How to Write Magic Types: Alteration and Transmutation (Creative Writing)

“Transmutation Circle Wallpapers” from

The magic that can change the very fabric of reality and matter.

Just from that small description it should be obvious that these are very powerful magic types.

I’ve put them together because they are very similar and do about the same thing.

One thing I want to mention is that the name of these magic types came from D&D and Skyrim.

Unlike the others, which have universal terms to describe them, from what I’ve found this type does not have one.

So to simplify things I’ll just use these terms instead of making one up.

Without further ado, we start with Transmutation.

The Effects of Transmutation

Transmutation is not that great by itself.

It doesn’t focus on damaging the enemy but instead on status effects.

But, that doesn’t mean that there’s no way to make this broken, because of course it can.

First, a basic combat use of Transmutation is to transform your skin into stone for defense.

You can be creative by turning your body into water or gas to become untouchable.

You can also turn your opponents skin into stone to petrify them or their blood into acid to instant kill them.

Maybe you can even vaporize them by turning them into air.

You see, Transmutation requires imagination to be useful in combat.

The other stuff it can do in and outside battle include:

  • Changing the environment
  • Flight
  • Transformation (Polymorph)
  • Weapon creation or manipulation
  • Everything shown in the anime: “Fullmetal Alchemist”.


Finally, truly the most broken aspect of transmutation….

Destroying the economy by making infinite money!

Anyway, for more info on Transmutation, D&D style, check out this video.

Not everything will be the generalized version, the example being Time stop, but it’s still a good video.

The Effects of Alteration

With it, you can warp reality on a massive scale along with adding telekinesis to your bag of tricks.

This is not even counting that Alteration has added the laws of physics to things it can change.

Most of the time, when using Transmutation you can’t manipulate what’s made but with Alteration you can.

You can do almost anything, including the magic types that involve the natural world.

So no illusion.

Still, your control over what you create is not equal to other magic types.

So you might lose in a battle of control when facing a fire mage. To prevent this you can just change the fire into something else.

That’s pretty much it, nothing more to add on Alteration that hasn’t already been said in Transmutation.

If they have any weakness, it could only be that it requires extremely high intelligence to use at max level.

For more info on Alteration, Skyrim style, check out this video.

Their Place in World-building

In your story, there needs to be a rule to prevent this magic from making infinite money.

This relatively easy spell is way too prone to abuse and must be stopped.

But, you can still write a plot around this spell if it was just discovered.

The stronger spells are usually hidden due to the starting ones being underwhelming. This would cause most people to think that this type of magic is weak.

Because of this, the users of this type would be:

  • Builders
  • Fixers
  • Weapon-smiths
  • Assassins (Poly-morph)

They would be very important to society since they’re the ones that keep everything running.

If the government runs out of funds they would know who to call.

This would make the pure Alteration users weak in combat but treasured in society.

But not as treasured as you think.

Plumbers and construction workers are not beloved by everyone in our world as they should be.

The elites would treat them well enough (In cash not feelings) but the public wouldn’t.

When it’s discovered that the school can warp reality, most people would seek to learn it.

Common people would treat masters of this school like gods and they wouldn’t be too far off with that idea.

I will let you imagine how a shift of opinion on that scale would affect society.

That’s all for world-building so the last thing we have to talk about is the terms.

Alteration and Transmutation are almost always combined which makes sense.

Alteration is the upgraded version of Transmutation after all.

Really, you can use whatever term you want since they’re shaky when it comes to this type of magic.

I’ve said all I wanted to say. I hope I got your mind going with this post, is there anything I missed or any mistakes? Please comment below.

With that, I’m done.

I’m Blankmarks and I love magic in fiction. I’ll write about the various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds