A Scholars Guide To Wizards,
Elves, Witches & Sorcerers

From Daniel E McWilliams

The Anakagok, often called a witch doctor or shaman is a tribal spell-caster who walks the line between priests and wizards. He lives at one with nature, but unlike a druid he uses his powers to manipulate nature to serve him and his tribe. However rarely is nature harmed by his actions. The anakagok draws his power from the spirits which inhabit everything, particularly those of the earth, sky and water. He can command these spirits to serve him and is thus able to bring good fortune on his tribe: plentiful game, fair weather and a good harvest. The spirits may also be summoned for more violent purposes. There is never more than one anakagok per tribe, although he will often train a youth to take his place when it is his turn to join the spirits. Much of the anakagok's magic is aimed at survival, he seeks not the power or knowledge sought by other wizards. As a result his magic is often subtle and simple and even he may not know why it works.
The sorcerer has one pursuit in life, to gain magical power regardless of the cost. He will sacrifice anything: power, money, friends, his own health and soul if necessary. The magiks he practices are the most powerful, and he is better at them than anyone else, but they are also the most dangerous. There are fewer magical crutches for the spells which he casts. He may pursue theoretical studies on how to best control the chaos of magic, and often knows more about the subject than other wizards. Although frail in body, the sorcerer possesses abilities of tremendous power and danger. In his efforts to gain more power, he conjures allies to help him, often filling his tower with the ranks of the dead, for they are easier to control than the living. Of all of the wizards, sorcerers are feared the most, and are never sought after for advice by any but the extremely foolish or the extremely desperate.
Elven High Magi:
In days long past when the elves were strong, while human sorcerers were first learning that magic could be controlled by mortals, the elves had the magi. Weaker now and declining, it is believed that the high magi are weaker now not through any magical reason, but because the elves are fading. The magic used by the elves is called glaymar, and draws upon the mutable nature of the elves themselves. Once such abilities were common in all elves, but now only the magi have the strength to invoke them. Much less common now as fewer elves find themselves able to wield the energies necessary to cast spells, they do still exist. Although not as powerful as many mortal wizards, the magi have the experience of all magi before them, and are for this reason among the most skilled of wizards. The length of an elf's life make it possible for them to study other areas in addition to magic. Many pursue music, or art or nature lore, but some study the martial skills of battle, scouting and stealth. An elven high magi skilled in the art of magic and the sword is an opponent few would enjoy facing. Despite their strength, the high magi would seem to have failed in defense of their race, as it continued to decline, until now they are little more than a token presence in the world.
Necromancers, due to their rather grisly objects of study and sacrilegious investigative techniques, have received a reputation as evil masters of undead and destroyers of the living. With a few exceptions this is not true. Necromancers use corpses to cast spells by drawing on the power of the spirit which is still linked with the body. They are able to achieve many of the same effects as other wizards without having to employ the risky practice of spell-casting. However the necromancer is rather limited in his ability to achieve magic without the use of a corpse. Most of his spells are those which manipulate life or its absence and spirits. The necromancer is usually a student of anatomy, and has much useful mundane knowledge. Due to these qualities, the necromancer is less at risk from the effects of uncontrolled magic as many other wizards, a fact which makes them very attractive to prospective young magicians, if they can tolerate long, cold nights in old graveyards, and the reaction of the populace when their occupation becomes known.
Mystics are mysterious wizards who wander the world in search of wisdom, both knowledge of the world around them (both seen and unseen) and the knowledge of the self, without which they feel all other knowledge is meaningless. Much of a mystic's time is spent in study and meditation. A mystic often surprises those he meats with his knowledge of crafts, languages, history and sciences. Mystics are able to employ a much broader range of magiks than many more limited wizards, such as necromancers and anakagoks, but the magnitude of their powers are often not as large. Mystics are often known to be able to employ the simplest method of achieving a given magical effect. This combined with their knowledge gives them a somewhat better understanding of the flow of chaos which forms magic. Where they get the power to shape the patterns of magic from remains a mystery, perhaps even to the mystics themselves (although this is one subject they never comment on), sages speculate that they may have discovered some internal power that comes from self-knowledge, but most feel that some diety has given them them their magic. This could explain many of their actions, as they are often found tending to the sick. It might also explain their bad relations with priests.
The alchemist is the wizard in the laboratory, spending long hours trying to turn lead to gold, or constructing tilkal, or searching for the secret of the philosopher's stone. An extensive knowledge of chemistry as well as the magical arts is necessary for his work. By drawing on the powers and auras of magical substances he is able to create potions and amulates, staves and weapons of power, and even artificial life; homonculi and golems. His spell abilities are limited to those which change the physical or magical nature of a substance, but need to draw upon power already present. The alchemist is the wizard most able to make a living through his magic, since many people come to him for charms and love potions and other such minor magical devices, and his reputation is at least a little better than the witch, who performs many of the same services. There is however the danger of laboratory mishaps...
Witches, according to most superstitious peasants, are in league with the devil. this is not totally wrong, but is not very accurate. A witch gains her power from a greater power from another dimension, this power uses the witch for its own ends, which even the witch may not understand. The power has the witch do many willing tasks, but will occasionally posses the witch's body and overwhelm her mind. After an occurrence of possession the witch will have no memory of what she has done. In return the power gives the the witch power to wield magic, and teaches her how to summon beings to do her bidding. A witch also learns much in the knowledge of herbalism and potion brewing. For unknown reasons, all witches are female, any males found in a witches coven are enspelled slaves or demons in disguise. It is important to note that a warlock is not the male counterpart of the witch, but a sorcerer who gains much of his power from demons, in this case it is he who holds the dominant position, forcing the creatures to do his bidding, at least for a time. Witches are one of the few types of non-priest spell-casters to join to gether in groups to practice their arts. Alienated from the common people much more than other wizards, perhaps they find company only in their own kind. Witches are occasionally sought out by townsfolk to purchase love potions, poisons and other brews, although their monetary price is far less than what an alchemist might charge, there is often a far darker cost.
Runecasters find their power by invoking the patterns associated with runes. Specific runes when accompanied with words of power or when invoked by will alone are powerful sources of magic. Runecasting is however a slow process, a disadvantage offset slightly by the fact that some runes can be prepared in advance, and used when necessary, most though must be traced at the moment of casting. Over time runecasters have developed a wide range of runes, allowing them to create a wider range of magiks than many other wizards. Unfortunately the patterns used in runecasting differ widely from the patterns used by most spell-casters, who are often able to translate the spell patterns of another type of wizard into their own form. This is impossible for runecasters, and since many of the ancient runes have been lost, and the rarity of runecasters make learning from another unlikely, the runecaster must painstakingly research most of his spells from scratch.
Also called soothsayers by the suspicious, seers are variably blest and cursed with the sight. Trying to cope with the voices and visions which plague their mind when asleep or awake, they will either gain some ability to control their visions, or become insane. Many do both. Although never able to fully control their visions, a seer learns how to direct them towards subjects of his choice, learning of events yet to happen or those occurring at a distant place. It is difficult to hide secrets from a seer, and their power makes them an excellent judge of people.While not truly spellcasters, seers achieve many of the effects of divination other wizards only dream of. Forming patterns in the mind is a dangerous and draining activity and many seers burn out and die early, but it also seems that the visions they receive are always most vivid and prophetic when they are in an extreme state of emotion, pain or fatigue. These visions never come when bidden and always when least expected.
The illusionist alters the perception of reality of those around him without changing reality itself. He is considered a charlatan by other wizards for his inability to actually bend reality, but most illusionists counter that reality is defined by perception, not vice versa. At any rate the illusionist can have a powerful effect on those around him, and often does make a living as a charlatan, possibly passing himself off as another type of spell-caster. Many times the effects he creates simply seem to appear out of nowhere, as signs of his casting go unnoticed. His patterns are the most versatile, little more than vague limits of what his spells can do. Due to their familiarity with illusions of both magical and mundane nature, they are rarely fooled by those diversions when used by others.
Callers are not spell-casters in the normal sense, they do not cast spells by any of the means which other wizards employ. Despite this they are powerful magicians able to summon powerful creatures to their aid. This more than makes up for the callers complete lack of any ability to produce spell effects. The caller is a master at conjuration, and employs many different means to call servants and objects to her aid. The most powerful of these is the ability to bond a creature. The exact ritual is unknown and the caller always performs it by her self, however it is believed to involve ritual combat of some sort with the beast to be bonded. It is believed that failure on the part of the caller has the traditional results. Once complete, the caller seems to be able to summon the bonded creature almost at will, regardless of how far away it was, it instantly appears beside her, ready to serve. The caller also has some lesser methods of conjuration, which draw upon local creatures, and although less reliable and more time consuming, they do not require the elaborate bonding ritual to be undertaken beforehand. It is believed that the bonding ritual establishes an astral link between the caller and the beast. Exactly what other qualities this bond might have remain unknown.
Houngan and Bokor are practitioners of a type of magic know as voodoo. Houngan form the red sect, and are often feared and avoided, Bakor are the black sect and are rarely mentioned. The two sects do not get along well. Houngan are able to make magic by manipulating the souls of men and the spirits of living creatures, and by using free spirits know as Loa. Their most powerful abilities require Loa, which they are able to summon and bind to them for a time. The power of these spirits is expended in a magical effect which may require up to 4 of them. There are many varieties of Loa, all of which are suited for different purposes. The houngan may instead call the Loa to fight for him, or to possess his body. This final choice combines all of the abilities of Loa and houngan, increasing some, but the houngan may find himself unable to force the possessing Loa out when the task is finished. Hougan are also known for their abilities to brew poisons and create zombies. Without Loa, houngan have only limited spells which are used to manipulate, summon or protect the souls and spirits of others and themselves.
Speaker for the Dead:
One of the weakest of the spell-casters, the mysterious speakers gain certain spell-like abilities when the have gained a significant amount of insight. Their spells function without components, prayer or even a basic understanding of magic. The speaker simply concentrates and the effect takes place. The speaker himself is an enigma as well. He travels the world with few possessions speaking for those who have died to all who will listen. Asking nothing for his services, he imparts an insight into the deceased's life, explaining his actions, goals and mistakes. The accuracy which the speaker is able to achieve is amazing, particularly considering that he probably did not even hear of the person, who's life he so intimately knows, until after he died. The speaker has a similar amazing insight into those who are among the living as well, universally they are flawless judges of character, often able to fully understand the most deeply hidden intentions. Due to his appearance at times of death, he often is seen as a threat by priests who officiate at funerals, and his exhibition of priest-like powers make speakers unpopular among most religious groups.
Semitic Cleric:
The semitic cleric is much like the Christian monk, placing himself in the strength of his god. Drawn from a people who have been invaded and subjected for thousands of years, he takes a more militant view of his place in the world. In his beliefs, convertion to the faith is the preferred outcome, and peace is preferable to war, but when enemies cannot be turned, then the priest must lead his people into battle using the power of his god to strengthen and shield them. And when the battle is over to mend to the wounds of war. While not warriors by any means, the semitic clerics achieve a basic proficiency in the craft of war which far exceeds that of most spell-casters. They are also known for their scholarly libraries, rich particularly in history and religious texts from many parts of the world. But by placing some of his faith in his knowledge of combat and more scholarly pursuits, the cleric is not quite as adept at performing the miracles that have given monk's their holy reputation.
Christian Monk:
The Christian monk is the true man of faith, he places all of his magical strength in his god. Not one to be overtly bothered with the political doings of the church, he is often found at the bottom of the clergy. Of the miracles that he can work, legends have been told. His magical strength however is never stronger than his wisdom and moral character, for these are what his god sees when the priest tries to work miracles. Devoted pacifists, they must never take sentient life (the undying fiends of the night however are not alive and are a mockery of everything which his god holds dear, and thus must be cleansed from the earth), and must always strive to bring peace, light and faith to all they encounter. His power is limited in scope only by these principles, and may spread across all the schools of magic as wizards define them. The purpose of the miracle is what matters. Due to their nature, most monks are even more limited in their knowledge of arms and armor than wizards.
Daghdha Druid:
The druid of Dagdha is the savage nature priest found among the tribes of the wilderness. In appearance he is similar to the Anakagok, dressing in a weird manner to set himself apart. His magic is formed by using the patterns that already exist in nature. For in nature, the epitome of chaos, not only does magic flow in the patterns that are, but also in the patterns that could be. He is able to pick a pattern and develop it until the actual pattern of nature has metamorphosed in to the one which he desired. This is often a time consuming process, as he must guide the pattern through all possible ones. His effects are subtle but powerful and he is never able to create a pattern which could not be created by nature on her own. But do not underestimate him, for the furry of nature unbound, is terrible to behold.
Filidh Druid:
Differing mainly in location, the Filidh druid is much like his Daghdha brother. More often found in groups with a rigid hierarchy, then the solitary savage druids, the Filidh usually live in the city and hide their true calling from all but other druids. Only at night and on the most sacred of festivals do they emerge in the traditional garb to work their magiks. The Filidh view the future, weather a second away or a century, as an infinity of possible patterns, all of which are just as likely to be picked by nature. Only the softest push is required to pick one over the others. Since all possibilities exist until one is chosen, there is much flexibility in this kind of magic. Still there are effects which they are never able to create.
Children of Ilsalunte:
Elves too have their priests, named after Ilsalunte, the first elven priest, these spell-casters are shrouded in mystery deeper even than that which normally surrounds the elves. Receiving their power from a patron god of the elves, older perhaps than any which are revered by humans, the children, like the magic, have retained some of the power attributed to the elves of old. Unlike the magi who have learned their powers through study, the children are given their's by their diety. Presiding over several elven rites, such as marriage and funerals, their main duty seems to be to prepare the eldest elves for their departure from the land of men. They do not however guide elves on this journey. The children of Ilsalunte live in a world not entirely seen by men, perhaps this was how all elves once lived, cloaked by glaymor.
Priestess of Kupala:
Priestesses who worship Kupala, the goddess of both human and crop fertility,also known as Freya, are highly respected in most agricultural ares. Most active in the spring and early fall when presiding over planting and harvesting ceremonies, they call upon the power of their goddess to bring strong crops and a good harvest. They are also know for their fortune telling abilities. During the spring they also preside over rites of human fertility. Not one of the more powerful types of spell-casters, they have the one of the closest relationships with mundanes.
Oracle of Apollo:
Oracles of the ancient god Apollo live solitary lives speaking of things yet to come for those who would know. Similar to Seers, oracles have made direct contact with the source of their divinations, and have likewise gained more control. Some would argue that the truths which an oracle speaks are less difficult to divine than those which a seer may rant in her sleep, but the real difference is that a oracle may never divine information about any creature or event which also involves herself. Kept blind to their own fate, guiding only others, many oracles (indeed most of the best ones) are physically blind as well. This show of faith in their god allows them to gain further insights about others.
Aule's Chosen:
Aule's chosen are the only know dwarven spell-casters, which is one of the strongest pieces of evidence classifying them as a different species. For if they were human, why could they not learn to become sorcerers and druids etc. Others of course counter, that it makes no difference what race they are, they simply don't have the intelligence or aptitude to become any other type of spell-caster. At any rate the diety the dwarves call Aule, has taken pity on the wretched and downtrodden dwarves, and the chosen are those who protect their kin from the harms of the world. The priestly abilities given them would seem to indicate an underground motif, perhaps a whim of the god, or maybe dwarves, like elves were different in ages past. Much of their training involves weapons and armor use which most dwarves do not bother with. Miracles worked by these priests are rare and often involve stone.
Other Priests:
Rumors persist of strange other cults, following elder gods long forgotten by most of the world, or believed to be myth only. It is believed that some of these priests are beings not even remotely human, and one wonders why should the monstrosities of the world not also have their gods. Only one thing is known for sure about these priests, whatever other agendas they may have, secrecy is the most important. Perhaps there are some things better left uninvestigated.

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