The Magisters of the Celestial Order study the Lore of the Heavens, which in its widest sense is “Astrometeorological Thaumaturgy,” the magic of the stars, the upper atmosphere, and the weather. The Magisters of the Celestial Order are most commonly referred to as Astromancers, and they are prognosticators, astrologers, and seers without Human peer. These potent wizards also have power over the weather and over various other meteorological phenomena.
It is certainly for these reasons that Azyr's Magisters are known for their greatest preference for sky and star gazing, and for this reason the Magisters of the Celestial College are sometimes called “Celestial Wizards” by some of the less educated folk of the Empire.
Symbols & Appearances
The Comet of Power, the Crescent, the Eight Pointed Star.
The astromancers of the Celestial College bear the Comet of Power as their symbol. It is perhaps the most direct of all the Colleges of Magic's iconography, for the power of the Celestial Wizards floats, on the Wind of Azyr, among the stars. Every aspect of celestial lore is rooted in the movement of heavenly bodies and their influence upon the world, and it is therefore little wonder that Celestial Wizards so openly display the source of power to which they are bound.[2a]
Yet there are subtleties to the Comet of Power that are lost to the casual observer. The narrow tail and broadening head of the comet mirrors the ever-expanding knowledge of the Celestial College. Furthermore, the comet is usually depicted with its head reaching skyward, symbolising the transcendent ambition of the Celestial Wizards. Only on robes of mourning, worn in reverence to a departed senior fellow of the college, is the symbol inverted, in this case commemorating a great man or woman fallen, in death, to the level of common folk.[2a]
The Magisters of the Celestial College use midnight blue as their prime colour of decoration, and they will normally wear pendants, rings, earrings and brooches in the shape of stars and moons, etc. Due to their unusual wealth, Astromancers can afford to have the very best robes, and everything they wear is of the richest materials and best tailoring.
It is said that as an Astromancer advances in his field and comes ever closer to Azyr, his eyes turn wholly blue and glow with a soft light.
While the Magisters give the impression of knowing everything before people say anything, this is not, in fact, the case. They know when people are about to speak, but not always what they are about to say. It is, therefore, possible to surprise them. Astromancers tend to be dreamers and are very scholarly. The shifting possibilities of the future have more relevance and are more real to them than is the present.
They tend to look up to the heavens a lot with contemplative looks on their faces.
Duties & Contracts
The very wealthiest and most important people see the Astromancers of the Celestial College in the Empire in a kind of love/hate relationship. Few nobles would not wish to know how the future turns out for them, either in the short term or long (or both), but there is nothing in the Articles of Imperial Magic or in the Celestial College’s own rules that forbids telling people their fortunes, if that is what they wish. However, the Astromancers are required to tell all of that which they see with absolute honesty.
This is a double-edged sword as the Astromancers cannot always direct what areas of the future they will see. So they may indeed be able to see the future in such a way as to win a noble some political influence, but they are just as likely to foresee the day, hour, and style of that noble’s death, and they would be obligated to tell all they had seen, in person.
As a result, though many noble houses seek to contract an Astromancer (for the sake of appearances if nothing else), few pressure him or her too closely to reveal future events. Resultantly, Astromancers tend to be quite wealthy.
Like all Magisters, Astromancers can be seconded to serve in the military throughout their life and as need dictates. As one might expect from an Order of prognosticators, few experienced Magisters are ever surprised or unprepared when the call comes.
The Celestial College
The Celestial College lies close to the centre of Altdorf, not that far from both the Imperial Palace and the Great Temple of Sigmar. However, despite the bustle around the College, almost no one ever notices it.[1c]
The Celestial College is not invisible, nor is it disguised by illusions. Instead, the spells that protect the College subtly prevent people from looking in the College’s direction, or from paying any attention to whatever they do see. Clouds and mist intervene at crucial moments, and the wind blows flags, awnings, and light pieces of rubbish across the line of sight to the College's spires. People who live and work in the area know that there is something in that spot, but they have no clear memories of it or interest in finding out. Most assume it must be a residential building, or a private warehouse, or some other structure that they have no interest in.[1d]
However, someone who knows roughly where the Celestial College is and is deliberately looking for it can find the entrance. Yet even such a determined person as this will rarely think to look up, or around, and do not even pay attention to the details of the door. Thus, if even the most determined non-Wizards approach the College it is rare they will notice anything other than the door itself.[1d]
Of course, people attuned to the vagaries of magic are often immune to this effect and can see the College in its full glory. When such people point the College out to bystanders, the effect is partially overcome for a while. People with only the mundane senses will quickly lose interest and revert back to not bothering to look in that direction at all and thinking that there is nothing important there. Indeed, for the brief moments they were aware of the College, they do not take in any details of it.[1d]
For those who can see it, the College is one of the most spectacular sights in Altdorf. Sixteen slender towers, each built from blue and white stone, reach high into the heavens. Far taller than the spires of the Great Temple of Sigmar or the towers of the Palace, they thrust out of the huge main body of the blue-stoned College. Each is topped with a glass dome, which glitters in sunlight and shines faintly from within at night. About a hundred and sixty years ago, the Patriarch of the time built the first domed tower on the western corner of the building. This sparked off the Time of the Towers, in which the masters of the College built greater and higher towers, leading to the profusion of towers and observatories that can be seen today. However, once the number of towers reached sixteen it was deemed by the Lord Magisters of the College that there were towers enough, and no more were built.[1d]
The towers are linked by numerous walkways and gantries, also built in blue and white stone. The windows of the towers and the main building are all wide, and every study and living quarter in the College has skylights, windows and balconies from which Magisters and Apprentices may observe the heavens.[1d]
The College’s main door is four yards square, divided into four sections and finished in black metal. Dots of silver are spread across it, forming a map of a night sky, albeit not the sky visible above the Old World. No one is ever kept waiting at the door. The doorkeepers always seem to know when someone arrives and open the door a moment before they knock. In most cases, the general purpose of any visit is known, but rarely the specifics. Thus, if visitors want to speak to a Magister, the doorkeeper will know it, though not necessarily which Magister. This prescience is partly the result of careful observation, but also partly magical. The doorkeepers would only make a mistake if a powerful spell is concealing the visitors’ purpose. Hostile visitors are either ignored or threatened with the barrel of a blunderbuss thrust through a port in the door, depending on the persistence and severity of their hostility.[1d]
Within the College is a cobbled courtyard that gives access to the many towers, whose myriad windows overlook the interior of the College. There are no signs to show which door leads where, so novices are prone to getting lost. Inside the building are libraries, living quarters and observatories. The air has no scent inside the College, like the clear air at the top of a mountain. Although they are a little confusing, the corridors and courtyards of the College tend to have a calming effect on most visitors. Small libraries and observatories can be found all over the place. Visitors are allowed to go to a Magister's room unescorted, and servants appear to repeat directions just at the moment visitors might realise that they do not know which way to turn at a junction. Magisters who want to receive guests invite them in the moment they arrive outside the door, without waiting for a knock. It is worth noting that many of the Magisters at the College tend to spend their days sleeping and their nights at the top of the crystal towers, studying the stars.[1d]
The College is somewhat unsurprisingly an excellent place to meet Celestial Magisters. All senior Magisters have their own private rooms, which are furnished in their own style. Mostly, this tends towards a celestial theme, and most rooms contain at least one large telescope and an astrolabe.[1d]
Although the visitors may assume they are constantly watched while within the College, they are not. Instead, the Apprentice staff and Magisters know when visitors need assistance, and turn up at that moment. The Celestial College would make most ordinary people very nervous, particularly if they have something to hide.[1d]
Sneaking into the College would require more attention to one’s surroundings than anyone without magical senses could manage. Even those with such senses fall foul of the magical warnings that the inhabitants get. Guards rarely appear to apprehend interlopers. Instead, servants happen to go to work exactly where such interlopers wanted to hide, or they appear round a corner at inopportune moments. Often, the servants do not know why they are there at that time — the enchantments of the senior Magisters and the effects of Azyr simply arrange things so that they are.[1d]
Someone with extremely strong concealment magic of some sort (like a Shadowmancer perhaps), might be able to overcome some of these obstacles, though the lack of cover and general stillness of the College makes it difficult to move around without attracting some attention. Visitors without any magical assistance cannot sneak around the College at all, as there is a servant always standing right in front of them, looking straight at them.[1d][1e]
The Grand Astrolabe
In Altdorf, perfectly aligned between the many towers of the Celestial College, sits the pride of that mystical order - the Grand Astrolabe. It is an enormous device with a central gauge akin to the face of a clock, which spins on the head of a spike of purest silver. On its facings are many hands and dials, each whirling past intricately carved symbols to track and predict the alignment of stars and planets. These, in turn, are used to glimpse snatches of the future.[2b]
The astrolabe dial watched most closely by the attendant acolytes is the twitching needle representing the fell moon, Morrslieb. Should this dial signal the coming of a storm of magic, Celestial Wizards are sent far and wide to prepare the Empire for the coming tempest.[2b]
There is a rigorous program of examinations for advancement within the Celestial College, beginning with an entrance examination to establish the new Apprentices’ academic capabilities. Very few applicants with any Aethyric talent are turned away no matter how they do on this exam (it is really just for the Magisters of the College to ascertain what level to start their new apprentices’ education at). Those few that are turned away might be sent on to the Order of Light with a letter of introduction—the Hierophants are always looking for more Apprentice chanters to fill their choirs.
Apprentices will be assigned to a master, whom they are expected to obey absolutely. Those based in Altdorf are then assigned quarters within the College building and are expected to live there at all times. They cannot leave the College without permission. As well as their studies, Apprentices are expected to help the masters in their observations, which will give them plenty of chances to learn how to adjust the great telescopes in the domes. All Apprentices are expected to be neat, hard working, and punctual. The towers’ domes are cleaned of bird droppings and other debris every evening by the College's Apprentices. This unpleasant duty is handed out as a punishment to Apprentices who are disrespectful, or who perform poorly, or dress inappropriately, etc. The regular need for cleaning ensures that someone is always nominated for this task. The College’s masters maintain that these duties instil an appropriate sense of humility in the Apprentices and humility is important to all who wish to study the Winds of Magic and not fall prey to the whispered promises of Chaos.
Once Apprentices have advanced to become full Magisters, they may take on Apprentices of their own and pursue independent researches. They are presented with a small telescope, which they will carry at most times. Many Astromancers choose to live in their College for their entire life, leaving the building only when called to the battlefield. The main exception to this involve individuals who travel to observe unusual astronomical events.
- Bartolomi Kereveld - Hired by mercenaries to sail for Lustria, slew a serpentia megalothon with a meteor shower.
- Dieter Klemperer
- Janna Eberhauer
- Klaus Solmann - Advisor to Baron von Blutten of Volganof.
- Ludwig Stossel - Magister who deceived, then was slain by Wulfrik the Wanderer.
- Otto Kerchlik - a Magister claiming to have made progress on improving the Celestial Calendar.
- Raphael Julevno - Magister Patriarch of the Celestial College.
- Stern Glanzend - previous Magister Patriarch.
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery (pg. 106-108).
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic