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redwizard007
2019-08-20, 07:35 AM
So everyone "knows" that necromancy is evil. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know lots of necromancy isn't, but it still has a reputation.) What I'm interested in is how muggles in your worlds perceive the other schools of magic. Is evocation the tool of psychopaths? Are enchanters little better than rapists? Do conjurers look more like a cult of Cthulu or Beelzebub? Are diviners known to cheat at dice? Etc.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-20, 07:42 AM
illusionists clearly just want to peep on people in the shower

JeenLeen
2019-08-20, 07:47 AM
It'd definitely depend on setting and system, but I can see there being several negative stereotypes to different schools of magic.

Evocation --> trigger-happy murderers, or at least violent
Illusion --> liars, cheats, peeping toms, etc.
Enchantment --> liars, cheats, rapists, con artists, etc.
Divination --> fake fortune tellers, cheaters on games of chance, mind-readers (can't trust 'em)

Conjuration is a bit trickier since D&D puts so much under Conjuration, but binding summoned beings to your will can have plenty of negative connotations. Depending on the arcane/divine divide, I could see arcane Conjurers being seen as blasphemous as they delve into the arts of the divine (summoning creatures from other realms, and healing is conjuration (at least usually))

Willie the Duck
2019-08-20, 08:17 AM
Non-adventurers tend to treat adventurers in my world based on what they do, not what they are. If the enchanter used magic missiles and flame bolts to fight off the zombies which attacked the village, he'll get treated the same way as the evoker who did the same. The locals might not even get right whether "ol' man sedgewick, the spellcaster" is a wizard or a sorcerer (although the guy the king/duke/whatever sends around keep tabs on the local goings-on probably would be able to figure it out, based on hearsay like whether someone always has their nose in a book or the like). This isn't some, 'commoners in my world are thick-headed locals' kind of situation, it's just more like you not remembering if the guy who moved in 4 houses down was a psychologist or a psychiatrist -- it doesn't matter to your day-to-day life.

False God
2019-08-20, 08:40 AM
Most folks in my settings don't have much a conception about magic, to them, there's no difference between an "enchanter" and an "illusionist". Necromancy gets a bad rap because there are active forces spreading the word that necromancy is bad, mostly nature-loving types and various Churches. Also, there are roaming remnants of necromancy, zombies, skeletons, ghosts, and can be encountered by normal people (rarely). They also have scary stories about them and how they do bad things to normal people.

That kind of material just doesn't exist for the other magics. "Evokers" are great at parties and are generally found in service to someone's army. Low-level murderers don't have access to enough evocation magic to give the magic a bad rap.

The rest of them are just lumped into "magic" to the common people. They're more subtle magics with a lot less common use and a lot fewer horror stories.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-08-20, 09:23 AM
I see the "schools" of magic as being mostly a wizardly concern. No one outside of them really cares. They care about effects.

Raising the dead? That's a burning. Consorting with demons[1]? Instant death. Dominating people? Probably a bad thing. Heck, even using charm spells to get someone to do something wrong. But then again, using diplomacy to do the same thing is also frowned on.

[1] not devils. Most people consider devil-dealing as a (possibly dangerous) tool, but consorting with demons is summary execution. That's due to setting specific strangenesses.

Lapak
2019-08-20, 09:47 AM
In settings where magic was a known factor, I strongly suspect that Enchantment would be the school of magic whose users would be most likely to be viewed as evil or dangerous by default (whether specialists or not.) Necromancy would probably bring out the torches and pitchforks, sure, but Enchantment undermines people's trust in each other and their government, you'd have criminals claiming they had only done bad things while under a spell, etc. Our own world shows that a mob can be whipped up very readily for that kind of thing even without evidence - in a world where it was known to be absolutely true conspiracy theories would be rampant and any spellcaster known or suspected to be a user of enchantments would be under suspicion ALL THE TIME if it was not flatly illegal.

Psyren
2019-08-20, 10:18 AM
Enchanters have "a tremendous ethical responsibility" per BoED. Charms and Compulsions are very useful for ending a conflict without violence (particularly the non-puppet stuff like Calm Emotions, Hold Person, or Command) - just remember that pretty much anything you're making them do is without their consent, and govern your actions accordingly.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-20, 10:43 AM
So everyone "knows" that necromancy is evil. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know lots of necromancy isn't, but it still has a reputation.) What I'm interested in is how muggles in your worlds perceive the other schools of magic. Is evocation the tool of psychopaths? Are enchanters little better than rapists? Do conjurers look more like a cult of Cthulu or Beelzebub? Are diviners known to cheat at dice? Etc.

Neither of my settings use "schools of magic" in the way D&D does, and most magic is "small".

One setting has a sort of animism building up to polytheism spectrum, and most magic comes via interaction with spirits and family/guild/city deities... skill boosts in crafting, blessings in battle, guidance in the wild, healing effects that are most often buffs to natural recovery as opposed to "miracles", etc. People accept that the master swordsmith might be blessed by forge spirits or simply that good at her craft or both. It's only when magic gets blatant, destructive, and/or manipulative that people get scared and angry, and on the flip side people will try to blame "bad magic" for things that they did, such as the spouse caught in adultery who panics and claims to have been the victim of charms. Generally though people look at magic via spirits as an accepted part of the world. However, there's other magic, linked to the old gods, that is "anathema"... magic worked directly by the caster without a mediating spirit/deity (white magic) and magic worked via pacts with underworld spirits (black magic) both draw reactions ranging from suspicion to outright hostility, are banned in most city-states, and can get you imprisoned, maimed, executed, or just killed, so the rare users smokescreen with the trappings of acceptable magic.

Psyren
2019-08-20, 11:53 AM
Are diviners known to cheat at dice? Etc.

This implies a level of precision for divination that I'm doubtful exists in most settings. For example, if I used Augury in a casino and somehow avoided notice, I might get a "weal" (good) result for actions that actually cause me to lose the game, as it means I don't spiral into a gambling addiction or suffer bodily harm at the hands of the organized crime syndicate running the place who figure me out once I start cleaning up.

sktarq
2019-08-20, 12:58 PM
Absolutly no pattern.

in one setting various academies were linked to specialist training but the academy held the root of the reputation not the school of magic.

one setting different major political and cultural groups saw various schools of magic differently and this helped shape what magic was common in their regions and how those groups interacted (This is my personal default and import it to basically everything)

in another that mostly took place in a single culture other "True" Wizards, Clerics, The King/Army (Which included warmages), and the populous each had a view of each school of magic.

most common things....whoever can cast wall of stone, permanent walls of fire (both for heating castles/town halls, but also for salt production, smelting, and powering kilns), and can find minerals to mine, good well sites, communicate long distances, control weather (even if only in a pinch-like calming a big storm), etc are cool....pretty much every community appreciates these kinds of services and will thus likely tolerate even weird behavior from the caster.

Nightcanon
2019-08-20, 06:13 PM
I think it depends on how each is presented. Necromancy and Conjuration probably have the worst reputation in literature, and D&D at least follows that to some extent (negative energy and its association with evil, for example). But just as you can fluff necromancer as conscription the bodies of the slain as puppets, or bringing back slain evils, you could presumably fluff an Create Undead spell that asked of the souls of dead paladins "you served our god faithfully and with honour in life; would you now consider doing even greater service from beyond the grave?" You could see an LG religion envisaging an afterlife in which one sat at the Round Table of the High King in his feasting Hall, but he might even yet bestow quests on his knights that they may win even greater honour beyond death. Meanwhile, the LG enchanter doesn't really Dominate her foes, so much as reach out to the good that exists in every being, if only they can be shown how to look. Dominating the mind of the sentry, and marching him like a marionette through the jail to release the prisoner? No, merely releasing him from the binds of evil, and allowing him to act freely, without reference to 40 years of tarnish accumulated on his soul.

Kaptin Keen
2019-08-21, 02:20 AM
All magic is evil. We just don't realise. It's like the internet in that way - it's so nice and wonderful and useful and we forget that it tracks everything we do and controls our lives. Magic is exactly the same.

It's all deception, mind control, surveillance, outright destruction, contact, control and summoning of eldritch things from outside sanity. Necromancy is only 'evil' because it's the only school without any glitter to cover it's obvious crimes.

And ... just because you're likely to think so: No, I'm not trolling, all magic is evil. Overall, it can barely even be used in a way that's 'good'.

Anonymouswizard
2019-08-21, 10:53 AM
So everyone "knows" that necromancy is evil. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know lots of necromancy isn't, but it still has a reputation.) What I'm interested in is how muggles in your worlds perceive the other schools of magic. Is evocation the tool of psychopaths? Are enchanters little better than rapists? Do conjurers look more like a cult of Cthulu or Beelzebub? Are diviners known to cheat at dice? Etc.

Highly depends on the world, especially as I don't use D&D a lot of the time. In general if magic in general isn't outright ruled as evil the applications that are seen as evil are those that go against social convention, and enchantments/compulsions. Users of mind magic in my settings are almost always viewed as evil, although at this point a necessity for most rulers (mind mages are the best at countering mind mages, and their abilities are just that useful) that a good number trade away freedoms in exchange for luxuries and political power.

Otherwise:
Abjurers: rarely common enough to be worth discussing.
Conjurers: often disliked. They deal with beings Man Was Not Meant to Know, and where do you think all those half-demon babies come from?
Diviners: liked as long as their predictions and information is generally accurate, generally positive, and not overly specific. One's probably watched you shower (although not all have clairvoyerance).
Enchanters: hated, feared, and highly desired, although more on the 'hated and feared' side if they're not also telepaths. There's generally a metaphysical reason as well as a social reason for the lack of Enchanter-Kings.
Evocationists: the equivalent of flashy battle magic means there's generally no stereotype.
Illusionists: depending on if you've had to deal with one, either utterly terrifying or rather comedic. The stereotypical wizard.
Necromancers: really depends. In some places even more evil than enchanters, in others they're fine as long as they're buying bodies rather than stealing them.
Transmuters: somebody who uses mainly material-based transmutations is more often viewed as a good person, those who shapeshift are probably evil witches out to spoil your milk.


illusionists clearly just want to peep on people in the shower

I've used that as a serious setting element in at least two settings. In a high tech one the ubiquitous nature of survellience has had a similar effect to the present of common divination and illusion magic in a fantasy one, where there's a lowered sense of and expectation of privacy, which goes significantly further in the fantasy setting (due to having better divination than anti-divination). To the point that it's known that yes, some people do learn there's spells just to do immoral but not dangerous activities, although every spell with such a use is also highly effective as a tool for spying. To some people warding your bathroom against clairvoyerance is as important as making sure your windows have glass in them.

ZeroGear
2019-08-21, 12:05 PM
OK, It really feels like there needs to be a counterpoint for Necromancy, because most responses here seem to default to "this is wrong".
While a lot of stories do use necromancy as a tool of evil, consider that the stereotype will be different in a setting where it is used as a constructive tool rather than a destructive one.
In Pathfinder, the city Corentyn uses undead to do menial labor such as ploughing the fields and in construction work. While the city itself is considered "Evil" due to being run by those that make pacts with Devils, the citizens would't consider Necromancy evil if it helps feed the populace.
It also depends on how the casters handle their spells:
Are you robbing graves in the middle of the night to supply your army? That's a burning.
Are you paying people for the bodies of the dead, carefully cleaning the bones, and then laying them to rest five to ten years later as per contract? You're probably liked by the villagers even if they find you a little creepy.
It all depends on how your powers are used in the setting.

Pleh
2019-08-21, 12:49 PM
OK, It really feels like there needs to be a counterpoint for Necromancy, because most responses here seem to default to "this is wrong".
While a lot of stories do use necromancy as a tool of evil, consider that the stereotype will be different in a setting where it is used as a constructive tool rather than a destructive one.
In Pathfinder, the city Corentyn uses undead to do menial labor such as ploughing the fields and in construction work. While the city itself is considered "Evil" due to being run by those that make pacts with Devils, the citizens would't consider Necromancy evil if it helps feed the populace.
It also depends on how the casters handle their spells:
Are you robbing graves in the middle of the night to supply your army? That's a burning.
Are you paying people for the bodies of the dead, carefully cleaning the bones, and then laying them to rest five to ten years later as per contract? You're probably liked by the villagers even if they find you a little creepy.
It all depends on how your powers are used in the setting.

This notion comes up a lot, but the thing that makes me call BS is that, if all you want are mindless robots to replace menial labor, just animate objects. Why animate an undead farmer when you can animate the entire frickin plow? It'll be stronger, just as permanent, and avoid ethical issues of corpse desecration and icky negative energy use.

Sure, it's a higher level spell, but we're talking about a whole civilization built on this structure. Once you have your animated object workforce in place, you won't need to do much more than maintenance, possibly for several lifetimes.

Lord Torath
2019-08-21, 01:01 PM
It'd definitely depend on setting and system, but I can see there being several negative stereotypes to different schools of magic.

Evocation --> trigger-happy murderers, or at least violent
Illusion --> liars, cheats, peeping toms, etc.
Enchantment --> liars, cheats, rapists, con artists, etc.
Divination --> fake fortune tellers, cheaters on games of chance, mind-readers (can't trust 'em)

Conjuration is a bit trickier since D&D puts so much under Conjuration, but binding summoned beings to your will can have plenty of negative connotations. Depending on the arcane/divine divide, I could see arcane Conjurers being seen as blasphemous as they delve into the arts of the divine (summoning creatures from other realms, and healing is conjuration (at least usually))I assume Illusionists are Peeping Toms because they can turn invisible? Diviners would also be considered peeping toms, though, wouldn't they?


*snip argument that Necromancy is not necessarily evil*


*snip counter argumentWe've already got one thread hashing this out. Can we move this discussion over there (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?594526-The-evil-of-Lawful-Good) to avoid cluttering this thread? The OP already addressed this issue as one not for this thread.

ZeroGear
2019-08-21, 02:03 PM
Putting necromancy aside, Iím kinda surprised no one really brings up conjuring.
Considering itís a school of magic thatís all about bringing objects or animals to you, Iíd imagine that practitioners that cause stampedes or summon a celestial bull to alive every problem would give the school of magic a bit of a bad name.

redwizard007
2019-08-22, 04:46 PM
Some good thoughts here. Now I feel like designing a society where necromancy is the ONLY socially acceptable magic. After all, it only deals with the dead. None of the pesky moral issues from those deviant schools of magic.

Anonymouswizard
2019-08-22, 04:55 PM
Some good thoughts here. Now I feel like designing a society where necromancy is the ONLY socially acceptable magic. After all, it only deals with the dead. None of the pesky moral issues from those deviant schools of magic.

The morality of necromancy is complicated and has a lot to do with how the local religions view corpses*. However, I will note it's easier to make it socially acceptable if other magic tends to deal with the mind, and if necromancers tend to work towards socially acceptable ends.

One of my friends in Sixth Form came up with the idea of necromancers as servants of the dead, and I've been developing it on and off for a setting. These necromancers are associated with the shovel, as they spend a good deal of their time burying bodies, but their main role is seeking out ghosts and helping them find peace (and generally trying to bargain for a favour or two). They don't have any actual ability to compel the dead, or to animate corpses, but they can see and communicate with ghosts, with more advanced ones being able to give ghosts limited physical form. They're also 'true' necromancers, in that some ghosts have knowledge of the future that they can pass on.

* And souls if dealing with ghosts, although that rarely comes in comparison.

Spore
2019-08-28, 05:43 AM
You can do negative stereotypes on every school as well as positive ones.


Read in a disgruntled commoner NPC voice.
Abjuration - reclusive people who think they're better than you and need to protect themselves from you.
Conjuration - damned demon summoners they are
Divination - you gaze into a crystal ball and pretend you know where my family is right now? You think you know the future? You are crazy.
Enchantment - You fuss with a person's mind and you are on my black list now.
Evocation - What part of you read "phenomenal cosmic powers" and automatically jumped to big lethal explosions?
Illusion - Duplicious folk, really don't like them. You can never pin them down on anything.
Necromancy - maybe I was too hard on them but they regularly do desecrate graves, so they deserve what is coming to them
Transmutation - these scare me the least and the most. On one hand, my papa knows how to deal with a bear so them transmuting into scary beasts is not bothering me. But they can curse you to a life as a rat, or a toad. These things keep me up at night.

Evil DM Mark3
2019-08-28, 05:51 AM
Its cultural. Most of the humans in my world view arcane magic as powerful and dangerous and as such distrust its users regardless of discipline. Dwarves deeply respect Abjurers and Diviners and have an appreciation of Transmuters and Conjurers, but view the other disciplines as dangerous and suspicious. Mainland elves tend to view Arcane magic as an academic endevour, regardless of school whereas Old-land elves and Drow both have the attitude that it is more of a matter of personal expression and artistry, but in both cases is the effect, not the spells chosen to bring that effect about, that is worthy of debate.

Corneel
2019-09-03, 10:56 AM
Magic is against the established natural order. Magic both corrupts and needs corruption. To use magic you are by needs tainted by one of the many strains of Corruption from the Beyond. Using magic reinforces the taint of corruption, and the more corrupted you are the better you can be at magic. Corruption can be tempered by adhering to rigorous study and learning control (the "Wizard" model of magic), while letting the magic and corruption run its course can lead to great power but little comprehension (the "Sorcerer" model of magic).

What the Blessed of the Gods do might resemble the corrupt magic of mages, but it's totally different. Really. It's sanctioned by the Gods, so it has to be, no?

RazorChain
2019-09-03, 12:56 PM
In the Mythic Europe setting I'm running all magic is met with sceptisims, hostility and distrust from the masses. Even the village wise woman is barely tolerated. The supernatural is not a good thing no matter it's origin.

The exception of course is divine miracles.

jjordan
2019-09-03, 01:54 PM
So everyone "knows" that necromancy is evil. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know lots of necromancy isn't, but it still has a reputation.) What I'm interested in is how muggles in your worlds perceive the other schools of magic. Is evocation the tool of psychopaths? Are enchanters little better than rapists? Do conjurers look more like a cult of Cthulu or Beelzebub? Are diviners known to cheat at dice? Etc. Depends on where and when you are. In Bele'Ath the use of arcane magic is typically seen as definitive proof of having elvish blood in your family history, even though it isn't, and magic users are typically quite open about their practice and prone to inflating their actual abilities. The use of mystical magic is viewed with suspicion and mystical magic users tend to pretend to be arcane magic users or hide their abilities. In Cerus the use of mystical magic is viewed as proof of divine (actually infernal) favor. While the use of all forms of magic are regulated arcane magic users and users of mystical magic from power sources other than the state church are more tightly regulated. There's no official policy of discrimination but socially those other magic users are subject to a good deal of distrust and false rumor. In the Eisenreich both arcane and mystical magic users can be found but only the followers of Vulcan tend to be out and proud about it. Most others are careful not to practice magic, or appear to practice magic, in public. In the Lawless Isles the followers of the Three Ladies hold sway and the practice of other forms of magic is discouraged by social convention and law. Tieflings are killed on sight in the belief that they are all adherents of the Church of Discipline and mystical magic users thereof. And so on.