Story Title: Hunted
World Name: Earth
It is: Earth (Present) + (Magic)
Same in most aspects. The addition of magic, however, has added to the history of the world that most people know about (unlike series such as The Dresden Files and Nate Temple).
Since the start of recorded history, the world has had magic. Soothsayers, oracles, priests and magi have all walked and still walk on the Earth. Any story that one could think of involving people using 'supernatural' powers is true and any special creatures that people have spotted were all creations of magi.
As the world's technology started growing and civilization started advancing there needed to be ways to control the use of magic. The United States of America was the first to pioneer this mindset and, in 1850, issued the Law on the Use of Magic (otherwise known as the Magic Law) which limited the use of legal magic to the service and protection of the people of the USA. Any illegal use of magic would lead to punishment dependant on how magic was used. It usually ended up as twice the sentence of a 'normal' crime.
At first, the nation had a hard time enforcing their law and many around the world wondered if the Magic Law could work. Magi all over the United States were angry about their sudden powerlessness and loss of freedom. Whole cities burned to the ground and many lives were lost.
Yet, in 1861, a special USA military force was created to repel these rebellious magi. And they succeeded by being even more ruthless than the magi they were fighting as well as using artifices no one in the world had seen. In a short two years, the special force quelled the rebellious magi in what would be called the First Magic Inquisition. The force still exists today, yet hardly anyone knows their true name. They are just called the Inquisition.
The Magic Law had the power it needed and nations all around the world followed America's example. However, the creation of underground magi groups was unavoidable. The Inquisition quelled as many as they could yet when one group was put down five more appeared. It is a constant battle for the Inquisition to stomp down these illegal groups. The public has started calling these groups Black Cults. These cults became terrorists in the eyes of the public and would stop at nothing to try and reduce the limitations on their power.
They started growing in power and in 1950, when the world was still recovering from World War II, they attacked. Inquisition headquarters all over the USA and their brother/sister organizations in other nations were all destroyed at the same time on August 20th. This action, called the August Fires by some, started the Second Magic Inquisition which lasted ten years. The war was hard for the Inquisition and her allies as they had actively took part in World War II. This was the time when the Inquisition allowed for specialized magi to join under their flag. These magi were trained specifically to find, hunt and take down other magi. Their methods, skills and magic became a specialized style called Seeker Magic and the users Seekers.
The partnership was very questionable and very risky. Yet with their new allies help the Inquisition was able to repel and destroy most of the Black Cults. To this day, the Inquisition still has their magi forces and while the tension between them have improved it is not completely gone yet. This is because there have been a few instances of attacks from inside the Inquisition by both Seekers and Inquisitors.
These events have really put a dark mark on the reputation of magi around the world. Especially the ones that live in the United States. Even one that may be permanent. Being a mage in this day and age is considered a curse to many people and methods have been developed to remove or reduce this mysterious power. However, these methods are expensive, painful and sometimes even lethal. Many orphans are magi as their parents have disowned them as soon as their power came into fruition. Organizations have been created to help children and families who have magic powers to help them reduce the risk of their power (the most famous being the Institution for the Magically Gifted in England). The number of abandoned or disowned children have increased exponentially since the Second Magic Inquisition and only about 50% of the victims are magi. The rest were only feared to be magi.
The world has turned from a world that embraced magic to one that wants to shove it away. However, the world does not know how to handle it as magi have become a foundation of many aspects such as the development of technology. Also, the wars that have been halted by the use or idea of magic as well as the general good it does really confuses many people. Magi now stand in a grey area that seems to blacken by the decade.
With the use of magic, technology has gone on a path slightly different than normal Earth. It could be argued that technology is at the same level as normal Earth. However, magic has been intermingled with technology creating "artifices" which could do more than just technology or magic on their own. Artifices are still being developed and the world has not discovered just how powerful artifices could be. Yet they have been accepted by the general populace and many people have more artifices than normal technology. The problem is that artifices are much more expensive to purchase and harder to repair unless they have a strong magi to talk to. Magi repairmen are also more expensive to hire than normal repairmen.
Think of magic as another part of science. Specifically another part of biology and anatomy. Magic is intertwined deeply with the human body. So deeply that any damage to the cells and 'lobe' (explained below) could also damage other parts of the body.
Every person has a section of their brain that goes unused. At least people believed that it was unused. Recently however, studies have proven that this rather large section of the brain is tied to people's ability to use magic. What people do not know yet is that everyone uses that part of the brain at least a tiny bit even if they cannot use magic. For normal people, this is used to help sense magic as well as use artifices.
For magi, however, this is the magical center of their body. All of their magic comes from these parts of the brain and they are what regulate how much magic a person can use. This "Magic Lobe" sends signals throughout the body to activate normally inert cells. Activating these cells (called Spell Cells) generates energy that leaks out of the body. The Magic Lobe's signals include the activation of these Spell Cells, how to manipulate the energy from these cells as well as shutting the cells down when not using magic.
When the body has gathered the energy needed for a spell, as mentioned above, the energy leaks through the skin. However, it leaks in a specific pattern. This pattern helps determine how the energy wraps around itself to create the necessary spell. Scientists do not understand this pattern yet, but they have been able to isolate a couple of the "pattern strands." With this, they have determined that the pattern is different depending on the type of spell used, the individual spell as well as the individual person.
One type of spell is 'Summoning Magic' which allows magi to create a specific creature and then summon it into the world. These spells have a specific pattern to them and is one of the patterns that scientists have been able to isolate. Yet, these kinds of spells are difficult to pull off. They require immense power and multiple days to create. Not only that, but if they are to be summoned they need even more power as well as severe concentration. So much so that only about 10% of magi could do so and even less actually do summon creatures. There are reports of only one person able to actually summon a creature and fight with it and another single person who can summon multiple. The first is a high member of the Inquisition and the other is a mercenary for hire.
However, defensive spells can be used by anyone as they do not require as much in the form of energy and complexity. Yet, the downside of using this type of magic is that it has to have a continuous stream of magic and every hit on the defensive spell requires energy to recover what it lost. In this way, it can be really taxing for magi to hold if they are under heavy fire.
While Seeker magic is all about tracking specific energy patterns and disabling them. They are not directly offensive, more utility, yet they can be just as deadly in capable hands. These spells work by sending energy out to touch another person. When this happens, the energy seeks out the Spell Cells inside of the victim's skin and does various effects from blocking the brain's signals to activate to damaging them.
These and other types of magic allow for people to specialize. Typically only magi in the Inquisition can train in Seeker magic, but non-Inquisitors have been able to and anyone can learn any other kind of magic. So, there can be offensive magi, Seeker magi, and summoners. Specializations can go even deeper than that. Some magi become Sheild Magi, or Fire Magi. With games, this allows for talent trees for RPGs, units for RTS and Turn-Based Strategy or character customization in many different genres.
One needs to be careful when casting spells. Using too much magic can permanently damage not only the Spell Cells but the Magic Lobe as well. Any damage to these areas could reduce the person's magical ability as well as possibly killing them. Magi get plenty of warning as their skin will start tingling, as if their limbs fell asleep and just woke up, and the brain will have that same feeling. If they keep using magic past that point their head and skin will feel as if they were on fire. Anything else and they start damaging their cells and Magic Lobe.
Artifices, however, are different with a different set of rules. First, artifices must be created out of metal. It is the only material that allows magical energy to flow through the energy currents (etchings along the metal surface). However, the energy heats the metal. The heat is not enough to damage the metal, but it will harm the user if not properly insulated. Wood and leather both are used to help protect the user. Etchings are created in the metal in specific patterns to organize the energy in a specific way. These patterns are modeled after the patterns made by Spell Cells and the energy requirement to use artifices is very low. This allows non magi to use artifices as well but they have to be careful as using too much energy has the same consequences as a magi using too much magic. What helps, though, is that most artifices only require a small 'spark' of energy to activate.
It could be said that Artificers and Magi could be very equal when it comes to the power and abilities they could have. This is only partially true. While a lot of areas of Artifices and Magic are connected, there are a few differences that need to be addressed. One, the fact that artifices only have a set behavior. An artifice, for example, cannot create both a shield and spit out fire. The patterns etched in and the power it stores cannot handle multiple spells. Two, artifices may have only one function, but the energy needed to use that function is a fraction of what a mage needs. No one knows yet why, but a mage has to expend more energy to do the same exact thing as an artifice. Three, non-magi have a smaller pool of energy than magi. Which means that while artifices use less energy, they still cannot be used as much as magi can use their spells in a lot of instances.
Any other aspects of the world are the exact same, or only minorly different, than the real world Earth.
With the rise of weapons such as guns and the use of long ranged spells by magi, most battles are ranged… detached… impersonal. So the use of weapons such as swords and knifes is surprising and unpopular not to mention considered barbaric and personal. Yet they can really be deadly if used correctly and in a trained hand.
Law on the Use of Magic (Magic Law) - A law passed in 1850 by the United States of America. This law states the conditions of the legal use of magic and the punishments for the use of illegal magic. These punishments are usually harsher than their 'normal' counterparts. When the Inquisition proved that the Magic Law could be enforced well, many nations followed America's example creating sister laws and organizations. Some of these nations include Britain, France, Spain, Canada and Japan.
Inquisition - A special military force created in 1861 who were specifically trained to fight against magi. It was formed to enforce the Magic Law and protect the populace against magic. They took a heavy blow in the August Fires and had to recruit magi. When magi break the Magic Law it is up to this group to bring in the magi. They do have the authority to kill the criminal if deemed necessary under an article of the Magic Law.
First Magic Inquisition - The name of the first war between the Inquisition and magi. It lasted two years and proved to the world that magic can indeed be limited and controlled.
August Fires - The name of an event that happened in 1950. This is when the Inquisition in the USA and her sister organizations were attacked by Black Cults. Called the August Fires after the month of the attacks and the method of attack (Fire Bombs).
Second Magic Inquisition - The second war between the Inquisition and magi. This war lasted ten years, created the Seekers and reduced the Black Cults to small gangs that hide mostly in the shadows until they attack.
Black Cults - Illegal groups of magi similar to gangs. Consist of many different people that have the similar ideal that magic should not be limited by anything, but especially by law. Despite being hunted down by the Inquisition they manage to keep stable. Some people consider them similar to terrorists as they have attacked different monumental and major places around the world.
Artifices - Objects and technology that was created with a mix of magic and science. This category is very broad and consists of pretty much anything created in such a way. There are subcategories for artifices such as weaponized artifices and appliance artifices. They are very popular, but are more expensive than normal technology to the method and work put into making them.
Artificers - The people that can create artifices using the theory of magic. These people can be magi or non magi and usually do well for themselves.
Seekers - A specialized group of magi that are a part of the Inquisition. They use a specialized form of magic called Seeker Magic that are meant to hinder magi in anyway possible. Popular spells include those to disrupt the energy patterns of Spell Cells and shut down/numb the Magic Lobe.
Magic Lobe - A section of the brain previously believed that went unused. This is the magical center of a mage which controls Spell Cell energy production, energy patterns and how much magic a person can use. Those who are not magi still use this section to sense nearby magic use and to activate artifices. If this gets damaged the magical potential of a person becomes reduced or even ruined completely.
Spell Cells - Cells within a person's skin that works in tandem with the Magic Lobe to produce magical energy. They are inert normally, but when the Magic Lobe activates them they start producing energy. This energy is then 'leaked' through the skin in a specific pattern that then forms into the specific spell. If these are damaged then a person's magical ability can be reduced or even ruined.