Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Vancian Magic

Part of my extreme glee upon rediscovering the conceits of Vancian magic has been the wonderful idea that spells should not have boring names.

These are fine for those of us playing the game, but our characters should not be referring to 'Erase' or 'Affect Normal Fires', but rather 'Racarren's Hieroglyphic Banishment' or 'Atember's Pyromantic Mastery'. Furthermore, individual magic-users may well have different spells that perform the same task, even though in games terms they may be the same spells (i.e.: 'Read Magic' may well be 'Decipher the Mysteries of the Arcane' in one magic-user's spellbook, while it is 'Clarify the Enshrouded Cryptoglyphs' in another's).

As this might be a bit problematic for those who don't want to spend the time to create the oft-torturous pseudonyms required to mask the game names of various spells, but who do like the concept (and the thought of confusing the players as they struggle to determine what 'Havrak's Perfidious Cloud' actually does...), a few samples are presented below.

Unveil the Secretive Dweomers, Revelation of the Theurgic Radiance - Detect Magic
The Unerring Bolts of Khephri the Accursed, Horasca's Sting of the Enraged Hornet - Magic Missile
The Most Durable and Enduring Ward Against Wickedness and Calamity - Protection from Evil
Emrikal's Unravellment of the Befuddling Tongue, Alaksara's Clarification of Nonsensical Speech - Comprehend Languages
Faelgreon's Resplendent Defense - Shield
Ultravor's Captivating Demeanor - Friends
The Arcing Touch of Sulvan the Mad - Shocking Grasp
Mastery of the Tumultuous Plummet - Feather Fall
Ilremon's Investigative Inquiry - Identify
Nhakram's Undetectable Servitor - Unseen Servant
Enscribement of the Words of Power Beyond Puissance - Write
Emblazonment of the Sigils of the Adept - Wizard Mark
Erase the Once-Hidden Flaw - Mending
Vorskaryn's Beneficent Illumination - Light
Turasco's Terrifying Theurgic Threat - Scare
Unveiling of the Sights Unseen - Detect Invisibility
Velask's Phantasmal Wealth - Fool's Gold

And, of course, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter...

(Oh, and Havrak's Perfidious Cloud? It could be Cloudkill, or it could be Stinking Cloud, or Fog Cloud, all up to you...)

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