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Enchanting is a form of study for witches that involves ascribing runes to a particular object in order to give it certain properties it would not have normally. Through this method, objects can be enhanced beyond its normal capabilities for different purposes, such as strength, speed, endurance, and defense. Through this process, mage craft have come into development. These are enchanted vehicles that are the mode of transportation in this world. They are similar to cars in that they are small, compact forms of travel for individuals going from place to place, but use the runes to power itself.

Witches dominate the top echelons of society. however, they use broomsticks as a form of travel instead of mage craft. These are long household items used to sweep dirty floors. How would using these items be made a more preferable method of travel?

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  • $\begingroup$ I was about to write an answer about how brooms would be far cheaper and easier to maintain, and then I saw the bit about "the top echelons of society". Hmm... if the mage craft are "similar to cars", I take it they're ground-based vehicles with no flight capability? $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Nov 20 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ Well, where ever you go, you'll always have spic-n-span floors! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Nov 20 at 15:12
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Status and skill

Any schmuck can drive around a mage-craft. Turning the steering wheel or pressing the "go forwards" rune is simple. Magical users can often activate the mage-craft's control runes directly with their mind/magical powers, but brooms? Those are another matter.

Your typical witch's broom is completely mundane (ok, maybe sometimes they add durability enchantments) and relies entirely on the witch to make it fly. When one sees a witch flying by on a broomstick, the witch is showing off that not only do they not need a pre-enchanted mage craft to fly around, they can enchant their broom (a completely mundane object!) at a whim. This means, a witch learning to fly a broom needs to be able to enchant it "live" and adjust the flight parameters "live". As such, flying a nonmagical broom about is the ultimate demonstration of magical craft and skill.

If that's not enough, you can throw in some extra benefits in broom vs mage craft

  • For aerial combat, a broom is superior because it's magical flight is linked directly to the rider's mind. This allows superior reaction speeds and complex flight maneuvers which would be hard for a human to physically coordinate at the controls of a mage-craft

  • Brooms are everywhere. Any sufficiently paranoid witch would always want to have escape routes available and the possibility of one's mage craft being destroyed or otherwise disabled is a huge liability. A proper witch can then just enchant any local object/broom to fly away on.

  • Common in magical aggression (be it combat or subterfuge) is counterspelling existing magic. If you're in a flying mage craft or going really quickly and then you're hit by a spell which disrupts the enchantment matrix of the craft, you might be in for a nasty crash. A broom's flight is entirely powered by the witch and therefore can't be simply dispelled or disrupted like a traditional enchantment

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  • $\begingroup$ The first part especially -- if it's a broom, that must be a witch. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Nov 20 at 15:16
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Witches have been working on brooms for three thousand years.

The magecraft are very cool. But witches had brooms a long time before there were mage crafts and even before there were mages. There is a colossal body of witch knowledge about enchanted brooms. Brooms are known to outsiders best as vehicles but which have a lot of other properties that are less well known to nonwitches. Brooms can help witches hide in the air, shape shift, focus spells, communicate with each other at distance and many other weirder and more esoteric amplifications of witch abilities. Magecraft are just sweet rides.

It is like UNIX. Why would anyone program in such an ancient language when there are more modern and purpose-built alternatives? It is because UNIX has momentum. A lot of things use it and so people who need those things use it. The same with brooms: the huge and useful historical baggage attached to them make them superior to magecraft - for witches.

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    $\begingroup$ Uh... UNIX isn't a language, it's an operating system. You don't program on UNIX, you program for UNIX. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Nov 20 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Matthew. Yes, yes. Just so. $\endgroup$ – Willk Nov 20 at 20:53
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think of it as motorcycles vs cars, you could have a cost to running these enchantments and smaller means less "mana" so brooms over bigger things.

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  • $\begingroup$ But why would that make them inaccessible or less preferable for average citizens? $\endgroup$ – thanby - reinstate Monica Nov 20 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Why does the average citizen not ride a motorbike? it's risky especially that high in the air you need to be a pretty good magic-user to operate that and not die or you can control the production on brooms or on the enchantments. $\endgroup$ – WindWelder Nov 20 at 20:52
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Brooms are innocuous, simple to hide, and easy to transport: perfect for making a quick escape if and when your highbrow witches' wealth and power attracts the wrong sort of attention.

Assuming these witches are in the same world of some of your other questions, a witch at the top echelons of society will always be at risk of being attacked by other powerful witches, along with the more more mundane risks of opportunistic thieves and kidnappers. Because of this, whether witches are in their own home, visiting another witch, or just out on the streets, they need a way out when things go wrong.

Mage craft may be quick and powerful, but they're also obvious and paint the occupant as a valuable target. On the other hand, a broom can be hidden in a closet, in the hands of a house servant, or just left in a nearby alley. Nearly every building is going to have a least one broom in it, and nobody will notice an extra one lying around.

The reason they use them as their preferred transportation, rather than an emergency backup, is simply to keep their skills sharp: a witch who gets too soft being chauffeured around in mage craft isn't going to be able to outrun a more nimble broom rider, and few would want to abandon a valuable piece of magic to escape pursuers.

A broom allows a skilled rider to shake their pursuers and speed off into the night, and allows a sly rider to hide in plain sight as just another servant.

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Brooms are portable and multi-use

In Victorian London, a gentleman walked around with a cane, simply because any self-respecting gentleman had a walking stick. These brooms are pretty much the same - any self-respecting witch would have one, and carry it with her wherever she went. Thus, the witch would have her means of transportation with her - and that's something you can't do with a car, no matter how small it is. (Unless you have access to shrinking magic, of course.)

And, so long as brooms are portable, a capable witch would also enchant it with other spells - perhaps offensive magic to shoot fireballs, defensive magic to create shields, reinforcement magic in case someone requires a good thwacking, or everyday useful magic like a cleaning enchantment. As to why it's a broom, as opposed to just a normal staff like Gandalf might have, well that's because witches take pride in enchanting everyday things to use, and don't need to custom-make things just to be enchanted.

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Witches can make whatever they want fly, they could ride a chair to work if they wanted. Regular people need lots of steering and safety features.

Think about modern race cars versus daily drivers. Race cars often have none of the creature comforts and driving assists that normal cars do, it takes a pro to drive one.

Brooms could be the same way. They're simple objects that everyone has, it's just the fastest and easiest thing a witch can grab and fly on, they don't need the fancy trappings of a luxury vehicle. They want AC? Magical barrier! Autopilot? A simple spell! Plus, it's tradition. Naturally a non-magical user wouldn't even be able to make the thing take off, let alone fly anywhere.

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A different possibility:

The magic powers of witches and runes are not compatible

Witches can create runes, but can't use them. Whenever a rune-enchanted object is used by a witch, it just returns to be a normal object. So, if a witch enters a magecraft, it ceases to be a wonderful flying vehicle, but becomes again a regular wagon.

Witches must use broomstick to travel, it is not a choice. But it is not a bad trade-off, since the power of witch magic is far superior to the runic one: broomsticks are more versatile, fast and agile than magecrafts

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