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Old 12-22-2020, 05:44 PM   #1
Prince Charon
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Default [Thaumatology] 'Primary' Magic Categories (Colleges, Paths, et cetra)

Basically, systems where there are Colleges/Paths/Realms/whatever that you must learn before studying the others. This might be a matter of tradition ('Magicians of the Antarii tribe always learn the Path of Protection first'), or it might be something built into the system (probably involving juggling the prerequisites a bit) - in a setting where magic is based on Glamour, for example, the Illusion and Creation College might be fundamental to all the rest, the foundation that the others are built on. So, Phantom Flame might be the prerequisite of Ignite Fire (and possibly Seek Fire), and thus most or all of the rest of the Fire College. Phantom (the VH spell), rather than having Movement spells as prerequisites, is the prerequisite for them, and also for Create Object (which is probably the prerequisite for other 'Create <something>' spells). This may require adding more low-level spells to the I&C College, though.

Yes, this is similar to Magical Styles, it's kind of a related concept, but it really isn't the same. Also, it probably works better with Path/Book Magic, Realm Magic, Symbol Drawing, and so on than the standard system, due to the number of prerequisites already involved in the latter. Maybe if you're using Buckets of Points and give spells a bigger bucket than you otherwise would for that reason, it could work, but otherwise (continuing with the Magic-as-Glamourie concept) I'd probably want to do something like having the Decanic Realm of Methiax be the prerequisite for the other Decanic Realms (which you can somewhat justify, as by the text on Thaumatology p251, Methiax 'creates creation') in a Realm Magic system, or make 'Image' the prereq for the other Nouns and 'Create' the prereq for the other Verbs in a Syntactic system.

Another base concept for this sort of system is that all the other categories are built on one or more of the four elements (or however many elements there are in your system), in much the way that the Weather College in the standard system requires you to have learned Air and Water spells first. However many categories the system has are divided between the elements, with some of them overlapping with two or more (e.g. the Ritual College of Light & Darkness has the Ritual College of Fire as its prerequisite, and the Ritual College of Enchantment requires that you be skilled in each of the four elements before you can begin learning it).

Have you done something like this in your games, or want to? If you have, how did it work out?

What sort of consequences might this have for a setting?

Do you have any ideas for system variants along these lines?
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 9/28/2020: On Torture article has been posted.
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