Hogwarts is not the only school of magic in our fandom. Whether it’s the unseen university or an apprenticeship to a hermetic mage, wizards often learn their spells and incantations through some kind of schooling.

Within my own setting I have reworked the different schools of magic many times. Redefining Sorcery, or Witchcraft as required. Now with a new campaign about to start I have had reason to examine again the training of arcane arts. I needed to answer questions about the difference between Enchanters and Warlocks; and how a wizard might brew a potion or buff your armour.

In D&D there have long been different classes, even within the magical power source, but not so in all systems. In my own game I am allowing the players to shape their expectation of magic. But in doing so I’ve seen how I want to distinguish the connection between the School and the Method, also how certain methods relate to differing spheres of influence.

Rather than say a magic user is an enchanter rather than a necromancer I wanted to allow any school of magic to do a number of things –

  • Enchant a sword, shield, rod ring etc…
  • Cast a prepared spell for a large one off effect
  • Brew a potion for multiple doses of a formulaic result
  • Improvise a short cantrip that has a limited function
  • Plus other applications…

I wanted different schools to teach methods that were unique and flavourful to that college of magic but that allowed all the above outcomes. So a Sorceress uses ingredients and components and accesses their essence to power their effects. A necromancer might channel spirits of the ancient dead to fuel their effects, where a wizard uses a near mathematical hermetic formula to perform their magic.

The school of magic then describes the flavour without restricting the applications. The effects might be limited in that a healing potion might not be available to a necromancer but they aren’t prevented from making a potion that brings about some other outcome.

In the end this allows players to play the kind of magic user they have in mind. The power level is between the GM and the Player to balance, but the flavour is easy to customise.