Nature of Wizardry
Wizardry is derived from the concordant power of the Aether. It is said that all things, great and small, are bound by the laws of this realm, caught up in the subtle yet powerful influence of eternal cosmic forces. The practice of wizardry involves studying these laws and their applications so that they can be manipulated in order to bring about desired outcomes. Wizardry is thus distinct among other forms of magic in its reliance on study, formula, and experimentation over an individual's innate ability or mindset.
Schools of Wizardry
Wizardry is lauded for its versatility. Though it lacks the raw destructive power of sorcery, wizards approach any situation with a larger "bag of tricks."
- Artifice. Wizardry can be used to instill inanimate objects with mobility and even crude intelligence. Animated weaponry and golems are popular applications of artifice, as are magical weapons, which are endowed to strike with skill and power beyond the capabilities of their wielders.
- Conjuration. The Aether is said to touch all places and all realms, and so wizards can use it to move objects or beings instantaneously from one place to another. Over the ages, wizards have devised many applications for this property, including spells of summoning, banishment, teleportation, and displacement. Powerful conjurers are even able to erect gateways connecting disparate locations or realms, or create buildings and containers that are more spacious on the inside.
- Destruction. Whereas other schools of wizardry operate through Aetheric resonance, destruction magic utilizes dissonance to break down the bonds that unify all things. This is distinct from sorcery in that it directly attacks the makeup of the target rather than overpowering it with force. Because of this, victims of destruction magic rarely show signs of external injury, but nonetheless suffer considerble internal trauma. Victims of the especially potent Death Spell have even been known to literally fall to pieces.
- Enchantment. Just as artifice brings inanimate objects to life, enchantment forces animate beings to act against their will. This differs from the social gambits of bards or the telepathy of seers in that it uses no subversion or trickery, but rather bends the cosmic powers that govern all beings to dominate their behavior. The experience is less one of subtle persuasion or altered perception and more one of the subject's body moving and acting of its own accord.
- Illusion. Illusion magic is a subtle discipline that combines the displacing qualities of conjuration with the beguiling qualities of enchantment to conceal or disguise the appearance of a person or object. Illusion magic is also useful for detecting and casting off other forms of concealment.
Side Effects of Wizardry
It is said that the first wizards were sorcerers who cast off the dangerous and chaotic power of the Maelstrom in favor of the orderly dominion of the Aether. It is this inherent safety that leads many to believe that the practice of wizardry poses no side effects. However, this seeming power without consequence poses its own unique risk: It has a tendency to instill or exaggerate hubris within the user.
It is unknown whether or not this is an effect of wizardry itself or simply a inherent weakness of mortal practitioners, but as they grow in power, wizards are known to become increasingly arrogant, domineering, superior, vain, or perfectionistic. They may come to regard wizardry as infallible, unassailable, or inherently more powerful than other forms of magic. Wizards who are not careful to restrain their hubris often suffer grim ends when they meddle with magic beyond their ken or rely too heavily on magic as the solution to every problem.
Legend tells of wizardry beyond the ken of mere mortals, a form of high magic unseen on Orn for more than an age. Wielded by the likes of Kreilos Vesdrekim, Nimera DesMarta, and Geddimus Blackthorn, high wizardry has been used to light new stars in the heavens, create castles within bottles, forge weapons of mythical power, and shroud entire cities from view. None remain alive who are capable of such feats. Only bits of ancient text and folklore obscured by centuries of embellishment hint at the truth, and the heavy price that must be paid with its use.
Circles of Wizardry
Since the days of the Silver Council, wizards have ranked themselves according to their mastery of magic. These ranks, or "circles," are defined by specific spellcasting milestones and help to denote a wizard's abilities among his peers. Often, they are also used as a measure of respect and authority within wizardly institutions, such as academies or guilds.
- First Circle. Wizards of the first circle are often referred to as apprentices, journeymen, or, pejoratively, as dabblers. Anyone able to perform a feat of wizardry, however small, qualifies as a wizard of the first circle.
- Second Circle. Sometimes called adepts or scholars, wizards of the second circle have spent extended periods of timing honing their craft and thus gained a level of standing and competence beyond any mere apprentice. Most have mastered the basics of enchantment, illusion, and destruction, such that they can beguile the thoughts of others, shroud themselves from sight, or shatter objects to pieces.
- Third Circle. Hailed as masters and sages, wizards of the third circle have demonstrated their understanding of the most advanced spells. At a minimum, they have mastered the art of teleportation, though many institutions place greater requirements, such as a work of advanced artifice or even the ability to form Gates to other Realms, before the title can be granted.
- Fourth Circle. In ages past, wizards of the fourth circle existed who were capable of performing feats of high wizardry. Celebrated as archmagi, they have since disappeared from the face or Orn. Many masters waste their entire lives pursuing the secrets of fourth circle wizardry, so much so that "seeking the fourth" has become synonymous with going on a fool's errand.
Famous Practitioners of Wizardry
- The Berylline Syndicate. During the Shunning of the Magicks, as the strength of the Silver Council was waning and magic itself was under siege, a group of wizards set out for the Aether to create a new home for themselves among the stars. They named this domain Beryl, a city of glittering green that remains populated by the descendants of its founders to this day. Although originally created as a sanctuary, ready access to rare reagents and ongoing communication with colleagues in the mortal realm eventually spawned a thriving trade in magical commodities. The Berylline Syndicate was subsequently founded to regulate this trade, and maintains numerous outposts throughout Orn.
- The Order of the Crystal Fist. It is said that Shimosh Rosequartz, the mortal who later ascended to immortality as Lemesin, was once badly maimed in a battle against a powerful fiend. Healing magic could not restore his lost arm, and so he turned to a wizard, who crafted a crystalline arm to replace the one Shimosh had lost. In time, this partnership grew into a knightly order comprised of both wizards and paladins dedicated to ridding the world of fiends and their influence.
- The Silver Council. Long ago, during the Age of Wonders, Kreilos Vesdrekim taught the first wizards their craft and founded the Silver Council with the altruistic objective of enriching and guiding the world through magic. Upon his departure to the Aether, the council fell into increasing disarray, until it was finally toppled by followers of Ressik during the Shunning of the Magicks. Toppled towers, lost libraries, ancient relics, and other remnants of the Silver Council still remain to this day, vestiges of the First Wizard's shattered dream of a magical utopia.
- The Wizard's Guild of Jerascht. Of the great magical cities that have survived through the ages, only one is still ruled by wizards. The wizard's guild of Jerascht has held sway over the city since the time of Kreilos. Mighty golems walk the city's walls, perpetual lights brighten its streets, and its Great Library stands as a pillar of knowledge without rival. Beneath the city, the guild is said to house innumerable magical wonders, including a portal that can transport its user to any place in any realm.