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Encyclopedia > Magic (Discworld)

The Discworld in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels runs on magic. Types of magic include: The Discworld is the setting for all of Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of novels. ... Terence David John Pratchett OBE is an English fantasy author (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England), best known for his Discworld series. ... Cover art of The Colour of Magic by Josh Kirby The Discworld is a series of thirty-four satirical fantasy novels and a number of shorter works by Terry Pratchett set on the Discworld. ...

Contents


Intrinsic magic

Intrinsic magic is the Discworld's "standing magical field" and is basically the local breakdown of reality that allows a flat planet on the back of a turtle to even exist. The other varieties of magic are usually methods of shaping this force. It warps reality in much the same way as gravity warps space-time. Areas with larger than normal quantities of background magic tend to display unusual qualities, even for the Disc. This article details minor Discworld concepts: concepts and ideas from the Discworld of novels by Terry Pratchett which only appear in the background, or are not well fleshed out. ...


Very high quantities of magic (of the sort that might be produced by a sourcerer (see below)), great magical artifacts like the Octavo or a substantial shift in belief (see further below) can knock a hole in reality, leading to an invasion by Lovecraftian monstrosities from the Dungeon Dimensions. In the fictional Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, the Octavo is the Creators own grimoire and thus the most powerful book of magic on the Discworld. ... Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of fantasy, horror and science fiction, noted for combining these three genres within single narratives. ... In Terry Pratchetts Discworld series, the Dungeon Dimensions are the endless wastelands outside of space and time. ...


For special reasons the number eight, the number of the eighth colour and colour of Magic octarine, is extremely magical on the Disc, and should never, ever, be spoken by a wizard, especially in certain places. Doing so may allow the ancient dungeon dimension creature "Bel-Shamharoth the sender of eight" to break into our dimension. 8 (eight) is the natural number following 7 and preceding 9. ... This article details minor Discworld concepts: concepts and ideas from the fictional Discworld series by Terry Pratchett which only appear in the background, or are not well fleshed out. ... The Discworld gods are the fictional deities from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ...


Wizard magic

Wizard magic is known to be taught at the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, Bugarup University in XXXX and Krull University in the secretive nation of Krull. It is very much a scholarly study, largely (many believe) to prevent anyone outside the universities realising how easy it really is. The Coat of Arms of Unseen University. ... Ankh-Morpork is a fictional city-state which features in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of fantasy novels. ... XXXX or FourEcks (previously known as Terror Incognita) is the name of the Australia-like continent seen in the Discworld novel The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. ...


In fact, the older wizards tend not to understand how magic actually works at all, instead relying on centuries of lore to achieve their effects. Younger wizards enthusiastically experiment, pushing back the boundaries of knowledge and making new discoveries about the nature of the universe. They don't understand how magic works either, but have much more exciting words to explain why not. These often invoke images of particle physics (the events of TSOD are brought about by an experimental apparatus to split the "thaum", for example). Particles erupt from the collision point of two relativistic (100GeV) gold ions in the STAR detector of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. ... The Science of Discworld is a 1999 book written by novelist Terry Pratchett and popular science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. ...


Really, wizard magic is telling the universe what you want it to be like, in terms it can't ignore. This is very draining, due to the Law of Conservation of Reality (which states it takes the same energy to do something with magic as it would to do it mundanely). This is why most wizards store magic in a staff (with a knob on the end). The most complicated parts of most spells aren't the effects, but the baffles to ensure the wizard survives.


A "Sourcerer", on the other hand, creates his own magic, and can therefore do just about anything with no effort. As the above notes on intristic magic suggest, this is very dangerous, which is why there are no sourcerers any more (see below, although Sourcery records an exception). Sourcery is the fifth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, published in 1988. ...


In the earlier Discworld novels, wizards (at least the ones of the Unseen University) are described as belonging to one of the eight orders of wizardry, currently named:

  • The Ancient and Truly Original Brothers of the Silver Star
  • The Brotherhood of the Hoodwink (The Hoodwinkers)
  • The Order of Midnight
  • The Venerable Council of Seers
  • The Ancient and Truly Original Sages of the Unbroken Circle
  • The Sages of the Unknown Shadow
  • Mrs Widgery's Lodgers
  • The Last Order (The Other Order)

Despite their names, these orders are not all that ancient, their original names having been muddled by war and time. This is with the exception of Mrs Widgery's Lodgers, who stem from the early days of UU when the Tower of Art was the only building on campus and some students had lodgings elsewhere in Ankh-Morpork. Since the first few books, however, this system has had no visible impact whatsoever, and seems to have been forgotten. This may be somthing to do with the fact that all of the top wizards in each order were turned to stone in Sourcery.


Wizards are also classified into levels, which once corresponded to actual magical prowess, but now are rather more indicative of political power. The leader of all wizards, according to UU, is the Archchancellor of UU, the first among equals (the equals being the other eight-level wizards). There are a total of eight eight-level wizards, and the number becomes progressively higher as the level decreases. Presumably, as it is far better for those who have the skill to be tutored than to possibly cause horrendous damage to the space-time continuum, there is an unlimited number of first-level wizards. Because of these limitations, it is periodically common to ascend through the ranks by assassinating superiors, but under Archchancellor Ridcully this practice seems to have fallen out of favour, for a time.


(nb. rincewind has been described as "quite possibly the worlds only 0th level wizard. tis seems impossible, as most pepole are *born* at level one. Rincewind is a fictional character appearing in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, several of which feature him as the central character. ...


Witch magic

Witch magic is taught on a one-to-one basis by older witches to apprentices. Although magical talent tends to run in families, witches do not teach their daughters, feeling that this would cause a sort of magical inbreeding. A major subset of the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett involve the witches of Lancre. ...


Witch magic is subtler than wizard magic, generally encouraging things that happen naturally or working on people's minds so that they impose the effects themselves (in fact, a good witch can do this without magic at all. This is called "headology"). As a result it is less energy intensive, which means that a witch can do more than a technically equally powerful wizard. However the same zen-like knowledge that gives them this ability generally discourages them from making a big deal about it, beyond refusing to take wizards seriously. A major subset of the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett involve the witches of Lancre. ...


Discworld Voodoo is considered to be an aspect of witch magic, combined with a sort of do-it-yourself religion, relying heavily on the power of belief described below. The most powerful Discworld voodoo-women can deliberately create moderately powerful gods for a specific purpose. A large sequined Voodoo drapo or flag by the artist George Valris The term Voodoo (Vodun in Benin; also Vodou or other phonetically equivalent spellings in Haiti; Vudu in the Dominican Republic) is applied to the branches of a West African ancestor-based spiritist-animist religious tradition. ...


Generally speaking, witches are women and wizards are men. Despite the opinions of wizards and witches on this subject (that systemization comes easier to men and intuition comes easier to women), there appears to be no reason for this beyond cultural bias. There has only ever been one female wizard, as described in the events of Equal Rites. Equal Rites is a comic fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett. ...


The Power of Belief

This is very common on the Discworld, and is a useful "energy saver" in witch magic (and, to a lesser extent wizard magic). Essentially, if something is believed strongly enough, it is true. As mentioned above, witches often use this. For example, if you wish to turn a cat into a human, the easiest way is to convince him, on a deep level, that he is a human.


More significantly, it is also belief that gives the gods their powers. Discworld gods start off as tiny spirits, and gain power as they gain believers. This does not necessarily mean worshippers; a thousand people cursing you as an evil djinn has the same effect as a thousand people singing psalms in your honour. A similar effect has lead to the "reification" of mythological beings symbolising abstract concepts, such as Death. Death is a fictional character in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ...


Another interesting example of the power of belief is the sword belonging to Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson of the Ankh-Morpork Night Watch, which is not magical in any detectable sense, but, as the True Sword of the Kings of Ankh, somehow appears more swordlike than any other sword on the Disc, despite the fact that hardly anyone knows it is the True Sword of the Kings of Ankh. However, in the events described in Men at Arms, they could have had a fair guess, as Carrot uses it to stab the then head of the Assassins' Guild, Dr Cruces, running the sword through him and into the pillar behind him with no apparent effort: a sort of 'Sword in the Stone' in reverse. Carrot Ironfoundersson is a corporal in, and later captain of, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, of Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ...


The habit of many Discworlders to take metaphor literally has combined with the power of belief to produce some very odd areas, objects and personifications indeed. The Sock Monster (Hogfather) is a case in point, as is The Place Where The Sun Does Not Shine (a deep crevasse in Lancre, incidentally located between a rock and a hard place). In language, a metaphor (from the Greek: metapherin) is a rhetorical trope defined as a direct comparison between two seemingly unrelated subjects. ... Hogfather is the 20th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. ... Lancre (pronounced Lanker) is a fictional country from Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ...


Narrative Magic

A more subtle variation of the power of belief, this reflects the tendency of events on the Disc to follow stories. For instance, a little girl with a scarlet scarf will be troubled by a wolf, and will be saved by a lumberjack. The term wizards use for this is the "Theory of Narrative Causality". This happens all the time, but a magician can use it for his or her own ends. Again, it is more of an energy saver than anything else, and as such is mostly used by witches. Many witches consider it ethically tricky, however, since it is interfering with free will, and it is the source of Granny Weatherwax's hatred of fiction. Narrative magic also has an effect on heroes, allowing them to win only when outnumbered. It has been argued that stories are in fact a life form (see memes). Esmerelda Weatherwax (usually called Granny Weatherwax) is a character from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... Meme, (rhymes with cream and comes from Greek root with the meaning of memory and its derivative mimeme), is the term given to a unit of information that replicates from brains and inanimate stores of information, such as books and computers, to other brains or stores of information. ...


Fairy godmother magic

This is a tricky one. Its most obvious aspects (using a magically imbued piece of wood to produce showy effects like turning a pumpkin into a coach, or vice versa) are similar to wizard magic. However it is probably another aspect of witchcraft, relying heavily on narrative causality. A fairy godmother is, indeed, usually a witch, who somehow (probably through a bequest) acquires this duty, and the magic wand which goes with it. The wands are pieces of magical machinery that, if used correctly, turn things into other things. It is not known where they originated from; they may have originated from 'raw belief potential', just like the Hogfather and tooth fairies. Hogfather is the 20th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. ... Look up Tooth fairy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Tooth fairy is a fictional character said to give children a small amount of money (or sometimes a present) in exchange for a tooth when it falls out of the childs mouth. ...


The Powers of the Old High Ones

See article The Old High Ones The Discworld gods are the fictional deities from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ...


The eight Old High Ones exist outside the Discworld, and are essentially all-powerful. Virtually nothing is known about them, except that, in prehistory, they substantially reduced the amount of magic on the Discworld and made humans smaller, owing to the strain the Sourcerers were putting on the fabric of reality in their war on the gods and each other. Sourcery is the fifth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, published in 1988. ...


The only revealed Old High One is called Azrael, and is either Death's superior, or a being of which Death is a part. When he appears, it is as a figure so immense as to make a supernova a mere gleam in his eyes and he takes a whole page to say YES. He also appears to be the keeper of what is logically the opposite of a clock, in that it tells Time what it is, and not the other way around. Azrael's connection with the personification of Time (currently the combination of Lobsang Ludd and his temporal double Jeremy Clockson) is unknown. Azrael is typically known as one of the names of the Angel of death, and is an English form of the name Izrail, the name traditionally attributed to the Angel of death appearing in the Quran. ... The Order of Wen the Eternally Surprised, better known as the History Monks, and also sometimes referred to as the Men In Saffron (see Men in Black) and No Such Monastery (see NSA), is a highly secretive religious organisation in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, based in the Monastery... Categories: Literature stubs | Discworld characters ...


They are also the apparent employers of The Auditors of Reality (see Reaper Man, Hogfather and Thief of Time) although they seem to ignore the Auditors' recent tendency to break their own rules. Presumably they have their reasons. The Discworld gods are the fictional deities from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... Reaper Man is a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. ... Hogfather is the 20th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. ... Thief of Time is the 26th Discworld novel written by Terry Pratchett. ...

The Discworld
Characters:

Albert - Angua - Carrot Ironfoundersson - Cohen the Barbarian - Fred Colon - Death - Detritus - Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler - Gaspode - Greebo - Igor - Bloody Stupid Johnson - Leonard of Quirm - The Librarian - Lu-Tze - The Luggage - Mort - C.W.St J. Nobbs - Susan Sto Helit - Rincewind - Twoflower - Havelock Vetinari - Samuel Vimes - The Witches - Ysabell - Discworld gods - more... The Discworld is the setting for all of Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of novels. ... Albert is a character from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of novels, first appearing in Mort Albert, known as Alberto Malich when he founded the Unseen University, tried to perform the Rite of AshkEnte backwards in order to gain immortality. ... Delphine Angua von Ãœberwald is a character from the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett. ... Carrot Ironfoundersson is a corporal in, and later captain of, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, of Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Cohen the Barbarian is a fictional character in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Fred Colon is a fictional character in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett. ... Death is a fictional character in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... Detritus is a fictional character in Terry Pratchetts Discworld. ... Cut Me Own Throat (C.M.O.T) Dibbler is one of the numerous bit part characters that enrich the world of Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Gaspode is a small terrier-like dog featured in seven of Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Greebo is a character in Terry Pratchetts Discworld books. ... Igor is a recurring set of characters in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of novels. ... Johnson, Bergholt Stuttley, known as Bloody Stupid Johnson, is a landscape gardener and inventor on the Discworld (a fictional world created by author Terry Pratchett), and is mentioned in a number of books. ... Leonard of Quirm is a fictional character in the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. ... The Librarian of Unseen University is one of the most popular characters in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of fantasy novels. ... Lu-Tze is a character in the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. ... The Luggage appears in some of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. ... Mort is a fictional character from Terry Pratchetts Discworld. ... Cecil Wormsborough St. ... Susan Sto Helit is a fictional character who features in three of Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels - Soul Music, Hogfather, and Thief of Time. ... Rincewind is a fictional character appearing in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, several of which feature him as the central character. ... Twoflower is a fictional character featuring in some of Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Lord Havelock Vetinari is the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, the head of the fictional city state of Ankh-Morpork in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... Sam Vimes is a fictional policeman from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... A major subset of the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett involve the witches of Lancre. ... Ysabell is a fictional character who lives on Terry Pratchetts fictional Discworld. ... The Discworld gods are the fictional deities from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... This article details minor Discworld characters; characters from the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett who only appear in the background, or who have only had a brief starring role. ...

Locations:

Ankh-Morpork - Agatean Empire - Borogravia - Death's Domain - Dungeon Dimensions - Ephebe - Genua - Klatch - Lancre - Muntab - Quirm - Sto Lat - Überwald - Unseen University - XXXX - more... Ankh-Morpork is a fictional city-state which features in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of fantasy novels. ... The Agatean Empire is a fictitous country that occupies the Counterweight Continent of Terry Pratchetts Discworld. ... Borogravia is a fictional country in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of novels. ... Deaths Domain is a fictional dimension in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... In Terry Pratchetts Discworld series, the Dungeon Dimensions are the endless wastelands outside of space and time. ... Ephebe is one of the countries of the Discworld, a fictional world created by Terry Pratchett in a series of novels of the same name. ... Genua is a fictional city from Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... In Terry Pratchetts fictional universe of Discworld, Klatch is both a country and a continent. ... Lancre (pronounced Lanker) is a fictional country from Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Muntab is a fictional country in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Quirm is a fictional city in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... Sto Lat is a fictional town in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels. ... In Terry Pratchetts fictional Discworld universe, Ãœberwald is a region on the other side of the Ramtops from Lancre and Ankh-Morpork. ... The Coat of Arms of Unseen University. ... XXXX or FourEcks (previously known as Terror Incognita) is the name of the Australia-like continent seen in the Discworld novel The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. ... This is a list of fictional locations in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ...

Other:

Calendar - City Watch - Clacks - Guilds - Magic - Post Office - Stealth Chess - Minor Discworld concepts The Discworld calendar was first defined in a footnote in The Colour of Magic, and has been expanded upon in later novels and the Discworld Almanack (2004). ... Coat of arms of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. ... The clacks in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels is a network of semaphore towers stretching along the Sto Plains, into the Ramtops and across the Unnamed Continent to Genua. ... In Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of fantasy novels, there are almost 300 Guilds in the city of Ankh-Morpork. ... The Ankh-Morpork Post Office is featured in the book Going Postal, the most recent addition to British fantasy author Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of books. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards and to make a clear distinction between fact and fiction, this article may require cleanup. ... This article details minor Discworld concepts: concepts and ideas from the Discworld of novels by Terry Pratchett which only appear in the background, or are not well fleshed out. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
GURPS Mage Magic in Discworld Games (1874 words)
However, the fact is that Discworld magic is a complex affair, with intricate (if often obscure) rules of its own, and standard GURPS magic, while close enough for most people, doesn’t quite fit the picture.
Discworld folk are terribly conservative in many ways, and tend to associate magic with certain accoutrements.
The place where Discworld magic diverges furthest from the GURPS Mage standard is in the matter of Paradox, if only because it seems to be less of a problem for them.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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