There’s two basic ways magic can work in fantasy: It can be innate, in which case creatures can use magic until they either tire out or exhaust some inner reserve. This is how most video games and anime work, as well as how magic works in Middle-Earth, among other settings. The alternative is ambient magic, in which the magic-user taps into an energy source outside themselves and channels it toward whatever end. In ambient-magic settings, magic users can keep using their magic until the external source is depleted or the flow of energy becomes too much for them to handle. The energy source might be something that is available everywhere (such as the Force in Star Wars or geothermic energy in Fullmetal Alchemist), or it might be something that has to be drawn from specific magically-charged objects and places (such as in most real-world magical systems). Note that both systems may have the use of objects as sources of magic; the difference is that in ambient systems an object has magic because it is a magical object, whereas in an innate system the object has magic because someone put magic in it (for example, the One Ring has immense power because Sauron put much of his personal power into it, which is why he wants it so badly and why it’s so important he not get it). It’s also possible to hybridize the approaches. For example, in the (excellent, by the way) Enchanted Forest Chronicles, most magic-users use innate magic, but wizards have none. They are forced to steal their magic from others, which is what their staffs are for. So, the question is, what about ponies? Certainly there seems to be a lot of evidence for innate magic, what with unicorn-horn telepathy and cutie marks and all. However, there are also some hints of ambient magic, most notably the Elements of Harmony–certainly the implication I took was that they were not created so much as discovered, and as such represent a source of magical power outside the ponies who wield them. I also suspect that Earth ponies use ambient magic–channeling and cultivating the existing magic of the world rather than creating their own. Certainly that seems to eb the relationship between Granny Smith and zap apples, at any rate. What do you think? Is the pony world all innate magic, or is some of it ambient? Or can you make an argument for it being all ambient?