Elves seem able to see magic, speak with it, and work it with the merest effort of will. Shamans of many races are able to delve into the spirit world, negotiating with nature and the elements. Humans, those poor creatures, lack the natural talents to take advantage of the magic latent in the world of Calibran. Grasping and inquisitive as they are, humanity have not let that lack of talent stop them from mastering the arcane.
Through experimentation, observation, and pure stubbornness, human wizards have found ways to understand and manipulate magical energy. In the way of humans, they seek to divide magic into schools and types, label each spell, and define everything in lists and tables. The fact that magic is an inherently fickle, fluid force in the world does much to frustrate their efforts. The study of magic remains a strange, esoteric, and messy discipline. However, despite all this, human wizards have pushed forward with their rigid, academic method of study, and found great power as a result.
Schools of Magic
As the human study of magic depends on research, learning, and experimentation, the greatest funds of knowledge are all colleges and universities of magic. These are places where students of the arcane come to learn, being taught the basics of magic in classes before being taken as an apprentice by a master.
Though the various schools of magic do their best to offer a broad tuition on the subject, inevitably there is some specialization. Methods developed in one place may become popular there, while being ignored in favor of other ways of doing things elsewhere. Thus, graduates of different arcane colleges will generally have a different focus, and different talents.
The largest arcane university in Calibran is in the capital of Cathedra’s Gate, and was founded and is maintained by the Dragon Throne. It is called the Chimera Academy, and is considered the most prestigious of the different schools. They often will lure away the most brilliant minds and best researchers from the other schools, with promises of serving the Dragon King and a salary that only the Royal treasury could afford. While the researchers of the Chimera Academy study many different topics, as they have come from many different places and backgrounds, the great project that the Academy has focused on is how to improve technology through magic. They are unique in designing spells that improve the efficiency, or make the machines of war more effective.
The second arcane university in Calibran is maintained by the Trystanes, the noble family that rules the Silent Sands from their capital city of Wert’s Dune. It is called simply the Lyceum, and it is closely linked to the Order of the Sharpened Quill. These ennobled wizards often act as instructors or masters in the Lyceum, and most of the members of the order are graduates of that school.
These wizards, as might be expected in the desert, focus on the study of the manipulation of water and earth. The city is kept watered, and the land in general, through the efforts of the Lyceum wizards and the spells they’ve weaved, as well as the aqueducts built at their direction. There is also a small college within the Lyceum that is devoted to studying the use of magic in battle and war. The Trystanes also sponsor an order of wizards, scholars, and the most learned among their vassals, called the Order of the Sharpened Quill. Though the membership is quite a bit older, in many ways the Scribblers (as these learned knights are called) are more dangerous than the knights of the Company of Lions.
Not all of the colleges are linked to Noble Houses or rulers. Indeed, many wizards find the squabbles of the nobility petty and pointless, and feel that subordinating themselves to the aristocracy is demeaning. Chief among those who feel this way are graduates of The College of the Blue Star. This is the most mysterious of the arcane universities, located in the foothills of the Caribre Mountains, south of the Misty Woods. Its precise location is hidden from mundane sight, and indeed, the only path to admittance is a recommendation from a previous graduate.
The focus of these wizards are spells which affect individuals, improving their minds, bodies, or spirits in some way, and they have produced many great healers. Though this knowledge can be used also to inflict harm, most of the adepts of the Blue Star focus on the positive aspects of their art, bringing their magic, and therefore themselves, into a state of great discipline and clarity. The goals and methods of the Blue Star are ultimately known only to themselves.
On the windswept isles west of Pelaj, south of the Brigand Islands, is the home of the Society of Wind Walkers. Founded after the Battle of Farsalon by the strange, iconoclast wizard Harald Hoggle, its graduates are known for spells that send messages long distances, as well as the ability to appear in far away places quickly, or even in many places at once. These wizards are few in number, and rare, but the sailors of Pelaj tend to value their skills highly.
Otherwise, there are a few small schools throughout Calibran, most centered around some human city or town. The master-apprentice relationship is also very important in magic education, and so it frequently happens that a wizard will begin their education with a single master, then leave to join a college. Others spend their whole lives studying with one master.
The Life of a Wizard
Most wizards in Calibran are academics, with all that implies. They spend a great deal of time in research and study, and probably an equal amount of time looking for ways to fund their research and study. Books are expensive, but they are nothing compared to the cost of the ingredients necessary for most researchers and their spells. The best of these come from the Cliffs of Ronin, and all of the powders, horns, roots, and everything else pass through the monopolistic hands of House Trystane, whose taxes add to the cost, as do each of the merchants and caravans that carry the ingredients from the Silent Sands to the rest of Calibran.
Jobbing wizards will often hang their shingle out, selling spells and enchanted items to support their habit of learning and experimentation. These wizards are generally honest, if expensive, and if you can afford their prices luxuries are available. Of course, many cannot afford the cost, and there are occasional charlatans that offer cut-rate prices in return for a bit of dazzle and show. As soon as they are discovered, the genuine wizards have a tendency to deal with the fakers sharply, making this something of a dangerous pastime.
Wizards are often aided in their studies by one or more apprentices. The apprentice-master relationship is very important to human wizards, as the vast majority of what any wizard learns is taught by their master. In fact, to receive the coveted rank of Master Mage from the Chimera Academy, a wizard must produce a student of sufficient skill to pass a test as well, ensuring that every master mage is also a decent teacher.
Though the greatest attention is usually given to the centers of learning, there are probably more wizards studying independently around Calibran than can be found in the halls of a university. Some seek the life of a hermit to allow them greater room for concentration and focus, though others attempt experiments that would not be allowed by the masters of the colleges. Most still keep in contact with colleagues and friends or acquaintances met while studying at their alma mater. Some write letters, more use sending spells and other magical ways of passing messages. But the sharing of spells and methods is, in many ways, commonplace.
Magic is, if not humdrum and familiar, then at least it is accepted. There are wizards everywhere, and most of them pursue their studies with little fanfare or fuss. Mundane folk don’t fear wizards, and when one comes to set up shop in a town or village, they are greeted as sign of a modest rise in the place’s reputation.
If the majority of wizards are actually sober citizens, the minority manage to keep things interesting enough to more than make up difference. They are driven mad by nameless horrors briefly glimpsed, or unleash the undead, demons, or worse, either by accident or with malign purpose. These incidents are not as rare as most would like, and local lords and adventuring companies are kept busy preventing things from getting out of control.