrying stone with a GPS device, a serious upgrade compared to the sisters using their scrying stone on a map or globe.
- In ''Sleepy Hollow the good guys trap and contain the Horseman using a combination of a magic circle and, because sunlight weakens him, UV lights
- Shadowrun combines Cyber Punk and magic, but separates the two to an extent. The concept of essence, sort of a measure of how connected to nature one is, or how much humanity one has left, determines magic power and susceptibility to magic. Thus, a heavily-cyborged person with a low essence has no spell casting ability, but can barely be touched by a fireball... or a healing spell. This is half world building, and half an anti-munchkin game balancer.
- Technomancy (a new breed of "magic" based around the matrix and technology) tends to work a bit better with the world of cyber; though it still requires essence, so most technomancers are not cybered themselves. Fortunately for them, they don't need it most of the time on account of having what amounts to a biological wireless router in their heads.
- The setting deals with interaction of magic and technology a fair bit even outside cybertechnology. For instance, if a spell is defined as requiring a line of sight to its target, does a live camera feed suffice? Answer: Any visual which has been converted into electronic data before reaching the spellcaster's eyes does not count. A purely optical system consisting of fiber optic cables and lenses, on the other hand...
- Rifts works similarly. In fact, the anti-magic empire in the setting has taken to deliberately giving captured mages cybernetic implants specifically to nullify their power. In addition, the human forces in Germany have found that Depleted Uranium hurts monsters pretty bad, and rounds containing still-radioactive Uranium actually keep them from using their supernatural healing abilities. It has also been discovered that the "running water" weakness of Rifts' Vampires is pretty liberal, and that even a Super-Soaker(tm) is a lethal weapon against them.
- Coming at it from the other end, some mages decided to take the concept of magic as a type of energy literally, and created Techno Wizardry. This allows them to power technological devices with their own Mana reserve, as well as giving modern devices magical powers, such as guns that can shoot fireballs.
- d20 Modern's Urban Arcana has a lot of this; a monster is almost as likely to have a weakness to Elvis paraphernalia as, say, holy water.
- Urban Arcana IS Post Modern Magik. You can send spells by e-mail. There are magic paint jobs for cars. The book is a source of plenty of amusement from the sheer incongruity of magic and technology. You can shoot Bullets of Cure Light Wounds.
- There is a spell that makes traffic lights go green for you and make taxis arrive in 1 round (among other things).
- There are also a number of Advanced Classes devoted entirely to it, the most noticeable being Techno-Mage.
- It's even taken to its logical conclusion by Shadow-based fast-food restaurant The Prancing Pony. Their kid's meal comes with a choice of magical toy: A temporary tattoo (which gives the wearer a boost in a skill... but just a little one) or a wind-up familiar. The wind-up familiars are basically miniature clockwork golems, mass-produced for the franchise. Completely harmless, but darned useful...
- Unknown Armies plays the whole Post Modern Magik thing to the hilt (it even has a source book by that name). In the game, magick doesn't arise out of a certain religion or belief system — rather, it arises out of doing something that shouldn't work and making it work, usually with extremely risky results. Certain magical schools include: Epideromancy, the ability to control flesh by wounding yourself; Videomancy, the ability to rewrite reality by obsessively watching television programs; Entropomancy, the ability to manipulate probability by doing Jackass-level things; Dipsomancy, one of the more versatile schools of magick, powered by alcoholism; and Pornomancy, the ability to control people and their emotions by performing ritual sex acts copied from a magical porno tape.
- Unknown Armies takes the notion of Post Modern Magik a step further than this — instead of just finding small, modern innovations in archaic magic, the game makes a point of stating that what is considered to be "traditional" magic is obsolete. Magic-users who practice antiquated forms of occultism are shown to have fairly minor abilities when compared to what the postmodern magicians can bring to bear... until they manage to dig up the right ritual.
- This is pretty much the entire concept of GURPS Technomancer, hence the name. Examples include television sets being used as Crystal Balls, plastic golems, magical production lines, spells that do everything from deleting commercials on TV to making someone get a busy signal every time he calls you and even smart bombs driven by the pilot possessing a rat in the bomb with a little joystick!
- The only reason why magic exists in the setting is due to a scientist working on the Trinity nuclear tests unwittingly closing a necromatic ritual by saying "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" which then turned the mushroom cloud into the "Hellstorm" - an everlasting tornado that spews mana into the world.
- Russia also detonates their own bomb over Antarctica, leading to a second, large hellstorm (now blanketing the entire world in mana) which causes the local penguins to become sapient magic users with a hive mind, their own technology and the ability to transform humans into hive-mind penguins.
- One clever use of magic in the setting is that "seelie" sightings fill the role of UFOs step for step. Strange lights in the night sky? Seelies. Missing time? Kidnapped by seelies. Encounters with odd humanoids? Seelies.
- In Mage: The Ascension, the Virtual Adepts and Sons of Ether (computer geeks and mad scientists, respectively) are known for technomagic, as is the Technocracy (though they'd laugh derisively and/or do unpleasant things to you if you called their "science" magic). Elsewhere in the Old World of Darkness, the Glass Walkers tribe of werewolves, urban-oriented tribe that they are, also deal extensively with technology spirits.
- Pretty much the entire NWoD operates like this. Werewolves (and mages) can have dealings with technology-spirits. Hunter: The Vigil has the Cheiron Group, whose MO is to butcher supernatural creatures and stitch the remains to their operatives. Geist has Mementos, supernatural artifacts charged with the power of death, which can be literally anything, from an animal's skull or Vlad Tepes' sword, to a '68 WV Beetle or the jacket Elvis died in. The mystical energy that empowers mummies turns out to have impressive benefits when used in pharmaceuticals.
- In Mage: the Awakening, the Free Council are the Spiritual Successors to the Adepts. Incidentally, in the fan-made Genius The Transgression, this means that the Free Council are the few mages that can get along with Geniuses, and perform hasty swaps whenever one is mistaken for the other.
- In Vampire: The Requiem, vampires show blurred faces in mirrors, as well as on photographs and any kind of camera unless they make an effort of will to be seen clearly. One sourcebook has an in-character essay from a vampire who says that the Masquerade will likely be broken any day now, as camera phones are fucking everywhere.
- The Prometheans take it to another level, with a whole new Promethean type spawned by nuclear energy.
- Nearly any Munchkin game, no matter what the setting is, will include anachronistic weaponry. Such as a BFG in Munchkin Cthulhu, or the ever-popular Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment in the original Munchkin.
- In Scion, you play the modern children of the gods and have relics that are tied to you and either have a unique property or let you channel your own power. The player is expected to craft a legend around his relics. Some of the sample relics include a smartphone that bounces its signal off a tower in Asgard (which lets it get reception anywhere), perpetual motion machines fueled by Legend that can replace gas tanks, and the tommy gun of Eliot Ness.
- One of the example characters, a son of Thor, has a huge hand gun the hammer of which is made from a piece of Mjölnir. Also, in his demi-god and god incarnations, this character's muscle car can fly and, if covered with a slip cover, will be completely repaired of all damage the next day in a manner analogous to his father's goats.
- A number of titanspawn are... updated. The Centaurs are a biker gang surgically attached to their bikes by a demented Scion, while Scylla is an oil rig whose "heads" are its former crew. One adventure hook given involves a Gorgon getting into the cosmetics business and selling makeup containing a small amount of its blood (which turns women into medusae).
- A fair bit of this is present in Deadlands, since any item that in some way is part of a legend of any kind becomes magical. For example, Wyatt Earp's badge is a shield against outlaw bullets but disables the wearer from ever turning down a request for help, and the gun that killed Wild Bill Hickok does extra damage when used to shoot someone from behind, but will inevitably make the wielder mean as a rattler.
- Witch Girls Adventures combines this with Magitek in the form of the discipline of Cybermancy. Modern Witch Girls can use cell phones, computers or Buck Rogers rayguns instead of wands to cast spells, have neon-plastic broomsticks (or ride enchanted motor-scooters), shoot Pong blocks instead of fireballs and otherwise update their magic to the 21st century. Traditional witches often look down on Cybermancy for this reason, of course.
- In Fetch Quest, Solomon had to collect the four mystic shotguns to activate a powerful EMP bomb.
- In Eternal Darkness, Pious normally uses magic but is quite willing to use a pistol to try and take out Lindsey. One of the most prominent spells is enchanting weapons, which works on guns. Towards the end of the game, Michael destroys the Forbidden City using enchanted C4.
- Touhou has plenty of this, thanks to being about magical beings hiding from the modern world, but still capable of stealing modern tech. Subterranean Animism takes the cake, however, as the plot involved Physical Godesses feeding a dead sun god to a hell raven to create a living nuclear fusion reactor. Then Hatate being introduced two years later as an ancient youkai whose superpower is related to her cellphone camera.
- Undefined Fantastic Object begins with the characters thinking that the sudden appearance of UFOs is connected to the Seven Gods of Fortune. The truth is actually far stranger: they were created by the Nue.
- Devil May Cry has plenty of this, with Dante shooting enchanted bullets, shotgun blasts and grenades as readily as he swings an enchanted sword.
- The Remake takes it even further. Are the demons trying to take over the world via opening some Sealed Evil in a Can? Nope, they're just corrupting our banking systems, news programs, club scenes, and soft drinks. One of the protagonists is a witch who has her Eye of Newt stored in aerosol spray cans, and her Wiccan magic symbols printed onto stencil sheets, and on a few occasions, powerful magic spells are hooked up to computer servers that are hacked into.
- Most of the Shin Megami Tensei games have the main character using a specially-programmed personal computer to communicate with and summon demons. The Devil Survivor version explicitly notes that it is preforming the various "traditional" rituals on its own.
- Dwarf Fortress is set in a classic Medieval European Fantasy world, but also features a physics simulation that is realistic in most non-magical respects. This causes side effects that put it firmly in Post-Modern Magik.
- Magical diseases follow the same contagion rules as mundane ones, making it possible for a Zombie Apocalypse to infect your fort even when nobody's been bitten, if somedwarf wears a tainted tunic.
- Anything that came from an animal can be reanimated by a necromancer, including e.g. the empty pelt. This is an Ascended Glitch.
- Forgotten Beasts are procedurally generated from all the materials and modifiers that the game can apply to creatures, sometimes resulting in a fearsome Werechinchilla.
- In BioShock you shoot globs of Applied Phlebotinum onto people to target the person via security systems like turrets and cameras.
- BioShock 2 includes upgraded versions of the plasmid that allow you to summon the flying turrets as well.
- The Demonic invasion in Doom was caused by Martians experimenting with teleportation opening a portal to Hell, which was later found by human colonists. Many of the demons themselves are cyborgs, including the final boss of the first game.
- In Minecraft, gunpowder can be added to magical potions to make them splash potions.
- It is also fairly common in multiplayer worlds to decrease the travel time of minecart public transit lines by using mystic portals to relocate them to the nether.
- With the addition of the Hopper to the game, players are now able to create automated potion brewing factories, although this isn't particularly widespread quite yet.
- The Hopper and the Dropper can be combined to create conveyor belts of indeterminate length (as opposed to previous attempts which were hampered by the 5 minute time limit imposed on item entities), which aid immensely in inventions like the automated potion factory
- Nocturne revolves around a secret U.S. government agency called Spookhouse created for battling supernatural threats during the Interbellum era. The tools in your arsenal include mercury, silver and "aqua vampire" bullets for dealing with different types of monsters. The Spookhouse has also developed a weapon which fires pulses of simulated sunlight. And there is a mission where you foil Al Capone's plan to create an army of undead gangsters using technology acquired from one Doctor Frankenstein.
- Numerous examples in The Secret World. Among some more common ones:
- Modern weapons can be "infused with anima" an equivalent to making them magical. These weapons are used by player characters, secret military units, and most other factions in the game.
- Vampires, werewolves, and other creatures are cross-bred with humans by numerous shady organizations and Mad Scientists
- Gunnerkrigg Court normally keeps magic and technology separate, even though two of the science teachers are practicing magicians. They probably want to avoid incidents like the one with the shadow-possessed robot.
- Recent revelations show this definitely hasn't always been the case- there's a large room full of functional "robots" with no moving or electrical parts, yet which rely on socketed microchips.
- And now it doesn't, since magic is being used as a branch of technology, connected to computers.
- Dragon Tails goes along a similar line of reasoning as Buffy vs. the Judge. A malevolent legendary creature's only documented weakness involves mirrors and moonlight, but it turns out to have an undocumented weakness to rocket launchers.
- Also, a Gorgon's stare doesn't work if you look at it through a sniper scope and a stinger missle can take out a phoenix before it does the whole "ashes" thing.
- In The Order of the Stick, Belkar uses a sheet of lead to block a paladin's "Detect Evil" ability, explicitly comparing it to Superman's X-Ray Vision. In Dungeons & Dragons, which OOTS parodies, the detect spells can be blocked by a thin sheet of lead, 2 inches of wood, or a foot of dirt.
- Belkar later sues the person who used it on him (Miko Miyazaki) noting that harmful radiation also is blocked by lead, and many of the things she used it on are now dead. She killed them because they registered as evil, but that is simply a technicality.
- In a later strip, Redcloak summons titanium and chlorine elementals.
Redclock: It's not my fault everyone else limits themselves to four elementals. Some of us got passing grades in chem. I mean, fire shouldn't even count. It's a chemical reaction. They aren't called "reactionals," you know.
Demon Cockroach: He besieged me with science!
- Happens frequently in Sluggy Freelance:
- When they raid a vampire's lair, the characters bring along a gatling gun that fires wooden stakes, a switchblade they silver-plated, and a whoopie cushion filled with holy water.
- Demons who invade another dimension sell the human souls they capture in supermarkets, and, after some hassle figuring out how they work, use cellphones to coordinate their battle plans.
- Cute Witch Gwynn creates a magical golem out of the various pieces of clutter around the apartment, named "Clutter Monster."
- The Orsintos research center, though shrouded in mystery, seems to have been a government program designed to "weaponize ghosts," at least one of which communicates with the heroes via cellphone.
- Three Words: Mecha Easter Bunny.
- And, of course, the very first strip:
Riff: I'm trying to summon the Devil online.
Torg: Proves my point. In the new millenium you'll be able to sell your soul in a nanosecond! But wouldn't it be easier to just email him?
Riff: Yes! Spam Satan!
- xkcd: ''Time passes differently in Narnia, so by putting the CPU and storage for my machine there, I was able to run through the Folding@Home and SETI@Home databases in about an hour."
- In Heavenly Nostrils, Marigold the unicorn uses magic to send and receive text messages with Phoebe's cell phone.
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, while battling the Enchantress and the Executioner, Iron Man's suit is damaged, Giant Man is out, and Wasp is caught by the Enchantress. When Hulk arrives and breaks the Enchantress' concentration. Thor powers up Mjölnir's thunder magic.
Enchantress: Your magic is nothing against mine.
Thor: You are not my target, witch!
Previously crippled Iron Man stands up surrounded by electricity.
Jarvis: Armor energy reserves at 214%.
- Gargoyles breathes this trope. For starters, there's the curse cast on the Clan that keeps them in their stone sleep "until their castle rises above the clouds." Xanatos, to break the spell, simply builds a skyscraper and plunks the castle atop it. Problem solved. (Though why the spell didn't break on the first foggy night isn't clear ...)
- Maybe it had to be entirely above the clouds, and the bottom of the castle was never above the top of the fog?
- And again, when Demona casts a spell to freeze the entire city of Manhattan in stone all night, every night, until the sky burns (using a TV broadcast!). The solution? Disperse a hyper-flammable gas throughout the sky above Manhattan and light it on fire.
- The system here was basically written so this trope could be had fun with; magic in the setting must have a loophole of some kind to work at all, so wizards from ye olden times dealt with their requirment of a weakness by making their loopholes seemingly impossible...but modern technology can do quite a bit of things that were considered impossible centuries ago.
- How to fight against a malevolent fairy? With iron-plated robots!
- In one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Uncle gets a fax machine, but doesn't understand it and tries to exorcise it. But, we find out at the end, he can cast spells over the phone just fine, despite his catchphrase that "magic must defeat magic" (apparently technology can still assist).
- In a James Bond parody episode, an evil genius used a giant radio telescope and a satellite array to amplify the weak magic of a stone artifact to create a laser based doomsday weapon.
- The Real Ghostbusters often deals with Post-Modern Magik while trying to figure out how to defeat a supernatural enemy, whether it's by tricking the Headless Horseman into crossing running water through holography or jury-rigging solar-frequency lasers to fight off vampires. Some of the mythological figures have also taken on more relevant forms for the modern age: the Headless Horseman now looks like a headless motorcyclist, the Sumerian god Marduk appears as an ordinary New Yorker (though photographs can reveal his true form) and a famous pop singer turns out to be a genocidal banshee.
- One episode reveals that the Eiffel Tower is a primitive Magitek containment unit.
- An arms company in the United States manufactures bullets covered with pork-infused paint. The stated purpose for this is that if you shoot and kill a Muslim terrorist with one, they will die unclean by Islamic standards and be denied passage to Paradise.
- As Islamic scholars pointed out, this makes no sense even within the realm of this trope, as there is no actual intent on the side of the person getting shot to consume pork, and death by pork infused bullet would not bar someone from Paradise.
- Taboo the Sixth Sense was a "game" developed by Rare (yes, the same people behind Battletoads) for the Nintendo Entertainment System that basically gave Tarot card readings to the player. Naturally it came with a warning informing players that it was meant for entertainment purposes only and was not, in fact, a vessel for occult powers.