|Major School of Magic.|
|This school draws its power from the chaos underlaying the universe.|
Wizardry is a type of magic which uses various components to create magical effects. Using time, concentration, verbal, somatic, extremely varied and sometimes difficult-to-find material components, and (usually) the focus of an Athame a skilled wizard can do most anything; including granting immortality or eternal youth, creating an artificial universe/dimension, and reversing the flow of time. Wizardry is generally considered the most varied and powerful variety of magic, and the wielders are able to (but very rarely do) enforce their will on every king and magician in the World. Wizardry as it is currently known is only about 1200 years old, as that is when the Athamezation Spell was discovered. Prior to that wizardry was a relatively minor form of magic. With the correct ingredients and formulae, Wizards can draw on literally infinite power - something even the gods can't do (Being able to draw on infinite power doesn't necessarily mean they can aim it, however). Being based on chaos rather than order, wizardry does not have to obey conservation laws, unlike sorcery.
Wizardry uses charged symbols to manipulate chaos. While the components usually represent the effects or methodology in some way the relationship is often unclear. Given that certain ingredients are generally associated with certain types of magic a research wizard can guess what sort of effect a new spell might have, but the precise effects are impossible to determine in advance by even the best wizard.  The most talented research wizard, Fendel the Great, made his name by being able to sense what a spell was doing as it was being cast, unlike most wizards who are content to sense that it's doing something, and even estimate what improvised adjustments could be made.
One of the things that made her a promising wizard was her instinctive feel for the flow and shape of wizardry. That was one of the Guild's secrets; most people believed that wizardry was an entirely mechanical process of assembling ingredients, reciting words, and making gestures, and that this somehow tapped into the chaos beneath the surface of the World and forced it into a specific action, but actually the process was a good deal more dynamic than that. A talented wizard could feel when the magic was working properly and when it wasn't, and could sense when a gesture needed to be altered, an incantation slowed or hurried, without any conscious understanding of why the change was necessary. A really good wizard could even sense whether other ingredients could be substituted, other words spoken, or the very nature of the spell somehow altered—that was how new spells were discovered.
Wizards and Society
The Wizards' Guild makes a number of claims regarding its origins and legitimacy. These include that it originated to protect the Towers of Lumeth long before the Great War began and that it had the official sanction of the Holy Kingdom of Ethshar (Old Ethshar). During the Great War, the army of Ethshar used wizardry extensively in a variety of combat and support roles. Some of these roles were quite dangerous. For instance, the working life of a typical army research wizard extended an average of forty (40) days.
After the Great War, most of the flashier and more dangerous spells were quietly suppressed by the Guild. Wizards returned to a behavior pattern typical of other guilds: protecting trade secrets, demanding obedience of their members, and exercising discipline amongst their members to maintain the image of their profession.
Wizardry is not known to be banned in any lands. However, in Ethshar of the Sands, the Lady Sarai will seek to use theurgists, witches, or warlocks before contracting a wizard, due to previous perceived manipulation of the government by the Wizards' Guild.
None of the oaths members of the Guild take require their obedience to the laws of the lands they live in, and it has been made clear on a number of occasion that if those oaths to conflict loyalty to the Guild is expected to take precedence.
A wizard's apprenticeship is traditionally six years. A journeyman usually takes another three years of study to rate as a master, and another nine usually conferred sufficient expertise to use the term "mage." A good journeyman wizard might manage a fifth- or sixth-order spell safe from any real chance of a serious backfire.
Some wizards were said to attain Guildmaster status before they were forty, due as much to politics as ability, the youngest grand master was only fifty-eight. (WSS)
The vast power of wizardry comes from the proliferation and variability of spells available to wizards. An individual spell has a specific effect, but the number of different spells that exist allows wizards to have an immense number of different effects available to them. The only limiters on the capabilities of a given wizard is the complexity of spell he is able to handle and the number of spells he has recorded in a spellbook. Individual spells have different "Orders," that represent the increasing difficulty of casting. Generally these correspond to greater power, most spells which are more complex than their value being discarded and lost. There are, however, a number of vastly complex spells with little result that have been retained for no purpose but to provide apprentices suitable practice material. As a general rule an increase in order translates to roughly ten times greater difficulty in casting, for example a 2nd Order spell is roughly ten times harder (and more powerful) than a First Order spell while a Third Order spell is roughly 10 times more difficult than a second order spell. Higher-order spells can consequently require lengthy times to cast, such as a year and a day to weave a Transporting Tapestry (Twelfth Order).
- Fri 21 Jan 2011 10:40:08a sff.people.lwe post titled Re: Images in Ethshar