More Thoughts on Classifier Magic

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This gets a bit long, but I'm providing a list for Ben as well as expanding on a comment from the previous post.

Keep in mind that for all of this, I'm working with something D&D-ish that is intended to be similar to 2e. The idea is that some specialist mages have a different way of casting spells. I'm inspired by the Ars Magica system with its Verb-Noun method of categorizing spells. My system goes a bit beyond Creo Terram (Create Earth) into something like I Create Now a Small Thing with Curves Using Red Magic. Create is the verb, Now is the adverb (demonstrating time) Small Thing with Curves is the Noun, Red is the adjective.

Verbs,That's What's Happening

I mentioned that classifier magic had expanded out to twelve verbs. The rationale was that I was thinking of 12 schools of D&D magic (There's a lot more schools in the 2e books.) However, I stumbled upon my earlier post about magic in Andras and that give me a starting point of nine:

Abjuration
Time
Conjuration/Summoning
Enchantment/Charm
Illusion
Alteration
Greater Divination
Invocation/Evocation
Necromancy

I could make a verb of each of these schools and call it a day. Using Ido (because it is easier than Latin for me) you get

Abjuras
Tempas
Konjuras
Sorcas
Iluzionas
Chanjas
Divinas Grande
Advokas
Nekromancias

That's certainly one way to go, but let's assume we're going to streamline the verbs a bit now to allow for a greater number of nouns.

The school of time is going to be dealt with later. It is going to become something that can (but doesn't) affect any spell. Down to eight.

Enchantment and Illusion are similar enough that they should be one school. Down to seven.

What do to with Necromancy? The force of Undeath is very much a D&D thing. A spells that create undead don't have a good way of fitting into the system. Then again, this school encompasses all kinds of things from Evocation to Charm to Conjuration. It's not so much a verb as much as it is another classifier, a type of thing to be created, changed, etc. We'll make undeath a classifier. Down to six.

So here are the formerly twelve verbs pared down to six:

I Protect (Abjuration) - Any spell that creates a purely defensive effect. This would also apply to dispel magic or anything that counters magic.

I Create (Conjuration) - Any spell that creates matter or energy.

I Investigate (Divination) - Any Spell that imparts knowledge. (I didn't want to say I Divine, although that would be more appropriate.)

I Beguile (Enchantment/Charm/Illusion) - Any spell that attempts to alter perception or trick the mind. This also covers illusions and illusory effects.

I Call (Invocation/Evocation/Summoning) - Any spell that manipulates matter or energy. (In Latin evoke is to call out and invoke is to call on.) This also pertains to spells that summon matter, like summon animals, summon air, etc.

I Change (Transmutation) - Any spell that changes the shape or form of an object. It also pertains to any spell that changes the form or energy. Lastly, it also relates to spells that  grant new abilities like flying, burrowing, etc.

Could these six be changed into the five verbs of Ars Magica? Yes they could. In many ways the verbs are different mostly to keep as much compatibility with D&D as  I can. In other words, I don't have to think too much about where the various spells fit because the schools are matched to a specific verb.

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here!

What do to with time? For almost every spell, time will be Now. The effect is created in the present time and continues in the present time. Specifically with time, I want to have a marker to tell when the spell began (past, present future) and when the spell ends (past, present, future).

In gameplay, spells that go backward in time are problematic. However, I imagine scenarios where a mage that can use time would cast Illusory Terrain that would go backwards in time if he/she is being chased by someone a few hours behind. I also imagine that many spells would not be used to generate an effect somewhere in time as much as place an object somewhere in time. In other words, sending an object back to the past.

Being able to manipulate time would be available to only specially trained mages at higher levels. There wouldn't be a 1st level mage casting a Sleep spell backwards or placing a Magic Missile in the future.

There's a lot more to explore here.

I Find It Quite Interesting

Here is a more comprehensive list of classifiers in the Malay language. It's not complete and classifiers change over time. You'll notice redundancies, but I consider that part of the "otherness" of the list. I haven't finished translating everything yet, nor have I started to pare down the list. Anything with question marks is where I am unsure. I don't speak Malay, so I'm not an expert.

Malay English Used for Examples
angkatan force to a group of people or things ships, soldiers, artists, writers
baris line for the things / people that get into line people, shops, houses, trees, writing, text, tables, chairs
batang stem to show things that are long rivers, candles, pole, poles, pens, trees, teeth, sticks, chalk, bridges, needles
bentuk form for the small things that have curves hooks, earrings, rings
berkas bundle for things that are tied together locks formed by tying knots, sticks, bundles of firewood
bidang field for things that are vast land, clothes, rice, carpets, flat, gardens, mat
biji seed for fruits, vegetables, and small things pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, eggplant, balls, cups, marbles, balloons, ketupat, stones, eggs, glass
Bilah Blade for sharp objects machetes, knives, knife, scissors, crescent, Kris
buah fruit For large objects, abstract noun, or things that can't be classified anywhere else cars, domestic, home, books, boxes, radios, town, village, piano, computers, cameras
buku books for the things that are lumpy soap, bread, yarn
butir item for things that are round and small eggs, stones, beads, rice, ammunition
carik/cebis strip / piece for things that are torn paper, cloth
cubit pinch for spices salt, sugar, turmeric
cucuk beak for things that are pierced with skewers or impaled satay
das das to the sound of an explosion or fire guns, pistols, rifles
deret row for things that are organized in rows buildings, houses, shops, car
ekor tail for all animals mosquitoes, ants, horses, crocodiles, foxes, elephants, rabbits, butterflies
genggam handful for objects that are held in the hand sand, rice, rice
gugus group for fruits or things wine, fair, palm oil, palm oil, a key
gulung roll for things that are rolled films, carpets, mats, wire, paper
helai strand for things that are thin and wide leaves, clothes, paper, cloth, towels, hair, grass
ikat bunch for things that are tied wooden skewers, sugar cane, vegetables, ironing
iris slice for things that are cut into small pieces onions, cucumbers, meat, fruit
jambak bunch for things that are handled or chain-link flowers, keys
kaki foot for things with a handle
umbrellas, mushrooms, bungs
kawan friends for groups of animals cattle, goats, bees, elephants, pigeons
kelompok group to a group of people, animals, and things birds, clouds, islands, stars
kepal fist for things held in two hands rice, glutinous rice, ground
keping chip for things that are thin or flat bread, board, card, files, cookies, land
kerat slice for the things that have been cut bread, pole
Ketul Dull for things that are lumpy and solid ice, meat, bones, soap, bread
Kotak Toolbox for things that stored in the box matches, pencils, cigarettes, soap, mosquito repellent
kuntum bud for flowers rose, jasmine, orchid
Laras Barrel to firearms pistols, rifles, cannons
lembar sheet things that are straight and long paper, wire, thread
longgok pile for things that are in piled durian, clothing, ground, Chile
naskhah copies to reading materials newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, articles, books
Orang The for humans teachers, nurses, doctors, shopkeepers, retail, postmen
Papan Board for things that are shaped pieces Brown, petai, fireworks
pasang pair to things and people in pairs clothes, shoes, earrings, and his wife, son
pangsa flats to share in the fruits?? durian??
pasukan team to a group of people in uniform drums player, police, army scout
patah fracture for word words, words
potong piece for things that have been cut cakes, meat, bread
pucuk shoot for things that are fine and thin and guns needles, letter, gun, cannon, guns, bamboo shoots
puntung butt for some of the things still on cigarettes, coal, firewood
rangkap duplicate? for poetry pantun, poems, poetry
rawan sad for things that are fine, loose, and mesh nets
ruas segment for things segmental-segment sugar cane, bamboo
rumpun family for plants that grow close together bamboo, sugar cane, lemon grass, pandan rice
sikat/sisir brush / comb for bananas banana
tandan cluster for fruits bertandan banana, coconut, betel nut, oil palm
tangkai stalk for fruits, flowers, and leaf stalks rambutan, duku, kenanga, rice, spring
titik point to drips water, blood, ink, dew
tongkol cob for fruit with a cob corn
ulas peel for fruits with edible peels durian, oranges, jackfruit, Cempedak
urat nerves for things that are very thin and long- hair, yarn, wire,
utas thread for things that are long rope, wire, chain

There is a lot of room for paring this list down. For example, fruit with a cob has only one example I can think of. Nerves and thread are incredibly similar as both deal with hair,yarn and wire. However, I don't want to simplify the list to remove redundant entries. I only want to pare it of things that would be for very specialized uses, like the cob-fruit one. I may even take one off the list that has a few items in it that I could later introduce through an NPC mage.

As I said, lots of work to be done here. Any and all suggestion welcome. The only three guidelines are that I want to end up with a list that is larger than ten a list that does not remove all redundancies and a number of classifiers divisible by five. The reason is that a mage using this system gets a number of classifiers at every odd level.

Unpack Your Adjectives

The idea behind adjectives is simply to introduce something like oppositional schools. If you think of Wu Xing with the cycle of generation and the cycle of destruction, you'll get where I'm going with this. Don't think of them by the elements, just focus on the color.

I didn't use the five color scheme, though, opting for a six color one instead. The main rationale for this will make sense later. I didn't want a character to spend a lot of time pondering which color to start with. There's really no min-maxing that can occur because color provides no real advantage that the player can control.

 Putting it Together

All of this seems like a lot of trouble for something that may or may not be worth trying. However, the execution of this idea is intended to be pretty straight-forward for players. To create a 1st level character, they choose one verb and one noun. Depending on the final number of nouns one or two more are randomly rolled. If the GM wants, the player can choose a color, otherwise a simple d6 will choose the color. Why the random roll for some nouns? It's the nature of the magic language. You learn one useful noun and get at least one unusual one to boot.

Since the spell list is generated, much like Ars Magica, players pick one spell for each classifier they have and start playing.

This was 1976 words. Probably too long for a single post. I'll work on smaller chunks of it later. Let me know what you think.