Magic, targeting and travelling as a mage.

A discussion earlier today concluded that in order for a magic wielder to target something they are required to be familiar with the target in some way. A target in this case is a person, an object or a location.

For the purpose of targeting anything that can be seen and discerned is considered familiar – including things that have just been seen but aren’t currently in line of sight. Other senses (hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting(?)) can also be used for targeting.


Familiarity comes into play and starts being important once you are not within sight of the target of your magic. The further away the target is the greater the familiarity required to target it is.

  • For targeting people (or animals) the caster needs to know the person they are targeting. Just knowing how a person looks is not enough to target them if they are not within line of sight.
  • Familiarity with a location is easiest achieved by visiting the location. The other option requires intense theoretical study of the location. This second method is time-consuming and will only yield as good results as the information studied.
  • Being familiar with objects is more difficult. Only objects long in the possession of the mage and with great symbolic value can be targeted – even at relatively close distances. Most magic wielders will only have a handful of possession like this; a wedding ring, a family heirloom or a favorite childhood teddy bear are good examples.

Traveling abroad as a mage

Traveling as a mage is more complicated than for non-mages. It has been proven throughout history that magic can cause terrible destruction, especially in war-time. One way of protecting a nation from devastating magical attacks is to prevent mages from becoming familiar with the country and its strategic locations.

Many countries, especially those with any kind of strained relation to other countries, restrict or forbid foreign mages from crossing their borders. Due to this many mages never leave their native country, but some do.

Some nations have signed treaties to allow for mages to travel between them with a minimum of paperwork. A few nations, as a sign of their desire to remain neutral and avoid conflict, make no distinction between mages and non-mages and allow either to enter or leave freely. Other nations have closed their borders completely and won’t allow anyone to enter or leave (but there’s more than just fear of destructive magic at play there).

There is not only additional paperwork to deal with for a mage going abroad. A traveling mage can expect to be observed or even escorted throughout most or all of their stay in the foreign country.

Centers of magical learning

There is another noteworthy consequence of the restrictions on traveling imposed on mages; All (almost) important international magical institutions such as universities, research centers or laboratories are located in the countryside. Usually the institution is situated in some remote, unimportant part of the country, perhaps neighboring one or two little rural villages.

This wasn’t always the case. Having a respected magical institution within your borders is an asset to a country. International exchange is as important within magic as in any other science. Rather than shutting them down the established magical institutions were often relocated to areas that it didn’t matter if anyone was familiar with.

Only in very few places are magical institutions still active within or near a major city or capital.

Magic, targeting and travelling as a mage.

4 thoughts on “Magic, targeting and travelling as a mage.

  1. Having magical research facilites located away from large cities etc is also nice in case Bad Stuff happens. Should something go wrong and the entire university blows up it won’t take the rest of the city with it. Being out in the countryside also provides the mages with plenty of space to blow stuff up (I meant to write something fancier but I’m too tired).
    A drawback is that in case Bad Stuff happens it may take time to get help or warn others.

  2. It was pointed out to me that preventing mages from getting familiar locations was a bit pointless as you could just fire a missile at the location anyway.
    Currently pondering the implications of this.

  3. Kat says:

    However, firing a missile might be easier to trace back to whichever nation fired it – a Mage Doing something to a location might not be as traceable, and if a nation has more than one potential enemy, that might be worth it – depending also on What a Mage could accomplish by this.

    I had one more thought though, are Mages registered – this makes it sound like it? How is this done, is it when someone comes into employment related to it or is it noted and registered otherwise? Would there be secret Mages, are they registered by force or choice, if they at all are? And regardless of which, are they seen as freaks or an asset or both, are they envied or feared or both – as individuals, that is – considering magic being a confirmed reality rather than as a fantasy (as it would be in this world) ?

    1. I think most nations are likely to have some way of keeping track of who among their citizen are capable of using magic. Some nations will be a lot stricter with this than others. It’s not something I’ve put very much thought into yet.
      The question of how mages are seen in society is a big one. Generally people will dislike things they fear or don’t understand and may treat it with hostility. I’m thinking that in this modern day and age, mages are a respected part of society. That doesn’t mean that everyone is comfortable having a mage around.
      Finally there’s the question of how mages have been treated throughout history. Have they always been an accepted part of society or have mages been forced to hide their powers to avoid being burned on the stake? Has it always been acceptable for women to wield magic or was it at some point something only men did?

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