- "Feared and distrusted by the citizens of the Empire, they legally wield powerful and dangerous magic."
- —Description of a Wizard.[5a]
Collegiate Magisters are those magic users and other magically sensitive people who have had the wherewithal, good fortune, and money to be able to join one of the eight Orders of Magic. They are a diverse bunch with different outlooks and subtly different teachings from each other. Yet theirs are the most advanced and most stable forms of arcane spellcraft practiced by Humans in the Old World. They are also the only sanctioned users of arcane magic within the Empire.[2a]
Non-insane users of arcane magic of any skill in the Old World are quite rare – more so than one might expect. The few sane manipulators of the Winds of Magic tend to be the Magisters of the Orders of Magic, yet even they are eccentric and certainly strange by any ordinary measure.[2a]
Wizards channel one of the eight "Winds of Magic" only spellcasters perceive, to cast potent spells. To legally cast magic in the Empire, a Human must follow the Articles of Imperial Magic and belong to one of the Eight Colleges of Magic in Altdorf – each dedicated to a specific wind, as Magisters can only safely channel one. After graduation, Apprentices become Magisters and serve the Empire. Magisters carefully study and practice their art, which, according to the Articles, they can only use outside their colleges in defence of their own life, or against the enemies of the Empire. Many Magisters are attached to the Empire State Army, and although they are treated with cautious suspicion, none can deny their effectiveness on the battlefield.[5a]
Many Magisters leave the Colleges of Magic in debt for the cost of their tuition. These Wizards may be keen to find immediate employment, or seek out their fortune on land, at sea, or anywhere else they might be able to find relics, artefacts or lost tomes of magical lore. Journeying Magisters, eager to prove themselves, are actively encouraged to test their skills across the Empire by hunting down whatever dangers threaten the local populace.[5a]
A Master Wizard is one who wields magic with surety and finesse. Elf Wizards find this level of spell casting easy to attain, but for a Human, it is a life's work. By the time they reach this level of mastery, most Wizards begin to exhibit eccentricities and physical changes wrought by close association with magic. Master Wizards usually prefer to spend their time researching or politicking with fellow Magisters. However, their Order usually requires them to adventure in the world at large, furthering the cause of their art, and seeking out young folk to apprentice.[1a]
The title "Magister" was created to prevent Wizards from becoming too wealthy at the behest of the Burgomeisters. In essence, they are vassals of their order and so they cannot manage a business or own extensive property. Instead, a Magister's College functions like a Barony, and its Wizards are in service to it. However, over the generations, Magister is also an honorific, one which suggests that the individual has mastered of a particularly difficult art (in this case the art of magic), whose learning and position makes him or her superior in some ways to others. The title also refers to the possession of a kind of licence from their College and Order allowing them to practice their art and teach it to others. Anyone bearing the title Magister is considered a full brother or sister of the Order whose Lore they study and whose laws they obey.[2b]
Despite the respectability of their titles, the arcane spellcraft, or magic, as taught by and to Imperial Magisters, is still widely regarded as dangerous, against nature, and blasphemous by devotees of almost all of the Old World's acceptable religious cults. So although few would speak out against a sanctioned Magister, few would also want to share the same radius as a Magister, given the choice.[2b]
- "I don't care what promises they make, or what colleges they belong to, they are dangerous abominations. I am continuing to petition for their destruction in the name of Sigmar, for the good of us all."
- —Reikhardt Mair, Witch Hunter.[5a]
Not all Magisters are required to stay at the College buildings in Altdorf. In fact, the majority are required to leave in order to pursue their duties and contracts across the Empire. Many prefer to continue their studies elsewhere, sometimes in private or within one of the lesser guilds or libraries of their Order scattered throughout the Empire. Other Magisters are required or invited to join the courts of Electors or other nobles, perhaps by treaty, commercial contract, or familial ties. In such positions, a Magister might work as an adviser, an emissary, household protector against malignant magic, or even as a mentor for offspring that have been identified as possessing an Aethyric aptitude.[2b]
It is worth noting the contracts pursued by the Orders of Magic are very expensive, meaning only the wealthiest merchants and nobles will ever be able to afford the services of a Magister (unless of course he is a family member, an old friend, or has some other reason to give a free or reduced-rate service to the employer). There are also Magisters who turn their back on major commercial contracts, particularly amongst the Jade and Amber Orders. Amber Wizards tend to accept smaller contracts with villages and farmsteads for payments that cover their basic needs. Some Magisters travel the Empire or the world on the business of their Order or the Emperor. A few disappear and are seen only once or twice a decade if at all.[2c]
There are some Magisters, the most dangerous of their kind, who exist on a kind of permanent secondment to a military body (like the Reiksguard for instance), training with them in battlefield tactics and the strategies of war.[2c]
Becoming a Magister
- "Learning things man was not meant to know is our job. We learn them so that you don't have to."
- —Anonymous Journeyman Wizard.[4a]
At the end of his travels, decided at the master's discretion, a Journeyman Wizard returns to his studies with his master. During this period, the master discerns the level of arcane mastery and control his apprentice has, as well as whether he has become tainted in any way by Dark Magic. This process is long, but once the master is satisfied with his protégé's skill and purity, the Journeyman Wizard will be expected to travel (sometimes with the master, but more often without) to the master's home College (if they are not already situated there), to study the deeper secrets and more dangerous magic of the Order. The College is also the only place where an apprentice may be accepted as a full Magister and given all the rights, privileges, and duties of the Order.[2d]
If unaccompanied, Journeyman Wizards take an introductory letter and a full report from their master with them to the College, and they will be questioned at great length by the highest-ranking Magister present. Once the interviewer is satisfied, the Journeyman Wizard is given a bunk in a dormitory or even his own cell, and he begins an extensive study of his chosen Order and Lore. How long this period lasts is entirely up to the Journeyman. Once he feels ready, he may ask to be considered for acceptance as a full Magister of his Order.[2d]
If his request is accepted, the Journeyman will have his arcane skills pushed and tested like never before. The clarity of his arcane senses will be tested, as will his control, speed, and ability to channel the Order's distinct type of magic. Finally, his spellcraft will be tested through a series of trials, ranging from relatively easy tasks to a magical duel between himself and an examining Magister. This duel is not fatal, and the apprentice will not have to win, though he will be highly esteemed if he does. All the Journeyman must do is fight to the very best of his ability with determination, skill, and a will to win.[2d]
The Colleges are scrupulous about who they admit to join their Order, and they will reject anyone who does not match up to their standards of excellence. Such rejects must return to their studies with good grace until they are deemed ready to retry for full Magisterial status. This scenario is unusual because anyone good enough to have survived the training for so long without becoming corrupted or insane is invariably powerful.[2e]
Once an Journeyman Wizard is accepted as a full Magister, he has reached the end of his formal studentship and is no longer bound to his master.[2e]
Magisters and their Winds of Magic
- "The Winds of Magic are not to be trifled with. I have learned to respect them, and that was the key to unlocking their power."
- —Anonymous Master Wizard.[4c]
An interesting point about Human Magisters is that the longer they embrace and use the one Wind of Magic that directs their Lore, the less able they become to draw on the other Winds of Magic. So although a Magister will still be able to see all the colours of magic (the colour of his own strand of magic will always seems the most vivid and dynamic to him), he will only be able to grasp the colour or Wind that his being has become psychically attuned to.
By the time a Journeyman is accepted as a full Magister, this process will already have had a profound effect upon him, meaning that he would be unable to utilize another strand of magic even if he wished to. This is perhaps related to the reason why Magisters begin to reflect the attributes of the Wind they use over time. For example, Pyromancers of the Bright Order become ever more passionate and impatient, and Magisters of the Amber Order prefer to avoid contact with Humanity and feel at home in the wilds.[2e]
This state of affairs might also explain why so many fallen Magisters have turned to Chaos worship or Daemonology, as they would probably need divine or daemonic assistance to be able to grasp to any great degree a strand of magic other than their Order's own. There are, perhaps, a few Magisters who never lost the ability to grasp other Winds of Magic, but they would be rare individuals.[2e]
- "The time for contrition has passed, Magister Festus. Now is the judgement."
- —Anonymous Magister Vigilant.[4b]
The Colleges of Magic are loath to leave their dirty laundry to be washed in public by the Witch Hunters or other authorities. Consequently, each Order employs its own watchdogs and investigators, devoted to discretely exposing those who break their oaths and practice dark magic, necromancy, or diabolism. Since Vampires are so often students of these black arts, these observers also take pride in hunting and destroying the princes of darkness.[3a]
Magisters Vigilant still pay their dues to their College, as per a Magister Lord, but they are not expected to take apprentices. Their duties across the Empire prevent them from attaining the control of magic that many of their colleagues possess, but they have many other skills and talents useful in other sorts of situations, and they command great respect and fear amongst their own kind.[3a]
- "Leave me to my studies. I have far more important matters to deal with – the fate of the Empire may be at stake!"
- —Anonymous Wizard Lord.[4d]
Within the Empire, the Lord Magisters of the Orders of Magic are powerful individuals. It is very rare for a Magister to reach this level of mastery, and those that do are rightly treated with the fear and respect given to the highest nobles. It is with good reason that Lord Magisters are sometimes referred to as the "Princes of Magic." Should an Elf attain this level of magical skill, he is considered to have completed his minor magic apprenticeship, and is ready to travel to the Towers of Hoeth to become a High Mage.[1b][2e]
Lord Magisters are in many ways living symbols of their Lore. They no longer see the world as others do. They have dedicated their lives and souls to the Wind of Magic they study, and they embody their Lore and its energies in body, word, and deed. The world around Lord Magisters is rich with the colours of magic, which they see more clearly than the colours and shades of the normal world. A Lord Magister's physical attributes will even be changed by the Wind he has used for so long. For example, the Lord Magisters of the Order of Light have pure white skin and hair and eyes that glow very faintly with an inner luminance.[2e]
Lord Magisters are charged with preserving the purity of their Orders and go out of their way to seek out divergent practices or outright corruption, in addition to pursuing wholeheartedly the goals and purposes of their Order. They are still bound by the Articles of Imperial Magic and still serve within Imperial armies if there is no lesser Magister to take their place, if they have a specific agreement to do so, or if they are commanded to by the Patriarch of their Order or the Supreme Patriarch. Naturally, Lord Magisters of some Orders are more likely to want to serve in an Imperial army than others, like Pyromancers of the Bright Order.[2e]
Lord Magisters are often appointed as the heads of the various smaller chapter houses and guilds that belong to their Order, such as Lord Magister Heinz Meissner, Master of the so-called Ancient Library of the White Order.[2e]
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Core Rulebook (2nd Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery (2nd Edition)
- 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters (2nd Edition)
- 3a: pg. 99
- 4: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Career Compendium (2nd Edition)
- 5: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Core Rulebook (4th Edition)
- 5a: pg. 60