Create a Magic System: Types of Magic and Magic Users

Witch face

Types of magic structures and types of magic users are closely intertwined since the first defines how magic is harnessed into spells and the other is partly defined by how they cast spells. Consider creating multiple types of magic users and magic systems. Doing this gives you more freedom to play with ideas and issues. Since the creation of magic structures was covered in the last blog, this blog will outline several types of magic users.

Magic users often have ranks that reflect power and experience/ education. The apprenticeship system is commonly used when referring to magic users that need to learn magic. An apprentice is a student magic user. Some writers have a journeyman rank, these often are advanced students who need to travel or complete a special project to reach full status. A mage/ wizard/ sorcerer is someone who has mastered the basics and is full-fledged in power. An adept has more power and learning. There can be other ranks but these are the basic ones. I think the distinction between mage, wizard, and sorcerer is a personal one.

Magic users can also be classified according to the source of their power. Priests and paladins are given abilities by gods. Hedge-wiches and hedge-wizards typically take their power from nature (earth or air, usually) or do spells with ingredients. The term can also be applied to a magic user of little power. Summoners are only as powerful as the creatures they control. Alchemists typically create artifacts or transform substances. The ubiquitous mage/ wizard/ sorcerer is the typical spell caster and has no set form although fireballs are a common spell. Channels are people who do not use magic directly but concentrate and focus magic that goes through them. Shape-shifters take on other forms. Seers and scriers see the future or across distances. There are fortunetellers and prophets. Bards, dancers, and painters might cast spells only through their chosen medium. These magic users are the ones I have found most often in literature but you can create and name whatever serves your purposes.

There are other ways to type-cast your magic systems and magic users, of course. Maybe good, evil, and neutral magic works differently. Or different races might have different abilities. Or you could divide along gender lines. Or it could be defined by what god they worship. Or the school they were trained in. Surely you can think of other dividing lines. Specialization of magic users and spell systems means specialization of ideas. On the other hand, having universal rules to magic suggests that there are also universal truths to the world. You might decide you want a mix of both.

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