Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Specialist Wizards: Pt 2

Following the information bonanza that was Halloween Specialist Wizards, this installment looks at a pair of specialists, or rather one specialist with two forms, gender specific, the Witch and her masculine counterpart, the Warlock.

Witches, in Harry Potter's world it is the sexist term for a magically empowered female, sort of a female wizard.  In folklore they are as varied as evil hags, kindly wise women, and downright dangerous femme fatales.  Think Baba Yaga, think Circe, think any number of good and evil fairy tale characters from Snow White's stepmother to Glinda the Good (yes, I know the Wizard of Oz is not technically a fairy tale, but just roll with it), and you have the classic witch.

And of course my favorite...
Scary Godmother appears to us all courtesy of the talents of Jill Thompson, if you have not, do yourself a favor and check out Jill's works.

Witches are more earthy versions of wizards.  They have cool magic items like cauldrons, brooms, wands, and familiars.  They brew potions in massive cauldrons and often have the power to hex you with a glare!  Ah, the evil eye, for good or for ill, witches are powerful figures in myth, folklore and popular consciousness.  Usually their powers are gained from communing with spirits of the earth and air and they often carry powerful magic on their person or IN their person.  These aren't your book wizards we are talking about.  And they are intimately tied with Halloween.  They just have a sort of creepiness to them, even the sexy ones.
Circe...do not take a drink from this woman!
Oh, you didn't know?  Witches come in two basic flavors: hags and vixens.  Maid, mother and crone have given way to our current pop culture idea of evil hags and sexpot seductresses.  Yes, you can have a pretty witch who is not a dangerous vixen, I mean there is always Samantha Stevens.
This would be that other flavor...but tastes vary...I mean Rule 34, right?
Witch magic is often of the curse and hex variety, which makes them fairly powerful but not really "battle" ready.  They work best when they can get a target alone.  You won't catch one blasting a unit of goblins in the thick of some fantasy battle, but you could find one COMMANDING an army of mischievous munchkins or giving orders to Winkies from her stone fastness.
You're pushing your luck with this article, sonny boy...
Warlocks are male witches, but in fantasy culture they are so much more.  For example in Charmed warlocks are evil spell casters and could even be female.  Yep, warlock just meant "evil witch".  In gaming, however, warlocks are more like wizards that gain their powers through pacts with extra-planar entities.  Where a basic wizard studies to learn his powers a warlock just cuts a deal and gets ripping cool powers.  These are the guys in wizard school who can't be bothered to go to class.  Warlocks often get better melee stats than normal wizards as well.  Having a host of infernal powers at your beck and call means you get to spend more time learning to hit people with swords and the like.  Warlocks are more likely to wear armor as well, usually something in a leather, maybe demonhide.  Expect lots of fire spells and curses.  As male witches, however, they get to be in the Halloween vibe, but in that case we are looking for hexes and curses again.  In most cases warlocks are not as powerful as witches.  Consider that a bit of fantasy feminism balancing out the otherwise patriarchal domination of masculine spell casters in fantasy.
The Warlock from Mage Wars.  The hat alone spells trouble, but let's not ignore the flame whip or armor.
Except for Julian Sands.  Julian Sands played the titular warlock in 1989's Warlock and was described by the film's heroic witch hunter as "The rudest that ever troubled daylight."  Sands's warlock had more subtle powers with neat rhyming spells and potions and the like.  So as the male component of a witch, what with witches being a definitely Halloween spell caster, I am including warlocks.
I chose this lame-oid "warlock" costume to illustrate my point, although he does channel Skeletor a bit.
Especially if they look and act scary.

Keep your pumpkins lit.

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