Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The above is Clarke's Third Law, one of Clarke's Three Laws. It, along with the other laws, free up the story author (GM in our case) to blur the lines between magic and technology, and present the effects of superscience or ultra-technology without spending too much time worrying about how those affects are generated.
Various corollaries have been suggested by other authors:
- "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced," also known as Gehm's Corollary.
- "Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology", which has been asserted by Larry Niven, Mercedes Lackey, and Terry Pratchett.
The validity of that last corollary depends on how you define "advanced".
Technology is like Magic if the science behind it is mysterious or outlandish and thus the technology does things you didn't think were possible. Sufficiently Advanced Technology is awe-inspiring and unexpected.
Magic only becomes like Technology if the opposite happens - if Magic A is Magic A and the Laws of Magic are understood well enough for wizards to make cellphones. In other words, magic is only "sufficiently advanced" if it becomes mundane and accepted.
Related Tropes and Topics:
Clarkes Law For Girls Toys
Doing In The Wizard
Doing In The Scientist
Magic From Technology
Rule of Cool
Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
Sufficiently Advanced Technology
The Man Behind The Curtain
Game and Story Use
- For more ideas, see Clarke's Three Laws.