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Any problems with this magic inheritance system?:

In my series, there is a magical race (I'll just refer to them as sorcerers in this context) They are basically human, (same appearence, etc.) but with magical abilites. Non magical people and sorcerers can interbreed and create magical children, but this can result in a few ways
  • (most common) they have a child with normal magic ability
  • (most common)their child completely lacks magic ability
  • (less common) their child is an elemental, but only has control over one element (this can also function as a Disabilty Superpower or Cursed with Awesome because the usually can master their specific element much more than most normal sorcerers could)
  • (rare) Their child is an empath (also functions as Disabilty Superpower or Cursed with Awesome in the same way as above^)

All of these half-mages (magic or not) will usually have more resistance against things such as magical weapons or mind control more than the average non magical person. I made a post a while about this, (while this system was less developed) worrying about the potential Unfortunate Implications. I was informed by most people things along the lines of
  • "As long as they don't only inherit 'part' of the magic, you should be good."
But with the additions of elementals and such, does it get into Unfortunate Implications territory? (I know basically anything has the potential to, but is there anything here that immediately gives off unintended Family-Unfriendly Aesop s?

 2 Wolf 1066, Sat, 19th Jan '13 5:02:47 PM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
What sort of Unfortunate Implications or unfriendly Aesops are you concerned about?

In what way were people worried about them only inheriting "part of the magic"?
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
I'm worried it could be interpreted as a 'Races shouldn't intermarry or they will have inferior children" type Aesop. I think people were worried about more a 'dilution type' system where someone has more power just because they have more 'sorcerer blood' and it could get a little eugenic-y there
  • Also, most of the affected non-magical half-sorcerers and elementals are quite satisfied with abilities and are accepted by most of society (intermarrige isn't viewed as positively, but most at least tolerate it) even though in this story's setting this hasn't always been the case.

Easily entertained
One fellow here, a friend of mine, has spent a very good amount of his time deconstructing the ever-loving hell out of magical genetics. To give a short version that doesn't do his devoted world-building justice: arcane aristocracy and eugenics really are a pretty inevitable result of magical genetics, because the advantage offered is so blatant and so easily measured (as opposed to the bullshit that real-world eugenicists have) that, when one ignores moral issues, it's just the most logical way for a civilization to empower itself and trample its neighbors. (Suffice it to say, the Anti-Magical Faction is a very sympathetic organization.)

(If you're wondering about the temporary self-thump, I decided to check with the guy in question.)

edited 19th Jan '13 5:25:37 PM by KillerClowns

 5 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 19th Jan '13 5:18:19 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
I do not understand how magic person + nonmagic person = elemental or empath unless the magic is both elemental and empathic. I mean being an empath is usually Blessed with Suck anyway, but would they not be able to have help from the magic elemental/empath people anyway?

I am also not sure why this would be so much of a problem unless it was something like they were seen as crippled in magic person society and freaks to be hunted down in nonmagic society.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Magical is both empathic and elemental in this universe. Magic can also manipulate many other things (enchantment, creation of potions, healing, etc.) Most of society views all of the partial sorcerers as perfectly acceptable indivuals and appreciate their contributions, they are still seen as slightly odd occasionally.(Even ones without any magic ability)
  • Treatment could be interpreted as something akin to a disability, (people sometimes getting uncomrtable) but to much less of an extent. This is mostly limited to sorcerers completely lacking magical ability living in almost exclusively magical areas.
A few groups in this story believe only magical beings have souls and that partial-magical persons are defective or damned, but these groups are portrayed as huge bigots.

TL;DR version: They're viewed as almost "Differently Abled" in magical society, but not to the point of being "crippled." But it factors little in their treatment by others.

Edit: Made a mistake editing a comment , this was intented to reply to the post below this one

edited 19th Jan '13 5:35:52 PM by TheMuse

 7 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 19th Jan '13 5:22:48 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The fact is that unless sorcery is a good part elemental magic and a good part empathic powers, it doesn't make any sense.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 8 Gault, Sat, 19th Jan '13 5:32:03 PM from near a disputed border
When history changes...
[up][up] I can tell you from my own close study of this subject in particular that this issue would very likely become a far more significant point of conflict than practically anything else you could come up with. I'll need to know a good bit more about the conflict you have planned for your story as it is, but the implications of genetics-based magic go a lot farther than you had probably thought.

How realistic or idealistic a story you want to write is of course ultimately completely up to you, but this kind of thing isn't something that a thinking audience is just going to simply ignore.

Could you elaborate more on your setting and the central conflict of your story?

edited 19th Jan '13 5:48:10 PM by Gault

un monde libéré de la guerre est un monde exempt de frontières
To condense the whole thing down to be as short as possible, it's basically a Quest type fantasy story.
  • Non magical people end up in magical society> Magical people and nonmagical people interact> they go on an epic journey to defeat the Evil Empire and undergo much character development> the Evil Empire is vanquished> denouncement> curtain falls etc.
It gets brought up a couple times (ex: a passing mention that someone is a half-sorcerer with no magical ablities) It's common enough that most mixed magical families have at least one non-magical child so there is little stigma (DEFINITELY not to the point that Squibs are in the Harry Potter series)
  • And let me clarify, magical half-sorcerers are basically identical to normal socerers power and genetic-wise.
    • Ex: Full-sorcerer Magical person + Half-socerer magical person will result in magic child, exactly as would happen with two full sorcerers

 10 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 19th Jan '13 5:50:43 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
This tension is a LOT more interesting than an evil empire.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 11 Gault, Sat, 19th Jan '13 6:07:16 PM from near a disputed border
When history changes...
Yeah, I agree. I have to say, what you have already seems more than enough to carry a story, no need to go with the stereotypical Fantasy Quest to defeat the Evil Empire. The sociopolitical implications of genetics-derived Magic alone would make for a fine basis for a very interesting story- and trust me on this, I've worked more on this topic than most people.

Here's the deal, at least from my perspective. The existence of genetics-based Magic would play a much larger role in the world of your story than you seem to give it credit for. If your world is one in which Magic exists as a hereditary trait, that is going to inform virtually every aspect of the development of civilization at every level from the very beginning.

The sheer economic advantage that is inherent to Magic-users would grant them massive power, such that they could use their abilities for political leverage, not to mention the individual advantages they'd have over normal people. The implications are staggering to comprehend.You essentially have a sub-class of people in your society that are hundreds if not thousands of times more economically productive than all the rest of them combined.

Also, it's spelled denouement.

edited 19th Jan '13 6:09:25 PM by Gault

un monde libéré de la guerre est un monde exempt de frontières
 12 Wolf 1066, Sat, 19th Jan '13 6:46:08 PM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
Cheers, Killer Clowns, for that insight.

In one of my WIP I was thinking of a system of magical genetics that functions like a magically-affected recesseive gene with extremely predictable results when breeding amongst themselves or with normal humans or those who carry the recessive gene (who are easily identifiable as they have predictable traits:

Magical immortal + Magical immortal —> 100% chance of magical immortal offspring as all offspring carry two of the recessive allele.

Magical immortal + normal human —> 100% chance of "immortal" offspring with no magical ability at all (carrying the recessive allele confers immortality automatically)

Immortal + Immortal —> 25% chance of Magical immortal (2 recessive alleles), 50% chance of Immortal (1 recessive allele), 25% normal human (no recessive allele at all).

Immortal + normal human —> 50/50 chance of immortal or normal human offspring, depending on whether the child carries the allele.

Your post makes me realise that I need to consider what effect this would have on their breeding choices, given the predictability and detectability of the results.

In the culture to which these magical/immortal people are indigenous, there is a "balance" in that no immortal person (fully magical or not) is permitted to rule - presumably back in the mists of time they discovered the problem of having an unchanging ruler in a changing world - but the advantages of their magical ability and immortality are not trivial, so I dare say there would be those deliberately selecting mates based on their genes.

For contrast, there's another, non-hereditary, form of immortality that can be gained by those who see its advantages for those in power.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
Easily entertained
Cheers, Killer Clowns, for that insight.

An insight I stole from Gault long ago, for the record. He's the one who did all this thinking on the sociological implications and such.
And the whole 'Fantasy Plot" is something that is more of when you boil it down to the bare bones. There's a lot more conflict that just the Chaotic Evil Evil Empire, obviously the genetics things is a source of conflict, just not the only major one.

...can still bite
@ OP: Funny thing you should ask about Unfortunate Implications regarding magic inheritance systems, because I tend to hate magic inheritance in fiction if it isn't done right.

First question: Why is there a magic race and non-magic one? This is an especially important question if the setting is supposed to be the real world. The existence of a magic race suggests a unique origin, so I would suggest providing some sort of origin story about how and why the two races were created and/or evolved to be different.

Second question: Are you in any way making an anti-elitism aesop? Because the existence of a magic race is actually quite elitist. That's not necessarily a bad thing just as long as you handle it right, but leads to Fridge Logic if done badly. Both the Nasuverse and The Legend of Korra have elitist magic systems, but the Nasuverse basically acknowledges it and ignores it while anti-elitism ironically becomes the main focus of the plot in Korra.

If so, I would suggest having the magic race hoarding whatever gives magic and that children of the magic race only truly become magical by honing their magic genetics, and if they fail to the magic genetics fade and they slowly become non-magical. That way it introduces choice into the system. If you need an explanation as to why can't everybody become magical, just say that if a person isn't Bad Ass/pure/whatever the magic-causing substance will kill them. Or come up with some other Hand Wave.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Take it or leave it.

If the magic users don't tend to look the same, I don't see any reason to be worried about that possible interpretation but the quasi-eugenics parallels will be difficult to avoid, and would probably be unrealistic without it, as eugenics doesn't necessarily have to be race specific.

Raven Wilder
How much magical genetics influences society really depends on what-all magic can do. Like in the movie Looper, a certain percentage of the population acquires telekinetic abilities that can apparently be passed on through genetics. However, most of them can't do anything more impressive than making a quarter float a few inches above their hand; we only ever see one person who can actually do anything really useful with their power.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 18 nekomoon 14, Sun, 6th Jul '14 2:51:42 PM from Oakland, CA
Born with magic? That means you're better than someone not born with it, which means pretending you don't have that advantage is condescending at best. It's like Harry Potter walking up to me and trying to convince me that we are equal - I know damn well we aren't. Then again, that could be another source of conflict - mages trying to feel "in touch" with normal people, who are not at all going for it, leading to inevitable witch hunts rooted in fear and jealousy. Oh yeah. Humans do that kind of thing all the time.

edited 6th Jul '14 2:52:22 PM by nekomoon14

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Total posts: 18
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