The Name of the Wind style magic? True naming and sympathy?

Hello Everyone,

I was curious if anyone had read Rothfuss’s book, The Name of the Wind, and if anyone had created a homebrew system for their BW games based on that fiction.

Basically there are two types of magic, sympathy and naming. Sympathy is the scientific style of magic, removing heat and energy from one thing and transferring it to another via a link created with something physical and the power of the wielder’s mind. Naming is a more traditional and powerful form of magic where the wielder knows the true name of something like the wind, and can control it with that name.

Thought I would ask if anyone had created something like this for use in burning wheel. If not, I may take a stab at it sometime.

Thank you!

Read but not created a system for it. I could see using something like Practical Magic for Sympathy by taking out the social school (and use the Magic School life paths). I’d make Naming a metasystem: a mix of traits and emotion.

Gifted characters may take the Namer emotion trait. It gets tested for hearing names and similar matters. Die traits would cover aptitude with a given element and give a bonus to Namer with that element.

I’ve been playing in a game inspired largely by Name of the Wind for about six months. We decided right off not to try to model the magic as it’s found in the books, and just use Art Magic. To us, what’s important about the books is the emotional content and the magic school setting. Although the magic system in the book is very cool! It just felt like a lot of work for very little added benefit, when Art Magic is SO AWESOME.

FWIW, my character is based on the crazy girl who lives in the tunnels under the school. (Born Noble, Young Lady, Arcane Devotee, Junior Student, Crazy Witch.) It’s been tons of fun.


At the top of my head, I can think of a few ways to give the various magic systems in BW a Kingkiller Chronicles’ feel.

Knowing a Name could be a trait. Each trait would grant substantial bonuses to dealing with the concept in question.

Using Spirit Binding, Names could be a type of mark. “Knows the Name of the Wind” would be an excellent Spirit Mark.

Each Name could be a different Magic Skill. They should require a trait (Namer) and each be open-ended. Make up a bunch of effects and obstacle for each skill. Casting time to use such a skill equals the ob. Failure results in drain or a complication as the name rips out of your control. Active names could be sustained or have a set duration, will is probably appropriate for sustaining a name.
The Name of Fire
Ob 1: Douse a candlefire
Ob 2: Douse a campfire, ignite a candle, ignore heat (sustained), keep yourself warm (sustained)
Ob 3: Douse a housefire, ignite a campfire (can do damage, range as pistol, will mark), ignore black-shade fire (sustained)
and so on…

Lots of different options. Personally I would, like Deliverator, go more for the feel of the books and the academy, than the specific magic system. While the magic system is interesting and very well thought out, how it works is not that important to the feel. However, the idea that one form of magic can be learned by all, while another is special… that’s cool.

You could use Practical Magic as the “common” magic. The one everyone can learn. Then use Mannish Sorcery and Enchanting as the special one, that requires the Gifted trait. That way you can have an academy with two very different tiers. One learning and mastering Practical Magic, the other tier learning Sorcery.
Make practical magic and sorcery two different skills, or just keep one skill and let those who get the Gifted trait transfer their expertise. Characters with Sorcery, Practical Magic and Enchanting would be potent though :stuck_out_tongue: