Warlocks as a Mage/Shaman Hybrid?

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Warlocks as a Mage/Shaman Hybrid? Empty Warlocks as a Mage/Shaman Hybrid?

Post  Mayliffe on Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:18 am

It is no secret that the warlocks of Azeroth originally descended from the corrupted shamans of the Old Horde, who lost their connection to the elements and began bearing the tainted magic of the Burning Legion. As former shamans, it is no surprise many big names such as Gul'dan and Ner'zhul delved into necromancy - a 'different' way to harness spirits, not much unlike the old shamanistic ways, but in much different, wicked ways.

At the same time, the story of the corrupted arcanist is famous. From examples such as Kel'thuzad, a Kirin Tor magus who learned necromancy under the Lich King (Ner'zhul) to Medivh, the last Guardian of Tirisfal who was possessed by Sargeras and has often been called a warlock of great power, there are many stories of arcanists of all forms, and particularly mages, delving into the secrets of demonic magic to pursue their goals - usually greater power, but rarely being limited to that.

We can be pretty honest here. Demonic magic is more than just empowering your spells through the consumption of the blood of a demon, a.k.a. fel. The orcs were supposedly taught necromancy by the Legion, and the Legion has actively used not just the destructive power of fel magic, but also necromancy on more than one occasion. Other examples of 'purer' magic also exist, such as the way many demons (and particularly the nathrezim Dreadlords and sayaad Succubi) use illusion and trickery rather than force.

Many of us, irrespective of whether we fall closer to the 'corrupted shaman' or the 'corrupted arcanist' archetypes, have 'ICly' used magic such as soul-draining and life-draining magic, which fall under the school of Necromancy, or the magic of life and death; spells such as life tap and health funnel, which are arguably necromantic as well, and could even be classified as blood magic.

All this raises some very interesting questions, which I am trying to answer myself.
  1. Do warlocks have the potential to summon more than demons, such as spirits?
  2. What can they do with such spirits, other than convert them to 'health and mana' (aka. soul harvest)?
  3. Is the above at all dependent on whether you are falling in the 'shaman' archetype, or is it a 'class trait' that even 'arcanist' characters could possibly possess?
  4. In essence, is the 'modern' warlock an essential hybrid between the older 'corrupted shaman' and 'corrupted arcanist' archetypes, as warlocks studied the work of their predecessors such as Ner'zhul, Kel'thuzad and/or others?

What are your opinions?

_______________________________________________________________________________


I do believe in the hybrid, myself, and the intrinsic connection of the warlock with all three of the major schools of magic it employs: necromancy (seemingly most of their shadow magic), conjuration (their flames and summoning) and enchantment (the magical empowerment of themselves and their demonic minions). Whether it is a soul or a demon, it can become the warlock's field, though individuals will (usually) obviously focus on different specialisations.

(As a side-note, I acknowledge the ambiguity of classifying warlock spells into the seven 'established' schools of magic as shown through the Kirin Tor in Dalaran and elsewhere. It cannot be denied that more than the above three are employed, including illusion such as the infamous Fear spell, and many spells, especially the shadow bolt, seem to cause arguments when they are classified in 'unpopular' schools such as necromancy despite indications that they could, perhaps, fall under it. It is not my intention to reject points of view that support a different system of categorising magic spells, and simply wrote the present post while utilising my own preferred system with the seven schools of arcane magic and how I, personally feel the warlock spells are categorised under them.)

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Post  Ashkaar on Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:51 am

Hello May, and great that you've started a lore/opinion-based discussion Smile We need more of these! Not just here, but IC'ly as well!

You and I have on a few occasions already discussed parts of this, but I'll write down my opinion and answers to your questions anyway.


Firstly - I strongly disagree with your opinion that the shadow-based warlock spells are necromancy. I think both necromancers and warlocks use shadow magic, but I don't like to categorize shadow magic into necromancy because I don't think it's entirely accurate. I see shadow magic as a brick, or glue, that can be used to complete different goals by different kind of magicians.


Do warlocks have the potential to summon more than demons, such as spirits?

No, I think not, not by natural means. Just because the art were practiced by shamans, doesn't mean that the shamanic powers followed the art. Being a shaman is a lifestyle and the magic that follows is much dependent upon that.

Is the above at all dependent on whether you are falling in the 'shaman' archetype, or is it a 'class trait' that even 'arcanist' characters could possibly possess?

No, I think modern warlocks are independent and not affected by the roots of their arts.

In essence, is the 'modern' warlock an essential hybrid between the older 'corrupted shaman' and 'corrupted arcanist' archetypes, as warlocks studied the work of their predecessors such as Ner'zhul, Kel'thuzad and/or others?

Sure, in a way, since we still practice parts of the same studies.



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Post  Mayliffe on Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:44 am

Oh, I enjoy such discussions. I hope that in the process of this thread we will help illustrate multiple different interpretations of matters, which we can later compile into a summary of ways people can consider adapting to their RP, if they felt like it, or otherwise use them as they saw fit.

Firstly - I strongly disagree with your opinion that the shadow-based warlock spells are necromancy. I think both necromancers and warlocks use shadow magic, but I don't like to categorize shadow magic into necromancy because I don't think it's entirely accurate. I see shadow magic as a brick, or glue, that can be used to complete different goals by different kind of magicians.
I also see it as such glue. But if we follow the (admittedly rigid) system used by the Kirin Tor and appearing in-game, we are led to a broad misunderstanding of what we think of as necromancy and what they mean as necromancy. A big part of the perception is shared, but some fine details are not.

As I pointed out in my earlier post, I used the Kirin Tor classification, which does categorises spells under seven schools (Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, Necromancy and Transmutation), with individual spells also often possessing a sub-school such as shadow, summoning, healing, etc. and a descriptor such as fire, ice, etc. A sub-school can belong to more than one school, whereas descriptors are largely independent of school. For instance, Drain Soul would be outright necromancy due to its nature (with the shadow descriptor no doubt) but Shadow Ward, although a shadow spell, would indisputably be an Abjuration.

Long story short, shadow as a spell descriptor is used, in this system, to denote both necromantic and non-necromantic spells, but a lot of the warlock's shadow spells would fall under necromancy rather than other schools of magic. There is in-game evidence supporting such an interpretation.

Necromancy is no doubt shadow magic, but shadow magic is not only necromancy: I fully agree with that notion. However, as far as arcane spells are concerned, it seems that shadow magic is encompassed mainly under the school of Necromancy. I believe that this is supported by a quote from the Journal of Archmage Antonidas (available in-game): "I used my limited knowledge of necromancy and casted simple curses on the corpse." This clearly means that, under the Kirin Tor classification, curses are necromancy, though the writer (Antonidas) does not explain what exactly the curses did. (When the book was added in-game, however, some Curses dealt shadow damage, such as the old Curse of Doom.)

Of course, how everyone takes it depends strictly on what method of classification you use. Not a fan of the Kirin Tor system? No harm. Given the nature of RP, such things are mere technicalities. However, in my opinion, if we follow the Kirin Tor method then necromancers are technically specialised affliction warlocks who work with undead rather than demons; and several affliction spells are necromantic, but this does not make someone who knows them a necromancer outright (as that is a very specific thing).

No, I think not, not by natural means. Just because the art were practiced by shamans, doesn't mean that the shamanic powers followed the art. Being a shaman is a lifestyle and the magic that follows is much dependent upon that.
I am not sure I can accept the concept that a warlock can only summon demons, and there are two practical examples to illustrate why. First, a warlock can already summon non-demon individuals, through Ritual of Summoning. Second, although the elements are no doubt a shaman's field of expertise, both the shaman as well as the mage are known to be capable of summoning elementals, and these two classes form the historical roots of the warlock.

Using the logic of Ritual of Summoning, it could pretty much be the base case for the summoning of a spirit. By that, I mean that with the right reagents, magic circle and foci (such as personal items of the spirit in question) a warlock skilled in the art of summoning could summon a specific, willing spirit, much like they could summon a specific, willing individual or demon.

(I need to clarify that by 'spirit' I explicitly refer to the spirits of the dead in this case, who may still dwell in an undead state. It would be very unlikely for a warlock to summon a nature or elemental spirit like a druid or shaman might be able to pull off, rather obviously.)

No, I think modern warlocks are independent and not affected by the roots of their arts.

[...]

Sure, in a way, since we still practice parts of the same studies.
Emphasis mine. I might have gotten a little confused here, but this seems a little contradictory. While the warlock is definitely not a collection of dark shamans and dark mages any longer, I meant that since their dark art is dependent on the work of such predecessors as Ner'zhul and Gul'dan (who were both once shamans, for example) then the warlock class is not without direct connections to what these 'pioneers' used from their old ways and implemented with the assistance of demonic magic. The same would be true to human counterparts, of course.

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Post  Ashkaar on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:36 am

I don't base my opinion on magic on the Kirin Tor laws though. The Kirin Tor doesnt set magical laws, they set THEIR laws, and they try to create a system that is understandable for THEM.

Antonidas was a very knowledagble mage indeed, but even though his cathegorizations is avaliable in game, doesnt mean that it's evidence to anything; it's only his view on magic.

You look at someone like Medivh for example, who was one of the most powerful mages/warlocks ever existing; he refused to follow the rules and the laws of the Kirin Tor because he saw magic in a completely different way.

I am not sure I can accept the concept that a warlock can only summon demons, and there are two practical examples to illustrate why. First, a warlock can already summon non-demon individuals, through Ritual of Summoning. Second, although the elements are no doubt a shaman's field of expertise, both the shaman as well as the mage are known to be capable of summoning elementals, and these two classes form the historical roots of the warlock.

Ah, no, I didn't mean that warlocks are unable to do this - what I tried to sy, perhaps I explained myself too short, is that these skills doesn't automaticly come to a warlock because former warlocks used to be shamans. But to willingly go out of the way to learn something different is possible for every individual, not just warlocks, and I don't disagree with you that warlocks are able to do this. But so are mages, and so are necromancers... etc etc. You get my point.

No, I think modern warlocks are independent and not affected by the roots of their arts.

[...]

Sure, in a way, since we still practice parts of the same studies.

What I meant was the same as I explained above. We still practise the arts the former shamans and arcanists leaned into doing instead of their purer ways, but we are not connected to the other knowledge they possessed, read shamanic and arcanist-based knowledge in which we do not dwell. Hope that explained it a little. Smile

And regarding what is necromancy and what is not; I think it's much more dependant on the goal as to what categorize it belongs to. I don't see life draining as Necromancy. But if someone would use life draining to kill and to manipulate death, then I do think it is Necromancy.

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Post  Mayliffe on Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:39 pm

Then it is more or less just the usage of different classification systems.

While the system is indeed the Kirin Tor's system, we need to take into account some factors supporting this method:
  • First, the Kirin Tor canonically represent the best and perhaps biggest part of organised magic society on Azeroth in sheer numbers.
  • Secondly, this classification system is the only such available within the World of Warcraft game. Other factions that might use their own sadly do not share them.
  • Third, to disagree with it, while it excludes that person from using it, does not automatically make it false. Of course, it does not mean it is infallible and universally correct either.

Of course, this is an organised approach to magic, but it need not be followed. Medivh was a very good example, although we do not know whether he used such technical classification. An individual can simply use the very basic method of classifying magic, ie. to 'Divine' and 'Arcane', followed by subcategories such as 'Nature', 'Shamanism', 'Voodoo' and 'Holy' for divine, which invoke other beings' powers, such as of the Loa or the Light; and 'Arcane', 'Fel', etc. for arcane magic, which invokes powers through the user's understanding and force of will. No further detail can be needed, as classifying arcanists between, say, 'demon magic practitioners' and 'arcane magic practitioners'.

(I use the term arcane in two meanings, because, sadly, this is how Blizzard uses it. The subschool of arcane magic named Arcane seems to be somehow related to air, however, with spells such as blink and feather fall.)

(Also, I will go as far as changing 'Holy' to 'Holy/Unholy' to represent shadow priests, because Light and Shadow are more or less two sides of the main coin in the Warcraftverse, as shown by the life cycle of the Naaru. The Naaru are supposed to traverse between Light and Shadow during their seemingly infinite lifespans.)

On a personal note, given how my character's personality is and how she was inducted into magic, I feel it is important to utilise a classification system.
But if someone would use life draining to kill and to manipulate death, then I do think it is Necromancy.
This sadly defeats the purpose of a classification. You should not be able to classify a spell based on its intended use, ie. by an extremely subjective method, but by a supposedly more objective manner that you can use irrespective of a user's motives, ideals, etc.

To use drain life as an example, here is why it is a necromantic spell under the Kirin Tor system.
  1. It inflicts direct shadow damage on the target while channelled.
  2. Doing so restores the caster's health while channelled.
  3. The above means it gets the healing and shadow descriptors, as mentioned before.
  4. It is obviously not an abjuration, divination, enchantment, illusion or transmutation.
  5. It is not a conjuration, as it does not create anything (eg. a flame, a cookie, or a summon).
  6. It can be categorised under necromancy because it directly manipulates life and death.
  7. There is no school of magic left to categorise it under.

Awkwardly enough, the way this classification system works, you could classify any arcane spell resurrecting the dead (the same way as a paladin's redemption, and not as undead) as necromancy as well. Why? Simply put, it manipulates death, and in this case it makes it go bye-bye. So Soulstone Resurrection is, technically, "Necromancy (Healing, Soul)" under The Schools of Arcane Magic.

Again, this is the Kirin Thor methodology however. Which reminds me, perhaps the Lullaby should create a simple fanon alternative for those who disagree with the canon one?
Ah, no, I didn't mean that warlocks are unable to do this - what I tried to sy, perhaps I explained myself too short, is that these skills doesn't automaticly come to a warlock because former warlocks used to be shamans. But to willingly go out of the way to learn something different is possible for every individual, not just warlocks, and I don't disagree with you that warlocks are able to do this. But so are mages, and so are necromancers... etc etc. You get my point.
Oh, I do not mean that warlocks should be getting free shaman and mage abilities just because they come from those two classes, mainly. I mean that certain abilities of those classes are 'usable' in warlock role play, such as teleportation magic (such as Teleport and Mass Teleport/Portal, for it is canonically stated that 'fel portals' can be made by corrupted arcanists) or the ability to summon certain spirits, using similar mechanics as those needed to summon a demon for the first time (different runes for magic circles, different offerings to attract their attention, etc. To summon a dead would probably take an offering of something related to their life, such as something they hate or represented them before they died, as opposed to the demon's interest for sacrifice or gain.)

Besides, the canon ability of fel is to empower your existing magic. Drink some demon blood and the next/few next spells you cast will be Kickass'o. Though it takes more than just that to define a warlock, it opens up interesting role play possibilities for those interested!
What I meant was the same as I explained above. We still practise the arts the former shamans and arcanists leaned into doing instead of their purer ways, but we are not connected to the other knowledge they possessed, read shamanic and arcanist-based knowledge in which we do not dwell. Hope that explained it a little.
Oh, indeed! I do not expect to see a warlock running with a Greater Fire Elemental anytime soon, although this would be possible with in-character efforts. But as I said above, if an individual bases his or her warlock on the use of fel to empower spells, it might be possible to see such a 'warlock' or 'warlock' that falls closer to the original class but with different spell dynamics because of fel.

But if you wanted a fel shaman, you would have rolled a shaman and not a warlock in the first place.

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Post  Ashkaar on Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:51 pm

Sure, but your theories are once more based no the Kirin Tor system, and mine aint Wink

This sadly defeats the purpose of a classification. You should not be able to classify a spell based on its intended use, ie. by an extremely subjective method, but by a supposedly more objective manner that you can use irrespective of a user's motives, ideals, etc.

But I don't feel the need to classify all sorts of magic, simply because a classification of a sort such as shadow magic never will be accurate since it's used in different forms and that one form will be excluded by a classification.

And why shadow magic is called shadow magic for all it's purposes seem to me like a game-error since both the warlocks magic and a priests magic are called the same, even though, as you said, shadow magic used by a priest still is Divine Magi.


Again, this is the Kirin Thor methodology however. Which reminds me, perhaps the Lullaby should create a simple fanon alternative for those who disagree with the canon one?

I don't think we should create anything but theory's to be honest. I don't want to set a system in use for the guild, but personal view-points are always welcome Smile

Awkwardly enough, the way this classification system works, you could classify any arcane spell resurrecting the dead (the same way as a paladin's redemption, and not as undead) as necromancy as well. Why? Simply put, it manipulates death, and in this case it makes it go bye-bye. So Soulstone Resurrection is, technically, "Necromancy (Healing, Soul)" under The Schools of Arcane Magic.

I can see what you mean here, however, Necromancer raises dead as undead, which is not the same as resurrect a person to his old, fully working self.
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Post  Mayliffe on Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:18 pm

And why shadow magic is called shadow magic for all it's purposes seem to me like a game-error since both the warlocks magic and a priests magic are called the same, even though, as you said, shadow magic used by a priest still is Divine Magi.
'Shadow' here refers to the element. It is the same shadow that fuels a Mind Blast, as it fuels a Corruption. It is the methods of harnessing the power that changes: one obtains it through study and/or pacts with infernal entities, while the other obtains it through force of will and/or higher beings. It is the same thing that separates a shaman's fire spells from a mage's or a warlock's: both are fire, but one is divine and the other is arcane.

I don't think we should create anything but theory's to be honest. I don't want to set a system in use for the guild, but personal view-points are always welcome
It is not like we can set a formal system for the guild in the first place. But we can document these different opinions for people who wish to use one or more of them in their role-play. For instance, there would be a thread describing the Kirin Tor classification, a thread describing the Armandel classification, etc. and people could use the terminology in-character during their roleplays, if they ever felt like it.

(Yes, I want to write a thread on arcane magic, concentrating lore on it for RP reference and my own vanity. lol)

I can see what you mean here, however, Necromancer raises dead as undead, which is not the same as resurrect a person to his old, fully working self.
Indeed. But to use necromancy does not automatically make you a necromancer, just as using summoning does not make you a summoner (see the Frost Mage or the Shaman as two examples of classes with strong summoning, but lacking the specialisation of the Demonologist in the art).

Yes, the necromancer would rather raise you as an undead minion as opposed to a fully functional, living person. But an arcane spell properly raising the dead back to life would still fall under the school of necromancy, because necromancy is the school of life and death - none of the other six schools of arcane magic bother with such magic.

Still under the Kirin Tor classification obviously. But even if you remove the school factor, the fact remains: knowing/using some necromancy does not make you a necromancer. It is specialising into it that makes you one.

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