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Magic spells, wards, runes, and hexes

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ArenRax, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    Ive already posted about spell cirles and runes and such but the spells are also something to think up as well.
    is there a site to look at or a book or do you have to think these things up?

    What are hexes?
    what are curses?
    What are Wards?
    and what sort of hexes,wards, and curses are their?
    also what sort of runes are their and enchantments?
  2. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    A lot of these things would vary based upon the world you have created.
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    There's really no standard. If I had to try and offer you one, though, just as a starting point for your thoughts, I would say:

    Hexes - Bad things you cast on people when you're right in front of them, and they happen instantly. Turn them into a frog, give them jelly legs, give them perpetual hiccups, whatever.

    Curses - Really bad things that you cast, maybe from a distance, maybe on a location instead of a person, with lots of power that you have to put together beforehand. A curse might be a spell that causes everyone to walk through a door to have their hair fall out; thus you have a cursed doorway.

    Ward - Magic that you put on a place you're at to protect it when you leave. For instance, you'd put a ward on a spellbook to nuke anybody but you that opens it.
    Shreddies and ArenRax like this.
  4. Your definition of hexes, wards, and whatever is completely up to you. Wards are usually used to "ward off" something or someone.

    Hexes usually refer to harming someone with magic.

    Curses usually refer to hurting someone by putting them under the strain of something they cannot control (or can control at great cost).
    ArenRax likes this.
  5. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

    At the risk of repeating what's been written, I'll take a stab at this. :)

    I've always considered curses to be either attached to an item (making the item curse things or people repeatedly), or sort of long-distance, delayed response, pseudo-prophetic, fairy-tale type curses. Such as something happening down the road at someone's sixteenth birthday, etc. with the general rule that the more dangerous or complex the curse is, the simpler it is to remove (whereas cursing someone to be bald would be terribly difficult to reverse).

    Hexes, as Devor mentioned, always seemed to me to be short range, instant effect type deals. Always negative and harmful, but separate from throwing a ball of fire at someone or physically hurting them. I guess like status effects from rpgs?

    I've heard the term Ward used for several types of magic, but they have always been defensive in nature. So . . . yeah.

    Hope that helps.

    Edit: Aside from just using runes as elements in magic writing, you could have them being spells in their own right. They could be easy to use with very limited effects, and created beforehand and carried around for a while before being used. Sort of like primitive spell components that can be useful on their own (and written on little talismans, or pieces of paper or the like).

    I could see a wizard carrying a notebook full of runes just because they may come in handy someday.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  6. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    Curses are usually some of the strongest magic in a world, or at least the longest-lasting and the hardest to remove. That's because they're powered by the caster's raw hatred, or by the magical laws of broken taboos, righteous wrath, and so on. (Or in a low-magic world, they might be some of the few spells that work very well at all.) Harry Potter uses the word very differently, for any kind of harmful spell including most magic attacks.
  7. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

    These things can be whatever you want them to be. Hexes and curses are usually seen as something negative, but they don't have to be. You can have a curse that will cause a person to be saved the first time they are in mortal danger or a hex that helps a person fly. In marvel comics, and the up coming Avenger movie, the character of Scarlet Witch has magical powers which are called hexes whether she or the spell used is good or evil.

    For any type of special abilities, whether you call it magic, super powers or something else, it is important for the author to know which characters can obtain the powers, how they get them, can the powers be taken away, what are the limitations of the magic/powers and what can other characters do to defeat the people with these abilities.

    Know what you want your characters to be able to do and their goals. Consider the obstacles you want them to face. The more powerful you make the magic/powers the more important the ways to counter them. It is all about being able to defeat people with powers. Whether they are being used for good or evil, otherwise the person with them always wins, which means a boring story.
  8. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    I think i know what Curses are now and maybe Wards although im still working on them and Hexes
  9. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    Perhaps you may find it useful to think of it in terms of the broader (Latin) categories - Malleficia (malicious magic) - to me curses and hexes differ primarily in their ritual nature though their intent is clearly the same- to screw over the desired victim.

    It sounds like what you are looking for is a Grimoire to guide you in your world building and construction of magic. Since Fantasy is concerned more with appearing accurate than actually being accurate (unless you're actually a neo-pagan) I would recommend that you try starting with the information & links you find here Grimoires and here Grimoire

    If you're looking for something more historically authentic or if you're just interested in some more hardcore research you may find the following books to be of interest ...

    Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook: Daniel Ogden: 9780195385205: Amazon.com: Books
    Amazon.com: Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World (9780195134827): John G. Gager: Books

    (this one's a primary source and it's not as misogynistic as it initially appears... there is reason to believe the book was reorganized before being published and in so doing some hateful repertoire was added to align the book w dominant cultural beliefs)Amazon.com: Malleus Maleficarum eBook: Heinrich Kramer, James Sprenger: Kindle Store

    You can try this one- it's one pretty difficult to find English translations elsewhere (its usually either German or Latin)

    Also this...

    It has been quite awhile since I last read it but I remember liking it at the time ...
    you may find something applicable in this http://www.amazon.com/Witchcraft-Middle-Jeffrey-Burton-Russell/dp/0801492890

    I know I used to have several pdfs of Medieval Pagan spells but I can't seem to find them atm (must be on a different computer). Let me know if any of this helps. If not, I'll look into tracking down those files & seeing if I can post them.
  10. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    Oh! If you're interested in using a more original Medieval source of inspiration for your world you could also consider looking into Gematria / Numerology which (if I remember correctly) became a hit w certain branches of (Mediterranean) Jewish Mysticism in the Middle Ages.

    Introduction to Gematria – Hebrew Numerology |
    ... then there's always Kabbalah (which I still can't make sense of)

    Really the magic system you use is entirely up to you and with the modern miracle of the internet all the knowledge and experiences of the world are at your fingertips. You can choose to draw inspiration from hundreds (depending on how you define the term, even thousands or millions) of religions. Or you can adopt a few spells and rituals from several and blend them together.
    ArenRax likes this.
  11. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    These things have different meanings in different contexts, but my understanding is as follows.

    A hex is typically a malevolent spell whose potency can range from mildly annoying to extremely dangerous. Generally associated with witchcraft or unfriendly magical creatures. A curse can be synonymous with a hex, but not necessarily. You could say that a hex is a sub-type of curse. Other types of curses include those that happen naturally or because of someone's destiny, or as retribution for an evil act. Sometimes divine agency is involved. Something to note here: hexes are typically evil in nature, not necessarily so with curses. Wards are spells that protect the user from other spells. Simple as that. How they work and where they come from is a function of the world.
    ArenRax likes this.

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