The Wizards of RoM are modeled after the Zarathustrian Magi (mah – GEE) of the Persians (as well as being represented by a trade of their own, which description follows); the Hindu Brahmins; the Egyptian prophets, alchemist-wizards; the Chaldeans of Assyria and Babylonia; and the Samanaeans among the Bactrians. All prospective Wizards tread the Path of the Spirit, but it is not by calling like a Mystic, but through discipline and scholarship that they assail the Path. It is undertaken by an act of will, of their own desire, usually through the prodding of another who has already been trained in the Arts who has seen the talent sleeping in the candidate.
Magickal talent generally expresses itself in one or more abilities commonly referred to as Spirit Senses, or Othersenses, included in the rosters showing the overall portfolio of skills available to those following the Wizards’ Path. These can take a number of forms, as explained in the description in Appendix C. It is often through the raw untrained expression of these senses that the candidates for trade training are identified.
Every Wizard PC who comes from a trade apprenticeship as opposed to coming through a formal university must have MGA of no less than 14.
Talent was required of old, and those traditions are followed by the lone masters who deign to teach these Arts. Only the universities have reduced teaching even these great Mysteries into a business open to all who can pay the tuition.
Wizard PC’s coming to the trade through a university education may have a MGA as low as 10.
Under the tutelage of his master, the novice studies the philosophies that embody the beginning of the Path. When judged ready, he retires to the isolated confines of the bare ascetic’s cell. There he fasts and meditates, laying himself open to terrible visitations and apparitions. In the space of a few nights he may undergo many incarnations of the soul, generally behaving as if mad. This culminates in some dreadful subjective illusion of death or self immolation, demons dismembering him, plucking out his eyes, hunting him down through flames. Then he ascends to Spirit on a cloud, a pillar of smoke or flames, on the back of some animal (commonly for Druids and Witches), or some similar vehicle, to finally achieve stasis, his personality dissolving in cosmic consciousness, union with the Spheres of Spirit.
Afterwards, if he can, he returns to earth via that same vehicle, which retains its magickal significance to him for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, some candidates actually die, suffering massive failures of the physical body, so great are the stresses of the trials and ordeals. Some candidates are unable to pull themselves back out of their cosmic contact, and so never really return, remaining mad in the eyes of the world for the rest of their days. The people of the period of the game sometimes described those who had lost their wits as having been touched by Spirit or the gods, called “goddess prisoners”.
Even the successful candidate who returns to his right mind with his soul in tact can only begin after a minimum of 10 days to stammer out coherent speech, to join the other Wizards, who will recognize the mark of the Path on him, and his new readiness to begin to share the magickal secrets of their trade.
To those who follow the Wizard’s Path, Death holds no fear. It is a fact of the natural world, no more than a change in consciousness, a transition to a higher level of existence. As the Flesh is only a temporarily vessel to hold the spirit and soul, it is considered a doorway between worlds. Along with the act of birth, Death is the means by which the mortal and spirit worlds remain in balance.
New Wizards often take new names as a sign of the spiritual regeneration and rebirth undergone during this process. Most Wizards applying for the final degree under which they will take their magickal training in a university are given new names before entering the master’s hall, told to abandon their old name and life in preparation for this life-changing evolution. Sobriquets like “Master of the Misty Marches”, “Lord Thunder”, “Twilight Huntsman”, “Lightning Rider”, or “Lady Blue” are often coined and adopted during the period of schooling to further obscure the original name. This makes getting a fix on the Wizard through means of bonds of Sympathy much more difficult.
First and foremost, Wizards are folk of Power, the very eldritch Power on which the Universe swings, the embodiment of the only constant, which is Change, named Chaos pure and simple by many who fear it. The Power of magick gathers about these and all other wielders of Power, making them fairly walking nexus’ of Fate insofar as their connection to it never wanes but is always carried with them, whether visible to the untrained eye or not. With their Power they can warp reality to their own needs, and even their own designs and desires, though to use their magick in such a way can have unpleasant consequences. They know well about omens and portents, respecting and observing them, even looking for them or calling for them by their Arts, knowing them for the natural signs of the movements of Power in the world, the natural by-product of the connection to magick they carry.
The Power those who practice magick wield has always been a bone of contention between them and the Church. Some orders within the Church, and a few Mystics along with them, would prefer that all other-worldly Power be left to the gods to dole out, for them to direct its use among the faithful when they are ready to receive it, or when the gods send it to them to use as directed. The greater majority of the pious, Mystics included, are neither so insecure nor so greedy as to think they actually have the right to rule others so, much less the mandate of the gods or the Light to back them up.
Some Mystics and members of the Church cite the effects of iron and steel upon the magicks that stem from the Olde Ways (Druid trades, Witches) as evidence of the superiority of holy miracles and the power of the gods in general, and the lack of such an effect on the magicks of Wizards as at least partial evidence of some infernal protective alliance with the Darkness – regardless of the fact that many Wizards are also pious and religious men. Some Mystics and factions in the Church treat Druids, Witches and Wizards as simply wayward children who cannot see the error of the Path they tread. Some treat them as wicked, willful children, while others rant and rave about godless heathens who defile the very ground they walk upon, accusing the magickal community following any but their own holy Path of Power of being amoral, demon-loving wretches who have wrested the threads of Destiny out of the hands of the gods r the Light to whom they rightfully belong. Another, more patient, gentle and retiring faction simply sighs and offers up their prayers, recalling that ALL Paths of Power lead back to the gods from whom all Power and Wisdom flow, commending them all to the Virtues in the hopes that all find their way back to the proper deities. These gratefully offer thanks that many who follow other Paths of Power still remain pious church-goers dedicated to a life of Virtue, despite their professions and the attitudes of some of the other members of the religious community. The rest of the common folk and the Mystics fall somewhere in-between.
The player must decide for himself where his magick-wielding character fits in, and make sure his GM knows where his character stands, so the GM can ensure the character ends up with a circle of like-minded friends and colleagues and doesn’t have to constantly fight with his own brothers in the trade over his views.
There are many roads to spiritual reward, and every member of the magickal trades understands that his is not the only valid one.
The roles of the Druid trades and the Witches are relatively clear and fairly easy to define, largely based on culture and shared religion, but that of the Wizards is more subtle in nature. In the spectrum of practitioners of magick, Wizards are the true artists and technicians. But the true measure of their quality lies in what they do with it. Some who practice the Arts may simply be curious, or possessed of a drive like a great thirst for the secrets of the universe, but for most the drive fades over time for many, and the few that arrive at the pinnacle of power discover they have no idea what to do with it, having attained it.
Magick is subtle when it has its own way in everyday life, according to the Natural Order, but sometimes the traces of its presence and power are readily discernable, like emotions on the faces of the races of Men. Loves and hates, for example, whether fixed on people or things, are expressions of energy and have magickal power and can be used or manipulated by one who has the knowledge and skill. Those who wield magick see and sometimes even seek these subtle connections in the world to gain greater control over their Arts and the world around them, to increase their effective power. This is why all practitioners tend to be cagey and careful when in the company of their colleagues and others known to have Power, to protect themselves from being victimized by their own connections to the world and the people around them. The stereotype of the lonely, lone-wolf Wizard has emerged due to the conditions imposed by the Wizard’s work. It is no accident. Like any stereotype, however, not all those that follow the Wizard’s Path feel the need to fall into that mold. Some of the more notable among them even actively defy it.
The niche that Wizards occupy who exist in mainstream medieval society is one in which they offer highly skilled and knowledgeable service for hire, in much the same manner as any lawyer or physician. They commonly run in much the same social circles, frequently rubbing elbows. They often do more consulting for the public than actual works of magick, and their rates for the magicks they do cast under contract are usually set by the relative POT of the charm, the Sphere of Power used, whether it is permanent or temporary in nature, and the like.
It is unlikely that a Wizard would actually “hang out a shingle” in the manner of a lawyer or physician to advertise his presence and the service he provides. Many do just fine working in private for a select few high-ranking, high-profile patrons, or simply make themselves known through word of mouth along with the types of services they are willing to provide. Many Wizards only offer a limited number of the magicks from their portfolios for public consumption, generally those over which there can be little if any social friction or debate over morality.
The Power itself pushes those who need Wizardry into the path of the Wizard. Wizards are commonly approached by those needing news of foreign places, providing swift communications, Revealing and Reading and finding things lost or that which they desire, speedy means of travel, limited magicks to employ in battle, or magicks to be cast on or for the client on the spot. Housecalls may be made under special circumstances – or not – and they may allow for contracted periods of service where they take a retainer and pay by the day comparable to any physician or lawyer, with charges for actual magickal services being charged in addition, and recompense for materials for Low Magicks, as necessary. How a Wizard in public or even limited practice conducts his business directly affects his reputation, in addition to the public report of the quality of his work.
It is probable that the Wizards may have a guild to help them deal with the social hierarchy and interact with the world and its “authorities”, but this is up to the GM. The player should check to see if there has been any sort of charter set forth to create a guild for the Wizards, whether locally for a given town or city, or nationwide with local chapters. Due to the individualism of the members, any guilds are likely to be isolated and competing. This opens up a whole new field of competition between the followers of the different Arts and also between the various universities and schools training the Wizards. Certain towns and their guilds are likely to be beholden to certain schools or a given university for the Wizards that come to swell the ranks of their local guild. The libraries kept by each guild are always jealously guarded and tightly administered, but a great resource for their members.
Just because the Wizard has the knowledge and Power does not mean that he has to offer his services for hire, however. Some, deploring the unwashed masses and the often humbling conventions of social interaction in a feudal and seigniorial world, prefer to direct their energies towards research and honing their skills while hunting for ways to increase their knowledge and portfolio of skills in the Arts, picking their way through ancient tomes for clues to where such rare treasures might lie, then pulling teams together to aid them in obtaining them.
Disturbances in the Ambience:
As mentioned in the Introduction, mana is the spirit and power of magick. As a general force, it is seen by the trained practitioner to permeate and overlay every corner of the Mortal World, constituting a vast continuous energy field known as the “Ambience”, as discussed in the Primer. While the Ætherium is always in motion, both the drawing and release of the power (mana) used in crafting charms or “dweomer-crafting,” creates a disturbance that passes through it, regardless of the trade of the practitioner. This is best described as a ripple-like wave that radiates outward in all directions through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between the Spirit and the mortal world. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.
A Wizard can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(SPT) + (TR)] feet of them.
Beyond this, a successful SPT check on d100 is needed to allow him to “feel” it.
The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(SPT att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].
The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range,
MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA
PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.
When a magick is finally loosed or cast (whether successfully or not), it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.
This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(SPT) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.
For this check, the AV is [(SPT att. mod.) + (TR)], again.
The DV for the SPT check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.
- IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.
- IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the SPT check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.
After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).
This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.
Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful SPT check on d100.
Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.
The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.
Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.
The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.
This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.
This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.
In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.
One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.
Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.
The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.
This is simply an occupational hazard.
Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.
There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the SPT checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).
Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.
In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.
The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.
Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.
On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.
Of all the trades that pursue and practice magick, the Wizards are most concerned with the study of the nature, spirit and individual characters of the Ars Quintates, with gaining the insight needed to exploit every advantage of each, understanding the vital importance of the skills of High, Common and Low magick to all the Arts. Every master and every school teaching Wizardry teaches ALL of the Ars Quintates discussed above, as they are the pillars of the knowledge of the trade, a regular part of the curriculum for any school that wishes to have any professional credibility at all. It is essential for aspiring Wizards to be able to appreciate the overall landscape of the power they wield. The emphasis in study is likely to vary from one school to the next depending on the strengths of the masters who teach there, as commonly occurs in the universities, as described in the text under “The Scholastic Trades”. Because of a great master in Enchantment teaching at a given school, that school gains a prominent reputation for that Art, another becoming highly renowned for Divination, and so on. In this way, each of the universities and even the smaller academies or schools may develop a reputation for offering the best in education regarding one of the five Arts, or perhaps two – though one to a lesser extent.
This is one of the major factors that sets each of the universities or schools apart, and it is the characters of their leading professors, the wizards who elect to teach what they have learned, that distinguishes each school and gives it the reputation it has. Shake-ups in the staff of the university can have wide and sweeping impact on the attendance and the type of students that apply to study there. Masters moving by invitation from one school to another are not uncommon, and it is the common practice of the master who moves to take with him to his new school many of those students he has studying under him, that his reputation brought to him in the first place. In the academic struggle to attract students, the need for CHM and the Presence skills are paramount.
In the same manner governing the qualities and reputations of the schools, every Wizard generally establishes a strong affinity with one of the Arts, usually rather early on in his career, and perhaps a second Art to a lesser extent. The Art in which a character is strongest, carrying the highest SL, that which he uses the most and with which he identifies most. It is likely he associates with others of a like mind in the craft, to share ideas and compare notes from time to time, or simply because it is easier to associate and communicate in general with those who have a similar frame of mind and approach to the trade.
The player must make a decision before the start of play as to whether his character has learned his Wizardry from a traditional apprenticeship under a single master, or through taking a doctoral degree in Natural Philosophy at a university that offers magick in the advanced curriculum. The circumstances chosen affect the portfolio of skills available to the character somewhat, and definitely makes a great deal of difference in the sort of environment the character hails from. The differences between the two traditions are clearly evident in the rosters of skills available to each presented side-by-side below.
|Wizard (Apprenticed)||Scholar-Wizard (PhD.)|
|Charms (MGA) * ◊||Charms (MGA) * ◊|
|High Magick *||High Magick *|
|Common Magick *||Common Magick *|
|Low Magick *||Low Magick *|
|Ars Quintates *||Ars Quintates *|
|M-RES Shield||M-RES Shield|
|Linguist (P)||Grammar School (P)|
|Ancient Arcane *||Linguist (P)|
|Literatus & Scrivener (P)||Foreign †|
|Secretary/Acct. (P)||Ancient Arcane *|
|Grammar School (P)||Scholar’s Tongue|
|Lore Specialties (P)||Lore Specialties (P)|
|Astrology & Astronomy||Trivium & Quadrivium|
|Perception (O)||History & Mythology|
|Sense Mana/Magick||(ancient & recent)|
|Spirit Senses ◊||(domestic & international)|
|(Church & State)|
|Plays & Poetry|
|Religion & Theology|
|(domestic & foreign)|
|(ancient & recent)|
|Mathematics & Geometry|
|Astrology & Astronomy|
|Elective Areas of Expertise †|
|Spirit Senses ◊|
Most universities and schools of the magickal mysteries, and masters tutoring their apprentices, encourage their fledgling Wizards to seek insights of lore and power through the skills of Alchemy, classes in which are also offered. Having this knowledge enables the character to also make many of his own ritual supplies, saving him a fair portion of that expense. It also allows him to create substances like potions, unguents, philters, elixirs, salves, and the like that can carry his magicks, so he need not always be pressed to produce magick spontaneously, under the pressures of the moment. Under the optional END rules, this saves him from the use of his END for castings on the spot. The making of these substances are discussed in detail in the description of Alchemy in the Scholastic Trades, and also in the “Potion Bases” skill in Appendix C.
Since stage magick and cheap sleight of hand illusions are good for the manual dexterity of all aspiring Wizards. The games of the Mountebank are approved by the masters and become common practice among the students of Wizardry in the universities – one more tool with which the older students can torment new, younger students, keeping them guessing where the sleight-of-hand stops and the real magick begins! Outside the halls of academia or the hall of the apprentice’s master, these skills are often needed to make a living in lean times and provide the perfect cover to hide the true knowledge and training of a student newly out of school or hide his true talents in realms or districts whose kings or lords may be unfriendly to the practitioners of the Arts.
If a Wizard favors the company of Shadow Weavers and the art of Glamourie, he is encouraged to cultivate skill as a visual Artisan, far more appropriate than learning Alchemy, as it improves the quality, his attention to detail, in creating not only visual illusions, but the glamours to designed to deceive the other senses, as well.
What other trade the character takes on to facilitate his Wizardry is up to the player’s discretion, if he takes on any at all. It is by no means required that he do so.
The heart of Wizard trade and the true measure of how effective he is in play is determined by the charms in his portfolio, however.
What dweomers can he craft?
What can he can do with his Arts?
During character generation, the player must answer these questions by choosing the charms or “dweomer-crafting” skills with which his character begins play.
All Wizard characters may be equipped with up to (MGA) charms with which to be brought into play.
These are chosen from the following roster.
Alarum Charm, Charm of Warning
Anonymous Glamour, Magnetic Presence
Beast of Burden (Hearty Hero; Feeble Waif)
Bell the Cat
Bonds of Concordance
Burden Charm (Carefree Burden; Wearisome Burden)
Cache, Dweomer Cache, Power Cache
Candle in the Window
Charm of Common Binding, Charm of Common Unbinding
Charm of Common Shaping
Charm of Direction
Charm of Distraction, – Iron Concentration
Charm of Facility, Hex of Bumbling
Charm of Finding
Charm of Mastery, Hex of Incompetence
Charm of Mending
Charm of Occlusion
Charm of Silence, Circle of Silence, Wall of Silence
Circle of Protection
Cloak of Confustication
Cloud of Obfuscation, Veil of Obfuscation
Commune wi’ Shadows
Conjure Shadows of the Past
Dispel Common Magick
Draw Harm, Deflect Harm
Far Flight, Earthbound
Far Speak, Eavesdropper’s Charm
Fat the Boar, Wasting Hex
Gas Bag, Bloat
Golden Touch, Contrary Charm
Heroic Appetites, Finicky Belly
Magnetic Gaze, Avert Gaze
Malleable Charm, Charm of Stiffening
Neverbreak, Charm of Fragility
Perpetuate Motion, Dampen Movement
Sharp Sense, Dull Sense
Slick Charm, Stick Charm
Speak in Tongues, Babble Hex
Swift Heal, Slow Heal
Swift Rest, Cat’s Breath
Sword of Damocles
Tell-Tale, Foe Marker
Veil of Lightning
Walk in Another’s Shoes
Walk Safe, Undermine
Web of Awareness
Window of Resonance
It is very important that the player make a note of which of the Ars Quintates may be used to cast each of these charms, as he may not always want to use the same Art to cast it.
Due to the fact that each charm in the game may be cast by a number of different Arts, the character develops a separate SL for a given charm for each Art by which it can be cast, and the difficulty of the task, or DV, is determined in part by the Art used for the casting.
- IF the player has chosen to neglect any of the Five Arts, leaving them out in the process of Character Creation, the master he apprenticed under is assumed to suffer from a similar lack, or all five would have been learned.
While no player is required to equip his Wizard with skill in all five of the Arts, and he is encouraged to do so, he must have at least one of them. The lack of any one of them may be a matter of note to friends and rivals alike should it be discovered.
If a character has come into the craft of magick through a trade apprenticeship, the GM can use the charms the character begins play with as a starting point for determining the skills of the master under which the apprenticeship was served, for he must have had all of these and no doubt at least a few more.
Trade Memory & Maintenance
During his trade training, all aspiring Wizards use their magickal talents to cultivate a meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory for the sole purpose of retaining their vast store of magickal lore.
The character’s special trade memory enables him to retain up to [(MGA) + (TR) ÷ 4] charms or specific skills of arcane knowledge in a single AWA-slot, rather than the same amount of space in the character’s memory that such knowledge would occupy if learned by more mundane methods (1 skill per AWA-slot).
This works in a similar manner as other groups of related skills, like languages for a Linguist character, Social Graces, Lore specialties, or weapon skills. Otherwise each skill would fill a whole AWA-slot on its own
In order to maintain the knowledge in his special trade memory, the various nuances of magickal lore in the character’s special trade memory must be refreshed periodically. In order to maintain this knowledge intact the Wizard must meditate, review the entire contents of his trade memory, and practice from time to time for a period of time dependent upon the number of charms he knows and his SL’s with them.
The Wizard must spend [(number of charms) + (TR)] MINUS [(AWA) + (MGA att. mod.)] in days meditating on and reviewing his Common Sphere charms, minimum one (1). Once completed, he need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.
For example, the TR16 Wizard Arnaud Osset has 18 charms, for a base study time of 34 days, and an AWA15 and MGA 16 (att. mod. +3), so he must spend 16 days in meditation, chanting in review, and practicing (18 charms + TR16 = 34; 34 – 18 = 16 days).
One of the character’s two tomes must be open and within arm’s reach during this entire process so it may be used as a reference.
For every (MGA ÷ 4) days that the character does not review the magickal skills in his trade memory with one of his reference tomes, his casting AV’s drop by one (1).
This penalty can be momentarily avoided by casting directly from the pages of his book, open to the dweomer and Art he is working. It also places the Wizard at risk, revealing the nature of his ability/activities and giving his foe(s) a valuable object to focus on in hopes of thwarting his efforts – one that is HIGHLY valued in the open market, whether it ends up having to be sold on the black market or not.
- IF the PC does not wish to sequester themselves away to plow through the time required (during which time no other activities might be undertaken), the time may be divvied up in the same manner as a craft project, stretched out over up to (AWA ÷ 4) times the required length so long as at least one (1) daily activity slot (by AWA) is devoted to it every day without exception until it is completed.
For example, Arnaud could spend his last daily activity slot (between supper and bedtime) working at his craft for 64 days (16 days discharged @ 1/4th a day per day elapsed is the same as 16 x 4 = 64 days) and incur no penalties as he goes.
- IF the Wizard lapses in observing this practice and the time for which the character is free of the burden of study has expired, penalties begin to accumulate immediately for weaving charms of any kind, by any Art or Form until he resumes fulfilling that requirement. When he resumes, the penalty does not go away until the requirement is met, BUT it does not get any worse, either.
Once this requirement is met, the Wizard need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.
For example, once Arnaud has completed his 16 days, he is free for the next 32 days (MGA16 + TR16 = 32).
- IF the player decides to have his character study and practice during his freedom from it, when he doesn’t have to, each full day spent is subtracted from his requirement when he is again required to study. The character’s AWA activity-slots may be used to gradually accumulate day’s-worth of chanting and review/practice, as explained above, BUT only FULL days completed towards this requirement are counted once the time arrives to fulfill the requirement again.
For example, Arnaud’s 15 AWA gives him 4 activity slots per day. If he takes the last of those 4 activity slots to study each evening before bed (as above), to meditate, chant, practice and review for the 32 days while it is not required, he can discharge exactly 8 of those days, cutting the number remaining down to 8 (32 ÷ 4 = 8), down by half. He can continue doing this until his circumstances change due to changes in SL’s and TR.
Even only studying a half day (2 AWA-slots), allowing half the day (2 AWA-slots) for domestic things, adventuring or what-have-you, Arnaud could then discharge refreshing his trade memory in 16 days. Afterwards, he has 32 days of light attention to his Arts.
But the cycle can be varied according the character’s requirement, the number of AWA-slots the character has and the player’s preference, as desired.
The Wizards’ Cant: “Ancient Arcane”
For all intents and purposes of the game, all magicks in RoM are considered to be “formulaic.” That is to say, magick is performed through the use of gestures and some form of chants or incantations handed down from master to student over many centuries, or even millennia in some cases. These have been pre-established by the research of those who have gone before, determined to produce a similar, established effect according to the Art used (Divination, Enchantment, Glamourie, Naming, or Sorcery) when performed correctly (depending directly on the caster’s talent and training). This applies primarily to Low and Common magick, (spells and rituals, respectively). Cantrips require no such physical support to cast, having been discovered at a much later date than the Low and Common forms. Cantrips are High Magick because they are the latest and greatest of the powers of magick to be discovered, most effortless in appearance, but most difficult of the three to perform.
For their own part, the Wizards have resurrected the tongues of the ancient wise men and philosophers over the centuries, forging them into the language of their teachings, the language in which they incant their spells and rituals, in which they keep their tomes of knowledge, and in which they converse among their own kind – the secret cants of each of the schools of wizardry, sometimes referred to as “Ancient Arcane”, or irreverently as “Wizard’s Cant” (double-meaning fully intended). This is essentially a pastiche of the fantasy gameworld analogues of Greek, Latin, Egyptian, Arabic, Aramaic, Babylonian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Pharsee, and the like. This arcane tongue is very critical in both vocabulary and inflection and exceptionally difficult to learn, similar in difficulty to the languages of the Far East, especially the nuances of Mandarin Chinese.
All of the magicks worked by those who follow the trades of magick are spoken/chanted in that trade’s secret tongue. Due to the sheer power that it invokes when spoken aloud during spell and ritual casting, all listeners are smitten with overwhelming images and emotions which actually blot out the words themselves. The words themselves are always completely burned out of the memories of any who overhear. The gestures that are required in spell casting and the actions and movements required in rituals always vary a bit from one Wizard to the next, as well, so each Wizard must discover the variation that works best for him. No two ever practice their Art exactly alike, even when using the same form (spell or ritual) of the same Art (Divination, Enchantment, etc.) for the same specific charm. All these facts make magick extremely difficult to learn, even for those who have talent and a willing instructor, while providing an effectively impenetrable barrier that prevents nosy outsiders from “stealing” the secrets of any of the arts of magick through simple observation.
A Wizard character may communicate freely with any other Wizard trade member in this secret tongue, BUT no Wizard would ever teach this secret language to anyone not already initiated into the mysteries of the Power of the trade and accepted as a full trade member, on pain of a lingering punishment, even death, from his brother Wizards. To do so is to betray the secrets of the trade and craft of magick that every initiate is sworn to keep safe.
The Ancient Arcane Wizards’ Cant is part of the character’s Linguist, Scrivener, and Literatus skills, the same as the Scholars’ Tongue is if he has come to his magickal training through formal education in a university, as opposed to a trade apprenticeship. The LoA of all three language skills begins at Warden, but must be increased to Master LoA in order to have access to Noble Sphere magicks and again to WorksMaster LoA in order for the character to have access to Sovereign Sphere magicks. Otherwise, the Wizard won’t have the vocabulary to be able to properly translate the descriptive texts and incantations for the charms he would learn.
Each of the Five Arts has its own special jargon or vocabulary to describe its special processes and address concerns relating specifically to its practice. If a character is lacking one of those arts, he also lacks the language skills to discuss that art with his colleagues. This must, of course, stand out as a matter of note to his colleagues, if or when it should be discovered.
Wizards follow a written tradition of lore, and this drives them often to search back through the written record of the past to further clues to knowledge and skill, and thus, power. In keeping with this tradition, each Wizard must have completed scribing two tomes before the Wizard leaves the school or master from whom he received his trade training, both for his Common Sphere magicks. The first one travels with him for taking notes on lore he discovers while on the road, almost a diary of his magickal career and pursuits. The second acts as a repository for ALL his knowledge, completely unabridged and polished with glosses and commentary written, transformed as it has been transcribed from the first book. The greater a Wizard’s SL with a given charm, his skill and knowledge with the Ars Quintates that apply to it and his skills in High, Common and Low Magick, the more he knows of its inner workings and the more he has to say about it for the sake of posterity and also for his own reference.
Each book weighs 7.25 lb’s and has 100 pages in it, enough for the descriptions of 35 charms at SL1, assuming Art and Form SL’s also of 1, but these books can easily be added to and expanded with the help of a competent bookbinder up to a limit of about 200 (14.5lb’s, more than a stone) OR an absolute maximum of 300 pages (21.75lb’s). It is doubtful that any such character is going to be toting either of the larger books around in their rucksack. If the character is beginning play with SL’s higher than 1, the contents and size of his books must be increased commensurately. Additional pages can be added as play progresses and the character’s knowledge grows, according to the guidelines provided in the Grimoire.
One of the character’s two tomes must be open and within arm’s reach during the entire process of study and review for the maintenance of his trade knowledge (as described previously) so it may be used as a reference.
Under the Mantle of Power
Due to his repeated and intimate exposure to the power and patterns of the charms he weaves, the Wizard gradually builds up his spiritual defenses against those magicks directed against him that can also be resisted.
A Wizard’s (base) M-RES score is innate and protects him from those magicks that may be resisted, even if he is consciously unaware of them. His subconscious grows and becomes trained to be on guard so that in effect he cannot be Surprised magickally, which in the case of any other target would reduce his M-RES to one (1).
When he is aware of a magick directed at him, the practitioner receives a bonus of (TR) to his normal (base) M-RES score for resisting those magicks that allow it.
Under the Optional END rules, every Wizard is trained over the course of schooling in the magickal Arts to develop and harbor within his own spirit a personal reservoir of mana that can be tapped for casting magick.
This personal reserve consists of [(MGA ÷ 4) + (TR)] points-worth of POT in mana, to be used at the player’s discretion.
This resource can be used to bolster a magick that needs to be strong in POT while taking no more time to cast than normal. The player should look on this reserve as being more for use in emergencies when things look dark because it takes time and effort to restore afterwards, a period of rest and meditation where the spirit is opened to the flows of mana and the reservoir slowly refilled.
The mana may only be collected or drawn into the reservoir at a rate of one (1) point per [40 – (HRT)] minutes, but the character must make a point to take the time to settle down in a calm, quiet atmosphere and meditative state, preferably alone, to accomplish this.
IF necessary, the character can use the points of POT in mana in the reservoir for physical activities as additional points to add to his END to be spent normally but, to do so, the personal reservoir must be completely emptied, whatever points of POT in mana remaining in it dumped wholly into the physical body, and the procedure for replenishing the reservoir afterwards remains the same.
Unlike physical energy, a practitioner of magick can actually become over-charged with POT in mana, over-filling the personal reservoir until it is brimming-over with spiritual energy. This is accompanied by something of a euphoric feeling, and loosens the bonds between soul/spirit and the body. In effect, the number of points of POT in mana above and beyond what the practitioner can normally contain in his special trade reservoir is counted as equal to points of POT in alcohol consumed, loosening inhibitions, impairing AGL, CRD, and AWA. The same rules are used to describe the effects in play. The character remains in this state until the excess in POT is used up, burned off.
Some magickal folk become addicted to this feeling, like any drug addict or alcoholic. Pursuing this sensation for its own sake rather than for a higher purpose or for accomplishing specific works of magick contributes to the Vice of Gluttony (+1 point in that score for every incident) and leads the character to a place where he requires a HRT check vs. Vice in order NOT to indulge himself in this way anytime he meditates to draw power.
The Price of Power
It is widely said that the words of men of Power are never to be trusted, but this is a grave misconception, for the stamp of Power upon them affects the meaning of their words. They are vague, evasive, and difficult at best to come to an agreement with, but this is because of the weight that their words hold for them. One should never assume that an understanding has been reached unless the man of Power dealt with says that it is so. Unbeknownst to the public, the Wizard’s knowledge and the Power he exercises are almost an entity unto itself with which the PC must come to grips. These men of Power cannot afford many of the illusions and self-delusions that common folk use to make their lives more comfortable. Their magicks depend upon the true names and speech, as mentioned in the description of the trade language. The name is the thing; and for him, the word is the deed.
It is the best kept secret of the trade that a Wizard must not swear to anything that is not so or that he does not fully intend to do. The oath of any character who wields magick of any kind is his bond and should never be lightly given for, if he fails it, his own power is sure to seek to force him to carry it out.
IF he swears falsely, his own Power (with POT equal to his TR) seeks thereafter to twist events, making the situation fit his words, increasing the likelihood of a Bumble and then using the event of one to set things right, or forcing him to recant his falsehood, haunting him and inflicting bad luck upon him until he does. One who fails his sworn word can be made a hollow and empty man by fighting his Power; he may even reach a point where he dares not use it.
On the other hand, there is no restriction upon what the Wizard may say. He may lie as boldly as the next man if he makes no pretense of honor and swearing to its truth. Silence is another haven of safety. A man’s words cannot be used against him when he says nothing. Niceties of definition and vague terms are the best friends of folk of Power, allowing them to live comfortably with their power, as they wish. Though tricky, the Wizard can always try to take advantage of vague wording and imprecise or misused terms and assumptions of others to leave himself a loophole even when forced to give his oath.
One of the most famous Celtic vows hinges on this very concept, and is very dangerous to the one speaking it, and so is always accepted as an undeniable guarantee:
“May the Earth open up and swallow me,
May the Sky fall upon me,
May the Sea rise and cover me,
May Fires consume me,
If I am forsworn.”
Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise
To swear by ‘sun and moon, water and air, day and night, sea and land’ is another dire oath, indeed. Enforcement of this restriction in general is, of course, subject to the GM’s interpretation and discretion. In aid of this, the GM should refer to the passage concerning “Frivolous Magick” under the heading “Demands of the Trades”.
The Ars Magica represent an ancient tradition spanning centuries and millennia of history, having provided many high points both light and dark in the annals. Those who practice these Arts are commonly depicted as staid, stodgy, hide-bound and conservative to the point of being living fossils, and one of the excesses of character that makes them a favorite target for the japes of mundane folk is their dignity and the honor and respect that they insist be shown for their Power.
What few understand is that there is a legitimate claim behind that demand.
Every practitioner must always approach the Power with respect.
It should never be used “frivolously” nor “profligately”, to any excess.
The daily pursuit of the craft, performing works for those who are truly in need, making the various tools which can make the practitioner better and more useful when on an adventure (dweomer caches, enchanting carts and wagons, tack and harness or beasts of burden to aid travel), aiding his compatriots to make them more effective, that is all one thing, but to impress a girl one desires or to otherwise tickle her fancy or flatter her vanity in the absence of love, to embarrass a rival for sheer cussedness, or anyone at all merely for spite or to put them down, for a lark to get a laugh – especially at another’s expense, and especially when the target chosen is downtrodden already, to pursue a lust to flatter one’s own vanity, or to accomplish for one’s self anything that could as easily be done by mundane means should be deemed frivolous, especially if the practitioner has servants already to accomplish such things for him. Exceptions to the last condition should include situations where every means available must be used to avoid what would surely be a mortal confrontation with a dire enemy, or any other circumstance where time is legitimately deemed to be of the essence, especially where life and limb of self or another is at stake.
The law of conservation of energy applies in magick, too. Why should the practitioner expend the enormous effort to cast some mighty work of magick that can shake the pillars of the Spheres of Spirit when the same effective end result can be arrived at with a much more economic and tightly focused magick applied more cleverly, after due measure of consideration of the situation and the various ways in which magick might be applied. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat – so to speak.
Knowledge and canny craft is always more effective that brute force, especially in the use of magick, and has the added benefit of causing less of a disturbance in the world, thus a smaller rebound of the power unleashed.
The exception to this should be putting on a display to give pleasure to small innocent children, providing a spectacle for the pleasure of the hard-working commons, or any other circumstances where the player can justify its use as being in line with an exercise of one of the Virtues or in due payment to alleviate a debt, particularly a moral debt.
“Frivolous” is a subjective term and requires the GM to make judgement calls throughout the course of the game.
In doing so, the GM should be sympathetic AND flexible. This principle concerning the use of magick is NOT a stick with which to beat the PC’s indiscriminately, to make them fear using their Arts, and especially not to make them regret following the trade of their choice. It is to make sure that a certain amount of respect is paid to the power those characters hold. The light usage of magick on occasion should not only be allowed but encouraged. It can help build morale and bring the characters closer together, and sometimes the craft can be used in light and entertaining ways to repay moral obligations, or to reward the deserving whose efforts so often might otherwise go unnoticed. These are all laudable uses of the craft.
The wild beast which is the Power these characters wield is nothing if not full of the Joy of Life.
Those who would “test” the practitioner’s Power are a waste of his time. Any display of Power simply for the sake of display, to prove his ability, is frivolous by definition. Even to request a test should be deemed insulting. If anyone wishes a display of Power as a test they had best come with a task to be accomplished that actually requires attention, the kind of task that in its completion makes a difference in peoples’ lives, to further their goals or restore a situation or condition to its previous, desirable state.
Magick is a force with a heart and soul that is little understood, but it is known to be alive in its own right – how can it not be? The energy of Life is a major constituent of it! Like any wild beast, magick can be eventually brought to heel under the right conditions, to provide the power to manifest the caster’s desires, but the practitioner should never presume that the beast has been or ever can be tamed by his hand. Magick understands emotions, it knows dignity and honor, and it knows condescension, dismissive attitudes and disrespect, far more sophisticated than any common mortal beast. Thus, when the practitioner stays his own hand and looks for the worthy cause, the opportune moment, and matters of importance it is pleased at being so well-used, it might even be said to purr, a feeling suffusing the caster’s spirit by the time he looses the dweomer. When put to demeaning and frivolous use, however, the Beast seethes. The greater the disrespect and the more frequently it occurs, the angrier the Power can become. Like a slighted lover, all history of noble and proper use of the Arts fades and is forgotten. They are the minimum that is expected of the privilege of having been taught the Mysteries of the craft. All that matter to the Power is the slights and transgressions of the present.
In play, the practitioner should start to get a prickly and uncomfortable feeling when he looses his dweomers every time the Power is used in a frivolous or meaningless manner. The player deserves such a reminder.
The GM needs to make judgement calls on the uses of magick as they occur during play and “keep score” of the number of “Frivolous Magicks” cast. When they reach a sum greater than the practitioner’s own HRT score, the Power begins to seek to balance that score. Once that point is reached, the number of such offenses that have accumulated start to affect the character’s magickal craft.
The DV for casting ANY magick from that time forward suddenly increases by that amount until the offenses have been redressed, how pure its cause or the nature of its use may or may not have any impact (GM’s discretion). When the dice are rolled and the roll to cast a magick is missed, this Frivolous Magick score is added to push the result towards the occurrence of a Bumble.
- IF a Bumble should be indicated, this number is either a) added to the result to make the result harsher, and also to increase the POT of it, as well, or b) the POT of the Bumble plus the Frivolous Magick score combined determine the POT of whatever magick might wound the practitioner’s pride the most deeply, so as to settle the score.
- IF the practitioner has, prior to or during the time when the Power has sought an outlet, lied or violated an oath against the prohibition described for the magickal trades, any and all instances added to the Frivolous Magick score and, when the inevitable Bumble occurs, those infractions are the ones on which the Power focuses its efforts to right.
It may be that more than one infraction must be redressed. In this case, the total POT of the Bumble including the Frivolous Magick score might be divided between the issues to be addressed, OR the Power might hold its grudge until all infractions of word are addressed and corrected, saving its own honor for last.
Not until all is put to rights should the GM let the character off the hook, to start over again fresh.
This practice and procedure applies to all members of the Druid trades, Witches and Wizards, alike. It does not really apply to Mystics, however. The respect due the Power they wield is considered a given, and to use it without due consideration would generally be considered unthinkable.
Even one such meaningless and frivolous use of the Mystic’s Power would give them a penalty which would require intense purification to redress, Fast, Vigil or even Retreat. This and the consequences of various violations of the Covenant with the Light and the procedures for making amends are discussed in the GM’s notes for the Mystic trade.
Unlike the Druids, Witches and other Bronze Age powers that are allied with Færie and vulnerable to the effects of iron and steel, Wizardry is the magick of Man and his Age of Iron and Steel. Together they go hand in hand, without complication or limitation.
It is of vital importance that the reader become familiar also with the passages titled “An Introduction to Magick”, “The World through a Magician’s Eyes” and “A Primer on the World of Magick” before also reading through the rules for magick contained in the passages headed “Magick in Play”. There are certain basic essential concepts in those passages that, in concert with the trade descriptions are vital to a clear understanding of magick, its place in the world and how it is created and the rules under which it manifests in the game world, especially in mechanical terms.