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Mith
2017-08-17, 11:19 PM
Hello everyone,

I am considering doing up some spell cards for a 5e campaign and thought it would be neat to associate colours with schools to colour the title block, and perhaps use contrasting colours to show opposing spell schools. This process is flawed in the sense that there are only 3 pairs of contrasting colours without going into shades. Also Octarine is only visible as unspecified magic, so won't be an option for one specific school.

What I am interested in how you would pair up the eight Schools of Magic. The only pair that works in my head is Illusion and Divination as concealing and revealing magic respectively. However, everything else doesn't really feel so clear cut. Do you think there can be such a pairing that would be reasonable?

Nifft
2017-08-18, 12:53 AM
Sure, here's one way to do it:


Divination opposes Illusion -- one finds truth, the other obscures.

Enchantment opposes Necromancy -- one manipulates the living, the other manipulates the dead.

Conjuration opposes Abjuration -- one calls, the other banishes.

Transmutation opposes Evocation -- one deals with change, the other harnesses absolutes.


It's not really valid if you look hard enough, of course.

Lacuna Caster
2017-08-18, 05:59 AM
Nifft has the thrust of it right, but I agree that D&D's school classifications are fuzzy enough that you run into problems.

Illusion vs. Divination makes sense to me, but Illusion seems to overlap heavily with certain Enchantment spells, insofar as they tamper with the memories or beliefs of the subject. Conversely, if an illusion spell relied primarily on physical phenomena such as noise and light and force, couldn't it be classified as a specialised Evocation?

Evocation and Abjuration seem like natural opposites to me, with Transmutation fitting in as a 'neutral' option between. Necromancy's natural opposite is Healing, and there's no obvious reason why wizards shouldn't get access to the latter through access to positive energy, so... for the sake of consistency I'd take both away and make necromancy an exclusively clerical concern.

I would also imagine that Conjuration spells function differently for wizards and clerics. Clerics already have a hotline to their deity and the deity can delegate to extraplanar beings like archons and lemures, so getting in touch with the beyond is fairly straightforward, but the terms and conditions are already pretty well-defined. By contrast, the wizard has to do the heavy lifting of finding and persuading a plausibly willing extraplanar creature, along with punching a wormhole through extradimensional space to bring them in for tea and biscuits. A lot more flexibility, but a lot less control.

One can actually argue that all other schools are either forms of Conjuration or rely on it heavily, simply because they involve action-at-a-distance and/or tapping the content of the Elemental Planes to spew out flame and frost and dirt and soda pop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tB88D0rdoU&t=2m4s), etc.


So here's my diagram:



Concern
Additive
Transitive
Extractive


Mass & Energy
Evocation
Transmutation
Abjuration


Travel and the Planes
?
Conjuration
?


Knowledge & Belief
Illusion
Enchantment
Divination


The Body & Humours
Healing
?
Necromancy



This leaves a few gaps, of course, and you can argue that various spells should really have components of multiple schools (e.g, Resurrection requiring the physical 'healing' of the body as well as summoning the spirit of the deceased.) But it boils down the major forms of magic to just 4 fundamental classes, and I think that's a start.

Joe the Rat
2017-08-18, 09:25 AM
You could fuzzy Conjuration - back to when the summoned creatures were not explicitly Celestial/Fiendish/Spirit beasties, and use it as Additive Body, with Healing the Transitive. 3*3. World, Mind, Soul.

Mind you, for 5e, healing is Evocation (cures), Abjuration (restores) or Necromancy (revives).

Millstone85
2017-08-18, 11:37 AM
Apparently, 2e had:
* Enchantment vs Evocation. This makes sense to me, as mind vs matter.
* Conjuration vs Divination. The above, only more sophisticated?
* Abjuration vs Transmutation. Permanence vs change, maybe?
* Illusion vs Necromancy. I really don't see the connection.

Lacuna Caster
2017-08-18, 12:07 PM
A lot of this is quite similar to Ars Magica (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ars_Magica#Magic_system), for what it's worth.

One other caveat I'd raise is that you'd probably need to go through every spell and ponder carefully whether they really belong in a given category. I'd argue that Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Eagle's Splendour and the like all clearly fall under 'The Body & Humours', so they'd lie along the healing-to-necromancy spectrum, not transmutation, and might not be accessible by wizards at all. Silence and Time Stop would probably be Abjurations. Spells like Consecrate and Unholy Blight might need consideration as well.

If you wanted to get really reductive about it, you could probably boil all the various Cure X wounds, Regenerate and Restoration down to a single meta-spell, and maybe even extend that to cover the stat-booster abilities as well. I suspect with some shoe-horning and a little bit of custom fluff you could do that for each of the major schools' offings.


NB: The reason why I'd tend to classify healing and necromancy as clerical specialties is partly because they have more of a moralistic good-v-evil component and require dominion over the soul & afterlife, but also because I like to imagine that wizards are subject to something resembling thermodynamic laws, in that (A) wizards have to know exactly what they're doing, and (B) it takes less skill to blow things up than to put things back together. In contract, the cleric can leave some of the finer details of implementation as a matter of faith in their patron.

(I'll also confess I'm not fond of Spam Monster X spells in general- I think it's more interesting to either (A) negotiate for services, or (B) call upon your forest friends in a situation-specific manner.)

Millstone85
2017-08-18, 01:34 PM
I think I would go with:
* Enchantment vs Evocation. Mental vs elemental.
* Conjuration vs Abjuration. Summons vs exorcism.
* Illusion vs Divination. Lies vs revealing the truth.
* Transmutation vs Necromancy. Change vs return.

Nifft
2017-08-18, 01:46 PM
Necromancy's natural opposite is Healing,

Just so you know -- back in 1e, all healing spells were Necromancy.

Necromancy was the manipulation of life & death, and cure wounds or raise dead was exactly as Necromantic as ray of enfeeblement or animate dead.

Since this thread is in the general forum, I think older editions are also relevant.


== == ==

Anyway here's another breakdown:

Necromancy deals with decay & entropy <=> Evocation deals with creating energy.

Divination pulls information from the Planes <=> Conjuration pulls creatures and matter from the Planes.

Transmutation changes the target <=> Abjuration resists or removes changes.

Enchantment affects the mind from within <=> Illusion affects the mind from without.

Millstone85
2017-08-18, 02:46 PM
Just so you know -- back in 1e, all healing spells were Necromancy.

Necromancy was the manipulation of life & death, and cure wounds or raise dead was exactly as Necromantic as ray of enfeeblement or animate dead.

Since this thread is in the general forum, I think older editions are also relevant.The way those spells changed schools is interesting.




2e
3.5
5e


cure wounds
necromancy
conjuration
evocation


raise dead
necromancy
conjuration
necromancy



I wish they had stayed in the school of necromancy, especially since 5e says it "explores the cosmic forces of life, death, and undeath".

Beneath
2017-08-18, 05:07 PM
Apparently, 2e had:
* Enchantment vs Evocation. This makes sense to me, as mind vs matter.
* Conjuration vs Divination. The above, only more sophisticated?
* Abjuration vs Transmutation. Permanence vs change, maybe?
* Illusion vs Necromancy. I really don't see the connection.

The 2e thing has historical reasons. In 1e, "Illusionist" and "Magic-user" were separate classes and the Illusionist had its own spell list. The 1e illusionist notably didn't have much necromancy (also, some of the better illusions, like Color Spray iirc didn't show up on the M-U spell list). As I understand it school labels didn't do much, per se, prior to 2e. This explains most of the edge cases or difficulties categorizing new spells; they weren't meant to be rules as originally concepted.

2e renamed them as "Mage" and "Specialist Wizard", and made Specialist Wizards use subsets of the Mage spell list defined by opposition schools (and also gave mages access to color spray). So because the illusionist didn't have any of the classical necromancer things the M-U had, they got Necromancy as an opposition school. 3e folded these two classes into one Wizard class and removed most of the barriers to entry to specialization*, then 5e went further and removed the generalist from the core rulebook.

Also weren't divination spells below like 4th level not subject to the normal rules of opposition?

*in 2e, to be a specialist wizard you don't just have to give up one, two, sometimes even three opposition schools, which you don't even get to pick; you also have to have a starting attribute of at least 15 or 16, depending on specialty, in something that isn't Intelligence. You could be a mage with 9 INT (you wouldn't have a lot of potential, but technically you could try), but to be an Illusionist you needed 16 DEX. Point-buy, IIRC, isn't even in the "optional roll methods" section of the 2e DMG, and "4d6 drop lowest six times, arrange as desired" was an optional method for high-powered characters (I remember my first was a technically-higher-averaging method of 3d6 twelve times, take the best six and arrange as desired. so people did use those high-power options)

JBPuffin
2017-08-18, 06:17 PM
Sure, here's one way to do it:


Divination opposes Illusion -- one finds truth, the other obscures.

Enchantment opposes Necromancy -- one manipulates the living, the other manipulates the dead.

Conjuration opposes Abjuration -- one calls, the other banishes.

Transmutation opposes Evocation -- one deals with change, the other harnesses absolutes.


It's not really valid if you look hard enough, of course.

I'd pick this one because it does exactly what I'd need school opposition to do: on the surface, look totally viable, but be completely screwed up once you dug any further at all.

Friv
2017-08-18, 06:30 PM
Hello everyone,

I am considering doing up some spell cards for a 5e campaign and thought it would be neat to associate colours with schools to colour the title block, and perhaps use contrasting colours to show opposing spell schools. This process is flawed in the sense that there are only 3 pairs of contrasting colours without going into shades. Also Octarine is only visible as unspecified magic, so won't be an option for one specific school.

What I am interested in how you would pair up the eight Schools of Magic. The only pair that works in my head is Illusion and Divination as concealing and revealing magic respectively. However, everything else doesn't really feel so clear cut. Do you think there can be such a pairing that would be reasonable?

White and Black can be used as contrasting colours!

My immediate thought:
* Divination (Blue) vs Illusion (Orange) - Divination looks for truth, and Illusion creates lies.
* Evocation (Red) vs Conjuration (Green) - Evocation creates things, and conjuration calls things to you.
* Transmutation (Yellow) vs Abjuration (Purple) - Transmutation changes things, and abjuration protects things from change.
* Enchantment (White) vs Necromancy (Black) - Enchantment controls the mind, and necromancy controls life energy.

Beneath
2017-08-18, 11:19 PM
I'd pick this one because it does exactly what I'd need school opposition to do: on the surface, look totally viable, but be completely screwed up once you dug any further at all.

Among other things, it means that the spells to create a binding circle and actually bind a demon to it are from eachother's opposition schools. What exactly that means is up to implementation details and this may be desirable, but it is worth keeping in mind

JBPuffin
2017-08-19, 03:11 AM
Among other things, it means that the spells to create a binding circle and actually bind a demon to it are from eachother's opposition schools. What exactly that means is up to implementation details and this may be desirable, but it is worth keeping in mind

That's pretty nifty - demon-binders work in pairs. One, presumably an evil priest of some kind, draws the wards while the demonologist proper actually calls the thing up. Setting material :smallbiggrin:!

Friv's setup is pretty cool, too - similar in the "solid at first glance, easy to tear to shreds later" nature. A couple setups don't pass that first barrier to me (any that don't pair Divination - Illusion, for starters). Transmutation vs Abjuration is kind of a no-brainer, now that I see it...

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-08-19, 04:24 AM
Hello everyone,

I am considering doing up some spell cards for a 5e campaign and thought it would be neat to associate colours with schools to colour the title block, and perhaps use contrasting colours to show opposing spell schools. This process is flawed in the sense that there are only 3 pairs of contrasting colours without going into shades.

How do you mean that? Every color has an opposite. Purple-green, red-cyan, yellow-blue, white-black, orange-blue green, pink-dark green to dark blue green depending on the shade of pink, #865600(sort of a brownish dirty gold)-#7aaaff(sort of a slightly darker baby blue), every color has an opposite as long as you're willing to put a name on it. The problem is the amount of colors you have a good name for and which have a clear distinct look from each other, rather then the number of matching pairs.

Millstone85
2017-08-19, 04:26 AM
The 2e thing has historical reasons. In 1e, "Illusionist" and "Magic-user" were separate classes and the Illusionist had its own spell list. The 1e illusionist notably didn't have much necromancyProbably something we can move past, then.


Among other things, it means that the spells to create a binding circle and actually bind a demon to it are from eachother's opposition schools. What exactly that means is up to implementation details and this may be desirable, but it is worth keeping in mindI generally feel that if a mage who specializes in a category of spells is nonetheless going to learn other spells, those would most likely be from the opposing school. It might be a matter of being able to control what you called, or to undo what you did, etc.

And if spells are going to be more difficult or impossible to learn, it is spells that have nothing to do with your preferred school.

Lacuna Caster
2017-08-19, 06:46 AM
Guys, I think you need to review what the word 'opposite' means. Mind and Body, etc. are not opposites. They're just separate phenomena. Opposites lie at different ends of the same spectrum. For example:


Just so you know -- back in 1e, all healing spells were Necromancy.

Necromancy was the manipulation of life & death, and cure wounds or raise dead was exactly as Necromantic as ray of enfeeblement or animate dead.
Yes, but that makes Necromancy a spectrum containing two opposites- quite literally in D&D's case, since the effects depend on positive and negative energy to cure and inflict wounds, for example. Undead run on negative energy, and are harmed by cure spells. These things are opposites.

Does it make sense that a mage who knows a great deal about negative energy would also know something about manipulating the opposed force? Sure. But the by the same token, the mage who specialises in truth should be able to concoct a lie, and the mage that commands ice and fire should be better able to deflect or absorb them. At least in principle.

EDIT: This isn't to say you couldn't find other ways to model necromancy- maybe it actually consists of restoring life to the body in the absence of the soul, for example, or conversely, binding the soul to a body that can no longer naturally support it. But both these frameworks have specific metaphysical consequences that are not going to be entirely consistent with standard D&D.


Probably something we can move past, then.

I generally feel that if a mage who specializes in a category of spells is nonetheless going to learn other spells, those would most likely be from the opposing school. It might be a matter of being able to control what you called, or to undo what you did, etc.
Yeah, I guess the question to address here is, "What are the mechanical effects of defining opposed schools?" Is it that spells from one of these schools are especially good at countering spells from the other? Or is it that spells from one are incompatible with the other- e.g, you can't prep both on the same day, or sorcerors can't get attuned to both? Or is it that spells from these paired schools are based on the same principle, and so knowing one would actually grant synergy to the other?

Or is this a kind of political/social/philosophical divide, whereby colleges devoted to certain forms of magic have long-running feuds with other schools of thought? Is there some kind of arcane monopoly commission? Would only law-abiding, conformist wizards feel particularly constrained by those edicts? Or is this purely a metagame balance concern?

Nifft
2017-08-19, 07:48 AM
Yes, but that makes Necromancy a spectrum containing two opposites- quite literally in D&D's case, since the effects depend on positive and negative energy to cure and inflict wounds, for example. Undead run on negative energy, and are harmed by cure spells. These things are opposites.

Does it make sense that a mage who knows a great deal about negative energy would also know something about manipulating the opposed force? Sure. But the by the same token, the mage who specialises in truth should be able to concoct a lie, and the mage that commands ice and fire should be better able to deflect or absorb them. At least in principle.

Again, in previous editions this division was absent.

For example, at 1st level in 1e, there was literally one light wounds spell which did both things. You were not "versed" in one or the other. You prepared this one spell, and you used it either way you wanted when you cast it.

A better way to understand Necromancy would be: command and manipulation of positive and negative energy. Not one a spectrum of opposites, but rather command of those two deadly energies, both at once.


You're trying to claim that nobody else understands what "opposite" means, but your main example of "two opposites" is literally one thing.

Here is that one thing (from the 1e PHB):

http://i.imgur.com/ZKJgPU6.png

Lacuna Caster
2017-08-19, 08:17 AM
You're trying to claim that nobody else understands what "opposite" means, but your main example of "two opposites" is literally one thing.

A better way to understand Necromancy would be: command and manipulation of positive and negative energy. Not one a spectrum of opposites, but rather command of those two deadly energies, both at once.
Right. But in that case, what's unreasonable about defining Evocation as the command and manipulation of the elements and physical forces, including how to stop them? Or defining Illusion as the command and manipulation of information and belief, including accurate information and belief? There's no good reason why this would be particular to necromancy.

I'm not saying nobody besides me understands opposites. I'm just saying that body/mind is a shoehorned example- enjoying the benefit of a Foresight spell does not impose penalties to str/dex/con, for example. False Life does not lower IQ. Et cetera, et cetera.

Nifft
2017-08-19, 03:53 PM
Right. But in that case, what's unreasonable about defining Evocation as the command and manipulation of the elements and physical forces, including how to stop them? Or defining Illusion as the command and manipulation of information and belief, including accurate information and belief? There's no good reason why this would be particular to necromancy.

I'm not saying nobody besides me understands opposites. I'm just saying that body/mind is a shoehorned example- enjoying the benefit of a Foresight spell does not impose penalties to str/dex/con, for example. False Life does not lower IQ. Et cetera, et cetera.

There's nothing unreasonable about any of the reasonable opposition sets which are described in this thread.

When Evocation increases the temperature or decreases the temperature, it's not "opposites" -- it's one school, manipulating the domain of temperature.

When Transmutation makes your body stronger or weaker, it's not "opposites" -- it's one school, manipulating the domain of the body.

When Enchantment makes you high-morale or low-morale, it's not "opposites" -- it's one school, manipulating the domain of mind.

This whole opposites thing:

It's not really valid if you look hard enough, of course.

That's true of all of them.

None of the schools are actually opposites. Not one pair is truly opposites.

We're just making up some reasonable excuses why some arbitrary pairs might be reasonably opposed -- which is not the same as "opposites", you might note. (Two nigh-identical angels might be opposed to each other because they stand for different methods, rather than being literal opposites in all ways.)

Millstone85
2017-08-19, 04:54 PM
Guys, I think you need to review what the word 'opposite' means. Mind and Body, etc. are not opposites. They're just separate phenomena. Opposites lie at different ends of the same spectrum.So, you are right, but too exigent. I doubt we can take D&D's eight schools of magic and make four pairs that each feel like true opposites.

My attempt goes like this:
* Divination vs Illusion. Expanding the senses or fooling them. The most solid opposition.
* Abjuration vs Conjuration. If we focus more on exorcism and warding than on antimagic.
* Transmutation vs Necromancy. Getting more abstract here. It can be said that one is about change, the new from the ashes of the old, while the other tries to put things back the way they were.
* Enchantment vs Evocation. These are the only two left, and all I can see is the interesting contrast of mind and matter.

Mith
2017-08-19, 10:34 PM
Thanks for all the responses! I realize that this style of categorization is fairly incomplete, as the D&D magic system isn't designed with this in mind. I think the best way to look at such things is a mix of intent of the spell as well as the domain that it acts in. Treat the Wizarding Schools similar to philosophical schools more than branches of science.


How do you mean that? Every color has an opposite. Purple-green, red-cyan, yellow-blue, white-black, orange-blue green, pink-dark green to dark blue green depending on the shade of pink, #865600(sort of a brownish dirty gold)-#7aaaff(sort of a slightly darker baby blue), every color has an opposite as long as you're willing to put a name on it. The problem is the amount of colors you have a good name for and which have a clear distinct look from each other, rather then the number of matching pairs.

I was meaning matching pairs on the basic colour wheel. This is in part to avoid confusion of similar shades.

Nifft
2017-08-20, 01:24 AM
Thanks for all the responses! I realize that this style of categorization is fairly incomplete, as the D&D magic system isn't designed with this in mind. I think the best way to look at such things is a mix of intent of the spell as well as the domain that it acts in. Treat the Wizarding Schools similar to philosophical schools more than branches of science.

Glad to help.

Let us know what you end up with.

Cluedrew
2017-08-21, 10:19 AM
As much as I like the idea of spectrum opposites, where the opposite school might be your second best. I agree with Mith's point of thinking of them as schools of thought instead of an elemental system. When you get down to it, D&D's magic system is a fuzzy concept of yes with various ways to access it. That doesn't subdivide so well.

Of course if it is really about the schools of thought your opposing school might just be the one your school has had the most toughs with over the years. But that might be getting to far into it. Outside of that I think Nifft's original list is the best I've seen so far.

KarlMarx
2017-08-22, 04:08 PM
While it's definitely hard, here's my stab at it:

Conjuration(Green) vs. Transmutation(Red): One deals with calling and transporting already existing things, the other with creating new things or changing them into new forms.

Evocation(White) vs. Necromancy(Black): One deals with the elements, the other with the energies(positive & negative).

Abjuration(Blue) vs. Enchantment(Orange): One deals with taking control of other things, the other with protecting from things (especially with things trying to take control)

Illusion(Violet) vs. Divination(Yellow): See above posts.

Edited to add colors.