Discussion Why test magic capability with attack spells?

Discussion in 'Novel Discussion' started by BLKCandy, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. BLKCandy

    BLKCandy Well-Known Member

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    Why so many settings test a mage capability with attack magic? Even those that weren't LitRPG. I don't feel how it would be an accurate measurement of a mage capability.

    What about other kinds of mages? Craftmage? Enchanter? Magic Craftman? Druids? Healers? Not all mages would be going around fighting things. Some actual magic use might not even in the form of spells. Some might not know standard test spells and use other/custom spells with equilant effect/effiency/difficulty. Some kind of mage might not need to(or capable of) live casting a spell. And I doubt casting standard spell accurately reflect the caster understanding of magic.

    Can't it be something more flexible yet reflect the mage actual capability more accurately? For example:
    - Do some sort of tasks with magic like move, evaporate, condense, and freeze a liter of water.
    - Present and demonstrate a magical project like self designed spells or magic tool.
    - Using magic with X aspects/characteristics at Y degree energy with Z efficiency measured by some tools or observing the magic effects.

    And why most magic and spells are about combat? Even beginner/1st tier magic are combat magic. Even emotionally unstable irresponsible brats are taught attack magic. That's like giving kids knives you cannot take away and hope they won't stab things they shouldn't.
     
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  2. niiiice

    niiiice Well-Known Member

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    because war? or some undercurrent bs
     
  3. Olives

    Olives [Former] Professional Basement Dweller

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    I'd say most testings go with the usual magic crystal orb (blah blah blah mc has high mana and shatters orb business) and always thought that most testings are fighting based since fantasy novels prefer that the mc has fight scenes.

    I'm a fan of playing handyman mage in games like Divinity though.
     
  4. xtremeloldude

    xtremeloldude the slime guy

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    often these tests are for getting into schools that are specifically for learning attack magic.
    I feel like the "magic orb" test is a lot more common too
     
  5. BLKCandy

    BLKCandy Well-Known Member

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    Well, it would be a reasonable test for 'combat mage'. But... where are all non-combat mages? Barely any setting has non-combat mage at all.

    As for magic orb test, that was mostly just for initiation/admittance which is understandable since there weren't trained in magic use yet.

    But spells are often used to measure mage 'rank', or 'tier', or 'level', or whatever.
     
  6. WebSageEmperor

    WebSageEmperor Active Member

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    I think you are right, that kind of test is overused and overrated and doesn't correspond at all to the display of the true abilities of mages.

    They should test more the basics like magic power/mana manipulation, magic theory and things like that.
    Also, magic should begin in small things like making a small candle fire in fire magic and filling a cup of water in water magic, etc.

    Basically, the problem is that by making the test about attack magic, it gives opportunities to the main character show off and being the center of attention, giving rise to the emotions of other characters, creating antagonists, admirers, friends and possible lovers, making it easier to write the future plot and plans to the characters growth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  7. fuzor100

    fuzor100 Standby mode...

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    I guess they believed the other branch wasn't as important as attack magic.
     
  8. BLKCandy

    BLKCandy Well-Known Member

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    Another problem is how so many character that want to stay 'low profile' pretty much went overboard. Like "Please attack this dummy" *Blows up the training ground* and stood out anyway.

    Some setting even have non-combat magic being viewed as useless. Even healing magic! Seriously...
     
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  9. JIKI

    JIKI Well-Known Member

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    Why test magic capability with attack spells?
    1. attack magic could simply a more effective way to show magic power level.
    2. the main magic academy is for soldiers/adventures. support magic/enchanting magic is more often used in other jobs (like merchants/blacksmiths). healing magic is often a monopoly of the church/priests.

    Why most magic spells are about combat?
    Medieval fantasy world is dangerous: filled with bandits, goblins, etc. Kids need to learn self defense fast.

    The main reason for both of these is, of course, lazy writing, many webnovels here are written on by amateurs on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shōsetsuka_ni_Narō, which caters to people like otaku/chuunis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  10. Raneday

    Raneday Witch of Nonsense

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    maybe because they look cooler that way?
     
  11. BLKCandy

    BLKCandy Well-Known Member

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    Well... It does look flashy and cool.

    But it probably only reflect quick, strong, straight forward spell use. It won't reflect the magic efficiency, skill in manipulating fine low power magic, making complex magic, etc.

    Actually when one think about it, what's with these schools and academies? Where are the good old apprenticeship?
     
  12. Adastria Lillith

    Adastria Lillith [Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus]

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  13. BLKCandy

    BLKCandy Well-Known Member

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    Because it miss many aspects of magic skill and knowledge?
     
  14. krossite

    krossite Active Member

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    Mostly for the same reason tournament arcs happened ; It gives the story an opportunities to show off flashy attacks in a non life-threatening situations and with the bonus of having audiences around to comment on how special those spells are. And of course, make the casters stand out and sow the seed of future conflicts, such as envy and head hunting by opposing groups.
     
  15. Beltran

    Beltran Seafarer

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    I agree that testing magic capabilities through attack magic alone is insufficient. On the other hand, there are a lot of things to see in attack magic, too, like the mage's control, firepower/ magic output, concentration, etc.

    I personally don't like magic orb tests. It only measures (usually) how much is a mage's magic capacity or something.
     
  16. chaosbeowulf

    chaosbeowulf Active Member

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    Because blowing things up are fun, and when you found out that you can blow things up even more than you can before, you'd want to test it ASAP.
     
  17. J4n1

    J4n1 Well-Known Member

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    Bad writing/worldbuilding basicly.
    Also wanting to cater to lowest common denominator among readers.
    Few, if any, light novels actual explore what magic would mean for society, even less so in rpg novels that are all about stat bloat.
     
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  18. Bakanogami

    Bakanogami Well-Known Member

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    Because almost all of these worlds are just copy pasted from Dragon Quest and don't have much thought put into their worldbuilding.

    There are a few exceptions out there. Ascendance of a Bookworm's translation isn't to the magic school part, but once there combat magic is only really taught in the Knight course. There's not that much narrative focus on attack spells, and the MC only learns a couple over the whole series. In I Said Make My Abilities Average, while most magic we see is used as attack spells, the capability of mages is measured in how much water they can generate per day, since that ties into how big a group they can support while traveling. There are also a few series with magic systems where attack magic plays a smaller role than other stuff, like summoning magic or alchemy, where how difficult a technique you can use is used as a metric instead.
     
  19. Nmaan

    Nmaan Well-Known Member

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    It's the same reason why strength tests are used for cultivation novels, it's the easiest way to demonstrate to the reader the amount of power someone has.
    Additionally as mentioned the majority of the stories are told from the point of an adventuring type character and so therefore they are more likely to have an emphasis on destructive capabilities with less emphasis on supporting characters.
    There are a few novels that aren't like this for example: Virtual Mage, I Reincarnated for Nothing and Stop Friendly Fire off the top of my head.
    Broadly speaking though it's a combination of economy of effort from the writer and lack of trust in the reader to want to take the extra time to see how the non flashy magics develop.
    I did read a novel where the MC had a huge amount of mana/magic but wasn't an attacker, unfortunately I can't remember what it was called or even whether or not it was a western novel or a CN/JN/KN
     
  20. Gitami

    Gitami Well-Known Member

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    Most novel setting are action oriented even those that say live a slow life. So it's unavoidable, and they tend to enroll in general purpose magic academy. If say your protagonist is going to a specialist school of healing and they have fireball requirements then the complaint is valid, the age complaint depends on era depiction as 15 year olds are regarded as young adults of society, they are expected to be like other adults.

    The equivalent real world academy example is enrolling in military academy and having shooting being an important aspect. Military engineers, medics, technician they all still need to take a weapons course. You want to make a professional military career as a non combat support member, pass this gun test. You want to not be in the military after your time is up, pass this fireball test.
     
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