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Magiros
 
PostPosted: Wed, Mar 23 2016, 19:11 PM 

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Hey y'all!

I've lately been wondering how could I define the difference between incantation, spell and rite. I've tended towards most common sources, but thought I would look into views of others in the matters of magic. I've seen quite many use of arcane terms and thought that maybe it would be interesting to discuss their definitions, uses and what are the differences.. Etc.

So could you help me out? What do you think is the way to define the meaning and differences between incantation, spell, rite, casting and if you have some other common words in mind, please feel welcome to bring them up. Hoping Grymia would speak up, because incantation is a word I most associate with Lord Tuomas Valo using actually. :D

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best Regards,
Mags

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Gers
 
PostPosted: Wed, Mar 23 2016, 22:02 PM 

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I'd define the terms thus:

Incantation: any sort of arcana, be it divine or arcane, invoked through the use of spoken word. May or may not require special components or gestures.

Spell: any sort of arcana requiring use of gestures and components small enough to fit in one's hand. May also use verbiage, but not necessarily.

Rite: any sort of arcana that requires a prepared, permanent place of power, such as an altar, druid circle, inscribed pentagram/sigil, etc., or the creation of a temporary place of power (blessing of an area, etc.) as a precondition of it's performance.

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Magiros
 
PostPosted: Wed, Mar 23 2016, 22:42 PM 

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Question though, as your definition of Incantation: any sort of arcana, be it divine or arcane...

Arcana, by what I've read, does not include divine power within it, instead would go under terminology of "The Power" and arcane/arcane is "The Art". Might be my understanding could be mistaken? Can anyone clarify?

Or what is the difference between arcana and arcane, is there a difference?

Secondly, we could say that incantation and spell are just synonyms for each others then? Because I've not seen really a great difference between the two:

Incantation:
Any kind of spellcasting, invoked through use of spoken word and may or may not require components or gestures.

Spells:
Any kind of spellcasting, casted by use of spoken (Verbal), material (componentns) and gestures (Somatics).

The rite aspect of having a sigil as the focus or medium for conducting it I find quite faschinating, or casting within an area of power. Never did consider such an aspect.

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Gers
 
PostPosted: Thu, Mar 24 2016, 0:09 AM 

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Well, in FR, all magic, weather wizardly/sorcerous or divine, is powered through the Weave. That's why I include divine magic in "arcana;" it's the same magic that wizards and such use, but it's accessibility and the shape it takes depend entirely on the whim and nature of a deity or other miracle-granting entity. "Arcane" on the other hand, I've always seen used as a reference explicitly to wizardly/sorcerous magic, or as a reference in general to rare, mostly forgotten, or hard-to-come-by knowledge.

As far as spell and incantation being the same, the major difference is that an incantation MUST have a vocal component. When one incants, one is speaking. So a spell can be an incantation, but it isn't one if it lacks a vocal component.

As for rites, I've always thought of them as being more involved than just waggling a finger and muttering a word. The term as used in regular parlance is often similar to "ritual." The blood sacrifice, the consecration of a graveyard, the warded summoning chamber of a tower, etc. Those are the sorts of things I've considered rites or locations for rites, usually involving long, drawn out, and taxing exercises in magic.

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Thu, Mar 24 2016, 0:27 AM 

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Technically, Incantations are their own thing in D&D. It's ritual magic that can be performed by non-spellcasters. A Rite is probably more loose a term. I would say it's simply a ritual, that doesn't have to be magical at all. For instance, a Druid's rites could just be a ceremony they go through, similar to the rites that many tribal cultures perform. It could involve magic, like a dragon disciple's rites, but it doesn't have to.

Spells are a bit hard to pin down in a lot of cases. I would be wary of saying what defines them is requiring those three components, though. Some spells only have two or one(material, somatic, verbal), and once you combine them with metamagic, Still, Silent, Eschew, you've by your definition done something that isn't a spell. I'd go for something broader, like the active manipulation of magic by a spellcaster. That's a catch-all enough to be useful.

This is kind of interesting, as I have a PC who was planning on giving a lecture on the similarities and the differences of "creature magics"(monster spell-like abilities) and Sorcerous magic.

Quote:
Arcana, by what I've read, does not include divine power within it, instead would go under terminology of "The Power" and arcane/arcane is "The Art". Might be my understanding could be mistaken? Can anyone clarify?


By most definitions you find IC, no, people don't mean Divine magic when they talk about it. But I would say that could be colloquialism. Arcana, as a noun, just means "secret knowledge." There could be divine arcana, certainly. But to most, it would as confusing using "arcane" to mean something non-wizardous/sorcerous and instead simply "ancient."

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Magiros
 
PostPosted: Thu, Mar 24 2016, 23:45 PM 

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In my opinion, we can't take the premises of metamagic to be included in defining a term 'spell'. It is a feat that gives you the potential to do it, in normal cases all three aspects are present. Granted some spells require only two. Hence we could devine incantations and spells under: "Any kind of spellcasting, casted by using keys to unlock the magic desired" Hence, it is very generic, applies for both as keys can refer to anykind of component, verbal or somatic aspect. Hence, we are left other means to build distinction between them?

The idea of incantation always requiring a vocal component, starts to establish that defining line between the two. And further building, based on Immolations answer, can we then say that spellcasting classes can't cast incantations based on this: "Incantations are like spells, but they can be cast by characters who are not spellcasters." Or does it as well include spellcasting classes, despite the vry first statement calling otherwise?


Ah! Now it clarifies the meaning of arcana for me! Understanding the basis of the word, clears out how it can be used. Didn't know it stood for "secret knowledge", good to know!

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Fri, Mar 25 2016, 13:52 PM 

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I would totally say you could take into account metamagic when understanding what a spell is. Spells are in fact the only sort of magic you can use metamagic on. You can't really metamagic a rite, or a ritual, or an invocation. So there's some connection there. Metamagic may not be intrinsic to defining what a spell is, but you certainly don't want to create a definition for spells that is voided when you apply the tool made exclusively for them onto it. Spells are, in my thinking, a format for accessing magic used by spellcasters. Now you can come up with your own IC definition of what an "incantation" might be, and maybe they all involve verbal components, but from a base standpoint I don't see anything that would point to that OoCly, at least by the D&D definition of incantation. Both spells and incantations can use or equally omit any of the 3 to 4 types of components used to create magic. So again, the easiest definition I find is simply to say a spell is the method used by a spellcaster. An incantation is magic that, while accessed through a similar set of components, does not require one to be a spellcaster.

And yes, spellcasters could cast incantations, it's just worded a little funny. All it means is it doesn't require you to be a spellcaster to cast them. You could be, but it wouldn't help or hurt because incantations don't draw from any ability or knowledge to cast spells in the way a cleric/druid/sorc/wizard does. It's magic you can access through other, unrelated means than using innate, possibly genetic talent, or genius-level rote and arithmetic, or the intercession of a god.

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