Since before I started writing campaign outlines, I’ve been trying to create a timeline for my fantasy world detailing the discovery of magic. It’s been uh, … interesting — since for the thing to work, I had to decide what magic was.

It led me to research ancient history, mythology, literature, rhetoric, linguistics, philosophy, mathematics, geology, geography, hydrology, physics, and plenty more things I can’t think of off the top of my head. Interesting is the word.

What it’s got me doing now is rewriting Earth history — basically from the time writing was invented. Why writing? Why not speech? I have short and long answers to that question, and I don’t think either do the subject real justice.

Here’s the short answer: while there’s no doubt that magic exists in words and song — and it certainly existed in numerous complex verbal forms before it came to exist in a written form — it wasn’t until it took on a written form that it could be effectively studied, compared, stolen, or otherwise change hands.

When a people die, their oral traditions tend to die with them — or they migrate. Verbal magic, like the wind and the birds, tends to move — and consequently doesn’t tend to persist long enough to become something we recognize.

It’s only after these magic traditions have been scratched onto a log, smeared across an animal hide, or chiseled into a rock, that they can be shared and compared with others — ultimately developing into something more, magical.

So, it’s been interesting. I haven’t actually reached the point where magic springs into being in some kind of recognizable form, but I’m getting there. Mostly it’s down to me negotiating with myself for certain kinds of effects appearing in a plausible order — then surviving long enough to be shared or traded.

Ugh, I lost where I was going with this.

That’s what happens when I take too long to write something out. I think I was going to say something about what the most recent campaign arc was doing, but now I’m not sure. *sigh* I’ll have to come back to this against after I’ve had some time to think about it. Campaign arcs, adventures, outlines, characters…