1. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Sorcery, Wizardry and Magical Taxonomy

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ManOrAstroMan, Oct 8, 2013.

    Obviously, I'm working on a fantasy story, as you can tell by the thread title. In this particular project (not to be confused with my urban fantasy mystery novel I've been pestering people about), those with magical ability, as a group, are called Mages. However, Mages are divided into one of several groups depending on what type of magic they use. Some differ based on what they can do (Diviners vs. Alchemists, for instance) while others differ in the way they do it (Shamans vs. Summoners).
    While reading up on some of the various types of magic-user in other stories, games, etc, (mostly through an assortment of forum posts) I noticed that the term "sorcery" seems to be attached most often to those who channel magical energy instinctively, rather than through more academic processes. Up till now though, I had been using the term "Sorcerer" to describe those whose magic worked through mystical runes, signs and symbols.
    (I think I can trace this back to some book I read as a kid in which sorcerers did a lot of ritual magic, instead of on-the-spot, instinctive magic. Don't ask me about the title, though, I can't remember.)
    In my story, I've been calling those who conjure fire and command the winds and so on with their wills "Evocators." Well, some of those forum posts got me wondering, so I did a little research and found that the word "evocation" has to do with names; in a magical sense, calling on the names of deities and spirits.
    This seemed a bit at odds with how I had my Evocators pictured, and I wondered if it might be better to call them Sorcerers after all.
    The question that begs, then, is what to call my rune-inscribing spell-casters? Would "Wizard" be a more apt term, as it implies academic study? (After all, they *do* need to know which squiggly lines do what.) Am I missing something else, some other spell-casting variant? (Possible, but unlikely: I've got a list of 22 different types.)
    OR, am I just overthinking things and should just leave things as they are?

    And before anyone says not to label anything, a big part of this story involves magical bureaucracy and registration of abilities. Bureaucrats LOVE labels.
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Loving labels aside,

    I think it matters rather little how accurate your labels are.
    The way I see it, there might be a more clear definition floating around in a dictionary but most the part you can label them anyway you want to and the reader will believe you.

    One; magic isn't real so everyone has their own version of it.
    Two; I've personally read books that used the term wizard or witch but their powers and how they manifest varying greatly.
    Three; most people might not know the exact difference between a witch and a warlock or an conjuror or even a thaumaturge.

    What you need is consistency in the terms you are using. So don't interchange the word mage or wizard if there is a clear distinction and especially if the reader has to keep track of 22 different terms.

    A label that is "good enough" to make sense. (ie: don't call a necromancer a summoner; despite necromancer's "summoning" spirits the art itself is quite different)

    Personally, I'd associate rune magic with a runecrafter or inscriptionist or something of the sort.
    But if you tell me a wizard did it, I'd believe you as fantasy and magic often have their own unique way of how things work.
     
  3. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Could a carpenter do it? :D
     
  4. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're doing the right thing labelling different magic doers as to their particular type of 'doing'. Your use of the word 'Mages' though did get my attention. I would use the word mage as singular for a magic-doer so mages is just plural where you use it for a collective like a coven of witches for instance. Not sure who's right or wrong or if we're both right...

    What was your question again?
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Those who work with fire, air, water, and earth, and adapt it to their bidding, could be Elementalists, or something along those lines.
     
  6. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    i thought about using elementalists, but there are other mages who can manipulate the elements, just in different ways. although, the fact that evocators use elemental magic exclusively (while bards, druids, etc can do other things) does make a good case for that term.
     
  7. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    haha, i do use "mages" as an umbrella term in this story. a mage is anyone with magical ability. then, there are the various subgroups, depending on what type of magic the person uses: witchcraft, druidry, technomancy, etc.
     
  8. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    karen, yes, but not richard.
     
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  9. Malo Beto
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    Malo Beto Member

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    Enchanter perhaps? But I really don't think the names matter all that much. They are just manmade labels, so why would they even have to be all that accurate?
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I've got "scriveners" and "logomancers". Runemaster seems a little obvious but acceptable.
     
  11. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    you do have a pretty valid point, at least when it comes to some of the more general terms. and i do admit to a tendencyof overthinking. but all of these words, even though they are basically the same, carry different connotations. i was just wanting to make sure that i had the most semantically correct term.
    again, i overthink.
    i do have enchanters, though. in this story, enchanters are mages whose powers change things or the way they're perceived.
     
  12. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    hmmm... scrivener? i'll have to think about that one...
     

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