forum Need help with plants and magic ingredients
Started by @Purple-Cat location_cityThe Worldbuilder

people_alt 70 followers

@Purple-Cat location_cityThe Worldbuilder

I’ve been making up a lot of fantasy plants. Some of them are ingredients in spells, potions and what I simply call dust (think something like pixie dust from the tinkerbell pirate fairy movie but more specific). I want to try and put these plants into magic recipes but I’m not sure how. They are all different and logically would do different things in different recipes. Some of them are categorised as only used in dust, spells or potions but I just did that at random to have more variety.

I was thinking of giving them abilities in a similar way as real plants have meanings, like honour, respect and stuff like that and combining the plants in various different ways would create different magic. But I know nothing about that stuff beside that it exists?

Idk if I should base it on colour or plant type or biome or what.

If anyone knows anything about that kind of plant stuff or has made up their own magic recipes with plants I’d love some tips

@Serpentess health_and_safety languageChaos Shall Reign

So, for making ingredients and stuff like that, you can actually reference traditional medicine, Native American medicine, and just herbs in general. Also, for a more modern approach, pharmaceuticals. And, for the magic side to it, real life witchcraft and wiccan herbs can be a good reference.

Many times, it is only a particular part of the plant that is medicinal, with the rest either having no effect, or even being toxic. Dosage also plays a big part, especially with poisonous plants, because sometimes too little or too much of the herb could drastically change the effects of the medicine. Though, other times, the dosage has little effect on the medicine, or it takes chronic use to actually show any adverse effects.

For the magical side, sometimes the ‘magic’ is nothing more than traditional medicine and superstition. But, to make it actually magical, you could actually exaggerate the medicinal properties to a ‘magical degree’, lol. So, for a typical herb that helps with, say, a cold, it could instead cure diseases (whether this is straight from the plant or used as a potion, is up to you). For a herb that eases pain, it could instead remove every pain in the person’s body until the herb wears off (and you could easily add adverse effects to this one, like overdosing causes numbness and paralysis, etc). A good thought to keep in mind with magic, that can help keep it from getting so overwhelming, is that most magic is based on something real, like herbs that cure disease being based on a herb that just soothes a cold.

For symbolism, location and culture plays a big part. The size/shape and any medicinal/recreational properties of the plant can contribute as well.

So, for a very simple example, lol, say there’s a herbal plant with a heart-shaped flower. Eating the petals of the flower could be an aphrodisiac, or, for a younger audience, could be like an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant (or otherwise something that just increases happiness). And, say there’s a kingdom on the verge of war near where these plants grow. This plant will probably become a way to de-stress, and could even serve in love potions, happiness potions, etc. As a result, it might accumulate symbolic meanings of love and happiness, and maybe even good luck/fortune or similar meanings.

In short, the symbolism of the plants is likely going to be the most tedious part. Symbolic meanings can change drastically over time, as do the cultures that make them, and even the plants themselves (especially if they’re cultivated/farmed). But, overall, usually the meanings will reference something the plant can do, its appearance, its location and its ability to survive there (for more rare or hardy plants), or even just meaningful events/people/cultures that otherwise having nothing to do with the plant (like a famous individual collecting pretty flowers on their journey somewhere, and that plant is later associated with that person and their deeds, and possibly even considered to be one of the reasons that person succeeded).

I hope this helps, grin.

@Purple-Cat location_cityThe Worldbuilder

Thanks for the advice, this is really helpful. I went through my notes on how potions might work in my world and had forgotten that they mostly work with emotions on top of other magic so basing them off of medicine is a great idea!