13 Magic Blueprint Keys to Spellbinding Characters

In many loved fantasy stories, some kind of priceless guide — a spellbook, a mentor’s manual — offers profound wisdom and helps build a whimsical world.

World-building isn’t easy, though, and if you’re creating a detailed fantasy world, it’s a huge undertaking. Luckily, Plottr’s Magic Blueprint Character Template helps you conjure intriguing characters to inhabit supernatural and mystical worlds.

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What is the Magic System Blueprint?

Inspired by C.R. Rowenson’s Magic System Blueprint, Plottr’s Magic Blueprint Character Template helps you imbue your characters with fantasy.

Rowenson’s system gives authors a structure for building the magic systems that underpin their worlds.

If you think about it, keeping magic systems interesting and consistent is an essential component of writing compelling fantasy. You can’t have a protagonist develop new abilities two-thirds of the way through a story without a clear “why”. Fantasy isn’t “anything goes” — readers want to make sense, too.

A magic blueprint ensures that your system isn’t a random collection of hocus pocus, as it defines magic’s source, prevalence, ease of use, and other key factors.

Why Should You Use a Magic System Blueprint?

This structure allows you to map out your magic system’s core workings, ensuring consistency that sustains reader immersion.

If you’re writing fantasy or science fiction, set in a world where magic is just as common as a traffic jam on a Monday morning, you’ll surely thank yourself for creating this frame of reference to refer back to as you write.

How will creating a magic blueprint help you? You’ll be able to:

  • Define clear and consistent magic rules to prevent pesky plot holes
  • Create a magical hierarchy to intensify conflicts and engage your readers
  • Build unique, memorable characters who resonate with your readers and thrive within the magic system that they inhabit

Itching to start spellcasting? Keep reading to learn more about the Magic Blueprint Character Template.

What is Plottr’s Magic Blueprint Character Template?

This character template in Plottr will help you flesh out magical characters.

Let’s explore the Magic Blueprint Template’s thirteen key elements:

  • Name: A term or label to identify the magic itself (e.g. Healing or Corrupted Magic)
  • Type of Magic: Is the magic well understood or mysterious? Are its effects predictable or unpredictable?
  • Effects and Abilities: Describe the special effects and abilities the magic produces. Frame this in terms of how the magic impacts the character, and how the character impacts the world around them by using this type of magic
  • Limitations and Boundaries: Describe any limitations, costs, consequences, or countermeasures that exist relating to the magic. Do guilds, genetics or other factors play a part in how magic is used?
  • Source: Describe where the magic comes from, how much is present, and whether it can run out. Often this source is beyond a character’s reach, but sometimes interactions with  magic’s source are an integral part of a story
  • Transference: The degree to which the magic can be acquired, lost, or transferred to others (e.g. high or low transference capability). If it’s something that can be shared, ask whether your characters are generous or stingy in sharing their magic
  • Prevalence: The degree to which the magic is widespread and commonplace. Does your entire cast have abilities, or only a select few?
  • Naturalness: How much magic seems “natural” or “normal” for the setting. Is it something characters hide to avoid persecution, or is magical practice commonly known and accepted or even lauded?
  • Ease of Use: The degree to which the magic can be used safely and effectively. Does magic require intensive learning or specific tools or conditions?
  • Reliability: The degree to which the magic consistently produces the expected results. How predictable is it, and how frequently can it be used with confidence?
  • Balance: Does the magic create power disparities in the world or between characters? How does this impact their relationships?
  • Perception: How is the magic viewed by others? Is it good or evil? Is it desirable?
  • Consistency: The degree to which the magic is consistent with the rest of the magic system. Is there something special about each character’s abilities, for example, or are all magical abilities equal in potential?

Defining each of these elements will help you breathe life into your magic system (and your characters’ relationship to it). Next, for the sake of illustration, let’s look at some examples of how J.K. Rowling weaves her distinctive magic into the fabric of the Harry Potter series.

Example of Plottr’s Magic Blueprint Character Template

Here’s how J.K. Rowling intertwines her magic system and characters in the Harry Potter series. See how her system could fit the framework of the Magic Blueprint.

Magic Blueprint Character Template in Plottr Example

  • Name: Spellcasting
  • Type of Magic: Its effects are predictable, given the right incantations and wand movements
  • Effects and Abilities: Spellcasting allows for a wide range of abilities, from levitating objects (Wingardium Leviosa), to disarming opponents (Expelliarmus), and even killing (Avada Kedavra). It also allows healing, invisibility, and transformation
  • Limitations and Boundaries: A wand is typically required for magic, and spells need to be learned and practiced. There are restrictions on underage magic use, and forbidden spells (Unforgivable Curses). Using a wand that hasn’t chosen the user results in diminished effects
  • Source: Magic is an innate ability in certain individuals, typically inherited. However, characters in the series have yet to fully understand its origin, especially when it appears in “muggle-borns” (children of non-magical parents)
  • Transference: Witches and wizards cannot transfer their magic to non-magical people. A witch or wizard’s powers can be improved with training and experience
  • Prevalence: In the wizarding world, magic is high in prevalence and used frequently and openly. However, in the overall population, it’s uncommon
  • Naturalness: In the wizarding world, magic is high in naturalness. It’s part of everyday life, from education to transportation, to work. In the broader world, magic is not expected or regarded as natural
  • Ease of Use: Ease of use is low at first but improves with education and practice. Mispronunciations or incorrect wand movements cause spell failures or unexpected outcomes
  • Reliability: Once magic is well-practiced, the reliability of spellcasting is high. Results are typically consistent, barring external factors or inappropriate use
  • Balance: Magic creates power disparities, especially between the magical and non-magical worlds. Even within the wizarding community, there’s a disparity between those who are skilled and knowledgeable and those who aren’t
  • Perception: Among wizards and witches, magic is a normal and integral part of life. Among non-magical people, views range from ignorance to fear, especially among those few who are aware of its existence. Generally speaking, magic is kept secret from those who do not have abilities
  • Consistency: The magic system in the Harry Potter universe is high in consistency. The rules of magic, once established, are adhered to throughout the series. Spells have consistent effects, and the requirements and limitations of magic remain constant

How to Use the Magic Blueprint Character Template

Ready to give this template a try? Let’s walk through a step-by-step guide on just how to do it. First, you’ll need to purchase Plottr or sign up fo a free trial.

Once you have Plottr setup on your computer,  follow these steps to add the Magic Blueprint Character Template to your project.

  • Step 1: Open Plottr and start a new project (or open an existing one)

Use Magic Blueprint Template with Plottr Step 1

  • Step 2: Click the + button to the right of Characters (or open an existing one), then click the +Add Template tab

Use Magic Blueprint Template with Plottr Step 2

  • Step 3: Select the Magic Blueprint template from the pop-up list and click the Choose button to add it to your character’s profile. Keep in mind that you can only attach your system to one character, so it’s best to attach it to your main character’s profile

Use Magic Blueprint Template with Plottr Step 4

  • Step 4: Create your magic system

That’s it! Now you can easily use Plottr’s Magic Blueprint Template to brainstorm how magic affects each character in your story. This template goes well with these others:

The Secret’s in the Sorcery

Whether you’re weaving together captivating tales of high fantasy, or telling enchanting supernatural tales, Plottr’s Magic Blueprint Character Template will help you make magic happen.

Dive into the Magic Blueprint Character Template now and get help using Plottr with free weekly live training. Remember to share your experiences in the comments!

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