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Playing With / Sufficiently Analyzed Magic

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Basic Trope: Mages discover how magic works by using The Scientific Method.

  • Straight: The wizard Bob studies the nature of magic by re-casting simple spells, with subtle variations in the casting each time, and recording the results.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • Magic is so easy to analyze and reproduce that it's barely arcane.
    • Magic is not purely deterministic; the exact same spell with (as far as possible) the exact same conditions won't necessarily produce the exact same output. Certain patterns, probabilities, and best practices do emerge, however.
  • Justified: Magic, like physics, follows strict rules that inherently lend themselves to scientific study.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Bob attempts to study magic, but discovers Science Cannot Comprehend Phlebotinum.
  • Double Subverted: It turns out that Bob has to discard many assumptions of modern science in order to account for magic, but The Scientific Method still works as he rebuilds science from the ground up.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob, in a High Fantasy setting, wears a labcoat and has a Magitek laboratory that looks exactly like a modern one.
    • Bob devises a spell, contained in a small flat metal rectangle with one side of glass, that when put to his ear, allows him to listen to and speak with other wizards who have this device. Over time, the wizards offer these devices to everyone who wants one. A few villagers and artisans learn spellcasting to create elaborate spells to create interactive displays on the glass, one of which depicts birds being thrown at castles with pigs in them.
  • Zig Zagged: Alchemy has been developed into a science, but other forms of magic remain entirely impenetrable.
  • Averted:
    • Wild Magic is in full force, and getting enough control over it to even attempt experimentation is impossible.
    • Magic probably could be studied, but the scientific method hasn't been developed.
    • Advertisement:
    • The dominant government in charge prohibits the further study of magic. With magic study forced underground and in secret, progress is slow and discoveries cannot be made public.
  • Enforced: The author wants to show how much effort he went into defining the laws of magic in his work.
  • Lampshaded: "So, a wizard is basically just a scientist with fancier clothes."
  • Invoked: A ruler funds the construction of a magical laboratory to make his empire more powerful.
  • Exploited:
    • Gods put traps in the cosmo rules so that specific not practical uses of magic will kill the agent using them. No scientific experimentation for you, mortal.
    • On the other side of mortality, humans have learned magic to such an extent that they can create magic-powered machines and sell them.
  • Defied: Gods, or some cosmic design actively prevent any scientific method, eventually modifying magic rules on the spot.
  • Discussed: "Magic has to obey certain laws; it's inevitable somebody will figure them out."
  • Conversed: "What was wrong with magic being mysterious? Why did they have to try to explain it?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Magic is reduced to being just another branch of science, no more exciting than physics or biology.
    • Magic is used for utility on a massive scale, institutionalizing society to such an extent that it ushers in the magic equivalent of the Industrial Age, and later on, the Space Age and the Information Age, with all of their problems.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Magic is transformed into being another branch of science, just as exciting as physics and biology.
    • Magic is used in mundane home-use appliances, raising the quality of living to such an extent that it ushers in the magic equivalent of the Industrial Age, and later on, the Space Age and the Information Age, with all of their benefits.
  • Played For Laughs: In Bob's universe, most spells come with a textbook. Sometimes a revised textbook, as for the "Lighting Arrow 2.01" (globular edition, battery not included. Not retrocompatible with 1.0 wands).
  • Played For Drama: Bob is studying magic via The Scientific Method, but it blows up in his face killing/injuring him or a loved one
  • Played For Horror: Bob is your average R-rated Mad Scientist, majoring in such things as the practical applications of necromancy — meaning that he's a Serial Killer on the side because he needs fresh subjects, or is the instigator of a Zombie Apocalypse because analysis paralysis means he kinda overdid it with the testing.

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