I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.
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>I was also considering the sorcerers/ sorceresses needing some kind of amulet to use their magic. Do you think this is necessary or since their magic is genetic they shouldn't need one? Let me know your thoughts, please. Any are appreciated.
First, the amulet thing you mentioned... in mine, there exists magic users who are superstitious and BELIEVE a certain object gives them power. In actuality the object is their "focus" which they use when meditating, so the object itself doesn't give them power, but rather allows them to focus their mind.
Most magic users however actually believe they get their power from their focus object and so will not go anywhere without it.
For some it's a crystal or crystal ball, or palm stone, for others it's pendant of bracelet... for my main character, it's his hair.
Quaraun believes that if he cuts his hair he will lose his powers. He came by this belief, because he has really long hair, and it takes him several hours each morning to brush it. One day he noticed that after spending 3 hours brushing his hair, his ability to do magic was stronger. What actually happened was the act of brushing his hair put him into a meditative state, and has nothing to do with magic, but because he's a Wizard and therefor highly superstitious, he came to believe that his long hair was the source of his power. The result of which is he eventually has 12 foot long hair, that becomes totally unmanageable and constantly in his way, but he completely refuses to cut it.
But your's could be a case like that, where they don't really NEED the amulet, but for whatever reason they BELIEVE they need it so won't do anything without it.
>I am writing a fantasy novel and I have a few questions on the differences between witchcraft and sorcery. I'm sure it varies but I don't want to confuse readers. I believe that the terms "witch/ witchcraft" and "sorceress/ sorcery" can sometimes be used interchangeably, as they both pertain to magic. Other times "sorcery" is seen as the "evil" kind of magic, while "witchcraft" is the "good" kind of magic. In my novel I want there to be a distinction between the two, but not where one is evil and the other is good. The kind of distinction that I want between witchcraft and sorcery is that witchcraft is learned while sorcery is genetic. Witches use energy from the earth, crystals, the deities they worship, etc. Through mediation they develop psychic abilities as well. Their power is limited and is used mainly for healing and enlightenment. So yes, in a sense, witchcraft is primarily "good". On the other hand, I want sorcery to be seen as the kind of magic that is hereditary. It is much more powerful and it's bounds are essentially limitless. That is why it is dangerous and can be considered evil. Sorcerers/ sorceresses may have malicious intentions and consequently use their magic in malicious ways.
Not sure it's the actual definition most people use in real life, but in my own novel series, I have Wizardry, Witchcraft, and Sorcery defined as 3 separate things.
I have them as 3 very different practices. Each practice itself is neutral and can be used for either good or evil, depending on the person using it, so you find good Witches and Bad Witches and Good Sorcerers and bad Sorcerers.
As for the differences between Witches and Sorcerers...
Here's how I do it in mine, maybe it'll help you figure out what to do with yours?
NOTE: Magic in his world, is the manipulation of energy. Only the priests/wizards are truly magical and spend two or three centuries training and learning to manipulate the world around them. Wizards are feared for their ability to control the weather, cast illusions, and call up the dead which is different from resurrection - it means creating a shambling dead/zombie minion. to go kill your enemy, then promptly falls over and goes back to rotting - it is simply reanimating a corpse by use of magic and is not resurrection of actual life.
All magic is done by mind control and requires intense focus. Wizards meditate for hours, sometimes days on end to absorb the mental energy of those around them and harness the life force of those around them to control anything and everything that is their will to control. While Humans are able to learn some of the skills of wizards, the life span of a Human is too short to allow them to learn any advanced magic skills.
While Wizardry was once seen as an Elite Class of Highly Respected Priests, by the time period of the Quaraun series (around the 1450s) Wizards have lost their social standing and are now seen as scum of the Earth no better then prostitutes, thieves, and charlatans.
Main character, Quaraun, is typical of most Wizards in the Quaraun series. He was taken from his family by a Thullid priest at the age of 9.
Born in Quebec, Quaraun was raised by the DiJinn in Persia, on the other side of the planet. As an adult he escaped his captors and made the long journey back home. Quaraun was not accepted back into Elf society and seen as a freak. The other Elves teased and bullied him.
Quaraun is often beaten, raped, and several times publicly humiliated by being striped naked and hung upside down from a tree in the village center, where the villagers would gather to beat him with sticks and throw rocks at him. It was during one of these events, that one Elf took a knife and attempted to castrate him, resulting in the horrific scars and permanent damage done to his penis, which in turn results in his near inability to have sexual intercourse, resulting in him eventually preferring to be a bottom to other men, resulting in his 3 way relationship with his two lovers Unicorn and GhoulSpawn.
For a wizard to be beaten, humiliated, and castrated is not uncommon. Many wizards are eunuchs because of this.
Societies ill treatment of wizards, is the cause of many wizards believing in celibacy, most refusing to have sex, falsely claiming to be eunuchs to prevent themselves being castrated by angry mobs.
Because Wizards are often hunted down and killed by the law, it became common practice for Wizards to live in isolated regions - on top difficult to reach mountains, in isolated deserts, or on tiny islands in the ocean. Wizards took to living in tall stone towers as a way to protect themselves. While the top floor of the towers have windows, there are no windows on the lower levels, and the door into the tower is invisible to the naked eye, hidden by powerful spells to prevent anyone from gaining access.
It is not uncommon for a Wizard to disguise his tower as something else, such as a Lighthouse.
Many Wizards, especially those whom have been heavily abused by society, are fearful of having contact with other people, often to the point of agoraphobicly locking themselves in their towers and never setting foot outside again.
Both Wizards and their towers are a rare thing to see. Only a handful of Wizards exist in the world. Probably fewer then 100 Wizards are alive at any given time period.
Quaraun in fact, when he is at home, lives in a lighthouse known as The Black Tower.
It is not uncommon for a small group of wizards to band together, as other wizards are often the only friends a wizard has. Thus if one does see a wizard, it is likely you'll see more then one.
Quaraun himself, lives with two other wizards: The Illusionist Wizard King Gwallmaiic/BoomFuzzy the Unicorn, and The Chaos Wizard GhoulSpawn. All three of them have been victims of violent race crimes against wizards. Each of the three of them is scared to live alone.
Quaraun, Unicorn, and GhoulSpawn each rely on the other two for everything. You will almost never see any one of these three wizards without the other two close by. If one is separated from the other two, all three become highly agitated and nervous, with the two who are still together, going on a terror driven panicked search for the one that has gone missing.
None of these three Wizards feels safe on his own and is deeply emotionally dependent on having the other two by his side. All three of them suffer from serious anxiety when separated from the other two. Each of them is fiercely protective of the other two.
While small villages on the outskirts of society tend to be welcoming of wizards, most large cities and upscale regions see wizards as little more then the scum of the Earth. As a result of this Wizards are rarely seen in areas with big populations. Wizards tend to sculk around in lower class, shady places - slums, ports, docks, seedy taverns, and places that are highly infested with pirates, criminals, thieves, whores, bootleggers, moonshiners, and other individuals out cast from upper class society.
Because of this most of the Quaraun series takes place in taverns and inns of ill repute, along the coast, usually in bars on sea ports. Pirates, drunks, drug dealers, prostitutes, and sailors are thus a daily part of Quaraun's life as this is the society he lives with and is a part of. Quaraun is himself often drunk, high, or in bed with prostitutes.
Interestingly, Quaraun is of the habit of paying prostitutes to sleep with him, but not have sex with him. When asked about this, he simply explains he dislikes to sleep alone and it's easy to find prostitutes willing to not have sex with a man as most of the women simply want the money to support their families.
GhoulSpawn on the other hand is frequently seen with many prostitutes, whom he is a frequent customer of. GhoulSpawn just likes sex a lot.
It is not uncommon for the 3 of them (Quaraun, Unicorn, and GhoulSpawn) to spend the night at whore houses, with only GhoulSpawn ever having sex with the women, and them all of them, the 3 wizards and the women, sleeping together. This is due to Quaraun being a pure blooded High Elf, and his species, normally have communal sleeping habits with a dozen or more people all in bed together. Elves are often noted for stating: "No one really notices who is cuddled up with who, just as long as every one is together, it's all good."
King Gwallmaiic, aka BoomFuzzy the Unicorn is an Illusionist Wizard and is often not seen as a Wizard by other Wizards. This is because an Illusionist is a racial trait, something that all Faeries are born with, a nature skill they just happen to have.
Illusionists are always Faeries.
A distinction is made between Illusionists and Illusionist Wizards.
All Faeries are Illusionists, thou most only have very limited use of this skill. At it's most basic all they can do is "shape shift" into an animal form, or pay Humans in "gold coins" that turn out to be acorn caps or pebbles.
Illusionists are generally seen as harmless pranksters or annoying Tricksters.
An Illusionist Wizard is a Faerie who has studied to expand his natural born skills. They are able to cast vast illusions that cause physical harm... such as conjuring a dragon made out of fog, but the dragon being so believable real that when it sets fire to a village, the people are so convinced that they are being burned to death, they actually die from burning to death, even tough there was no fire at all, because there was never any dragon to begin with.
Faeries have vastly different sense of emotions than other races/species and do not see the harm in harming people, so long as they got a good laugh out of watching the people being scared of them. Faeries who seek to become Illusionist Wizards tend to do so out of a malignant sense of dark humor. They also often eat their dead prank victims after the prank is over.
Illusionist Wizards are generally seen as dangerous and evil and are thought by the general public to be the most dangerous and most feared of all types of magic users.
King Gwallmaiic is known by most people as The Elf Eater of Pepper Valley, due to his habit of terrorizing Elves into dying of fright from his illusions and then eating them. While Unicorn is the primary love interest of main character Quaraun, he is also the primary villain of the Quaraun series.
Though seen most often shape shifted into a Human form illusion, Gwallmaiic, King of the Faeries, is a Phooka, a type of marsh dwelling Scottish Faerie Horse, and in his rarely seen true form, is in fact a Purple Shetland Pony with a silver horn, thus why Quaraun calls him by the nickname "Unicorn".
The Quaraun series is told from main character, Quaraun's perspective. The reader sees the world as he does.
It is easy for the reader to assume that Quaraun is a hero and that the people he fights are evil villains, because Quaraun himself thinks of the people he fights as evil villains and does not see himself as being an evil person.
While some of the people he goes up against, like Mallac and HellBorne, are in fact evil bad guys who needed to be defeated... you see even then, the methods Quaraun uses to defeat them are bloody and brutal.
Quaraun is not a hero. He's not a good guy. He is a villain, and in later volumes of the series is a very violent serial killer.
I say this here in this section, because we are now comparing the wizards of the Quaraun series, who are for the most part evil people, with the witches of the Quaraun series who are for the most part mostly good.
But, the reader sees the world through Quaraun's eyes and thus, the story tells the reader that the wizards are good, while the witches are evil. You see the world from the warped, reversed morals of a super villain, who believes the good guys are bad and believes himself to be helping the world by killing them.
Which brings us to the witches in the Quaraun series, often referred to as "hags" by Quaraun himself.
Witches are not seen in the Quaraun series that often, but when they do show up they tend to make very dramatic appearances.
The reason for this is because Witches are generally good in the Quaraun series, and Quaraun himself, while he is not evil, he is far from good.
It must be remembered that Quaraun is an evil wizard. And he is practically unstoppable. He commands lightning from the sky, tosses fireballs from his hands, commands Liches, dragons, zombies, and can do the one thing other Necromancers only dream about: he can call up at will hoards of dead souls and send them into anything or anyone, animating trees, rocks, houses... remember, this is the wizard who built the Twighlight Manor... a sentient house that eats people.
Quaraun is on the run, wanted for murder.
He can not settle down and travels constantly because the law is on his trail. He brutally murdered his 4 children (toddlers) in a horrific Necromancery blood ritual, and then that same day murdered his wife, uncle, and father as well.
While he went on to deeply regret murdering his children, to the point that tries on multiple occasions to commit suicide over it, and his sleep is plagued with constant night terrors as the souls of his dead children haunt him each night, he is often quoted as having no regrets in murdering his wife and father.
In the case of his father, Quaraun also drank his blood and eat his flesh. Yes, Quaraun is a cannibal who eats other Elves, which is why he has no problems living with the infamous Elf Eater of Pepper Valley.
Quaraun is rightly called the evilest wizard to ever walk the face of the Earth. And witches, in their overall general goodness and desire to help humanity, view defeating Quaraun a primary goal. His wearing bright pink robes, cinched corsets, slutty prostitute way of dressing, and having long white hair, makes him easily identifiable.
You can not mistake the transvestite Necromancer when he walks into your town.
There are no female wizards.
The only "female" wizard on the planet is the transvestite Quaraun, with his hearts and roses, and his bold as brass, fearless attitude when he comes strolling into town, knowing full well everyone is going to try to kill him for the price on his head and also knowing full well, not a damned one of them can defeat him because he really is the most powerful wizard, most powerful magic user, to ever walk the earth.
He's also travelling with a serial killing tyrant king turned Lich. King Gwallmaiic is the most wanted criminal on the planet. BoomFuzzy the Unicorn is a rapist, murderer, cannibal, and sadistic tortures his victims to death. The world celebrated the death of the Fae king, but their joy was short lived as Quaraun was the Necromancer who resurrected the evil Unicorn and turned him into a Lich.
As a general rule, most of the population, Humans and Elves alike, see Quaraun as an evil super villain and lash out at him full force with everything they've got soon as they seen him. Witches are no exception.
Such was the case of the witch Mariasma in the Valley of the Katopas (Quaraun and the Vampire; Into The Swamp of Death).
Mariasma was a famous Witch.
People travelled from all points of the globe to be healed by her. In "Swamp of Death", Quaraun realizes something is terribly wrong with Unicorn (Gwallmaiic) who is dying.
The Lich spell is wearing off and the Lich, who should not be able to die, is suddenly fading out of existence.
In a panic, Quaraun takes Unicorn to Mariasma hoping she'll know how to cure the dying Lich. She does. She also is a good Witch and knows she has in her home, the two most evil, most dangerous and most wanted Wizards of all time.
Instead of helping Unicorn, she murders him. To which Quaraun responds by murdering Mariasma, every one in her family, every one in her village, and every last living being in the entire valley, including all the Katopas. In a fit of blind rage, the Wizard tears every last soul out of every living creature for miles around, including his two friends BeaLuna the Gnome and Bullgaar the Dwarf, and puts all of the souls into Unicorn to resurrect him. He then turns a knife on himself and tried to commit suicide and is only saved by the fact that Unicorn recovered in time to restore the dying Elf's health.
Because the story is told through Quaraun point of view, to the reader, Mariasma is portrayed as an evil monster, but to the world in which Quaraun lives, she died a hero at the hands of a monstrous villain.
Because Demon have bright coloured hair (blue, green, pink, purple, etc) and tend to wear eye-popping neon, day-glow coloured clothes, Sorcerers are usually easy to identify by their bright coloured hair and wild fashions, which resemble 1980s' glam rockers.
Quaraun's teenaged lover GhoulSpawn is a "natural born" Sorcerer. He is a half-Elf/half Demon.
GhoulSpawn's father was an evil Demon who commanded an army of Ghouls. Because of this, he was known simply as "The Ghoul".
GhoulSpawn's mother was a Sun Elf whom had fallen in love with The Ghoul, but was forbidden by her family to have contact with him. She in turn ran away with her Demon lover, thus causing a war between Elves and Demons.
The Sun Elves tell a story of how their Princess was kidnapped and raped by the Ghoul, thus she gave birth to the Spawn of the Ghoul. Though his mother named him Glinta, she died while he was still very young, and his Elven kin, took to calling him GhoulSpawn as a way to brand him not one of then. He grew up constantly being told he was unloved and unwanted and should have been killed at birth, resulting in the very low self esteem he has.
GhoulSpawn is unable to remain in any one time, place or dimension long, because he was born in the Hell Dimension, which exists outside of the realm of time and space as we know it. The Ghoul tried to escape the Sun Elves by going to the distant future (1974) and leaving his half-Elf son and the boy's mother there to live among a band of LSD addicted hippie Humans whom drove a 1974 AMC Gremlin.
The Sun-Elves eventually found their missed she-Elf and brought her back to the 1400s where she belonged, but she refused to leave he half-Demon son behind.
Throughout the Quaraun series, you often see characters using the word Sorcerer has a sort of hate-slur or insult against all magic users in general.
Because of this, you see primary character, GhoulSpawn, often become nervous, shy, or embarrassed when people ask him what type of magic he does. He rarely calls himself a Sorcerer, instead using the term "Chaos Wizard", while Quaraun tends to refer to GhoulSpawn as "an Alchemist" and Unicorn just comes right out and says "he's a Demon".
All three of the main characters (Quaraun, Unicorn, and GhoulSpawn) tend to skirt the issue when it comes to any conversation about Sorcerers. This is largely due to the fact that GhoulSpawn was at one point attacked by an angry mob of "anti-half-Elf" Pure Blooded High Elves who brutally tortured, raped, and beat him then left him for dead.
GhoulSpawn was left naked and dying in the street of a large Elf city. By standers did nothing to stop the mob, and afterwards he was left to lie there several days, bleeding to death while no one stopped to help him.
As there are no laws against being a half-Elf, and there were laws against beating someone on basis of race, their defense later became to accuse him of being a Sorcerer, as there are laws against Sorcery.
GhoulSpawn has PTSD as a result of this event. He never says how old he was when this happened to him, but as he is the youngest character in the series and described as being "the equivalent of a 15 year old Human" at the time he meet Quaraun, and described this attack as having "happened years ago", he was very young when it happened and the assumption is that he was about 10 years old at the time the mob tried to kill him.
After this attack, with no clue where his father was, and his mother no dead and no longer able to protect him from the arrogant pure blooded High Elves, GhoulSpawn began using his natural born powers to open portals and try to retrace his steps to find his father. This resulted him him going back to 1974, finding the hippies and their drugs and their car. He lived with them til the 1980s, during that time becoming obsessed with the game Dungeons and Dragons.
GhoulSpawn would go on to combine the fictional spells of the Dungeons & Dragons game books, with his natural ability to cast magic, and taking LSD at the same time to enhance the spells, he became an "actual" D&D Sorcerer who really could cast the spells of his Player Character.
This however got him in trouble, as it drew the attention of the police, who then raided the hippie drug commune he was living in, resulting in him taking the drugs, the car, and the D&D spell books and escaping into a portal back to the past, where he meet up with and joined Quaraun and Unicorn. (All this happens in The City of The Screaming Statues, by the way, in case you are wondering what novel to find this in.)
GhoulSpawn is typical of a Sorcerer in the Quaraun series, in that he has Demon blood, was thus born with a Demon's natural ability to cast magic on some levels, has taking to self-teaching himself how to control the magic powers he was born with, is outcast from society because of his link to Demons, and is generally not well thought of, even though he is not in any way evil, and is in fact the only part of the cast who could be considered anything close to being a Hero.
Well, that's how I'm doing it in mine anyways. Not sure if that gives you any ideas for what to do with yours, hopefully it helps you out. In any case, good luck with it!
Magic exists in everything and in theory everyone COULD use it, but most everyone thinks of magic as mysterious and mystical so they don't realize it's accessible to everyone. Because of that mind set, people who do use magic are seen as though they were demi-gods (even though they are not). This makes some people worship them thinking they are a god, others become disciples thinking they are a prophet/miracle worker, and other people seeing them as evil and needing to be destroyed. But most people will just be scared and avoid them because they are weird/different.
Fanatical cultists control most, if not all, of the world's magic schools, and live in very isolated regions (tall frozen mountains, deserts, etc), so no one knows where they are or how to get to them, and the only way any one gets into those places are if they are abducted/kidnapped by one of the priests, when they were a small child. They take small children whom have not yet been taught to ignore imaginary friends or that magic was fairy tales, because power of belief plays heavily in how well a person can use magic.
Often the children are so young they do not remember their real families and only remember ever being with the priests. The priests teach them magic arts, so they learn very young (usually around 3 years old) that they have the skills to manipulate the world around them if they practice long enough to master the art of magic.
Training begins. Sadly training involves a long of self discipline that includes things like physical torture and prolonged fasting to the point of starvation, in order to train your mind to ignore your body. The result is many of the children die, often from starvation, long before reaching adulthood (thus why the priests keep their temples so well hidden, because people would put a stop to this if they could just find where it was the priests were hiding.)
Those who survive to adulthood, either try to go back to society and usually try to forget magic existed, or continue on to more advanced studies and become extremely powerful wizards.
Wizards are very rare, as so few are willing to stick with the tortuous self-discipline training. There are rarely more then 100 wizards alive at any given time, if there are that many. The few who do go on to become wizards, however, have formidable control over absolutely everything as they can bend energy to their will, thus changing the weather, raising the dead, changing physical objects (turing a flower into a butterfly), etc. The most powerful ones can walk through time to the past and future and can rewrite history.
People will pay you lots of money to use magic to chase monsters and enemies away or make magic items. But you will be forced to live in lower class neighborhoods, with pirates, thieves, drug dealers, prostitutes, and other people who are like yourself, not welcomed as "worthy" members of society.
In other words: you'll be very wealthy, but very lonely, highly sought after, but have no friends.
Many of the children who reach adulthood, make attempts to escape the priests. The ones who are successful usually try to find out who they are and where they came from and if possibly try to find their parents and siblings to be reunited with them.
If by chance you do find your family, chances are very high that they will treat you as a traitor/enemy/monster now that you are someone who controls magic. They may not even acknowledge you as being their son at all and likely will betray you to the first mob of wizard haters they find, because no one wants to admit there is a wizard in their family.
Outside of other wizards, wizards have no friends.
Because of the levels of self-denial and emotional distancing involved in training, wizards are rarely able to function in normal society, due to a lack of empathy for the pain and emotions of others, themselves having learned to ignore such trivial things are bodily pain or feeling emotions towards others. They tend to be emotional cold and distant, but also many are often very sad and depressed as many wizards do in fact desire companionship and want to feel love for and from others, but they've repressed these emotions so long that they don't know how to go about learning to feel emotions again. This makes wizards over all very lacking in social skills, which in turn results in them having difficulty adjusting from the isolation of the temple they were raised in, to living among people in the regular society.
Because wizards display emotional responses to others differently then is seen as normal, they are seen by most people as being insane and to be avoided.
Most people are quick to hire wizards when they are in trouble and need help, but are just as quick to run the same wizard out of town soon as they don't need them any more.
Every one wants a wizard when they are in trouble, but no one wants a wizard living in their town and no one is willing to be friends with a wizard.