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Warhammer Lore of Magic

The Empire's eight Colleges of Magic are eclectic and independent places of learning, where wizards are taught to use and control the Winds of Magic. The head of all the colleges is known as the Supreme Patriarch (or in the instance of a female incumbent, Supreme Matriarch). It is a position of great power within the Empire. Every eight years, a wizard who has proven himself worthy can challenge the Supreme Patriarch in a magical duel.[1a]

As the Master of the Colleges of Magic, the word of the Supreme Patriarch—throughout the Empire—is law in all matters magical. Though their edict is broad, they retain a fierce loyalty to their own Order. Indeed, it has become traditional for an incumbent's first decree to be the realignment of the Wheel of Magic—the revered symbol of all the Colleges—so that their own order's symbol stands pre-eminent at the wheel's zenith.[3a]

Emperor Karl Franz spearheaded an attempt to raise the Supreme Patriarch among the Electors of the Imperial Throne when his advisor Thyrus Gormann held the office. The Cult of Sigmar opposed the notion on religious bases, along with most Elector Counts, who held that the Supreme Patriarch would almost always vote for Reikland, giving the Reikland elector five votes (along with his own and the the three of the Cult of Sigmar). As a result, the matter had to be dropped.[2b]


Every eight years, representatives of the eight Colleges of Magic meet to decide who will reign as the Supreme Patriarch for the next seven years. This is an important decision, because the strand of magic used by the winning Patriarch will blow more strongly through Altdorf for the College that supplies the Supreme Patriarch. Theoretically, any Lord Magister of any of the Orders can take part in the contest to decide who the next Supreme Patriarch will be, but because the individual Patriarchs of each Order are also the most powerful, few others ever try to take part.[2a]

The contest to determine the dominant College of Magic takes the form of a violent contest of spellcraft between the existing Supreme Patriarch and the challengers, one at a time. The contest is held within the strict bounds of the hallowed Obsidian Hall.[2a]

The current Supreme Patriarch is Balthasar Gelt.[2a]

List of Known Claimants

Name Reign Order Notes
Volans c.2305 Order of Light First Supreme Patriarch.
Paranoth N/A Jade Order Devised the Wheel of Magic.[3b]
Alric c.2415 Unknown Patriarch during the Night of a Thousand Arcane Duels[4a]
Thyrus Gormann N/A Bright Order Advisor to Karl-Franz. Predecessor to Balthasar Gelt.
Balthasar Gelt c. Present - 2525 Gold Order Youngest Lord Magister to hold the office.
Gregor Martak 2525 - End Amber Brotherhood Presides during the final events of the End Times.


  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
    • 1a: pg. 19
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery
    • 2a: pg. 95
    • 2b: pg. 64
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: Empire (8th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 18
    • 3b: pg. 19
  • 4: White Dwarf 389 (UK)
    • 4a: pg. 61

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