Ralstaan Magicians

The people of Ralstaa truly have a love hate relationship with their Magicians. On one hand, practitioners of both hedge and true magic are held in awe for their power, knowledge, and potency, but on the other hand they are treated as if they are somehow tainted, poisonous and not to be trusted even for a moment. Even a sooth sayer or alchemist will find themselves maligned, kept apart from small children, and yet hailed and honoured to the highest accord at the slightest need.

Magicians and the Ralstaans


Magicians occupy a place of great reverence in Ralstaan society, however their position is a tenuous one, because while the Ralstaan people have a great respect for the path of a magician, they don't trust a single one of them, and even a magician who has lived in an area all his life, one who had friends before he took up the mystical calling, will find that he will never have trust again - not from his family, not from his friends, no matter what he does to try and earn their confidence he will always be looked upon as dangerous, and corrupted. Amongst the Ralstaans a known magician may never have physical contact with another person. He should never make eye contact with anyone, but especially a child. He may never drink from the same well or vessel as a normal person, nor should he be allowed to sleep under the same roof as a newborn.

However, a common Ralstaan will always greet a magician as he would a priest or nobleman, with great respect and deference. A magician will always find welcome, shelter, and a meal should he ask for one, and it is respect more than fear that drives people to serve them and offer them gifts - perhaps against needing their services one day. Still, magicians who breech the tenuous etiquette between themselves and the common man risks instantly having the awe of the people turn into terrified hatred. Some practitioners of true magic have even been forced to destroy entire communities in self defence, while the lesser of their profession are murdered and have their remains thoroughly destroyed in whatever manner the elders of the settlement believe will prevent them from returning for revenge.

Even so, when danger looms or sickness is rife, or some curse or another arises that the monks cannot deal with, the people are superstitious, and quick to turn to the magicians to aid them. Often - by way of a measure of revenge for their treatment - the prices of such aid are terrible, and magicians have been known to demand first-born sons or the destruction of holy relics out of sheer spite masquerading as magical artifice.

Marking

Nearly all regions of Ralstaa demand that those endowed with magical knowledge be marked in some way, so that the common man knows how to deal with them. While the Dunsain are usually content that all magicians must at all times wear orange on their person, on pain of death, other lands prefer a more indelible mark. Shaeish magicians are often tattooed, or even branded, in visible locations. The most merciful might receive marks on the backs of the hands, while others are unlucky enough to be marked on the palms, or even the face. Lleweith magicians often suffer ritual scarring of the face, or have the little finger of the left hand removed, or both, while the Tuarvae insist that a magician shave his head - a grave insult in Ralstaan culture. In all of Ralstaa the wearing of the colour orange, or any visible tattoos are met with grave suspicion.

The Magician! Trait Any known practitioner of magic or individual considered to be a magician in Ralstaa should take Magician! as one of his Character Traits. This will reflect the mix of reverent awe and derisive repulsion with which the Ralstaans treat those learned in one of the forbidden lores.

Lore of Magicians


Magic in Ralstaa is a largely hermetic tradition, passed down from master to apprentice with little regard for the knowledge of fellow practitioners. For this reason, any magician owes the bulk of his abilities and knowledge to his predecessor, and one line of magicians might have a selection of lore entirely different from another. For this reason Ralstaan magicians tend to jealously guard their stockpile of lore, encoding anything they write down, and omitting key information to render their collections not only useless, but often incredibly dangerous in the hands of the uninitiated.

There is a clear division, in the minds of the Ralstaans, between a magician, whose powers are secret, mysterious, and often dramatic, and the subtle magical lore gifted to them all by Rallah. They view a gift from their patron as irreproachable - but anything that seems to deviate from this is instantly suspect. Even a diviner offering the simplest of boons of fate, or the herbalist practising lores known to every countryside goodwife in Ralstaa is likely to meet with suspicion. More cosmopolitan Ralstaans will be familiar with the professional alchemist as a tradesman, no different from a blacksmith or cooper, though still the first suspect of crime or misdeed. Sooth sayers, however, fortune tellers, and even charlatans, are viewed as magicians in their own right, and unless they bind themselves to the church they are not to be entirely trusted.

Notable Magicians


In the west, names like Rheuban the Riddler, or The Carver are certainly the most famous practitioners of magic on the south-western knife. Trevan in Coulbaigh might lack the mystique of these two, but his powers may well be the equal, and the Oracle of Cwmbran, and the Red Princes of Mavynham are not without their own enchantments. The Shrouded Tower in Tohl is home to the formidable and ill tempered Gaenor Stormcaster, and the tuar magician Danten Riverking calls Brooke Moore his home. Meanwhile the potent and enigmatic Giriff Soulwrenderand his apprentices occupy the ruinous Caer Valdurynn in Blackstone.