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In this fantasy setting based on medieval Europe, scary monsters and minions of the Undead King plague the land. In response, large cities have started to employ those proficient with sword or bow through competing adventure-guilds to escort merchants, keep the monster population in control and do other general campaign-worthy things.

Among these adventurers are the "Blessed", people that were born with glowing runes etched into their right palm. Blessed are able to use magic to alter reality, summoning forth flames or controlling large gusts of wind based on their elemental preference. Magic has a lot of practical uses and is a popular research topic, but Blessed wanting to make a quick buck or unable to get formal education due to their social standing go to become adventurers. More than having everyday use, magic has a lot of combat utility making a Blessed a huge boon to any adventuring party.

Magic in this world is categorised into elements, with different elements having different runes and colours (Blessed with water magic have blue runes on their hand, etc.) Those elements are further categorised into 'tiers'. Nature magic, for example, is a tier 3 element that consist of water and earth magic, both tier 2 elements. Blessed that have the nature element can therefore, besides casting the more versatile nature magic, also cast water and earth magic. Which makes them objectively stronger than, say, a Blessed who's element is only water.

I'm looking for a reason why Blessed would want to hide their rune/element in public. In the current system I set up, adventurers would get rewarded by prancing around showing off their power, because being visibly more powerful than other adventurers means more work and more money. If not just general advertisement for your guild.
Why would these magic-users want to hide their "power level"?

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm not looking for a reason why a single character would hide his powers, but why all Blessed would agree that showing the element they were born with is a bad idea.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 1 '18 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Just a reminder everyone. If any answer is a good answer please help the poster improve the question and provide constraints BEFORE answering. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 1 '18 at 2:18

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Being constantly the focal point for attention is not always good.

Your person, once known that you are a strong mage, will attract a lot of people: other wannabe mages willing to try their luck, adventurers seeking for challenges, drunkard searching for problems, you name them. And sometimes you want to be as stealth as possible: either you are on a mission, or you simply want to recover.

Also, an unprepared opponent can be more easily overcome, and disguise may help to lure your foe into believing you are a flimsy shepherd and not a fire mage level $9^{9^9}$

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    $\begingroup$ A scarier mage has a mage level $6^{6^6}$ $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Jun 27 '18 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ Houdini made a stunt of letting people punch him in the stomach, and a sucker punch is believed to have caused or contributed to his death. $\endgroup$ – chrylis -on strike- Jun 28 '18 at 2:30
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    $\begingroup$ And even a high level mage is not immune to a dagger in the back (from an envious but lower level competitor) if taken by surprise. $\endgroup$ – vsz Jun 28 '18 at 5:38
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    $\begingroup$ @vsz Yes, they must always be careful. To quote Pratchett: An ancient proverb summed it up: when a wizard is tired of looking for broken glass in his dinner, it ran, he is tired of life $\endgroup$ – xDaizu Jun 28 '18 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ @EveryBitHelps I too am afraid of mages that can turn numbers upside down. $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Jun 28 '18 at 19:11
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Indeed, it would be a huge advantage in any sort of fight not just to be unknown, but potentially to mislead others. If you are a nature mage for example, you could choose to only use your water magic publicly. Then as an o snap button if you are attacked you could use earth magic or nature. Your enemy would have only prepared for your water stuff.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have a mage character who uses this exact tactic - she can use both white and black magic, which is extremely rare in that world and makes her extremely powerful. She disguises it by, among other things, only using her white magic in a pinch and sticking to black magic the rest of the time. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jun 27 '18 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ Please edit your "Like above" to reflect the actual post(s) you mean. $\endgroup$ – Yates Jun 27 '18 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ My friend, when creating a wizard for D&D, would always make it known that his character dressed like a fighter and carried a sword (even though he didn't know how to use it). His logic was that if the enemy didn't know he was a wizard at the start of battle, they wouldn't try to focus fire the guy who could potentially bend time and space and kill them easily. $\endgroup$ – Tustin2121 Jun 28 '18 at 20:59
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  • More power = More responsibility: Maybe in your society, powerfull mages need to serve in some kind of army, work, dangerous or bored stuff. Even if they get good money for that kind of jobs.

  • There are people who don't like be famous: People will know you and know what you do, so to avoid trouble you would prefer to keep being anonymous.

  • A part of society don't like magic: Some no-magic people fear magic power. This kind of persons live in societies where magic is forbidden so to be able to live or stay in that places you need to hide your magic power.

  • Other mages can steal your magic power: This idea is similar to the second one. Some mages don´t want to be famous to avoid being the focus of some kind of attack.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "Other mages can steal your magic power". $\endgroup$ – Clearer Jun 28 '18 at 8:32
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Mage killers/the Damned

There are others out there who are born with marks as-well... the Damned. Unholy runes cover there left palm, the mark of Undead King. New elements of death, shadow and curses are used by them, they gain power by killing powerful blessed mages in there lords name... they will hear of your powers... they will seek you out... they will hunt you... and they will kill you.

Also the main character could be a turn coat Damned or born with runes on both hands and have to hide them, could be cool ether way.

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Simple physiological reasons. It's primarily wrist support. Hiding your mage power mark is just secondary.

Magic use requires exact hand movement. The more stationary the wrist, the more accurate the magic casting direction and spread. Ie tight beam of water or wide spray of water etc. This could also work if your mages require repetitive intricate hand movements, carpal tunnel may set in.

Magic users come to rely on external aids such as wrist support braces to help provide steady aim. This helps even more when directing a powerful spell which might cause the wrist to vibrate more than wished for.

There are many different styles of wrist support and it can be of many different materials. It gives you a handy chance for some leather buckle action in costume design.

Some mages may be more comfortable showing more of their palm, while others find braces with more palm coverage better suited for them. This allows instances where the mark can be visible on some characters and not others as required by the story. It can also double as an armguard if your characters take up archery.

See this leather wrist support designed for carpal tunnel found on twitter via a google search.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer. The mages could pretend to just be archers/rangers and hide their true power. Might be more effective for a Wind mage (depending on how visible their magic is) as they could potentially use a little wind magic to enhance their shots. $\endgroup$ – Dragonrage Jun 28 '18 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ And the con artists could pretend to be mages; if they can't get glowing paint to make a fake rune, they get an archer's bracer. $\endgroup$ – Shawn V. Wilson Jun 28 '18 at 16:44
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Because runes are highly personal

They might look the same from a distance, but runes aren't just some magical mumbo jumbo in a fancy pattern. They are perfect and very specific reflections of the people they mark. Their soul, if you will. To show someone your rune would be to let them know and understand you completely, given that they had the time and knowledge to properly read it.

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I'll start with a bit of a Tangent if I may...

If you ever go into a pub, not a trendy modern bar, a regular working man's pub. and while you're in there keeping to yourself, the loud jumping around trying to get attention bloke is usually the least of your problems, its the quiet one who's been around the block and could snap you in half you need to worry about.

Now go back to your example, about hiding the Rune in public when "prancing around" would be worthwhile.

If I had a dangerous mission/quest that I needed to be completed, and I mean definitely completed, would I go to the jumping around attention seeker... no. I'd go by recommendations for the best person for the job, they don't advertise their power as often it would make them look weaker, or less experienced by having to show it off in public. if you want the best you go to them on their terms. this doesn't mean they'd hide it, but they wouldn't advertise it in the same way.

The same thing goes for a lot of products in the real world, often the more popular the product the less advertising you see for it (at least in Britain) i can't remember the last time I saw an advert for a FitBit unless there was a "new" model out, because, although the market is flooded with exercise trackers, FitBit seems to be the big name and everyone goes to them. they spend less time and effort on marketing, meaning lower cost and get the business anyway.

Mix this sort of real-world logical reasoning into you world alongside L.Dutch's and Brizzy's answers and it's very logical to hide your rune.

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    $\begingroup$ If I need a fast guy on 100 meter running, I go to mr Bolt, because he's been showing around he runs fast on the 100. Showing and proving your skills gives me more thrust in those skills than the one who doesn't show any effort in proving he's good. $\endgroup$ – Hans Janssen Jun 27 '18 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ The OP's question didn't state that they were competing in a global event, just that they were prancing around showing off, i don't think I've ever seen Bolt prance around in public, this is the distinction, yes your required people may take part in a large scale competition to prove they are the best, but if it was just down to on the street prancing around then i think my point still stands $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Jun 28 '18 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ They are competing against each other for work, though. If an adventuring guild can prove that they have better mages than the next guild they will get more quests commissioned. $\endgroup$ – Not A Vampire Jun 28 '18 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ But showing off on the street isn't competing, its advertising. I know that if i want something important done, then i do research and SEEK OUT the best person, not pick the idiot in front of me jumping around showing off shouting pick me pick me. people do this all the time, it all depends on importance and finances, if i need a taxi home from the airport, just pick any one of the guys waiting (not jumping around though) but if i want a a shark diving experience i do my research on safety and which person/company has the best record, again not the one with the biggest banner $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Jun 28 '18 at 7:53
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Just switch gunslinger with mage.

Yeah, I was the kid...it got so that every pissant prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out the Waco Kid. I must've killed more men than Cecil B Demille. Got pretty gritty. I started to hear the word "Draw!" in my sleep. Then one day, I was just walking down the street, and I heard a voice behind me say, "Reach for it Mister!" I spun around and there I was face to face with a six-year-old kid. Well I just threw my guns down and walked away....little bastard shot me in the ass!! So I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled into a whiskey bottle, and I've been there ever since.

Jim from Blazing Saddles

Also when you are the magic helper people will want help with anything. Hey Mister! can you open this jam for me? Hey Mister! can you turn this flour into cocaine for me? Can you take out the trash?

Also being a magic wielder don't mean you are not petty. You can make enemies not even knowing it. You get a kiss from a girl somebody else had crush on. You get that good paying job instead of local mage.
And when they know your magic level they can plot how to kill you. When they don't know your power it complicate things for them and make it much harder.

Also - do you see people prancing around showing what level of Masonry they at? Or how much points on stackexchange they have?
You tell those things when there is time and place.

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Fear.

Forget their power level - I'd be surprised if they would let people know if they knew magic at all.

People mistrust mages, regardless of their past or present actions or behavior. Soon as people know you're a wizard, all the traditional stereotypes apply. They're not to be trusted, any odd activity in the neighborhood is almost certainly their fault, etc. And even when they try to help, or prove that recent increases in evil and/or villainy are not their fault, they are rarely believed.

A friend wrote a song about such a scenario, The Wizard of Mackeytown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzuoJVr3IAo

(Don't know the code to embed that - anyone want to edit it?

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You get forced into the Mage Academy. Perhaps the academy that studies magic is elitist and only mages of certain power levels or unique rune combinations are allowed entry.

From the sounds of your premise, the poor tend to turn to adventuring for cash even though it could be considered dangerous, whereas the elite can live in relative safety and comfort.

You could then set the character up to have either a poor background and fears what would happen should they get noticed by the academy, or have some back story where the characters family mysteriously disappear after working at the academy and now he/she fears them as the cause behind it.

Another route would be that the city deems powerful mages as too dangerous to be left running about freely and are instead captured, either to be imprisoned or forced to work as a fire monkey, water hose, or whatever else their abilities can offer the masses.

Given you have runes and tiers, you could play around with this more and give the character such unique combinations of runes that everyone thinks is useless. But together you can actually end up doing something crazy that no one has seen before. An example of this is the ability to nullify other magic.

Finally, the power is too unpredictable to control or only appears in dire situations. Maybe the main character doesn't have any visible runes while in normal situations but as soon as a dangerous situation arises full rune madness ensues. Even the character doesn't know/understand the full extent of their power.

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  • Weakness: Earth absorbs water, water extinguish fire, fire consumes air, air erodes earth. Each mages has a weakness and you don't want to show your weakness.
  • Steal: If you kill a mage you could steal its rune or raw power, you don't want to be a prey of others.
  • Envy: Non-mages envy mages, and normal mages envy powerful mages. If you show your ultra-rare magical rune you will be hated by everyone.
  • Bloodline: All your family, town and even your country has a firer rune and you're the only one with a water rune... You're a freak.
  • Responsibility: Greater mages are obligated to defend their kingdom.
  • Fear: Some people on the higher spheres hate powerful mages, you don't want to die out go to prison.
  • Famous: Be great becomes you famous and that doesn't is necessary good.
  • Unholy: Runes are feared by the church and are treated as demons by them.
  • Sacrifice Ritual: Some kind of mad religious does sacrifice rituals with powerful mages.
  • The chosen one: Everyone knows about your gift, you magic. People assume that is your responsibility use this power for good, for charity, for help the people without pay in return. People think that it's your destiny.
  • Witcher: No one want to be burned or drowned.

P.S: I've written it with my phone. When I arrive at home I'll improve it.

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tl;dr- Magic is weakened when observed

The Blessed are empowered by the mechanisms of the world to serve the interests of its creators. But since the creators have different interests and their opinions can change, the magic of the Blessed can strengthen or wane according to their actions.

The Blessed don't fully understand the situation, but they generally appreciate the fact that showing off their powers – or, worse, using their powers in a disruptive way – tends to diminish their abilities. So, the Blessed tend to be reserved in both the disclosure and use of their powers.

Lore: The demiurges indirectly grant the Blessed power

At the dawn of Creation, the demiurges had come together to build the world. As sapient beings, the demiurges had goals in mind – we're not exactly sure what these deitistic figures wanted from the world, however it seems that they designed the world to serve their various agendas.

For the most part, the world is largely deterministic, playing out like a physics simulation. Rocks fall due to gravity, the sun warms by day, the snow melts when heated, and so forth.

In principle, an omniscient God could've designed the world to play out exactly as they intended, tweaking every little bit of Creation as They would see it. However, the demiurges weren't quite so limitless; they couldn't foresee every moment of the future from the beginning, so to ensure the fulfillment of their agendas, they put in automatic course-correction mechanisms that would help guide the world as they'd want it to be guided.

We don't know of many of these mechanisms. In fact, many of the demiurges had no concern for life as we know it, but rather cared about how water flows in the oceans, or how the winds blow through the hills, or how high the trees could grow in the forest; and so, they laid down mechanisms to ensure their inscrutable designs, largely invisible and beyond our appreciation.

Other demiurges had concerns that we might better comprehend, such as a will to see humans live in certain ways or to enforce certain ideals; or, in some cases, demiurges who had no real concern for humans intended to exploit them as tools to help maintain their true concerns, e.g. Druids who are empowered to protect nature. But whatever their motivations, many of these demiurges ended up creating the Spiritual Observers who observe the world and try to pursue their particular goals by providing humans with powers; we know them as the Blessed.

This leaves the Blessed in a strange position, as their powers aren't absolutely guaranteed like the more deterministic parts of physics, but rather are tentatively allowed to override normal physics in service to the interests of the forces of Creation. The Blessed may not know or even be capable of understanding any of this, but they nonetheless serve the interests of those that have empowered them.

For example, a Blessed who can heal seems to grow more powerful as they help others or weaker if they cause harm, even if they do so without using their magic! Likewise, a Blessed who has powerful Fire magic may grow stronger as they use it, unless they do so in a way that harms others or nature.

Behind the scenes, this is because the mechanisms installed by the demiurges are balancing their competing interests. The healer or fire mage who uses their power is often serving their sponsor's desire by doing so, strengthening the trust and gaining more power for it. However the healer who hurts others loses their sponsor's trust and thus their power. Likewise, the fire mage who burns down a forest may not upset the interests of their sponsor, but they do upset the interests of the demiurges who valued nature and therefore contest the fire mage's continued privilege to override physics.

This leaves the Blessed in a fairly political position, where their powers grow or wane with the support or objection of the mechanisms that allow for magic to override physics. A Blessed's closest political ally is typically their sponsor, i.e. the mechanism that gave them their power in the first place. And while it's helpful to gain support from other mechanisms, more often than not, other mechanisms are more likely to find fault with their magical privileges, weakening the Blessed. So to avoid power loss, Blessed learn that they should avoid unnecessary displays of power and even disclosure of what powers they have that a force might object to.

Of course, all of this is behind-the-scenes knowledge. For the most part, the Blessed don't know why showing off their powers tends to diminish their abilities, but there's still a general awareness that their gifts can be lost, and that making others aware of their gifts significantly contributes to such loss.

Mechanics: Balancing interests make for an easy fictional world

This description of the Blessed and the larger world is heavily based in the very forces of Creation changing their estimates to seek some goal. The non-omniscience of the creators prevents the world from being boring, but the idea that they're continually trying to nudge the world according to their various agendas creates sort of a dynamic equilibrium that helps keep everything in-check.

For the Blessed in particular, a backdrop like this can help explain why very powerful individuals would be reluctant and even unable to exploit their powers in ways that it'd seem like they otherwise might. But there's also variation in the Blessed's willingness to reveal/misuse their powers, as they may vary in their perceptions of the situation and their willingness to risk negative consequences.

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Story concept that I came up with: Magic is accepted, but historically the people born with a certain combination of magic have been too powerful and have reeked havoc across the world, and so they are automatically hunted down before they can come to full power. Maybe the level of power is just to much for a normal person to control, maybe it is too much for a normal person to resist... But the main character isn't normal... :)

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Crippling Social Anxiety

Know the old stereotype of stammering geeks with zero(or near enough)social skills? The gods had a sense of humour and decided to make it true. Thus they proclaimed: "The meek shall inherit magic(not the earth, what kind of silly deity would promise that? :P)", and there you have it

The Blessed grow up to have this odd tendency of being painfully awkward introverts.If they started drawing attention to themselves with their fancy runes and fancier pyrotechnics they'd probably implode from anxiety(if this is hostile attention, they could quite literally implode). Unfortunately, their lack of social skills also results in lacking dress sense, so their strange garb often threatens to do them in anyway.

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    $\begingroup$ You seem to be mixing up shyness with introversion :) An introvert is not a shy and awkward person afraid to show any power or marks. An introvert is someone who has quietly noted down all the drama that goes around when magical runes are displayed and confidentally decides that it's not worth that drama. If you where to sit down with said introvert and ask about their reasonings, they would dive into an detailed and indepth analysis of their decision and thought process. Then the introvert will retreat behind a coffee or good book, to recuperate all that energy explaining everything to you. $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Jun 27 '18 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @EveryBitHelps Such piddling nuance is below the gods' notice. For your insolence, your mother will be transmuted into a hamster and your father into elderberries. Now go away or you shall be punished a second time :P PS: You seem to be thinking that I said all introverts are shy which I didn't, although if it suits the gods they might just make it so. You also seem to assume a lot about shyness and introversion that isn't true as well. Why would shy people not be introverts, and why would an introvert necessarily want to sit down and discuss their rationale with a stranger? $\endgroup$ – nullpointer Jun 28 '18 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ Lol. As an introvert myself I wasn't assuming, I was generalizing from my personal experience. If I feel it's worth the effort I don't mind discussing my indepth and detailed rationale (in 600 characters or less) with you, a stranger. I'm not saying shy people can't be introverts (many are), just saying that not all introverts are shy. Some ppl (disclaimer, not necessarily you :) ) really don't know or appreciate the difference and I was just raising the point for those that haven't realised this yet. If in doubt, See helpful video, especially min 2.36 $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Jun 28 '18 at 8:56
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and I raise you a hamster mother and elderberrie father and use my hidden magemark to flood your apartment with water. The gods will have their fun :) $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Jun 28 '18 at 9:10
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There's a magical establishment (college, guild, whatever) that attempts to monopolize the magic market in the area. If you're found out to be Blessed, but not a member of the establishment, you're slinging spells on their turf. The members walk around openly, but non-members have to play it on the DL or they're harassed, driven out, or possibly even killed. Of course you have to show somebody to get a job, but it's always a risk.

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Self-loathing.

Your character hates himself and what he is. I think of Thomas Covenant in the Stephen R Donaldson series - he considers himself a worthless leper and refuses to acknowledge he could be a force for good in the strange world he has entered. Early on, he does terrible things on purpose as a way of attacking his true nature. He is a man in pain who creates pain so that he can feel he is in some way the master of pain.

So too your character. He hides the runes on his hand - or more probably defaces or tries to burn them off. Denying his true nature also denies him control of his nature. Each time the runes come back (and they always come back) they are different, stronger and even less under his control.

How it is your character came to be this way, and how he ultimately finds redemption (or does not) is the stuff of your story.

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There are a few reasons I could think of:

Stigmatization: Beyond magic being stigmatized for whatever reason, a specific element could be stigmatized. It's a common theme in books that wizards with black magic, blood magic, or necromancy skills are commonly thought of as themselves dark and evil. Likely all of the rune types have stereotypes attached, but what (Harry Potter House, Narnian Species, Alien Species) division is automatically decided to be evil?

Family Relations: In Nickelodeon's Avatar series, Bending is genetic. That means that only people with Water Tribe genetics can bend water, only Fire Nationalists can make fire, etc. So, if someone is born with firebending in the Water Tribe... there's a high stigma when it comes to bastard children. If your genetics work the same, that's a reason to hide even the powers.

Hyperpowerful: Again, in Avatar, the only person who has more than one power is the Avatar. In Heroes, only Peter Petrelli and Sylar can copy other powers. In Maybe said person has two runes when they're only supposed to have one, and they're trying to hide that they're different.

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A few decades ago, there was a mage with an incredible power level (10 of 10). Nobody else in the kingdom was as powerful as him. He was the dean of the mage guild which belonged to the kingdom. Then [something] happend and he turned crazy. Half of the kingdom was destroyied, 1000s of men dead when he finally could have been overwelmed by being killed.

This left a massive scar in the society of the kingdom so that a new law was created. A mage was now only allowed to have a power level of max 5. All above is not tolerated and will result in a witch hunt.

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Random Mutation The more powerful you are, the more likely you are to mutate. Depending on the amount of magic used or the spell complexity, you could simply any time randomly twist yourself in reality and become a monster. Even if the chance is small. We can see this effect in prisoners. No matter what they did and how small a chance there is that they will do something "evil" again, people will generally want nothing to do with them.

Or you could go full Worhammer 40K on them and say that the more powerful a mage, the brighter it's soul shines and the more likely it is to lure in a demon. These events are generally marked with a lot of new gravestones.

Socialization problems Like that one weird kid in the class room that does not know how to control itself and right after you take his pen, he stabs you with another.

Or the obvious problem with power presence. I am respectful to the police. I can only imagine how annoyingly respectful I would be to a personalized tank walking down the street. And the more powerful, the more un-conflicting(and annoying) I would try to be. You can also imagine it like the policeman that hide their guns, because they can not talk with people normally or like the extra successful woman tend to scare the man away.

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Your story reminds me a bit of Heroes.

The series tells the stories of ordinary people who discover that they had superhuman abilities, and how these abilities take effect in the characters' lives as they work together to prevent catastrophic futures.

The plot point is heroes you are looking for is that Sylar (the anti-hero) has the ability to kill and steal other heroes' powers.

he is a superpowered serial killer who targets other superhumans in order to steal their powers.

Your mages are in constant danger of the enemy boss that will kill and remove the rune from their hands to gain more and more power.

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As people have mentioned theres plenty of reasons. But theres one thats probably the most lethal (and my list contains assassins out to get them).

Powerful mages are treates as famous people. This means people will pester them, ask for memorabelia of their meeting or outright steal stuff. Myths about "blessed" will soon pop up, and touching a powerful blessed can be Lucky... Or cure your disease.

Think of all the horrible diseases from the passed. Typhus, lepra, the plague and all those other lethal and nasty diseases, and you being the focal point for all these people to touch you in the hopes of being cured, not to mention "normally" sick people who will keep challenging your immune system against every disease you come across.

Other options are:

  • they are out to get you. A religious sect, people posessed by the nasties the adventurer fights. The nasties might try to hunt down powerful mages because an unprepared mage is far easier etc. Dont show your power, you stay alive.

  • Conscription is a thing. You can imagine that powerful mages are regarded as walking siege engines, and they are going to be highly prized by the army. Prized enough that they are forced to work for them. Additionally as blessed they likely feel superior and having someone without magic, lower or equal lead them is going to be a slap in the face. Someone more powerful leading them will also give their ego a massive kick as they dont feel as superior.

  • theres a stigma around powerful mages. Lots of people will think they can do things like the economy better in the real world, a powerful mage can potentially enforce it. Powerful mages have sometimes banded together and attempt to enslave/rule people, with this in everyones mind shows of lots of power makes people uneasy. In fact, they are "blessed" right? Add a lot of powerful magic and some think its their birthright to lead! The magic is for people who dare challenge them right...?

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So you are building a world where mages are readily identifiable by runic glyphs that appear on their palms, which reveals the type and strength of their talents, but wish there to be reasons why they conceal this brand when their talents are a highly prised basis of employment.

Okay, then, mercenary adventures maybe highly sought after for their ability to defend trade caravans against monsters, but you still don't want them simply waving their weapons around in public. It is immodest and dangerous. Just as warriors sheath their swords and perhaps use peacebonds, so too do mages wear ornate gloves as a sign that they aren't loose cannons.

It might just be polite fiction that gloves inhibit magic, with mages knowing its truely to keep aspects of their abilities hidden, or it may actually have some basis, but it could become accepted practice that mages just don't flaunt their runes, and only deglove when they truely mean business.

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