Points of Interest
A look at special locations from the Winds of Magic supplement
– Designer Diary by Jay Little, WFRP Senior Developer
As discussed in my previous designer diary the Colleges of Magic have a significant impact on the Empire – it’s a powerful cultural influence. But beyond that, magic adds a layer of fantasy and fascination to the setting. Magic and its study also lends itself to the exploration of interesting locations, peoples, and organisations.
For a roleplaying game, magic provides a Game Master with a number of great adventure hooks built around these people, places, and things – even if there is no wizard character in the party. This designer diary takes a closer look at some of these points of interest, as well as includes a downloadable two page spread from one of the Winds of Magic books.
Altdorf, Home of the Colleges of Magic
Why is the hub of magical activity, experimentation and progress for the entire Old World, located exactly in one of its most populous cities? Do the Colleges need the common folk around? Of course not. They would much rather go about their business without the staring in the streets, and the apprentices getting beaten up by thugs, and the occasional stoning or burning. Why not build Colleges far from the madding commoners in locations steeped in the appropriate wind?
Well, for sure there were ancient settlements on the site of Altdorf many years ago. It is known that dwarf fortresses were nearby and elven towers had been built there over the previous millennia. Rumours around Altdorf go so far as to hint that the Celestial College is built upon an ancient elven tower. It is academical consensus that during the War of Vengeance, battles were fought over this very scrap of land.
Certainly, too, any Jade Wizard will point out that many a leyline converges upon the Jade College in the city. And it is well known, the Wind of Light which is drawn to the city and which powers the machinations of the Light College cannot be matched in intensity anywhere within a thousand miles. It is said that the Amethyst wind collects not just about the graveyards and historical catacombs of Altdorf, but also around forgotten battlefields and burial mounds much more ancient. Perhaps other Colleges have good and apparently secret reasons to base themselves here.
Are the Colleges here just because Altdorf was here first, or is Altdorf itself only here because one day it would become the home of Imperial magic? That is an oft-debated topic by a number of wizards and scholars.
The Colleges & the Outside World
The Colleges attempt to hide their interactions with the outside world to varying degrees. In general, the more it relies on the outside world, the more a College does to blur its relationships.
Many local grocers and tradesmen support the Colleges, supplying them with innumerable goods and services, although many do not even realise they are doing so.
A quality vintner might not realise that the Bretonnian wine he delivers regularly to a sleepy livery stable actually finds its way onto the high table of the Gold College. Or an innocent sausage maker would never dream that the blood sausage he supplies to the scriveners at the back of the Amethyst College is regularly used in some of that order’s most powerful rituals.
And so too, in this way, are the Colleges often visited by professionals and adventurers. A clerk requiring a signature upon a title deed might find himself at Frau von Miggins’ pie shop meeting with a wizard, little knowing he is already within the College of the Celestial Order itself. Or a gang of sell-swords might return from negotiating a contract with the proprietor of a corner delicatessen, never suspecting they have been in and out of the College of Light and met with a Master Wizard.
On the other hand, when it suits them, the Colleges make it clear where the goods and services they purchase end up. Every year the Colleges spend hundreds of gold coins on general upkeep and supplies, a good proportion of which goes to locals. So even though they are feared and not trusted, those who earn their livelihood in support of the Colleges are not so foolish enough to jeopardise such a thing.
Other Points of Interest
Be sure to download the sneak peek (pdf, 600 KB) for a look at a two page spread from the upcoming Winds of Magic. The PDF preview comes from Chapter Two of the Winds of Magic book on advanced magic and wizardry. In addition to providing more information on the Colleges of Magic and their influence, the chapter details a number of interesting locations and organisations to intrigue and involve a party of adventurers.
In fact, the Winds of Magic book is full of new background information, rules, adventure ideas, and advice on integrating magic and wizards into your games. Here’s a look at the content breakdown from the Table of Contents:
- Chapter One: The Roots of Magic
- Chapter Two: The Great Colleges
- Chapter Three: College Hierarchy
- Chapter Four: Exotic Magic Disciplines
- Chapter Five: Expanded Magic Rules
- Chapter Six: Playing a Wizard