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ThinkMinty
2015-11-29, 08:43 AM
Is there another way and/or wording of conveying the same premise?

Generally, as they're described,
White Magic is about healing, as well as sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.
Black magic is about harming, as well as gloom, doom, and ultraviolence.

I'm just wonderin' if there's other terms for that setup, since Black and White mean different stuffs in other contexts.

Grinner
2015-11-29, 08:45 AM
Are there moral implications attached to them? (i.e. Are Black Magic users seen as the spawn of Satan?)

Edit: I ask because in the original incarnation of the duality (Final Fantasy), there wasn't any particular ethical outlook attached to either. However, your description seems to indicate otherwise.

Broken Crown
2015-11-29, 09:05 AM
Are you looking for a different classification system for different types of magic, or are you just looking for new names for what you've described as "Black" and "White" magic?

If the latter, D&D frequently refers to "Positive" and "Negative" energy for that kind of thing, so that's an existing alternative.

If you're looking for the former, "Magic: The Gathering" has a whole rainbow of different types of magic, associated with different effects.

Thrawn4
2015-11-29, 09:36 AM
Creation and Destruction might work.

MrStabby
2015-11-29, 10:41 AM
Naughty magic and Nice magic?

ThinkMinty
2015-11-29, 11:18 AM
Creation and Destruction might work.

Yeah, but then Creation is the one destroying zombies, and the Destruction is what makes 'em, and that just don't make no sense.


Naughty magic and Nice magic?

I like this one. Naughty & Nice also work as fist names.


Are there moral implications attached to them? (i.e. Are Black Magic users seen as the spawn of Satan?)

Them being seen as the spawn of Satan doesn't make 'em such.

In other words, the Black Magic isn't evil, but a lot of people are convinced it is. A heroic Black Mage is more likely to be condemned than a vile, treacherous White Mage. That's the kind of thing that pideonholes Black Mages, and makes White Mages full of themselves. The idea that one's righteous and true and the other is vile and wrong could easily corrupt a practitioner of either.


Edit: I ask because in the original incarnation of the duality (Final Fantasy), there wasn't any particular ethical outlook attached to either. However, your description seems to indicate otherwise.

I was being a bit jokey about it, but I don't see the intrinsic moral implications behind either one. Healing magic can easily be used to commit atrocity, and harming magic can be used to do a lot of good. Either one is only as good or bad as the person using it.

Grinner
2015-11-29, 11:57 AM
Healing magic can easily be used to commit atrocity, and harming magic can be used to do a lot of good.

How so? If healing magic can be utilized to accomplish the same effects as harming magic (say, by creating a cancer or undoing flesh), then I'm starting to see a false dichotomy here. There's also the issue of what definition of good you're cleaving to. Are saying this from more of an ends perspective or a means perspective?

For harming magic, maybe Paroxysm or Wrack? Or maybe Nocturne or Elegy? Thanatopsis?
For healing magic, maybe Succor, Miracle, or Blessing?

There's also the Light and Dark duality.

Kurald Galain
2015-11-29, 12:11 PM
In other words, the Black Magic isn't evil, but a lot of people are convinced it is. A heroic Black Mage is more likely to be condemned than a vile, treacherous White Mage. That's the kind of thing that pideonholes Black Mages, and makes White Mages full of themselves.

You can blame Eight Bit Theatre for that :-D

Anderlith
2015-11-29, 12:46 PM
Perhaps...

Preservation & Ruin?

+10 internets if you get the reference.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-11-29, 12:59 PM
If you want different words for black/dark/evil/unholy and white/light/weeeeeee this is so good magic, but you don't want to use words that mean anything else, why not make up words? Like Jedi and Sith, that's basically the same old distinction, but with (at the time) new words. If you make up the names you can also attach symbolism. If you don't want to use the color black, maybe practitioners of the forbidden art of Dor wear red and purple (if they even use a color scheme at all, most real groups of people don't) and fresh steaks in their hair, and they are followed around by bears. Bashir wizards hand out lollypops wherever they go. It tends to get them arrested, but people like them anyway.

DaveSonOfDave
2015-11-29, 12:59 PM
Offensive and Defensive magic, perhaps?

GrayDeath
2015-11-29, 02:47 PM
Perhaps...

Preservation & Ruin?

+10 internets if you get the reference.

Sandersons preferred Duality? ^^

As for general dual Systems with one "light, shiny, helpful, often restrictive" and the other "harmful, dark and easy" ... its so laden with implications due to literally dozens of settings that have it that I think the only way to get something "new or really different would be to use entirely inconventional Words.

Say Hare and Brain (^^) or sonething similarly funny. ^^


How about you tell us something about the setting (general Mood, techlevel, Society)? It might help.

Otherwise just go for Light and Dark, or Sun and Moon. :)

noob
2015-11-29, 02:50 PM
Rudisplorking and Potato.
One is the act of Rudisplorking the other is a potato.
Or you can use the dimitri Mendeleev table of the elements.

Fri
2015-11-29, 06:18 PM
How so? If healing magic can be utilized to accomplish the same effects as harming magic (say, by creating a cancer or undoing flesh), then I'm starting to see a false dichotomy here. There's also the issue of what definition of good you're cleaving to. Are saying this from more of an ends perspective or a means perspective?


Torture a guy then heal him and torture him again over and over again.

Also, I dunno how it could work for magic, but I like the idea of Jade Empire's Open Palm and Closed Fist philosophy, though as you know the game doesn't actually pay attention to what they're writing at all. But I dunno how those can be used as magic dualism though.

goto124
2015-11-29, 08:00 PM
I would argue that's creative use of magic that's usually helpful/harmful.

Fri
2015-11-29, 08:44 PM
I think that's exactly what the op meant. Both "black" and "white" magic can be used for good or evil, but people in his setting would consider "white" magic as good and "black" magic as bad. Like, dunno, if "Fire" magic is considered destructive and bad eventhough heroic fire magician often use it to cook food for orphans or something.

Lord Raziere
2015-11-29, 08:55 PM
Light and Dark?

its pretty much the same thing, just....makes more sense while still not having moral implications. both can create. both can destroy. but light can only destroy the undead, while dark can only destroy the living. light has associations with flame, dark with ice, and thus light can burn while darkness can create something solid....

or you know.....Yin and Yang. also basically the same thing, but has connotations of balance and opposites combined in unity, so neither is better than the other.

sktarq
2015-11-29, 09:17 PM
Any linguistic twist on up and down could work too.

Up increases activity-buffing spells, conjuring attacks, most illusion spells,

Down decreases magical activity-blocking, counter spells, perhaps some form of divination (lowering of veils,

Right and left handed paths would also work the classic version as a black/white substitute.

AMFV
2015-11-29, 10:40 PM
It seems to me that what you're going for is "Natural" and "Unnatural" or something like "Preserving" vs. "Defiling" (a la Dark Suns). Natural magic operates within Natural Law (as it would be stated in philosophy) it causes things to operate as they should, ergo. dead people don't get up, live people heal from injuries, fire burns, that sort of thing, it preserves the natural order of things, and preserves nature. Unnatural magic changes and violates the natural laws, sufficient use of it would destablize and destroy the natural environment around it.

Jeff the Green
2015-11-30, 01:34 AM
How about Star and Void? Night and Day? Nocturne and Aubade?

I particularly like Empyreal and Cthonic.

Kurald Galain
2015-11-30, 05:00 AM
Perhaps...

Preservation & Ruin?

+10 internets if you get the reference.

Adonalsium.

veti
2015-11-30, 07:11 AM
The 'black/white magic' dichotomy goes back way, way before RPGs were invented. At least to the early 20th century, when there was a vogue for all things occult. I've seen it called "left vs right", "sorcerous vs miraculous", "bale vs boon", but all these terms come with, let's call it baggage, that may not be wise to import into your game system.

How about Entropy vs Binding?

Kami2awa
2015-11-30, 07:57 AM
Not many RPGs actually use black/white magic as a divide. In D&D, there are certainly good and evil aligned spells but the vast majority of magic is morally neutral (depending on its use, of course). The biggest divide is arcane/divine.

In many "darker" worlds, there isn't really any white magic at all - all magic tends to be black, blacker or blackest. The Warhammer World, for instance, has Dark Magic, but *all* magic in that setting is dangerous due to the existence of Chaos. Dark Magic is just a bit worse. Call of Cthulhu sacrifices sanity for magic, and the World of Darkness is, well, full of darkness.

Gnoman
2015-11-30, 08:19 AM
Not many RPGs actually use black/white magic as a divide. In D&D, there are certainly good and evil aligned spells but the vast majority of magic is morally neutral (depending on its use, of course). The biggest divide is arcane/divine.


In D&D terms, "Arcane" is almost the same as traditional Black Magic, being used primarily for things like blasting things to smithereens and turn them to ash, warping and dominating minds, deceiveing the senses, changing something into something else, summoning undead and demonic minions; while Divine magic is primarily used for things like protection, guidance, calling righteous forces into battle, and is has near exclusive dominion over healing and the power to bring back the dead - traditional White Magic.

There's overlap, of course, but the D&D divide not only slips fairly easily into the traditional divide, but was intended to.

Knaight
2015-11-30, 09:45 AM
In D&D terms, "Arcane" is almost the same as traditional Black Magic, being used primarily for things like blasting things to smithereens and turn them to ash, warping and dominating minds, deceiveing the senses, changing something into something else, summoning undead and demonic minions; while Divine magic is primarily used for things like protection, guidance, calling righteous forces into battle, and is has near exclusive dominion over healing and the power to bring back the dead - traditional White Magic.

There's overlap, of course, but the D&D divide not only slips fairly easily into the traditional divide, but was intended to.

Those are among the sources that fed into the Arcane-Divine divide, but both have enough other sources that it gets messy. There's huge chunks of D&D druid magic that are themed after nature, including the sort of thing that might traditionally fit in the black magic category. One of the major things arcane magic is tied to is enchantments as an idea, plenty of which are more about building things up than warping and dominating minds. Then there's the general idea of wondrous magic that doesn't have a divine tint, that gets shunted into arcane magic. Things like raising up walls in an instant really don't have much of a black magic vibe. It's more than a bit of incidental overlap, it's entire literary traditions of magic that don't fit the black-white divide and still end up going somewhere, after being distorted beyond recognition to fit the mechanics.

Joe the Rat
2015-11-30, 10:53 AM
It does depend a bit on how you opt to categorize all of your magics into Box A vs Box B.

Light / Dark or Creation / Destruction, I'd throw all of your healing, blasting, active warding, and divining under light, and your destruction, zombie-raising, and cancelling wards under dark. This is following a theme of adding energy, or removing energy (or anti-energy, in the case of zombies). Illusions and enchantments are in between.

You then need to establish why too much creation is a bad thing. Unending life, the world crushed under its own unceasing production, etc.

This relates to a cosmological idea of the font and the basin: Energy flows from the font (in religious terms, a god bearing an amphora), to the basin (a god with a bowl). In between, the energy is "stirred" to produce the world. This also turns the "black" aspect not only into a force of negation, but a force of attraction. Gravity is a aspect of the Basin. You need it for the world to not fly apart, but too much of it will crush you.

A simple way to shift this is to use other concepts in-world symbols to represent the two forms - something with contrasting or complimenting meaning. Key magic vs. gate magic. Flameweave and Cinderweave. Eye magic (revelations, eyebeams of holy light) vs. Hand magic (grasping), Order of Harmony (peace, nature, Use the Force Luke) vs. Order of Discipline (control, shaping to your whims, Force Choke that sumbich.), Shield Magic (protective) vs. Blade Magic (Destructive). Lots of options.

Douche
2015-11-30, 10:59 AM
Perhaps...

Preservation & Ruin?

+10 internets if you get the reference.

Final Fantasy 6?


Anyway, Divine Magic is healing (as well as holy energy for damaging effects like smiting or holy shock [paladin spell in WoW])

The other forms of magic don't really adhere to the simplistic Final Fantasy "schools" of magic. Black mages use elemental damage, and if they're lucky they also get haste and slow. D&D has many other forms. Abjuration, conjuration, enchantment, etc. You can't lump those all under "black magic"... But if you were going to call something black magic, it would probably be necromancy

CharonsHelper
2015-11-30, 11:07 AM
Also, I dunno how it could work for magic, but I like the idea of Jade Empire's Open Palm and Closed Fist philosophy, though as you know the game doesn't actually pay attention to what they're writing at all. But I dunno how those can be used as magic dualism though.

If the magic system wasn't direct (no fireballs etc.) Open Palm could be all about buffing and Closed Fist all about de-buffing.

(Yeah - it felt like a lot of the story had been written before someone in marketing told them that duality systems were all the rage and that they needed one, and they sort of tacked on the Open Palm/Closed Fist.)

AceOfFools
2015-11-30, 11:09 AM
You could use Right and Left and then have, as a narrative detail, that one type of magic can only be channeled through the appropriate hand.

ThinkMinty
2015-11-30, 11:15 AM
It does depend a bit on how you opt to categorize all of your magics into Box A vs Box B.

There's a fair amount of other boxes besides these two I'm usin', there's roughly...seven others, includin' "Mind-Magic" n' "Timey-Spacey Magic" (not the actual terms I'm using for those, just indicators of other boxes). It's mostly besides the point, I'm just clarifying that I'm not shoehorning everything into one of two boxes.

The Bright/Dark boxes break down kinda like this:

Bright: Life, Sunlight n' Light, Healing, Numbness, Growth, Wreckin' Zombies, Inducing Strength, etc.
Dark: Death, Shadows n' Darkness, Harming, Pain, Rot, Makin' Zombies, Inducing Weakness, etc.

Weirdly enough, the Dark Magic is the one out of those two you'd want to use to fight cancer cells.

Anyways, it's a system where there's a magic style that has a school that's cosmetically like the Dark Arts, but doesn't intrinsically corrupt anything, but that doesn't stop people from getting all torches and pitchforks about it.

CharonsHelper
2015-11-30, 11:26 AM
Anyways, it's a system where there's a magic style that has a school that's cosmetically like the Dark Arts, but doesn't intrinsically corrupt anything, but that doesn't stop people from getting all torches and pitchforks about it.

Is there a good reason for that?

Perhaps an ancient BBEG who used your world's Dark Magic to be all evil? (Not that it made him that way - he was just a jerk.) Actually - you could simply have it named after him.

It'd be like if someone learned Hitler magic. That doesn't make the magic inherently bad - but it certainly has those connotations by association. (Same reason that those tiny mustaches haven't been popular since WWII - only far moreso.)

Joe the Rat
2015-11-30, 11:43 AM
The Bright/Dark boxes break down kinda like this:

Bright: Life, Sunlight n' Light, Healing, Numbness, Growth, Wreckin' Zombies, Inducing Strength, etc.
Dark: Death, Shadows n' Darkness, Harming, Pain, Rot, Makin' Zombies, Inducing Weakness, etc.

Weirdly enough, the Dark Magic is the one out of those two you'd want to use to fight cancer cells.

Anyways, it's a system where there's a magic style that has a school that's cosmetically like the Dark Arts, but doesn't intrinsically corrupt anything, but that doesn't stop people from getting all torches and pitchforks about it.So basically Positive/Negative or Holy-Radiant/Unholy-Necrotic.

You know, if Dark Box gets people all unnecessarily riled up, having negative connotations to the name might be appropriate. Do you have a plan for the other names?

ThinkMinty
2015-11-30, 11:48 AM
Is there a good reason for that?

Yes.


Perhaps an ancient BBEG who used your world's Dark Magic to be all evil? (Not that it made him that way - he was just a jerk.) Actually - you could simply have it named after him.

A hypothetical Ancient Evil Sorcerer-King would probably have a few named spells in the school named after him, but the whole thing? Nah. On the other hand, the Bright Mages have their atrocities excused pretty frequently.

It's partially a matter of religion. Without getting too into it, there's at least one major religion that tries to pass of Bright Magic as divine, and claims the Dark is some kind of heretical witchcraft. They happen to be talking out of their asses, but that doesn't really stop 'em because power feels good and money is shiny. I may or may not be throwing my middle finger up in allegory to the people who tried to get occult anything banned from commercial fiction and generally ruin fun. I don't think I am, but for all I know I might be.

Thisguy_
2015-11-30, 12:52 PM
How about Wind/Water/Fire/Wood/Metal from the chinese traditional setting?

To heal someone would be more of a universalist trick, as each element is realigned to where it needs to be in the healing process - balance is good.

To destroy blindly is any non-metal spell, but Metal is a good choice for selective uses and for tools.

Creation magic would be any non-wind...

Necromancy would be any non-fire...

You could break it up into balancing versus unbalancing magic. To give wind to the dead is to unbalance their elements and permit them movement without life and such. Fire burns away the wind and sends the dead to the earth.

EDIT: I like examples, okay? I don't have a problem. I can stop any time I want.

Teleportation would be a wind spell,

Burning hands obviously a fire spell,

Freedom of movement a water/wind spell.

Spells that Root someone would have Wood affinity.

Haste could be Fire/Wind.

Spells that influence behavior like Geas or Suggestion might be tied to Fate, which is seen as a windy sort of thing, or as watery, but not very fire or metal.

Anderlith
2015-11-30, 07:01 PM
Sandersons preferred Duality? ^^

Adonalsium.

Yep, Brandon Sanderson's cosmere

ExLibrisMortis
2015-11-30, 08:51 PM
^I got that!

How about Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, or Squaring and Rooting.

Anderlith
2015-11-30, 09:33 PM
Resonance & Discord? I personally like going with another sense like hearing than always with visuals like colors

ThinkMinty
2015-12-01, 03:28 AM
I'm wondering if doing this thread over with the rest of the magic divisions listed would make it faster.

Joe the Rat
2015-12-01, 10:31 AM
It might help. We can spitball the entire nomenclature, plus I'm curious as to what you've built.

Socratov
2015-12-01, 10:42 AM
Must there be a duality? Why not make magic itself morally grey and invest in an expy of the laws of magic in the Dresden Files. it leads to less white is good, derp, black is evil, durrr and more to an axe is an axe, no matter who uses it.

nedz
2015-12-01, 12:38 PM
Selfish and Altruistic.

Clockwise and Anti-clockwise i.e. Sunwise and Widdershins.

CharonsHelper
2015-12-01, 12:43 PM
Must there be a duality? Why not make magic itself morally grey and invest in an expy of the laws of magic in the Dresden Files. it leads to less white is good, derp, black is evil, durrr and more to an axe is an axe, no matter who uses it.

Actually - Dresden Files have a few types of magic which are inherently bad. Any use of (in D&D terms) enchantment is all sorts of evil as it breaks the sanity of your subject - and using it - even not knowing it's evil before casting it - twists you and pushes you towards evil.

A few others.

GrayDeath
2015-12-01, 02:53 PM
is the Black one also more easy to get really powerful ALONE?

And the White one more reliant on mutliple Casters/Society?

Than you could go Communistic and Capitalistic ..erh.. :P


I have a Setting where the "Not actually good/evil but many think so" and loosely the Powers are similarly distributed and went with simple (: Day (new Form: Light) And Night (new Form Dark) magic.
Ironically the major Campaign in this Setting is made for 2 groups, each joining with one of the Factions. And the Group that played "Dark" ended up saving the continent ...for a time. ;)

Fable Wright
2015-12-02, 02:28 AM
The names that my brain's attached to the two dominant philosophies are ash magic and dust magic.

Ash magic is the kind of magic that leaves behind something usable when it's done. It can be destructive, like fire, but it will leave behind something beneficial and workable, even if it's just ash that can be used to fertilize the soil. This includes things like healing (leave behind living flesh), most Evocation spells, the benefits of light, and in the case of undead, it will turn them back into grave dirt that can be used productively. It can even leave behind something minor, like a small amount of sugar on your tongue after using the Tongues spell, but it must leave something behind.

Dust magic, on the other hand, is the kind of magic that leaves behind nothing that can be worked into a form. Illusions, extra energy from Haste, Necromancy, Divinations... the creepy, mystical stuff that's hard to define. Dust magic could create the illusion of light, but nothing will grow from it. When it empowers someone, as with Haste, that itself could be disastrous (like D&D 2e or 5e Haste). When it creates undead, those undead will turn into dust unless destroyed with Ash magic, ridding the world of any nutrition they might have. Things like Abjurations and transmutations can be tricky ground, but in general, temporary Transmutations and Abjurations that don't impart benefits directly to those in the area (including things like Magic Circles, which only restrict others even if it provides a bonus to AC, but does not include things like Hallow, which provide benefits to many people in the area).

Also, the names aren't inherently loaded against each other, but could easily become so. Ash magic is destructive and invasive in the eyes of dust magic users, whereas their art is efficient and subtle. Ash magic users, of course, view dust magic users as dangerous creatures that leech from the environment and provide nothing directly beneficial to society.

goto124
2015-12-02, 02:32 AM
Are you forced to specialize in only either black or white/destruction or creation/postive or negative/ash or dust magic?

Or are the restrictions more subtle? Such as two opposing factions, one black-equivalent and one white-equivalent.

Fable Wright
2015-12-02, 02:39 AM
Are you forced to specialize in only either black or white/destruction or creation/postive or negative/ash or dust magic?

Or are the restrictions more subtle? Such as two opposing factions, one black-equivalent and one white-equivalent.

Given the existence of Red mages in the source material in question, I'd assume that it's two warring magical colleges or prevalent magical traditions. A dedicated mind could study both, but it's not easy, and the use of opposing magic would usually be frowned upon by some of your more idealistic colleagues.

DoomHat
2015-12-02, 03:49 AM
How about light is largely bad and dark is mainly beneficent.

Light is burning. It represents fascism, order to the point of stagnation. The powers of light are used to animate undead monsters used by the conquering "Armies of Heaven". Light magic can also be used for brainwashing. The overwhelming power of light can bleach minds as well as bone.

Darkness is gentle and soothing. It hides the meek from the powerful. In the cool of the shade, there is freedom and healing.

The world is ruled primarily by the fell forces of light. Orcs and demi-orcs (such as Drow, Goblins, and Gnolls) must scrap for survival underground. Brave adventures quest by night through the dangerous Overlight, a place ruled by the evil monstrous races (Humans, Elves, Halfings, and Dwarfs).

enderlord99
2015-12-02, 04:01 AM
Becoming and Dispersing?

Socratov
2015-12-02, 08:36 AM
Actually - Dresden Files have a few types of magic which are inherently bad. Any use of (in D&D terms) enchantment is all sorts of evil as it breaks the sanity of your subject - and using it - even not knowing it's evil before casting it - twists you and pushes you towards evil.

A few others.

Well, actually, if you have really paid attention it's not the magic itself that is evil, but the fact that using the magic tends to emphasis the darker aspects of a mage/create a slippery slope. Which is a bad idea when it comes to someone with the power to tell Reality to sit down, shut up and be a good boy/girl and follow your directions. Though to be fair, this has mostly to do with ethics and less with actual taint. For instance: necromancy on people == baaaaaad, necromancy on non-people == *shrugs* meh. (See Sue vs people zombies). Which has been stated to explicitly be exactly the same magic (i.e. animating dead bodies/skeletons). other times they are siad to be tainting beucase doing so will have results that are either so unpredictable to be deemed too risky, like opening gates, messing with timetravel. Then there is the stuff that is considered vile like consuming souls for your own (like some form of magical cannibalism), which would fall under the purview of being unethical, this is also what spawns the no killing through magic rule. That last one is also an example of slippery slope but basically when you can get away with taking another life, without repercussions, backlash or (serious) resource investment (and that could become real easy), then killing will become too easy and it will be one step closer to total wizard annihilation (but is totally fine when it concerns non-humans, so mostly done for ethical ramifications).

ThinkMinty
2015-12-11, 07:30 AM
Started a clearer thread. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?471790-Alternatives-to-Black-amp-White-Magic-Again&p=20181255)