- "The wizard would not be placated. ‘I’ll show you well done!’ he screamed, and a ball of flame erupted from his palm. In moments it was the size of a pumpkin. Giving me just enough time to stand up and retreat a few paces, he hurled the ball of flame."
- —Gavius Klugge, Grey Wizard
The Pyromancers of the Bright Order are students of the Lore of Fire, and wield Aqshy, the Red Wind of Magic. Their magic is often spectacular and impressively violent, making the Bright Order one of the most visible of the Colleges of Magic in Imperial society. The Bright Order's College is located in Altdorf, in a region of burnt-out ruins.
Symbols & Appearances
The Key of Secrets, the Flame of Wrath, and the Torch of Wisdom are the symbols of the Bright Order.
Aqshy is represented by the Key of Secrets, which symbolizes the unlocking of power through knowledge. Indeed, progression through the eight ranks of the Bright College is marked at every transition by the aspirant's passage through a filigreed gate, each larger and more imposing than the last. The Key of Secrets is central to every tradition and ritual performed by the Bright Wizards, and indeed is used as a badge of rank by many of the Order.
The more keys a wizard carries, and the heavier the chains with which they are bound, the greater his power and the higher his standing within the Order. This is not to say that the Key of Secrets is a purely figurative symbol of power. Bright Wizards commonly joke that just as their knowledge is the key to power, their power grants them the key to any door. After all, there are few gates or portals able to withstand the focused fury of a determined Bright Wizard.[2a]
The Pyromancers of the Bright Order tend to wear robes of red or orange as a kind of uniform in battle, cut so as to allow easy movement in combat. They are often ruddy of skin. The more the Pyromancer uses Aqshy and his mastery over it grows, the more the Red Wind will affect him physically. Senior Pyromancers tend to have coppery or red hair, which, along with their eyebrows and beards, seems to turn into pure flame as they cast their spells. Pyromancers also bear red tattoos across their faces and arms. These are said to sometimes writhe and change form as their bearer manipulates the Red Wind into spells.
Adorning their belts, all Pyromancers have a set of seven keys, each of different metals. These are the Keys of Secrets, to give them their ceremonial name, and they represent each of the Bright Order's different stages of tutelage and advancement within the Order. Each key represents the unlocking of another aspect of the Lore of Pyromancy, and Magisters of the College carry the keys as a sign of their rank, learning, and authority.
The Red Wind
Pyromantic Thaumaturgy is the least subtle of all the Lores of Magic in its effects. It involves the manipulation of heat and fire in every form. For this reason, Magisters of this Order are often referred to as "Pyromancers," as they can control any flame, natural or otherwise. As such, the magic of the Bright Order tends to be the most spectacular and impressive to the ordinary folk of the Empire.
Duties & Contracts
While many pyromancers go on to become Battle Wizards, having the talents and knowledge to lend considerable assistance on the battlefield, Bright Wizards do more than just fight. In peacetime, Pyromancers are often employed to act as guardians for nobles, diplomats, and very wealthy merchants who are passing through very dangerous parts of the Empire.
Pyromancers frequently train with military detachments and, as a result, they are the most readily recognised of all Magisters. But they do not simply learn how to use their abilities to support troops as most other Magisters do, they also learn how to fight as frontline troops—such is their aggressive and passionate nature.
Views of the Public
Bright Wizards are often at the front line of battle, defending the Empire of Man from the forces of Chaos and other threats with their fiery and destructive energies. Thus, some people consider these wizards to be heroes of the Empire.
However, the powers the Pyromancers wield is terrifying. Natural fires are bad enough, but people who can create fire at a whim? That's dangerous. Plus, the nature of Aqshy is tempestuous and aggressive; so are the men and women who can sense its power. Many people fear the Bright Wizards.
The Bright College
The Bright College is set within a substantial area of burned-out ruins[1b][1c] in Altdorf's lower-class East End.[6a] The cause of the fire is one of the great, gossiped-about mysteries of Altdorf. Some blame a cataclysmically faulty enchantment attempted at the College. Others blame the destruction on some heretical cult or other, while others still claim that the destruction is the result of the counterstrike of the College's defensive enchantments against an attack. The story that an individual believes tells a great deal about that person's attitude towards Magisters. Whatever the cause, the cataclysm devastated many buildings and is said to have left their charred shells haunted.[1b][1c]
People passing through the area are said to catch glimpses of figures from the corners of their eyes, but nothing can be found on investigation. A few footprints might be found in the ash, starting from nowhere and vanishing. Although the fire was years ago, visitors to the area still find smouldering beams and doorframes, as if the fire was put out only hours previously. A few people brave enough to pick through the ruins claim to have seen the whole area burst into flames around them, sending them back in time to the disaster itself. A number of investigations have failed to reveal a cause for these phenomena; although, some people suspect that the Bright Magisters themselves are responsible, seeking to preserve their privacy. Others suspect an even darker source for the haunting. The truth of the matter remains unknown.[1c]
Somewhat understandably, Altdorf's citizens have refused to move back into the area, and thus it remains uninhabited, even in a city as crowded as Altdorf. A decree was made that the blackened area around the College must be left as a warning against magical arrogance. Some people, and some things, find the existence of such an area within Altdorf suits them very well, even if it means hiding under the very noses of some of the most dangerous individuals in the Empire.[1c]
The College itself is invisible behind a magical barrier. Its location appears to be a collection of charred and largely collapsed towers around a burned-out plaza. On particularly hot days at the height of summer, a vision of the College sometimes appears in the heat haze above this place. The locals take the opportunity to tell gullible visitors that the Bright Order flies across the Old World, taking the Magisters to their battles. In fact, the College is firmly grounded, and anyone who manages to find their way through the magical barrier will see as much.[1c]
Behind the magical barrier, the air is filled with the smell of smoke and myriad scents of burning: wood, coal, cloth, molten metals, or even hints of charred flesh. At night the College is lit by the flickering orange and red glare from the giant fires that burn endlessly atop each of its twenty-one mighty towers,[1c] and by a central bright beacon.[7a] Visitors who find a way to pass through the magical barrier always find themselves standing in front of the main gates, no matter what direction they approached the College from.[1c]
These great bronze gates, three times the height of a man, glow red from their intense heat, and even approaching them takes some mental fortitude (although it inflicts no actual damage). Touching the gates with bare skin will cause burns.[1c]
The gatekeeper occupies a small building next to the main gates, and opens them for anyone who can demonstrate that they have legitimate business within. Pyromancers always have a legitimate reason to enter their own College, while other people must have business with someone who resides there. If guests have been invited for a specific time, the Magister who invited them will have told the gatekeeper in advance, so he will be expecting them. However, even Magisters forget occasionally and sometimes friends arrive unexpectedly, so if people claim to be there to see a Magister who is in residence, the gatekeeper sends a servant to inquire whether the Magister wants to see them. Famous and high-ranking individuals would be allowed in for almost any reason—the gatekeeper will hardly keep the Reiksmarshal or the Emperor waiting (but then dignitaries such as these are unlikely to just turn up unannounced).[1c]
Within the gates, the imposing red stone buildings of the College are ranged around a heptagonal paved courtyard. There is a tower at each corner and two further towers divide each range into thirds.[1c]
In the centre of each range is a door leading into the College proper, or, in the case of the main gates, out. These doors are all of metal, and have seven keyholes, although they are almost never locked. The coloured stones of the paving form a pattern of seven keys, one pointing at each of the doors. The interiors of the College buildings are entirely of stone. Even floors and ceilings are rock, and stone and metal furniture is common. Decoration in corridors consists of bas-relief carvings on the walls and stone statues, all illuminated by fires burning in ornate braziers. There are few windows, and those that there are serve as outlets for smoke as much as anything else.[1d]
Personal rooms have a wider range of decorations, and those on the inner side of the range have glazed windows overlooking the courtyard. However, illumination by open flames is universal. Candles are rare and enclosed lanterns unheard of. The number of fires around means that the inside of the College strikes most people as oppressively hot, although Bright Magisters find it comfortable, increasingly so as they get more powerful. The Bright Order is a bad place for a fight unless the attackers are extremely powerful. In a fight against the residents, they will be killed very quickly by dozens of powerful Pyromancers.[1d]
Sneaking into the College would require great skill and magical assistance. The walls are very high and most of the guards are well concealed. It would be perhaps easier to set up a meeting with a Bright Magister and then not leave.[1d]
Once inside the College, most will assume that strangers have a reason to be there unless they are doing something obviously out of place, like trying to pick the lock on a door. With confidence and care, clever interlopers could get almost anywhere, but the consequences of being caught are likely to be quickly fatal.[1d]
Because Pyromancy is by its very nature violent and destructive, and because Pyromancers tend to be naturally aggressive (though not often cruel), Apprentices have to learn how control their own hearts and minds, strictly and absolutely, before they can learn anything else. Only then may they move on to learning how to grasp Aqshy. Because of the requirements of discipline, selection for the Bright Order is harsh and strict.
Apprentices are always given rooms within the College, where they must stay on pain of corporal punishment. Because of the destructive nature of Pyromancy, most instruction takes place in specially fortified rooms, lined heavily with magic-absorbing lead. Apprentices are expected to help each other with their duties, encouraging a sense of loyalty to each other and to the College. However, this does not get in the way of the College’s drive for combat excellence, and two Apprentices who have become close during their time in the College will still be expected to face each other in combat training and give the contest their all.
Too much academic study is discouraged in favour of practical experimentation for those that are deemed to have enough control and discipline. Bright Magisters will spend most of their days upon the battlefield and must learn how to fight, survive, and win. As a result, once an apprentice has learned the basics of the Order's spellcraft, he or she will be expected to be able to fight with it. Mock combat is a frequent part of training, but then so is actual magical duelling for senior apprentices.
Consequently, only the most skilled, most powerful and quickest to think and react ever really get anywhere in the Bright Order. There are no drop-outs from the Bright Order. Apprentices either succeed in reaching the level of Magister or they die trying.
- Brothers Fleissman -- arsonist blackmailers along the Kislev border.
- Friedrich von Tarnus -- Ex-commander of the Carroburg Greatswords, first Magister Patriarch of the Bright Order.
- Hans Feuerbach -- Thyrus Gormann's most gifted apprentice, was Magister Patriarch of the Bright College during his master's time as Supreme Patriarch.[4a]
- Hugo Bann
- Lord Reichthard -- First Magister to suffer the punishment of Pacification.
- Luthor Flamestrike -- Served with distinction under Mercenary Commander Morgan Bernhart.
- Sergov Pfeiffer -- Aided in the defence of Volganof, invented the Fury of Sigmar fireball.
- Sienna Fuegonasus -- Maven of the Flame, member of the Ubersreik Five.
- Thyrus Gormann -- Ex-Supreme Patriarch to the Colleges of Magic, present day Magister Patriarch of the Bright Order.
- Wolfgang Scheunacht
- 1: Realms of Sorcery (WFRP 2nd Edition), pp. 116-119.
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
- 2a: pg. 34
- 3: Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Empire (6th Edition)
- 4a: pg. 54
- 5: Blaze a Path to Glory
- 6: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition -- Spires of Altdorf
- 6a: pg. 22
- 7: Warhammer Armies: Empire (7th Edition)
- 7a: pg. 29