Witchcraft vs Sorcery, who wins?

Jon_Lincicum at stream.com Jon_Lincicum at stream.com
Wed Jan 25 09:28:31 PST 2006

Philip Hart <philiph at slac.stanford.edu> 
Sent by: dragaera-bounces at dragaera.info
01/25/06 09:04 AM

dragaera at dragaera.info

Re: Witchcraft vs Sorcery, who wins?

>On Wed, 25 Jan 2006 Jon_Lincicum at stream.com wrote:
>> But its the combined cumulative power of the witches that's superior. 
>> Sethra Lavode can only channel so much power. But with large covens of
>> witches, you could have the power-equivilent of several Sethras.
>Seems entirely speculative to me.

Entirely. No question about it.

>Worse, it seems like an unreasonable comparison.

Yes, it's an apples and oranges type of comparison in many ways, and yet, 
there are some things that even apples and oranges have in common... 
(They're both fruit, they both provide nutrition, etc.)

The comparison is meant to look at two things:

How *much* can one do with Sorcery as compared to witchcraft?


What *types* of things can be done with either which category are more 

This last question is highly subjective, and I don't think it can be 
answered definitively.

>Want to float a castle?  One pre-New Orb sorcerer could do it for you,
>and then he'd go about his normal business.  Or you could get a small
>army of witches working in shifts in perpetuity at the edge of 
>Assuming some god doesn't shut the spigot somehow.

One powerful, highly trained pre-Orb sorcerer could do it for you. Or 
Tazendra could do it for you Post-New-Orb, but she's also a highly trained 
Wizard, and a Lavode.

And shutting off the spigot was a bigger problem for sorcery-supported 
floating castles (see the Interregnum) than it has proven to be for Castle 

>Want to do something like express your will and desires on the universe,
>without much knowing how it's supposed to happen?  Try witchcraft.  Maybe
>sorcery could do it better, maybe not.
>Want to face down an army of Easterners?  One New Orb sorcerer can do
>that, I think - the SiG, for example.   Can an small army of witches
>manage that?  Apparently not.

Even the SiG didn't win the battle of Adrilankha by herself, even after 
the Orb's power was restored. And remember the old line about knives and 
wizards, of course. (Which we see to be a problem with her later, during 
the events of "Yendi")

>Off on some random planet or phase of reality?  Not so much with the
>Also note the discussion should probably include the question of magical
>implements.  And what the Empress can do with the Orb directly.

Does witchcraft have "implements"? I suppose it's been seen to make charms 
and wards, and such, and crystals seem to have some special significance. 
But in terms of raw power-wielding devices, that seems to be more of a 
sorcery thing. The only equivilent I can think of in 
witchcraft is the familiar. (And I doubt Loiosh would respond well to 
being called an "implement".)