Magical Traditionsin the Continuing Game
Hesket has a number of magical traditions ("schools of magic", if you will), which provide some sort of background for a player to bounce character ideas off.
Traditions are optional; they are intended solely as a touchstone to spark ideas for your mage character. There are many ways to use traditions for ideas. For instance, your character might be an orthodox follower of a tradition, sticking to it tightly, or might simply be influenced by a given tradition (battle mages, for instance, would be likely to be influenced by the Staff & Blade tradition). Maybe your character is a zealot, rejecting magical methods outside the tradition. Or maybe your mage's teacher belonged to a tradition, but you've drifted from it some, until it's simply part of his backstory. You may even find something about a tradition inspirational without having any actual ties to it at all.
The traditions exist to serve the creation of characters; if anyone tries to tell you you're playing one wrong, tell them to go shove it.
The Allondine Guild Tradition:
Historians trace the development of the Allondine guild tradition to an early Allondine king with an inordinate fondness for magic. His retinue included well over a dozen court mages, and one day, tired of his mages' continual inability to work together, he commanded them to sit down and figure out the best way to work magic, assigning a royal magistrate to mediate.
Although the court mages were initially resistant to the process, they eventually found the formalized argument structure forced on them by the magistrate extremely fruitful. They came to believe that this structured method of inquiry had led them to the optimal method of practicing magic. When the original mages left the royal service, they often settled in a city where they gathered apprentices and other mages around them to instruct them in the "true discipline of magic". These gatherings often developed into mage's guilds.
Since that time, the Allondine tradition has become arguably the preeminent Hesketine tradition. Its practices have powerfully influenced the common sense of what mages are like. Its practitioners are found all over the world, and its love of taxonomy has given mages of all stripes much of their common vocabulary (for example, many common names for spells were bestowed by an Allondine guild mage with a passion for classification). Many mage guilds (though, of course, not all) in Allondell and beyond subscribe to the guild mage tradition, though the tradition also finds a home among more solitary mages in smaller towns, who train only one or two apprentices.
The Allondine guild tradition values, above all else, logic and well-constructed arguments, and believes that a debate in good faith can settle any question. Its approach to magic is scholarly and scientific--magical research is highly respected. Mages who write and distribute learned magical texts gain great status among guild mages, as do those who create particularly brilliant enchantments. Raw spellcasting power is respected, but not as much as contributions to the whole of thaumatological study. Learning how to teleport is all well and good, but learning why no one can seem to Ignite Fire at a distance is something to brag about.
The Kislennic Lodges:
The Lodges are descended from the shamanic magic-wielders of the barbaric Kislennic tribes. Over the years, exposure to the Sturian and then the Allondine tradition has changed their methods, but their structure remains the same.
There are many Lodges, spread across Zdunarova, Kislevia, and Allondell. Each Lodge meets as a group to consider new members, and initiates them in secret rituals. For the Lodges, magic is a secret wisdom which should be retained to mages. In general, Lodge mages tend to believe that knowledge worth having is not easily obtained and should not be carelessly spread about. Lodge mages have a tendency to be dark and secretive types; they often fall into the "mage living alone in a tower" stereotype.
Neo-Sturianism has no central location or formal structure, but its followers tend to cluster in Iñarra and Chardreau, where the concentration of Sturian sites is highest. Its adherents believe that all of history since Sturia has been a decline. To Neo-Sturians, all magic is a distorted reflection of the tremendous power of Sturian wizardry. Neo-Sturians therefore have little use for modern research; at best, it can only come up with something already known to Sturia. Neo-Sturian mages spend most of their time seeking out and studying ancient artifacts and tomes--Sturian is best, but anything old is good. In general, to a Neo-Sturian, older is better, and new things are by their nature worthless.
Neo-Sturian circles are currently divided on the issue of Novum Imperium.
The Northern School:
The Northern School has no central location, but its followers tend to be found mostly in Kjolnir, Ragnorack, northern Kislevia, and Zdunarova. To the Northern School, to practice magic is to force the world to submit to the will of the strong. "Strength", for the Northern School, is a quality both mental and physical. Northern mages spend winter nights in the snow to toughen themselves; they track down wolf packs in order to stare down the alpha. To them, an archmage who can't drink any other man under the table is an idiot savant. Magic isn't one profession of many; it's the pursuit of strength. Those who do not have the strength to wield magic are, to some extent, inferior--in intellect, courage, or determination.
The Northern School's explanation of why mages can't carry weapons are particularly interesting. They claim that the strong need no tools to fight, and carrying a weapon causes the magic to recoil in disgust from your weakness.
The Order of St. Ferdinand:
The Ferdinandians are an Elunian order of monks based in Tamplonia. Many of Tamplonia's mages take at least minor orders in the Ferdinandians. For the Order, magic is devotional, an act whereby the mage may draw closer to Elune. Some monks claim to have achieved magical accomplishment not by study but by direct gift from Elune. Ferdinandians frequently become cleric/mages, but many prefer to stay exclusively within the mage's sphere.
A somewhat radical faction within the Order asserts that Elunian clerical magic is Elune's gift to the faithful unilluminated--those who do her will but do not understand it--while mage magic is the result of a mystical communion with the goddess. This notion does not sit well with the Elunian church hierarchy, and thus mostly flourishes in Ferdinandian monasteries outside Tamplonia.
The Bearers of Staff and Blade:
The Bearers of Staff and Blade are mages who follow the teachings of Jacques Delacroix, a battle-mage of the First Crusade best known for his saying, "Magic is the purest shape of war". To Delacroix, a mage is a warrior who fights with spell rather than blade. The notion of the mage as scholar is a perversion of the true nature of magic, upheld by cowards and fools. Bearers usually train with both sword and spell, and most spend long hours trying to learn to use both at once. As a result, young Bearers often look foolish, carrying both sword and spellbook but highly skilled with neither. However, skilled Bearers are some of the most feared individuals on the battlefield.
There is no formal organization of the Bearers of Staff and Blade--you become one by learning the teaching of Delacroix and deciding to follow them.
The Learners' Grove School
The Learners' Grove tradition is a relatively young one. It teaches that magic is one of the primal natural forces, and mages should seek to act in harmony not only with magic, but with all of nature. It emphasizes intuitive understanding over logic and intellectual comprehension. The school has no formal structure, but its center is at a school at the edge of a forest in Roudoigne, and most of its foremost thinkers live and teach there.
Learners' Grove pays homage to the influence of mahiri teachings on their work, though the mahiri still despair at many of their principles. Learners' Grove is constantly derided by mages of the Allondine tradition.
Cunning Men and Wise Women
There is much wisdom hidden in the superstitions and lore of the peasantry. When a particularly bright person makes it their business to study and understand that lore, they often find themselves wielding considerable power.
People with intelligence and magical aptitude to spare, but no money or status to speak of, often wind up studying under the local cunning man or wise woman, learning the folk wisdom of the ages. Most of these individuals only reach the first few levels of magic, but particularly gifted folk can reach as high as any mage.
Cunning men and wise women often have strong bonds to the peasantry. They may be attached to a particular village or county, or they may be wanderers, but they will always be concerned with the worries of the peasants--harvests, plagues, taxes. Saving the world is all well and good, but someone has to worry about next year's calvings.
The Teachings of the Yellow Mage
Six generations ago, a mage known only as the Yellow Mage walked the land. He is said to have had staggering power at his disposal, though he rarely used it. His great power drew many young mages to him--some to challenge him to a duel, others to learn.
The central tenet of the Yellow Mage's teachings is that this world is an illusion. Once you realize that, you can shape the illusion to your own liking. When that central truth is grasped, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
The death of the Yellow Mage is not recorded, and some of his followers maintain that he still walks Hesket incognito. His followers tend to keep to themselves, training only a few students who seem particularly well-prepared for the Teachings, as widely professing the Teachings has gotten more than one practitioner executed for heresy (if reality is not real, then by extension the gods are not real either).