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A wizard being called a sorcerer is sort of like having a PhD and someone telling you that you only managed to graduate because you have natural talent.

A wizard being called a warlock is like having a PhD and being told you only managed to graduate because you gave the dean a quickie in the alley behind the movie theater.


It's not uncommon to see a lot of rivalry between magicians in a fantasy setting, be it due to academic pride, competitive spirits, or plain jealousy. This is especially common if the setting has Mutually Exclusive Magic… and even if it all comes from the same source.

Much like the rivalry involved in Magic Versus Science, magic users will be prejudiced against each other based on their philosophy regarding magic, how they study it, and/or how they cast spells. You'll frequently see mages versus wizards versus witches versus clerics versus shamans versus druids deep breath versus warlocks versus monks. Put another way, a wizard of Ritual Magic will sneer at a bard who approaches magic as music, casting spells based on poetic rules. And of course both will scoff at the cleric whose magic is based on articles of faith rather than academic or artistic viewpoints.

Frequently the themes behind the various forms of magic will take one of the various points within Functional Magic. Magicians who follow Magic A Is Magic A will be academic, studious, and always "researching" new spells. Artistic mages usually have some form of Functional Magic that they tap into in unconventional ways. Hermetic Magic practitioners follow ritual like academic magicians but usually ignore they “how” and “why” in favor of theological explanations or even plain old faith. Expect these mages to be on differing sides of Harmony Versus Discipline, with some seeking to “control” magic, others to “channel” it, and some to understand and influence it.

Objectively, expect all these magical approaches to be valid in their own right, usually have Competitive Balance, and at times capable of a Yin-Yang Bomb when various disciplines collaborate. One frequent representation of this is the Trash Talk seen when people with opposite Elemental Powers fight each other. Only very rarely will these settings reveal there are Red Mages who combine these varying forms of magic.

This trope is named for the Discworld book Equal Rites. This is itself a pun on "equal rights", as it's about a girl who wants to train to be a wizard, rather than a witch.

Mages that ignore differences and mix-n-match supposedly-incompatible varieties of magic are described under The Red Mage. Compare Magic Versus Science, and Hard on Soft Science, since usually one approach will be more scientific than the other. Of course, if you throw in science as well, expect all degrees of deadly projectiles to start flying.

For a trope that covers a (usually) different kind of prejudice among fantasy characters, see Fantastic Racism.

Examples of Un-Equal Rites include:


  • In Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci Chronicles, there are levels and ranks in magic from "the lowest certified witch" to the most powerful nine-lived enchanters. Passing references are made to people being sorcerers, magicians, hedgewitchs, warlocks, hags (though the last three are insulting).
  • In Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series, the two types of mages (ambient and academic) each view the other with derision; the academics viewed the ambients as backwater weaklings, and the ambients viewed the academics as stuffy snobs. Academic mages are those who have an inner font of plain power that they can channel into any direction they want. However, ambient mages have a different magic which only responds to (and can act upon) the magic within the outside world, and is associated with a certain discipline, such as metalworking, cooking, or gardening. Nearly all of the protagonists are ambient mages. And if you thought any kind of ambient magic could be useless or silly? No. NONE of them are.
  • Discworld witches versus Discworld wizards? There is considerable philosophical difference. Witches are village wisewomen who perform some unintrusive magic, but mostly use tricks and "headology", though they're able to do pretty powerful stuff if they need to. Wizards go to Wizarding School and spend long years learning, similarly, not to use serious magic unless absolutely necessary. The differences between them are mostly in their public image and in the kind of magic they... aren't using. Equal Rites examined this, as it's about a girl who has a talent for wizardry, although she's also a skilled witch. When she shows up again some twenty books later, she's drifted more towards witchcraft, but still has a talent for quantum-based Magi Babble (the Elasticated String Theory) that would fit well in the High Energy Magic Building.

 Why was it that when she heard Granny ramble on about witchcraft she longed for the cutting magic of wizardry, but whenever she heard Treatle speak in his high-pitched voice she would fight to the death for witchcraft? She’d be both or none at all.

    • The point of the Wizards at UU is to not use magic. You don't want ambitious, greedy or idealistic people with magic, because as is continually pointed out magic has a price! Recently they seem to be making a better contribution to society by studying and building magic devices, and other more useful applications rather than just throwing fireballs around.
      • Necromancy, AKA Post-Mortem Communication, has a bad reputation on Discworld, yet its practitioners are formally permitted a modest degree of misbehavior under University statute. Fortunately, the allowed misconduct only rises to the level of being a bloody nuisance, not outright hostility.
    • Aside from the rivalry between wizards and witches, there is also generational disconnect. Whereas old wizards believe that magic is all about rune circles and stuffed alligators, young wizards believe it's about splitting magical particles. Old witches believe magic is mostly psychology, while young witches believe it involves harmonizing with Nature and use of crystals. And, as Granny Weatherwax would say, dancin' around without yer drawers on. All of these views happen to be correct, in one way or another.
    • Prior to Ridcully's administration, members of the eight Orders of Wizardry often engaged in taunting and one-upmanship between themselves. Subverted in that by the time the series hits its stride, the existence of these Orders has faded into the background, so we don't get to see what differences (if any) spurred their old rivalries.
    • All of this rivalry is rather beside the point, however, as the most powerful magic in Discworld history was that of sourcerers, not witches or wizards. (Witches and wizards, in different ways, manipulate the Background Magic Field of the Discworld, sourcerers radiate magic.) And the most brilliant magic-user still around today isn't a human at all, but Hex, a Magitek AI which doesn't even have a gender.
    • Reaper Man also parodied the arcane/divine debate with an argument between Archchancellor Ridcully and the High Priest of Blind Io (who happened to be brothers).
  • In Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe, the direct magic-users (Muses) are looked down upon by psychologists, who can also do magic. The Psychologists think the Muses are misusing raw mental power by wrapping it up in mysticism, but the Muses think that their powers are supernatural in origin and can't be explained by psychological means.
  • In Harry Potter, most non-Divination wizards consider Divination to be useless. Divination is described by Professor McGonagall as "one of the most imprecise branches of magic". Supporters of the subject claim that it is an inexact science that requires innate gifts. Those opposed claim that the subject is irrelevant and fraudulent. Sybil Trelawney, the professor of Divination, appears to be totally inept at it, as Hermione never fails to point out; in fact, Hermione drops the class as useless. Sybil's predictions are almost always wrong or obviously fraudulent, with the exception of the two regarding Voldemort, which she has no memory of, and the prediction of Dumbledore's death in the sixth book, which she herself disregards as incorrect.
    • She can't make accurate predictions when she tries, but her offhand comments are frequently spot-on.
  • In the Doctrine of Labyrinths world, there tends to be a different school of magic in each country, so a lot of the rivalry is tied up with politics. Most wizards don't study other schools of magic for this reason, even though they would probably be capable of more than one type of spells. Also, wizards visiting another country have to be very careful what they do--for example, in Melusine it's considered heresy to cast a spell of any kind on a person.
  • All the different cultures in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time have different ideas on how to handle magic: Aes Sedai, Aiel Wise Ones, Seanchan damane and sul'dam, and so on. All think that their way is the Only Way, and that the other cultures' ways are stupid, criminal and/or dangerous. The attitude to male magicians - a necessary evil, or plain evil? - causes a deep split within the Aes Sedai, and the power struggle between different Ajahs may also count.
    • Furthermore, male and female spellcasting are similar in principle, but feel entirely different. Female spellcasters embrace their source of magic, whereas men must constantly struggle with it (their power source being corrupted with pure evil doesn't help). Similar spells can work on entirely different principles - a man teleports by tearing a hole in the fabric of the universe, whereas a woman teleports by blending together two places until they overlap. Finally, the two types of magic used together are orders of magnitude more powerful than either used separately.
      • There are also differences in power levels, men are on average stronger but can't combine their powers without women, women are on average individually less powerful but can form circles of up to 12 women (and a circle of 12 women can overpower any male channeler). Additionally strength in the different types of magic varies between the genders, men tend to be more powerful with Earth and Fire magic while women are more powerful with Water and Air (the fifth type, Spirit, has minimal variation between genders).
    • The Aes Sedai vs. Wise Ones vs. Windfinder vs. damane split - that is, the place of female channelers in society - is just an instance of Culture Clash, which the series is full of. The different methods required for male vs. female magic is a better example of Un-Equal Rites, as are the varying approaches to all the non-channeling kinds of magic out there, particularly foresight: wolfbrothers, Foretellings, Dreaming and Min's viewings. We have never seen anyone use more than one of the above and no one agrees on how reliable any of them are.
      • Also not helping at all is the sheer size of the ego of everyone involved, and their inability to admit that they might be wrong.
  • Lawrence Watt Evans' Ethshar series has a large number of different types of magic, several of which are strongly opposed to one another. In-world, different experts have classified magic into between 3 (psionic, clerical, arcane) to 12 different disciplines! The main ones are (deep breath): Wizardry (rituals, requires components, taps into raw chaos, possibly the most powerful), Sorcery (use of "talismans" which appear to be some form of ultra-advanced technology such as a genetic scanner and a wand that acts as a machine gun and grenade launcher), witchcraft (psychic powers including telepathy and telekinesis, as tiring to use as doing something by hand), warlockry (a different form of psychic powers, stronger and not tiring, but as it gets stronger with use, eventually draws one to the source of the power never to be seen again; said source is either a meteor, crashed UFO, or Lovecraftian Horror that no-one can get near without becoming a warlock too powerful to resist its call), theurgy (priests call upon gods to manifest and aid them, no priest can be heard by more than a handful of gods, each only capable within their narrow specialty), demonology (calling and binding demons), and things such as herbalism, science, ritual dance, necromancy and prestidigitation have all been mentioned at one point! Clearly priests and demonologists hate one another, as do wizards and sorcerers; there was a major war which the priests and wizards won when the gods and demons took to the field themselves after 200 years of fighting. Warlocks are new and regarded with suspicion, but can work well with witches (power and precision working together) as a Yin-Yang Bomb. *pant, pant, pant* The politics of magic is a major underlying theme of the series.
  • In A Madness of Angels, though Wizards (who control magic through rules) and Sorcerers (who draw on raw magical power) get along reasonably well, they both have very little respect for Warlocks, who earn magical powers by bargaining with the various spirits in the area.
  • Wizards of the witcherworld tend to look down on priests, considering their power to be just magic achieved through mysticism and meditation rather than training.
  • Iar Elterrus:
    • Burden of the Emperor features the conflict between the wizards and in general arcane spellcasters of the titular Empire and the priests of the setting's dominant monotheistic religion, which blooms into a full-scale world war involving the attempt to summon an Eldritch Abomination.
    • Gray Sword setting: regular mages draw their power from a certain specialty, e.g. Fire, Wind or Pain. The latter grants the already Crapsack World setting a "pain counter" device, just to make sure the torturers don't cut nobody no slack.
  • Valentin Ivashchenko's works:
    • Warrior and mage novels:
      • Prior to the series' events, a war to extinction between the last grandmaster necromancer and the alliance of everything else.
      • Full-scale war between human-dwarf-hobbit empire of arcane mages and human supremacy priest state.
      • Cold war between said empire and elven "tree-hugger" kingdom.
      • The Empire masterminds the destruction of the snake god's state.
    • Honour, Rapier and a little Wizarding: arcane human empire's wizards and mages, elven nature mages and the creatures of chaos.
    • Revenge of the Cursed: civil war: mages and varied sentient races versus human supremacy church.
  • Vitalij Zykov's Return series (pentalogy to be continued): almost every culture has it's own magic specialty, with free-for-all relations between states and schools of magic. Pick your flavor: tribal orc shamans, tribal human shamans, innate human wizards, academic human and dwarven wizards discriminated against by the innate ones, academic human necromancers, "light" elven life-mages (who use the proficiency at upkeeping life for unparalleled torture), "dark" elven conjurers and dragons who use their own flavors of arcane spells and necromancy. The world also had two sentient species, referenced as Reptarh and Reptohors, who fought to mutual annihilation. The Reptohors magic is largely unknown and forgotten, but might have specialized on interacting with mind and consiousness. The Reptarh magic, learned by the protagonist in an Exposition Beam relic, can be used to interact with and upgrade every other human magic, while being different from them.
  • Alexej Pehov's Sparks and Wind series occurs as the long-standing conflict between the white (arcane, hermetic) and the black (priest-like necromantic) school erupts into a continent-spanning war. Technically, the empire housing the white school wins, but the gray school, which actually gave birth to the white and black one, is reborn.
  • Sergej Luk'yanenko's Night Watch shows a more benign example - wizards, sorcerers, warlocks were originally direct spellcasters, while witches and enchanters specialized in creating powerful artefacts. As of the series' events, there are almost no pure representants of those traditions, although the Inquisition often issues their operatives rare or obscure artefacts to give them a certain combat advantage.
  • The Star Wars EU books feature Force users who are not Jedi knights. They have some very different ideas about what the Force is or how to use it, and some of them have fallen under condemnation from both the Jedi Council and George Lucas because of it.
  • In Delia Marshall Turner's Nameless Magery the protagonist, who comes from a world where magic is revered as a sentient, semi-divine force with a personality of its own, experiences culture clash when she lands on a planet where the mages fear magic and treat it as a dangerous tool that needs to be handled carefully.
  • There's a few minor cases of this in The Magicians, though it takes place only at Brakebills. Intermediate students are sorted into certain groups based on their magical disciplines, and several of these groups have long-standing rivalries: for example, the Physical Kids- who practice messy physics-based wizardry- despise the Naturals with a passion.
  • One of the worst insults you can deliver to a sorcerer in the Belgariad is to call him a "magician". Sorcerers use their Will, focused by a Word, to perform their feats. Magicians tell their (hopefully-)bound demons to go do something. There are also references to witches, who work with nature spirits.
  • Earthsea makes a distinction between "true" magic (based on an ancient language, studied in a Wizarding School, practiced only by men) and several lesser forms of magic, including sorcery, illusionism and village witches. There are also other forms of religious magic in different cultures.
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles has:
    • Wizards: Use staves to cast magic, often grow beards, absorb magic from their surroundings to use later. Nobody likes them, especially not the main characters, dragons in general, or anyone with their own magic. They in turn don't like dragons, fire-witches, or any of the main characters.
    • Magicians: Can cast a number of different spells picked up from studying a number of different sources. Often mistaken for other magic users, such as wizards, which annoys them. Inately curious about other kinds of magic, highly scientific in their studies, prone to Techno Bable, these habits annoy others.
    • Witches: Use cats and objects in their magic. Broomsticks are only reliable transportation for them. They get along reasonably well with other magic-users, but make it a point to keep everyone else scared enough of them to leave them alone.
    • Fire-witches: Inate magic users, immune to most spells, and to fire which they have a special affinity for, can instinctively control spells, even by other casters. Wizards must be careful not to absorb their magic, the results end badly for the wizard. All fire-witches share a few personality traits and most are unpredictable but reasonably hospitable/friendly, but there are a few who are down right nasty. Most people are at least a little scared of any fire-witches they meet.
    • Dragon Magic: Normally only used by dragons, a few others have picked up a few spells of this type. Not the kind of magic most people expect to see, so anyone who recognizes it will be surprized and impressed. Rare enough that there are no hard and fast rules on how its users are seen by other magic users, so they are judged more on their individual temperments than anything else.
    • Sorceresses: Mentioned breifly as having gotten a reputation for being helpful. Now they all have to live in remote and hard to get to places to avoid getting bothered all the time with requests for aid.
  • There is quite some rivalry between Witches and Wizards in Septimus Heap, especially about Mother Nature and the situations in which Magyk is to be used.
  • Oddly enough, Oz Books lean on this trope. Witches and Wizards, of course, are considered the highest of all magic users. But then you have sorcerers and sorceresses, common conjurers, alchemists (those who mix magic potions and powders), and the like. Conjurers and alchemists seem to be the lower-end.
  • The Lyndon Hardy trilogy has several types of magic users, with some disparagement betwixt.

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons has the divisions between divine and arcane magic, between different wizard specializations, special spellcasting methods of bards and wild mages, and more. Additional possible differences are illustrated in the "Controllability" scale (from AD&D Net Wizard's Handbook): Magic is Chaos — Magic is Art — Magic is Science. Most settings are in "Art" position, thus some variation between traditions is to be expected.
    • In 3rd edition wizards must endure years of unwavering discipline and intense study before they can cast even the simplest of spells. Sorcerers have no training, just an innate talent for magic that manifests naturally — and which they may or may not care to control. The two have been known to... conflict.
    • The same in Psionics, now with the psion, wilder, and ardent classes. The psion develops powers though strict mental discipline that takes years. Wilders use raw emotion to manifest their powers. Ardents recognize basic connections the world and develop powers through the understanding of those connections. And of course, all of these classes tend to conflict with regular magic users.
    • Let's not forget Warlocks. Even fewer total known spells than Sorcerers, but infinite casting capabilities — a Sorcerer can cast the same spell more often than Wizard, but still only casts the same amount of total spells. Warlocks can cast and cast and cast until the stars burn out, and never once run out of spells.
    • And then there's Binders, who basically summon entities from the empty wastes beyond the known boundaries of existence and allow them to ride in their bodies in exchange for an assortment of spell-like abilities and special powers. It's eplicitly stated that nobody likes Binders — other Arcanists tend to be jealous or view them as mad, while divine spellcasters consider them the ultimate blasphemers.
    • And then there are extra options, like Incarnum.
    • By fourth edition the differences between wizards and sorcerer have increased, with different spells and benefits. Sorcerers are now more than ever "the arcane antithesis of the wizard, Wielding raw, barely contained magical power" and the magical equivalent of barbarians, with wizards the equivalent of fighters. Even the number of times they can cast spells has changed as all spells in fourth edition are either at will, again after a five minute break or again after a good nights sleep. However the tensions are still there, as the players handbook (2) puts it "More studious arcane practitioners sometimes regard sorcerers as novices who play with dangerous power beyond their control, but the proof of their worth is in the havoc they wreak on their foes."
      • Warlocks, which graduated to being a primary class in 4e, have it even worse. Wizards may think that Sorcerers are messing with powers beyond their control or otherwise irresponsible, but they acknowledge that the Sorcerer usually didn't have a choice — they were born sorcerers, or the power just "awoke" after something happened to the Sorcerer. Warlocks, on the other hand, make a Deal with the Devil to acquire magical power and/or knowledge, simply because it's easier. Sometimes, it's with literal devils, sometimes with The Fair Folk, sometimes with the malevolent spirits that dwell in the darkness, sometimes with the vestiges of places and beings lost to time, and sometimes it's with the... forces... that resonate from the stars. Needless to say, while Dark Is Not Evil and it's quite possible to play Bad Powers, Good People as a Warlock, it's a very sinister class and very easy to play as Bad Powers, Bad People.
      • In fact, it's possible to place each Arcane class in 4e on a spectrum of their relationship with Wizarding Schools: Arcanists and Mages were the students who studied really hard for that A, Sorcerers got the A without studying, Warlocks, Hexblades, and Binders cheated on the test or bribed the teacher, Bards were the liberal art students who studied a little bit of everything, rather than focusing their talents in one field, Witches never went to school, instead being homeschooled in Hermetic Magic, Swordmages, Bladesingers, and Skalds (as well as Hexblades and some Sorcerers) practiced swordplay as an extra-curricular, and Artificers were the students who went to engineering school.
    • Birthright has magical forces that can be fully understood only by elves, half-elves and blooded humans. They can use True Magic, much like wizards in other settings. All others can only become Magicians and outside Illusion and Divination schools use only minor spells. For the Realm magic even a bloodline isn't enough, it's available only to regent wizards with their own magical holdings.
    • Dragonlance has four types of main magic users: Wizards of High Sorcery, Clerics of the gods, Primal Sorcerers, and Mystics. The Wizards do not get along with the Sorcerers a lot of the time because the Wizards see the Sorcerers as infringing on their territory. The relationship between Mystics and Clerics of good deities is more friendly because of the Citadel of Light, which has both Mystics and Clerics working together to help people. Clerics of Neutral and Evil deities view of Mystics often depends on how their deity feels about Mysticism. And Wizards and Clerics sometimes do not get along because a Cleric, the last Kingpriest of Istar, was the one who tried to kill all Wizards on Ansalon prior to the Cataclysm. And since Wizards of High Sorcery are moon-dependent, there are three sorts of them — one per Krynnish moon.
    • There's also the "renegade" category, which is where wizards who refuse to acknowledge the authority of the orders of High Sorcery are classified. Mostly, it's a place to file wizardly characters or classes that get imported from other game-settings.
    • Forgotten Realms has Spellsingers (AD&D2) / Spelldancers (D&D3) — magic users aren't as strictly bound by rules of Vancian Magic as others, though slower. Netherese arcanists used to have no Vancian Magic limitations. Shadow Magic adepts using a different power source. Dragonmagic and elven High Magic that no other species can use (or survive if they would find a way). Magic of Faerûn sourcebook added gem and rune magic as playable options. Less outstanding variations include Incantatrix (specialist in dueling spellcasters and extraplanars), elven Dualists (specialists limited to two opposite schools), Dukar (same, but spread to more races under sea, tied to Magic Knight orders and implantated defensive symbionts), circle magic of Hathran and Red Wizards.
    • Al-Quadim setting has different types of wizards, including Sha'ir — wizards who use magic via little genie-kin Familiar, not strictly limited in almost any other way, like using divine spells (not that it was a prudent option). There are also astrologers, numerologists, Mageweavers, Ghul Lords, Clockwork Mages building magi-mechanical constructs and Jackals stealing spells from other wizards.
  • In Shadowrun, ideological conflicts between various types of magic users have been a standard setting element since the beginning, particularly between Hermetic and Shamanic mages.
    • Psionics are generally looked down upon for having made up a whole new way to imagine magic works that is more restrictive and less useful than any of the accepted theories of mana with no actual advantages.
      • Thought forms are free to summon, summon in one action and, unlike nature spirits, are not restricted to one area.
  • In Warhammer, it gets justified by different races having to approach magic in different ways due to their different mindsets and how they open themselves up to Mind Rape by an Eldritch Abomination. So short lived humans takes magic, split it up into specialities and study it in an academic and scholarly manner in colleges to make it safe; the hair brained Skaven ratmen use Green Rocks to power magical contraptions and their minor "wizards" are called engineers; Dark Elves and Chaos worshippers make pacts with daemons- if not the Chaos Gods themselves- while High Elves will elegantly weave the winds of magic around them like a tapestry. For the Slann, the most powerful wizards in the world who taught the elves their thing, magic comes as naturally as breathing.
    • In addition to the species/racial differences, there also exists an arcane/divine dichotomy throughout, well, pretty much every civilised realm. In Bretonnia and parts of the Empire, for example, wielding arcane magic is grounds for a burning/hanging/impalement/decapitation/other execution method, but the miracles a priest performs aren't a problem (or aren't considered magical). Well, in the Empire using arcane magic without the training and sanction of the colleges is grounds for execution full stop, but certain peasants and preachers haven't quite got that message. In Bretonnia, all arcane magic is banned, but the situation is a little complex- College trained mages visiting from the Empire usually get a pass thanks to politics, and the priestesses of the Lady[1]}} technically use arcane magics, but are widely believed to use divine magic. There are no priests of the Lady.
  • The Old World of Darkness has had within each gameline various forms of magic, which are usually not mutually exclusive (at least within the supernatural race, wizard magic is not accesible to vampires and vice-versa). However, the societies, conspiracies or organizations that practice them look at each other with nothing but scorn and make learning more than one really hard for applicants.
    • The rivalry between the Mages, Tremere, Giovanni and Harbingers of Skulls/Cappadocians in Vampire: The Masquerade is particularly illustrative. The Tremere were formerly Mages and made a vampire copy of their old powers (weak and blood fueled, but still), the Giovanni accuse the Tremere of stealing their necromancy from them, while the Harbingers/Cappadocians did have theirs stolen by the Giovanni.
    • Since it runs on a Clap Your Hands If You Believe reality, Mage: The Ascension is fueled by this trope. Magical wars are fought over convincing the Sleepers that your faction's mystical philosophy is the correct one, some factions even claiming that their enemies use corrupted forms of their own mysticism.
  • New World of Darkness
  • The Dark Eye treats magic and miracles as completely separate things. The miracles somewhat resembling "divine spells" were even only introduced late in the 3rd edition.
    • Magic users break into separate schools depending on how they were taught, including guild mages (academic, logical), elves (intuitive), witches (emotion-based), druids, illusionists, shamans and others around the edges.
    • Most of those groups can learn spells, most easily those familiar to their own school, though there are many spells known in more than one, and in addition has special rituals not available to the others--a mage can learn certain enchantments for a staff, a witch can learn curses, and so on. Most groups also have philosophy-based restrictions (e.g. mages have responsibilities to their guild, druids can't work magic while touching iron, lizardmen need a material focus for each spell).
    • The bigger schools are split according to attitudes/philosophies further. There are three guilds for mages--white, grey, and black--with one of the main differences being their attitude to demonology. Witches may have greater cohesion, but the sisterhoods, determined by the species of their familiar, which is tied to their personality, have their differences. Druids are split into those focusing on mind magic, and those focused on elementarism.
  • The five colors of magic in Magic: The Gathering all have at least one thing in common; They consider their way to be the only right one, two of the other colors are agreeable, if a bit misguided, and the last two are just dead wrong. A prime example would be Blue, the color of knowledge, respects Black for it's ambition and desire for control and White for its diligence and drive for order. Green and Red, on the other hand, are mindless and savage and should either be locked down or eliminated. Of course, this is the abstract version of color philosophies: with actual organizations and people it gets more complicated, but the trope remains in force.

Video Games

  • Warcraft 'verse is full of this. There's the main Priests, Paladins, Druids & Shamans vs. Mages, Warlocks, Necromancers & Death Knights rift, where the former think that all of the latter are reckless and/or evil, risking losing control, gaining the attention of the Burning Legion, joining the Scourge or worse. They are right, but mages think that they are using magic responsibly (and at least a few of them really are), and the former are just luddite fools, and the real villains are Warlocks, Necromancers and Death Knights. Then there's the good warlocks (read: player characters) who think they're strong enough to make a Deal with the Devil without losing control and think that everyone else are naive fools who don't go far enough or lack the willpower to do so. Good Death Knights use their powers to rebel against their former master. Finally, there's Always Chaotic Evil demon-worshipping warlocks and life-scourging Necromancers & Death Knights.
    • Fortunately, there New Council of Tirisfal is set out to subvert this, inviting spellcasters from all races and disciplines to work together for the common good.
    • The issue with mages isnt nessesary that they are evil, but that their power, arcane, is mostly chaos. Meaning that even if they are good, and does good, they eventually risk getting corrupted. responsibly or not.
  • Used all over the place in Dragon Age: the most obvious example would probably the animosity between Blood Mages and Circle Mages loyal to the Chantry; as the Chantry teaches that blood magic is what led to the creation of the Darkspawn, coupled with the fact that blood magic can also be used to control human minds and bind demons to the caster's will, most orthodox mages take a very dim view of its practitioners, labelling them as Maleficars regardless of wether they've used their powers for evil purposes or not. Meanwhile, the power-mad Tevinter Magisters, who permit the usage of blood magic within their borders, are looked on with a mixture of fear and disgust; Circle Mages will collaborate with them for research projects- especially in the more esoteric fields- but that's about as far as they're prepared to trust them.
    • Orthodox Circle Mages also have a less-than-cordial relationship with Apostates- mages outside the control of the Circle and the Chantry- viewing them as potential maleficars, from the nature magic-wielding Dalish Keepers to shapeshifters like Morrigan and Flemeth. Even the relatively innocuous Hawke family isn't exempt. On the other hand, many factions within the Circles cooperate semi-openly with apostates, either because they oppose the Templars' control over the Circle or because they simply see apostates as the Templars' problem.
    • Even the Circle itself isn't exempt from this sort of thing, having divided itself into a number of different Fraternities with different ideas as to how mages should be governed and how they should use magic... and then, in the Witch Hunt expansion pack it's possible to find a book on Spirit Magic that's been hopelessly vandalized by a proponent of Entropy Magic.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic II had a rivalry with the wizards and necromancers in a kind of ancient feud, though this is really only touched upon in the Evil campaign. Heroes V, being a Continuity Reboot, did the same thing, but gave more of a backstory, and it shows up several times in their respective campaigns.
    • The whole Wizards versus Necromancers idea was continued in Might and Magic VII; in fact, for most of the middle of the game, it was central to the plot.
    • In Heroes of Might and Magic IV this is why the Anti-Villain Protagonist of the Death campaign refuses to expand his kingdom after fighting tooth and nail to get it. He's Genre Savvy enough to realize that ambitious Necromancers have a Zero-Percent Approval Rating and everyone else would be gunning for him if he seemed the least bit hostile. He's all too aware that his brand of magic doesn't have a very good reputation.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2 (D&D 3.5 rules) wizard and sorcerers share the same spells and both can 'run out' but warlocks can keep casting an unlimited number of times. (but have very few spells) Oddly while there is the odd reference to demon/devils the class text say their power come their own souls, not pacts with residents of other realms.
  • The Reconstruction combines this with good old Fantastic Racism. Shra can't summon fire or ice from nowhere, so humans tend not to acknowledge that their ability to manipulate what's already around them is for all intents and purposes magic.
  • In Demons Souls, the Miracle wielding clerics view soul arts as an abomination. The pracitioners of soul arts dislike clerics for trying to hold them back and treating them like pariahs. The clerics aren't exactly wrong to dislike soul arts though — it's a dangerous power fueled by the souls of the dead that comes from the Old One itself, and the world is a Crapsack World because people abused soul arts in the past. It's heavily implied that the god the clerics worship is actually the Old One, which would mean that the "miracles" (which are also fueled by souls) are just soul arts with a more "benevolent" flavor to them.
  • The description of the Wizard on the Diablo III website suggests that she's an outcast from the mage clans for her willingness to use "forbidden arts," and even calling herself a Wizard instead of a Sorceress is considered crass.

Western Animation

  • Practitioners of the various Bending Arts in Avatar: The Last Airbender would often do this. Being subject to nationalistic propaganda since birth, Firebenders in particular would sneer at Earthbenders, but even Sokka wasn't above saying "fire is a stupid element anyway" when Aang lamented he had yet to master it. Although Sokka's dislike of fire bending may have come more from his animosity towards the Fire Nation than pride in water bending, which he can't even do.
    • This is an obstacle that Avatars always have to overcome, as the different elements require different frames of mind and techniques. And it proves especially troublesome for Aang when he wants to find a firebending teacher[2].
    • In The Legend of Korra, Korra decides to briefly give up her Airbending training due to her difficulty learning it and declares she doesn't need it to be the Avatar. Since Airbending requires patience and spirituality (extremely important attributes for an Avatar that Korra does not possess) she eventually changes her mind.
  • Cassie in UBOS wants to train to become a 'Supreme Sorceress', since 'witches get no respect.'

Web Comics

  • Since its world is based on DnD 3.5 rules, The Order of the Stick has the same Un-Equal Rites. In Start of Darkness, Xykon is looked down upon often by wizards for his being a sorcerer, which, naturally, pisses him off. Since this is Xykon, these people tend not to live much longer. Especially notable when Dorukan is fighting Xykon and at one point asserts the superiority of his wizardry to Xykon's sorcery. Xykon responds by casting Energy Drain every turn, while giving a Hannibal Lecture about the advantages of spontaneous casting.
    • Multiple times in Start of Darkness, Xykon is told that sorcery is like a rubber mallet, whilst Wizardry is a finely crafted watch. Xykon's personal spin on it that is he'd much rather have the sledgehammer than the watch.
    • Wizards looking down on sorcerers becomes a recurring theme for the strip, and especially for Xykon - in contrast to the dangerously obsessive V who believes arcane magic is be-all and end-all, Xykon figures power is power, no matter what form it takes or where it comes from. Even if it's just a racial bonus to Listen checks.
    • Incidentally, the page quote references the incident shown in the picture.
  • Infernomancers, who get their powers via Deal with the Devil bargains,don't have a very good reputation in Dominic Deegan. While Infernomancers were employed by Callan in the Callan-Maltak war, they were eventually hunted down by the kingdom's holy knights after they had outlived their usefulness. There is a reason Infernomancers tend to practice their magic in secret.
    • Necromancers also get a rather bad rep for the usual reasons, athough the first necromancer (who's actually still around) is a case of Dark Is Not Evil and Good Is Not Nice.
    • Meanwhile, Maltak orcs have their own shamanistic nature magic, split in two traditions: life-affirming akta and death-linked nakta. Practicioners of one type don't get along with those of the other, and while the akta-using clan used their powers in the aftermath of a magical catastrophe to make their lands a fertile haven in the wasteland of their homeland, the natka-using one went o the warpath and violently attacked any and all trespassers in orc lands, even an aid caravan from sympathetic humans. Of course, things are not what they appear to be at first glance...
  • To Prevent The World Peace has two opposite magical systems. There are magical girls, whose power comes from power items, and born mages, who have their powers since birth and usually don’t need any additional artifacts. Other magic users consider magical girls system to be “cheating”, mostly because it lets them survive as depowered humans, when their transformed form is killed. The fact that the mages are considered Always Chaotic Evil and the magical girls Always Lawful Good, doesn’t help at all.
  1. Patron goddess of Bretonnia, particularly Bretonnian nobility. {{spoiler|Actually Queen of the Wood Elves of Athel Loren
  2. His two firebending teachers being the insane, self-loathing Jeong-Jeong and Prince Zuko, who had to shake off his own cultural conditioning to teach Aang