magic characters

Magic Characters for Stories and Roleplaying Games

Fantasy genres, from epic fantasy to urban fantasy, bubble with magic characters. On one hand, magic, such as that from elves and good wizards, is celebrated, honoured, and respected. On the other hand, magic can be feared when wielded by evil beings, power-hungry sorcerers, or monstrous demons. The arts and sciences of the mystical and magical bring both wonder and worry to fantasy worlds, from pleasantly benign party tricks to the earth-shattering power of archmages. What magic moves through your world?

In this post, we look at putting magic characters into your stories or roleplaying experiences. We brainstormed from a number of paradigms and we’re sure you’ll find something interesting here. Enjoy!

magic character fantasy
With staff in hand, the magic user sets forth.

Writing Prompts for Magic Characters

We brainstormed some fun writing prompts related to magic characters. Click on the keyword tabs to try some of these prompts as exercises or use them to write or shape a whole story.

While shopping for groceries, you see a sign for “magic apples” but nobody seems to notice as they all just walk by. There is only one magic apple left, and of course you take it. What kind of magic power does it give you when eat it?

For years you thought there was something strange about your family. One day you catch one of your grandparents doing a weird ritual and you ask them about it. What do they tell you about their magic ways?

In a brazen act, you behave unkindly to a stranger who, in turn, yells some curse your way. Thinking it’s all nonsense, you walk away. It’s not until the next day you feel the force of the curse. What happens and how will you find the one who cursed you so you can reverse its terrible effects?

Imagine if you had a magic user that teleported in and out of your life. Would they be helpful or annoying? Friend or enemy?

It is the day of the “Great Revelation” where the town gathers to hear the yearly pronouncement of the Wise One, a magic user of great power. As you arrive with your friends, you hear your name announced and you are called to the stage. What do they want with you and what will be proclaimed today?

An old person asks for your help finding their “special object.” At first, you think they’re just senile, but they perform some minor cantrip that impresses you. Now you want to help. What happens?

Some magic is used for good, some for evil. But this time magic is used for complete nonsense. Imagine what pranks a Trickster could pull with a little bit of magic. Write some ideas down!

You and some friends dare each other to go to a magic fortune teller to see what the cards have in store for you. Your light-hearted demeanour begins to change when the psychic turns suddenly serious and asks you to leave. What do they see and do they tell you the truth? What happens afterwards that turns your disbelief into fear?

Imagine a criminal syndicate extends their influence over a magic user in your city. How might the notorious crime family use magic to further their activities? What are they holding over the magic user? For example, a gambling debt? Finally, how will the city deal with this?

Places to Find Magic Characters

Magic characters are everywhere; however, we’ve brainstormed some particularly great spots for your magic-users to hang out. In general, magic characters gather for clandestine meetings or have secret labs for their alchemy. In addition, they congregate around centers of power or on certain days when the power behind their magic rises. Likewise, they are drawn to places of prophecy or to artifacts from which they can glean some wisdom. If they belong to guilds, sects, or orders, they have rituals that must be performed in specific temples.

Places List:

  • Here are some random names of places that sound magicky: Sully’s School of Sorcery, Gray’s Institute for Prestidigitation, Carl’s Conjuring Club,
  • altar, temple, stone circle, megalith, island, shrine, sanctuary,
  • A wizards’ guild, house, school, or order may be housed in places such as a tower, mansion, circus tent, or frat house; however, it might be squirreled away down an alley, at the end of a secret wooded path, or behind a waterfall.
  • festival, celebration, announcement, gathering, proclamation, circus, midway,
  • Magic sometimes hangs out in shops such as: magic emporium, back of a book shop, market stall, trinket boutique, tea house
  • in a fourth story attic around a quay, in a chamber of a dungeon, in the catacombs under the city, in a warehouse in the industrial area of town
  • behind a secret door in a tower,
  • Some magic users travel about and appear in places such as: gypsy camp, travelling circus, fortune teller’s tent, actor’s troupe, alchemist’s wagon,
  • hermit hut, healer’s camp, hag’s hovel, tiny abode
  • Those who wield nature or elemental magic abide in spots such as: in a tree trunk, on a tiny island, on a mountain top, in the forest canopy, deep in a hill cave
  • Very strange magical places lurk on the fringes of our understanding; for example: a tesseract, another dimension, an ethereal realm, the astral plane, a black hole, a void, an abyss, a temporal rift,
  • Some great magic is found in unlikely places; for example: at a soup kitchen, hospital, under a bridge, asylum, ice cream truck,
  • cult enclave, hideout, camp, secret lab, hidden library,
  • Depending how they get their power, magic users congregate in places such as: nexus of power, heart of mana, line of energy, temple of a god, portal to a fey-world, focal point, channelling place, conduit of force
magic characters places
The forest and the butterflies provide much mana for some spellcasters.

Types of Magic Characters

Here’s a fun list of magical, mystical characters from acolytes who dabble in cantrips to serious preternatural beasts. Have fun creating your own version of a magical character by riffing on some of these ideas.

List of Magic Characters

  • Magic users have many possible names; pick one that sounds cool, such as: wizard, warlock, witch, wand master, sorcerer, sorceress, magician, prestidigitator, caster, summoner, enchanter, enchantress, conjurer, enchantress, diviner, mage, magic user, sage, spell caster,
  • acolyte, apprentice, assistant, initiate, master,
  • charmer, trickster,
  • Some get their magic from their gods; try some of these: monk, priest, prayer caller, cleric, pastor, vicar, paladin, shaman, holy man, prophet, divine messenger,
  • Nature can drive the world of magic through the following: druid, naturalist, wiccan, pagan, elementalist, fire mage, earth conjurer, water enchantress,
  • rune reader, star reader, leaf reader, scroll reader,
  • elf, gnome, faerie, pixie, fey, light woodland folk, sprite, pixie, brownie, genie,
  • The undead sometimes wield magical powers: ghosts, spirit, phantom, poltergeist, wight, vampire,
  • Magical monsters may include: dragons, cat beasts, giant bats, ogres, trolls, golems, lycanthropes, shapeshifters, doppelgangers,
  • alchemist, potion maker, tinker, inventor,
  • prestidigitator, gesticulator, semanticist, hierophant,
  • hermit, hag, recluse, strange loner on the edge of town,
  • You can add “-mancer” to the end of anything to make it into the art of a magic user, such as: necromancer, pyromancer, hydromancer, technomancer,
  • Your character might be a channeller of: energy, life force, wisdom, fire, water, insects, sound, light, glitter
  • Your character might be a controller of: animals, time, space, wood and trees, dirt and dust, light and dark, life and death, growth, thought, love and hate, emotion
  • psychic, psionic, mind mage, tarot reader, fortune teller, oracle, seer, diviner,
  • bard, story-keeper, travelling magician, tale-weaver,
  • In order to build up the epic feel, you can go big with your magic by employing: gods, demons, devils, angels, demigod, deity, succubus, afreet, windigo,
  • Finally, consider stepping into strange dimensions with some of these: dream walker, nightmare puppeteer, dream wanderer, time-bender, space-folder, chaos mage, an outsider or stranger, drifter, traveller,

Stuff for Your Magic Characters

You have a magic character chosen and you’re ready to hit the typewriter keys (for that old-school feel), so here are some helpful clothes, tools, artifacts, and trinkets to equip your magic user. Some magic characters may even use weapons as part of their schtick. We’ve tried to hit a few tried and true things and a few other more original takes. If you want an even bigger list, check out our Magic Materials page. In the meantime, let’s get spell casting!

List of Stuff

  • oil, potion, elixir, water, tincture, tisane, concoction, tea, mixture,
  • staff, wand, sceptre, stick, walking stick, cane, pole, twig, sprig,
  • Magic users love round things such as: orb, crystal, holy eye, magic ball, sphere, marble,
  • dried animal bits, teeth, claw, scale necklace, nails,
  • jewelry, necklace, brooch, bracelet,
  • robes, cape, vestments, layered outfit with lots of pockets, big ol’ floppy hat, fitted leather hood, cowl, coif,
  • treasure chest, locked box,
  • magical items, ring, amulet, marbles, key,
  • scroll, spell book, crazy formulas scrawled on papers,
  • runes, tarot, cards, beads, stones, wooden idol, carving, statuette,
  • pouches, packets, pockets, hidden pockets, belt bag, vials, bottle, gourd,
  • Musical instruments; for example: harp, whistle, lute, flute, drum,
  • Some magic users may have simple or magic weapons, such as: whip, knife, sling, sword, mace, flail, net, trident, spear, pole,
  • coins, foreign currency (they travel a lot), bills, promissory notes, diplomatic documents,
  • Magic users often carry fun stuff, too: fireworks, juggling bags, deck of cards, fixed dice, confetti, balloons, itching powder, magic beans that do silly things, watch on a chain (for hypnosis), stink bombs,
  • pens, books, maps, notes, letters, lists, sketchbooks, sealing wax,
  • If we’re being honest, some magic users carry creepy stuff such as: a dried hand, hair, fingernails, a decayed thumb, cursed items, bad luck charm, eyeball in a jar, a big ol’ snake, bad tasting sauces,
  • magnifying glass, telescope, monocle, spectacles, seeing glass, kaleidoscope, lantern, compass,
  • magical components for spells include the following: powder, string, sawdust, dried corn cob, porcupine quill, piece of flint, bark, bone, left shoe of a dead gnome,
magic characters spell book wand
Where resides your power? In a book, a bottle, or a branch?

More Notes and Links for Magic Characters

Well, folks, that pretty much brings us to the end of the post. To conclude, here are a few more ideas and some links that you may find useful. Of course we have to say thanks for visiting and let us know of some of your own amazing magic ideas in the comments.

  • Magic can arrive subtly in your narrative; try some of the following: a character slowly grasping its presence, a reclusive master reluctantly taking on an apprentice, an awakening of a long lost practice, a mutation taking hold, a parasite forming a bond with a host, etc.
  • What would your world be like if magic were ubiquitous, meaning it is everywhere? For example, what if everyone has and uses magic, magic rings are everywhere, elevators actually run on magic (little levitation masters need employment, too)?
  • Don’t forget that magic users have all the attributes of typical humans. You can find help with that on our Idiosyncrasies page, where you’ll find lots of ideas to make sure your character is messed up enough. Haha!
  • For a cre8opedia post on Spells for your magic user, go here.
  • Also, if you’d like some nasty Spell Side Effects, check out this cre8opedia post.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a god for your magic-using being to worship, have a look at our post about Creating Gods for Narratives and Roleplay. It’s lots of fun if you’re into world building.