The classic approach of categorising magic spells based on a variant of elemental groups a well-established trope, but has never had me particularly convinced.
We're used to seeing Earth, Wind(or Air), Fire and Water, sometimes with Life/Death, Psychic and spiritual, and sometimes Electric, Ice and Bio-energy are used too.
My gripe with resorting to these tropes for the classification of Magic when making my own world is that the magic I'm trying to convey is about manipulating the energies in the world around us.
Mages in this world identify with a certain type of energy, and train in a school aligned with that energy. The mage's focus may be on manipulating:
- Temperature (both hot and cold)
- "life-force" or Spirit energy ( because in this world is essentially it is established as own distinct type of energy)
What I'm struggling with though is how to group these. Based on our understanding of the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum, a lot of these energies are on there and behave similarly, but having a school of Electro-mag would leave LOADS of potential spells all in the one school, leaving the other energies (Gravitational, Acoustic, Spritual, and Thermal) potentially looking a bit weak.
So I turn to you for help! I'm looking for up to 8 schools or disciplines to divide the magic arts into, based around the above energies that drive them, instead of elemental association, in a slightly more balanced way.
If you think I've missed any energy categories out, or would like to point out a different approach to the classification I'm open to the idea.
edit: (to clarify... life-force does not closely resemble "the force" of Star-Wars fame)
The life-force referred to here is an energy present in living things, that leaves the living thing upon death, it is to all intents and purposes the soul. When a concentration of stray life energy has been released into the world, and is not dissipated, then there is a chance it may be observed by the living in the form of a ghost.
Science leaves us to suppose that the collection of energies that are present in a living thing, like the chemical reactions and electrical impulses going on in the human body, are all that there are to life - that the difference between a living thing and a dead thing are the presence of absence of all these things in tandem, and when we die these processes become interrupted and shut down. One of the fictional concepts that this world is employing is that they are not.
Uses of this kind of energy are mainly focussed around Healing/harming the living and being able to disperse ghosts, or at a very advanced level being able to conjure spectral apparitions or avatars.
What this life force is not is a means to manipulate physical objects, project energy or control peoples minds. It has nothing to do with microscopic organisms existing in living cells, and does not offer an individual a sense of connection to a greater unseen network of energy.
I hope this clarifies any confusion.