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Purple Mage

Of Fanfics and Metaphysics

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Exactly what the title says. How do you fellow authors establish the way reality works in the fictional universe(s) you set your stories in? For example, if magic exists, how exactly does it work? What about the mythos, gods, and afterlife of the characters?

I try to flesh out the metaphysics of my fanfics as much as possible. For example, here is an excerpt from the chapter I'm currently working on. In this fanfic, which is a crossover between Pokémon and a certain five-book series, a character, who is a mage, tries to explain magic in scientific terms. (In the backstory of the fic, there used to be human mages and wizards in the past of the Pokémon world, but as time passed and technology progressed, magic became a forgotten art.)

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"...the arcane arts; manipulation of reality -by way of personal willpower- through transfer of energy, or rearrangement of matter."

Later on, he theorizes the differences of the Pokémon world's pantheon and the other world's pantheons, and it goes somewhat like this:

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"Legendary Pokémon, however, are the opposite. Instead of being the personifications of what they represent, they are the sources of different aspects of reality. In other words, each legendary controls a fragment of reality that cannot exist without them. For example, in your world, the oceans can still exist without [other universe's god of oceans], but here, the oceans cannot exist without Kyogre."

In other words, the concept is something similar to the "Towers" concept in the Elder Scrolls series, but in this case, each Legendary Pokémon binds a fragment of metaphysics (which they control) to reality to hold everything together. Another example: When Rayquaza was created, the atmosphere formed. Each Legendary is the "cause", their 'sphere' is the "effect". In the other universe, it's implied that nature came first ("cause"), and the gods came to being because of those aspects of nature ("effect").

As for the afterlife, the other universe already has an Underworld. All we need now is a Pokémon universe equivalent. I've decided that all the bad ones are sent to prisons in the Distortion World, where Giratina (who also guards the DW as a cosmic gateway between realms) monitors them. I haven't decided where all the good guys go. Neutral/good beings also have a choice to stay as ghosts, because ghosts are a thing in Pokémon.

So, how do you guys do these sort of thing? Or do writers tend to ignore topics such as these?

To the mods: If I posted this in the wrong category, then I deeply apologize. Feel free to move this topic as you see fit.

Edited by Purple Mage

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Well, I decided the four main races of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles each have their own "heaven", but the heavens are connected so they can visit friends from other races in the afterlife if they want, and each of them was created by their own god that appears as a different kind of animal. Never really explored how magic works in anything, it's just there.

This concept of yours is quite intriguing and makes a lot of sense! But what about the legendaries that don't really have something they control? Like the legendary golems? More minor legendaries if you will.

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Same way you do anything else in fanfiction; source material supplemented by head-canon, to the extent you feel the source material needs to be more fully fleshed out for the purposes of your story.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10558490/4/The-Grandmaster
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10558490/9/The-Grandmaster

...this was a fic where I had Mark as a wandering Grandmaster from the Outrealms, whose purpose in coming to Elibe was to seek out students worthy of receiving his training. The premise of the fic requires Mark to do a fair bit of technical instruction on the mechanics of thins like using "Ignis" or passing through an outrealm gate. (i.e. what even is an outrealm gate. Conceptually...what are the outrealms...)

The first link goes to the chapter where Mark is explaining how Ignis works, and what conditions must be met to utilize the technique.

The second chapter links to me attempting to work out some sensible mechanics of "what are the outreams?" 

Borrowing motifs from other fictions is occasionally helpful (i.e. I borrow heavily from H.P. Lovecraft in conceptualizing the idea of entering the outrealms, and the magnitude of the mindfuck it would be for a person learning for the first time that the outrealms are a thing)

I am also of the opinion that having more knowledgeable and experienced characters set forth key points by way of explanatory dialogue with less knowledgeable, less experienced characters is more engaging for the reader than the author just dumping it out by way of exposition. 

The more fictions you're familiar with, the more sources of inspiration you can draw upon. Just because its a Pokemon story doesn't mean you can't draw on ideas from say--Fire Emblem-- to conceptualize things like pacts between gods and mortals, or the manner in which seemingly divine beings can be bound by seemingly mundane items. (i.e. the "Red Chain" of Shinnoh lore)

Like the whole idea of trying to explain magic in scientific terms (which I love, btw) is one where having a background in 40k really helps. Because warhammer 40k has done a better job of portraying "magic" as a basic universal constant--no different than gravity or electromagnetism or entropy--and setting forth in (psudeo)scientific terms what properties it has and what laws it follows.

Edited by Shoblongoo

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8 hours ago, Shoblongoo said:

Same way you do anything else in fanfiction; source material supplemented by head-canon, to the extent you feel the source material needs to be more fully fleshed out for the purposes of your story.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10558490/4/The-Grandmaster
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10558490/9/The-Grandmaster

...this was a fic where I had Mark as a wandering Grandmaster from the Outrealms, whose purpose in coming to Elibe was to seek out students worthy of receiving his training. The premise of the fic requires Mark to do a fair bit of technical instruction on the mechanics of thins like using "Ignis" or passing through an outrealm gate. (i.e. what even is an outrealm gate. Conceptually...what are the outrealms...)

The first link goes to the chapter where Mark is explaining how Ignis works, and what conditions must be met to utilize the technique.

The second chapter links to me attempting to work out some sensible mechanics of "what are the outreams?" 

Borrowing motifs from other fictions is occasionally helpful (i.e. I borrow heavily from H.P. Lovecraft in conceptualizing the idea of entering the outrealms, and the magnitude of the mindfuck it would be for a person learning for the first time that the outrealms are a thing)

I am also of the opinion that having more knowledgeable and experienced characters set forth key points by way of explanatory dialogue with less knowledgeable, less experienced characters is more engaging for the reader than the author just dumping it out by way of exposition. 

The more fictions you're familiar with, the more sources of inspiration you can draw upon. Just because its a Pokemon story doesn't mean you can't draw on ideas from say--Fire Emblem-- to conceptualize things like pacts between gods and mortals, or the manner in which seemingly divine beings can be bound by seemingly mundane items. (i.e. the "Red Chain" of Shinnoh lore)

Like the whole idea of trying to explain magic in scientific terms (which I love, btw) is one where having a background in 40k really helps. Because warhammer 40k has done a better job of portraying "magic" as a basic universal constant--no different than gravity or electromagnetism or entropy--and setting forth in (psudeo)scientific terms what properties it has and what laws it follows.

Oh yes, I borrowed some concepts from FE nunerous times, and sprinkled in some Elder Scrolls-style worldbuilding, even though said series are just video games in-universe.

 

8 hours ago, Dragoncat said:

This concept of yours is quite intriguing and makes a lot of sense! But what about the legendaries that don't really have something they control? Like the legendary golems? More minor legendaries if you will.

They are considered 'lesser' gods, having no sphere so to speak, rendering them not essential to the continued existence of reality. They mostly serve as guardians.

The most confusing would be Mewtwo. He's technically a paradox in of itself. His sphere of influence is cloning, and yet he was the first successful clone by humans in the Pokémon world. So technically, when he came into being, the mastery of cloning came into existence too.

In another excerpt of the in-progress chapter, the character's mother points out how is that supposed to work when it was stated in an earlier chapter that Lunala was only two thousand years old. He replies by stating this (the story utilizes first-person POV):

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"Excellent question, mother." I replied, "If you look into the mythos and ancient accounts of this world, the moon back then was not the rocky cheeseball it is today. It was a cycle, the power split between two Legendaries: Darkrai and Cresselia. The sun back then was actually just a hole ripped in space leading into another realm filled with light."

"However, around two millennia ago, Arceus decided that the system was too confusing, so he made two more legendaries: Solgaleo and Lunala. Due to their existence, the celestial objects now known as the sun and moon came into being."

This again borrows from Elder Scrolls lore, because in TES the sun is just a hole in space left behind when a spirit named Magnus decided to leave the plane of reality.

There are two universes involved so far in the fanfic, although I will only go into detail about the Pokémon universe.

The Pokémon world can be divided into three planes: The normal world, the Distortion World, and Ultra Space. Ultra Space is basically the equivalent of the planes of Oblivion; numerous realms filled with eldritch horrors, ancient beings, and other sorts of nasty stuff. It also acts as some sort of backdoor to bypass the DW and Giratina, allowing Pokémon to spill over to the other universe through wormholes.

As for the other universe, since it is based on the contemporary state of our world, there are references to other series which may or may not exist in this continuity. An example would be the opening remarks of Act II:

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Earth, a place of untold wonders and curiosity. Depending on one's interpretation, it may be host to humans, animals, gods, fairies, anti-fairies (yes they might exist, look it up), pixies, ghosts, wizards, demigods, magicians, superheroes, einherjar, valkyries, centaurs, satyrs, nymphs, titans, giants, dragons, monsters, and maybe a few aliens, both legal and illegal extraterrestrials, from other planets. (Not that building a wall would help against the illegal ones, mind you.)

Keep in mind that the ones in bold are prominent in the series while those in underline are from other series by the same author, which all exist in the same continuity. The rest are all refernces to other franchises, which may or may not be real in-universe. It's basically a case of Schrödinger's reality, where it ain't canon unless I confirm it.

What do you guys think?

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Also, in my fanfics, there is a distinction between divine power and magic. Divine power is either inherent in demigods (offspring of gods and mortals), in this case the power is limited to their divine parent's domains, such as a son of the sea god controlling water. The other case for divine power is when a deity who is not the parent of the character blesses said character with their ability, such is the case when the character I mentioned earlier gains the power of making food out of nothing from the goddess of the hearth (and some other stuff I forgot) and also the power of making (non-alcoholic) beverages (among other privileges) from the god of wine and madness. (it makes sense in context)

Now, the main thing to remember here is that the power of creating something out of nothing (and vice versa) is reserved for deities. Groudon can make more land and Kyogre can make more water, all appearing out of nothing. Magic, on the other hand, is subject to the law of equivalent exchange: Just rearranging components of reality to turn it into something useful. If a mage throws a fireball at you, he's just willing his magical energy (which in this continuity I have long decided is just another form of energy just like heat, electricity, light, or sound) to undergo conversion into heat and ignite a controlled mass of air in the surrounding area to form said fireball. If the outside matter is not enough to complete the spell, then matter will be taken from the caster, prioritizing the relevant elements (Like hydrogen and oxygen for an ice spell, (and maybe some nitrogen to help cool it) or oxygen and carbon for a fireball) and prioritizing the user's digestive system as the source. (If the relevant elements are not in the user either, then some atoms will transmutate into the necessary elements by rearranging the protons, neutrons, and electrons.)

This is another reason why the protagonist eats a lot: Not only does his magic require a lot of energy, he has to supplement his spells with matter, thus removing matter from his body. And if you think about it, the most common elements found in organic compounds are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. All four can be used in-universe for different spells. Fire, ice, water, coldness (Concentrated liquid nitrogen blast, perhaps?), electricity (Concentrated mass of electrons? Where do the protons and neutrons go?), et cetera. Magical energy also helps projectiles to defy gravity, acting as a counter-force to it.

Again, these are just the insane ramblings of a forumite, so it's up to you people to decide your opinion on it.

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