The Asymmetric Magic of Frostgrave

I’ve been playing some Frostgrave (it’s pretty dope) and I tried to plot a graph with the school alignments. I expected something regular, like these:


But what I found was a bit stranger.

Aligned schools are linked by a black line. Orange links opposed schools:


the orange link between the top and bottom is a squiggle only because the drawing needs to be on a plane. Think of it as a straight line. 

You can easily note a bunch of question marks in the bottom right: there are two schools left – Necromants and Summoners – and two alignments left. They are left unmarked because the resulting graph is either inconsistent or asymmetrical. We can proceed in two ways:

Respect the symmetry of the oppositions: Necromancer at the bottom, Sigilist at the bottom right. But penciling in the alliances, the graph looks like this, which is not symmetrical, really.


What if we respect the symmetry of the alliances, and wiggle the graph a bit? Summoner at the bottom, Necromancer at the bottom right. Ally Necromancers up with Chronomancers, and Summoners up with Elementalists, and all is good. Except Thaumaturgists at the top are not opposed to Summoners at the bottom, and Necromancers are not opposed to Sigilists. It looks like this, with a minor rearrangement:


the bottom EN should read EL for Elementarists, the Witch-Necromancer alignment has been moved out of the way to reduce the clutter

There’s also two more options. The first one is not anthropocentric, and somewhat not romantic: the because of aesthetics, we try to assume that the underpinning of the world are symmetrical, because we value symmetry, and if it’s not symmetrical it’s not beautiful and therefore not true (or at least that’s how we are prone to feel). Needless to say, I’m not a fan of this option. Also, from a user interaction perspective, symmetric systems are more memorable and easy to learn.

The second option is that the book is lying. Maybe Sigilism is opposed to Necromancy, and Thaumaturgy is opposed to Summoning, and all symmetries are preserved. I understand that the author J. McCullough might get annoyed at this suggestion, but I’d like to point out that of the eight Thaumaturgy spells, three especially target demons or are effective against controlled creatures, and none target the undead specifically, and the three other schools have little “countering” spells.

It might seem weird, but there’s a chance I might be onto something here. Wizards do their best to keep their secrets, so maybe that’s the case here?

At any rate: Frostgrave is great fun, the rules are great, melee is swingy, you get to summon demons and throw fireballs, and the scenarios are fun. The supplements are also supergreat (all of them).