"Maybe magic was once a mighty force in the world, but not anymore."
So the Big Bad
is defeated, right? All things are going back to where they ought to be. Order
is taking over again. But there is no room in this new world order for magic
. Perhaps magic has finished its work in the world, maybe the Big Bad was tied to the source of all magic, or maybe it was sealed away, but all traces of magic are now gone, or at least disappearing fast. The Time of Myths
is no more.
Of course, with all magic gone, all beings whose very existence were tied to magic must go away, too. Either they vanish into nothingness, or travel to a better realm
, sometimes they even become human
, but either way, they're gone with the magic as well.
Those that use the former may be more of a Downer Ending
, as everything magical that the player worked hard for is now gone, while those that use the latter are more of a Bittersweet Ending
, as even though they're gone, they're in a better place.
Often this trope is to imply that this work of fiction may have really happened, as it makes way for the more magically incompetent humans and their technology.
This trope may be applied to other types of Phlebotinum
, not just magic itself.
This trope is distinguished from Götterdämmerung
in that the work is about the events which result in (or at least around the time of) the magic going away. In Götterdämmerung
, the magic went away long ago. It is distinguished from Here There Were Dragons
in that in that one, there certainly were dragons (or magic or phlebotinum
), and they clearly have gone away (perhaps because the story is set in the real world's past), but the story isn't about their disappearance. May overlap with End of an Age
in that both involve the loss of wonder, but differs in that it is specifically about magic and magic settings. Can also overlap with Growing Up Sucks
. See The Magic Comes Back
and Power Nullifier
if this is a temporary status and it actually returns.
Also note that many examples will be spoilers in one way or another, as the titles of works that end this way probably won't be put in spoiler tags. Be warned.
Not to be confused with The Magic Goes Away, the Trope Namer.
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Anime and Manga
- In the Murder Princess OVA setting, all magic is rooted in Teoria, a massive energy-processing machine created After the End of the previous civilization. When Alita/Falis destroys it, all magic disappears from the world, including all the magical characters.
- Technically it's not magic, but at the end of Digimon Adventure, the kids are told that they must leave Digiworld. This gets undone in Digimon Adventure 02 and everyone lives happily ever after. In Digimon Tamers, this is done again (this time in the "real" real world, where seasons 1 and 2 were a tv show). But again, at the end, it's hinted that this isn't permanent.
- This occurs in Mai Hi ME, where all HiME powers, birthmarks and associated CHILDs disappear.
- In Pretty Cure All Stars DX 3, the united teams lose their powers and their fairy companions when they use the last of a mystical flower's power for one last super attack to destroy the movie's monster. However, since there's still a show going, they gotta get it back. In the show after the last featured show in said movie, the ending is very similar, as does with the return of their powers. Since every Pretty Cures inevitably will be featured in this kind of crossover, they gotta get it back.
- A variation occurs in the Edolas arc of Fairy Tail, because, unlike in Earthland (where the protagonists are from), magic is a scarce (and nearly depleted) resource, and can only be used through items. By the end of the arc, Mystogan, who turned out to really be Jellal's Edolas counterpart and the kingdom's lost prince, dispels all magic left in Edolas to Earthland (in order to ensure that it could never be used as an excuse for cross-dimensional conflict again) and sends the other protagonists (as well as the Exceed race) back through the subsequently-closed Anima, while staying behind to assume his rightful place as the ruler of the now-magicless Edolas.
- This was the goal of the eponymous Dark Guild of the Tartaros arc though the use of the Magic superweapon Face. By erasing all the magic of Earthland, they would be left in a position to both a)destroy humanity, as they use Curses, which wouldn't be affected and they're a bunch of genocidal demons from the Books of Zeref, and b)revive their guild leader, E.N.D., the strongest of all of Zeref's demons, whose seal is so powerful nothing short of erasing the continent's magic would break it. It almost happened to, but then the Dragons returned to destroy Face before it could happen. However, Zeref himself came to take back his book...
- In the manga series Pet Shop of Horrors, Count D reveals that someday, little Chris will grow up and no longer be able to talk to the animals in his shop, nor will he be able to see them as their humanesque forms, but the way normal people see them. It actually does happen when Chris reunites with/forgives his adoptive family and starts speaking again. It's kinda a Tear Jerker too, when he runs back to the shop, wanting to tell his friends he can talk again, only to not see them as he used to nor talk to them. There's also a scene in one story in Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, where D's grandfather and a vampire stand on a statue and watch the Holocaust unfold. While discussing the death and destruction, it's brought up that with all of the humans dead, gods, demons, and beings like the vampire and D's grandfather will fade away.
- The Hayao Miyazaki film Princess Mononoke: While the Deer God's death marks the end of an era for the mystical beings, the real end of magic is that humans are expanding and imposing themselves on the natural world, heedless of the consequences (which has dire results for many), and the spirits cannot keep up with the technological pace of humanity. The movie makes it clear that the forest and its many animal gods are either gone or diminished, but that the Deer God will continue as he is both "life and death". Towards the end, we see a Kodama rattle its head, so the spirits aren't quite gone.
- The spirit world in Spirited Away, mostly being associated with nature, is slowly hemmed in by human redevelopment, with tragic consequences for river spirits. Also, the Afterlife Express used to go both ways but now only goes one.
- Downplayed with the ending of Kill la Kill. Senketsu burns up on re-entry after absorbing all of the Life Fibers on Earth, but Ryuko is still infused with them at the end.
- A Green Lantern story established that the Guardians of the Universe corralled much of the universe's mystical energy into the Starheart.
- The Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld saga had it that a star going nova also disrupted mystical energy.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Comics-verse:
- This occurs in the backstory of the world of Fray (a possible future of the Buffyverse), although the process was somehow reversed centuries later.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 comic linked up with the future-set Fray-verse by having all the magic go away. Season nine reveals that it's far worse than that. The Seed of Wonder wasn't just the source of magic. It was the source of creativity. The "magic" of stories, music, and art is also gone.
- This seems to be underway in the Hellboy universe (The Fair Folk haven't had any children in a century), but it's not going to go without a fight (some of the Fair Folk are waking up really, really nasty people in an attempt to keep from going extinct)... Unfortunately for the world, while its magic goes away, it seems to leave it more open to otherworldly supernatural forces, like The Legions of Hell and the Ogdru Jahad. which could very well be in cahoots with one another...
- In The Sandman issue "Ramadan", Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad, rules over a city of mystery, magic, and wonder that is the marvel of the world, but he knows it won't last. In order to have his city live forever, he sells it to Dream. As a result, all the magic and wonder is removed from the "real" city, but the mystic Baghdad will live on in legend and myth for all of time.
- Harmony Theory: The Schism as part of Celestia and Luna's plan.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, this is the theory Harry and Draco came up with as the primary alternate hypothesis to the pureblood credo that muggle blood is weakening magical ability, that ambient magic is slowly fading.
- In The Bridge, this happened to the version of Terra (Earth) that Godzilla and the other kaiju hail from thousands of years ago. 77,000 years ago you had The Fair Folk, floating cities (Atlantis), and Magitek everywhere. Post one narrowly averted apocalypse from the prehistoric Big Bad? First Civilization utterly destroyed and the modern magic users could be counted with one hand.
- Queen Of All Oni: Karasu, the Shadowkhan from the future, explains to Jackie at one point that magic used to be much more prevalent in the world than it is now, being generated by the eternal conflict between Light and Darkness. However, after the Eight Immortals set the Grand Design in place in order to keep defeated evils sealed, the conflict mostly died down, and as a result, magic started dwindling, until it was pushed to the sidelines, all but forgotten by humanity.
- Perhaps the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane Trope Codifier is Bagdad Cafe. When Jasmin is forced to return to Bavaria, the town and cafe become drab and lonely again. One trucker is even told, "The magic is gone." The Magic Comes Back.
- In the film Dragonheart, Draco (voiced by Sean Connery) notes "I AM the last one". And he doesn't survive the film. Later subverted in the Narmtastic Dragonheart II, where a long-forgotten dragon egg hatches, and an evil dragon who was in hiding reveals himself. The young dragon, Drake, beats the evil one, but it's suggested that there may be more dragons still out there.
- Dragonslayer plays out along very similar lines; Ulrich of Craggenmoor, a wizard, and Vermithrax Pejorative, a dragon, are (more or less) the last of their kinds.
- Pirates of the Caribbean plays with this, suggesting that the supernatural isn't going away though some kind of event to make room for normal humans and technology, but because normal humans and technology are overtaking it and making it simply irrelevant. The point is hammered home by Cutler Beckket, who never once flinches at anything clearly magical, and views it as nothing more than a disposable tool.
Cutler Beckett: This is no longer your world, Jones. The immaterial has become...immaterial.
- Considering they end with releasing the fickle goddess of the sea, who had been sealed expressly to make the world's oceans easier to travel, this may reverse all over again.
Revisited in the fourth movie when the Fountain of Youth is destroyed, but this was more the result of followers of one supernatural belief (depending on how you view any faith) destroying any trace of a supernatural thing that doesn't fit into their worldview. Less technology and more war of faiths.
- John Boorman's Excalibur has this scene where Merlin mourns the passage of magic from England:
"The days of our kind are numbered. The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It's the way of things. Yes... it's a time for men, and their ways."
- At the end of The Craft, the powers are taken away from the girls as punishment for their misuse. Sarah however keeps hers though, as she is a natural witch.
- The new Star Wars movie, seems to be an era something like this given the title The Force Awakens.
- The Trope Namer, Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away stories, tell of an ancient civilization based on Functional Magic powered by "Mana", but there's only a finite amount present on Earth. That nobody seems to be aware of or acknowledge this fact causes the magi, magical creatures and gods that use mana to eventually "go mythical" (a very obvious allegory aimed at modern civilization's reliance on fixed resources).
- In the book Missing Magic, a young boy has to deal with being the only one without magic powers. When his uncle turns out to have been the Big Bad (after taking his powers and killing his father) his uncle uses the same spell and removes everyone's magic by accident. The boy comes to realize that eventually magic will return and someone will pioneer its discovery, long after everyone forgets it existed and moves on.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Natural Magic has been pretty much receding for centuries before the story began, the ending of the One Ring resulted in the end of Sauron's artificial sorcery in Middle Earth; the decay long held off by the elven Rings powered by him could no longer be stopped, and the Elves, who are tied to the natural magic, had to leave the world, lest they themselves decay.
- This seems to be where the world is going in the Sword of Truth series for the last three thousand years, due to a group of wizard locking away part of the human gift. During the events of the books, the process is accelerated, partly because of the efforts of the Imperial Order, which seeks to stamp out all magic, and partly because of the Chimes, demonic entities that destroy magic. At the end of the final book, Richard uses the Power of Orden to both fix the damage caused by the Chimes, and to create a parallel world to send the Order's army to, along with the "pristinely ungifted", and the chimes, resolving all remaining subplots simultaneously. This world is destined to lose all magic and all memory of magic, while the old world's magic is on the recovery. A spinoff taking place a thousand years later has the world as a full fledged Magitek society.
- The last book of The Dark Is Rising series, Silver On The Tree, ends with all the magical people and things on both sides, good and evil, leaving so that humans can decide their own fate.
- The Obsidian Trilogy: Partially reversed in Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory's series. The magic hasn't completely gone away, but some of it has, and it's implied it will be coming back.
- Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series:
- It is initially set in a country where magic is believed to have disappeared centuries ago with the last Herald-Mage. Later, it turns out that it isn't really gone; there is just a massive Mind Control spell in effect that makes everyone forget about it, and watcher spirits in place to stare at any mages that show up until they go away. Getting the magic back becomes a major plot point of the Mage Winds trilogy.
- By the end of the Mage Storms trilogy, magic has been spread out over a much larger area and mages cannot tap into vast streams of it like they used to. The situation is implied to be temporary.
- In Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, the lands are suffused with an ambient magic called "the Tradition." It will fade from a land which has lost its sense of magic and wonder, and the lives of the people who live there will be diminished as a result.
- The Darksword Trilogy ends this way, as the magic held concentrated in Thimhallan is once again spread evenly throughout the universe. A partial aversion, since this restores magic to the rest of the universe as the cost of destroying the magic-filled land of Thimhallan. To the survivors it is played straight, with an example being cited in book 4 of a twenty year old woman who cannot walk and the doctors who cannot understand the reason. Having been surrounded by concentrated magic her whole life, she simply never learned to move herself using her feet. Now that magic is weak but everywhere she is pretty much bed-bound.
- The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman ends with all the portals needing to be closed, separating Lyra and Will forever. Lyra can no longer effortlessly read the Alethiometer and will have to spend years relearning how to do it. Will had to break his knife to ensure he's never tempted to use it to see Lyra.
- At the end of The Graveyard Book, this serves as a Tearjerker and Bittersweet Ending as Bod must leave the graveyard and join the living, can no longer see the dead that he grew up with and loses his ghostly abilities. It's especially heart-wrenching when he tries to embrace his adoptive ghost mother for the last time, but discovers he can't see or touch her, as she's no longer there for him.
- In the book Source of Magic, from Piers Anthony's Xanth series, magic went away for a while. But it returned through the heroes' efforts by the end of the book by getting the aforementioned source (the Demon Xanth) to come back. While the magic was gone, though, most of Xanth suffered weird aftereffects and many people were distraught to find their talents unusable. This is referred to as "The Time of No Magic." One of those things you shouldn't think about too much, since a lot of magical effects that really should have been destroyed in this time appear in later books. Things like castles that fly using magic and several magical prisons of various types.
- Tim Powers dabbles in this sometimes, because of his fondness for writing about our world's Secret History, which obviously doesn't contain any overt magic:
- In On Stranger Tides, magic becomes more difficult if the caster has contact with too much ferrous metal, and magic-use has been dying out as iron technology spreads. Near the beginning of the novel, Jack Shandy sees two children levitating his marionettes to make them dance; at the end, they're using the strings to move them.
- At some point in the past of The Anubis Gates, a massive event shattered the power of magic. Over the years, it has steadily weakened, so that by the 1800s even the simplest spells are nearly impossible and unreliable. By the modern day, magic no longer exists, save for a handful of time portals that quickly vanish. The titular gates are the villains's attempts to bring the magic back.
- Subverted in Steven Brust's Dragaera novels, where sorcery went away during the Interregnum and then came back when the Imperial Orb was retrieved.
- The Chronicles of Prydain ends with the Sons of Don and everyone with magic having to leave Prydain, now that Arawn is dead. The other companions are offered a place on the ships to the Summer Country where they can live together forever, but Taran decides to stay behind in Prydain to rebuild it, and Eilonwy gives up her magic heritage to marry and stay with him.
- The The Wheel of Time series is presumably heading for one of these. It is presented as set on our world in the far distant past/future (which amount to the same thing, as time is cyclical.) At some point the world must lose all access to The One Power before The Wheel spins around to our time againnote . Although, In the Bad Future that Aviendha saw, which takes place after the last battle (which the good guys clearly won, since the world wasn't destroyed) there is still channeling. It's also what will be strange about her children, that they can channel from birth.
- At the end of the Coldfire Trilogy, the magic has been altered to be less responsive to human minds, creating a sense of psychic distance that will gradually render it unusable. On the other hand, it also means that thinking about the monster under your bed doesn't cause it to come to life.
- In S.M Stirling's Emberverse the "magic" is our modern high energy technology. Electricity, gunpowder, explosives, internal combustion and steam power either ceases to function or becomes so inefficient that no work can be performed.
- The prequels in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, particularly the trilogy by Bear, Benford, and Brin, have the loss of the Empire's faster than light technology as a major theme.
In the original Foundation books, it isn't magic but technology that goes away, as the fall of the Empire causes the loss of technology and knowledge. When the Foundation brings it back, it is viewed as (religious) magic.
- In The Cyberstrike Baptism, one of the protagonists ends up on a colony during the local Festival of Love. The key part involves a man performing a ritual that will summon the goddess of love, who helps soulmates find each other. The man is looking for his wife and sees this as his best chance. Unfortunately, he is told that this festival is likely the last one, as there are rules as to who can perform the ritual. It has to be done for six generations and passed down from father to son before the goddess will appear, and the current guy is very old and childless. While it is possible to resume the ritual after six generations, no one plans to wait that long.
- In The Death of Chaos the chronologically last book in The Saga Of Recluce, this happens when Lerris bonds all the free chaos and order in the world together. Everything infused with extra order or chaos is destroyed.
- Subverted in Secret of the Sixth Magic by Lyndon Hardy, in which it seems that the five known forms of magic are ceasing to operate. It turns out that they aren't vanishing; rather, a "metamagician" from another world is shifting the rules under which they operate, forcing magic-users to rediscover how to invoke their powers.
- In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the magician leads all the magic out of Spain at the end.
- This has been happening at earlier ages to successive generations at the beginning of the Green-Sky Trilogy. In the third book, there are signs that The Magic Comes Back.
- In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt the magically oriented Inapt kinden have been fading for several centuries, giving way to the technologically oriented Apt kinden.
- Ursula K. Le Guin's Tehanu is clearly moving this way in the end.
- The Dragonlance series has this happen in Dragons of Summer Flame, originally intended by the creators to be the endpoint of the saga. However, they and other writers decided to keep the story going, magic and all, though the magic isn't quite the same afterward.
- In Discworld magic is weaker than it used to be since the Sourcerors were around, which is a very good thing as they nearly destroyed the world. However, in The Last Hero it's noted that if the Disc's magic went away altogether, the world would also end because a flat planet on four giant elephants on a giant turtle simply cannot exist without magic.
- In John Brunner's The Traveller in Black series, the titular character, who suppresses Chaos by granting wishes and poetic justice, is on an eons-long mission to make this happen.
- The Long Price Quartet ends with the Khaiem renouncing their use of the andat, with the history and knowledge of how to bind them being destroyed and the last andat being released from service.
- The High Warlock claimed this was happening in Blue Moon Rising, as the rise of science and logic gradually displaced the fantastic from reality, and events in Beyond The Blue Moon make this trope inevitable by annihilating Reverie, the dimension from which magical energies originate. Averted by other books in Simon R. Green's Verse/ multiverse, in which magic and science are treated as co-existing rather than the former being extinguished by the latter.
- This is how Roald Dahl's Matilda ends; the titular Child Prodigy cannot do magic anymore as she's been allowed in upper level classes at last, causing her brain to have apply itself traditionally again.
- Inverted and averted in Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East trilogy: in the backstory, Technology Went Away, but then, at the end, when Technology Comes Back, Magic stays too.
- Terry Brooks in his Shannara series used this trope. In The Wishsong of Shannara the Cycle of Magic comes to a close. Magic leaving the Four Lands means the Druid's Keep of Paranor is sealed away and Allanon himself must die.
- The plot of Dirge for Prester John is figuring out why this happened after the fact.
- Two of the three major conspiracies in Lee Arthur Chane's Magebane revolve around variants of this trope. Tagaza's is the simplest—he's figured out that the Barriers are slowly sapping the magic from the land, and he wants to destroy the Barriers so that magic can regenerate. Mother Northwind instead wants to destroy the Barriers as part of a ritual that will permanently destroy all magic. Mother Northwind wins.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, it is revealed in the fourth book that the Maester Order killed the Targaryen dragons, which are intimately tied to the presence of magic, in order to found a new and secular age of science and scholarship.
- Nicholson Baker's The Fermata is about a guy who has the ability to stop time. As one would expect, he mostly uses it to undress women and then re-clothe them before starting time again, with no one the wiser. Eventually he falls in love with one of his victims, and somehow passes his magic on to her. He does mention elsewhere in the book that he has gone through periods where his powers were absent, and he seems to expect them to return at some point; but for now, he's at his girlfriend's mercy.
Live Action TV
- The threat of this is a driving imperative in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Omega Directive". The so-called "Omega Molecule" is a source of potentially vast power. However, if it breaks down the wrong way (which it normally does), it can permanently destroy subspace across a large area, making FTL Travel, Subspace Ansible communications and many other crucial Applied Phlebotinum useless. This would naturally lead to the collapse of interstellar civilizations, and so Starfleet has an overriding command protocol to destroy the Omega Molecule wherever it is found. The fear of losing access to subspace is so great that the Omega Directive supersedes any and all other Federation laws and Starfleet regulations, including the Prime Directive!
- By the end of Xena: Warrior Princess, most of the Greek gods in that Verse have faded or been killed off. So have a lot of gods from other cultures; it happened pretty often in both Xena and Hercules The Legendary Journeys.
- Similarly, Season 4 of Babylon 5 includes the Vorlons and the Shadows leaving the galaxy. However, as Delenn puts it, "Now we make our own magic". Confirmed by the Distant Finale, where a million years later, humans have become Sufficiently Advanced, and prepare to leave the galaxy to join with the First Races.
- The 1998 TV movie Merlin has Sam Neill as the eponymous wizard using the last magic in the world to reverse the aging of himself and Isabella Rossellini.
- Magic temporarily disappears in Charmed when Wyatt is born. The demon of the week has to take a cab to leave the Halliwell manor.
- Power Rangers:
- Power Rangers in Space was supposed to close the book on the entire series, so in the final battle, the release of Zordon's energy (at the cost of his life) causes the Rangers' powers to be taken away in the same wave of light that causes the villains to disappear for good. Then the series was Un-Cancelled, so Space only closed the book on just one continuity of the series, and then that started promptly leaking. The Space Rangers' powers got better in time for the Cross Over episode next year.
- Similarly, Power Rangers Wild Force was also thought to be the last Power Rangers series ever, and it ends with the Animarium, Princess Shayla, the morphers and the Wildzords all going away and disappearing back into the sky to sleep forever. As of 2012, ten years later, the Wildforce Rangers have never gotten their powers or the Animarium back. Or their jackets. Of course, as of 2013, we see them and all past Rangers in a battle in a dream.
- And in the following year, the Megaforce Rangers manage to find the Animarium and the Red Lion Wild Zord on it - and only that.
- The Grand Finale of a PR series sometimes has a So What Do We Do Now? element, with Wild Force devoting the most attention to it.
- Carnivàle was supposed to eventually cover the end of magic in the world, but it was canceled four seasons prematurely.
- This is actually done in the beginning for Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, with the previous 199 Sentai warriors giving up their powers. By the end of the series, the Gokaigers return it to the owners.
- Being Human ends this way after Hal, Tom, and Alex defeat the Devil, as their powers originate from Satanic sources. They all seem rather content this way.
- According to traditional Judaism, when the First Temple was destroyed, prophecy began to diminish, and eventually disappeared entirely.
- Some interpretations of Dreamtime.
- According to some Christian scholars, the reason God doesn't do miracles anymore is because Christ's resurrection was The Big One, making all the others pale so much in comparison they're no longer necessary. This is known as "cessationism".
- In Islam, with Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets, there won't be anymore prophets, nor prophecies, nor books nor scrolls after him. Miracles may happen, but it won't be the spectacular kind like the doom that came to Sodom or the parting of the Red Sea.
- On the last day of every year, all magic fails to work in the Dungeons & Dragons game-setting of Mystara. At one point during the Wrath of the Immortals, this effect lasted for a full week, causing massive disruptions in places like the Hollow World, where the internal sun went dark. That could happen again, and this trope might become a reality, if the Nucleus of the Spheres isn't stopped from draining magic out of the world. Indeed, that's what many of the Immortals feared, that stirred up the Wrath of the Immortals in the first place.
Gazetteer The Principalities of Glantri explains some of the details. The Nucleus acts as an Amplifier Artifact for magic, at the price of slowly and irreversibly lessening it overall. The loss of magic may be stopped by going back in time and destroying the artifact, but that causes the nation to cease existing.
- In the Forgotten Realms setting, magic went away for a few seconds at some point in the history of Faerun as the goddess of magic was severely disrupted. Needless to say, this had very bad results for the empire of magically-floating cities... It happened again when the transition was made to 4th edition magic, with the added 'bonus' of a world-spanning storm of random magic that completely reshaped the geography and reduced many of the setting's civilizations to ruin as well as merging the world with a parallel universe.
- In the d20 Modern setting Shadow Chasers, magic comes and goes in waves as the Shadow realm merges and separates with our world. The game world of Shadow Chasers is an inversion, since the magic has been gone, but now it's coming back.
- Another d20 Modern setting, Urban Arcana, could be considered the "second stage" of this cycle, as enough stuff has come through the Shadow to make it into outright Dungeons & Dragons-flavored Urban Fantasy.
- Alternity (and later d20 Modern) setting Dark•Matter. When large amounts of dark matter sweep through the solar system (AKA the Dark Tide), magic and psionics start to work, miracles begin to occur and fantastic animals and monsters appear. When the amount of dark matter decreases, these effects stop working. The Dark Tide has come and gone many times in Earth's past.
- Inverted in exactly the same way in Shadowrun/Earthdawn franchise from 1989. Shadowrun is set in postmodern days (2040 - 2070), where magic has just returned and turned the world upside down, whereas Earthdawn is set at the later part of the last magic age, fitting this trope to an extent. But since the player characters will never live long enough to actually see the inevitable end of magic, it's only partially played straight.
- In the official setting for Champions, Earth's level of magic is cyclical. When magic levels run high, you've got dragons and monsters and legendary heroes, and when magic runs low you've got science and technology. The "Age of the Superhero" is actually a disruption of that cycle, in that a cabal of black magicians actually managed to overload Earth with magic during a "low magic" point in history, thus allowing both magic (which turns out to be the true origin of all superpowers) and high technology, if only for about a hundred years or so.
- In Magic: The Gathering, the power of the planeswalkers has been drastically weakened after various multiverse threatening disasters. The older planeswalkers are the only ones who realize how much power they lost. Nicol Bolas is particularly bitter and schemes to regain what he lost.
We were gods, once.
- Although Bolas has recently regained much of the planeswalker power that was once his, through his use of the Conflux on Alara and absorption of the Maelstrom. The magic may come back after all, despite his subsequent defeat.
- The same inversion as Urban Arcana and Shadowrun is used in GURPS Technomancer, where a high Background Magic Field is caused by a dimensional storm centred on the Trinity test site. Popular culture also holds that mana levels were much higher in the mythological past, despite the absence of any evidence supporting this.
- In Warhammer Fantasy the culmination of the first Great War Against Chaos (c.7000 years before the present) saw the High Elf Mage Caledor Dragontamer create a magical vortex to drain the majority of the magic away from the mundane world and back into the Realm of Chaos - to deprive the daemonic hordes of their sustenance and end the war for good. The plan worked, and now there is far less magic in the world than there used to be - and Elf mages no longer bestride the world like colossi as once they did. Several times the Dark Elves have plotted to undo the vortex and return the world to its prior state, but thus far it has remained in place thanks to Caledor's eternal sacrifice.
- In Mage: The Ascension, magic used to be commonplace until The Technocracy stamped it out, bringing an age of science... However, subverted in that science and magic really work by the same principles, and using magic in the modern world is possible, albeit limited by Paradox.
- This is heavily implied in the first box set for Greyhawk. In the glossography by Pluffet Smedger the Elder supposedly found and translated by Gary Gygax, magic is already in the timeframe of the glossography's writing (a few years from CY 1000) greatly diminished from where it was in the time the book describes (CY 576), and seems to be on track to vanishing altogether.
- In Demons Souls, Lulling the old one back to slumber at the end of the game(the "good ending") causes the disappearance of the soul arts, this game's version of magic, from the land. On the other hand, if you Kill the Maiden in Black (the "bad ending", you can prevent the loss and become the most powerful wielder of the soul arts
- Final Fantasy:
- In Final Fantasy VI, the destruction of the Warring Triad and Kefka led to magic vanishing from the whole world, including all espers and other magical beings. Terra manages to survive because she's half humannote , but her esper side does vanish, leaving her fully human.
- In Final Fantasy V, all matter is destroyed ...and rebooted.
- In Final Fantasy VII, it's inverted. Midgar is destroyed. But it was all about Green Aesops anyway.
- Although magic is not destroyed at the end of Final Fantasy X, as the price for defeating Yu Yevon all the aeons have to be sent along with Yu Yevon. This also involves the Fayth passing to their rest and thus no longer maintaining aeons or the dream version of Zanarkand. It's a little bit of a Downer Ending as well, since Tidus's existence is provided by the Fayth. When they disappear, he does as well. Poor Yuna, she loses her family, her lover, her profession, and her entire way of life. By Final Fantasy X-2 she seems to have rebounded.
Final Fantasy X-2 gives a more in-depth look at the bittersweet consequences of changing the world. Life is undeniably better and people no longer live in fear. However, now that Spira is no longer stuck in stasis the beautiful Macalania Woods are dying. The Thunder Plains have been tamed, which makes them much nicer to travel but also takes the awe out of them. (Who would have thought you could miss getting hit by lightning?) The ruins, former destination of the sacred pilgrimage, are overrun with tourists, understandably upsetting for Yuna. There are dark aeons, however.
What's really weird is that no one performs any Sendings in Final Fantasy X-2 anymore. Yuna certainly fails to even mention the task at any point in the game in spite of it being her sacred duty in the prequel. So it's possible that the loss of Aeons indirectly means it's now impossible to use the convenient magic trick that forces the restless dead to stay dead instead of coming back with superpowers and tentacles. Then again, it may take a lot more for these restless dead to come back compared to before when it would always happen, often in mere minutes.
- Happens slowly over the course of the Ivalice timeline. In Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics A2, magical beings abound, magitek is everywhere and some areas are thick with Mist, magic in the air so thick that it looks foggy. By the time of Final Fantasy Tactics, most of the magical beings are either dead or simply gonenote , magitek has become Lost Technology, Mist is nowhere to be seen, and a great deal of faith is required to make magic work, when it once worked automatically. Fast forward even more to Vagrant Story, and magic's almost entirely gone and relegated to myth, and for most people, the little bit left is so hard to get at that you lose your soul in the process.
- Happens in the end of Xenogears, where the destruction of the Zohar engine not only prevents magic from functioning, but removes the power source of all of the planet's Gears as well! Except for the Xenogears itself. It runs on a different power source (that being the Wave Existence, which is basically God) and thus continues to function.
- Spellbreaker, the finale of Infocom's Enchanter trilogy, ends with the protagonist sabotaging his Enemy Without's attempt to remake the universe with himself as its god by replacing the core of his universe-to-be with a non-magical object. This results in the universe being remade without magic, and consequently without the villainous doppelganger, since he was made from the protagonist's own cast-off magical energies.
Beyond Zork, which is set in the same world and takes place concurrently, has the protagonist trap the last remnants of magic inside the Coconut of Quendor. The quest is masterminded by one of the wizards the Shadow CLEESHed at the beginning of Spellbreaker.
- This is implied at the end of Mass Effect 3. The power of mass effect fields that prematurely advanced human technology thousands of years is destroyed, along with the mass effect relays. When the Extended Cut was released this was changed, and instead it became much more downplayed, with the mass relays expected to be resurrected and galactic status quo restored
- This is a goal of the Big Bad's in Zork: Grand Inquisitor.
- Secret of Mana features the Big Bad vaporizing the Mana Tree, taking out the strongest source of magical power on the planet, and at the end of the game the main characters are forced to kill the Mana Beast (a fusion of the world's monsters) rather than let its fight with the Mana Fortress destroy the world... again. This, and the destruction of the Mana Fortress, strips most of the magical power from the world, and forcibly separates the inherently magical Sprite from the other party members. By the time of Legend of Mana, the low levels of magic and long time-span with no Mana Tree have lead to long periods of pointless war, needless sorrow, and fractured even the powerful elementals into minor splinters of their former abilities. The world itself falls apart during the opening cutscene. There, the concept is inverted, and the protagonist's goal is to bring the magic and the Mana Tree back. This occurs in Seiken Densetsu 3 as the Mana Tree is choped by the Big Bad, depriving the world of mana until the faerie, who's the Mana Tree's seed, mature into a new tree 1000 years from the events. (Making things really lame for Angela, whose story revolves around her learning to use magic.)
- The penultimate episode of Killer7 ends with whatever cursed magic woven by 'real Harman Smith' and Kun Lan on Emir Parkreiner that binds all of the dead Smiths unto Garcian being undone by unkillable Black Heaven Smiles. When only Garcian remains (you can't switch to him until all the other Smiths are gone), Garcian can use a weapon lying on the floor to defend himself against the Smiles and defeat the warped politicians and escape. From that point onward in the plot, the other Smiths which you've been relying on throughout the entire game are completely and finally dead, leaving you with only Garcian, the most vulnerable of all the Smiths.
- In Bio Motor Unitron, after defeating the Unitice, all the UNITRON robots that you've been training and battling with throughout the game are reduced to dust.
- At the close of Baten Kaitos, when the Ocean is released and the floating islands return to the earth, the 'Wings of the Heart' that all the characters possess reveal themselves, and then disappear forever. Because this happens during the ending cutscene, you don't get to find out what the other characters think about this.
- At the end of Thief 3, Garret activates the final glyph, which causes all of them to stop working forever. This has a rather bad effect on Gamall, since she had been using them to extend her life for the past few centuries. It's possible to interpret the information about the glyphs, especially that they slowly grow more powerful (and may eventually mutate and evolve) through continual repetition and use, to mean that this simply resets the system back to zero. Still wouldn't matter for the next few years or decades.
- By the end of Tales of Vesperia, the heroes are forced to destroy all the blastia (magical stones used for everything) in the world in order to save it. However, it's subverted in the fact that the blastia is sacrificed to create a different kind of magic. However, the humans are forced to resort to technology to fulfill their needs in the absence of blastia.
In Tales of the Abyss, on the other hand, due to the Big Bad's actions, the heroes are left with no choice but to eliminate the source of all magic in the world (called fonons), including the recently discovered seventh fonon. Magic is taken for granted in this world and is used in a variety of ways, from maintaining and running all the mechanical aircars and elevators of the Kingdom of Kimlasca's capital, Baticul, to maintaining the city-wide fountains of the Malkuth Empire's capital, Grand Chokmah- the entire city floats on the water. The very first realization that dawns on the emperor of the Malkuth empire regarding the elimination of magic is for him to deal with the scarcity of resources for the first time.
It doesn't go away completely, just back to the levels they were at before the people of the old world screwed with things. It's still talked about in multiple skits that the world will have to start relying on something else, and that fonists will have a difficult time. However, that is still a very comparatively low amount to what they're used to now. This world that currently runs so much on it is going to be crippled if they don't find an alternative source of energy before the gradual decrease of the fonons stops, and levels hit rock bottom.
- In Da Capo, Sakura eventually decides the island no longer needs the magic Sakura tree and stops powering it, so it dies. Everyone's special little ability goes away and they return to normal. No big deal for Junichi—all he did was make Japanese sweets appear and occasionally see others' dreams. The girls who relied on their powers, on the other hand, suffer breakdowns and only get better if Junichi is in their route. In particular, Moe (could speak to her dead friend in dreams) starts overdosing on sleeping pills trying to see him again, Kotori (read minds) reverts to her former Stepford Smiler self, and Yoriko turns back into a cat (though this is quickly subverted).
- All of the endings of Wind -a breath of heart-, since all powers in the town were sustained by Hikari, by putting the whole town in a dream, having her die / disappear caused this. And this happens even in HER ending.
- Magic starts going away during the Time Skip between Mana Khemia and Mana Khemia 2. By the time of the second game, the Floating Continent the school was on has landed, mana are increasingly rare, and the Wizarding School is in the process of making the transition to mundane academy.
- Gensoukyou, the setting of Touhou was created because this started happening. Gensoukyou manages to retain magic and other fantastic things by being in a barrier that absorbs things that have become "illusions", essentially reversing what's happening to the rest of the world. Maribel's and Renko's abilities subvert this. More so now that Merry appears to be turning into Yukari.
- In Ys II, with the Black Pearl shattered, magic was gone with it.
- This happens in The Longest Journey universe at least twice (both times in the Back Story). First time was when the original Earth was split into two parallel worlds about 10,000 BC: Stark and Arcadia. From the perspective of Stark, all magic went away, so it had to rely on technology and science completely. From Arcadian perspective, all but the most rudimentary technology stopped working and soon became myth, remembered as "reliable magic". Also, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey reveals that right after the original's ending, a catastrophic event dubbed "Collapse" shook up Stark, after which most advanced technologies simply stopped working. It has been theorized by the fans that said "technologies" were actually magic that seeped into Stark from Arcadia and was passed off for science for the lack of better term. And the new Guardian simply fixed that by removing all traces of magic from Stark again.
- Inverted in the Golden Sun games. Alchemy was thought to be too dangerous, so it was sealed away. Only when you learn that the world is dying without Alchemy does it become your objective to bring it back to the world.
- However, a recurring theme of the series is that there was a damn good reason the power of Alchemy was sealed away. The disasters unleashed by Alchemy's power in Dark Dawn certainly support that theory.
- Alluded to in The Kings Quest Companion for the King's Quest games. Magical creatures and persons sensed this was happening, so they cast one last, big spell and opened a parallel universe where they withdrew in order to survive. The world they left was ours. The world they created is the one where the games are set.
- In the end of Ancient Magic, you destroy the source of magic and cause all magical things to fade from the world.
- In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the more fantastic races and old gods are slowly but surely vanishing from the world. In modern times, one of the only supernatural beings left in the world is Gabriel, aka Dracula, himself.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has magic and technology existing in cycles; an era of magic, a period of technology and magic coexisting, an era of technology, another period of coexistence, and so on. The game takes place in a period of coexistence when humans are developing new ways to harness steam engines, causing magic to go into decline. It turns out to be a bit more complex than what it first seems ( what was thought to have been the last era of High Magic turns out to have been an era of co-existence), but even so it fits - the verse's rules for magic/technology interaction means that technology weakens magic in the local area, and that magic is frowned upon by technology-focused civilizations.
The game manual mentions an unexplained event some 900000 years ago that caused the magickal energies of the world to suddenly skyrocket. Scholars call this time period in Arcanum's history the Epoch of High Enchantment. It is in this highly magickal time that the Elves and Giants evolved from humans, and many of the more fantastic creatures, that have since become extinct, came into existance by either transforming or merging together creatures that existed at the time. It is implied that ever since then magick has been slowly draining from the world.
- Happening in the Type-Moon verse (Fate/stay night, Tsukihime etc). As modern science develops more and more, magi gradually lose their powers. Given What happens towards the latter part of the Verse's overall narrative (so far, anyway), This could be construed as not the best of courses for humanity (although whether it was avoidable is another matter).
- In Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, there is a villain whose primary goal is to bring about the death of the Force.
- In God of War if there is anything magical left alive it is because Kratos has not met and murdered it yet. God of War III explicitly shows why there are no more Greek Myths (Kratos killed all the Greek Gods).
- Taken to an even Higher level than God of War is Asura's Wrath. In the True final battle, Asura kills and destroys the being that Created All mantra and basically created the Universe to watch over, though he watched over Gaea the most. With him dead, Mantra no longer exists, and with Asura tied to his Wrath Mantra, he Disappears into Light, and every remaining civilian Demi-god, including Asura's daughter Mithra, are now Mortal and age and die like regular people. The Stinger at the end, however, shows that at some point in the very far future, Mantra might be returning.....
- In Dominions, the later ages are less magical than before, with fewer magic sites and magic troops.
- According to the backstory of Return To Zork, one of these (called "The Great Diffusion") occurred about four hundred years before the events of the game: started by a cabal of magicians attempting to destroy evil magic and its effects on the land, it involved the complete dispersal of anything magical, right down to the Frobozz Magic Company and its inventory; as a result, wizards and witches throughout Zork lost their powers. However, it was known that magic would return one day, so to ensure that the next generation of magicians would be able to learn to use their powers responsibly, the mage Canuck and the wizard Tremblye made themselves immortal prior to the Diffusion and waited for the next few centuries until they could use magic again. Unfortunately, the plan ultimately failed: though evil magic was dispersed, it eventually seeped into the earth and was absorbed by a deposit of the mineral Illuminyte. Some years after The Magic Came Back, dwarves mining in the area dug up the deposit in the form of a large nugget they called "The Cluster"; unknown to them, the now-sentient Cluster called itself Morphius.
- At the end of Legend of Legaia, the Seru-kai dies, and with it, the Serunote are dying off as well, with most of them projected to die within a year; the age of the Seru is over, and mankind must now prosper on its own.
- In Defender's Quest, either Eztli-Tenoch is the source of all the magic seen in the game, or just most of it and the other source (Tletl-Meztli) dies before he does. Either way, when he dies, so does the magic. (There are hints of other magic in the world, such as where dragons come from, but those are far from where the game takes place.)
- This is implicitly a big part of the Metal Gear saga, which is known for using Magical Realism rather liberally. Almost all of the games involve some vaguely-explained hint of the supernatural that's accepted as "normal" by the characters, whether it's telepathy, shamanism, supernatural luck or control over animals. Interestingly, though, the prequel Metal Gear Solid 3, which took place in the 1960's, came the closest to being an outright fantasy game, with characters exhibiting supernatural abilities far more blatant than any seen in previous games; the most noticeable example was also the oldest character in the series, who was born around 1860. But by Metal Gear Solid 4, which took place in the near-future year of 2014, the series had only two characters left with supernatural abilities next to a whole bunch characters who exclusively relied on technological augmentation. One of them has an extremly minor role, and both are dead and gone by the end of the game. Though it never addresses the issue explicitly, the implication is that magic-users are the old guard, and that they're gradually displaced by the onset of the digital age.
- The Orcs Must Die games invoke this as the end of the first game. The Apprentice seals all the portals to the world of magic, cutting this world off from it entirely. But humans had so come to rely on magic that it kicked off rampant famine and poverty, and the Apprentice himself had to become a lowly miner. In the plot of the second game, however, The Magic Comes Back as the Apprentice (now War Mage) teams up with his former enemy, the Sorceress, to reopen and stabilize the rifts (and the defenses that stop the orcs from flooding through from the other world).
- The Wanderer's Library has the story of The Last Magician of Moscow, in which the world of Russian magic has been destroyed by pointless rivalries and feuds. The titular magician is one of the few Russian magicians left alive, and he is retired. By the end, there's hope that it might return.
- Used as part of the Backstory in The Lay of Paul Twister: "at some point over a thousand years ago," magic on Earth went away, because it was part of a distinct world that somehow used to be connected to Earth before they drifted apart. Through some unexplained means, the protagonist ends up being instantly transported from modern-day Earth to the magical world, where the story takes place.
- The SCP Foundation tale "Quiet Days" depicts the organization disbanding after all the weird phenomena they'd been keeping under control suddenly vanish, leaving them with no further purpose.
- Inverted in the cartoon Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, which starts with the end of the Age of Science and the start of the Age of Magic. How this happened or why this happened when the planet's three suns aligned went on unexplained due to the cancellation of the series at only one season.
- In The Secret of Kells, Brendan is no longer ablenote to see Aisling's human form after she nearly dies from helping Brendan get into Crom Cruiach's cave. She does appear in later parts of the film though as a white wolf. Brendan sees her in her human form when he returns to the abbey at the end.
- An episode of Challenge Of The Go Bots involves Scooter meeting Tenachka, the last real magician on Earth. Scooter spends most of the episode refusing to believe it, and shortly after he's finally convinced, Tenachka ends up making a Heroic Sacrifice and dies, taking the last of Earth's age of magic with him.
- In The Flight of Dragons, the hero denies magic in order to defeat the evil wizard. Although he saves what remains of the world of magic in the process, he permanently seals it away from the world of logic.