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 The Imperial Colleges of Magic

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Joy&RaptorsUnrestrain
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PostSubject: The Imperial Colleges of Magic   Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:06 am

Long ago, the Old Ones emerged from a gate in the North Pole. Their vast resources of magic and technology were intricate and powerful, allowing them to cross worlds, create life, and command gods and daemons. They took an interest in the creatures of this world, and began training and changing them. Their first students were the Lizardmen, reptilian, amphibian and saurian creatures living in the land of Lustria (roughly Mexico, Central, and South America). These savage creatures were the first to learn High Magic, though only the froglike Slann priest-mages could do so. Next, the Old Ones turned their attention to the Elves of Ulthuan, a crescent-shaped island continent in the middle of the Great Ocean (the Atlantic). The elves grew powerful in both the arts of magic and of war, and they were far more civilized than the lizardmen, but the Old Ones were not finished. Their next experiments were the Dwarves, who couldn't use magic, but were fierce fighters, masters of Old One technology, inventors, and the only ones who could carve the ancient runic magic to enchant weapons, armor, and machines. Then, the Old Ones turned their attention to Humanity, but they were only able to raise the nearly feral people slightly out of their brutal conditions when something went wrong. Either through sabotage or accident, the magical gate at the North Pole malfunctioned, tearing a rift in reality and space, and that was the last anyone heard of the Old Ones.

Daemons and monsters, creatures of Chaos began spilling into the world. Chaos warped the landscape, twisted all life it came in contact with, and corroded souls. A group of elves, including the next in line for the throne, turned to the powers of Chaos and became Dark Elves, moving to the cold lands north of Lustria (the U.S. and Canada), while the few elven settlers in the Old World (Europe) were forced to flee into the forests of Athel Loren, becoming the reclusive Wood Elves. The dwarves holed up in their mountain fortresses, those few left outside becoming monstrous chaos dwarves who used magic thanks to their dark sacrifices. The dead began to walk in the lands of the East and South, and the Greenskins, Orcs and Goblins and far worse, began to move through the Old World, terrorizing and destroying all in the path of their Hoards. The great dragons fell into deep slumber, with only a few of their kind remaining awake, and even the rats were affected, as some of them fed on solid, raw Chaos and grew into the vicious, humanoid Skaven, skulking underground and using dark sorcery and disease to destroy anything in their path. Mankind warped into mutated creatures and savage beastmen, but perhaps worst of all was the effect this event had on Magic.

In the time of the Old Ones, magic was practiced carefully and with intricate control, but the essence of magic was change... Chaos. Because of this, magic users, especially those who didn't take care and control, like the High Elven Mages and Lizardmen Slann and Dwarf Runemages did, were frequently corrupted by magic, gradually growing more and more debased, vile, and mutated. Dark Elves, Witches, and Warlocks practiced Dark Magic, and evil necromancers from the lands of the Pharaohs, the dark vampire counts of the Old World, and the Lich Lords of the East summoned armies of the undead. Some people even turned to the raw, daemonic powers of Chaos itself, revelling in the insane forces they played with, uncaring of their souls. The world was a dark, bloody place, and all was threatened by the Chaos. It was then that Teclis, one of the Archmages of the High Elves, brought some companions with him to the Old World. He went to the leader of the largest nation on the continent, the Holy Roman Empire, and offered the Emperor, who, until that time, had, as leader of the Church of Sigmar, hunted down and burned most spellcasters, whose magic, more often than not, was corrupted by bits of Chaos and Dark Magic. The Empire called a cessation of hostilities to all wizards, hedge witches, magicians, alchemists, druids, spellcasters, and the like who came to the Capital to be trained by Teclis and the other elven mages. Many came, and as the armies of the Empire fought to buy time, Teclis began to train them all. He could not teach them to master the pure, balanced power of High Magic, because humans would not live long enough to learn the control and force of will and memory that was required. So instead he divided his lessons into eight groups... each focusing on one different "Wind" of magic. The Winds of Magic blew out of the North pole and spun around the world, each moving through a different substance according to its nature, each associated with a different color, and each capable of different effects. Because they were distinct, human wizards who were properly trained could use the magic safely, without succumbing to the effects of chaos (other than some odd traits, like changes in hair and eye color, body temperature, skin texture, and the like). Some of the wizards were even specifically trained for battle, and because of them, the armies of the Empire were able to turn back many of the forces of darkness in the Old World. This galvanized the other forces that had hidden themselves away, and the Dwarves emerged from their mountains to defend against the Greenskins, Chaos Dwarves, and Skaven, while the Wood Elves awakened the treants and dryads, unicorns and forest dragons, and the romantic and chivalric Bretonnians (combined France and England) sent their knights out to vanquish evil under the guidance of the mysterious Morgiana Le Fay, priestess of the Lady of the Lake. Even the most vile witch hunters were required by law to offer any magic users they discovered the chance to go to the Imperial City of Altdorf learn magic at the eight new colleges that were being built... and if the magic users chose not to, then they were to be dealt with harshly. Wizards go to Altdorf for apprenticeship and then are sent out as journeymen (and women), before being considered master wizards and finally wizard lords. Some became researchers, others healers, still others battlemages, but all were to serve the Empire.

Now, it is your turn. You are an apprentice, brought Altdorf to continue your education, soon to progress to the level of journeyman if you can keep up with the exacting studies. You have the gift of magic, the desire to serve your country, and most of all, a desire to live. Study well, for your life depends on it.

You will need to play as a character in this game, though whether you post a bio or describe him or her completely is up to you.
Bios should include your character's NAME, APPEARANCE, RACE (Human, Wood Elf, High Elf*, Half-Elf, Half-Dwarf, Half-Orc, Halfling), COLLEGE (Bright, White, Gray, Jade, Celestial, Amethyst, Amber... or Bretonnian Magic, Wood Magic, High Magic, Kislevite (Russian) Ice Magic, Runes**, or, if you wish to play an evil character, Chaos Magic or Dark Magic), SPELLS (will post these later), and BACKGROUND (including how you grew up, how your talent for magic was discovered, why you chose or were sent to that specific college, your experiences as an apprentice, what your plans are for when you become a journeyman, and your thoughts on magic in general).
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PostSubject: Colleges of Magic   Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:21 am

Amethyst Magic: Purple Wizards, or Necromancers, watch the wind of Shyish, also called the Lore of Death and Spirit. Of all the winds of magic, Amethyst is the hardest to detect and use. It flows in and out of the stream of time, lingering near what is dead and decaying. It hangs heavy over graveyards, battlefields, and places of execution. It deals with direct physical effects to living bodies, and with death and doom. Shyish is the metaphysical projection of trepidation in the face of the unknown and all sentient life's fear and terrible awe of death. Yet Shyish is also an encapsulation of reverence and respect - of the non-divine aura that mortals project onto those things they consider sacred or special. It is therefore the realization of the transience of life combined with the belief that creation itself is permanent. Although Amethyst wizards scorn trivial ornamentation, certain recurrent symbols are associated with the order, including a scythe, skull and bones, an hourglass and a thorny rose. The Amethyst College is a gloomy place, situated against the southern walls of Altdorf, overlooking the cemetery where thousands were hastily interred after the devastation of the Red Plague. The college is built with curved walls of dark stone, giving it a monolithic, gothic, imposing atmosphere that dominates the surrounding streets. It has few towers and fewer windows, presenting an impenetrable and discouraging facade. It is a far less welcoming place than the shrine to the death god, Morr - which lies nearby, much to the chagrin of both communities. The doors of the Amethyst College are always slightly ajar, yet few thieves are bold enough to enter the gloomy portals. Inside, the building is silent. The rooms are vaulted and gloomy, painted dark purple or midnight blue, with a few items of furniture carved from dark wood. There are layers of dust on the floor as if nobody has passed this way for many years, but if visitors turn to look behind them they will see their footsteps are rapidly filled in with the same dust and all trace of their passing disappears. Most rooms are echoingly empty, but some are decorated with mysterious sarcophagi. Most full amethyst wizards communicate strictly via telepathy. Amethyst wizards violently oppose the acts of reanimation or enslavement of the dead, and many join witch hunters and military units that go up against undead uprisings. There are some similarities between Necromancers and the dark use of undead magic (whose living practitioners are called Bokors), but Shyish's spiritualism and spellcraft can be practiced without causing the detrimental psychological, spiritual, and physical effects of undeath, though it takes longer for an Amethyst wizard to reach the heights of power of an uncaring and crazed Bokor. Amethyst wizards can steal the soul of their enemy or suck away his life, see the spirits and souls as they travel from this world to the next and communicate with these entities as well. The practitioners of "Cessationary Thaumaturgy" can sense when adults have stopped "growing up" and begun to "grow old," in some cases even predicting how much the person has left. Necromancers are rarely called on as battle wizards, though they all serve some time working for the Imperial armies, but they are popularly hired by noble families in the region of Sylvania, where the Vampires are said to stalk the night. Apprentices to the Order are expected to relinquish almost all their possessions, as joining is seen to reflect undergoing a sort of death as well. The Patriarch of the Order is Viggo Hexensohn, who has been the leader of the order for over sixty years and remains just as much a mystery.

Amber Magic: Brown Wizards, or Shamans, are attuned to the wind of Ghur, also called the Lore of Beasts. Ghur is like a thin chill breeze that cuts through any protection, in some places blowing lightly and in others like a gale. It is the breath of the animal wild, the hunt of the predator and the energy of the prey. Ghur is formed ofr the existence, experiences, and observation of wild beasts and untamed places. It is a savage wind, as primal and unreasoning as it is devoid of malice, and therefore completely inhuman. It is closely related to wild things and it cannot be tamed. Amber magic deals with elemental wildness - wild animals and birds, curses and the sheer untamed power of the natural world, very different to the power of living things tapped by the magicians of the Jade college. Amber magic works best in wild places far from the civilized races of the Old World and their control over the environment. The Amber Tower in Altdorf stands in a square behind the Imperial palace. It is a symbolic home for the college as it is almost always empty, with no library, apprentices, laboratories, or staff of servants. There may be one or two Amber mages with business in the city staying here, but it is used only when the tides of Amber magic flow most strongly across the world and reach even to the heart of the cities. The tower is short and squat, topped by many gargoyles whose faces are those of wild beasts. There is a wall around it, and the tower rises from a mossy courtyard. The tower has neither door nor windows. Directions are inscribed on the tower walls, visible only to those whose psyches are naturally attuned with Amber magic. These directions tell aspiring Amber wizards where they can seek out others of their kind for training. The door to the tower will appear and open only when Amber magic is at its strongest. Deep in the forests around Altdorf there are a number of Amber strongholds, looked after by Amber wizards for the specific purpose of training others. These strongholds are in wild places, where both wizard and Acolyte must hunt for their own food. Shamans do not trim their hair or their beards. They dress in furs of animals that they have killed themselves. They often make jewelry out of bones, feathers and teeth of small creatures, interspersed with lumps of raw amber. Their duties include hunting and slaying beastmen and chaos mutants in the wild areas, tracking down users of dark magic, and serving as savage fighters in the armies (though they have no concern with tactics at all). Many are also hired by nobles with animals or hunting grounds to learn how best to protect them. Amber magic allows shamans to control all manner of wild beasts, communicate with animals, and summon the spirits of the wild to give them the strength of the bear, the swiftness of the hare, the eyesight of the eagle, and the senses of the wolf. Amber magisters are able to shapeshift, go on vision quests, summon animal allies and interact with the natural world's patterns of competition and wildness. The symbols of the order are an arrow, a bear's claw, a raven's feather, or almost any other animal totem. The patriarch of the college is Setanta Lobas, who lives in the hills with three wolves and apparently comes from an educated background, but only enters the city when he is called for convocation with the other patriarchs by the Emperor, or on equally important matters.

Bright Magic: Red Wizards, or Magicians, manipulate the wind of Aqshy, also called the Lore of Fire. Bright magic is concerned most especially with the uses of fire, flowing mostly in deserts, volcanoes, wildfires, and other places where it is hot, dry, or burning. Aqshy is the Aethyr's coalescence of the experience and abstract of passion in its wildest possible sense. It is brashness, courage and enthusiasm, dynamism, exuberance and excitement, but also a projection of the mortal experience of heat and warmth that is often felt in such states of heightened emotion and excitement. The Bright College is arguably the most striking of the Colleges of Altdorf. It is a huge square building of fire-hardened red brick. On each corner rises a single, very tall round tower, each topped by a pillar of flame both night and day, casting a fiery glow over the college and its surroundings. Outside the colleges wall is a wide, glassy blackened area where not even weeds will grow. Inside, the college is decorated in tapestries in shades of red, orange and yellow. Flame motifs are popular, as are the symbols of keys, torches, and rubies. Almost everything is made of substances that will not burn, and there are specially fortified fireproof rooms. Much of the college is given over to accommodation and studies for the inhabitants. There are also laboratories, rooms suitable for research and an extensive library. Students are usually given rooms within the college, although they may choose to live elsewhere. Because of the destructive nature of Aqshy, most instruction takes place within specially fortified rooms, but as Bright Magic is so useful in combat, students spend a lot of time with the army, learning tactics as well as magic. They are expected to help each other with their duties, encouraging a sense of loyalty to each other and to the college. Bright wizards wear red robes as battle "uniforms", but generally dress in a more restrained way when in the city. Students learn for four months of the year and must spend another four months with the army. For the rest of the year, their time is their own. They tend to carry belts with keys of different metals, each symbolizing the secrets of Aqshy they have unlocked, while revealing their rank. Many serve in the armies, while others work as guardians for nobles, diplomats, and wealthy merchants. They are the most recognized of the orders. The Patriarch of the Bright Wizards is Thyrus Gormann, a man with the air of a seasoned, if quick to laugh and quicker to anger general who wields great influence in the Emperor's court.

Celestial Magic: Blue Wizards, or Astrologers, perceive the wind of Azyr, also called the Lore of the Heavens. Azyr is the magic of the spheres. It is the Aethyr's reflection and metaphysical drive of and for inspiration and all that which is out of reach, as well as imagination and desire to emote. Azyr builds upon abstracts and seeks to find or create certainty within the unknowable. It is the drive explore the unexplored and express the unexpressable. It is blown high up into the sky, where it can be observed clearly by those trained to see it. Many Celestial wizards become obsessed with studying the way in which Celestial magic obscures the stars, allowing them to predict the future based on these influences. It is also concerned with everything pertaining to the upper air, particularly winds and lightning. The Celestial college is situated on the south bank of the Reik river, and its towers are the highest things on the Altdorf skyline; each tower splits into many thin towers, each topped with a glass dome. Many wizards at the college tend to spend their days sleeping and their nights at the top of the crystal towers, studying the stars. The tower's domes are cleaned every evening by the college's apprentices to keep them free from bird droppings, dust, and precipitation. The college's masters maintain that these duties instill an appropriate sense of humility in the acolytes - which is necessary, since their powers would be respected and looked up to anywhere else in the Empire. However, this punishment does ensure that flight spells are learned very, very swiftly and with great (desperate) interest by the acolytes. Even from the ground level the college is an impressive sight. Built of blue-gray stones, it is tall but very thin, and the unique split towers give it a very unusual appearance. There are no windows in the exterior walls. Within the college is a cobbled courtyard that gives access to the many towers, whose myriad windows overlook the interior of the college. There are no signs to show which door leads where, so novices are prone to getting lost. Inside the building are libraries, living quarters and observatories. Students are encouraged to embroider their blue robes with comets, crescents, eight-pointed stars and the like. They are assigned quarters in the College and are expected to live there at all times, not leaving without permission, while helping their masters in observing the heavens and adjusting the great telescopes in the domes. Students are expected to be neat, hardworking, and punctual. When they reach the rank of master, they are given a ceremonial telescope and are allowed to pursue independent courses of study, sometimes traveling to observe unusual astronomical and meteorological events. Celestial magic can allow an astrologer to divine the future, manipulate the weather, and direct the forces of fate and causality via their connection to the stars. The Astrologers are required by law to tell all that they see with absolute honesty, whether or not their hosts and potential customers want to hear that, and so the noble families (who are desperate to find out both the short and long-term futures) have a love-hate relationship with these wizards. Despite this, and because of the unpredictability of what visions and portents the Astrologers actually see, not to mention their impressive arsenal of destructive and manipulative magic, few nobles will pressure a blue wizard too closely to reveal future events. Resultantly, Astrologers tend to be quite wealthy. The Patriarch of the order is Raphael Julevno, the son of an actress and (perhaps) a mercenary, who has been seeing visions since he was 12, which allowed him to escape the workhouses when his mother got tired of her "mad" son and led him to Altdorf, where he was greeted with the words "We've been expecting you." When, after years of study, he had a vision of the then-Patriarch's death, the man nodded and said he already knew... and that every master of the college had foreseen Raphael as his replacement... which the younger wizard couldn't argue with (since he had seen it as well).

Gold Magic: Gold Wizards, or Alchemists, use the wind of Chamon, also called the Lore of Metal.

Grey Magic: Grey Wizards, or Illusionists, master the wind of Ulgu, also called the Lore of Shadows.

Jade Magic: Green Wizards, or Druids, call on the wind of Ghyran, also called the Lore of Life.

White Magic: White Wizards, or Hierophants, use the wind of Hysh, also called the Lore of Light.
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The Imperial Colleges of Magic
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