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petermcleod117
2018-10-22, 06:19 PM
In D&D, the term Sorcerer typically refers to anyone whose magical power is inborn. However, in the middle ages, a Sorcerer was someone who wielded magic to harm innocents, and had nothing to do with the source of the magic. I am running a campaign set in the actual middle ages (you know, assuming magic actually worked). While the concept of someone who was born with magic existed in the middle ages (Merlin, notably), I am not aware of the name of that kind of magic, if there was any. Anybody have a suggestion for an alternate name for inborn magic?

Blackhawk748
2018-10-22, 06:30 PM
In D&D, the term Sorcerer typically refers to anyone whose magical power is inborn. However, in the middle ages, a Sorcerer was someone who wielded magic to harm innocents, and had nothing to do with the source of the magic. I am running a campaign set in the actual middle ages (you know, assuming magic actually worked). While the concept of someone who was born with magic existed in the middle ages (Merlin, notably), I am not aware of the name of that kind of magic, if there was any. Anybody have a suggestion for an alternate name for inborn magic?

Its usually just Mage or Wizard.

Keltest
2018-10-22, 06:33 PM
Perhaps an evoker? They directly summon up magical energies themselves instead of having to go through a book to learn how to do it.

Luccan
2018-10-22, 07:26 PM
If this is just the middle ages but magic is real, magic still won't be trusted. The magical community might have code words/their own terms (Wise Man/Magi for wizards, Inheritor for sorcerer, Broker for Warlock?), but to everyone else it's just "witch". Witch hunters might use the normal class names. If people know Clerics get their power from a divine source, they'd probably be more accepted. Druid can probably keep the name.

Edit: I'd consider Mage as a general term, if you want magic to be more accepted in your history. I think Inheritor works for Sorcerers, but Warlocks might not be accepted no matter what you call them, they usually sell their souls.

Xuc Xac
2018-10-22, 08:01 PM
Its usually just Mage or Wizard.

In the Middle Ages, a mage was a Zoroastrian priest (a cleric in D&D) and a wizard was a wrinkled old man with a lot of life experience (a high level commoner or expert if you're lucky).

Nifft
2018-10-22, 11:15 PM
- Hellspawn (if devils are a power source)
- Changeling (if fey are a power source)
- Cursed (... with awesome)
- Hagblood (if hags are a thing)
- Sir (minimum level requirements may apply)

1of3
2018-10-22, 11:51 PM
Gifted
Touched

petermcleod117
2018-10-23, 12:00 AM
If this is just the middle ages but magic is real, magic still won't be trusted. The magical community might have code words/their own terms (Wise Man/Magi for wizards, Inheritor for sorcerer, Broker for Warlock?), but to everyone else it's just "witch". Witch hunters might use the normal class names. If people know Clerics get their power from a divine source, they'd probably be more accepted. Druid can probably keep the name.

actually, if you look at how those in the middle ages viewed magic more closely, it was a bit more nuanced than "burn the witches". The church actually canonized a number of magicians, such as the alchemist/theologian Albertus Magnus. Most church magic was either "natural magic" (primitive chemistry and botany, as well as astrology that doesn't use the ascendant house or astral charms), or involved the invocation of God's name and little else (exorcism and to a certain extent Kabbalah, though since the second was Jewish in origin they were often iffy about it). There were just four rules: no divining the future of humans, no making or using charms, no conjuring spirits or dealing with spirits, and no curses and hexes, the last of which was typically just referred to as sorcery. Hence the issue above.

Warlock was a term generally used by Witches to describe other witches who betrayed a coven, approximately translating to "Oathbreaker".

The people of the middle ages distrusted maleficarum, meaning evil magic or low magic. They were actually very accepting of what was considered high magic, which was basically any magic that required the ability to read and do math as a prerequisite. Heinrich Kramer was a notable exception to this up until he published the Malleus, at which point his opinion quickly became the norm, despite some protest from the theological community (many of which were surprisingly skeptical of the existence of magic for their time).

petermcleod117
2018-10-23, 12:04 AM
Perhaps an evoker? They directly summon up magical energies themselves instead of having to go through a book to learn how to do it.

That could work.

petermcleod117
2018-10-23, 12:15 AM
- Hellspawn (if devils are a power source)
- Changeling (if fey are a power source)
- Cursed (... with awesome)
- Hagblood (if hags are a thing)
- Sir (minimum level requirements may apply)

The cursed might actually work with the medieval concept of innate magic. Merlin was supposed to be a cambion, which meant his birth was arranged with borrowed sperm and demonic rape. According to Arthurian legend he would have become the antichrist if his devout mother hadn't had him baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury right away (which is a bit achronistic, as there was no archbishop of any kind in Britain at the time, but whatever). Kramer in the Malleus seemed to believe that the demon in question did something to the sperm to distort its free will but also give it magic. So merlin's magic was indeed a curse, because even though its use wasn't necessarily evil, it would tempt him to evil by it's very nature (I mean, if someone were born with the ability to cast burning hands, and they got really, REALLY annoyed with someone, murder would be so much easier to get away with).

petermcleod117
2018-10-23, 12:18 AM
I'm probably going to go with the Cursed for human innate spellcasters, and Evoker for angels and demons taking the same class (well, actually the variant in the book of eldritch might 2).

Xuc Xac
2018-10-23, 09:49 AM
actually, if you look at how those in the middle ages viewed magic more closely, it was a bit more nuanced than "burn the witches".

"Burn the witch" is mostly a modern misconception. Heretics were burned and witches were hanged. The most famous burning victim was Joan of Arc. The English liked to think of her as a witch but she wasn't burned for witchcraft.

Giving witches the death penalty was a Renaissance thing (which is why Shakespeare features scary witches in his plays). In the Middle Ages, witches weren't that scary. The official church position was "magic isn't real" and the punishment for being a witch was a fine for what amounted to defrauding people (selling non-existent magical services).

I know of one funny case in Finland where a man on trial for witchcraft was declared innocent by the church but he insisted he was a witch and demanded to be found guilty and willingly paid the fine. He made a pretty good amount of money by selling spells and being declared "not a witch" would have been bad for his business.



Warlock was a term generally used by Witches to describe other witches who betrayed a coven, approximately translating to "Oathbreaker".

It's more like "contract denier". It came to be associated with witchcraft when the Scots started using it for people who turned away from the church and applied the classic binary worldview "if you're not with us, you're against us": if you're not coming to church anymore, you must be worshiping Satan. The term wasn't used outside of Scotland until the 19th century when Sir Walter Scott spread it to the English-speaking world in his novels and other writing.

I think the development went something like this:
Medieval peasants: "Magic is no big deal. Priests say it's fake, but I'm not so sure. I don't see the harm in getting a good luck spell on my best cow."
Renaissance people after several bitter religious wars: "Satan is everywhere! Burn the heretics and hang the witches!"
Victorian "historians": "200 years ago, they were saying 'burn... the witches' and people in the middle ages were obviously morons because history is a straight line that only goes up so they must have been even worse back then."

petermcleod117
2018-10-23, 12:04 PM
"Burn the witch" is mostly a modern misconception. Heretics were burned and witches were hanged. The most famous burning victim was Joan of Arc. The English liked to think of her as a witch but she wasn't burned for witchcraft.

Giving witches the death penalty was a Renaissance thing (which is why Shakespeare features scary witches in his plays). In the Middle Ages, witches weren't that scary. The official church position was "magic isn't real" and the punishment for being a witch was a fine for what amounted to defrauding people (selling non-existent magical services).

I know of one funny case in Finland where a man on trial for witchcraft was declared innocent by the church but he insisted he was a witch and demanded to be found guilty and willingly paid the fine. He made a pretty good amount of money by selling spells and being declared "not a witch" would have been bad for his business.



It's more like "contract denier". It came to be associated with witchcraft when the Scots started using it for people who turned away from the church and applied the classic binary worldview "if you're not with us, you're against us": if you're not coming to church anymore, you must be worshiping Satan. The term wasn't used outside of Scotland until the 19th century when Sir Walter Scott spread it to the English-speaking world in his novels and other writing.

I think the development went something like this:
Medieval peasants: "Magic is no big deal. Priests say it's fake, but I'm not so sure. I don't see the harm in getting a good luck spell on my best cow."
Renaissance people after several bitter religious wars: "Satan is everywhere! Burn the heretics and hang the witches!"
Victorian "historians": "200 years ago, they were saying 'burn... the witches' and people in the middle ages were obviously morons because history is a straight line that only goes up so they must have been even worse back then."

to add to that, in the cases where people WERE burned at the stake, they were usually hanged first then burned. The church wasn't particularly comfortable with inflicting the same kind of torture on people as was inflicted on them by the romans during the persecutions, so most of the more violent stuff they did was more or less a toned down version of what the romans did.
also, they had 4 rules regarding the use of torture: no spilt blood, no broken bones, no forced confessions, and no repeat torture sessions. If someone confessed during a session, they would stop it, wait about a day, and then inquire again without torture to ensure that the confession wasn't merely a deception made from desperation (there are several agencies that come to mind in modern times which could learn a thing or two from these rules). Of course, during the renaissance when witchcraft was considered a crime against the state all those rules went out the window, to be replaced by unlimited torture sessions and often times a complete reliance on forced confessions (Kramer didn't really trust any other type of confession, ironically). People in the middle ages still often used circular reasoning and circumstantial evidence to determine guilt, but they were far from monsters; they just didn't have a very good grasp of logic yet.

Mordaedil
2018-10-24, 01:04 AM
Giving witches the death penalty was a Renaissance thing (which is why Shakespeare features scary witches in his plays). In the Middle Ages, witches weren't that scary. The official church position was "magic isn't real" and the punishment for being a witch was a fine for what amounted to defrauding people (selling non-existent magical services).

Isn't that a rather odd statement by the Church, given how often magic and sorcery appears in the Holy book, performed not only by those blessed by god, but by straight up normal people, like the guys serving the Pharaoh turning sticks into snakes, and then they ended up spellbound by the Moses stick-turned-snake. It wasn't even portrayed as a problem back then.

Eldan
2018-10-24, 02:31 AM
The position wasn't "magic isn't real", as such. What they said was "miracles are real, but there are no other sources of magic". Saints, and by extension the church, have a monopoly on magic, if anyone says they get magic from other gods, or nature, or a pact with the devil, they are lying. As for other magic in the bible, that was conveniently swept under the rug. Now kiss this capsule that contains the hand of St. Christopher.

Luccan
2018-10-24, 02:48 AM
I feel like we're getting dangerously close to violating certain forum rules.

I guess it might be helpful to know what else you plan to change, if anything, about your magical medieval setting? Will magic be accepted or will it being provably real actually make it more terrifying to the populace? If what people have said in this thread is accurate it might not have been as hated/feared as I believed, but then again it also wasn't provable by any modern scientific process (or would lay some of the groundwork for actual scientific understanding in certain fields). But a wizard that can throw fireballs around? Or a druid that summons lightning from the sky? These things change a setting, even one in our own world. Many people may have operated on the assumption magic could be real, but in your alt-history it is and that might have serious implications.

Mordaedil
2018-10-24, 03:52 AM
I feel like we're getting dangerously close to violating certain forum rules.
Was a question made in earnest curiosity of history, not theology.

RedMage125
2018-10-24, 08:01 AM
I agree that "mage" or "magi" probably applies to ANY arcane caster.

But I like "Adept" for Sorcerer. Since they are naturally proficient at magic. I know it kind of cribs the old 3e NPC class (or a much older Piers Anthony novel, depending on how you look at it), but I think it's a great fit.

And I agree that, especially if magic is not trusted, words like "witch" and "warlock" are probably thrown around by ignorant people in anger and fear.

"Warlock" for what it's worth, used to mean "oath breaker" (which is ironic etymology, given what D&D uses them as). At some point, it was considered to be the male form of "witch" in some places.

petermcleod117
2018-10-24, 02:12 PM
I guess it might be helpful to know what else you plan to change, if anything, about your magical medieval setting? Will magic be accepted or will it being provably real actually make it more terrifying to the populace? If what people have said in this thread is accurate it might not have been as hated/feared as I believed, but then again it also wasn't provable by any modern scientific process (or would lay some of the groundwork for actual scientific understanding in certain fields). But a wizard that can throw fireballs around? Or a druid that summons lightning from the sky? These things change a setting, even one in our own world. Many people may have operated on the assumption magic could be real, but in your alt-history it is and that might have serious implications.

There are some changes to the standard medieval setting, but I actually didn't have to change as much as I thought I would. Medieval occultists, despite the fact that they weren't generally actively persecuted unless they were also illiterate, liked to keep the the secrets of their magic, well, secret. The reasoning behind this as best as I can figure is that they considered magic to be more of a spiritual journey than a tool. Alchemists would in fact actively disguise their writings to keep them from falling into the hands of the less enlightened. So there is little danger of it turning into a magipunk setting.

However, I did have to change the roll of monks slightly. In the middle ages, monks believed that their job was two-fold: become closer to God and pray for the common people. However, in a world where magic and miracles are both obvious and commonplace, and the rules of such things are a little more clear, they would end up adjusting their role to fit this. Since cleric magic only works a certain distance away from the cleric (due to spell ranges), a monk whose job it is to pray for the safety and prosperity of the people in a village would have to actively leave the monastery to do his job. On the other hand, this has the pleasant side-effect of making monks ideal player characters.

In fact, monks would make up the bulk of the spellcasters in this setting; their stated goal it to become a Saint (which is a class from the Medieval Players Handbook), many are trained in Gregorian Chant and the like (making them good candidates for the Psalmist bard variant from Mythic Vistas: Testament), and in general they have easier access to the resources they would need to pursue Arcane magic, such as Alchemy and Astrology (and to a lesser extent Theurgy/Goetia, because even though it was forbidden by the Church it was also considered High Magic and therefore was rarely punished). The word alchemy apparently has much to do with the brewing of alcohol, which is a lott of what monks did to help support themselves, and they also practiced a greater deal of botany as well.

You can almost think of monks in my setting like wizard orders and bardic colleges rolled into one, that just happen to have a religious duty to defend the innocent. (of course, because some monasteries were corrupt, there would be some cases in which this would look more like a protection racket than anything else).

Other than that, though, not much would need to change. Because there would be roughly the same amount of spellcasters on each side of every war, the outcomes of battle wouldn't change much, and most spellcasters would refuse to use their talents in something as vulgar as war anyway (again, it was considered a spiritual journey).

Disease might be less of a problem, though assuming the majority of divine spellcasters are low level it would still pack a punch.

RedWarlock
2018-10-24, 07:09 PM
A good literary point of reference for all this would be the world of the Five Gods, a book series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Start with The Curse of Chalion, which introduces saints as rare divinely-gifted individuals in a world that is mostly realistic/Earth-like, then introduces sorcerers, shamans, and other things over the course of the next few books. Itís really great reference for this kind of worldview.

AceOfFools
2018-10-26, 03:53 PM
It's more like "contract denier". It came to be associated with witchcraft when the Scots started using it for people who turned away from the church and applied the classic binary worldview "if you're not with us, you're against us": if you're not coming to church anymore, you must be worshiping Satan. The term wasn't used outside of Scotland until the 19th century when Sir Walter Scott spread it to the English-speaking world in his novels and other writing.


I've been trying to track down how the word "warlock" made that transition for years (albeit not particularly hard). Do you have a source for this where I could read more?

Arbane
2018-10-26, 07:52 PM
I am running a campaign set in the actual middle ages (you know, assuming magic actually worked).

Have you looked at Ars Magica? "Middle Ages, with actual magic" is pretty much the whole premise. I believe mages in that setting call themselves "Gifted". (Everyone else calls them 'Sir/Ma'am'... as long as they're in earshot, anyway.)

petermcleod117
2018-10-26, 10:24 PM
Have you looked at Ars Magica? "Middle Ages, with actual magic" is pretty much the whole premise. I believe mages in that setting call themselves "Gifted". (Everyone else calls them 'Sir/Ma'am'... as long as they're in earshot, anyway.)

Actually, one of the primary sources I am using, the Medieval Players Handbook, is written by the guy who wrote Heirs of Merlin: the Stonehenge Tribunal, for Ars Magica. I am using several of their manuals for flavor.

Kane0
2018-10-31, 04:12 AM
Invoker
Adept
Oracle

Witch
Fiendspawn
Cursewrought