Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Black and White Magic in F.W.

In a Fantasy Wargaming campaign, the ascending Christian faith casts all magic in a negative light, since Scripture forbids such practices.

Still, not all magic was equally abhorrent to the medieval mind.

Pagan holdovers of the concept of harmless or beneficial magick carried on to the latest times of these periods.

Such magick is classified for game purposes as White Magick...nature based spells, based on benevolent aims, or, if harmful, directed at evil agencies.

In stark contradiction, Black Magick is, of course, considered as evil, consisting of magical operations pursued solely for personal aggrandizement, vengeful aims, or infernal designs.

In a game of F.W., the difference between White and Black Magick mostly pertains to Piety, a score which affects appeals or Miracles or Divine Intercession. The Christian faith is, in F.W., held as transcendent (such was the medieval mind's eye), so magick is judged accordingly, some consideration being granted as to motive. If White Magick cannot be wholly excused, it is held to be far less worthy of Divine censure than Black Magick...

And of course, their is "Grey Magick" can work out the general idea if one considers the farther sides of the spectrum. 

What this all boils down to is that the Piety Score of a character using White Magick will not suffer the devastating losses associated with the use of Black Magick, giving them far more hope for success should they desire to appeal to Divine aid or intercession.

Mage Class: Cabalist

This Mage Class belongs exclusively to that game which is set in the High Middle Ages.

The insights and traditions of the Cabalist are inscrutable to the High Sorcerer, let alone the other Mage Classes.

Cabalists possess the clearest view into the workings of the Ethereal Plane of any of the Mage classes, seeking both salvation and magical strength through their esoteric studies.

Their magic is closely related to the hierarchy of angelic and demonic beings, the names of these denizens being essential elements of invocation for assistance from or protection from the same.

Arcane texts, physical disciplines, and  rigorous mental exercises are routine to the Cabalist.

Whether a Mohammedan or a Jew, the price of a Cabalist's simply being a magician is total abhorrence from their own ethnic and religious community, even as ethnicity and religion also assure Christian approbation.

Cabalists are unable to attend religious ceremony and have little Piety.

Cabalists use the Aristocratic mode of Divination.

They may use Inscribed Commands and practice Conjuration. 

Adjustments to the Magic Calculations of Cabalist characters work as follow:

Complex Matter: +2 

Elemental Matter: +2

Absolute Commands Involving Behaviour: +2

Absolute Commands involving Movement and Action: +2

Spells of Protection: +1

Spells of Illusion: +1

Spells of Disease and Death: +1

Spells of Curing: +1


Mage Class: Runic Sorcerer

The Runic Sorcerer is the Dark Ages equivalent of the High Sorcerer and for most game purposes, these two (Runic and High Sorcerer) are actually the same Mage Class.

Mostly, only the actual historical period in which you set your game (Dark Ages or Middle Ages) will differentiate.

Runic Sorcerers obviously use  either runes (in the case of Norseblood), Ogham ( in Celtic practitioners) or, in persons of Anglo-Saxon tradition, both runes and Ogham script.

Always from the upper classes. 

For game purposes, the only differences between Runic Sorcerers and High Sorcerers are in the adjustments to Magic Calculations:

Spells of Illusion:  +1

Spells of Curing: In distinction to the High Sorcerer, there are no bonuses for spells of curing gien to the Runic Sorcerer.

In all other respects of specialization, Runic Sorcerers and High Sorcerers are accounted equal. 

Mage Class: High Sorcerer

The High Sorcerer is a Mage of high social status, either hereditary or gained through patronage and prestige as a Wizard. Their station has permitted them special learning and access to magical texts and histories, not to mention the expensive  tools, implements and habitations,  that are unique to their class.

The occult mysteries and the underlying "WHY" of magic is just as important to them as the magical operations they seek to effect...indeed, perhaps more important. 

Most come from upper urban, clerical, warrior and landowning social backgrounds.

Sorcery and Astrology are constant pursuits alongside their main magical pursuits. They have many magical specializations  and are delvers into the lore and instruction to be found on the Ethereal Plane.

Some are, as far as they are concerned, devoted Christians ( c.f. Issac Newton, John Dee), and others are of a sort exemplified by Faust, wholly desirous of power.

Many are the special counsellor of noble or royal personages.

High Sorcerers practice the Aristocratic mode of Divination.

They can use Inscribed Commands and practice Conjuration.

The Magic Calculation Adjustments of this Mage Class are as follows:

Complex Matter: +1

Elemental matter: +1

Absolute Commands Involving Behaviour: +1

Absolute Commands Involving Movement and Action: +1

Spells of Disease and Death: +1

Spells of Curing: +1 

Mage Class: Witch

The Witch is a coven member and devoted Devil worshipper who will nearly always hide his or her magical skills and beliefs from society at large.

They may be found in any social class, and though they draw from many magical sources and traditions, their magic is most effective as regards compulsion and people. They practice only Black Magick. 

They are most adept at spells of Curing, Disease and Death,  and Absolute Command.

Any other Mage class may join a coven and become a Witch with no loss of the spell specializations of their primary class. 

Witches have traffic with demons and much of their magic is learned directly from the Infernal Powers as well as from other coven members.

Witches may practice only the Peasant mode of Divination.

They may not use Inscribed Commands. Witches above level 4 may use Conjuration. 

The Magic calculation Adjustement for Witches are as follows:

Absolute Commands Involving Behaviour: +1

Absolute Commands Involving Movement and Action: +1

Spells of Protection: -1

Spells of Disease and Death: +2

Spells of Curing: +1


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mage Class: The Wizard

The Wizard has many  traditional magical roots of the rural wise woman or cunning man but is a great deal more learned, coming from middle class and largely urban origins. This is the professional magician who travels cities towns, and villages publicly offering services of a magical nature.

Many a lord or lady who would disdain the rural peasant practitioner might purchase the spells of the Wizard,  which often lie in the realm of Detection, Cure, or Illusion.

Few magical arts lie beyond the expertise of the accomplished Wizard, and many will, eventually, after much patronage and prestige, develop into High Sorcerers, another Mage Class. 

A Wizard may practice Conjuration if above 4th level, but may never use Inscribed Commands. 

Wizards of any level may practice the Peasant mode of Divination while Wizards  of 5th level or higher may use Aristocratic mode Divination as well.

The magic calculation adjustments of a Wizard are as follows:

Absolute Commands Involving Movement or Action: +1

Spells of Illusion: +1

Spells of Curing: +1   

Mage Class: Cunning Man/Wise Woman

The Cunning Man or Wise Woman is a familiar magic using figure not only in the Dark Ages and Middle Ages but indeed in the mists of antiquity.

A solitary practitioner situated in rural environs, they may be pariahs or hold special esteem in the eyes of the communities where they live and make their

Their magical knowledge comes not from the study of texts and books but as a body of lore passed down through family or clan, usually orally. They often hold primitive or "pagan" beliefs but not always.

They believe that their magic is a result of special relationship to nature and the physical creation immediately around them in a very special sense.

Many mix magick and spell making with a vast store of botanical  and healing lore and are sought for cures for animals and people, wards of protection or spells of love, the banishing of curses and afflictions, and occasionally spells of revenge or retribution, as well as auguries and divination.

In the periods covered by Fantasy Wargaming, they may be enthusiastically accepted, mildly tolerated or held under a cloud of lingering suspicion, depending on the nature of the community they live in and how strong the hold
of the Church is on the minds of the folk therein.

Usually, they will be held in respect until some calamity happens which is attributed to their practices.

Most do not try to hide their calling but a rare few might do so.

Their magic is almost entirely what would be called "White Magic" steeped in folk traditions.

See character creation section for social class strictures upon the Cunning Man
Wise Woman.

The film Sorceress starring Christine Boisson, linked on this blog, is an excellent portrayal of this Mage Class. 

The Wise Woman and Cunning Man are unable to use Inscribed Commands and do not practice Conjuration.

They are restricted to the Peasant mode of Divination

Magic Calculation Adjustments for this Class of Mage are as follows:

Complex Matter: -1

Elemental Matter: -1

Absolute Commands Involving Movement and Action: -1

Spells of Illusion: -1

Spells of Disease and Death: +1

Spells of Curing: +1