History of Magic on Trel
The Nature of Magic
Arcane spellcraft on Trel is not as common as it is on other worlds. Most believe spellcraft was a lost created by a lost civilization. Later, Melnibonean villains prompted the superstition that arcane magic was a force of chaos. The truth is the origins, or purpose, of magic remain a mystery. No deities on Trel claim domain over magic. Magic users have always existed and their claims about the source of their powers differs widely.
Shamans, Druids and Witches claim their magic comes from the lords of nature. Clerics, priests and paladins claim their magic comes from saints or the lords of law & chaos. Sorcerers, wizards and warlocks claim their magic is based on spells devised by ancient civilizations, dragons, or other fantastic creatures.
Necromancers and Exorcists claim their magic flows from the underworld… a realm of invisible spirits and ghosts that cohabit the world of the living. They say life energy, or vitus as some call it, is not lost after death it simply changes form. Necromancers tap the powers of the underworld to serve the living. Exorcists specialize in combating evil spirits of the underworld to protect the living.
Many magic users have attempted to discern the true nature of magic but they have failed. Modern inventors and alchemists have had much more success discerning the unseen properties, laws and compositions of the physical world. Incidentally common folk are not nearly as superstitious about inventions because there is no taint associated with their use; although in reality power corrupts in every form.
Early History of Magic
The earliest known use of arcane magic is believed to be sometime before recorded history during The Forgotten Age. It is attributed to the creation of every known abberation and/or magical beast on Trel. Those that weren’t known to be outsiders anyway. A sort of magical-plague. Beyond that there are certain relics and ruins that give hints to the arcane powers mankind once had.
It is unknown who the first arcane magic user was in recorded history. Every region on Trel has their own legends in this regard, the oldest of course originating in Ist and Esh but even they admit there is no real proof. Before the great cataclysm arcane magic users were largely unheard of. Strange hermits were known to live in ancient ruins or tombs where relics could be found. Perhaps they somehow translated enough of the forgotten languages to glean something from a crumbling stone wall or faded mural.
It is known the beast-folk were the first practitioners of divine magic. Early legends refer to the beast-folk as great healers and mystics. Mankind held them in awe and they in turn protected mankind healing the sick and helping them combat the strange abberrations and magical beasts that preyed on them. Eventually the beast-folk taught worthy men and women how to gain the favor of the lords of beasts, the elements and the earth. These men and women were the earliest shamans, druids and witches.
Magic in the First Dark Age
These dire times saw a large increase in use of arcane magic as well as a significant increase in the known users of arcane magic. Wizards had to struggle to survive like everyone else. Anyone that could use arcane magic did so so more often because most believed the world was comming to an end. Superstitions be damned it was survival of the fittest and magic users used every advantage at their disposal.
The earliest legends of Sorcerers and Warlocks originate from this time. Some blame the meteor strike itself saying the force of the impact created wild-magic, or released burried pockets of wild magic into the air which innundated certain people with arcane powers. Other say the spirits of the dragons Dragos consumed were brought here with the metoer and possessed human beings retaining some of their arcane powers in the process.
Regardless which version of history you believe it is agreed much of the abuses of arcane magic happened during this period. Unfortunately there is so little recorded history from this age that few know the actual extent of these events only that the majority of arcane magic users in this age were cruel and tyranical.
These dark times also taxed the abilities of every Druid, Shaman and Witch. However unlike the majority of arcane magic users, the majority of divine magic users were using magic to help others. This period witnessed the first mage duels. Typically these conflicts were battles between arcane and divine magic.
History of Magic in the Dragon Wars
When the human lands fell under siege from the dragon-lords magic was a key weapon in their defense. By this time popular superstition of magic users had softened enough that wizards could live amongst the regular population of most kingdoms in a city if they made it obvious they were wizards.
Traditionally the garb of a wizard was garish robes and tall pointed hats so there would be no confusion about their profession. Any attempt to hide ones talent as a magic user was considered a crime by most lords. In some cities lords paid a Wizard to hunt down other magic-users that did not abide by the law. These wizards were referred to as a magi-sherrif.
In some cities wizards had to register with a higher authority, pay a tithe, get branded, live in a certain place, or otherwise identify/segregate themselves. Sorcerers and warlocks valued their anonymity as their only measure of safety. They were reluctant to reveal their powers unless they had too and were often hunted by magi-sherrif’s.
Magic During the Golden Age
When the Dragon Wars ended the wizards that helped defend the cities were blessed with gratitude. Some were given permission to form arcane colleges, the largest of which was The Fraternal Order of Wizardry. Others opened shops selling magic potions and minor wonderous items.
However this appreciation for wizards did not carry over to all magic users. Warlocks and Sorcerers were punished even harsher then before. In the eyes of the commoners magic users that were not working directly for their leige lords must be working against them. It may be this attitude was fostered by city-states that wished to control magic-users for their own ends.
Many of these exiled spellcasters travelled to the magocracy of Ist where their talents were more respected. Some exiles must have learned the practice of arcane governance for the magocracy’s of Ara and Mirak were also formed during this period.
Magic During the Second Dark Age
The Melniboneans secret school of magic, Sanguinarcana, is responsible for a great deal of suffering in this dark age.There are four disciplines within the school;
- (evocation) spells that tangibly affect blood in other creatures
- (abjuration/transmutation) spells that give magical properties to the casters own blood
- (divination/enchantment) spells that require physical blood samples of a specific creature or person
- (conjuration/illusion) spells that use blood as a material component
The Melniboneans first demonstrated the power of sanguinarcana when they dominated the dragon-king Dragos himself. No other mortal spellcaster on Trel (perhaps anywhere) could have accomplished this through traditional arcane methods.
While they were plotting and preparing to launch their war of expansion they tasked the cult of chaos to collect blood in large quantities by any means. The collected blood had to be from local living things they were very clear about that. Untold murders, kidnappings, and haneous rituals were done simply for this end alone. The cult spread these secret caches of blood around populated cities for later use by the Melniboneans. When possible they were also asked to collect blood samples from specific people. If successful the Melniboneans would do worse then simply assasinate them. They could force them to give false information or improper orders. They could also debilitate them with terrible headaches and fevers while they were supposed to have their wits about them to lead.
The Melniboneans coordinated their attacks brilliantly with the cultists. One tactic they would use is tasking the cult to wander the streets the night before an assault painting walls, doors, windows etc. in human blood. These swathes of blood could be used in a myriad of ways by the Melnibonean sanguinarcanists. They could be portals, eyes and ears, traps, etc. Another use for the blood was hiding it in urns, or other large containers. This blood might conjure into oozes, elementals, or other terrible monsters that would seemingly appear out of nowhere. And so on…
Sanguinarcana had many uses on the battlefield as well. From a pile of corpses a wall of blood could rise, or shower down as a demoralizing rain. Soldiers of the Melniboneans dealt wounds that were sometimes impossible to bandage or stitch dooming the vicim to death by bloodloss from a simple fleshwound. Enemy soldiers might be deafened or disoriented by the sound of their own pulse pounding in their ears, distracted by blood leaking from every orifice in their body, blinded by capilaries bursting in their eyes, or fatigued from blood leaking into their lungs. And so on…
Few have witnessed what sanguinarcanists are capable of doing with their own bodies. Rumors speak of sanguinarcanists cutting themselves on the wrists to let their own blood flow over their hands. Some say they can grow pseudopods, tendrils, tentacles, or bat-like membrane wings. Rumoredly they can even harden their blood into spines or claws. Some claim they can hurl drops of blood with such speed they penetrate with the force of a bullet. And so on…
What is known is sanguinarcanists can (perhaps need too) subsist purely on blood, whereas other melniboneans merely mix it in with their wine. Given enough time, sanguinarcanists can mix the blood of different beings or creatures in with a hosts to create a hybrid mutation.