I have returned with a very particular craving, to play the character in a setting I ran a game in years ago. Tabletop. Nor do I have access to one of the side games log's due to computer changes / reinstalls / etc.
The setting is a world of darkness, with elements from urban fantasy and fantasy novels alike. And I shall try to give the best recounting of the setting that I can give. The reason that I think I can hand it out to someone else to run it for me, is that I never codified that much. The in game lore was handed down throughout the generations, and different families and groups did have different accounts of events that transpired.
But I have a craving to play a wizard in this setting, and I will try to write out as much as I remember having codified. And I do hope that it does not end up in a bunch of ramblings of a deranged dingo.
While there is a secret history, almost all of it, pretty much went down as people know it today. Where the secret history starts, that's about at the time that mankind first came crawling out of their jungles in Africa and spread around the world. And among them there were those that could with but a word change the reality of things around them. And they grew in power, among their own people first, but among others too. Encountered each other, traded with and learned from each other. And grew suspicious of each other's power and influence among the rest of the humans. Suspicion grew into fear and paranoia and eventually into outright war. A war that nearly destroyed the fabric of Creation. And then ended. Just like that.
Wizards, the descendants of those reality altering humans that crawled out of the jungles in Africa, know why the war ended just like that. Even they don't know the truth about what started the war, or how bad it really was. But they know what ended it. And not even in details, but in the core of their being. But the war had many interesting effects on the wizards and society in general. For during the war many of the wizard's servants had been weaponized. Family bloodlines eradicated. Weapons created so horrible, that even wizards feared them. And the worst. Some of the weapons and servants created are still fighting that war. Because that is what they were created for.
Being a wizard is a hereditary trait. That part has very little mysticism attached to it. But even so, there is a lot of mysticism attached to the bloodlines of wizards. Their pedigree so to speak. Every wizard has at least one Talent. Often a single very useful trick that while magical in nature, never shows as magical. Although very unbelievable to some. Wizards often have similar Talents to the rest of the family. And known Talents involved the ability to get a basic grasp on skills with just a moment of observing. Finding the person you are looking for no matter where he or she is located. And in one rare bloodline, the devil's own luck.
And that is the good side of being of a wizard's blood. The downside is blood oaths. Oaths made with magic are binding to the person who made them. But even their descendents many generations further can sense those oaths. And while they are not bound by them, they can feel them coil and roar deep within them. And considering most wizards are incredibly territorial and paranoid regarding other wizards. Ancient blood oaths, and especially death curses, can make any relaxed interaction with wizards from other families totally impossible.
Magic is omnipresent, at least to those who can sense and perceive it, and it is for them not difficult to call forth at all. All the abracadabra and hocus pocus wizards do; the long rituals; the complex spells; all exist with one purpose. To control the energy from the spell and make it do what you want.
The most common group of spellcasters in the world are the witches (or warlocks). They get their powers from communing with the entities created during the War. And many covens are not aware that they exist with the sole purpose of eradicating wizards and their servants. Which fortunately, involves other witches in thrall to other entities as well. They do not tap into the power all around them, though often can sense it. Instead they receive it from their dark masters. As such, their magic is safe, but restricted by what their master allows.
The second most common group of spellcasters are the sorcerers. They cannot tap into the magic directly, but can, with lots of time, study and preparation, find and use tiny little pools of magic and use that to perform quite impressive feats. They are often aligned with the Changelings and more gregarious wizards.
The most rare spellcaster of them all, are the Wizards themselves. They can tap directly into the sources of magic all around, but as a beneficial side effect, they also have sufficient magical insulation to do away with lots of the trappings for magic, and cast spells with little to no preparation or thought without it spiralling out of control.
Humans, ordinary, sweet and loveable humans with all their beauty and ugliness should be mentioned here as well. They have no resistance to magic at all. Any spell effects them.
Last but not least, there are two special cases that warrant mention. Changelings and Thralls. Changelings are the descendents of the weaponized servants from the war. They often have no liking to wizards and stay away from them out of fear of being enslaved (again). They are the source of many urban myths such as werewolves, vampires, faeries, and many other stories. Thralls are humans claimed as personal property by wizards. The same name is often used for those enslaved by mind influencing magics, but to a wizard it is a very big difference.
Wizard marriages are very formal affairs, with several oaths being declared. There is always a dominant partner in the completely heterosexual monogamous marriage. Often arranged years, or sometimes generations before the wizards are of age. But they work, and keep the married couples actually from worse. Much worse.
Then there is the typical fantasy division of white, gray and black magic. Which is all little more than family politics. With ordinary humans and their treatment and keeping at the core of it all. White wizards tend to frown upon using magic for any form of personal gain. Black wizards have no such qualms.
But there are rules. Rules that any wizard will abide by. They do not come in a certain order or importance. And usually the reasons for the rules is to avoid outright conflict between wizards and spark a new war.
- Make a formal declaration before initiating any direct conflict with another wizard.
- Respect another wizard's territory and his belongings.
- Magic is an open secret. Keep it that way.
Beyond those very basic rules, the world the wizard lives in often takes care of the rules for the rest. Conflict with another wizard is still very much frowned upon. But allowed. Aligning oneself with several other wizards, or even wizard families and such conflicts can quickly be settled without so much as a first blow, but considering how difficult that is...
Several types of magic, each accessible to all spellcasters have been defined as well. There is glamouring. Mind-affecting magic. The most commonly used magic among the darker oriented magicians. Closely followed by divination. Which allows for a lot of very useful tricks, even in modern days. From predicting the future to locating missing people. And many more things. Wizards tend to use both these types of magic the most. Some even exclusively. The third type of magic involves raw energy, and is called evocation. These days, such magics are almost never used. As guns, bombs, even swords are more efficient for outright violence. And matches or lighters can take care of the conveniences. A fourth type of magic changes one thing into another. transmutation. The bigger the shift, the more difficult it is to control. And it is quite an obvious form of magic to any mundanes. As such, only a few use it. The last is a collection of magic uses, that all allow basically the same thing. For something to hold the ability to perform the spell without the spellcaster's involvement. Enchanted items, magic potions, talismans, you name it. Very common among sorcerers and witches, but wizards don't need that much preparation, so often eschew these things.
And that is, from the top of my head, all that I remember about codifying things from this setting. I hope that you read this and say, wow, this is something I can see myself running a game for Dingo in.
Now, of course the obvious elements are present, but I think it is more wise to spell them out. There's going to be a lot of magic use (glamour and transmutation). My character is not going to be a white wizard. I would like for a female GM to pick this up (but it's not a must). And I would like for this to be a solo game. But it could be interesting if someones want to play his Thralls (human property) or maybe even his wife (or betrothed).
If there are any questions, or suggestions, or hints. I'd really like to hear. Also, if you steal my idea for your own purposes, you have my permission, as long as you give me a link to where you use it (or tell me about it).
For now that is all.