2021-04-22, 12:30 PM (ISO 8601)
Re: Nomenclative Magic
Sounds like a interesting system but I am a little uncertain about a couple of points.
1) Power consumption. In rule 5 you state that it is the same or more effort to do something with magic than it would to do something physically. While there are certain clear cut equivalents (i.e. moving a rock), what about less physical ones (ex. make fire hotter)? I bring this up as it would shape the uses of the magic. Using it to move heavy objects is silly as it would be more effort than not using magic. But if magic could be useful in forges as it eliminates the need for getting time consuming intermediate products like wood/charcoal/coal to get a fire hot enough to melt ores. This pushes magic into solving time consuming activities rather than effort consuming activities.
2) The ability to change items. In rule 7 you state that you can use magic on an object to "...break it, or restore it" but later give an example of being unable to burn a leaf. At what point is something changed when magic is involved? Restoring something from a pile of separate parts is destroying the pile isn't it? You might want to consider a hierarchical rule of some sort: names for a group are stronger than the individual pieces. For example: House takes precedent over Nail so even though the nail is part of the house, magic wants to keep them together as a House and resists pulling out nails.
3) How private is a person's true name? In Consequences and Extrapolations you mention surgeons use magic. This implies that they would have to Know the patient's true name. So how often does society expect to give out true names? The implication would be that would be whenever you wanted magic performed upon you. But once it is given out, ANY magic will now work on you by that person. That would result in certain professions having a great deal of power and a great deal of trust/fear around them. Would you go to the doctor unless you were CERTAIN you were going to die? They could tell your name to anyone. Do you sign contracts with your true name? It would be a pretty binding contract if you did as either side could work magic against the other.
4) Do inanimate objects have true names? If casting a spell on Brick, how is magic to know which brick is being meant? Why I bring this up is with your rule 3a (the more specific the easier), it could result in magicians having a personal token to aid magic. It is easier to use magic on the token and have secondary effects naturally occur. Example I toss my token rock into the dry leaves and make the token turn red hot. I am not using magic on the leaves (and violating rule 7) but they go up in flames anyways.
5) Is there a line of sight or distance restriction? The implication is no. This could allow for a lot of fine detail uses of magic. Magic could wind a gear within a sealed watch. So some complex devices could be built, sealed up, and only those that knew how they were originally put together could properly use them. A bank vault door would require a huge amount of effort to tear apart from the wall but to move a small gear within it would be trivial.
Again I like the concept. It sounds like this could really lead to some interesting places. If you are interested in some reading suggestions:
Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick has an interesting plot points on True Names used in magic and society. Master of Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy has some interesting ideas on how magic and inanimate objects interact.