Edwin Evans-Thirlwell: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-08-13-putting-the-magic-back-into-fantasy-games

Games will always have limitations to magic but when, “magic is, by definition, the art of doing the impossible” (Thirlwell, 2016) it makes us question why that is. There are two reasons for this – enjoyment and balance.

Games such as WoW or Dark Souls thrive on beating difficult opponents without which would create no sense of achievement. Balance is necessary for magic because”powerful spells… [make] it too easy for the protagonists to overcome challenges.” (Buck, 2014). Evidence of this is clearly evident in the following case:

“Magic without limitations is like Superman. Because Superman is too powerful, Superman comics and movies are lame. His opponents are either too overmatched or too overblown…” – McHugh, 2012 (fantasy writer)

The addition of such limitations with magic systems can help to convey the story. When the systems follow the religions or rules of the contextual worlds they reside in they, “break the mold, [and] you get some of the best supernatural rules in roleplaying.” (Ashkenazi, 2015). Limiting magic in games becomes both a necessity to make the game more enjoyable and balanced overall.


Ashkenazi, O. (2015). Five Great Magic Systems in Roleplaying Games – Mythcreants. [online] Mythcreants.com. Available at: http://mythcreants.com/blog/five-great-magic-systems-in-roleplaying-games/

Buck, E. (2014). Four Ways to Limit Magic & Technology – Mythcreants. [online] Mythcreants.com. Available at: http://mythcreants.com/blog/four-ways-to-limit-magic-technology/

Girl, J. (2011). Superman. [image] Available at: http://getnuts.net.br/geek-art-os-super-herois-hq-de-greg-horn/superman-2

McHugh, I. (2012). On The Definitive Rules For Writing Magic (Or, Some Shit My Writers’ Group Made Up One Night). [online] Ian McHugh. Available at: https://ianmchugh.wordpress.com/on-writing/on-the-definitive-rules-for-writing-magic-or-some-shit-my-writers-group-made-up-one-night/

Moore, M. (2011). Basics of Game Design. [online] Google Books. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=E9JG6JjPU-sC&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=limiting+magic+in+games&source=bl&ots=O-s-sdDMGq&sig=fnK90JQm98Y7I4sfTIwDVzAufPE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0tvni4czOAhXKJJQKHQ4dCgwQ6AEIKDAC#v=onepage&q=limiting%20magic%20in%20games&f=false

Thirlwell, E. (2016). Putting the magic back into magic in fantasy games. [online] Eurogamer.net. Available at: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-08-13-putting-the-magic-back-into-fantasy-games