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Author Topic: Wizards, Sorcerers and Bards in the Empire: Discussion  (Read 2146 times)
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« on: April 13, 2008, 01:35:02 PM »

The Magic and Technology thread seems to be turning into this thread, so I'm going to start this thread. Below are summaries of what has been discussed in the M&T thread.


Wizards:
-They seek knowledge more than power
-They take on a single apprentice
-The Empire doesn't trust them and known wizards are watched (possibly attacked in some regions of the empire)

Sorcerers:
-Learn their magic by themselves
-In the rest of the world Sorcerers mostly travel and live alone while learning their magic, but in the Empire anyone that shows a talent for sorcery is pressed into service of the Empire. Some in the military and other such agencies, and some sent to become bards/spies

Bards:
-Formally trained sorcerers.
-They work as spies in a few guilds. One tied to the Empire, some tied to Lords (old families), and some are independant working for anyone willing to pay.

How does this sound to everyone?
Any other comments or bullets that should be added?
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2008, 01:58:07 PM »

I think it works, I'm curious about the apprentice aspects of the Wizard though - is that a necessary class "ability," or just flavor text?  

Also, clarification on the bards - are they all originally sorcerers who have received training, and they just pick up a love for music/art/dance/theater/whatever ?
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2008, 02:20:00 PM »

Ishmayl


I think it works, I'm curious about the apprentice aspects of the Wizard though - is that a necessary class "ability," or just flavor text?  


It is more for flavor. It is to explain how they are taught magic and become wizards. It gives wizards a master/apprentice relationship that was discussed in the other thread. [In my opinion] It also lends itself well to those that want to remain hidden from the Empire. Having a single apprentice instead of a classroom is easier to hide.

Ishmayl


Also, clarification on the bards - are they all originally sorcerers who have received training, and they just pick up a love for music/art/dance/theater/whatever ?

From the other thread:

Bards could be what happens when someone with the sorcerer talent receives some training. There might be a guild(?) that takes in those with the sorcerer talent from the higher classes of society. Because sorcerers are distrusted on the whole, their talent is suppressed in part (hence the lesser raw magic power of the bard) and only non-destructive magic is learned. These trained bards form the elite in the area of amusement, performing mostly for the upper class.

There is somewhere we can go with this, I think Turin is onto something. it could be that that is how the Bardic magic started, that more cultured, higher-class talented children were not sent to dirty towers with creepy old men...they were sent to finishing school (or so to speak), and learned dancing, entertaining, the great songs and histories, the ways of the courts, and a little magic.
The times have changed, and the Bardic guilds have become more independent, fostering secret knowledge and alliances with some Old Families, but perhaps also the keepers of some Old Empire secrets entrusted to them, known only by their masters. And now, thety still take in aristocats for tutoring, while also testing the less fortunate for talent. The laughing fce of the Troubadours of the Old Families and the Rich on the outside, while desperately trying to maintain their independance in secret.

Actually, we had been going in the direction of sorcery and the bardic magic being in the province of the collegium of the Bards, or a collection of collegiums, some of them secretly allies with old families, their elders hiding secrets from the first empire, very specifically maintaining their independence from the Empire.

With the Bardics this would make a lot of sense on a number of levels. Bardic lore can encode and hide (and therefore transmit and reveal to those with the right "keys") a wide variety of knowledge. (There's a great deal of evidence that the Celtic Ollam's did precisely that, both in poetics and the use of the Ogham "alphabet") In a setting with strong element of espionage bardic training could be highly useful both in terms of covert techniques (arcane and mundane) and to provide "access" for agents. Not that Bardic Collegiums would simply be euphemisms for "spy schools" but they would provide excellent pre-training and screening agencies - especially for the families and related interests as you describe.

I would then imagine covert Imperial activities upon it's own citizens (especially at the lowest levels) being conducted to create their own magical operatives as a countermeasure policy and/or Secret Police agency. If you've read Rudyard Kipling's "Kim," (perhaps the first distinctly "spy novel" ever written) a good potential example of how identification, recruitment and training might be carried out can be found. Not to say that all bards would necessarily by Old Family spies nor all sorcerers Imperial operatives, just that these activities could be conducted extensively though those particular channels.
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2008, 04:54:21 PM »

Sweet editing and condensation of a lot of discussion! I would still like to introduce in this my question about psionics - I think they could occupy a niche in this over-all magical version of the great intelligence game very well, quite possibly introduced by a very new player in the arena that the others don't yet realize exists, or at least has assets in play if an older body which so far has been dismissed by the power players. Organized crime suggests itself to me (rogue talents of talented rogues) - various local thieves guilds becoming syndicated under powerful "big picture thinking" criminal networks well below the radar of the political players. Consolidation of control of certain commodities and financial assets, as well as local graft and corruption would provide them leverage against both the old houses and government agencies, ultimately opening the door for them to infiltrate and manipulate what the political factions still see as their own private struggle for the real power in the world. If syndication is accomplished surreptitiously then they could well have their fingers deep in the political arena by the time the older powers notice that the criminal underworld has undergone some significant changes and is coordinating its traditional, illegal activities in a broader, more consistent fashion beyond the localized efforts of petty criminals. The assumption would most likely remain though that the new, big bosses are intent on controlling the traditional profits of "business as usual" however, there being little reason to think that they would have a political agenda. Done right, they could pursue that unrecognized agenda through the use of heretofore unknown techniques for a very long time before their presence is even detected, much less identified, still having considerable lead time to develop their plans further before anyone is able to figure out *how* they've been managing to accomplish things, and even further before any countermeasures could be developed. Hence, no one would think yet to look for any hidden origins to such legitimate bodies and activities such as the newly established Slavers Guild. . . They might never think to look back deep enough to detect say, an old, dismissed and forgotten former great house having turned to covert crime beneath a veneer of artistic decadence or an apparent preoccupation with pointless abstract philosophical dead ends. . .
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008, 09:08:16 PM »

Snargash, I made this thread so that we can move on to psionics. There is a psionics thread with two pages of discussion in it. Soon I will be going through it and making a new one for expanded discussion.

Organized Crime: We already have an evilish Emperor, as well as a greedy clergy, and dominion lords (old families). The Empire is already evil enough, I don't know if we need organized crime syndicates. Check out the Government thread for more on the governmental structure.
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2008, 09:59:04 PM »

I'll have to go back and dig it up - I tend to be looking at current threads in the window on the homepage rather than going into forums - hadn't realized a psionics thread was there.

Organized crime - one thing to consider historically is that both the Yakuza and to a lesser degree some of the Triads were originally sort of benevolent societies rather gladly supported by the peasants and actually protecting them from predations of warlords who gave no thought to their vassals' wellbeing. (One of the main reasons the Yakuza have always been looked down upon in Japanese society is they are, by definition, lower class. While I'm not glossing over their activities in the last century, who they are has had a lot more to do with their formal portrayal than what they do.) In an extremely oppressive society like the Empire appears to be, there is often a great deal of overlap between what constitutes organized crime and meeting many of the basic survival needs of those denied any rights to ensure those needs. Organized crime syndicates in this Empire could very easily constitute the "good guys!" Anyway, I'll dig back into gov't structure a bit more as well and get a better feel for what fits and what doesn't.
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2008, 10:06:39 PM »

Snargash Moonclaw


Organized crime - one thing to consider historically is that both the Yakuza and to a lesser degree some of the Triads were originally sort of benevolent societies rather gladly supported by the peasants and actually protecting them from predations of warlords who gave no thought to their vassals' wellbeing. (One of the main reasons the Yakuza have always been looked down upon in Japanese society is they are, by definition, lower class. While I'm not glossing over their activities in the last century, who they are has had a lot more to do with their formal portrayal than what they do.) In an extremely oppressive society like the Empire appears to be, there is often a great deal of overlap between what constitutes organized crime and meeting many of the basic survival needs of those denied any rights to ensure those needs. Organized crime syndicates in this Empire could very easily constitute the "good guys!" Anyway, I'll dig back into gov't structure a bit more as well and get a better feel for what fits and what doesn't.


Bring it up in the government thread. I asked about other power groups in that thread. Organized crime as good guys might not be a bad idea.
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2008, 10:19:08 PM »

wilco. I'm mulling a bit from the psionics thread - re: monks and psionics (an approach I tend to favor in parts of my setting as well) - and the weaving of these - monks as outlaw peasant heroes. . . will stir a bit and post relevant thought lines up into both sections - if it generates interest perhaps combine into a separate thread later to develop more meat on the skeleton. . .
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2008, 10:55:38 PM »

[blockquote=Sealord]Bards:
-Formally trained sorcerers.
-They work as spies in a few guilds. One tied to the Empire, some tied to Lords (old families), and some are independant working for anyone willing to pay.[/blockquote]

The bardic guilds were set up, or so I thought, to be schools for the wealthy, seemingly connected to the old families and harmless.  Grow up in polte society, and go to bardic finishing school to learn how to be a gentleman, meet the people who will move you along in life, etc (college in the latter 19th century and early 20th).  Learn some history, some politics, to dance, the basics of how magic and sorcery works in their last year, etc.
But these bardic guilds had secrets.  Many had been around since the first empire.  Some had been entrusted with secrets from that first empire, things the students are not told about.
The teaching and training of sorcerers is one of these.  A secret they hide behind their laughing facade, quietly allied with a few old families who remeber the days when a man's merit determined his place in the empire.
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2008, 11:38:58 PM »

Wizards - so far not a lot here as to any agenda behind them - if they have any beyond seeking knowledge. Looking at some other discussions however, the Empire's distrust of them could easily be well founded in history, with Emperor Devinious' being the popular example of what wizardry and the pursuit of knowledge ultimately leads to. . . Naturally St. Devinious (if a member of the official Church Canon) would be opposed to the development of potential competitors. Wizardry proper might even be explicitly outlawed by Church edict within the Empire itself and one of the primary targets of "The Inquisition." A slightly different approach would be to treat Devinious as the official "Adversary" of the Saintinist church - acknowledged as on par w/the Saints but opposed rather than revered (at least publicly. . .), with wizards being persecuted as his followers. If he has a hand in the Bardic Colleges and the formation of the New Empire (as I suggested in the gov't thread) then he would definitely let the assumption stand - the Empire would persecute his rivals for him and overlook his real pawns at the same time.
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2008, 08:40:32 AM »

(I really should be working on my paper, so I'll keep this short)

With 4e around the corner, I was wondering if any thought had be given to Warlocks in the empire. Since they're a core class, I feel like they should be addressed. Thoughts?
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2008, 10:00:40 AM »

Xathan Worldsmith


(I really should be working on my paper, so I'll keep this short)

With 4e around the corner, I was wondering if any thought had be given to Warlocks in the empire. Since they're a core class, I feel like they should be addressed. Thoughts?

I have no idea.  I am happy to put my 2 cents in building the Empire, and am happy to put in 6-10 different magic traditions.  But I'm not really that concerned with gaming system specifics
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