Rearranging the Schools of Magic
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  1. #1

    Rearranging the Schools of Magic

    The schools of magic in 2e DnD are arranged as follows in the PHB:

    Alteration......Illusion..........Enchantment
    Divination.........X................Conjuration
    Evocation...Necromancy....Abjuration

    What can we say about this arrangement? Well, it seems natural enough that Altering things is opposite of Protecting (Abjuring) things (presumably they are being protected from being altered). Evocation also seems to be direct and brutal while Enchantment seems to represent subtle manipulations, so that is a fairly natural opposition.

    But Divination and Conjuration? WTF?!? I mean, isn't most of divination about asking questions to stuff on other planes? While Illusion and Necromancy aren't as obviously mis-opposed, there isn't a lot of reason to oppose them either: I mean are you seriously arguing fake stuff is the opposite of dead stuff?

    Some of the bordering schools make sense too. Illusions and enchantment both seem to do mind stuff. Conjurers are typically depicted conjuring whilst inside a circle of protection. Evocation and Necromancy seem to share some direct damage causing flavored effects.

    But Alteration and Divination? Evocation and Divination? So blowing up stuff and changing stuff is next to knowing about stuff? Cause invokers are so subtle and inquisitive right? Yeah... And Necromancy next to Abjuration? WTF? And while it might be convenient for a conjurer to also just charm whatever he summons, what is the RP reason that these are related magic processes?

    This brings me to my hypothesis on the generation of the schools congruency table in DnD: My guess is that some dev DM on 2e was running a set of mages in a couple schools and made sure that the opposition schools for those two schools make sense, and the border schools made some sense, but didn't consider the overall effect of that arrangement of schools (in a RP philosophy sense). So, how can we properly align schools in a congruency table so that oppositions make sense?

    First, let's preserve the good well thought out oppositions in the previous table: Evocation and Enchantment seem to be natural opposition schools, as do Abjuration and Alteration. Additionally it seems like Divination is the natural opponent of Illusory magic, which only leaves Conjuration and Necromancy as the remaining schools.

    Before explaining the opposition of these schools, let me first talk about the retconning of necromancy in general. Necromancy doesn't really make sense as a school. Period. It is a grab bag of effects, many of which belong in other schools but got shifted to Necromancy as a feign towards balance due to recognition of it's traditionally limited portfolio. Consider "speak with dead" (or whatever the actual name is). Divination spell. "Ghost touch" or whatever. Evocation. All those energy draining spells and such? Evocation is the school of ENERGY MANIPULATION.

    What is the traditional portfolio of Necromancers in fiction? Animate dead (and probably a bunch of invoker effects like fire bolts depending on which fiction). So this is what the school is really all about. The school of necromancy is actually the school of Construction. They make constructs. They are the only school that gets to have familiars, and they make them (like the Homunculus out of 2e), and they are combat useful. Indeed, the Constructor is almost a one man party of mercenaries, with his followers of Golem and lesser constructs. He is a master of life construction (And as such, wound healing is retained by the sphere).

    But I digress. The Clockwalkers (Conjurers) are opposed to The Constructors. Consider the differing approaches of each of these schools to the problem of getting to the top of a mountain: The Conjurer would find a mountain and go to the top; the Constructor would build a mountain underneath himself. Conjurers see the universe as full of things they can collect and use whereas the Constructor makes the things that are useful to himself. Conjuration and teleportation are about connecting and rearranging existing parts of the universe, Construction is about creating new parts of the universe.

    So this sets up the final opposition of the schools of magic. So far we have

    Conjuration...Enchantment....Illusion.. Alteration
    ........X....................X...................X...............X
    Construction...Evocation......Divination Abjuration

    Now as discussed before, Divination has a lot to do with contacting other planes and asking questions, therefore a border with Conjuration seems natural. Additionally, that Construction implies the creation of stuff out of whole cloth, Illusory magic seems to be a natural border for that side of the opposition as well.

    Enchantment is as I said before, a discipline of subtlety. As such, intense knowledge of the systems the Enchanter is hijacking is necessary. This seems to put Enchantment next to Divination, on the other side of Divination from Conjuration. Therefore Evocation must be on the other side of Illusion. Is this natural? Previously Enchantment and Illusion were connected by their mind affecting nature. I submit a modification of the understanding of Illusions: they are energy projections that create sensory impressions. While they take effect only through the influence they create on the actions of others, they are still in essence a projection of something wholly internal to the Illusionist, and not a hijacking of a system requiring an intimate knowledge of that system and a give and take balance as an Enchanter would achieve in dominating or charming. That they use light and sound energy also connects them to Invokers, albeit they make use of these energies in a much lower concentrations.

    This leaves Alteration and Abjuration to fill the Evocation-Conjuration gap and the Enchantment-Construction gap. Naturally, Abjuration, which consists of the nullification of energies seems to fit next to Evocation and while Enchanters subtly manipulate the nature of complex objects to achieve different properties permanently, Transmuters seem to less subtly stretch the properties of objects to achieve temporary effects. Additionally, stretching and changing stuff seems to be what would be required to turn non-living stuff into a living construct (oh, BTW constructs are alive).

    This leaves Abjuration and Conjuration. The Conjurers and The Abjurers are very similar in philosophy. Get to the best spot and stay there. Abjuring concentrate on the stay there part whilst Conjurers concentrate on the getting there part.

    And so with that we have arrived at the natural arrangement of schools on The Wheel:

    .................................................SUBTLETY

    .............................Divination...Enchantment Alteration
    PREDICTABILITY.....Conjuration..........X...........Construction....CHAOS
    ............................Abjuration......Evocation....Illusion

    ..................................................BRUTALITY

    This arrangement of schools seems to also illuminate two dimensions in the thoughtspace of magic: the Subtle vs. Brutal dimension, which is about the degree of compromise between the caster and his world; and the Stability vs. Change dimension which seems to capture a quality of more direct control or less direct control on the part of the caster (i.e. an Illusionist has to rely on his subject's belief, while a Frustrater can just watch his opponent bash his head against the Abjuration). Those quick on the uptake will note that this implies a direct mapping onto the traditional alignment wheel and therefore by extension, to the 2e Outer Planes. But more on that later.

    Specialists

    Here is the flavor of the specialties:

    Diviners (The Serene)
    : Know what to do before it needs doing. A very powerful Diviner would behave very similar to the depiction of Rhys the Factol of the Ciphers in Shemsheska's storyhour. For those unwilling to read all 28 bajillion lines for the zero resolution at the end, Rhys knows when stuff is about to happen so she like side-steps crossbow bolts from assassins without interrupting her monologues. The Serene can always get the answers to questions. They usually make traps for their enemies but can just as easily lie in ambush for them when they are weakest.

    They naturally dominate Abjurers. Abjuring must always leave a potential weakness, otherwise they risk sealing themselves off from the rest of the universe (as some extremely high level Abjurerers have discovered to their infinite rage). All one of the Serene has to do then is find out what the weakness is and attack it.

    Note: Illusion and Divination are opposition schools. You can't just eliminate the effectiveness of all illusions with a 0-level detect magic cantrip. Similarly, illusions are not invulnerable to all divinations, they should be evenly matched and the balance resolved through DM RPing. Did the DM as NPC think of that question when designing the illusion? If not, Divination reveals. If so, Divination is fooled.

    Enchanters (The Lovers): Enchantment is the discipline of subtlety. An Enchanter is able to take a complex system, modify it slightly in a few key places, and achieve a qualitatively new result. Enchantment can permanently move a substance or object to a new equilibrium, as opposed to the temporary perturbations of Transmuters. Additionally, they can manipulate much more complex systems than the Transmuters, due to their heavier attention to Divination. Chiefly this takes form in the manipulation of the complex systems known as minds.

    A bit of unbalance has plagued Enchanters in 2e and beyond. There are a large number of effects and creatures that basically grant immunity or are immune to all of the effects in this school (mind affecting effects). Screw that. Everything that relies on input from the environment to condition its behavior is a system that can be manipulated by enchanters. This may count double for constructs. I would suggest a set of discreet types of mind-systems analogous to the differing energies that an Invoker might toss at his foes. Some are immune to Fire, others immune to Frost, similarly, some things have an Insect Mind, some have a Humanoid Mind, some have a Demonic Mind, etc.

    Enchanters naturally dominate Constructors. They can hijack the constructs of the Uncertain.

    Transmuters (The Spectacular): Transmutation is a powerful school. Because of this, I believe a drawback should be introduced. Transmutation can push a system out of equilibrium by exogenously introducing some force. However this is temporary and not done in a calculated manner like an Enchanter would. The perturbations are rapidly brought back into equilibrium. Before the old equilibrium is reached though, a bit of spring like spiraling around the equilibrium is necessary. Giant growth? Something also shrinks for a while. Maybe later, maybe at the same time, and bounces around a little in size. This is the nature of transmutation: borrow the properties of one thing and give it to another for a while; or temporarily stretch the properties of something and in the future it will snap back, kind of like an intertemporal borrowing. So in order to giant grow something, an equal thing must be shrunk (probably something that is easy to access, i.e. not the ooponent, the guy who is trying to kill you), or, at the DM's option, the thing grown will shrink for a while in the future.

    Transmuters naturally dominate Diviners. They can change the properties of the world rendering the visions of the Serene incomplete or incorrect ("The reason that it looked like that guy got stabbed by the sword is that I made a sword tip grow out his back," -Transmuter to Diviner).

    Transmuters can also temporarily stich together wounds or staunch the effects of a disease or curse, but you'd need a Constructionist to permanently heal wounds or an enchanter to rid a system of disease or curse.

    Constructionists (The Uncertain): The Uncertain, as said before, are nearly one-man parties. They have a construct for every task. A loyal Homunculus familiar and the Iron Golem make a powerful set of fighting companions. His bag of jelly-bean sized micro-structs, ready to unfold and skitter away to explore the nooks and crannies of a place and possibly spy on his enemies, is always at the ready. And in a pinch, he can cobble together a small cluster of shambling clockworks from bits he finds laying around. He's also a decent trauma surgeon, although you'd need an enchanter to cure a disease or lift a curse.

    The Uncertain are so named largely due to the appropriateness of that adjective for their creations. The uncertainty is not due to lack of function, but whether the designed for function will in fact be achieved rather than some other effect. While the Constructor himself is probably in the best position to guess the immediate effects of his work, he himself would be the first to acknowledge that his ability to predict the ultimate effects are far from certain. The constructs of The Uncertain can gain life and grow, changing ecosystems and possibly altering huge patterns in The Universe. No other school has so much power, although almost every other school is more in control of the effects they produce. Constructs are independent beings and will grow away from the control of their creator (but not always in a confrontational way).

    The Uncertain naturally can overwhelm Invokers. Their armies of followers are too much for the Invoker to be able to blast away.

    Illusionists (The Terrific): Masters of deception, a Terror will have his enemies striking at illusions or running from phantasmal monsters. Beyond the obvious combat advantages, The Illusionists are best able of all mages to attract their prey with potential gain in addition to their abilities to threaten with potential danger. It is hard to say which is more potent. Just as an omniscient Diviner is invulnerable, a character seeing only what the Illusionist wants them to see is completely at the mercy of the Terror. They manipulate visual, auditory and olifactory sensory energies (yes, smell is an energy in DnD) to create phantasms and deceive.

    The Terrific naturally dominate Transmuters: They can trick the Transmuters into altering themselves in a bad way rather than a good way, and then capitalize on that.

    Invokers (The Disgusted): Face it, Evocation is the only reason for spell cast limits. Invokers are the least balanced specialist, as copiously evidented by the fact that they make up at least 50% of all specialist PCs. To return them to balance, I would incorporate a lot of the old Necromancer flavor. Energy comes from somewhere. Invokers, I would suggest, need to drain energy just like Defilers in Darksun, maybe even more. The Disgusted are the reason that Dark Mage Towers sit in the middle of a nuclear-wasteland swamp sucked dry of life nurturing reagents. An Invoker typically will carry around with him a small supply of tiny animals to suck dry of soul-stuffing and hurl at their opponents in the form of a bolt of energy (fire, ice, electric, all are possible). However, typically he must sacrifice some of his own energy every time he unleashes to control, direct and shape the energies he is draining from his environment and sacrificial creatures. Plinking a Magic Missle could be done with only internal energy, but higher level evocations require draining the environment to make effective (or require a near deadly drain on the caster).

    The Disgusted are all about effect over efficiency. While they can store some energy from the environment in a gem or themselves, it always leaks out slowly, so they constantly need to refresh if 100% combat readiness is desired. Additionally, at lower levels when the creation of energy gems is not available, the bodily stored energy actually causes wounds inflicted on the Invoker to cause more damage to the Invoker due to the additional entropy in the body.

    Invokers though, despite their short comings, dominate the Conjurers. Only the immense forces able to be mustered by the Disgusted can snuff out a Clockwalker before he has a chance to teleport away to a refuge of The Bureacracy.

    Abjurers (The Frustrating): The Frustrating are masters of protection. They can stop the change of anything and create barriers between things. However, of course, if they stopped all change or made a perfect barrier, they would have removed whatever they protect from the universe. This is a balance that the Abjurer must walk.

    Stoneskin or whatever it is called is an Alteration BTW, but The Frustrating have better spells to avoid being cut (Like the [non-canonical] spell [I just made up] that blunts the blades of sharp objects that contact the Frustrating's skin).

    The DM should make The Frustrating able to protect against anything, but not everything. The RP question is similar to the Divination/Illusionist question, did you think of this? If so, the Abjurer wins. If not, the Abjurer gets hit.

    The Frustrating naturally dominate Illusionists. Their natural tendency to inertia and perseverance makes them hard to trick. Mechanically, the illusions of the Terrific don't wear away the abjurations, so illusions can be ignored (just like most everything else for an Abjurer-tank).

    Conjurers (Clockwalkers): Discussing the masters of teleportation requires me to delve into the details of cosmology, and so the description of the Clockwalkers is a suitable segue to the topic of planar ecology.

    Teleportation is a powerful magic that is WAY over-used in DnD. Only Conjurers can teleport, and only ones in good standing with the Clockwalking Bureaucracy of Mechanus. Teleportation works mostly through the gears of Mechanus, the clockwork plane. Far from large wheels of gears, Mechanus is in fact densely packed with whirring widgets and cranks spinning at blinding speed. Teleportation magics utilize CwBM notch catchers to stick into the gears of Mechanus through the membrane of planes (aka the Astral) and be pulled through the gears on safe pathways (paths which guarantee the limbs of the travellers hooked onto the notch catcher will not be ground into the gears) to their various destinations.

    Clockwalkers are members of the Clockwalking Bureaucracy of Mechanus, the most important organization on the planes (though possibly not the strongest force per se). This is natural, Mechanus is representative of order and certainty, so the biggest organization should be there. Mechanus, or The World Clock, is a, it's a, well it's a huge complex system. You could think of it as a creature. You could think of it as an ecosystem. You could also realize creatures are ecosystems of smaller creatures, and thus it is both sort of. But it is also a place. And a concept. Like Gaia is for hippies. Whatever, you get it.

    Mechanus wants to be the end of Chaos. Mechanus of course arose from Chaos and seeing itself as the end of Chaos realized it was superior to Chaos because Chaos had created its own destruction. All Mechanus figured was that Chaos was what resulted when something's destruction gets far away from it's creation. The solution of course is to plug all the destructions into the creations, and boom, no more Chaos. This is the MO of Mechanus, rearrange the Universe to nullify Chaos. The churning of the Universe through the gears of Mechanus is the slow triumph of Mechanus, of Order (or so Mechanus thinks -Ed).

    So the CwBM is a manifestation of the will of the plane. It is a Universe spanning organization, the only unified one, that slowly fulfills the will of the plane by destroying Chaos. The teleportation allowed inside the Bureaucracy is to further this purpose, and all Conjurers owe allegiance and favor to the CwBM. And they can find you to extract these favors. Similarly, lots of favors are owed to the CwBM and holding office in the Bureaucracy has some perks. (DM note, although Players should read this too: A Conjurer or Clockwalker is incredibly powerful due to the ability to run away from nearly anything. This has to be balanced by being basically at the total beck and call of the DM as a plot hook. However, this is not artifice, rather it is completely within the nature of the Clockwalker: accepting what is and moving oneself to the best position. Clockwalker PCs are gonna have to accept a lot of what the DM says, and have little influence on the campaign world because of that, although they'll usually end up alive and in the best position available.)

    Summoning creatures that owe favors to the Bureaucracy, or better yet, to the character personally (through rituals, or at least teleporting, grabbing them, and teleporting back, not instant combat summons) is a common feat within the Bureaucracy, and they always seem to know just the right type of creature. Teleporting oneself or small weight limited groups is another common ability within the school.

    The key, almost literally, is the small metallic notch catchers that are the trademark of members of the Bureacracy. Notch catchers are stuck through a small interplanar hole created by the verbal and somatic components of teleportation spells into the rotating gears of Mechanus. It then catches and drags whatever is hooked onto the chain loop attached through the gears of Mechanus. The path through Mechanus is determined both by starting location as well as the setting of various notch jumpers in the end of the catcher. Knowledge of routes through Mechanus, the connections of its gears, the nature of its working are all important in setting the jumpers on a notch catcher. Advancement in power as a Clockwalker is signified by larger more complex notch catchers which allow longer more complex trips through Mechanus. It is nigh impossible to steal and use a notch catcher since each also has an identifying permanent jumper setting that can be filtered out by most voyages through Mechanus which pass by one of the many security filters. This will dump a thief or anyone else not in good standing out somewhere unpleasant, likely a holding cell of some kind.

    The metallic notch catchers of the Bureacracy are strong physically and can carry large loads through the gears. This also allows some offensive combat feats not achievable without a CwBM notch catcher. Some Clockwalkers carry an "anchor" with them, which sometimes is literally an anchor, though is usually something more useful but just as massive and good for use as a combat projectile, like a very stout chest. If they can lure their opponents into position, they can teleport/ nigh telekinet the anchor up over the bad guy and drop it on him. Or possibly throw it directly at him (when at a certain spot) with more skill/luck. Additionally, while a thoroughly bound enemy could be transported as dead weight, a melee attack with a lasso like attachment could temporarily entangle a bad guy and send him on a short trip through Mechanus before he could unhitch himself (although chucking people into the gears on purpose is a sure fire way to put yourself in bad standing: it messes up the clockwork!). So creative uses for teleport object and teleport other can be made. Consider that teleporting an enemy this way is limited by the number of notch catchers a Conjurer has, and you need to be mid to high level before you get a second one. Losing a notch catcher is also a bad move as far as the Bureaucracy is concerned as well.

    Generalist mages and low level bureaucrats can carve wooden notch catchers that are strong enough to carry a willing rider a little while (if they give it a running start with a hop). No unlimited range teleportation (i.e. Dimension Door is the limit) and little summoning (although a familiar like companion might be able to achieve a summoning type effect with practical use in this range).

    Clockwalkers are naturally dominant over the Enchanters. Whereas the Enchanter slowly assimilates everything around himself for his own interest and in a way cocooning himself almost like an Abjurer but with more flexibility, the Clockwalker can leap past this dangerous area with a small force of allies and strike at the Enchanter himself, possibly even stealing the Enchanter away and isolating him from the things he has ensorceled.

  2. #2
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    Speak With Dead is a perfectly reasonable spell to have in the Necromancy school since Necromancy is a form of magic in which the practitioner seeks to summon the spirit of a deceased person, either as an apparition or ghost, or to raise them bodily, for the purpose of divination.

    Definition obtained from Wikipedia.
    Last edited by Dandu; Thursday, 24th June, 2010 at 08:58 PM.

  3. #3
    At first I thought you were disagreeing with me, but now I am not so sure.

    You could in fact be suggesting that Necromancy be demoted to a sub-school of Divination along with arts such as:

    Abacomancy- Divination by spreading dust particles.

    Alveromancy- Divination by listening for sounds.

    Aminomancy- Divination by afterbirth.

    Belomancy- Divination by dropping arrows.

    Bibliomancy- Divination by opening a book to a random page.

    Brontomancy- Divination by interpreting thunder.

    Cartomancy- Divination by reading cards.

    Ceraunoscopy- Divination by interpreting lighting strikes.

    Cleromancy- Divination by casting lots.

    Cromniomancy- Divination by onion sprouts.

    Cyclomancy- Divination by wheel spinning.

    Dactylomancy- Divination by finger reading.

    Demonomancy- Divination by asking demons.

    Dendromancy- Divination by reading tree growth.

    Entomancy- Divination by observing insects.

    Extispicy- Divination by reading entrails.

    Favomancy- Divination by casting beans.

    Floriomancy- Divination by flowers.

    Graptomancy- Divination by handwriting interpretation.

    Gyromancy- Divination by spinning to the point of dizziness.

    Hematomancy- Divination by blood.

    Heptomancy- Divination by reading livers.

    Ichnomancy- Divination by reading footprints.

    Knissomancy- Divination by observing smoke patterns from incense.

    Labiomancy- Divination by lips.

    Lecanomancy- Divination by dropping stones into a bowl of water.

    Lithomancy- Divination by reading stones or jewels.

    Maculomancy- Divination by reading skin spots.

    Meilomancy- Divination by interpreting molehills.

    Molybdomancy- Divination by observing molten metals.

    Narcomancy- Divination by sleep patterns.

    Nephomancy- Divination by clouds.

    Numismatomancy- Divination by coins.

    Oculomancy- Divination by looking into the eyes.

    Ololygmancy- Divination by listening to howling canines.

    Oneiromancy- Divination by interpreting dreams.

    Onomancy- Divination by names.

    Oryctomancy- Divination by mineral deposits.

    Pallomancy- Divination by pendulums.

    Phyllomancy- Divination by reading leaves.

    Physiognomancy- Divination by reading faces.

    Pyromancy- Divination by fire.

    Retromancy- Divination by looking behind oneself.

    Scapulimancy- Divination by interpreting features of animal shoulder blades.

    Scarpomancy- Divination by reading old shoes.

    Scatomancy- Divination by looking at excrement.

    Sciomancy- Divination by shadow patterns.

    Sternomancy- Divination by interpreting the features of an animal's sternum.

    Theriomancy- Divination by observation of animal behavior.

    Trochomancy- Divination by reading wheel ruts.

    Uromancy- Divination by urine.

    Xenomancy- Divination by talking to strangers.

    Xylomancy- Divination by reading wood patterns.

    Zygomancy- Divination by weights.

  4. #4
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    I think tagging some spells as dual school spells is called for.

  5. #5
    I like what you're doing with this, though I personally see several of these schools differently than you, and have often given idle thought to how I would reconstruct the spell school "wheel", as it were, and this thread was as good an excuse as any.

    The one opposing pair you and I share are Divination and Illusion, and it is probably the most obvious out of the eight. One deals primarily with what is true, the other with what is not. It is this pairing, too, that I think defies your Subtlety-Brutality axis. Illusionists are many things; they are almost always subtle, and very rarely brutal.

    Two schools I have never understood as anything but contradictory were Evocation and Abjuration. Evocation is the harnessing of energy for destruction; Abjuration for protection. Can there be two more diametrically opposed schools of thought? Just as Divination magic stymies Illusions, so too do Abjurations stymie Invokers.

    The third pairing became obvious to me as well. Necromancy is more than just a hodge-podge of death & undead related spells; it is the manipulation of the energies of living things. There is a reason it is called energy drain, and it is a hallmark of Necromancy. A Diviner might be able to pull an answer of the great beyond, but a Necromancer wrests the spirit of the recently slain to do their bidding and answer their questions. Note that the key word is the manipulation of such energies; there's a reason that curative magic is also by-and-large considered a part of Necromancy. That this school represents a manipulation of spirit and energy means that its opposite must be the manipulation of matter; Alteration.

    This leaves Conjuration and Enchantment, which don't seem to have much in common (or opposed, for that matter) at all. But remember that the diametrically opposed schools are all a matter of perspective, and in this case the perspective is planar. The school of Enchantment's focus is on manipulation and controlling the creatures and matter that inhabit the Prime Material; Conjuration's focus is on all those planes external.

    In this framework, a "wheel" is unnecessary, because there are no natural predilections between schools. They represent the wizard's studies and talents along four very different and unrelated perspectives:

    Manipulation: Do you manipulate spirit energy, or physical matter?
    Purpose: Is your aim the destruction of your enemies, or the protection of those you hold dear?
    Reality: Do you seek the truths behind reality, or do seek to bend it your will?
    Focus: Are you focused on this realm, or the planes beyond it?

    With this mindset, there's no need to have a "wheel", as your answer to one of those questions will not naturally guarantee your answer to another. Of the above perspectives, only Reality and Focus seem to share some overlap; Enchantments and Illusions go so great together WotC specifically made a dual-specialist class out of it, splashed in with some Rogue for good measure (the absolutely wonderful Beguiler). And Conjuration and Divination, as you've noted, seem to go together well also.

    With this particular framework, even a generalist mage or sorcerer is going to have to answer most if not all of those questions, which will help give the character (especially the mage, with it's massive spellbook) a good deal of focus.

    Necromancers and Transmuters become naturally quite egotistical; their mastery of the manipulation of the very fabric of existence can lead both specialists to aspirations of divinity. Necromancers, with their devotion to the manipulation of the very spirit energy that drives living creatures, naturally tend to towards evil, and their magic is seen as unnatural. Transmuters tend to be more grounded, but only slightly so; they are well aware of their ability to unmake and remake creation at their will, and they are not shy creatures.

    Invokers and Abjurers are are much more focused and goal-oriented. They are very determined, and once set on a task will not rest until it is completed. Invokers tend to be rash and abrasive; they understand problems only as obstacles to be overcome. They are quite aware of the devastating power at their fingertips, and in spite of their impulsive nature they prefer to be prepared for any number of situations. Abjurers are more cautious and meticulous, and will always prepare a foolproof plan (usually several) to tackle any objective they set before themselves. For those TVTropes fans in the audience, Abjurers are masters of the Xanatos Gambit; Invokers feel most alive when playing Xanatos Speed Chess.

    Diviners and Illusionists are inquisitive by nature. The difference is in their motivation. Diviners seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge. They are lifelong learners, and as such tend be quite bookish, more at home amongst books than other people. Illusionists seek knowledge for the sake of power; the more they know of what is true, the more convincingly they can create that which is false. Both are also predisposed to madness; Diviners from learning that which mortals were not meant to know, and Illusionists from losing touch with which reality is true and which is false.

    Enchanters and Conjurers are as opposite as night and day. Enchanters are fiercely protective of the realm that is their home; they understand that the passion and spirit possessed by mortals because of their mortality is what makes them stronger than any being. They are not huge fans of the meddling of divinity or other outside agencies, and their pride in their own mortality means few if any ever actively seek immortality through undeath. Conjurers look around them and see nothing but weaklings, pitiful wretches unaware of and unimportant to the greater scheme that surrounds their world. They know that all true power comes from outside the Prime Material plane, and that strength lies in the manipulation of the planes and their power. Conjurers are also much more patients than Enchanters, whose focus on mortality Conjurers believe make them fatally shortsighted. After all, it takes more concentration and more power to harness the power of the planes and the creatures that inhabit them than it does to sling about the cheap tricks of lesser wizards.

  6. #6
    Illusion is with "Brutality" because it is an assertion of the internal essence of the individual over the remainder of reality, just like blasting an energy bolt. The Illusionist know what it wants and projects that outward without regard to whether it is true. The Invoker knows what it wants and doesn't care about other stuff in the universe, it is just soulstuffing to be sucked out and weaponized. Never-mind actually learning about the stuff and seeing if there is a better way to use it than as a bolt of energy.

    (For example: an Enchanter would see a goblin scout as a way to infiltrate the enemy base with a spy. The Invoker would just tackle him and suck out his soul to power another half a fireball.)

    Similarly, the Illusionist is indifferent to the truth. He projects his made up BS very directly. Never-mind believability, if the Illusion trips up, he just makes up new lies to cover the old. He is all about rejection of the universal truth, a very closely related idea to the Disgust of Invokers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    Evocation is the harnessing of energy for destruction; Abjuration for protection. Can there be two more diametrically opposed schools of thought?
    Ok, I say this in the interest of sincere discussion, although I realize I am getting quote close to neckbeardery by nit picking this, so feel free to take it or leave it, but:

    It seems to me that the natural opposite of schools that are about using energy (up) are the opposite of schools which simply rearrange rather than consume. Your schools of Manipulation seem almost like the natural opposite of your schools of Energy Consumption; although Enchantment is more clearly about manipulation than Necromagic.

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