WB: Technology and Magic

Drawing by Opal (14)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ― Arthur C. Clarke

Is your world magical, full of technology, both, or something else?

Once there is a map, and some idea of sciences and transportation on your world, reflect on the magic and/or technology that will govern the world. Here are some questions to ponder and define:

  • Does your world use magic?
    • If so, is it a hard or soft magic system (strict laws, or loose laws)?
    • Sort your favorite books and movies into hard and soft magic systems. What are your favorites?
    • What laws/limitations define your system? (wands, give something up, spells, superpowers, invisible forces,…)
    • Who can use magic?
    • How much does the magic in your world affect daily life?
  • Does your world have technology?
    • If so, is it advanced or primitive?
    • How does their technology compare to our current systems?
    • In what facets of life is technology used?
    • Do the same laws of physics apply or is there a different set of laws? (speed of light, gravity, sound, states of matter, etc.)
      • How do these laws affect the technology?
  • How does the magic and technology affect the politics, status of war/peace, and communities?

What laws control your universe?

Now for some STEAM Activities…

Note: You don’t need to do all of these – they are just examples for applying STEAM concepts in worldbuilding. Any one of these could be a lesson plan or activity. You can spend multiple days/classes on the same topic. Pick your favorites to add to your world’s portfolio.

  • Create a TinkerCAD drawing or blueprint of one of the technologies or magic items.
    • Create a model. (ex: wand, prototype, android, etc.)
  • Create a timeline for the History of Magic or the History of Technology.
    • Are there historical periods due to major changes? (ex: industrial revolution, renaissance, etc.)
    • Are there parallels in the history of magic/technology and the history of music and art?
  • Create a list of laws that govern the world (magic or science).
  • Write a short story on the origin of magic or on a scientific breakthrough.
  • Create a useful diagram for magic/technology. (ex: books of spells, wand theory, how engines work, transporter functions, etc.)
  • How does the magic/technology affect the basic needs and daily lives of the peoples in the world (sleep, food, work, water, etc.)? Write a flash fiction to look into a daily life of an inhabitant.

After these activities, you are probably grateful that you have a notebook or folder for your world. Some do this digitally, and some create hardbound books to be used in games, role play, novel-writing, and more. Whatever the approach, save what you have to be able to reach back to it later.