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Lore Question: Black Market Mages

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#1 Erebus

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 05:21 AM

I wasn't quite sure where to put this - there doesn't seem to be a 'lore' section that I can find, but the general section will do.

 

So, mages. They're not (legally) permitted to make a profit from their magic. But of course that means there's a healthy black market full of dabbling bookworms who learned a couple of charms and now peddle their meager magical talents in back alleys and after-dark pubs. My question is this: What do we call them?

 

Essentially, I plan on making a mission centered around such a character, and I need a snazzy slang term for a mage who operates outside the law for profit. The term 'Hedge-wizard' doesn't really cut it, that's more of a derogatory phrase used by more upstanding mages to look down their noses at the common apprentices. I'm looking for something from the point of view of fellow thieves and cutthroats. How do they refer to their more magically-inclined peers who sell them arcane arrows and breath potions?



#2 Springheel

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 07:29 AM

Look up slang for drug dealers.  It would be a similar thing.


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#3 R Soul

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 06:08 PM

I haven't played many TDM missions so all I've seen of mages is them using short range spells to attack me.

 

Based on that:

Lighthand, or lighthanded.

 

Coinspark (assuming every use of magic involves the spark effect we see their attacks).

 

The act of performing magic for profit could be called coinspelling.


Edited by R Soul, 07 October 2018 - 06:11 PM.


#4 Epifire

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 01:41 AM

Some great suggestions R Soul. What about context of a Mage who uses his powers for Thievery? In a very rudimentary explanation, the act could be called a Spell-Stalker or Rite-Robber (spells or rituals committed in the sole act of thievery).

 

EDIT: Hey one that I thought summed up one that was a bit more all encompassing (but less wordy and easier to say) would call the mage a Ritic. The root being rituals and heretic combined like a title. How the actual definitions of heresy are established is another topic but I'd imagine law abiding mages keeping their practice to their personal lives would be the direct comparison of a Ritic.


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#5 Snehk

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 02:04 AM

One could mix it with the good old fashioned word that all Thief fans know and create a spell-taffer, or other combinations/kennings.

I think that maggot would fit with sneaky mage-thieves. It has the same beginning as magician or mage and gets well along other slang words - it comes with a negative notion and such.

R Soul wrote some awesome terms that are definitely worth considering.
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#6 chakkman

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 05:00 AM

Hmm... mages in the original Thief games always had some kind of code of honor. TBH, i can't really imagine them selling their knowledge, or achievements on the black market, TBH. Necromancers on the other hand... those were kind of the bad ass version of mages in Thief. Maybe you can put it so that your mage would in fact be a necromancer. ;) Would also make things a lot more interesting, in my opinion.

 

Edit: Ok, thinking about it, i surely also could imagine some sort of outcast mages who offer on the black market. Actually would make sense even, when they can't practise their actual profession anymore.


Edited by chakkman, 08 October 2018 - 05:04 AM.


#7 Erebus

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 11:24 PM

Maybe you can put it so that your mage would in fact be a necromancer. ;) Would also make things a lot more interesting, in my opinion.

I had actually intended for him to have been through a 'necromancy phase' that occasionally comes back to haunt/help him when the spirit world is involved.

 

Best slang I can think of currently is:

-Newt-Blinder / Newtmonger (reference to using Eye of Newt)

-Banewright / Jinxwright / Hexwright (various names for curses, portmanteau'd with a name for a craftsman)

 

something more succinct might be better though.


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#8 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 11:36 AM

I wasn't quite sure where to put this - there doesn't seem to be a 'lore' section that I can find, but the general section will do.
 
So, mages. They're not (legally) permitted to make a profit from their magic. But of course that means there's a healthy black market full of dabbling bookworms who learned a couple of charms and now peddle their meager magical talents in back alleys and after-dark pubs. My question is this: What do we call them?
 
Essentially, I plan on making a mission centered around such a character, and I need a snazzy slang term for a mage who operates outside the law for profit. The term 'Hedge-wizard' doesn't really cut it, that's more of a derogatory phrase used by more upstanding mages to look down their noses at the common apprentices. I'm looking for something from the point of view of fellow thieves and cutthroats. How do they refer to their more magically-inclined peers who sell them arcane arrows and breath potions?

 
Hello, Erebus.
 
Worthwhile idea, actually. I think the folk name or nickname for such mages would probably reference that they practice magical arts or at least the process of developing magical items, in a DIY, off-the-records manner. In this sense, they're "home-brewing" practitioners of magic, and they sell off the items they produce to earn a living, via their black market distribution contacts.
 
"Hedge-mage" does sound a little too G. R. R. Martin. I doubt most of these magical black marketeers would wander the land, sleeping beneath hedgerows, as the likes of Martin's own term "hedge-knight" implies.
 
So, in order to avoid "hedge-mage", here are some terms that have crossed my mind:
brewer-mage or just brewer - referencing the fact that they earn a living by secretly home-brewing various magical items (amulets, magi-crystals, etc.) and substances (potions, aqua vitae, alchemical stuff, etc.) at home. You get an unintentional parallel here with drug manufacturers and their illegal labs at home or at various hideouts. Also, brewer works fine as an argot term here, since it references something secret by using a common, seemingly straightforward term (maybe brewers could be potion-making black marketeers, while bakers or pastry-cooks would be those who "bake" magical items).
penny-mage - a mage who crafts and secretly trades with magical items in order to earn a pretty penny or two, or even a whole lot of pennies ;)
potboiler - in the real world and real history, someone doing "a potboiler" is doing something that is not seen as creatively accomplished, but it's a thing that earns them enough money to "keep the pot boiling", "keep the kettle boiling" (you usually see this in reference to writers or outright hacks, with "potboiler fiction" being seen as low-grade, formulaic fiction, written to "pay the bills")
dryer - for any BM mage that focuses on herbalist stuff. Quite literally a secret manufacturer who has to dry various herbs, mushrooms, etc., on a regular basis. Unlike a socially accepted apothecarist, they do this illicitly, with substances that have been banned or regulated, or are not allowed to be processed without someone being a certified, professional herbalist/apothecarist. Maybe TDM-verse apothecarists need such a certificate, or some accepted higher learning degree, approved by either the local authorities, or authorities of The Empire, or even the Builders.
wielder-dealer - a pun on the folk term wheeler-dealer, used as a mocking label for various conmen, including actual black marketeers. The wielder- bit would reference that they do know how to wield some magic, even if only in a limited degree, related to their black market goods production.
 
----
 
Let's also look at the original etymology of the modern term mage: It's an ancient Greek term, magus, derived from an Old Iranian word (and thus related to other forms of Persian). It's been ordinarily used in two different meanings:
1. a Zoroastrian priest (a very Persian cultural element in and of itself)
2. a "magician", a "conjurer", and more loosely and derisively, a "charlatan", "trickster", etc.
I myself have also stumbled upon a third use, that of "scholar" or "wiseman" or "person of knowledge".
 
In the modern but also historical sense, mages dabble in magic or wield magic because magic is an intellectual or "scientific" art form to be understood and grasped. It's part science, part art, with a dash of mysticism.
 
To quote Wiktionary: The two meanings overlap in classical usage— both derive from the Greco-Roman identification of "Zoroaster" as the "inventor" of astrology and magic. The first meaning ('magician') derives from the sense of "practitioner of the Zoroaster's craft", and the second meaning ('priest') from the sense of "practitioner of Zoroaster's religion".  This is also why the "Three Kings" of the Christmastide tradition are referred to as the "Three Magi" or "Three Wise Men", etc.
 
In my own fantasy universe, the history-inspired connection between "mage" and "scholar" is something explicitly noted in the development of both magic and academic learning, and academic science.
 
Also, the term wizard comes from an Old English or perhaps originally Germanic term, meaning "wiseman", "wise man", "someone who has wisdom". Again, the connection between knowledge and wisdom, and the wielding of magic. I suppose it's some fairly universal trait in the folklore of various cultures worldwide to associate a sum of knowledge, or knowledgeability about various processes and natural phenomenna, with borderline magical powers. Interestingly enough, some of the foundational works of modern literary fantasy seem to imply this as well: Tolkien's own conception of his wizard from Arda is that their magic is based on their individual knowledge of natural processes, and their knowledge of how to bend those processes to their will (in both overt and subtle ways).
 

One could mix it with the good old fashioned word that all Thief fans know and create a spell-taffer, or other combinations/kennings.

I think that maggot would fit with sneaky mage-thieves. It has the same beginning as magician or mage and gets well along other slang words - it comes with a negative notion and such.

R Soul wrote some awesome terms that are definitely worth considering.

 
I've thought of ken as part of some shorthand too, given that it references someone's knowledge, and as I note above, references the real world etymology for mage as an extension of that.

I love maggot as an ordinary street colloquialism ! Simple, to the point, and with no love lost for the guys who provide the valuable goods, outside of their usefulness. :D

Best slang I can think of currently is:
-Newt-Blinder / Newtmonger (reference to using Eye of Newt)
-Banewright / Jinxwright / Hexwright (various names for curses, portmanteau'd with a name for a craftsman)

something more succinct might be better though.


I nearly overlooked these... I daresay these are rather wonderful. I especially like hexwright.

Edited by Petike the Taffer, 26 October 2018 - 03:10 PM.

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#9 Springheel

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 02:09 PM

"Hedge-mage" does sound a little too G. R. R. Martin. I doubt most of these magical black marketeers would wander the land, sleeping beneath hedgerows, as the likes of Martin's own term "hedge-knight" implies.

 

 

"Hedge mage" is a pretty well-established term in fantasy for wizards who are untrained or without allegiance to any magical school (Martin didn't invent the term hedge knight either).  

 

https://www.reddit.c...ine_hedgemagic/


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#10 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 02:56 PM

 

"Hedge mage" is a pretty well-established term in fantasy for wizards who are untrained or without allegiance to any magical school (Martin didn't invent the term hedge knight either).  

 

https://www.reddit.c...ine_hedgemagic/

 

Is it ? I'll confess I haven't come across that term so far. :) The more you know...



#11 Springheel

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 03:28 PM

This 1828 dictionary has the following definition:  "Hedge, prefixed to any word, notes something mean, vile, of the lowest class"

 

Page on archive.org


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#12 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 27 October 2018 - 05:36 AM

This 1828 dictionary has the following definition:  "Hedge, prefixed to any word, notes something mean, vile, of the lowest class"
 
Page on archive.org


Cool. Makes a lot of sense.





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