A Worldbuilder’s Guide to Magic

Essentials for Writers, Game Developers and Dungeon Masters


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About the Book

Constructing a functional system of magic that helps readers suspend disbelief is a crucial part of worldbuilding in the fantasy genres. Yet creating a believable, compelling and original fictional universe can be daunting. To help inspire writers, this guide provides an overview of how magic has been understood in history and used in myth, legend and modern fiction. Different forms of magic are explored and a broad range of stories—from Nordic myths to modern novels—are described and referenced. Discussion explores how magic as a concept shapes, and is shaped by, fictional worlds and societies.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Brent A. Stypczynski is an independent scholar with specialties in medieval, YA, and fantasy literature. He is the author of multiple books, and his articles have appeared in Extrapolation and The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Brent A. Stypczynski

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8683-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4488-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Introduction 1
1. Atmosphere 13
2. Techniques 29
3. Branches 43
4. Tools 59
5. Rules of Magic 75
6. Magic Items 89
7. Variety of Magics 101
8. Evolving Magic 113
9. Potential Magicians 123
10. Learning Magic 137
11. Society and Magic 151
Conclusion 178
Appendix: Selected Primary Texts and Series 183
Chapter Notes 185
Bibliography 191
Index 193