The Magisters of the Jade Order study the Lore of Life, fuelled by the Green Wind of Magic, Ghyran. Agrological Thaumaturgy, roughly translating as "Soil Magic," was the limited and rather dry term given to the Lore of the Jade Order in the Articles of Imperial Magic.
Bear in mind that when the Articles were written, the effects and preference of individual Winds of Magic embraced by the Colleges of Magic had not fully manifested themselves, so the distinction of the arts were sometimes missed in the names given to them.
Jade Magic, or Druidism, is concerned with all agriculture, flora, and the flows and seasons of fertility in the countryside and in all natural living creatures (including humans). It could also be called water magic or earth magic.
Symbols and Appearances
The power of the Jade College spirals through the Wind of Ghyran and is represented by the Coil of Life. This rune embodies the cyclical and unending flow of life in all its forms and can be seen again and again in the traditions and vestments of the Jade Wizards, from the coiled sickles and wreaths many carry, to the ancient cyclopean circles where many perform their moonlit rituals of equinox and solstice.[2a]
To Jade Wizards, the Coil of Life also serves as a reminder of the continual shift of reality. Just as the seasons change from summer to winter and back again, or as living beings die, only for life to be born anew from their mouldering flesh, so does the cycle of apex and zenith dictate every facet of existence.
So it is that Jade Wizards are least perturbed by a Storm of Magic's onset. For every storm that wreaks havoc, there is an inevitable period of comparative calm. Thus to Jade Wizards, a Storm of Magic is merely another part -- albeit an unpredictable one -- of the endless cycles that govern the world.[2a]
The Order of Life
The druids of the Order of Life are taught to live in natural harmony with the countryside, cultivating it in a sustainable way that is as beneficial to the land as it is to those that live off of it. Because these Magisters are so closely tied to floral life throughout the world, their own magical strength tends to wax and wane as the seasons do, being vigorous in Spring, most powerful in Summer, waning over Autumn, and weakest in Winter — although their powers are also said to flourish in rainy weather.
- "Most believe the Cult of the Mother died out long ago. They are wrong. Not only do the Great Families of my Order continue Her traditions, but the sickle is born by others, which most of whom hide far from prying eyes. Before he formed our Order, Teclis came to our great groves. By channelling Ghyran he activated the Waystones we believed had been raised by our ancestors, and showed us what our "Oghams" truly were: a creation of the Elder Race, the Asur, the Elves. We watched wide-eyed as Teclis explained the nature of belief, magic, and of Hoeth, the God he especially revered.
Not all of us accepted his foreign ways. Indeed, a full third of the Druidic Families stubbornly spurned Teclis, refusing to believe his "truth," and fled into the dark forests, just like the prehistoric tribes of old.
But those who remained, listened, and then eventually understood.
Not long after, the Jade Order of Magic was formalised, and we were its numbers. We didn't change our beliefs -- indeed, we practise the Old Faith still -- but we understood them for what they were: a twisted reflection of the truth. Since then, our role as Nature's Guardians has brought us into contact with many others who believe they are the Children of the Belthani. They are all, I am quite sure, just as wrong as we were."
- —Erowin Grunfeld, Magister Druid of the Jade Order[1f]
"Druid" was the traditional name given to those strange men and women of legend and myth who were said to be the first holy people of Humanity. Some of the oldest folktales in rural parts of the Empire explain that the Old Gods Taal and Ulric adopted tribes of men as their own, and the humans of the Old World gave reverence to the spirits of the land and nature as the "Great Mother." But this was not a religion like the worship of Ulric or Sigmar, rather it was a profound respect for the Mother as an abstract (not sovereign deity) of the natural forces of the world.
Whether this represents an older understanding of the divine as practiced by the Empire's ultimate ancestors, or whether it is simply just a different style of worshipping gods that developed over the millennia, remains unclear. What is certain is that the druids of ancient times were the keepers of tradition and the seasons, and they custodians of the sanctity of Nature. Druids were said to lead all tribal rituals, which were held within groves of sacred trees or more commonly within great stone circles that the druids supposedly erected.
Whereas it is possible that these original druids were more than just legend, they certainly did not erect all the great Waystones and Henges that lie scattered across the Old World, for these were the works of the Elves to channel magic out of the Old World and towards the Great Vortex of Ulthuan. Be that as it may, it seems likely magically-sensitive humans might have become aware of the massive amounts of magical energy coursing through these stones and took them as focal points of the earth's natural energies — in a sense true and yet off-the-mark.
When Teclis gathered all the petty human magickers and hedge wizards he could find within the Empire, he also found scattered and philosophically devolved remnants of the druidic tradition that remained in the most rural parts of the Empire, having survived countless centuries of persecution and the rise of newer, more active faiths. Of these few, not all came willingly, but once Teclis showed them the pure energies of Ghyran, those that had any magical sensitivity at all and a true connection with the seasons and nature, perceived that the purity Teclis was offering them was the ultimate path of their calling. Two-thirds of those Teclis approached went with him.
Within one hundred years of the founding of the Colleges of Magic, sightings of druids were reported in various rural spots all across the Empire. But though they seemed to fit the description of the legendary druids of old, these new druids belonged to the Order of Life and were Magisters of the Green Wind of Magic. And there are rumours that another, far older form of druidism survives on the misty isle of Albion.
Ghyran's Magister Druids gather in ancient groves at Henges and intersections of Leylines, promoting the free flow of the energies within the lines, encouraging the nurturing power of Ghyran in areas contaminated by Dark Magic and combating the blights and famines inflicted upon the Empire by the Lord of Decay.
Duties and Contracts
The Magister Druids of the Order of Life do not pursue contracts in the same way as many of the other Colleges of Magic. Not only are they unconcerned about such things, they are hardly in a position to pursue them. Although they do have a College building in Altdorf, the Magister Druids of the Order of Life prefer to live and run their affairs from very rural regions and do not possess an identifiable centre where contracts can be brokered.
Fortunately, the College building of the Jade Order is largely self-sufficient, built on the intersections of Leylines particularly heavy with Ghyran, so the Magisters need not spend much money maintaining it. The endowments given to it by Karl Franz (both in his capacity as Emperor and in his more state-centric role of Prince of Altdorf), are enough to cover the expenses of maintaining the guards and any upkeep for the outer wall.
The main official duty of the Jade College's Magister Druids is to ensure the farmlands of the Empire stay fruitful and productive. This is a very important job considering the number of natural and unnatural blights that affect the Empire, especially in the north. Huge swathes of the Old World are contaminated with trace elements of warpstone dust, which can have detrimental long-term effects on the landscape. The Magister Druids are careful to make sure the natural and Aethyric pressures on the countryside remain in a constructive balance.
The main unofficial duty of Ghyran's Magister Druids (albeit one that ties in with their other duties), is to protect the Leylines that run through Imperial territories and the Henges they meet at, ensuring their energies flow cleanly and quickly. As part of this task, the Magister Druids hold seasonal rituals at the great Henges of Eyvberry, Muttersfeld, Fruchtbarfelsen and numerous other smaller stone circles throughout the Empire to encourage the energy travelling through the Leylines to stay vibrant.
But these rituals also serve a dual purpose of drawing out controllable elements of Ghyran from the Leylines and allowing it to disperse throughout the surrounding countryside in a manner that encourages the healthy and abundant growth of plants.
In times of war, word will be sent to the College building in Altdorf and the few Jade Wizards who remain there on a rotational basis will respond. If too few of Ghyran's Magisters are at the College to serve the needs of the call, then those present will send out magical familiars to others of their Order and even leave secret markings upon Waystones that they may pass while they march, all of which will draw further aid to the campaign as needed.
Normally the Jade Wizards' duties are to ensure the good physical health of soldiers and see that the land provides them with all they need — an army marches upon its stomach, after all. However, the Magister Druids are also said to be able to gather intelligence of enemy movements by listening to the Empire's waterways and forests.
The Jade College
The Jade College is the focus and ideological centre of the Magisters who study the Wind of Ghyran and the Lore of Life. It is surrounded by an immense wall, unbroken by windows or towers. The wall is over sixty feet high and is taller than any of the surrounding merchants' houses.
It is built of brick, and the outer face is glazed green, with a College symbol set into every block: a spiral, a triskele, or an oak leaf. The wall is roughly circular, but actually forms the first ring of a clockwise spiral, about 200 yards around. Thus, at one point the face of the wall steps 20 feet backwards. The only entrance to the College is located here, a simple oak door set in the base of the wall.[1d]
The door is guarded at all times by four heavily armed and armoured warriors chosen to represent the different stages of life. One is young, another in his prime, the third in middle age, and the fourth old. Despite their appearances, all are highly skilled and capable fighters, prodigies or veterans of the arts of and in combat and war. If they sound the alarm, any Magisters inside will come to their aid.[1d]
Magisters of the Order are allowed to enter the College without any questions and may take one or two friends. A Magister trying to take a large group in would be asked for his reasons, but almost any reason would suffice. All others need to demonstrate that they have business in the College. As with most of the Colleges of Magic, a request to meet a particular Magister leads the guards to send a messenger to see if that Magister wants to see them, and if he does he will come to meet them at the gate. People are not allowed to wander into the College on a whim.[1d]
Those allowed into the College find that the spiral continues on the inside. To their left, the inner face of the wall is lined with buttresses, and ivy and other climbing plants grow all over it. To their right, a line of trees and shrubs forms an almost natural-looking wall. The path itself is grassed over.
As visitors walk around the path, they find that the stench of the city is replaced by the clean scent of nature, and the sound of wind in the trees and the distant flow of water replace the noise of Human bustle. Perceptive visitors might realise there are few animal sounds within this strange oasis, and even more aware visitors might realise that the outer wall is still to their left, so that they are actually no further from the city than they were immediately after passing through the gate. Nevertheless, it sounds and smells further away.[1e]
After a single circuit, the trees and shrubs replace the wall on the visitors' left, and the right hand side of the spiral becomes more varied; sometimes trees and shrubs, sometimes patterns of stones, sometimes pools and streams of clear water. The ground rises in small, artificial hills, creating constantly-varying scenery recalling that of various parts of the Empire.[1e]
The Jade College seems to be substantially larger on the inside than on the outside, and it can take well over an hour to walk to the centre following the path. However, once past the first inner circuit, it's possible to take shortcuts, which lead to the grove of trees which form the heart of the College.[1e]
These trees, predominantly oaks with a few ash, oak, yew, birch, chestnut, and sycamore among them, have been shaped by the magic and patience of the Magisters into a living hall. Branches and leaves form walls and floors, and at the centre of the grove a circle of mighty oaks form the walls and pillars of a great domed chamber, where the College gathers when it must take counsel together.
In the centre of this circle of oaks is a huge Waystone (faintly green-tinted), carved with complex swirling patterns. Around this are many smaller rooms, which are used by members of the College when they choose to stay here. The Jade College has very few permanent residents, and even they change their rooms quite frequently, so most rooms are the same, furnished with carefully-shaped branches and upholstered with moss.[1e]
There are rooms where rainwater flows constantly down branches, pooling briefly in a bowl formed of ivy leaves before flowing away. In others, trees and vines twist through the wall, bearing fruits and nuts at all times of the year. The College has a library where scrolls of its Lore are cradled in its own niche in the trunk of an enormous tree, reached by walking up sturdy branches. Yet the majority of the College's Lore is carved in runic and symbolic form upon vast oak tree trunks and standing stones within the College's confines.[1e]
Much of the interior of the Jade College is devoid of animal life, and there are few Magisters there at any time (especially in summer and winter). However, only a foolish visitor seeks to start any violence within the Jade College, because the trees and vines are said to come alive to capture and restrain all such aggressive interlopers.[1e]
Jade Magisters on business in Altdorf will spend much of their time within their College building, finding it more congenial than the city streets. As such, a visitor may bump into a Magister while walking in the College's gardens. Even in rainy weather, there are paths sheltered by trees for those who know where to look.[1e]
It is very hard to break into the Jade College, not that anyone other than the most insane cultist or foolish adventurer would even try. Anyone spotted climbing its forty-foot-high walls will probably be spotted and would be in considerable trouble with the Watch. Also, the plants in the College are more aware than normal shrubbery and notice any intruders.
However, they only pass this information to the Magisters if they think to ask, which means if a visitor can come and go without raising suspicions, he is relatively safe. If the Magisters investigate, however, a full description is easily available from the plants the visitor hid behind. If such an interloper is discovered by a Magister, he may find himself spending his last days as a bush or interestingly-shaped hedge.[1e]
The majority of the Jade College's Apprentices tend to be the offspring of existing Jade Wizards, forming a kind of isolated druidic caste. However, rural hedge wizards with a particular affinity for the magic of growth and fertility will often attract the Order of Life to them.
As money is not a consideration for the Jade College, they do not worry about how much apprentices can pay them. The land supplies them with all they need, and money has little use to them. However, initiates are bound to the Order by oaths that involve wild magic and the shedding of blood under the light of the Chaos Moon, so only the truly committed are accepted into the Order of Life.
Teaching the Lore of Life is affected by the seasonal flow of Ghyran. From the first new moon after the autumn equinox until Mondstille (the winter solstice), the studies of Ghyran's apprentices and Magisters concentrate more upon the theory and lore of the Order, because Ghyran's power is relatively weak at this time.
The Order is most active from when the moon Mannslieb is first full after Mitterfruhl (the spring equinox) and continues for two periods of the moon's waxing and waning. This is the Order's most active period, and Apprentices are plunged into a day and night learning frenzy, where spells are taught through the oral traditions of the Order and practice. At the end of the session, all the Order's druidic communities hold great festivals within certain groves or Henges.
During this celebration, Apprentices who have become adept enough to be accepted as Senior Apprentices are given a copper sickle and those that become Journeyman Wizards are given a sickle of pure silver as symbols of their status. This is always done unexpectedly, and none of the Apprentices know who will get their sickle and who will not. There is no examination; the senior druids of any community meet to discuss which of the candidates are ready.
During the night, while the candidates are involved in semi-ritualised dances and singing, a master will suddenly appear dressed as the Green Man or the Earth Mother and will hand the successful apprentices a sickle. At the end of the festival, the various students leave to practise their magic and journey over the summer.
Those that wish to become full Magisters of the Order must travel to Altdorf by Sonnstill, the summer equinox, where he or she will be tested by the Lord Magisters (or High Druids) that gather there for their yearly assembly. Those that pass the stringent and often dangerous tests of the High Druids will be given a gold sickle and will be accepted as a full Magister Druid of the Order.
In summer and winter, only a handful of Magisters reside at the College. In summer, most of Ghyran's Magisters are either serving time with the Empire's armies or are practising their arts in the countryside somewhere. The city holds little allure to them.
- Arburg - The previous Magister Matriarch to the Order of Jade.
- Cyrston von Danling - author of "In the Garden of the Gods", regarding the Amazons of Lustria.[3a]
- Dieter Vogt - Magister Lord of Talabheim.
- Guillaume Deschamps
- Paranoth - A Supreme Patriarch in ages past.
- Tochter Grunfeld - The present-day Magister Matriarch of the Jade College.
- Warhammer Fantasy Role-playing 2nd Edition -- Realms of Sorcery (RPG), pp. 98-100
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
- 2a: pg. 38
- 3: White Dwarf #307
- 3a: pg. 32