I'm creating a fantasy story that revolves around a magic system, but I feel like this is missing something. A lot of key plot elements rely on the system, so I would like to make sure it stays consistent yet sensible. Personally, I prefer a hard magic system rather than a soft one.
Sorry if this is too template-based. I just find this format easier to read and it prevents me from rambling off.
Name: Alteration (I would like to change this once the system is fixed)
What is it?: Alteration allows the caster to alter the environment around them. It allows objects to change their shape. It is controlled by energy. The stronger the energy the more powerful the alteration. Think of it like a balloon. The balloon is the body, the air inside is the body's energy, and the air outside is the energy from the environment outside of the body. Too much energy will kill the person, or "pop the balloon", while too little energy or draining energy (aging or dying) will cause the body to weaken, or "deflate the Balloon".
Who can use it: Anyone
How is it aquired: It is based on "levels" or "stages". Everyone starts off at one and progresses through experience and meditation. Levels: There are five. The first is the default. You can't do anything yet. To start "altering", you'd have to meditate in order to "flex your will" or "stretch your energy" . This process varies with every caster, as some could take a few weeks while others could take a few months.
The second level allows you to alter soft and thin materials, such as liquids and certain plants and fabric.
The third level allows you to alter thicker objects and material such as stone and metal. You can also heal minor wounds and illnesses.
The fourth level allows you to alter things that are harmful to touch, such as fire, acid, thorns, etc. You can also regulate your body temperature (this can kill you if you make yourself too hot or cold) In order to advance, you'll need to observe energy from a mother source. This is the "metamorphosis stage" basically. It can take a while to pass this stage depending on where you get your energy from. (non living items have low energy while living organisms have high energy. Corpses have none.)
The fifth level makes you immortal (unless death by combustion) . At this point, the body is an open receiver for energy, meaning that it has an infinite supply. You can now alter air to a certain extent. You can also alter through any part of your body. Shapeshift is also an option. Immortality notes: +Can't really die (duh) +It isn't mandatory to eat, sleep, or drink +any wound can heal -Affects mental health. Time seems faster. -at the risk of combustion, which is acquiring too much energy too quickly and exploding.
Shape-shifting: This is the peak of alteration- being able to change your own form. This is also a dangerous process, because you have to be very specific. You can only have one alternate form, and to get it requires a few steps.
First, you'll need to practice a lot. You'll need a clear idea of what you want to turn into. This includes anatomy. If you misplaced your liver, you will suffer for it! It is common for casters to practice on dissected Animals, where they rearrange the tissue and study the anatomy. This is why those who can shapeshift usually choose animals because they practiced on them. This is also why a lot of shapeshifters are good artists.
Next, you'll need the materials. Whatever your alternate form is, you'll need a piece of it. So if you were becoming a treeant, you'll need a piece of the tree you'll model your new form after. If you were becoming a bear, you'd need a piece of the fur. Mind you, your alternate form doesn't already have to exist. Ex: you can create a dragon with a scale from a snake, or a minotaur from the horn or hair of a bull.
Once you have the materials… To be honest, I don't know where to go from here. Mind you, shape-shifting plays an important part in my story, so I can't scratch this out. So far, I was thinking that the caster would have to either ingest the items and fuse themselves into a jew form but it seems too… Easy? I'd like help in this area especially.
What it cannot do: Reanimated the dead Create life Hypnotize Paralyze
Drawbacks: I've seen a lot of "if you use this you'll become super tired" effects lately and I feel that it doesn't add enough risk because all you need is good sleep to fix it or just pass out and feel better later. I want to create something that would negatively impact the caster for a while.
So instead of growing tired, Alteration makes you restless. It's basically like a drug. Sleeping is incredibly difficult and it takes a toll on your body. This also affects your mental health, making you more irritated and aggressive, causing you to use alteration more and repeat the cycle. The only way to stop this is to slowly stop using alteration. But this can also be dangerous. If you have been using alteration for a week straight you'd have to slowly wane off, cause stopping immediately could put you into a coma or kill you. Not only that, but that period of waning will make you drowsy.
Now, this doesn't mean that making a fork bend will give you insomnia. Altering minor things gives a small boost, but it won't affect your sleeping pattern. However, turning a ship into a house will do that. It's mostly based off of how much and how long you alter. Basically, larger forms + longer time= higher dosage of the boost.
Boost?: A boost is basically the amount of energy being burned. It's like when you work out, lactic acid is produced which makes your muscles sore and stuff. For using energy, rather than creating a waste product that tires you, it makes you "energized" basically.
Limitations: You can only alter things by touching them. So you can't make a rock change it's form while casting from afar. You have to touch it.
Duel casting is possible, and any level can do it. So on one hand you could alter a stone while on the other you can manipulate water.
You can only alter at a certain distance. Beginners can only cast within around 3 feet, while the maximum for an advanced level is around the size of a football field.
Only the shape of the object can be altered, not the material, unless by fusion. So water cannot turn into wine unless the proper ingredients are mixed in. Other exceptions are ice and magma, which can only be done by a level 4 or higher.
You can only alter through objects if the object is either fuseable or the same to the material it touches. Ex: You can use an iron sword to manipulate iron armor as long as you are touching the sword.
Abilities (Alteration has subcategories that make it up) :
Fusion: Allows materials to mix to create something new. Ex: Altering water to touch dirt would allow it to fuse and form mud. Now, both the water an dirt can be controlled.
Filter: Breaks apart material and can separate mixed materials into their original states. Ex: A soaked rag can be separated into the liquid and the dry rag. This process usually requires duel casting if the caster wants to control both items.
Form: The basic spell of Alteration, and everyone starts off learning this. This allows you to change the shape of the object into something else. Ex: You can turn a stick into a shiv or a rock into a cube.
Focus: An important skill to learn. This allows you to let the object keep its original form. This is important, cause if you're wounded and you heal yourself, you'll have to know how to make it last or else your wounds will revert to its original state. Another example is if you cross a cliff by forming a rock bridge, that will need to stay or else it will return to the piece of the cliff you broke it off from, you will fall.
I think that's about it. I'll add anything that you all want me to clarify later, but for now, I would really appreciate if there's anything I need to fix, remove, or specify on. I think the concept itself is a good start, but something is bother me about the rest of it, though I don't know what…