At the height of the Bright Empire, loremasters of the College of Thaumaturgy made a breakthrough – they discovered a universal language which could describe the workings of magic. They dubbed this language the Logos or the Words of Creation.
(A post today about Minarian wizards. With the exception of the “Language of Magic“, none the game mechanics presented here are original; it’s all adapted from the ACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook or other sources.)
Through disciplined study and application of the Logos, individuals with an aptitude for magic can learn to memorize and cast spells with mere words and gestures – they can become wizards.
The College of Thaumaturgy formalized various schools of magic. Eight distinct paths were established – Artifice, Dominion, Fellowship, Lore, Nature, Necromancy, Summoning, and Transmogrification.
As the Bright Empire declined, the Wizards of the College of Thaumaturgy (now called the “Invisible School”) grew in power. By the time of the Empire’s collapse, many of the regional governors, or Autarchs, were wizards. They were able to protect and preserve enclaves of civilization, forming the foundation for the current Age of Autarchs and the rise of the Wizard-Kings.
Wizards still take apprentices and train them in the classical schools of magic. Once these apprentices have proven themselves (reaching 3rd level), they are sent to the Invisible School to complete their training (advancing to 5th level). They can then be granted rulership over a domain within the Wizard-Kingdoms or strike out on their own. Those who become truly powerful (9th level or higher) can be recognized as Autarchs themselves.
I’m using the new magic rules from the Heroic Fantasy Handbook (HFH) in this campaign. Spells are divided into “shades” – black magic, grey magic, and white magic – and most peasant magic-users are actually ceremonialists instead of “true” spellcasters. (See also my summary post from the Black City Campaign.)
The HFH presents the Nobiran Wizards and Zaharan Sorcerers classes which follow the Shades of Magic rules but cast spells like in the ACKS Core Rules. Since my campaign is all about “Wizard-Kings”, I want to have a class which represents human spellcasters:
- Wizard (class description): A powerful spellcaster who memorizes arcane formulas.
This is mechanically similar to the wizard class from Axioms 1, but I’ve been using revised spell progression tables since my Astonishing ACKS campaign and will continue to do so in this game. By my math, this progression still comes in at 2500XP, which means that a Minarian wizard has the same XP requirements as an ACKS mage.
I’m assuming that there is a universal magic language – much like mathematics – that is the source of a wizard’s spellcasting power. Every wizard must learn to “read magic” as part of their apprenticeship, and a wizard’s spellbook and scrolls are written in “magic”. Other characters must possess the Read Magic class skill to comprehend it; it’s not a language that can be learned normally.
I’m also making it easier for wizards to record spell formulas and to change spells in their repertoire. Here are the relevant rule changes:
The foundational skill for any wizard is the ability to read magic. Wizards learn to read and write using a secret arcane script, which they use to record spells as formulas in spellbooks. A wizard’s spellbook may contain many more formulas than the spells in his repertoire. A wizard can even record the formulas of higher-level spells that he cannot yet cast into his spellbook – but these cannot be put in his repertoire.
It takes one day of game time, 50gp of mundane materials, and 50gp of magical reagents per spell level for a wizard to add a formula to his spell book. It takes the same amount of time – one day of game time, 50gp of materials, and 50gp of reagents per spell level – to add a spell formula to a wizard’s repertoire or replace an existing spell in his repertoire with another one.
Arguably this should be at least equivalent to 1 custom power, which the wizard class takes at 1st level. Other spellcasters (such as sorcerers) have a harder time changing their spell repertoire and follow the guidelines in the ACKS Core Rules.
(This house rule also has the knock-on effect of reducing the cost for spell formulas and the value of spellbooks in my campaign.)
A wizard’s advancement in the magical arts is shaped by his school. When a wizard is created, select a school for the character. Each school teaches the use of a selection of four weapons for self-defence, four class proficiency choices, and five special abilities earned as they advance in level.
- Schools of Magic: The eight traditional paths of wizardry.
- Artifice: The school of Artifice sees magic as a mechanical process to be studied systematically in order to decipher its operations and improve upon them. Its practitioners frequently seek out the company of dwarves, who share their fascination with artificial things made with metal and fire.
- Dominion: The school of Dominion views magic as a tangible manifestation of the will to power found within every sapient creature; these strong-willed casters naturally command the weak and subservient.
- Fellowship: The school of Fellowship teaches that magic is a manifestation of the divine spark within every sapient creature. Its adherents are often found in adventuring parties, carrying divine light into the shadowed places of the world.
- Lore: The school of Lore teaches that magic is governed by secret laws and esoteric principles. Its followers seek out forgotten knowledge and share insights with sages and scholars.
- Nature: The school of Nature views magic as a force of nature, created and sustained by life. They live in the wild places of earth, and find friendship with birds, beasts, elves, and shamans.
- Necromancy: The school of Necromancy teaches that magic is a spiritual power underlying the cycle of life and death; they see the living, dead, and undead as mere tools in the pursuit of immortality.
- Summoning: The school of Summoning calls upon the nameless gods of the Outer Darkness for power and knowledge; they are served by elementals, demons, and worse.
- Transmogrification: The school of Transmogrification seeks to use magic to control life and shape and transfigure creatures to their whims; they typically surround themselves with monstrous servants and misshapen minions.
(These are just the Nobiran wizard’s colleges and Zaharan sorcerer’s paths from the HFH, renamed as “schools”.)