Spellcasters and Magic in the Age of Ravens

Magic is broken.  Both Divine and Arcane.  Magic is Elusive and rare.  It is difficult to learn, and mistrusted by the average man.  There are reasons for this that we'll get into later, but just take it as an accurate description for now.

So, the illusionist, fortune-teller, medium, and faith-healer that travel with the Carnival of Wonder are all charlatans, tricksters, and master technicians at appearing to be accessing magic, even though they are not.  The Illusionist is essentially a magician.  The fortune-teller is insightful, and just vague enough to seem on target with her information.  The medium cold-reads his subjects, and through an assistant, strings, and other tricks makes it appear as though the dead visit her sessions and speak through her.  The Faith-Healer is full of shit, and puts healthy ringers pretending to be sick in the audience to get the ball rolling.

Your average temple to a God, is both fairly run down in these difficult times, understaffed, and rarely is there a monk or priest there able to access divine magic.  It is not that it never happens, but it is very rare.  Some towns don't have a single divine spell-caster living there.  When divine magic is used, some religious scholars take this as proof that the Gods still live!  Other Theologians suggest that the divine magic being accessed is simply residual energy left behind after the Fata Deum.  And yet other Theologians believe that priests or druids claiming to access divine magic, are heretics, and their power comes from demons. 

So, player characters can choose to be divine magic spellcasters, but should understand that this will come with consequences.  Some may see their use of divine magic as heretical, or coming from a place of evil.  At least some level of mistrust will greet any such character publicly using their powers, or publicly identifying themselves as someone who can cast spells.  As DM, I can't promise that these spells and powers aren't coming from demons.  I can't promise they are coming from gods or residual energy.  Honestly, figuring out where those spells come from may become part of the campaign's storyline over time.

In addition, a divine spell-caster will need to develop a mentor able to teach him new spells and abilities, in order to level up.  EVERY character will be under a similar mandate to story-tell how they gain abilities and go up in level.  I'm just saying it may be harder for a divine spell-caster to find (and keep) access to this training.

Arcane magic is equally rare, and mistrusted.  Happening across a mage or sorceror would be quite an event in the Age of Ravens.  The common man blames the state of the world on the magic of both the Swalduni and Imperial spellcasters.  It is generally believed that the spellcasters went too far during the war, and broke the world.  Your average town has a few charlatans pretending to have some magical abilities, but they are socially shunned.  They scrape out a living from their fakery, but pay a social price for publicly connecting themselves with the use of arcane magic.

So, player-characters can choose to be arcane spell-casters, but should understand it will not be an easy road.  People will not trust you, and in some cases might form a mob and try to string you up, or put you through some brutal physical trials to see if your power is born of demons.  Physical trials that will most likely lead to your death. 

In addition, learning new spells and going up in level, will require an information source of mentor.  Magic is harder to use that back in the Age of Empires, and without the attention of a teacher, it is hard to make any progress in your skills and power.  Finding and keeping a mentor is not impossible, but it is difficult, and please consider yourself warned.  Your mentor might not know the exact spells you wanted to learn (as a player), or might not be willing to teach you certain spells that are against the mentor's belief system and morals.  No whining about this down the road.  LOL.

This rule comes from way way back, when we were playing AD&D.  A character that is eligible to go up in level, does not necessarily go up in level until they receive appropriate training to refine their skills and abilities.  A fighter might have a higher-level mentor that he regularly spars with, or perhaps the fighter joins a mercenary's guild in order to receive the training they need.  A thief must find skilled thieves to teach him his trade, and go up in level.  Perhaps he aligns with a thieves guild.  And so on.

It just so happens that finding training for a non-spellcaster is easier than finding one for a spellcaster.  But, the same level-training requirements are in place for all characters.

The Carnival of Wonder will have a home port of call that they occasionally return to for repairs to the ships, a full-resupply, and shorts periods of rest and relaxation for the members of the troupe.  Perhaps your character finds a mentor or organization they can join there in order to receive your training.  Or perhaps it is through some other means.  I don't want to limit it.  We'll see where the story and your character's choices take us.

We'll coordinate most of this level-training in interlude stories, and discussions with the DM where we justify your character going up in level.

If you have questions, please post them in the comments.