Spawned from a question in the game I’m running.

Antimagic is something that’s always bothered me. I’m fine with the idea of its existance, but I have two deeper problems: the assumption that antimagic is magic, and the lack of explanation as to where it comes from if it isn’t magic.

Things antithetical to magic aren’t really a part of sorcery to my mind; I see counterspells as entirely different than anti-magic, since you’re countering X by doing Y and nullifying the effect, not the fact that it’s magic. Dispersing magic is the same sort of thing as counterspelling, only you’re returning a particular node of magic back to the ambient magic of the area – negating an effect rather than that it’s magic.

Negating the magic itself is best reserved as the province of gods and other world-altering beings.

Why gods and other world-altering beings?

Actual anti-magic – negating the presence of magic itself – is not unlike antimatter. Antimatter comes from matter, technically, but it destroys matter in the process of becoming antimatter, right? It does this by a process outside itself – collision. Why should antimagic be any different? It moves from magic to antimagic via a process outside itself.

There’s really only a few options outside that of magic – the mundane and natural, and the supernatural. The mundane, being mundane, has the ability to create antimagic – and that’s been used, to great effect, in fantasy literature. Xanth is the first thing that springs to mind, and Peter Pan the second.

Nominally, the Force could be considered magic, and as such, there are several almost “anti-magic” creatures; the one that comes closest to anti-Force to me is the ysalamiri. And because they are natural creatures, they fall under this category of the mundane. It’s just something they do, right?

But we’re talking Amber here, and the heart of Amber is not mundane – and the mundane negating magic is, in general, the exception in fantasy literature and not the rule. Gods and supernatural beings, on the other hand, are likely to go about this sort of thing. “Your magic annoys me, puny human. No more.”

And yet – this one is harder to find examples of. Why? Because virtually everyone else uses option 3, the one I don’t like: magic negating itself. But anyway…

Amberites, being supernatural creatures (whether they want to admit it or not), should be perfectly capable of negating magic using the thing that makes them uniquely themselves: Pattern. I’ve seen hints of this, thoughts of this, in various campaigns and campaign logs – games where sorcery simply does not work in Amber, or is unreliable in the extreme there. It could even be argued that Oberon and Dworkin made it so that sorcery does not work in Amber so that it could not be used against them by their ancient enemies. Personally, I’m up in the air about that – as long as one is not using sorcery on or directly around the Pattern, you should be OK. After all, Merlin used sorcery in Amber all the time. (We don’t see this in Corwin’s chronicles… but then, Corwin wasn’t much of a mage, now was he?)

Better yet – one of the things you can determine about your pet Shadows is whether magic works there. If you are in the camp that Shadows are created and not found – well, then, antimagic should be an obvious conclusion, right?

I have a feeling the Logrus can generate anti-magic fields, just based on comments made by Merlin about the experience of walking it. However, given that the only world-effecting power Logrus seems to have is that of calling down the Primal Chaos, such fields would be temporary, fleeting – where Pattern could simply turn off magic for a given world.