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Basic Information

This page is about words that end with the letters "mancy".

Technical / linguistic / historic definition:

Any word ending with "mancy" indicates a form of divination (this from the Greek manteia - "prophecy"). From this perspective, necromancy is telling the future, or acquiring knowledge, from corpses and ghosts. Pyromancy is seeking insight from fire or burnt offerings. Etc.

Gaming definition:

Very few games would curtail necromancy to being just an information-retrieval power. As cool as talking to the dead is, it's much more fun to augment that with abilities like raising undead, sucking life force from your enemies, and saving the life of your fellow player character.

Likewise, if a player were selecting pyromancy as a specialty, unless they went and looked it up, their expectations would be more like pyrokinesis or fire-specific elementalism.

In most of gaming, the -mancy ending is a bit broader than it's historical context. It implies something more like a School of Magic. For those that like their nomenclature a little more cogent the suffix '-urgy1' would be more appropriate (this may require a little re-translation, for example traditional necromancy - from nekros (corpse/dead person) and manteia (prophecy/divination) - is retitled thanaturgy - from Thanatos (death) and ergon (work)).


See Also


Game and Story Use

  • It's up to you (or the rules you're using) where your campaign falls on the scale from linguistic to gaming definition. Such a decision should be based on the system, and the nature of the campaign.
    • As an example, let's look at Pyromancy again.
      • A High Fantasy game about dangerous quests and epic wars is going to lean towards fireballs, wall of fire, and other big flashy spells.
      • A Low Fantasy game of Secret History and Conspiracy Theories would probably lean towards mostly divination with some minor pyrokinetic flourishes.
      • That's not to say you can't shake things up.
        • The meteorstorming archmage might be able to see the future in the conflagrations he summons.
        • An otherwise skeptic-dominated low-magic game world might have a handful of sorcerers who've tapped some greater power and go beyond divination.
  • That big ol' list of words can be used to spice up the flavor of your game. See also Canis Latinicus and Dweomer.
  • Make your own -mancy. Just add those 5 letters to the end of anything to invent a whole new school of magic.
    • In a one-shot last night, I played a pantomancer2. I could summon pants, tailor pants, teleport to a different pair of pants, and immobilize people from the waist down. It was pretty goofy, but lots of fun.
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