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Judge: You're a fool! No weapon forged can harm me!

Buffy: That was then... (raises a rocket launcher) This is now.

(Dru and Angel duck for cover.)

Judge: What's that do?

Most fantasy is based on folklore, but what if you want to be really creative (or rip off someone who was really creative) and set your fantasy in the modern age? When you do this, you are forced to update some of the trappings of your fantasy.

If vampires can't safely go out in daylight, does sunscreen help them? What about just shining a flashlight at them with a UV bulb? And what about the UV ray from moonlight? Given that Christianity was regarded as the one true faith in medieval Europe, it made sense that only crosses would affect them, but in a different region and time, how well would that weakness carry over? Would a cross work on a Taoist vampire? What could you use on a Muslim vampire when Islam is against the use of symbols for its faith? Is it the faith of the wielder that matters? Can a Jew fend off vampires with a Star of David?

This is Post-Modern Magik. It's what you get when you decide that magic shotguns make as much sense as magic swords, and vampires that don't show up in mirrors also don't show up on camera.

Even if a series tries to avoid modern day entirely, the tendency for magic to act like computer programs has bled into the "pure" magical genre.

Can be common in Fantasy Kitchen Sink, where you have robots and fairies both running around. However, many of those authors try to separate the sci-fi and fantasy elements; the most common way around this is to make a rule that magic gives off an anti-technology field (or vice-versa) so that at any one place only magic or technology works.

Note that this is not Magitek. Magitek is the use of magic to recreate modern inventions, like a camera which is really just a box with an Imp inside drawing really fast, or an "Internet" made from magic mirrors and living books. Post-Modern Magik is when cameras work as normal, but aren't able to take pictures of vampires due to the use of mirrors[1], and demons are real, but can be beaten up by mutants or be fooled by realistic androids.

Common in Urban Fantasy settings, and often seen where Our Monsters Are Different (especially vampires). Now to figure out where this fits in Harmony Versus Discipline.

See also Magick for post-modern spellings of magick. Compare Muggles Do It Better, when today's technology trumps magic.

Examples of Post-Modern Magik include:


Anime and Manga

  • Mahou Sensei Negima has this in spades, involving things like robots using magic, a massive hacking battle between a robot and a magical girl, the (mage) protagonist using a cell phone, a magic internet that's somehow compatible with the mundane internet, guns that fire magic bullets, etc.
  • Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, aka "Easy to Understand Modern Magic" ...it's in the title. Misa is the "Modern Day Mage" who uses the electronic patterns in computers and technology instead of "classic" magic that uses the earth's electromagnetic field and brain signals.
  • Durarara: Take the Dullahan. Without a head, it cannot speak. Imagine the horror, the isolation, the depths such a being would go being separated in communication from humanity. ...Or you could give one a PDA and an online message board membership.
    • Pencil and Paper? Drawing in the dirt with a stick? Hand signs?
  • Fate/Zero has Gilgamesh in an ancient Babylonian spaceship dogfighting Lancelot in a magically enhanced F-15, and King Arthur riding a motorcycle to battle Alexander the Great in his divine chariot. Yeah, it's that kind of story.


Comic Books

  • In a Hitman story, Tommy Monaghan and the demon Etrigan need to get a hold of the "Ace of Winchesters", a demonic weapon forged in the old west, to take down the Mawzir, a powerful servant of the patron demon of gunpowder. This particular demon is immensely powerful in Hell since the gun became the dominant form of violent death in the world. The Mawzir himself is a ten-armed demon wielding a firearm in each hand, and he is made from the damned souls of five Waffen SS officers, who were Just Following Orders.
  • In Astro City, a vampire is held at bay by holograms of the cross. Also, there's a cyborg monster-hunter with databases that reference thousands of occult tomes, and the ability to fire silver, holy water, etc. He doesn't fare too well.
    • Neither did the guys who used the hologram crosses. That was one badass vampire.
    • It should be noted the vampire in question was the hero of the piece, and that the cyborg survived (just barely) fighting a monster that took a time- and space-manipulating, centuries-old spirit to destroy.
  • At a time when he was free of the Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze carried a shotgun loaded with hellfire. Similar weapons were also owned by the Caretaker and Vengeance. This showed up again in The Movie.
    • Honestly, the character's core concept -- a blazing demonic motorcycle rider -- is a textbook example of this trope.
    • His kindred spirits Daimon Hellstrom and Jaine Cutter have both been in possession of a "breathing gun", an enchanted living gun that makes its own living bullets and is especially adept at killing demons.
  • In the first issue Doctor Strange miniseries, The Oath, Doc is seriously wounded by a shot from the pistol Adolf Hitler used to commit suicide. The shooter wasn't a sorcerer, but figured that a weapon with that kind of history would have enough Bad Mojo around it to blow right through Doc's protective spells.
    • Only slightly messed up by the fact that Marvel Hitler didn't commit suicide - he got burned to death by the (robot) Human Torch. Then came back as a supervillain clone. .
  • Phonogram, in which magic is intricately bound up with pop music.
  • The Rock Zombies arc of Runaways did something similar - a spell was recorded and hidden in a song, then broadcast on a popular radio station, turning a decent portion of L.A. in to Body Horrors
  • Trese, a Filipino comic, features the titular character using variations of existing beliefs and supernatural traditions. Examples include trying to bribe a local goblin with imported chocolate instead of the local cheap kind, and using a watch in freezing a suspect in time. One memorable incident involved binding a God of War into eternal combat by making him a high level raid boss in an MMORPG.


Film

  • The three Blade have the titular hero using advanced technology such as ultraviolet weapons (including bullets with a UV-emitting chemical inside, and a UV light), the vampires engaging in experimental genetics to overcome their weaknesses, and using low-tech such as sunscreen and UV-filtered motorcycle visors to protect themselves in daylight.
  • The UV bullets were also used in Underworld against vampires. The vamps already had silver bullets for werewolves, but the UV bullets inspired them to make guns that fire Silver Nitrate bullets, a chemical which enters a werewolf's bloodstream and is pretty much impossible to get out.
  • For that matter, the vampires in Near Dark do what the ones in previous Dracula-style vampire movies never seemed to have the common sense to do: they shoot guns at humans. Most movie vampires seem to think that's cheating or something.
  • In DVD Commentary for the movie, creator Mike Mignola mentions that Hellboy's entire shtick is taking mystical artifacts and objects and turning them into tools and other utilitarian object, specifically noting the scene where Hellboy's gear is presented. There's a sledgehammer in there, for instance, and let's not even get into the powers contained within his gun.
  • The first two Evil Dead movies hinge on how playing a recording of a magical incantation is as effective as reciting it live, with the people who listened to it treated as the summoners. This gets taken further in one of the video game sequels, when the incantation's played over a live TV broadcast: the entire broadcast area is enveloped by the demon-summoning spell (let's be glad it was a local station).
  • The core premise of Ghostbusters is that spirits can be classified on a modern scale and detected, fought and contained with the right technology. Its Expanded Universe went on to apply the trope to other kinds of supernatural beings, how they relate with the modern world and how best to fight them.
  • The first quarter of Daybreakers establishes the logistics of a world run by Vampires, with shielded cars, underground streets and soldiers wearing full body gear to protect themselves from the sun. There are lots nifty details that make the film's world a more plausible place, even though the actual cause of vampirism is left as Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.


Literature

  • Pretty much the premise of Ravirn is bringing Greek Mythology up to 21st Century tech. All of the gods have computers and it's changed how they do things, and the titular character constantly draws comparisons between programming and magic.
  • Played with in Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series, which starts out as a fantasy novel where "world-walkers" commute from a parallel medieval universe to the present-day US. The world-walkers steal some nuclear weapons and threaten the US. Over six books, the US Government finds out that's happening, and Dick Cheney (!) puts Lawrence Livermore Labs onto finding out how, builds "world-walking" technology onto combat helicopters and aircraft, and we end in Tom Clancy territory.
    • This is very similar to Stross' earlier story "A Colder War", where the Soviet Union has weaponized Cthulhu, and the US has a base light-years away just to continue the government. The story ends when the Russians overreact to Reagan's "We begin bombing in five minutes" joke.
  • The Dresden Files is almost completely based around this; its working title was Semiautomagik. Some examples:
    • Using $100 bills in a love potion (as a substitute for powdered diamonds)
    • At the end of Dead Beat: Reviving a T-rex from a skeleton at a natural history museum.
    • Using a powder made from depleted uranium to bind ghosts to the earth (depleted uranium standing for weight in the sympathetic magic).
    • Dewdrop fairies can still be bribed with milk and honey -- but they'll do anything for pizza.
    • Garlic powder is just as effective against vampires as the cloves are.
    • Harry once defeated a vampire using holy water balloons.
    • Another time he used a paintball gun that had ammo loaded with holy water and garlic powder.
    • There's a rule that strong magic causes technology to fail. This means that the hero is forced to drive around in a Volkswagen Beetle, because any car made after the Sixties will die on him, and he can cause computers and closed-circuit TV cameras to short just by thinking at them.
    • While regular iron can hurt beings from faerie, certain bullets can hurt them even more so.
    • Need to kill a powerful vampire duke in the middle of his well-defended estate in a hostile country while he's calling all of his minions to him with intent to return and kill everyone? Well, said duke's defenses are impressive, but he didn't design them to prevent you from using magic and yanking a Soviet communications satellite from orbit and dropping it on his head.
    • Need a backup if the magic doesn't work? Carry a gun. A big one. The main ones are Harry's predilection for revolvers (he's had a .38, a .357 and a Dirty Harry a.k.a. M29 .44 Magnum), and Thomas and Ramirez go for Deagles and Murphy prefers (or preferred) a .45 1911.
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians takes this in an interesting way. The gods of Olympus are the heart of Western civilization, which means that they naturally change and adapt with the times, because they embody aspects of civilization. It blends surprisingly well with their ancient roots.
    • For example: Dionysus loves Pac Man, Atlas hires mercenaries, Hephaestus is more of a mechanic than a smith, Zeus wears tailored suits, Ares drives a motorcycle and has a temple on a BATTLESHIP, Poseidon disguises his trident as a fishing rod, Aphrodite rides around in a limo, King Minos teaches someone how to summon the dead using cheeseburgers and coke, Apollo rides a sun Ferrari instead of a chariot, and don't even get me started on Daedalus...
  • The Young Wizards books do this a lot: car antennas as wands, spells that use batteries and sugar cubes, and spellbooks uploaded onto computers.
  • Harry Potter mostly avoids this in favor of Magitek, but does have a flying car and an enchanted train station. Also, the fourth book tells us that Hogwarts is enchanted so that electricity won't work on the school grounds. Potter fans are fond of debates about whether Muggle weapons could kill a wizard.
    • J.K mentioned that in a battle between a wand and a shotgun the gun wins. (see Muggles Do It Better)
  • Discworld also mainly has Magitek, but did have vampires who were able to condition themselves against fear of running water, and a sort of Alcoholics Anonymous for vampires that channels their cravings for blood into cravings for less lethal things like coffee or photography.
    • This trope is also applied to the Elves weakness to iron, in that Elves seem to have some sort of sixth sense based on magnetism and contact with iron (especially magnetic iron) basically amounts to sensory deprivation.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's story "The Bottle Imp" might be one of the earliest versions of this. The hero has purchased the title Artifact of Doom which grants wishes, but results in an eternity in hell if not sold for a price less than that which it was purchased. He is despondent after having to buy it back for a penny, but his wife astutely notes that due to exchange rates, coins do exist which are worth less than a cent.
  • Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder is possibly the first protagonist to fully embrace this trope, devising updated versions of medieval-era protective wards that incorporate electrical wires and multicolored neon lighting.
    • One of his favorite weapons was the Electric Pentagram, a star formed out of early electric light tubes. Granted, this was a time when electricity was a pretty new idea and many people considered it pretty damn magical...
  • China Mieville loves this trope. His recent novel Kraken has several examples, such as a prop phaser from Star Trek that's been enchanted so that it actually works.
    • Perdido Street Station, in spades. Among other things, blood sacrifices have been replaced with electrostatic generators.
    • The Pied Piper in King Rat overcomes his chief weakness -- the inability to musically control more than one type of creature at a time -- by mind-controlling a DJ and having her record mix tracks of his performances.
  • The point of Charles Stross' The Laundry Series. All magic is based around very complicated mathematics. This made it very hard to do... until Turing invented the computer.
    • "The Medusa Effect" (also found in basilisks and cockatrices) is caused by a tumor in humans, and "makes about 1 percent of the carbon nuclei in the target body automagically turn into silicon with no apparent net energy input", and is both a particle and a wave. And can be deployed from any Internet-connected CCTV camera in Great Britain. And a good deal of modern cell phone cameras and video cameras.
    • Theoretical computational demonologists can develop a disease of the brain known as Krantzberg Syndrome, which some believe is caused by their own mathematical thoughts causing minor summonings in their own head.
  • In the Mercy Thompson series, any holy symbol will work on a vampire, so long as it has meaning to the user. Mercy has a lamb (as in "the Lamb of God"), since she doesn't like crosses. Elsewhere, magic and technology don't interact much, though having the local witch on your speed-dial has to count for something.
  • In Rick Cook's Wizard's Bane, a computer programmer pulled into a fantasy world from Earth develops a programming language for magic spells.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, half-vampires look blurry in film, etc. while full-vampires can't be seen at all. This becomes a (minor) plot point in the ninth book, when the police are wondering exactly why they can't photograph one of the arrested "criminals".
    • And, dragons are made through genetic engineering.
    • Also, apparently vampires and vampaneze aren't allowed to use guns. So, the vampaneze use ordinary people as gun-wielding foot soldiers. And then the vampires decide to use homeless people as a Badass army of hobos with guns.
  • In Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the main character spends a long time trying to find out which vampire-slaying myths are true. One he proves is that a vampire who was Jewish will be repelled by a star of David.
  • In the Kitty Norville series, police officers end up carrying spray bottles of holy water and pistol crossbows that fire wooden quarrels. Silver paint isn't just a chrome-like color scheme. Faeries wards work just fine if the herbs come in pill form. There's a DNA test for lycanthropy and vampirism.
    • It's a plot point in the fourth book that vampires appear in mirrors and on camera if they want to or appear blurry or not at all if they don't; "it's all tricks of the light". Vampires tend to seem technophobic just because they're old-fashioned, but several have been seen using laptops and other modern technology. One vampire is perfectly willing to feed on someone with her fangs, but also uses a needle and syringe when she wants to be considerate to a wary, reluctant donor. And in the first book, a police detective brings Kitty to a murder scene so she can get the scent of the killer, and tries to treat her as evidence or witness to the crime just based on that scent even though she was nowhere near there when it happened.
  • In Grunts! by Mary Gentle, a dragon collected modern weaponry from different realities. Orcs seized the hoard and were cursed to become cigar-chewing Marines. Pegasi don't last long against a Bell HU-1 helicopter armed with Sidewinder missiles, but guns are vulnerable to misfire spells usually used on bows. Luckily, there are magical countermeasures for misfire spells, and so on. And then the aliens came. The reverse later comes to apply; pegasi armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles and a dragon with a technological cloaking device.
  • The climax of Stephen King's Christine: Evil possessed car threatening your day... do you find some magic spell to exorcise it? Bring the ghost closure so he can move on? No, you run over it with an oversized Caterpiller truck, crushing it and re-crushing it over and over until it stops healing itself, then have your local junkyard turn it into a 3 foot square cube.
    • "Car possessed by ghost" qualifies all on its own. Especially as the novel's protagonist already theorises that it's a result of post-modern blood sacrifice magic ritual. Specifically, the previous car's owner's attitude towards the machine, and its history as well (two of guy's family members died in it), equaled to having unknowingly performed a kind of enchantment ritual on the car.
  • Another one of Stephen King's works, a short story called The Mangler, revolves around a demon-possessed steam-press ironing machine. Which got accidentally possessed because over time the various ingredients needed for the possession ritual have been on the clothes it's washed. Virgin blood? Check. Foxglove? Digitalis pills left in a pocket. And so on and so forth.
  • The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall, by John Kendrick Bangs, is a short story involving a watery ghost who appears for one hour, every Christmas Eve, at midnight, to the owner of the titular Hall. They tried waterproofing, and it doesn't work. Steam-heating only shortens her visit by a few minutes and is hell on the woodwork. The correct solution is to wear several layers of warm, waterproof clothing and a diving helmet, then go out onto the lake so she freezes, then put her in a frozen warehouse, lined with asbestos with fireproof walls so it can't burn down. "Congeal, madam, congeal!" This was written circa 1894, by the way.
  • Night Watch runs with this partly. The old battle amulets exist alongside things like enchanted SIM-cards to make people calling from a specific seem more persuasive.
    • The novel Final Watch also includes things like submachinegun bullets enchanted to be able to kill an Other up to the second Twilight (a magical dimension existing in parallel with ours) level. There is also a remote-controlled turret with enchanted rounds which will kill most Others because an inanimate object has no thoughts or malice and is very difficult to detect before you're filled with enchanted lead.
    • Modern weapons also mean the Others must be ten times more careful about breaching The Masquerade. A nuke leaves an Other nowhere to hide, as the blast penetrates into every Twilight level, except teleport, which is a difficult and time-consuming process for most.
    • It is mentioned several times that Anton must constantly replace his mini-disc players, which get fried every time he uses a moderately-powerful spell. At the same time, prior to the first book, he was an IT guy and is well-versed in computers. The Others, generally, have no problem with modern technology and are seen using computers and cell phones plenty of times. This makes sense, as many of them are not very old.
    • It's mentioned several times that dropping The Masquerade will be disastrous for the Others, as modern technology has pretty much surpassed magic in terms of deadliness. Yes, a tri-blade will kill you with a simple flick of a wrist, but so will a punk kid from the block with a 9mm. One of the threats in Day Watch is the possible resurrection of a crazy and powerful Dark Other from the days before the Grand Treaty and the Masquerade, who likes to take the form of a dragon. The characters pretty quickly agree that the humans would be able to, if not kill, then at least seriously hurt the dragon, but it would still result in devastation and loss of life. Helicopter gunships vs a mad dragon? Bet on the gunships.
  • Kate Griffin's A Madness of Angels heavily features this trope, as sorcerers in this series draw power from the environment around them and are strongest in urban settings. Sorcerers can do things such as cast protection spells by using subway passes as symbolic objects of power(because the writing on the back states that only customers who have paid for tickets can enter certain areas) and throw lightning bolts by siphoning off power from nearby electric lights. Cities tend to be full of guardian spirits such as the spirit representing the homeless population and the spirit of neon lights.
  • The novel Digital Knight is all about this trope. Vampire? Good thing the hero lives next door to a tanning parlor. Werewolf? Go into the X-ray room of the hospital and grab a bucket full of silver chloride. Medusa? Mirrored sunglasses.
  • Turns up from time to time in Cthulhu Mythos stories, as when Robert Bloch's "The Sorcerer's Jewel" shows what happens when a crystal once used by mystics for fortune-telling is ground into a camera lens, and photos are taken through it.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters have elements of this. For example the lead of The Serpent's Shadow, Dr. Maya Witherspoon, used her largely untrained healing perceptions to help determine the effectiveness of new medical concepts like electrical stimulation and antiseptic surgery; in addition to using her knowledge of anatomy and the actual progression of tuberculosis to efficiently cure it via magic.


Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a lot of these types of things, including:
    • The demon who would possess anyone who read a particular book possessing a computer after the book was scanned.
    • The demon who could not be killed by any weapon forged seems unstoppable, until the Scoobies realize that the trait is descriptive, not prescriptive, and weapon technology has come on a bit since that was written... leading to the page quote.
      • Its implied that he's not actually dead (Buffy flat out stated they couldn't take chances) but he was introduced as a collection of limbs, a head and a torso that had to be collected and assembled together, and thats how he exits. Presumably he could be put back together again and would be ressurected, but the principle would be the same- bazooka beats demon.
    • The Hell God who was fooled by a very realistic sex robot.
    • The Buffy rpg ruled that the comicbook style superscience displayed by Warren and Maggie Walsh was actually down to unconscious use of magic - in other words the technological 'inventors' were savants who unwittingly created Magitek, that could not have been built anywhere else other than on a Hellmouth.
      • Buffy Season Eight proceeds to contradict this by having Warren create secret bases and superscientific oddities outside of the Hellmouth.
    • Jenny Calendar describes herself as a "Technopagan". Notable scenes include forming a pentagram of witches entirely over the Internet. They don't have to get anywhere close to the subject, and can still communicate.
  • Channel 4 series Ultraviolet works like this: It quite commonly sciences up vampire weaknesses, such as ultraviolet susceptibility (thus the title), carbon-based bullets, and videoscreen-based vampire detectors.
    • And on the other side of the war, the "leeches" are quite willing to use things like genetic engineering and dodgy legal matters, and use psychological warfare tactics. As we find out in the series finale, their big plan is to use synthetic blood as a substitute for humanity. Because humanity will be extinct. Because they plan to kill them all after causing a nuclear winter.
  • Dean and Sam of Supernatural frequently encounter and make use these. For example, one arc had them going after a weapon that was the only means of killing (no, not banishing, really killing) the monster from their tragic childhood. Rather than a mystic sword or something, turned out to be a revolver.
    • In an earlier episode, they face a Wendigo, which can only be killed by melting its heart. They don't have any hot tallow to pour down its throat, so they shoot it in the chest with a flare gun.
    • Death and War have replaced their horses with Mustangs, the kinds with engines, and Pestilence uses a pharmaceutical company to spread his diseases.
    • Also the episode where the Christian apocalypse is happening, and they run into pagan gods who really aren't happy about this.
    • The most prominent in the series is the shotgun shells filled with salt to banish spirits. The producers described it as sort of a Eureka Moment.
    • A Dragon shows up, and can only be killed by a sword forged in dragon-blood. They found one, but it was trapped in a boulder ("it used to be all the rave"). When plan A (that the sword would accept Dean as a "valiant knight willing to step up and kill the beast") failed, out came plan B: Take out the C4 and blow up the boulder. This had the minor side effect of breaking the sword, but it still worked.
    • Faries have hidden their kidnappings, light appearances, and their other effects by forming groups preaching it was done by aliens.
  • Turned out to be quite a hassle for Jeannie and Tony in I Dream of Jeannie. It is stated that one of the rules of magic is that genies cannot be filmed or photographed. Any photos will come out with nothing but empty clothes, Invisible Man-style. This particular quirk was eventually forgotten during the show's run... and then re-remembered during their wedding episode.
  • Reluctance to embrace this trope got a character on Highlander the Series in deep trouble. Having already dragged his feet for ages before he even learned to read, the immortal Hugh Fitzcairn finds himself at a serious disadvantage in modern times, as he is computer-illiterate and doesn't know how to delete falsified evidence framing him for murder.
  • In Being Human, it's possible to kill a werewolf by placing him or her in a pressurized chamber during a full moon. Vampires don't show up on video, making for a unique subgenre of Snuff Film. Meanwhile, Death (or an agent thereof) can talk to ghosts through televisions.
  • The Collector: The Devil's debt collectors used to have magic rings. Now they have magic cellphones.


Tabletop Games

  • Shadowrun combines Cyberpunk and magic, but separates the two to an extent. The concept of essence, sort of a measure of how connected to nature one is, or how much humanity one has left, determines magic power and susceptibility to magic. Thus, a heavily-cyborged person with a low essence has no spell casting ability, but can barely be touched by a fireball... or a healing spell. This is half world building, and half an anti-Munchkin game balancer.
    • Technomancy (a new breed of "magic" based around the matrix and technology) tends to work a bit better with the world of cyber; though it still requires essence, so most technomancers are not cybered themselves. Fortunately for them, they don't need it most of the time on account of having what amounts to a biological wireless router in their heads.
  • Rifts works similarly. In fact, the anti-magic empire in the setting has taken to deliberately giving captured mages cybernetic implants specifically to nullify their power. In addition, the human forces in Germany have found that Depleted Uranium hurts monsters pretty bad, and rounds containing still-radioactive Uranium actually keep them from using their supernatural healing abilities. It has also been discovered that the "running water" weakness of Rifts' Vampires is pretty liberal, and that even a Super-Soaker(tm) is a lethal weapon against them.
  • d20 Modern's Urban Arcana has a lot of this; a monster is almost as likely to have a weakness to Elvis paraphernalia as, say, holy water.
    • Urban Arcana IS Post Modern Magik. You can send spells by e-mail. There are magic paint jobs for cars. The book is a source of plenty of amusement from the sheer incongruity of magic and technology. You can shoot Bullets of Cure Light Wounds.
    • There is a spell that makes Traffic lights go green for you and make taxis arrive in 1 round (among other things).
  • Unknown Armies plays the whole Post Modern Magik thing to the hilt (it even has a source book by that name). In the game, magick doesn't arise out of a certain religion or belief system -- rather, it arises out of doing something that shouldn't work and making it work, usually with extremely risky results. Certain magical schools include: Epideromancy, the ability to control flesh by wounding yourself; Videomancy, the ability to rewrite reality by obsessively watching television programs; Entropomancy, the ability to manipulate probability by doing Jackass-level things; Dipsomancy, one of the more versatile schools of magick, powered by alcoholism; and Pornomancy, the ability to control people and their emotions by performing ritual sex acts copied from a magical porno tape.
    • Unknown Armies takes the notion of Post Modern Magik a step further than this -- instead of just finding small, modern innovations in archaic magic, the game makes a point of stating that what is considered to be "traditional" magic is obsolete. Magic-users who practice antiquated forms of occultism are shown to have fairly minor abilities when compared to what the postmodern magicians can bring to bear... until they manage to dig up the right ritual.
  • This is pretty much the entire concept of GURPS Technomancer, hence the name. Examples include television sets being used as Crystal Balls, plastic golems, magical production lines, spells that do everything from deleting commercials on TV to making someone get a busy signal every time he calls you and even smart bombs driven by the pilot possessing a rat in the bomb with a little joystick!
    • The only reason why magic exists in the setting is due to a scientist working on the Trinity nuclear tests unwittingly closing a necromatic ritual by saying "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" which then turned the mushroom cloud into the "Hellstorm" - an everlasting tornado that spews mana into the world.
    • Russia also detonates their own bomb over Antarctica, leading to a second, large hellstorm (now blanketing the entire world in mana) which causes the local penguins to become sapient magic users with a hive mind, their own technology and the ability to transform humans into hive-mind penguins.
    • One clever use of magic in the setting is that "seelie" sightings fill the role of UFO's step for step. Strange lights in the night sky? Seelies. Missing time? Kidnapped by seelies. Encounters with odd humanoids? Seelies.
  • In Mage: The Ascension, the Virtual Adepts and Sons of Ether (computer geeks and mad scientists, respectively) are known for technomagic, as is the Technocracy (though they'd laugh derisively and/or do unpleasant things to you if you called their "science" magic). Elsewhere in the Old World of Darkness, the Glass Walkers tribe of werewolves, urban-oriented tribe that they are, also deal extensively with technology spirits.
  • Pretty much the entire NWoD operates like this. Werewolves (and mages) can have dealings with technology-spirits. Hunter: The Vigil has the Cheiron Group, whose MO is to butcher supernatural creatures and stitch the remains to their operatives. Geist has Mementos, supernatural artifacts charged with the power of death, which can be literally anything, from an animal's skull or Vlad Tepes' sword, to a '68 WV Beetle or the jacket Elvis died in.
    • In Mage: the Awakening, the Free Council are the Spiritual Successors to the Adepts. Incidentally, in the fan-made Genius: The Transgression, this means that the Free Council are the few mages that can get along with Geniuses, and perform hasty swaps whenever one is mistaken for the other.
    • In Vampire: The Requiem, vampire show blurred faces in mirrors, as well as on photographs and any kind of camera unless they make an effort of will to be seen clearly. One sourcebook has an in-character essay from a vampire who says that the Masquerade will likely be broken any day now, as camera phones are fucking everywhere.
  • Nearly any Munchkin game, no matter what the setting is, will include anachronistic weaponry. Such as a BFG in Munchkin Cthulhu, or the ever-popular Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment in the original Munchkin.
  • In Scion, you play the modern children of the gods and have relics that are tied to you and either have a unique property or let you channel your own power. The player is expected to craft a legend around his relics.
    • One of the example characters, a son of Thor, has a huge hand gun the hammer of which is made from a piece of Mjolnir. Also, in his demi-god and god incarnations, this character's muscle car can fly and, if covered with a slip cover, will be completely repaired of all damage the next day in a manner analogous to his father's goats.
    • A number of titanspawn are... updated. The Centaurs are a biker gang surgically attached to their bikes by a demented Scion, while Scylla is an oil rig whose "heads" are its former crew. One adventure hook given involves a Gorgon getting into the cosmetics business and selling makeup containing a small amount of its blood (which turns women into medusae).
  • A fair bit of this is present in Deadlands, since any item that in some way is part of a legend of any kind becomes magical. For example, Wyatt Earp's badge is a shield against outlaw bullets but disables the wearer from ever turning down a request for help, and the gun that killed Wild Bill Hickok does extra damage when used to shoot someone from behind, but will inevitably make the wielder mean as a rattler.


Video Games

  • In Fetch Quest, Solomon had to collect the four mystic shotguns to activate a powerful EMP bomb.
  • In Eternal Darkness, Pious normally uses magic but is quite willing to use a pistol to try and take out Lindsey. One of the most prominent spells is enchanting weapons, which works on guns. Towards the end of the game, Michael destroys the Forbidden City using enchanted C4.
  • Touhou Project has plenty of this, thanks to being about magical beings hiding from the modern world, but still capable of stealing modern tech. Subterranean Animism takes the cake, however, as the plot involved Physical Godesses feeding a dead sun god to a hell raven to create a Nuclear-Powered Hell Raven with the power of Nuclear Fusion, so as to let their worshippers jump from Bamboo Technology to Hatate being introduced a year later as an ancient Youkai whose superpower related to her cellphone camera.
    • Undefined Fantastic Object begins with the characters thinking that the sudden appearance of UFOs is connected to the Seven Gods of Fortune. The truth is actually far stranger: they were created by the Nue.
  • Devil May Cry has plenty of this, with Dante shooting enchanted bullets, shotgun blasts and grenades as readily as he swings an enchanted sword.
  • Most of the Shin Megami Tensei games have the main character using a specially-programmed personal computer to communicate with and summon demons. The Devil Survivor version explicitly notes that it is preforming the various "traditional" rituals on its own.
  • Dwarf Fortress is set in a classic Medieval European Fantasy world, but also features a physics simulation that is realistic in most non-magical respects. This causes side effects that put it firmly in Post-Modern Magik.
    • Magical diseases follow the same contagion rules as mundane ones, making it possible for a Zombie Apocalypse to infect your fort even when nobody's been bitten, if somedwarf wears a tainted tunic.
    • Anything that came from an animal can be reanimated by a necromancer, including e.g. the empty pelt. This is an Ascended Glitch.
    • Forgotten Beasts are procedurally generated from all the materials and modifiers that the game can apply to creatures, sometimes resulting in a fearsome Werechinchilla.


Web Comics

  • Gunnerkrigg Court normally keeps magic and technology separate, even though two of the science teachers are practicing magicians. They probably want to avoid incidents like the one with the shadow-possessed robot.
    • Recent revelations show this definitely hasn't always been the case- there's a large room full of functional "robots" with no moving or electrical parts, yet which rely on socketed microchips.
    • And now it doesn't, since magic is being used as a branch of technology, connected to computers.
  • Dragon Tails goes along a similar line of reasoning as Buffy vs. the Judge. A malevolent legendary creature's only documented weakness involves mirrors and moonlight, but it turns out to have an undocumented weakness to rocket launchers.
    • Also, a Gorgon's stare doesn't work if you look at it through a sniper scope and a stinger missle can take out a phoenix before it does the whole "ashes" thing.
  • In Order of the Stick, Belkar uses a sheet of lead to block a paladin's "Detect Evil" ability, explicitly comparing it to Superman's X-Ray Vision. In Dungeons and Dragons, which OOTS parodies, the detect spells can be blocked by a thin sheet of lead, 2 inches of wood, or a foot of dirt.
    • In a later strip, Redcloak summons titanium and chlorine elementals.

 Redclock: It's not my fault everyone else limits themselves to four elementals. Some of us got passing grades in chem. I mean, fire shouldn't even count. It's a chemical reaction. They aren't called "reactionals," you know.

Demon Cockroach: He besieged me with science!

 Riff: I'm trying to summon the Devil online.

Torg: Proves my point. In the new millenium you'll be able to sell your soul in a nanosecond! But wouldn't it be easier to just email him?

Riff: Yes! Spam Satan!


Web Original

  • In the novel John Dies at the End, two college dropouts become freelance Action Heroes after a run-in with a supernatural drug lets them see the paranormal. Their fight against unholy horrors includes the use of traditional weapons like crucifixes and holy water, along with modern innovations like Testamints and, in a pinch, a Bible bound to a baseball bat with electrical tape.
  • Done a lot in the Whateley Universe. Demons and devils exist, but a tough enough mutant can fight them. The mutant Ecto-Tek hawks devises which can stop or even kill Weres, but are harmless to humans. Carmilla and Fey have specifically talked about devisers and whether that counts as modern magic.
    • And in "Christmas Elves", when Hekate wants to make sure that Fey cannot escape, she has the requisite magic circle welded into the (metal) floor of the base she's using.
  • The web RPs Insane Cafe 2: Rise of the Shurlups and Insane Cafe 3: The Curse of the Haunted Hotel have this in spades.
    • A character uses a Remington 870 shotgun that fires bolts of green fire (no unlimited ammo though).
    • Another character wields an enchanted switchblade.
    • A villain uses mustard gas (enchanted for extra lethality)
    • Golems are made out of scrap metal and given heavy weapons.
  • In Trinton Chronicles nearly everything runs on a blend of scientific principles and mystical energies. Robots can use pre-stored spells, magical items can double as personal protective shields, and even whole rooms can be enchanted to move objects around according to sorting needs.
  • Mr. Welch attempted to use a roll of photographic film to strangle a werewolf. The GM didn't let him.
  • The Dragon Doctors takes place in the future, but it's a future that looks a lot like the modern age, with magic. Most of the main characters apply modern science and societal notions to the fantastic, leading to a lot of Sufficiently Analyzed Magic.


Western Animation

  • Gargoyles breathes this trope. For starters, there's the curse cast on the Clan that keeps them in their stone sleep "until their castle rises above the clouds." Xanatos, to break the spell, simply builds a skyscraper and plunks the castle atop it. Problem solved. (Though why the spell didn't break on the first foggy night isn't clear ...)
    • Maybe it had to be entirely above the clouds, and the bottom of the castle was never above the top of the fog?
    • And again, when Demona casts a spell to freeze the entire city of Manhattan in stone all night, every night, until the sky burns (using a TV broadcast!). The solution? Disperse a hyper-flammable gas throughout the sky above Manhattan and light it on fire.
    • The system here was basically written so this trope could be had fun with; magic in the setting must have a loophole of some kind to work at all, so wizards from ye olden times dealt with their requirment of a weakness by making their loopholes seemingly impossible...but modern technology can do quite a bit of things that were considered impossible centuries ago.
    • How to fight against a malevolent fairy? With iron-plated robots!
  • In one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Uncle gets a fax machine, but doesn't understand it and tries to exorcise it. But, we find out at the end, he can cast spells over the phone just fine, despite his catchphrase that "magic must defeat magic" (apparently technology can still assist).
  • In Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes, while battling the Enchantress and the Executioner, Iron Man's suit is damaged, Giant Man is out, and Wasp is caught by the Enchantress. When Hulk arrives and breaks the Enchantress' concentration. Thor powers up Mjolnir's thunder magic.

 Enchantress: Your magic is nothing against mine.

Thor: You are not my target, witch!

Previously crippled Iron Man stands up surrounded by electricity.

Jarvis: Armor energy reserves at 214%.

  • The Real Ghostbusters often deals with Post-Modern Magik while trying to figure out how to defeat a supernatural enemy, whether it's by tricking the Headless Horseman into crossing running water through holography or jury-rigging solar-frequency lasers to fight off vampires. Some of the mythological figures have also taken on more relevant forms for the modern age: the Headless Horseman now looks like a headless motorcyclist, the Sumerian god Marduk appears as an ordinary New Yorker (though photographs can reveal his true form) and a famous pop singer turns out to be a genocidal banshee.
    • One episode reveals that the Eiffel Tower is a primitive Magitek containment unit.

Notes

  1. If the writer knew a bit more about camera technology, vampires might show up on digital cameras and film, but not the viewfinder of a film camera
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