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  • I always like to imagine in games how could the game universe could actually function. So I was pondering how the elder scrolls magic and enchantments could be "possible" through my rather elementary understanding of basic physics, so here it goes. Magic and enchantments are simply the process and ability of being able to effect a particles energy levels. For fire and ice it would be effecting the thermal energy. For example a fire sword would transfer its kinetic energy into an exothermic (endothermic for ice) energy reaction when struck against an object. And for electricity spells and enchantments it transfers kinetic energy into a high voltage potential that will arc through air or enemies. And for any spells you use your personal magika to cause these energy changes. And in turn also to further power enchantment reactions would be by use of souls in soul gems. Also for regenerating magika, it could be a person's ability to convert and harness photon light energy, magnetic energy, and other natural energies into their personal energy. Potions could be a chemical energy as well. So that's my bit of rambling, but I hope others can add to my realism thoughts.

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    • I always imagine magic as some kind of futeristic technology that isnt discovered.

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    • Its definitely not a technology, considering people do it as a part of their natural abilities. I'm fairly certain that your belief that magic manipulates energy in the way you said is partially accurate.

      I believe that magic in the elder scrolls may not be the manipulation of these scientific energies, but perhaps the manipulation of the laws that control them. The laws of physics in the universe of the elder scrolls are most certainly not the same as ours. It is highly possible that magic manipulates the laws of the universe, which would explain how it can create entirely new planes of existence with different laws of physics than ours.

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    • I reckon magic imply can't be fully understood by mortals. You can have all the theories you like, but you can't understan properly. Therefore, magic can only be fully understood by gods, the aedra, daedra and tribunal. I'm not including other things that don't grow old like vampires and spirits as they can still die by other means. This applies both in game and in the real world, we are mortal, so cannot understand immortal energies. When asked about various things such as time, the dragons have struggled to explain in terms a mortal would understand. Because of course, the dragons are the closest to the truly immortal that you can find on nirn. 

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    • So we actually know pretty well what magic is within the universe, and it doesn't wholey apply to IRL physics (though I do believe that the quantum world exists in a way).

      Simply put: Magic is emotion made manifest.

      Without going to crazy into deep lore, the universe, the Aurbis, is the mind of the Godhead, ANU (sometimes called ALD-ANU, not to be confused with Anu). As such, everyhing within the Dream is a manifestation of his emotional and mental state. This can be seen in many styles within lore. Freud's ego, super-ego, and id are readily visable in Anui-el/Sithis/Mundus. Jungian archtypes are recognizable within the gods. Each Aedric/Daedric being, the big ones especially, are a manifested emotion and thought of the Godhead. The Mundex experience is where it all comes together. It is the most conscious portion of the mind. This is why only mortals can achieve CHIM and walk the other Walking Ways.

      Magic is the consciousness manipulating itself through manifestation of their individual emotions. There is a book (I forget which one) where a student learns to manifest fire. She thinks of red, and how it make her feel, and this ignites the flame.

      To understand the physics of the Aurbis completely, it is best to understand psychology first.

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    • to think that magics differs from physics is the trap that stirs your superstitious minds...

      While it is true that we don't really have magic at our disposal, it would be ludicrous to think magic is just something that... happens just because it's magic. everything in the world is formed through a set of rule that cannot be changed. And these rules will not break just because you introduce new elements into the blender, as these rules are stronger than anything that exists, and they will have to be since everything that exist in front of us all rely on these rules to do what they do.

      Yes, even though we don't get to use magics because of the circumstances our planet was formed, that doesn't mean we can't understand it, because if you look closely, you can see that all fictional magic follows these basic rules, and non attempts to change it because to deny them would be like denying we have blood in our body.

      One of them being...well, magic requires energy to happen. Yep...i know it sounds like a "no-duh!" answer, but there's more to it than that! You see... EVERYTHING is governed by the laws of physic, it's not just a bunch of rules scientists written down. it's all from experiments and observations of how our world behaves when things happens. So if we could form ice spikes out of our hands...it would still be a part of the law of physics, because we can observe the phenomenon, and prove it's a thing which can happen. Which is why i bring up the energy thing, energy is the currency physic uses, if you want to do ANYTHING under the ruling of our physics, you'll need energy.

      So what does energy do? it...moves things...seriously...i know that doesn't sound impressive, but that's literally what physics is all about...the more mass a thing have, the more energy you need to move it around. Gravity is just the spacetime distortion brought on by our massive planets, our earth having way more mass than we do requires a whole helluva lot more energy to be moved. But that's not all, ANYTHING with ANY MASS will distort spacetime and create gravitational pull on themselves, most things we interact with doesn't have enough mass to do anything to us though...but the point being, this distortion of spacetime gives the earth the power it need to keep everything on its surface, and without this energy, we'd be...dead

      There are many different kinds of origins of magical powers in fiction...just to keep things interesting. The reason isn't all that important, i mean, if they really knew how to give peopl actual abilities to manipulate the world and physics around us they wouldn't be making videogames. Sometimes people would be taking mana from the air or the ground, or sometimes directly from a god/goddess(which is the setting i'm using for my up-coming comic series). but in western culture, we like to think it comes directly from our bodies.

      There are many examples in our culture...or just videogames that shows people taking magic powers right from our own body. The world of elder scrolls is very different from ours, with its own plants and animals, but the laws of physics still checks out, the size of tamriel and its gravititional pull are mostly correct, so does most of the other things in the world, so it's safe to assume this world is very much bound to the same rules of physics as like we do. while i didn't have a lot of things to compare with real life, i have noticed something interesting while i'm playing around with the alchemy station...Salt piles! 

      Salts comes from sea water! Something we have in our world! Salts are made from the large amount of Sodium Chloride in the water! And one of the best way to obtain them is to raid fishing barrels, where the sea water will dry up and leave only the salts behid! if the Sea in skyrim have so much salt just like our world, that means this world is closer to us than we thought!

      But why am i bringing this up? Simple, because most fictional world where magic comes from our body ALL need SALT to work!!! without salt we'd be DOOOMED when trying to fight with magic. WHY? WHY???? Because magic requires energy! and ENERGY in our body comes from Sodium potassium pump process!

      Basically, when our body need more energy, it opens up the ion gate, and a cell pushes three sodium ions into one side of the membrane, and pulls two potassium into the other side! it repeats this process until an unbalanced charge is created, giving the side with more potassium ions a negative charge and the side with more sodium ions a positive charge! this is what gives us the energy we need to move our bodies to do what we do. 

      But what does salt have to do with this? because salt IS sodium chloride! and what are the positive effects of salt in our game? Magicka regeneration and Fortify restoration! While the negative effect is Weakness to magic, these are all magic based for a reason!

      If we need energy to cast spells we'll get them from our own body! if we don't have enough energy then we need more Sodium and Potassium, salt have Sodium, and Potassium are commonly from plants and vegetables! two things that we can easily find in our potion recipies with Salt Piles and our own body. for instance, a Magicka regeneration potion can be made with Salt and Taproot...sounds familiar? Sodium and Plant! there's also the option of Garlic and Jazbay Grapes.

      what does this mean? this means that the mages in skyrim requires the sodium potassium pump process to naturally recover magicka quickly, just like we need them to get energy!

      And i've also looked over the recipes for restore magicka, and most of the ingredients seems to have magicka in them already, like human flesh(everyone even if not mages will still have magicka in their body not limited by their race), taproot(cut from Spriggans), fire/frost salts(from Atronachs) and so on. so restore magicka potions doesn't actually help you recover magicka naturally, you're probably distilling actual magicka from other things for direct use! This would mean the alchemy in skyrim isn't nonsense, you're actually creating bottled up chemical reactions for your dovahkiin to drink! 

      I actually realized this by playing...no joke, Bio shock...i always thought it was strange that things like Soda or alcoholic beverages have Mana in them, until i thought about how we create energy from our body and it all started to add up! Soda and most alcoholic beverages contains sodium! in large amount too! so if they're also using sodium potassium pump to create mana, it would make sense that sodium can supply us with magic like in skyrim!

      Now, i'm no expert of magic, but good writers always do their homework, and once they come up with something that needs to exist in their world, they will have to find a way to explain it with actual physics since...well, it's unlikely they have observed phenomenons millions of scientists haven't already. So they keep it real to create a concrete world.

      And there are countless proof that Skyrim works just like our world. Like the add-on with Dawnguard DLC, where you traverse into the world souls gets sent to after being used up in a soul gem for your enchantments. Now, it is spcifically shown that souls doesn't actually get USED UP, what really happens is that they are offered up to the Soul Masters, you offer the soul to them and they reward you with what you want, the better the offer, the greater the return, the soul isn't literally sealed into your equipments.

      The spcifics aren't super important, but i did have the theory that the energy for enchantments are created through the process of soul being sent through dimensions...to the Souls Cairn...but there's not really a lot of evidence to solidify that theory, and it seems like they're not creating Sci-fi, so they just went with the Soul masters granting you power. which does make sense in the realm of their world, since a lot of the powers possessed by people of Tamriel are granted by god like beings(Dragon created by Akatosh, and Dragonborn blessed by Kynareth). Much like our myths about greek gods(fun fact, most of the skyrim are inspired by greek culture), with one of the famous example being Prometheus giving humans fire.

      But magics? How can something so Physic defiling exist? well, we can't do it, but in fantasy worlds, manipulation of physics are a common thing. like the Th'um dragons can use, their abilities are given to them by Akatosh--the king of gods. You see, while we like to think gods are above the laws of physics, that is simply not true, as i've said, physic isn't a written rule you can just disobey, it's how the world works to keep balance! But, gods and mythic beings are constanly shown to be capable of manipulating physics, they can use their abilities to...well, directly control physics to do their bidding. 

      For example, the Th'ums, the shouting of the words of powers allows the dragon to literally COMMAND physics with their voice! when they say "Yol", they're literally telling physic to make the chemical reactions to happen and burn the AIR and unfortunate dovahkiin in front of them so they can piss out a mighty stream of fire on their target! And this is true! Since the Greybeards describes Fus as you pushing the world harder than it pushing back(another rule of physic applied to a magical shout), because whenever you apply a force, the world around you is gonna push back just as hard, hard enough to cancel that force and send the object to a halt! And by applying more force than the object can push back, you'll push the object, and with enough force you can compromise their integrity to--and i quote"Literally shout him apart."

      then later you can give this ability to humans and turn them into dovahkiins through blood! Not through MAGICAL SPELLS, but instead through biochemistry...And this is why humans can use Th'um if they train enough, they're descendants of gods, their blood have dissipated, but they can still use these words of power to command the world if they can find their knack again. Even the Dovahkiin doesn't come out of the box equipped with Th'um, they have to steal that knowledge from memories of dragons or be granted the knowledge from Greybeards.

      so it's conceivable that there once was a god in tamriel who gave the humans the knowledge to manipulate physics to their whim, and all you gotta do is to...obtain that knowledge...and when that knowledge is written down? Aspiring mages can read them and start toying with physics to their every whim.

      So that's basically it, in the world of Tamriel people have the means to bend the Sodium Potassium pump process to their whim with spells, Magicka are just the electricity made from our own body(i mean, you've heard about gods giving humans magic spells, but not really any god that gave them Magicka right?), and they apperantly have the abilities to manipulate physics the way they see fit, an ability given to them by some superior race. And Magic doesn't solve or explain everything! You always need some semblance of realism and logic to make your fictional world interesting and identifiable!

      if everything is "BECAUSE MAGIC" then where would be the fun of it? Everyone can just be mages and do literally anything they want! The power to manipulate the physical world needs experiments and actual hardwork to develop, you can't just use magic to do or explain whatever you want. 

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    • if we're using "unexplainable" to "explain" something...then i'd doubt we'd actually be able to explain anything...being "un-explainable" and all...it's all about science, man. Science is not a belief you can just believe in, there's not a science god watching over you or anything. Science is just a tool people use to accurately measure...everything, without their judgements clouded by anything else, especially by superstition. heck, even superstition minds are protrayed in Skyrim as bad, something to be shunned upon and it's not a positive mindset. And Scientific beliefs aren't a religion, it's just the facts we Humans spent so much time discoveting and validating over and over until we finally remove any doubt that this works any other way. So to say Science can't explain something would be like...saying that thing just makes no frigging sense in the realm of logic...

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    • i basically made this short analysis(yeah...that was the short version) to give you a more satisfying answer to magic and the manipulation of physics...i mean what? Magicka is your emotion? ego? even if that is true and you know anything about what those words means...what does that explain?

      Do you really believe our Dovahkiin--these emotionless husks of shells really have any...psychology expertise? And the Mages at the College are just studying psychology? By far non of the mages i've seen really looks like they possesses any kind of psychological capabilities...

      There are just way too much inconsistancies to make that explaination satisfying or mean anything at all. but once i've grabbed onto the salt problem, i've started to peel back the layers of SCIENCE and really boils them down to a understandable coclusion.

      While yes there are still some holes like...just how are these gods manipulating physics? How are they pushing the world harder than it pushes back? But like i said...if i knew how to do that i wouldn't be here...and there's not really any gods out there to be interviewed about the subject.

      So for now, that's just the kind of the suspension of disbelief we need to lend to our game developers to get some good entertainment, we can't just force them to crack the codes of the universe just so they can explain everything that happens in their game. At the moment, i'm fine with just gods granting humans powers, it keeps things nice and tidy, without much complications. And all we need to do is to just offer them souls from time to time to gain their favor(Like literally that's all they ever want!)

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    • Sothas wrote:
      So we actually know pretty well what magic is within the universe, and it doesn't wholey apply to IRL physics (though I do believe that the quantum world exists in a way).

      Simply put: Magic is emotion made manifest.

      Without going to crazy into deep lore, the universe, the Aurbis, is the mind of the Godhead, ANU (sometimes called ALD-ANU, not to be confused with Anu). As such, everyhing within the Dream is a manifestation of his emotional and mental state. This can be seen in many styles within lore. Freud's ego, super-ego, and id are readily visable in Anui-el/Sithis/Mundus. Jungian archtypes are recognizable within the gods. Each Aedric/Daedric being, the big ones especially, are a manifested emotion and thought of the Godhead. The Mundex experience is where it all comes together. It is the most conscious portion of the mind. This is why only mortals can achieve CHIM and walk the other Walking Ways.

      Magic is the consciousness manipulating itself through manifestation of their individual emotions. There is a book (I forget which one) where a student learns to manifest fire. She thinks of red, and how it make her feel, and this ignites the flame.

      To understand the physics of the Aurbis completely, it is best to understand psychology first.

      BTW what? Why would you need to "Believe" quantum world exists? it has existed for as long as...the universe has been around! Quatum mechanic is just a study about how physics works at a molecular level with atoms and stuff...there's no need to believe it exists or not. I don't think quantum world is the word you're looking for here, since our world is also a quantum world, we're just observing it as really big sentient lifeforms, so quantum physic have been happening right under our nose. the word you're looking for is probably..."The Many Worlds Theory", a field of study about how there are probably different worlds with different outcomes than ours and interact with them if possible, and maybe even make sure the outcomes will be totally controlled even if the chances are still a coin-flip. in which case...maybe they exists...? Which is honestly the furthest most have gotten with this study at the time...

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    • Magic isn’t an exact science if it would be, it would be a science. Needlessly to say Magic in TES likely bends or even breaks the Laws of Physics. After all Time-Travel is believed to be physically impossible. Yet in Skyrim Alduin is banished some 4000+ years into the future via an Elder Scroll.

      While I think magic in TES and in general can ignore the laws of physics and the Laws of Conservation of Matter, Mass, and Energy its mortals that can’t. I think in TES magic usually works within science rather than beyond it. While it can, it’s not ideal. As science holds the physical world together. Start breaking all the laws that govern it, the world would be damaged and maybe even beyond repair. Not to mention mortal can’t take into account for the entirely of universal laws when they try to use powerful spells.

      Gods are as limited. However I also believe that while the powers of the Aedra/Dedra are magic. They are so far transcended that like how magic is beyond science. I think the powers of the gods are beyond the magic used by mortals.

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    • Sothas wrote:
       

      Magic is the consciousness manipulating itself through manifestation of their individual emotions. There is a book (I forget which one) where a student learns to manifest fire. She thinks of red, and how it make her feel, and this ignites the flame.

      I know this is a bit late, but the book is part of the 2920, The Last Year of the First Era series, specifically vol 10 - Frostfall 2920. (It's also not about creating fire, but of summoning a Daedroth)

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