Questions and critique of how my magic system could carry implications of character.


Currently in a rewrite and decided I wanted to dive into one of my magic systems more in-depth through a minor antagonist that was previously killed out of POV. With this, I also have the chance of further developing his character.

Basic rundown of the system,

Energy-based emission and enhancement with certain factors determined by named bloodlines. Inbreeding has resulted in users having their emission arm imprisoned by a brace. Limits as follows: users are only resistant to the force and heat they project, the brace expands and contracts with energy, breaking the user's arm in some situations, and all users have an undefined heat tolerance that is used as a plot device.

The ability to emit and enhance is tied to an event and emotion referred to as an emotional crutch and is used as a switch so users do not emit and enhance at all times.

So here is what I've done with it so far,

  • The character is introduced in his enhanced state, resulting the POV believing him to be the embodiment of primal hate. (anger is his emotional crutch)
  • All of his actions in this state show restraint. The description of his rage is that it, "leaks from a facade of an inhumanly calm demeanor".
  • The character never exits out of this state, dialogue throws out the implication that anger is the source of his power and that he can no longer escape from it.

I'm trying to mix character and magic explanation here. So, the reader now knows the character is not an inhuman monster, but rather a magic user caught up in an implicated cost of the system.

So the development moving forward is that the character relates all of his other emotions to hate while remaining aware that the magic system is the cause of this, creating an air of apathy around him.

  • His guilt for getting his men killed: anger at his own inability and hate for the enemy.
  • His love for his men: Seen as uncharacteristic affection due to his hate and apathetic feelings towards everything else.
  • A sense of honor and duty in completing his mission: Tying in the rest of the world here, but his hate for his superiors and how he must prove them wrong for sending him and his men on a suicide mission.
  • Acceptance of his death: The climax of the hate he feels for the enemy and his superiors, believing he had to have harmed both of them despite losing. This comes to a climax where he is fatally wounded but teaches the inhuman major antagonist what mortality is. _____________________________________________________________

So what more can I do with it?

I was thinking I could get more into the event that he finds the source of his anger at, revealing more of the world's practices (artificial emotional crutches) without diverting from the main narrative.

I could reveal that he is the patriarch of his bloodline and that all the men that the major antagonist devoured were his literal sons, but imply that he is not actually angry because his sons were killed but rather that the antagonist stole the biological magic system they all use. This could cement that he actually does feel a sense of superiority to all other beings.

I could have him die in his state of primal rage due to his heat tolerance breaking, revealing another limiting factor for the system.

Is there anything I am missing that I could expand on, add, or use in my narrative?

Do you think this is a good way to mix character and magic system, or could there be a better technique?

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