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“... which utilises the Amber Wind, called Ghur, whose colour is Amber, whose Lore is that of the Beasts, whose rune is the Arrow, and whose practitioners are called Shamans.”
—From The Founding of the Eight Orders, credited to Teclis[3a]
The Amber Order
Amber Brotherhood
Information[2b]
Lore Beasts
Symbols The Arrow, the Bear’s Claw, the Raven’s Feather (almost any other animal totem or fetish).
College The Amber Brotherhood
Wind of Magic Ghur

The wizards of the Amber Order use the symbol of the Arrow and are devotees of the Lore of Beasts, which is heard as an eagle's cry upon the Wind of Ghur. Amber Wizards are renowned for their savage appearance; their hair is wild and unkempt and they dress in furs adorned with bones, feathers, amber beads and primitive talismans.[6a]

Amber Magic

“The Dream of the Wild is found in the hunt of the predator and in the desperate energy of its prey. It speaks in the howl of Brother Wolf and the cry of Brother Eagle. Its touch is not felt upon the walls and turrets of civilized Men, but its growl is felt in the deepest of forests and upon the most jagged of peaks where only the free and wild dwell, and the Truth of Nature is prime, not the Lies of Man.”
—Attributed to Setanta Lobas, Magister-Patriarch of the Amber College[2a]
MagicSymbolGhur4th

The Magisters of the Amber College practice the magic of beasts. Essentially, this is a form of animistic magic that holds the power, spirits, and the habitats of untamed and completely wild animals as the shaping influence and source of its power. They are called shamans by some and Amber Magisters by others.[2b]

Ghur is the Brown Wind, and it is the Aethyr’s bestial spirit. It is the breath of the animal wild. It is the hunt of the predator and the energy of the prey. Ghur is formed of the existence, experiences, and observation of wild beasts and untamed places. It is said to be a savage wind, as primal and unreasoning as it is devoid of malice, and it is therefore completely inhuman. Ghur blows not where the walls and turrets of civilisation loom, but instead through the deepest forests and jagged peaks where only wild animals dwell. It is said that to open one’s mind to Ghur and to learn the secrets of its Magisters is to become one with the creatures of the dark wood.[2b]

The Amber Wind is a wild magical tempest which blows through the untamed land where few have trodden. It pools in the blood and bones of savage beasts, as well as in their lairs. Amber Wizards weave their Wind into spells of rage and destruction. Tapping a feral ferocity, they channel the wild animal and almost become the beast, as they let rage loose upon the world. Amber wizards tend to be solitary individuals, often preferring the company of wild beasts to men.[3a]

Few wizards can withstand the touch of Amber Magic, for it is the magic of bestial minds and untamed places and it cares little for the ways of civilized cultures. The power of the Wind of Ghur resides most strongly in the thoughts of savage creatures and Amber Wizards can commune with animals of all kinds. They also have the ability to assume the strength of the greatest beasts and can induce primal states of terror in others.[1a]

Ghur’s Magisters have embraced the savage Brown Wind of Magic, allowing them to have control over all manner of wild beasts and even communicate with them. Amber Magisters can also call upon the attributes of various spirits of the wild and are able to summon the strength of the bear, the swiftness of the hare, the eyesight of an eagle, and the heightened senses of smell and hearing of the wolf. Amber Magisters are said to be able to shape-shift, travelling on the paws or wings of wild creatures and birds if they so desire.[2b]

The Amber Brotherhood uses the Brown Wind to call upon the power of the wild spirits of nature. Their world vision is an animistic one, where every living thing, every plant, every animal and insect, and even the soil itself, has its own independent living spirit. The world through the eyes of an Amber Magister is a hard one, where the spirits of all living things must compete to live. It is a world of survival only for the fittest; where every creature has its place as predator or prey.[2b]

Amber Magisters are said to be able to merge their spirits with those of animals and go on vision-quests to learn more about themselves, the land, the ways of the spirits and how they can be pacified or bound.[2b]

Duties & Contracts

“I once had a goblin caravan under surveillance down in the Border Princes, alongside a brother of Amber. He had got us through the wilderness, and it was now my job to observe as closely as I could. We had orders simply to watch and not to engage. And they were fair orders, for the goblins numbered several hundred. As we watched, the goblins fell upon a caravan heading for the dwarf city of Barak Varr.
Soon they were butchering the merchants and their guard with much glee. We stood by, until some of the goblins ran down a couple of draft horses, stopping them very close to us.
They hacked the animals up and began to feast. It was then, and only then, that my Amber companion roused. Suddenly, I could feel the Winds of Ghur push me aside, and he sprang upon the goblins, appearing for all the world as a lion.
I, of course, stuck to my orders, observing the carnage with diligence and impartiality.”
—Gavius Klugge, Grey Wizard.[3b]
Amber Wizard fighting Beastman

Amber Magisters dislike human company and are shamanistic hermits. They live in areas far from the settlements of Humanity. They have little or no interest whatsoever in pursuing contracts of employment with merchants or nobles. The very idea is an abomination to them. They do, however, have duties, and they take them very seriously.[2c]

Amber Magisters require no money from the Emperor and would not know what to do with it if it was given to them. They live entirely off the land and serve the Empire by searching out the taint of Chaos in those dark and wild places where the Empire’s soldiery are reticent to tread, fighting Beastmen, toppling their blasphemous Herdstones, and dispersing the Dark Magic they contain. It is not unheard of for a noble who possesses estates that has large wild and untamed tracts to expend considerable resources seeking out an Amber Magister to ask him to reside upon his estates and guard them from supernatural harm.[2c]

The Amber Magisters consider themselves honour-bound to serve in the Empire's armies, just as their brother Magisters of the other Orders. They will only fight against the Chaotic and magical enemies of mankind, and will often receive word of any mustering of such creatures from the birds of the air. In such cases as these, shamanic Amber Magisters will join with any Imperial army facing such a foe.[2c]

The night or day before the battle commences the officers will emerge from their tent to see an Amber Magister dressed in furs and wearing a battle headdress of antlers or wild ram’s horns, crouching by a small fire, chanting softly to himself while casting bones on the earth. His headdress and his staff adorned with feathers, animal skulls, and other fetishes tell the officers who the Magister is, a shaman of the Amber Brotherhood.[2c]

Some officers in Imperial armies that find themselves posted near deep, impenetrable forests or at the foot of wild and lonely mountains are taught how to make strange totems and burn certain herbs and compounds that are signals to any Amber Magisters in the area that they require help. If seen, Amber Magisters in the region answer the summoning with surprising swiftness.[2c]

It would be useless to discuss tactics with Amber Magisters, for they will not listen. However, they can be trusted to fight with all their strength and will against the creatures of Chaos that warp and pollute the land with their presence, any enemy that causes supernatural harm to the Magister’s homelands, or the people the Magister has sworn to protect.[2c]

When the Wild Father, the Patriarch of the Amber Brotherhood, must be summoned for a conclave of the Patriarchs or for some other important matter, a great beacon fire is lit upon the walls of Altdorf that face the distant Amber Hills. The Wild Father will arrive the day after the beacon is lit and make his way straight to the Hall of Convocation.[2c]

Amber Magisters

Sometimes called pariahs, Amber Wizards are more commonly known as shamans or brown wizards. They dwell in the wilderness that surrounds Altdorf where they practise harnessing the feral Wind of Ghur. They shun civilisation for the most part, preferring the company of wild beasts to the citizens of the Empire.[4a]

The Amber College does not have a proper building in Altdorf. Instead the Order secludes itself in the mountains outside the city where its members have little to do with the Imperial court. This has led to much speculation concerning the Amber Brotherhood and whether their allegiance belongs to the Emperor or merely to the lands under his control.[4a]

Amber Wizards follow their instincts; they feel that their wanderings will lead them naturally into worthwhile situations. Members of the College certainly plot and plan, but their machinations seem to be long-term schemes and strategies. Communication across the wide diaspora of the Amber Brotherhood is vital to the running of the College, and so apprentices and acolytes are often required to run errands and carry messages across the Old World for their masters. It has been said by disparaging critics of the Order that defending the wild beasts of the Empire is often more important to Amber Wizards than defending its human population.[3b]

Personality

Amber Shaman

An Amber Wizard, also called a Shaman

Amber Wizards are typically outcasts, unable to conform to society. Growing up, most shamans preferred the outdoors, spending their time in the wilds and forgetting their societal obligations. They are easily drawn to the howling Ghur, calling to their primal nature that connects them to the wilderness. Unable to relate to people, they seek companionship with the creatures around them.[4a]

Their outward appearances reflect their personalities. Amber Wizards are not known to visit the barber or shoppe for the latest fashion. They often wear their hair long and unkempt, perhaps adorning shaggy beards with small animal bones and skulls. Some Amber Wizards even begin to look a little like the creatures with which they dwell.[4a]

Shamans have a reputation for being rude and uncaring. They have little patience for social conventions and they make no effort to hide it. They do not care how society views their savagery. In fact, many take a certain joy in unsettling any city folk who cross their path, usually feeling accomplishment in the fear that they invoke.[4a]

Reputation

Due to their savage lifestyle, brown wizards are not well-liked by commoners; even less liked than wizards from other Orders. Shamans are on the whole a grumpy, ill-tempered, uncaring, and unpredictable lot. This has led to conjecture by some citizens that Amber Wizards are slowly being twisted into beastmen by the Wind of Ghur. This idea is only fuelled by interactions with Amber Wizards, who seem to go out of their way to inspire fear wherever they roam.[4b]

Aside from fear, Amber Wizards also inspire a great deal of respect. They serve as great Battle Wizards, calling on the Wind of Ghur to bestow bestial aspects upon the Empire’s soldiers. Whether they call upon the stubbornness of the ox to stay a fleeing militia or channel the anger of the bear to enrage a swordsman, Amber Wizards can turn the tides of battle by utilising the Lore of Beasts.[4b]

They are also known to go great lengths to protect beasts, which has created further controversy regarding the Order. As their mastery of Ghur grows, they can also learn to control beasts and unleash the bestial instincts lurking in people. It has been said that an Amber Wizard will fight harder for his companion’s horse than for its rider.[4b]

Appearance

AmberMagister4th

Amber Wizards can be easily recognised by their bestial appearance. They do not cut their hair or their beards, and their nails grow long and hard, becoming more and more like claws or talons. They dress in the furs and hides of animals that they have hunted and slain themselves. They often make primitive jewellery and shamanic fetishes out of the fangs, claws, and feathers of various animals, interspersed with lumps of raw amber. They carry charms of herbs in small leather pouches, and for war and their great rituals, they make elaborate headdresses out of the skulls and horns of dangerous animals, like bears, wolves, and mighty stags.[2c]

Amber Wizards often dress in robes, though not as elegant or elaborate as wizards of other Orders. They wear earth tones to blend in with their environment and adorn themselves with bones, leaves, and other natural ornaments.[4b]

Most Amber Wizards carry with them an arrow of some sort. Whether it is a single arrow thrust in their belt or an entire quiver on their back, the arrow is the symbol of their Order as well as an invaluable tool for living in the wild.[4b]

Since the Amber Wind is used to channel the aspects of certain beasts, Amber Wizards often begin to look a little bit like the animals for which they have an affinity. For example, if a shaman often evokes the aspect of a crow, his nose might become hooked like a beak. In this way, it is often clear to other Amber Wizards what aspects their fellow wizards are known to channel.[4b]

Amber Wizards grow to look wild and unkempt with long hair. Their features sometimes change to resemble that of the animal for which they have an affinity. They have no time for etiquette and urbane sophistry, but have a reputation for savagery and unpredictability, and, if truth be told, many delight in the fear they provoke in more civilised folk.[3b]

They often carry staffs bedecked with feathers, lumps of amber, and animal bones, and they also carry bows and quivers of arrows that they manufacture for themselves.[2c]

Senior Magisters of this Order often begin to take on the some physical attributes of the animal spirits they seek to commune with – so they might posses the fangs of a wolf, fur instead of hair, or eaglelike talons.[2d]

Motivation

Like most wizards, Amber Wizards seek to master their chosen Wind. However, their desire to harness the Lore of Beasts is not simply a scholastic pursuit, nor is it a play for power. They are called to the Brown Wind on a primal level and they feel it is their role in the world to unlock the merciless and savage power of the wild.[4b]

Shamans are drawn to the world of adventure for many reasons. They might still have to fulfil their apprenticeship by journeying a far distance and surviving on their own instincts. If a tribe of beastmen have been slaughtering wild animals at large, Amber Wizards might take it upon themselves to hunt the unnatural predators to restore order in the wild.[4b]

Mentality

Teclis and Finreir realised soon after they began to teach the secrets of embracing Ghur to their Human protégés that using it had a strange effect upon Human minds. They became ever less interested in the affairs of their fellow men and empathised more with the ways and needs of the Wilds.[2d]

The Arrow is the mark of Taal, god of wild places and the hunt. Therefore, it was naturally chosen as the symbol of the Amber College and the magical wind of Ghur. Just as the Arrow is straight and unswerving, so are those who bear it as their mark. Amber Wizards are famously plainspoken and have little patience for those who would conceal their actions beneath fine words or false praise.[5a]

Just as they abhor evasion in conversation, Amber Wizards are wont to direction action in matters martial. Not for them the careful gathering of power behind the scenes, of subtle manoeuvre until the opportune hour. Rather the foe must be opposed directly, and with all speed -- particularly if that foe is being circumspect in his actions. Amber Wizards believe that to prevaricate is to brazenly display the weakness of indescision, which in turn draws in further foes like carrion. Best to stand firm from a position of strength, think they, than to scrabble around in search of a victory already forfeit through delay.[5a]

Amber Magisters are at home only in the deepest wild lands and shun Human company if they can, avoiding towns and settlements and conducting a very basic lifestyle as excellent hunters and trackers. They run with animals and live off of the land. The only Humans they are comfortable with are other Amber Magisters.[2d]

The Druid Magisters of the Order of Life will sometimes act as go-betweens for the Amber Brotherhood and other authorities.[2d]

Apprenticeship

Amber Magisters will only meet, let alone accept as Apprentices, those who are drawn to wild places, like woodsmen, rangers, trappers, wanderers, vagabonds, and even some bandits. When the Brown Wind blows strongly it touches the minds of some people, drawing them ever deeper into those places that are largely untouched by Human hands and eyes. The Amber Magisters actively seek out people like these to judge whether or not they are worthy to be inducted into the secrets of animism and the bestial magic of Ghur.[2d]

This means that it is impossible to gauge just how large or small the Amber Brotherhood is. No Amber Magister will choose more than one apprentice at a time. Only candidates psychologically as well as magically suited to the life will be chosen. In addition to the spells and techniques of the shamanic Amber magic, the master will teach the student how to hunt and how to live in the wilderness. Everything he teaches will be done so through an oral tradition and demonstration. The magic of Ghur involves the summoning and binding of spirits of the wild places, as well as sculpting Ghur into spells through rhythmic chants. The shedding of blood carries great weight in Brown magic, both of animals and the Magister’s own.[2d]

As apprentices grow in confidence in manipulating the Beast Wind and communing with the spirits of animals and other strange entities, they will become ever more like their masters in nature and outlook. Amber masters charge their apprentices no fees.[2d]

Becoming an Apprentice

Finding an Amber Wizard’s apprentice is a much more informal affair than in other Colleges. Sometimes a youth will be drawn instinctively to the Wind of Ghur, follow it away from civilisation, and eventually come across a Shaman. Sometimes an Amber Wizard will be drawn during his wanderings to a youth in whom he senses the power of magic burning. He will simply steal the child away and bring him up in the lore of the Amber Brotherhood. When he is ready, an apprentice Amber Wizard is expected to wander far from his master and to follow his own instincts, like a young wild animal evicted from its lair by its parents.[3b]

Wizards of the Amber Brotherhood yearn to be away from civilisation, living in wilderness caves or sleeping under the stars. They drink from streams and hunt for their food. They catch their prey with their bare hands and eat its flesh raw, or so I am told. These are not hardships for an Amber Wizard, but a joyous celebration of the energy of their magical path. Their rituals and totems channel Ghur into their bodies, enabling them to take on the characteristics of the animals they venerate. This brings out the caster’s feral urges in powerful ways, and Amber Wizards risk losing part of themselves to their animal instincts.[3b]

Opinions

“The Order’s elusive base is said to be a series of caves high in the Amber Hills just outside Altdorf, but I myself have looked for this and say it does not exist. Others say it is further afield, but in truth, I believe there is no base. The College has no physical structure, but is simply a loose affiliation wherein the wild wizards roam the untamed places, meet and talk, and depart again.”
—Anonymous[3b]

The public hardly ever see the brothers of the Amber College. When they do they assume that they must be were-folk or the wild men of legend. However, apprentices and Journeymen of this Order often look more like trappers and rangers to the public at large because they have not yet abandoned Human society altogether.[2d]

Much to the consternation of the Imperial court, the Amber College seems to be beyond their control. Even if a representative of the Emperor manages to track down a high-ranking Amber Wizard, he often seems loath to do the Emperor’s bidding. No one doubts their loyalty to this land, but it is the land to which they are loyal, not the political entity that is the Empire.[3b]

Amber Wizards are treated with trepidation by the wizards of other Colleges, their appearance and wildness reminding them too much of the true nature of the Winds they seek to control. Other wizards generally believe that the Amber Wizards have given too much of themselves to their arcane Wind. In a sphere where technique and discipline are considered the most vital virtues, this can make wizards of other orders extremely uncomfortable. The unknown size and the loose organisation of the College can also leave other wizards feeling confused about the Amber Brotherhood.[3b]

The Amber College

Of all the Orders of Magic, the Amber College is the only one to have no representative buildings in Altdorf. It has very few proper buildings at all. There is no College; instead, the Lord Magisters of the Order inhabit caves that lie beyond the city, among the Amber Hills that are named after for the Magisters themselves. These are rocky and wooded, unsuitable for agricultural purposes or as building-ground, are not easily found, and visitors are not welcomed. The wizards of the College much prefer the wilder places that have never been cultivated. Other similar lairs of Amber Magisters are said to exist throughout the Old World, in deep forests and high up on mountain tops. It could be said that the College itself exists in all the wild places of the world.[2d][3b]

The college's territory in Altdorf is but a totemic center and an occasional gathering place used only in rare and unusual circumstances. Amber Wizards are reclusive hermits who prefer the company of beasts to their fellow man, and make refuges in deep forests and high mountaintops.[1a]

Notable Shamans

Gallery

  • Amber Wizard by Chris Quilliams

Old Canon

The wind that is the source of Amber magic is like a thin chill breeze that cuts through any protection, in some places blowing lightly and in others like a gale. It is closely related to wild things and it cannot be tamed. Amber magic deals with elemental wildness – wild animals and birds, curses and the sheer untamed power of the natural world, very different to the power of living things tapped by the magicians of the Jade College or the druids of the Old Faith. Amber magic works best in wild places far from the civilised races of the Old World and their control over the environment.[1a]

The Amber Tower in Altdorf stands in a square behind the Imperial palace. It is a symbolic home for the college as it is almost always empty, with no library, apprentices, laboratories or staff of servants. There may be one or two Amber mages with business in the city staying here, but it is used only when the tides of Amber magic flow most strongly across the world and reach even to the heart of cities. The tower is short and squat, topped by many gargoyles whose faces are those of wild beasts. There is a wall around it, and the tower rises from a mossy courtyard. The tower has neither door nor window.[1a]

Directions are inscribed on the tower walls, visible only to those whose psyches are naturally attuned with Amber magic. These directions tell aspiring Amber wizards where they can seek out others of their kind for training. The door to the tower will appear and open only when Amber magic is at its strongest.[1a]

Deep in the forests around Altdorf there are a number of Amber strongholds, looked after by Amber wizards for the specific purpose of training others. These strongholds are in wild places, where both wizard and Acolyte must hunt for their own food.[1a]

Amber wizards will accept no more than one apprentice at a time. Only candidates psychologically as well as magically suited to the life will be accepted. As well as the spells and techniques of Amber magic the master will teach the student how to hunt and bow to live in the wilderness.[1a]

Amber wizards do not trim their hair or their beards. They dress in furs of animals that they have killed themselves. They often make jewellery out of the bones, feathers and teeth of small creatures, interspersed with lumps of raw amber. Using the concentration techniques necessary to manipulate Amber magic brings on a hatred and fear of people, and especially of people massed together. As Acolytes learn more Amber magic they become more bestial.[1a]

Amber masters charge their apprentices no fees.[1a]

History of the Amber College

Teclis realized soon after he began to teach Amber magic that using it had a strange effect on the minds of men. As the floods of magical energy began to abate after the Chaos Incursion and Amber magic became weaker in Altdorf, he tried to persuade those who had learned Amber magic from him that they should begin again in another discipline. Some did, but many were already too engrossed in their way of life. These fled the city, frightened that Teclis would dissolve their order.[1a]

They held a historic meeting in the woods on the south bank of the Reik not far from Altdorf. All the Amber wizards in the Old World were present, with only one outsider. This was Jenna Schwarzkopf, a Grey wizard, who had been the first High Grey. At the time the ideals of Teclis about the eight colleges protecting the world from Chaos were very much in everyone's mind, but even Jenna could not persuade all the Amber wizards to return to the city. However, she managed to make them agree that they would train others who wanted to learn their tradition, and that some of them would stay close to Altdorf for this purpose. The mages agreed to write directions to their secret holds on their tower with magical scripts.[1a][1b]

She also persuaded them that their High Amber should come to Altdorf if she summoned him, and that they would continue to elect the High Amber. This tradition remains in place – any Grey wizard who has been High Grey can summon the High Amber to Altdorf if he is needed. This has only been done twice in the last two centuries – once when the Bright College burned the city and once at the deposition of Emperor Dieter IV.[1b]

Kerwen Sigmarrson

Kerwen Sigmarrson is the High Amber. He lives in a cave in the Middle Mountains with three wolves, travelling into Altdorf only when his official duties demand it. He was elected three years ago when the previous High Amber was eaten by a bear. He is very shaggy in appearance, and wears a thick string of amber beads, which is his badge of office. He dislikes people very much, and cares nothing about the affairs of the rest of the world, although being a man who keeps his word and his obligations, he regards his oath of loyalty to the Empire as highly as any vow he has ever sworn. He prefers not to receive visitors.[1b]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery (1st Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 49
    • 1b: pg. 50
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery (2nd Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 34
    • 2b: pg. 119
    • 2c: pg. 120
    • 2d: pg. 121
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Tome of Mysteries (3rd Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 17
    • 3b: pg. 18
  • 4: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Winds of Magic (3rd Edition)
    • 4a: pg. 40
    • 4b: pg. 41
  • 5: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
    • 5a: pg. 35
  • 6: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
    • 6a: pg. 18

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