A magical effect or influence induced by an incantation or formula. Spells appear often in Fantasy literature and RPGs usually employed by Merlin-esque wizards. Use alongside the work tag if asking about spells in a specific work or a more appropriate tag if applicable. Do not use if the question simply mentions spells but is not about them.

The word spell is defined by M.-W. as "a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power" or "a state of enchantment".

It hails from Middle English (talk, tale) and from Old English; akin to Old High German spel=talk, tale.

First Known Use: 1579

Frequently, works of fiction have the spells be cast in some "strange" language (such as Harry Potter's Latin-like ones), or be based on "Old" speech.

Tag usage:

  • Use this tag for specific questions about magic spells as they appear in fantasy or science fiction works, including their background lore, how they work, how they are learned, what effects they have, or how they can go wrong.
  • Make sure to tag your question with the specific SFF work or universe you are asking about, such as , , , , , etc.

Do not use this tag for:

  • For questions about game mechanics (e.g. "How many points of damage does Spell X cause under Condition Y and what dice do I roll?"), prefer RPG.SE for tabletop role playing games and Arqade for video games.
  • Questions about real-world systems of religious magic, such as spellcasting in Wicca, Greater and Lesser Magic in LaVeyan Satanism, and Ritual Magick in Thelema are off-topic because they are not about science fiction or fantasy.