Mineral vs organic magitech Technology / Science in Imperial Soulmates | World Anvil

Mineral vs organic magitech

Welcome to Imperial Soulmates! In a gigantic and futuristic fantasy empire filled with solarpunk magitechs, Hélène is hiding that she's one of the emperor's soulmates. However, to lift the legal curse on her best friend, she will have to blackmail the emperor himself... Come read about her plans, and the world in which she lives!
Introduction to the story | Hélène | Soulmates | Novel upcoming

Table of Contents

Active magic inconveniently requires constant care and attendance, and so passive magic was created: a magic controlled with a runic diagram program drawn with metals obtained from minerals. The next step has been to downscale that to the metal-carrying molecules inside plants and fungi. The world is still reeling from the consequences of this revolution...      
Active vs passive magic
  • Active magic or raw magic consists of someone simply throwing their magic at something and controlling its effect through sheer force of will.
  • Passive magic is magic forced through a system (e.g. a runic diagrams carved on an artefact) that forces the magic to adopt certain patterns which then result in a given effect. True passive magic works completely independently from any user, but most magic is a mix of active and passive, e.g. with people using an artefact that they have to control constantly.
  •   Passive magic in its most simple form is the drawing of a rune or of a circle in the dirt. This is enough to give some magics their most basic effect—e.g. a protective shield. But if to do more—choose a trigger to activate the magic, a duration length, its strength—a lot more complexity has to be added to the system that the magic has to go through.
    Disadvantages of passive magic
    Maths: It requires a lot of mathematical calculations that gets more and more difficult as more parameters are added and the smallest deviation in the calculated path messes up with the magic in spectacular ways.   Too big: This requires the carving or drawing of a bigger and bigger system, leading to enormous architectural projects like the Arboisian imperial palace to represent the runic diagram. Such projects have long prospered in the empire despite their usefulness being limited by their lack of portability.   Too small: The other solution is to make the carving or drawing as tiny as possible. The problem with this is that there is a limit with how small you can go, even with magically enhanced eyesight.
    Mineral vs organic magic
    Where: It is only in the last century that a solution has been found, resulting in a big magical revolution. This discovery was of course done in the Empire of Arboise, building upon centuries of policies encouraging magical research—and just as obviously, the empire has used this invention to further expand its conquest of the world, such as with the Twelfth Sannian War.   Classic mineral anchoring: Magical artefacts are made out of metals—either pure or in the form of minerals or alloys, with precious stones being particularly appreciated. This is because metals have a special affinity for magic which allows them to interact with it in unique ways.   Organic anchoring: One biologist realised that the metals in living organisms could be potentially used to manipulate magic in the same way. This would allow for creating runic diagrams at a level several orders of magnitude smaller than with mineral technology. It took decades of study by an enormous team of scientists and engineers before the first breakthrough happened and a century more to perfect it, but they eventually succeeded and made it work in plant and fungi cells.   Example of plants: The most used magic-anchor plant today is domi moss—the carnivorous household moss. See below for example of specific magitechs created with it.   Taboo magic: Of course, people took this new technology too far, attempting to expend it into animals and even humans. Thankfully, the emperor of that time reacted swiftly and outlawed this magic and had everyone involved executed.
    Today, many fields of sciences are built around the use of plants as magic-anchors. The main ones are:
  • Herbologists to grow the plants and fungi and take care of them over the long term, as the magitechs only survive so long as the plants do.
  • Rune masters who specialised in plant-maths to design the template for the magic-anchor system in the plants.
  • Bioengineers to design the physical magic-anchor system inside the plant.
  • Enchanters who attach the actual enchantments to the anchor system.
  • Many specialised applications such as the herbonumenologists who use magic anchor-plants in healing or the chefs who use them in cooking.
    The most well known large-scale magitechs using magic-anchor plants and fungi are:
  • The enormous imperial communication network that is anchored in a special fungi that spreads in the underground of the entire empire.
  • Plants and fungi growing inside the walls of buildings to anchor adjustable house technology such as in the imperial palace.
  • Plants anchoring any of the most elaborate fixed ward system (as opposed to transportable personal wards) that are found in most buildings.
  • Plants used in manufacture sites to control the mass production machines that craft magical artefacts at a large scale.
  • Plants growing alongside or inside roads and in flying carriages.
    As soon as she entered the hotel, Hélène frowned at the magic that filled the building. What were they doing to the poor ward-anchoring plants in the walls? Was nobody feeding them? Such suffering was hardly discreet!   Organic magitech had been invented by the empire, of course, but its use was so widely spread that it had been impossible to keep from foreigners. Yet, they still seemed to miss essential information regarding some of the procedures—and apparently the fact that a wall was not the most optimised of growing environment for plants was not obvious...   Well. Good news for Hélène at least. If such a luxurious hotel was doing as badly, then there were all the chances that the Sannian government's buildings were no better. This would make her escape much easier once she would have secured the emperor...

    Cover image: Plant magic by kjtmphotonew777953 on Vecteezy


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    Dec 10, 2023 22:01 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    I love that one of the disadvantages of passive magic is MATHS. I feel that in my heart.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    Dec 10, 2023 22:40 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    XD Maths can be fun but it's not very practical to have to do huge calculations before you do any single little spell. Unfortunately, while people have found a solution for the size problems, this has only push things towards more maths, not less!   Thanks for the comments <3

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
    Dec 11, 2023 23:42 by Eric

    Seconding the comment on math(s)! Also, this system is quite interesting to me, as it sounds as if magic wielders have trouble using magic (casting spells?) in a hurry. I assume this limits magic users' options in emergencies!

    Dec 22, 2023 17:26 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Exactly! Complex magic requires a lot of preparation and effort. It's still possible to do some stuff very quickly, like for example sending a ball of raw magic or a fire ball at someone, or to raise a shield for a few seconds. However, this requires a lo of power and is not very stable and reliable, which is why people use magical artefacts to help with almost everything.   Of course, this gives me a loophole to have a few powerful people still do some amazing things in a rush :p   Thanks for your comment <3

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
    Jan 4, 2024 23:35

    Ame, why must you make this magic so close to my heart! Now I am thinking about the first Nanocrystal Syntheses and how that might catapult runes and magitech even further once people learn to do them reliably! But, if my understanding of your magic system is correct, you would be able to cut out the organic middle man, no? Just grab the energy required for the spell out of the sunlight and transform it from photons into magical energy that can then flow into the nano-runes?   Anyhoo, what a lovely piece of worldbuilding, thank you for opening my eyes to what cool ideas one could combine from real life science and concepts of magic >:)

    Yours truly, Nino.
    Its Worldember!I am building out a spooky world, which you can read about here! (psst, its a link)
    To learn about my main world click on this link! (if you want to ;) )
    Jan 27, 2024 16:47 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks a lot!!! <3   Your comments and Rumengol's below made me think more about why a biological system would work better than things like nanocrystals, and I think I'm going to go with biological systems like neurons being a lot more complex than people are able to reproduce yet. This organic magitech technology is only a few decades old, after all. But I also want to write more about how my runic diagrams would make use of complex biological networks.   However, I've been thinking about putting another story idea I had in this world but a few centuries in the future and things like nanocrystal could be an amazing idea for people to have developed in the meantime and to see how this influence their reliance and now emotional attachment to plants!   Thanks a lot for your comments, you really gave me a lot to thinks about!

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
    Jan 14, 2024 14:08

    I love your magic system! I think there's not enough magics that require complex mind computation from the magicians out there. I wonder what exactly is the advantage of plant-based anchors rather than classic metal ones? Is there no way to create very small mineral anchors through classic medium? That being said, a civilisation full of plant magic is hella cool for the solarpunk aesthetics!

    Hoo~ Hoo
    Jan 27, 2024 16:39 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks! I love terrible magic systems that force maths on people! XD Even with magic you cannot escape maths!   My people have not been able to reach the nanoscale with purely mineral anchors. I see it as the same reason we've not been able to reproduce the complexity of neuronal networks (yet). Biology has had eons to evolved into doing one thing perfectly and people still need to catch up. I'll probably think and write more about what complex runic system looks like to explain the advantages of biological systems.   Thanks for the question and for pointing me in that direction!

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
    Jan 21, 2024 20:09 by Barron

    Gosh dang this is some fantastic worldbuilding and defining of the major faucets of your magic system. That is not an easy task to take and you did it really well. You do fantastic work on breaking out into your other WorldEmber entries, and your format is so lovely.   Also just wanna say the idea of a carnivorous house moss is terrifying.

    Jan 27, 2024 16:26 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks a lot! <3 It's been really fun coming up with this solarpunk magic system and seeing it slowly magically come together through the different articles XD   Awww, you don't want a cute moss surrounding you while you sleep? :p

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
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