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“The idea that these war-Wizards are kept ‘safe’ because they are so volatile is patently ridiculous! All Wizards are war-Wizards by the very definition of their being! Every single one that we might see upon the streets of Altdorf or coming to and fro their ‘College’ buildings are powder-kegs simply awaiting a match! Offering continued patronage of these damnable ‘Magisters’ is the worst idea of any Emperor, living or dead. What? The windows are open? Then close them man! Close them! You never know when they might be listening!”
—Lord Melched Eisener of Altdorf[2a]
“Believe me, there are many profound safeguards built into the training and instruction of our dedicated Wizard warriors. They will not turn traitor.”
—Dietmar Gulonsson, Magister of the Celestial College[2b]
Empire Battle Wizard

An Empire Battle Wizard on the field of battle.

Battle Wizards are strange figures who wield awesome magical powers and are privy to secrets beyond the ken of normal folk. Battle Wizards learn to harness one of the Winds of Magic to their will. They dedicate many long years, sometimes decades, to studying arcane tomes and mystical scrolls, but only a fool would mistake their frail, scholarly appearance for weakness. Battle Wizards can hurl bolts of fire and lightning at their foes, confound them with terrifying illusions or snuff out their life-force like a man blowing out a candle. It is a rare army indeed that marches to war without at least one Battle Wizard at its disposal.[1a]

Overview

“Battle Wizards are nothing more than weapons. They are rare, thank Sigmar, and they are more powerful than other Wizards. For our good and in respect to Sigmar’s Word, these foul creatures are kept locked in the bowels of their College buildings, only to be released under the strictest controls and supervision in those times when the pure steel and honest sweat of Sigmar’s chosen people face the Powers of the Old Dark. Where the loss of any good citizen’s life is loss to the Empire, the loss of some Collegiate filth is not. Let the damned destroy the damned with their own weapons, so long as Sigmar’s people are saved from the contamination of Chaos.”
—Johann Nider, Templar of Sigmar[2a]

Wizards are strange and aloof men, mistrusted by most folk. No sane inhabitant of the Empire courts their attention without great need, for wizards are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous. Their mood can change from cool indifference to incandescent rage at the slightest perceived insult. The fates of those fools who have provoked their ire range from the lucky ones, who were cursed with permanent cases of the hiccups, to the less fortunate, who were transformed into warty toads, or worse. Many who cross a wizard simply disappear altogether, leaving behind only a smoking pair of boots as a warning to others. Some even whisper that Battle Wizards are tainted by the very magic they wield. As such, the citizens of the Empire tend to make superstitious gestures behind their hacks when in the presence of a wizard to ward away any evil influences.[1a]

To be a Battle Wizard is to understand the power at the heart of the world, and though each can bend but one of the eight Winds of Magic to his will, such power is not wielded lightly. To lose control of this arcane power for even a second is to invite disaster. A misplaced syllable could result in a wizard accidentally immolating himself, along with any unfortunates who happen to be standing in his vicinity at the time. A momentary lapse of concentration might even open a portal to the Realm of Chaos that the wizard could be sucked through. None are aware of the danger more than the wizards themselves, and so while a soldier risks his life in battle, a wizard risks eternal torment.[1a]

History

“It is commonly known amongst academics and scholars that all Wizards are insane, and so it seems likely that those that are dedicated to battle are more insane than most. I’m sure they are kept confined somewhere out of harm’s reach, only to be trundled out when some lord or other wishes to flex his muscles. This suggests that Wizards of wealthier and therefore better-educated backgrounds might have the good sense to shy away from studying the more dangerous magic of their Order, preferring instead to dedicate their studies to more esoteric areas of investigation.”
—Dr. Randolph Kuhlpeper, Lecturer of Recent History, University of Talabheim[2a]

After the Great War Against Chaos, Magnus the Pious lifted the ancient laws against the practice of wizardry and founded the eight Colleges of Magic in Altdorf. His aim was to provide a core of competent Battle Wizards so that the Empire would never again have to fight a battle without the aid of magic. Ever since, when the Emperor and his Elector Counts muster their armies to war, they will call upon the Colleges of Magic for aid, and Battle Wizards will be provided as needed. The services of a Battle Wizard are much sought after by the Elector Counts, as many of their enemies employ potent shamans or fell sorcerers. Such foes bend the Winds of Magic to evil and destructive ends, and only those schooled in the arcane arts of the Colleges of Magic have any chance of countering such power.[1a]

The minds of men cannot master the full spectrum of sorcery without inviting insanity. As such, each of the Colleges specializes in harnessing a separate Wind of Magic. As a result, wizards from different colleges have their own distinct sorceries, traditions and secret rituals, reflecting the nature of the magical energy they wield.[1a]

Military Magisters

“I believe it to be a bit of both. Some are the dedicated Battle Magisters who are exceedingly powerful but appear to be regarded as somewhat unreliable by their peers, perhaps in the sense that they may have short tempers. I remember this to be the case with at least one Pyromancer seconded to my regiment. He was watched closely by a companion who seemed to be of higher rank, and possibly power, within his Order. However it must be said that I have met other Magisters of prodigious battlefield power and prowess who have in their dealings with me also proven to be men of great wisdom and honor, very controlled and with profound senses of duty. These types must certainly have been ear-marked for greatness in their Orders, if, indeed they were not considered great already.”
Kurt Helborg, Commander of the Reiksguard[2b]

A scant few Wizards spend a portion of their training on assignment to an Imperial military body, joining a famous city regiment or even a chapter of Templar Knights. Not only do these secondments allow the Magister to get a feel for the people and organisations they will be a part of, it also gives the officer classes of the Empire’s armies an idea of a Magister’s capabilities in battle, so their expectations of what Magisters can do are reasonable. During this time, these Magisters learn how to best integrate their spellcraft with a large body of fighting men – a very different prospect from learning how to duel one-on-one with another Magister. They learn how to become a “force multiplier” for the men on the ground, assisting ordinary soldiers in their combat duties and offering magical support where required.[2a]

More senior and skilled Magisters who have studied the secrets of battle magic more extensively are often expected to regularly serve with the Empire’s military. These Lord Magisters are more than just force multipliers, but forces in their own right. Although they endeavor to work closely with the armies they march with, they invariably pursue their own whims and goals in battle. Though these Lord Magisters may not act in strict concordance with the tactics of the armies’ officers, the efforts of these princes amongst Magisters are always welcomed though also rather feared.[2a]

Battle Magic

“Those Apprentices that do not have absolute control over their hearts and minds are not permitted to train in the arts of battle magic, regardless of how well they might draw the immaterial Winds to themselves. Only those fully accepted Magisters who have shown considerable focus of mind and superb ability to wield great quantities of Aethyr safely will be considered for anything more than the most basic training in battle magic, but also, and most importantly, only those who are amongst the wisest, most intelligent, reasonable and loyal of all Magisters will ever be chosen to become Battle Magisters and senior members of the Order. No Order would be so foolish as to allow any but the purest and wisest to wield such powerful spellcraft. That way would lie carnage, despair, and the end of the Orders of Magic...”
—Paulo Elias, follower of the Second Circle, The Order of Light[2a]

Among these talented Wizards, there are a few with a steely nerve and unmatched talent which are selected and groomed to become Battle Wizards, masters of “battle magic.” This approach to magic involves particularly destructive spells permitted to be used only on the battlefield. Exceptionally powerful, they can cast spells that evoke terrible windstorms, rain fire on armies, and some say even call down stars from the sky to destroy the Empire’s enemies. Developed to answer the Empire’s need for improved support against the Chaos incursions, the art of Battle Magic are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the Old World.[2a]

Battle Wizards occupy a special place within the Colleges of Magic and are rarely permitted to interact with Imperial society. Rumors abound about how Battle Wizards are mad and incredibly dangerous, held in lead-lined rooms until such time they are needed. Regardless of the swirling myths, Battle Wizards are extremely rare and vary in ability depending on their allegiance to their particular College. Though they differ in the types of destructive spells they wield, they are all uniformly focused, capable, loyal, and resolved. Who else would be chosen to study more than one or two spells of an arcane war craft that allows the user to kill with a few words and call down meteorites with a wave of his hand?[2a][2b]

Magisters that possess all the right attributes and skills needed to become more advanced in the arts of battle magic, and therefore those who are likely to advance swiftest and furthest in their Orders, would not only learn how to cast dreadful and destructive spells but would have to learn to do so under very distracting and high-pressure circumstances to simulate the chaos of a battlefield.[2b]

Gallery

  • Chaos & Conquest
  • 6th Edition artwork

Miniatures

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 33
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery (2nd Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 67
    • 2b: pg. 68

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