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Author Topic: Entry Template: Spells for Witches  (Read 4940 times)
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« on: 12 January 2012, 04:38:21 »

Before you start writing your spell: Introduction to Witchcraft.

If your interest is in making fireballs, freezing blood, levitating knives, or turning your enemies into stone, you have called at the wrong address. Ximaxian Magic may be what you’re after. If, on the other hand, you are fascinated by love potions, hexing warts on noses, and creating mischievous enchantments using locks of your victim’s hair, then do not hesitate to read on.

Before creating your spell, thoroughly familiarize yourself with Witchcraft in Santharia, with the culture and organization of Witches in Santharia, and with Dula the Witch, a famous figure of witch mythology. Of course, perusal of fully described witchery spells, such as the Finding Charm or the Ear Storm, wouldn't be a bad idea, either!

In particular, note the following:
  • Witches work with invisible connections between things and people. They call these connections dream threads. To bewitch a person, witches often need to have something that has a connection to that person, such as a lock of their hair, or an object the person used to own.
  • Witch spells do not need to be explained with the same logical precision that Ximaxian theory famously demands. However, your spell and its procedure must make sense, at least in an intuitive way, and must be plausible within the witches’ belief in dream threads.
  • You need to make two crucial decisions:
    • Choose a coven, that is: choose a craft. All witchcraft is literally a craft. Choose one of the eight crafts practised by witches, and describe a spell procedure that involves this craft. See the “Coven” section for more detail.
    • Choose a spell level. Witchling (beginners), Spell Crafter (experienced witches), or Dream Bringer (exceptionally gifted witches). See the “Spell Level” section for more detail.



Witch Spell Template

Name:

State the name (or names) of the spell.

Coven:

State the coven that the spell belongs to. Witch covens are named after the craft their members practice. The eight main witch covens are: Warble Witches (Singing and Music), Jiggle Witches (Dancing), Rhyme Witches (Poetry, Incantations), Cauldron Witches (Cooking and Brewing), Needle Witches (Sewing, Embroidery), Chisel Witches (Carving and Whittling), Loom Witches (Weaving), Spindle Witches (Spinning).

Spells may be practiced by more than one coven. For example, a certain kind of enchantment might be achieved either by means of a carved wooden figurine (Chisel Witches), or through a ragdoll (Needle Witches). If your spell is of such a kind, list all relevant covens in this section. Further below, in the ‘Crafting Procedure’ section, you must then describe a separate procedure for each listed coven. Other sections of your spell entry, too, will probably need to contain information on how aspects of the spell differ between covens.

Spell Level:

State the spell level. There are three spell levels in witchcraft:
  • Witchling Spells: relatively easy spells, which an apprentice witch could learn within the first few years of study;
  • Spell Crafting: spells that tend to be mastered only by spell crafters, that is, by full members of a coven;
  • Dream Bringing: the strongest spells and the reserve of dream bringers, that is, of exceptionally accomplished witches; such spells tend to be strong enchantments that typically take hours or even days to accomplish; there will be but a handful of witches in Santharia alive who have ever seen such a spell performed, and even fewer who are able to perform it themselves.

Overview

Provide an overview of the spell, describing the dominant spell effect and typical uses, as well as any aspects of the spell that tells the reader why they should bother to read about it.

Spell Effect

Describe what the spell does: What effects does it produce? Whom or what does it affect? (People? Animals? Objects?) In what sort of situations is it typically used? Provide as much detail as possible, and dare to be colourful.
Also think about how the spell works. Don’t just write: “this spell allows the witch to find a hidden person”. Instead maybe write something like: “the spell involves making an amulet that gets the warmer the closer its bearer is to the hidden person”.

Crafting Procedure

Describe what the witch has to do in order to make the spell. Procedures will vary widely by coven, but you might want to pay particular attention to the following aspects:
  • Craft. Witchcraft is literally a “craft”, and a spell often involves making something: a ragdoll likeness of the spell target, a piece of clothing, a soup or potion, even a song or a dance. See also under “Materials”.
  • Rhymes and incantations. If you can think of a good rhyme (or even a fragment, just a line or two), do not hesitate to include it – especially, of course, when describing a Rhyme Witch or Warble Witch spell. (But other covens have their rhymes, too.)
  • Different powers, different methods. Also consider that the crafting procedure may vary by the skill and experience of the witch. Where witchlings may need to perform a lengthy ritual, experienced witches may have ‘shortcuts’ to their goal. (For example, where a witchling needs to sing the whole song, a dream bringer may only need to hum a few notes.)

Materials

What materials or objects does the witch need to make the spell work? Do not forget that witchcraft often depends on the witch possessing something that once belonged to the spell target, such as locks of hair, drops of blood, pieces of clothing, and so forth.

Crafting Time

How long does it take to accomplish the spell? Keep in mind that crafting time may vary depending on the experience and skill of the witch. It may also be that the spell’s power or duration can be increased through longer crafting time (see also “Duration”).

Duration

How long does the spell effect last? It may be permanent or temporary. If temporary, state how long approximately the effect endures. Duration might depend on the experience and skill of the witch, on the quality of the materials she was working with, and on the crafting time she has invested.

Range and power

Describe the range and power of the spell. For example, does a healing spell require the witch to touch her patient, or does it work at a distance? Or take a finding spell: at what range may the spell still detect the target? A spell to make crops wither: does it affect just a few plants, or a whole field? Again, keep in mind that the range and power of your spell may vary by the skill of the witch, by the quality of her materials, and by the crafting time she invests.

Counterspells, defences, immunities

Are there any known means to avert the spell, or alleviate its effect? These means may be ordinary, or may themselves be magical. Also, are certain kinds of people or animals or objects immune to the spell?

Myth and Lore [optional]

Witches are keen storytellers, and love a good anecdote about the achievements, pranks, or spectacular failures of their fellow witches. In this section, you may include anything that is known about the spell apart from the technical information described above. Maybe a famous witch used your spell once to take revenge on an unfaithful lover? Or your spell played a role in Santharian history, being crafted for the good or ill of a significant personage? Or maybe there are superstitions that exist around your spell? Does an Enthronian folk tale contain an exaggerated account of the spell’s powers? Do farmers in Southern Brendolan wash their cows with milk each spring, in the belief that this would ward off your spell? Be as creative here as you wish.

« Last Edit: 02 February 2013, 07:56:47 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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Aos
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« Reply #1 on: 12 January 2012, 05:26:34 »

This is wonderful!

I have two ideas:

1) A spell that makes people want to read and comment on your works. Established witches can even make people want to write their entries for them.

2) "A Dreaming Stone Gathers Moss", with a nod towards our dearest bards Judith and Rayne - and perhaps its more widely known cousin, "A rolling stone gathers no moss", which may have two diametrically different effects depending on the crafting/coven. ;)
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"Logic in the service of appreciation, and appreciation in the service of reverence, which, in the face of wonders not of our making, is our only proper response." Colin Tudge, The Secret Life of Trees
Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #2 on: 12 January 2012, 07:12:45 »

You're welcome to develop them, Aos!  :)

There are many here in Santharia who know the first half of Spell 1 already. The second half, however, I would not crave to know. I do love writing, even though the difficulty of it maddens me at times.

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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #3 on: 20 January 2012, 07:06:18 »

Esteemed colleagues! Do you have further comments on this? I would appreciate your thoughts.

thumbup ?  thumbdown ? Too long? Too short? Too much in the middle between long and short?


Thanks for making this a sticky topic, by the way, whoever did so.  :)
« Last Edit: 20 January 2012, 07:08:47 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #4 on: 20 January 2012, 07:11:36 »

Mistress Anfang (as we are dealing with witches, and witches are referred to in the feminine, I'm referring to you in the feminine. I'm by no means questioning your biological sex),

I have no issues with your ideas for this template and have no suggestion for its improvement. However, as I'm not experienced in things magical I suggest waiting to hear from Mina, Artimidor, Rayne or Aos.

Bewitched by the ideas you have here for witchcraft,

Dek

Edit: I saw under the Coven Section: Needle Witches (Sowing, Embroidery) ... I might be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that sowing should be sewing ... isn't sowing planting seeds, and sewing using a needle a thread?

Dek

Edit 2: Is there an indication somewhere that indicates a minimum time that witches have to be a witchling before they can move onto being a fully fletched witch? Or is it purely based on ability (a particularly skilled witch can join during the first month of the year, and by the 7th or eighth month they are counted as a full member of the coven?

If there is an indication regarding that somewhere, please forgive me for not having seen it

Dek
« Last Edit: 20 January 2012, 07:25:43 by Deklitch Hardin » Logged

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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #5 on: 20 January 2012, 07:24:59 »

Thanks, Dek!  kiss

Sewing, yes. It's one of those things I 'know' but anyway always write wrongly. Correction made.
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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #6 on: 20 January 2012, 07:31:13 »

I wonder, given that men as well as women can be witches, would there be a specific coven that metal-working (jewellery, tinkers, even blacksmithing) might fall under?
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #7 on: 20 January 2012, 07:33:59 »

Dek, I just saw your Edit 2, about witchlings:

No, I haven't determined yet how long a witchling apprenticeship typically lasts. I was thinking 13 years, but that may be too long.  

Anyway, this sort of information will be part of the "Witches in Santharia" People Entry.

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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #8 on: 20 January 2012, 07:38:16 »

I wonder, given that men as well as women can be witches, would there be a specific coven that metal-working (jewellery, tinkers, even blacksmithing) might fall under?

I thought about that, actually. But I wondered whether metal-working witches would risk taking uniqueness away from the sort of magic attributed to dwarves?

Also, I was quite pleased with having 8 covens for 8 spider legs - but this latter reason may not be all-important.
« Last Edit: 20 January 2012, 07:44:12 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #9 on: 20 January 2012, 07:42:20 »

8 Covens ... 8 Spider Legs ... 8 years as a witchling perhaps?

Edit ... maybe 8 is considered special to witches for some reason.
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #10 on: 18 January 2013, 07:25:43 »

I made a few minor adjustments to this entry template, in order to render it consistent with the "Witches in Santharia" entry. I also changed the thread title from "entry template suggestion" to "entry template", since no-one has raised objections to the text. Thanks to the person who made this a sticky topic, by the way. :)
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« Reply #11 on: 19 January 2013, 22:19:25 »

Ooooh, you're making witchcraft! Here:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ame/pow/index.htm

That link goes to a great book on folk remedies and charms. Real ones. I know, I know, we're supposed to make up our own, but I can't help but think that this is a good start. The remedies make you think of how spells could look like, and some of the spells that would naturally be wanted by necessitous people.
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #12 on: 20 January 2013, 05:15:57 »

That's a good link, Sparkle. It's fascinating how Hoffman's pow-wow  mixes Christianity and folk magic. When I read such real-world spells, I always wonder what the witches or wizards or shamans said when reality didn't conform to their beliefs. For example, what did they do when a client of theirs came back to them and said: "Before I entered the court of law, I wrote the names of the twelve apostles on sage leaves and then put the leaves into my shoes, just as you said. But still I lost my law suit!"

Anyway, when thinking about the Santharian fantasy witchcraft, I got some inspiration from a visit to the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall. It's run by people who believe in the efficacy of witchcraft (unlike me). The museum is small, but really well put together. The online guidebook is worth a look!
« Last Edit: 20 January 2013, 05:19:17 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: 21 January 2013, 00:47:48 »

Oh dear... I think I know more than what is in that book. I can tell they are generalizing making it seem as if all modern "witches" are wiccan...

There are lots of things they could have said if their spells didn't work. God willed it so, the other guy had also bought a spell, they have been hexed to bad luck, they weren't pure enough of heart to make the magic work, the astrological hours weren't ideal or even working against the client or the moon was in the wrong phase for the spell used. A wiccan would say that you didn't believe in the magic enough, and therefore it failed, or that magic is never certain and only an influence; only an aid and not the only thing that could affect the outcome of the suit. After all, they never made anything that guaranteed a win. They made luck, success or influence spells instead. And luck in court isn't the same as win in court.
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« Reply #14 on: 21 January 2013, 06:04:55 »

Quote
They made luck, success or influence spells instead. And luck in court isn't the same as win in court.
That may be what Mister Hoffman said afterwards, when his spell had failed - but it's not what he wrote in his book. :)
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