I listened to the “Costs and Ramifications of Magic” episode of the Writing Excuses podcast, and I feel like there’s so much I have to agree with there. I really like the “donkey” rule that they came up with — any magic that acts as a labor-saving device should have a serious cultural impact. I liked their example of “light” magic putting all the candle-makers out of business.

Scarcity is one way of dealing with the situation. Making magic scarce or hard to come by contributes a lot to making it a “big deal” when the characters bring it out. I’m not sure who I spoke with (cookiemonger?), but there was a discussion of implement magic (wands and such) making spellcasters “less special,” because it creates a feeling that anyone can pick up an implement and do magic.

…Which admittedly, can make it easier to identify with some characters. If learning magic is about having the right tool and practice, then anyone who’s learned a set of tools on the job can identify with the magic in the setting. I’m not really sure where I stand on the issue, but I can say with a degree of certainty that magic comes from the characters in Rumors of War. Where the talent comes from is another question.

Also, how effectively they use the magic is another question. Most of the characters so far just kind of blunder around, causing incidents and reacting to things. With any luck, they’ll grow out of that stage before someone who had a handle on their own power comes along looking to add some heads to their collection. The awkward stage isn’t very conducive to survival… that’s scarcity the hard way. *evil laugh*