Bog's World

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Blackrobes

Will power and self-confidence are essential for the mastery of magical powers. If you wish to deal with ancient elements or channel a force of nature such as a lightening bolt through your very fingers, then concentration and strength of mind are, to say the least, important. This means however, that magicians tend to be capricious and self willed. They are egoists and perfectionists, obsessed with their own power and self-importance. Each knows that he is creations gift to magical research. There is no one dearer to a wizard and the wizard himself.

Despite the covetous uniform of the blackrobe, each mage will try and cultivate his or her own style. In the wide world, wearing a blackrobe is enough to inspire respect. In Saironost, to gain street credibility, the other magi will have to know who you are. This means developing a reputation and linking it with a distinctive style. Each adopts a very distinctive and personal style of dress, speech, mannerisms and even magic. The most important thing to a wizard is his own distinct and remarkable image. Wizards are not above using magic to make them selves more distinctive. It is possible (with a little help from his friends) for a wizard to control every aspect of his or her appearance, from the colour of their eyes to the shape of their physique. It’s these little extras which can make the difference between a famous blackrobe and notoriously great blackrobe.

Magicians are proud creatures, each believes him or her self to be a forefront of their field, whether they are or not. They are wont to boast about and often exaggerate their abilities. For many this is their biggest weakness, making them susceptible to flattery. Others, whilst over confident, will talk themselves into situations where they cannot back down. However, it is never wise to doubt the power of a blackrobe, even the weakest of them will keep a ‘last resort’ spell to hand and you can bet that they’ve been waiting for just such an opportunity to show it off.

Given the correct book, anybody who could read could learn a simple spell. Anybody can utter the syllables of Panguire’s Triumphant Displasms[1]. What stops most people becoming magi is the effort required to memorise the simplest of magics. The greatest blackrobes are not ordinary people, but have some natural aptitude for spell casting. Without innate powers of concentration and syllabic recall, magic becomes so exhausting that it ceases to be worth the effort[2] . All wizards are therefore ‘born magicians’ this party explains their self-centred nature – they have spent their entire lives knowing that they are ‘special’.

Another power of the natural magician is his or her innate magical sense[3] , which is sometimes able to detect the dweomer or reverberations of magic. This sense varies from wizard to wizard and improves with experience. Some say they can ‘smell’ magic, others can ‘hear’ it as a soft tinkling or faint ringing. Others still may be able to see on some eldrich wavelength with magic showing up as a glow of some colour. Generally, this sense is sensitive enough to differentiate between channelling, mentalism, essence and more primal forces. The intensity of the experience is usually indicative of the distance and/or strength of the enchantment.

A career magician will usually have a branch of magical science, art or philosophy (depends on how they view it) in which they specialise. A wizard will choose this for himself, hoping, one day, to make his name synonymous with it. Naturally expertise in one area is at the expense of competence in another. There is nothing to stop an individual splitting his time over more than one area, although that will lessen his chances of everlasting glory. Similarly, changing career path is an option. But of course the further one goes along a particular path, the harder it becomes to turn back.

Many magicians choose to adopt titles. It is obvious that the great magicians of the past had titles and so their adoption is popular amongst some. Of course the titles of Tarumath Tarumbar “the Dred’d Necromancer”, Tenser (simply) “the mage” and Zagyg “the mad” were bestowed up them by their contemporaries. Those who bestow titles upon themselves are open to the ridicule of their peers but that doesn’t stop them.

Their appearance is one way in which wizards can express their personality. Most eventually get a blackrobe that they like the cut of. Some are left plain and others decorated with all manner of symbols or sigils. Some are so bedecked with stars and shiny things that they are hardly blackrobes at all. A foppish dandy may don an outrageous hat or bonnet. A serious ascetic may simply bind their hair with a copper fillet to keep it out of the way. A rune mage may ‘tattoo’ their face and body with the tools of their trade. An illusionist may ear a mask to symbolise deception.

Wizards have their own recognisable patterns of speech. All are likely to use magical jargon, bandying about such phrases as ‘sympathetic ensqualmation’ or ‘ectopic telegnosis’. They would never call a spell a “Fly” or “Flying” spell, it would be called the “enchantment of vertical emancipation” or something similar. A spell bestowing invisibility would be entitled “Phandaal’s seamless mantle of transparency”. There are certain orders who, when spell casting, do not use their own voices, but those of demons or the long dead magi of the past.

Every mage has his own ideas about the precise nature and manifestation of magic and will impress these ideas on the final result of his or her arts. Thus, each spell and enchantment will be recognisably from one individual. A fireball thrown by a necromancer is likely to manifest as a flaming skull. A flying weather mage may appear to be standing on a small cloud. If he could be separated from the cloud, despite it being there merely for appearances, it may well break the spell. The same weather mage may then teleport out of trouble by appearing to become a man sized twister.

Spell casting itself will affected by the overpowering field of a magician’s ego. Chill drafts will appear from nowhere, bearing an alien chorus of sound. The wizards eyes will glow briefly before dimming to wells of abyssal darkness. Sparks will crackle harmlessly over his skin. Lamps flutter and candles go out as spells are cast. Quite often these effects are nothing to do with the spell, they are manifestations of the mage’s subconscious self image.

The holders of the Staves of the Assembly.

These individuals form a powerful cabal at the centre of the Assembly. Not all of them see eye to eye on much at all and generally, when apportioning a staff to a new member, they will attempt to maintain a balance of viewpoints between ‘post holders’. They are the leaders of the Assembly’s projects and captains of its defence. A staff is such a potent item that generally, blackrobes will acquiesce to a request, although they may complain about it.

The staves are made of Dyr Wood recovered for the purpose of making magical staves by Dulacaborn Ario at the very start of the PWOC, well over 500 years before the empire ever showed an interest in Teddin where the Dyr tree grows. They are shod, by the mage-smith Celebrimbor, in dwarf steel hot forged by a bound effreet. They plain for much of their length with the top third being carved with many eldrich symbols. Each is a x4 pp multiplier and allows mindspeech with either all, or just those nominated, other staff bearers. This is unfettered by distance and even works on other planes of existence. It requires no preparation and drains no power from the staff or the bearer. Each staff will store 100 pp either as raw power or as prepared spells. The staves may be used as foci for spell casting. They give the wielder an additional +30 to both base and directed spells. Finally, they are also +30 weapons that cause additional impact critical hits of equal severity to any other critical hits caused.

There were twenty-one at the Dagor Rhassë. The one wielded by Cùetheili Scrofa became the legendary staff Aldu Chuthek when he died. This is now in the hands of Lirazeal, Queen of Arbolt.

  1. Lyrys’turvey. Lost his shadow to another blackrobe[4] in a wager. Head of the order of Arl; concerned with stones and earth the order of Arl maintain the physical fabric of Blackmoor itself. The order of Arl sometimes sponsor groups of adventurers to go to far off lands or to plumb the depths of the earth to gather further knowledge of the physical world. Lyrys’turvey lives in the tower of Arl (a huge, bilious structure) in Saironost. He is a firm advocate of crystal magic and a ready defence, magical as well as physical.
  2. Xarytus Al’tummel. His finger and toenails are iron and covered in tiny runes. Head of the order of Anga. They are workers of metals and fabricators of wondrous artefacts. They are the inheritors of Celebrimbor’s mage-smiths. Curiously they never want for falliarochben protection if should ask for it. Xarytus favours delicate instruments, the construction of which is his speciality. He lives in a bronze roofed tower fused into the mountains of eastern Ekbir. The rocks of this tower have an especially high metallic content. He is noted for skill in enchanting, imbedding and bladerunes.
  3. Taufog ben Hisra. A noted academic and passionate teacher. However he has little time for any except the most gifted. His blackrobe contains many pockets and folds, the contents of which are stored elsewhere. He often has as many as half a dozen apprentices at once, he is one of the few masters who can do this successfully. He likes the idea of gentle walks through the leafy glades of central Hisra or invigorating hiking over the heath land of Blackmoor. However there is always the next treatise to pen or précis to mark. His fingers are ink stained and his hairline receding. He is a master of symbols, runes, text analysis and spells that create physical items.
  4. Caramon Y Tanis. Believes in rule by Magic Users. Realises that this would mean dissolution of the empire but suggests the Assembly could survive much the same as its current form but also as a conclave of world rulers. Caramon is a power mage and adept at conducting rituals that allow other orders of mage to combine their arts and work together. Caramon maintains apartments in Saironost above the cells of his apprentices. He is famed as a teacher of reigning spells, enhancing enchantments and sensing things through others.
  5. Ulfheadnar the destroyer. A specialist in the destruction of physical things and the re-arranging of matter. Reviled in certain places because of his epithet, he is a tall but quiet and unassuming man. Head of the Order of Gwann, which includes sorcerers and necromancers. Ulfheadnar normally resides in the House of Gwann, (A surprisingly cheerful and airy place) in Saironost but likes to travel back to Perrenland whenever he can.
  6. Musson. Head of the Grand Order of Fire Magi, the brotherhood of pyromaniac wizards. He appears to have no hair, where it should be his head is wreathed in flame. Very showy. He puts on an awful temper and pretends to have a short fuse. In reality he is a very conciliatory man, which he needs to be as many of his order’s members do really have explosive personalities. Fortunately Musson is without doubt the most powerful and gifted of the Fire Magi. Musson has his own cylindrical basalt tower in Saironost, the outer surface of which has been magically polished so that it gleams even on the dimmest of nights.
  7. Kanuu the blue wizard. An ascetic who favours elemental magic. His hair, skin and eyes are all permanently magically coloured blue. Kanuu, when not instructing his apprentices or conducting council business spends his time meditating. He hopes to reach enlightenment and transcend to a higher plane of existence in the manner of the ancient monks of the proto –Baklunish, pre-rain of colourless fire city states. He drinks only water and eats only bread, grapes and onions. As well as his elemental expertise, Kanuu is a master of self healing of all kinds.
  8. Shamash. Known to be able drain the life force from others. She does not leave footprints. She is stunningly beautiful, although possibly wasn’t born so. She is vivacious and quite capable of mesmerising her male contemporaries without the aid of her arts. But she is a grand mistress of the arts of charming and suggestion. Shamash does not suffer fools gladly and so has been dissuaded from teaching apprentices. Now she is only occasionally persuaded to hold master classes for fellow blackrobes. Shamash lives in a crypt under the library, probably to be deliberately creepy and dissuade casual visitors.
  9. Pulsipher. VA of the Gran March. Pulsipher is an animator of cadavers and gifted at communicating with the deceased. He dislikes his native Flanne culture as it’s burial practices prevent the pursuit of his ‘art’. He views his programmed animations as tools. Partly because of his back ground, he views self aware undead as an aberration, however interesting they are. A great admirer of Tarumath Tarumbar Carach Angren, he spends long hours in the library searching for secrets and summoning up the voices of long departed blackrobesto wring secrets from them. He rarely takes an apprentice and only ever one at a time. The courtiers of Gran March fear the VA as a blackrobe, but have no idea of the extent of his necromancy.
  10. Jago. Secretly a bronze dragon in the form of a man, Jago came to observe the empire of the Dragon God of men and was detected as a child and then directed to undertake the tests. Now more fully aware of both the empire and himself. Jago is surprised to still be learning from those he’d previously considered little more than children. For some reason, which not even he knows, Jago lives in the tower of Arl. He is not a member and does not know their secret marks or wards; however he does appear so far to have free access. Comparatively recently qualified, the unremarkably performing Jago has found himself a bearer of a staff of the Assembly.
  11. Tarsyn. A summoner. More than one male deamon has got the better of Tarsyn and she’s now very wary of males altogether. She has slain her own cambion offspring at birth. A master of the order of Gwann, Tarsyn inherited a considerable library of grimoires when her old master died[5] , leaving the collection to her. Tarsyn also collects stipend from more than one place about the empire. It is rumoured that she obtained the gifts of certain demon lords for select wealthy customers. She has also mastered spell defences, barriers, protections and disenchantment to a high level.
  12. Ils’hareth She is concerned with growing things and how the processes can be advanced and/or retarded. She was once apprenticed to Kanuu the blue wizard. She has possibly partially combined herself with a pine dryad from the nearest outlying parts of the Burneal Forest. Ils’hareth is the acknowledged mistress of deflections of organic things about a point or entity. She is now tied to either Saironost or the small patch of forest where her tree is. This does not seem to bother her in the slightest. Ils’hareth is now completely carnivorous and becomes upset if she witnesses plants in distress (or the salad bowl, for that matter).
  13. Althera-Ghas The daughter of a Edium merchant and an ilin émigré, Althera-Ghas is a gifted bard; mistress of both woodwind instruments and the Edium many-chambered drum, she weaves music and magic to formidable effect. She has a small but comfortable hut on a cliff top south of Burnraas as well as apartments adjacent to the library in Saironost. She has possibly the largest collection of enchanted musical instruments as well as a literally ensorchelling singing voice. She is also adept at ritual dances and their role in creating certain spell effects. Her apprentices occasionally put on displays[6] for the edification of their mistress and her guests.
  14. Serchar Varsen A seer. She has powerful visions and can delve deep into the past and into the future. Serchar is capable of detecting seemly insignificant snippets of information and following their thread to a meaningful result. She uses, true sight, intuitions and dreams. Serchar is also an accomplished traveller and skilled at the use of doorways to other places. She is often troubled by the things she is asked to find out and so may seem reluctant to perform. Serchar has a modest tower built on a slender pillar of stone off the cost of the Damiffission Isles.
  15. Sargo Helvin, not a pupil of the Carach Angren but still a friend of the sons of Camgil Gwathlo. Sargo keeps his body as well as his mind in top form after spending his formative years bingeing on various vices. Now a little paranoid he keeps a tower in Loppolla and occasionally helps the VA of Ket. Sargo now studies weather lore and practices light magic. He keeps a supply of pre-prepared hex blocks and banishments to hand at all times. Sargo now practices mind calming techniques taught to him by Tauvok ben Urdgu. Unfortunately the nightmarish memories and demonic intrusions into his sleep are now spread amongst his apprentices. One side effect of this side effect is that the apprentices now really pay attention when he teaches.
  16. Tauvok ben Urdgu is a master of dreams, both their interpretation and manipulation. His skills in mind control magics are widely renowned. His facility to restore and protect the minds of others has saved the Assembly from catastrophe. It is blackrobes who have studied his methods and devices who summon all to the council. His current home is in Veluna where the Assembly has a screening centre where aspiring parents may bring their children. Similar exercises are held in all the major cities of the empire on an annual basis but the one in the capitol is permanent.
  17. Prince Elecae Isenwarian. The Emperor’s Königsterndeater. Viewed by many of his blackrobe contemporaries as a solid performer but nothing special, they fail to realise that his power comes largely from his friends and associates, rather than reliance on his own powers. He is assisted in his imperial duties by any number of blackrobes (P. Verdunkelerei). These he co-opts in for special jobs or grooms wearers of the brown to join his staff when they qualify. Occasionally he negotiates favours from members of the as compensation for the eldrich strivings of blackrobes who might otherwise not acquiesce to his requests. He is first and foremost a wheeler-dealer.
  18. Mabber Urdgu is a hardworking man who finds everything very interesting. He talks very fast but has time for people. He is one of the Königsterndeater’s permanent staff. Possibly the strongest power of all of Elecae’s staff, including Elecae himself. Mabber is also a bearer of a Staff of the Assembly. But he keeps it ‘changed’ to the size of a respectable wand. Mabber is genuinely motivated by the desire to help others and to serve the empire, which he knows is the best thing for the Assembly and the people of the empire.
  19. Gavaine Carach Angren. The Librarian. Son of Tarumath Tarumbar Carach Angren, Gavaine took over from his father with very little dissent from the council. A skilled power mage, Gavaine is also a noted summoner. He was a newly qualified mage when Camgil Gwathlo’s sons were apprenticed to his father. He was a member of their circle of debauchery and it was he who eventually reigned in their excesses. A looming physical presence and figure of hushed awe amongst all apprentices, he continues to inspire trepidation in many blackrobes. He is the master of dark lore and lord of shadow. He guides his apprentices along the paths of restoration and mastery of their senses.

Other Blackrobes

Zahoulik Khuntze A lithomancer who has replaced all his teeth with gemstones.

Eshmiel He affects a stark and absolute chairoscuro, so that right side of his body is pure white and the left side is completely black.

Haze of the weary water. She is a hot eyed whisp of a girl with orange willow leaves for hair and a faintly green skin.

Teutch He seldom speaks with his mouth. He has perfected the unusual sleight of hand required to flick words from the ends of his fingers.

Darvik the Miannther A sombre figure who always wears his hood up, keeping his face in shadow. His hands are always encased in gloves and his feet never show past the hem of his blackrobe. Darvik is the holder of a stone of controlling spiders.

Herark the Harbringer A corpulent, jolly looking fellow who doesn’t walk when he doesn’t have to. Gleefully imparts his portents of doom to those who will listen.

Hatreme A water mage, leaves puddles where ever she goes, everything she touches becomes wet. She has an alchemy jug and a rod of water bolts.

Mitir Flinn Has slightly enlarged himself to be 8’ tall.

Ewan Min the magnificant A foppish dandy. Actually a master illusionist, always visually spectacular. Able to animate his illusions by use of a black opal ring. As well as his ring of animating illusions he wears bracers of defence +25.

Rhua Ckeao Fancies himself as a dangerous ‘lone wolf’ type. Favours Dir Sp and has a permanent aura of dimshade and silence in 4’ radius. His wand of plasma bolts is his favourite. He is never without his earring of comprehending languages or his circlet of mind shielding.

Pen Yla A dreamcaster, his magic is always accompanied by a myriad of phantasmal bubbles of all colours. There’s a also an ever so slight but still noticeable time delay when he speaks to the sound actually manifesting.

Bortai ben Mitrik a spirit charmer. He normally walks ½” above the floor. 4” or 5” if he’s happy. Prefers charming to binding. He wears a ring of perception which gives his general perception skills a +50 bonus.

Bleyda A lightmage. She actually shines from under her blackrobe. Her blackrobe actually does convert into wings of flying. The white cat-suit she wears underneath is of Galadhrim manufacture and is of silk. It is enchanted to protect as AT17.

Völund A magesmith of the order of Anga. Heavily muscled and very strong.

Goderfroi the repulsive A hunchback. Smelly and with stomach churning manners. Actually a member of the order of Soma. His blackrobe is one of protection +30.

Ysgarth the quick Lean looking and usually blurred at the edges. A specialist in speed and movement magics. He has slippers of hastening (x2 movement) and a rod of power (holds 44 pps for immediate use)

Esdevium A master of physical change. Keeps the same face but changes his body in some way every so often. Sometimes he experiments with materials other than flesh, sometimes has tentacles or flippers.

Zayene lives in a maze, walks on perpendicular surfaces. When she drops things they fall in the direction that would be ‘down’ from her, rather with gravity. Rumoured to fix her hair in place with a goo extracted from melted down cow bones.

Dyvim Traas Is a healer, she terms herself a vivamancer and always appears to be serene, surrounded by small motes of light and when outdoors, small birds as well.

Rakhir the red A member of the Grand Order of Fire Magi. Rakhir leaves scorch marks in places where he has taken his rest.

Tashlar A necromancer, Tashlar has the slow, languid gait of a zombie and appears cadaverous herself. Disconcertingly, if she looked a little better fed and got some colour back, she would be quite pretty. She has a leather wristband that allows her to teleport up to 100’ to a previously visited location once every 24hrs.

Kristeeva Uuigkenfo She specialises in scent, the smells of plants and other things carried on the air. She also has some weather lore. She is always proceeded by the delightful scents of plants such as mint or jasmine and followed by the feeling of clean air after rain.

Hisar Zul Moon mage and master of soporific (catatonic) effects. Hisar has a neatly rimmed black beard and always wears sandals. ‘Known’ to be immune to the virulent pollen cloud of the yellow lotus. His abode in Saironost is carved from a single freak giant moonstone, the shards of which are still on the Teddin plateau. Within his abode, he needs neither eat, drink nor sleep. Healing and pp replenishment are at the normal rate.

[1] A firebolt. Panguire was a PEP Flanne fire mage from Greyhawk.
[2] Imagine moving a sack of flour (~40kg) from the floor onto a cart. For most people, they could concentrate for a year and not move the sack at all. It would be far easier to lift the sack themselves, build a winch or get some assistance form other folk. For a born wizard, it is easier to move the flour with a spell.
[3] Power perception, developed as a skill. The first background option for a magic using PC must be two ranks in Power Perception as this is what the Assembly’s entry test is based upon, the intrinsic ability to detect magic.
[4] Gothon Yla. He keeps it in a box in his study. One day he will give it back, but not yet.
[5] When he died, several entities popped up and claimed his soul. There was quite a battle and more than one of them had to be vanquished. Eventually Geryon’s messenger, a demon of the 5th order, took his soul down to its eternal torment.
[6] These are not entertainment alone. Both the music and the dance will be spell castings.


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