Arcana: Mages and Magic
- Every nation manages to produce a few prodigies whose skill with magic are unequalled. While most wizards command respect, it is these that are genuinely feared. Many believe it's dangerous for one man to control such forces. They are right.
- Training Cost: 100 Books, 250 Mana
- Upkeep Cost: 10 Gold, 40 Mana
- Choose a sphere of magic. Archmages can cast up to Level 5 spells of that sphere.
- Only a relative handful of spellcasters have the will and ability to become masters of their art. Few in the world can claim to command the forces of an experienced magister and they are well respected for it.
- Training Cost: 30 Books, 150 Mana
- Upkeep Cost: 10 Gold, 20 Mana
- Choose a sphere of magic. Masters can cast up to Level 4 spells of that sphere.
- A newly minted sorceror from a magical academy or order that has completed their studies to a point where they are worthy of the title of wizard. Typically they are specialists in a certain sphere of magic and apply their skills to healing, Alfar-style forging and the like. Typically the scope of their magics is limited to effects large enough only for a handful of people. They find their way into armies in protected rear areas and typically hurl destruction from afar.
- Training Cost: 5 Books, 50 Mana
- Upkeep Cost: 3 Gold, 6 Mana
- Choose one sphere of magic. Adepts can cast up to Level 3 spells of that sphere.
Mages that appear on a battlefield can be assumed to be able to casually cast level 1 or 2 spells into a general melee if they have no other task, although many would consider it unwise to put such a valuable asset in harm's way. The cost of equipment for a dedicated caster is largely irrelevant and they can be assumed to wear or carry a number of potent artifacts. Certain intelligent creatures can also cast magic, in which case one need only divide the cost of the creature template by the number of individuals in the group and add it (and its upkeep) to the cost of a mage.
- Level 5 - Meteors Fall From the Heavens. You're a maniac out to just destroy everything, aren't you? Costs 125 Mana.
- Level 4 - Rifts Open in the Earth. It will consume entire formations, or put a really big crater in something. Costs 25 Mana.
- Level 3 - It's a Balrog! Summon a giant terror to wreack havoc upon your enemies. Maybe summon lots. Costs 5 Mana.
- Level 2 - Fireball, Lightning Bolt. Suitable for melting a cannon or making a few pikemen burst into flames.
- Level 1 - Ray of frost. Suitable for freezing that guy who's trying to axe you.
Powerful spells employ sophisticated casting and often a good deal of preparation in addition to the investment of energy needed to fuel them. All of this effort and energy is consumed in the casting and must be paid each time a spell of a certain level is used. Level 3 spells consume more energy than a single mage can draw from their person, however they are often simple enough to be cast without special reagents or up-front effort and so long as there is enough mana, can be continually cast so long as a mage is able. Level 4 and 5 spells are empowered by more complicated and much more dangerous mechanisms and cannot be improvised on the spot. They must be declared and paid for in quarterly production. When bought a spell should have a declared magical sphere a one-line description of its effects (i.e. Meteor - Forces 4 - Large exploding fireball falls from the heavens.)
Personal-level spells tend to be versatile and extremely nimble, but as the scale increases so do many chaotic variables upon which casters have no control. As a general rule, the more powerful a spell the less fine control a mage can exert to control its area of effect. As such when a wizard harnesses the forces of nature to open a rift in the earth seeking to utterly destroy one man, he should keep in mind that he can only hope that the intended target is merely one of the dozens that will fall in wherever it opens. The largest of spells particularly can also have a number of unexpected consequences, if not disasterous ones, should something go wrong.
For level 1 and 2 spells, it's assumed there are no limits concerning how often they may be used. A mage may cast their highest spell level once during a battle, after which they will require several days to recover before they are able to cast again. Master mages and Archmages may cast twice as many spells of the next lowest rank before becoming exhausted. For example, an Archmage may cast 1 level 5 spell, 2 level 4 spells or 4 level 3 spells before burning out.
Mages that aren't actively casting magic default to countering enemy spells. Usually it renders them harmless, but sometimes enough disruption can allow for a spell to backfire dramatically upon its caster. The same applies for mages that are interrupted in the middle of casting, as it may be problematic controlling a complicated spell after being stabbed.
The use of magic is ubiquitous throughout the world, and its rare that a formation of soldiers doesn't include a number of spellcasters who can make effective use of low magic. Much of this is in the form of lists of memorized spells or artifacts that have been charged with the power to allow their users to cast proper magic over and above the limitations of enchanted weaponry. So to have mage-knights, simply give a unit of knights a spellbook.
Common Magic - Cost: 5 Books Soldier's cantrips and fundamental offensive and defensive magic practiced by career soldiers who desire an edge in combat.
Noble Magic - Cost: 20 Books Typically reserved for knights and other well-educated warriors, noble magic is considerably more potent on the battlefield and can threaten lumbering enemies that may otherwise obliterate a unit of unsupported infantry.