What are your ideas?
Before I start, I want to say all of these are just ideas, even if I write fact like. It's just easier for me this way. Some idea maybe familiar from different movies or rpg-s I just tried to put together as many as I can, so everyone can find (I hope) something to like.
So we play in a big fantasy world with a lot of species and kingdoms. I imagined they have different relationship with magic, everybody can have their own traditions. As the time passed the traditions met and mixed up. There is now different ways to cast a spell and differnet views of the magic.Casting a spellMotion:
Usually requires hand and finger gestures, but some tradition it could be dancing (like shamanic traditions). Or I also could imagine motionless, like meditation, but the key here is the body, not the meditating mind.Words:
You have to at least whisper magical verbs, if you want to cast a spell. It could be a singing to.Motion and Words:
You have to do both of the things above.Mind:
You can cast only to think about the spell. It's harder then the other ways, because the motions and words can help your mind to concentrate the energy.TraditionsSpellcasters:
This is what most of the magicians and beginner students do. Learn an exact spell, and they can cast it. They can change the spell, but just much as the learnt spell allows them. For example if you learn the fireball spell, you can only choose the target, and the fireball power.True names:
This tradition belive everything has a true name. When you learn the true name of an item or a person, you gain power over it. The followers of this tradition has great libraries, where they store the true names of a lot of thing. The first problem (beside you have to learn a lot of words) is you can't learn the true name of a tree. You can learn the true name of the pine tree, the oak tree etc. You also have to learn some verbs. If you know the true name of the iron and you also know the word: melt, then you can melt iron. Because of this, the followers of this tradition usually use words to cast a spell. It's like they just giving instructions in a magical language. However very difficult to find out a person or an intelligent lifeform (count in orcs, dragons, demons etc.) true name. So these mages I usually operate with objects and materials.(Note: healers can learn the true names of organs or body parts to heal them, if the target isn't resisting. Unconsciousness always means no resist.)Mosaic Magic:
In this tradition you can build up your spell from pieces. You know a lot of small spells or spell parts, what you can combine the way you like. For example you want to enchant a sword's blade with flames. You do this the following way: a, summon the fire b, form it to a blade shape, c, decided how long will it last. You put together this from three parts: material, shape, time. In this tradition you can affect an another person. I mean you don't require his true name to cast a mind controlling spell on her/him. However every person has some level of resistance what basically depends on the person's willpower. But that can be increased through practice.Adepts:
This tradition only cast spells that affects their own body. In this way, they can be strong, quick or the fire don't burn them etc. It doesn't mean other tradition can't do this, it means the Adepts are the specialist in it. They usually cast their spells with only using their minds.The price of spellcasting:
In every table top or computer rpg the spells have a price. It' usually mana (or mana point). I don't think we need this, because it's a free form rp. So I simply suggest, every spell drains some lifeforce from the caster. This amount is depends things like how strong is the spell, how quick you cast it, and how complicated it is. In time the mage gain power, so she/he can cast more and more spells.
Okay now you think I cheating. You think I play an undead mage how can cast spells, and above I told that spells require lifeforce. I assure there is no cheat, because I haven't explain to you the what I mean under lifeforce. When a mage cast a spell, the spell drains energy from her/him and weakens the bond between spirit and body. It could have physical symptoms, like bleeding nose or ears. My character has also this bond, the only difference it's an artificial bond, not a natural one. That's why he can cast spells harder.
So these my point of view about magic. I'm looking forward to your opinions. :)