Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Wizards Guild in Trollworld

Earlier in the week, I received my copy of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls.  Although I have previously written about the Wizards Guild, while looking through the pages of this newest edition, I realized more can be said.  First, here is a statement made by T&T designer Ken St. Andre back in 2012, when dT&T was first contemplated:
...magic items are...commonly available and...often sold to warriors.  It's all part of the power struggle between different factions and guilds.
Next, we must look into Trollworld's history.  “Wizards of enormous power, almost gods” along with their “subject races” (including dwarves and humans), started to arrive at Trollworld through “dimension-spanning gates” over 70,000 years before the 'current' Tunnels & Trolls setting.  After twenty millennia, the 'Wizard Wars' began; concluding 45,000 years later.  At that time, 829 “great wizards, beings of such power that they find themselves unable to be harmed by their colleagues,” met in an assembly.  The “god-wizards agree[d] to retreat to their own limited domains and no longer strive to dominate Trollworld” and to allow the subject races “to seek their own destinies.”

Not quite a thousand years prior to the “current age of events and places as shown in Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls” occurred the “Magic Plague.”  During the Plague, “The cities of the Dragon Continent experience[d] a great upsurge in crime, most of it committed by criminals using magic powers.”  Khazan – a prominent wizard – founded the Wizards Guild so “that wizards should have training and ethics and someone to be responsible to.”  The Wizards Guild is... organization for the training and betterment of wizards everywhere.  The guild, at its own expense, to train and care for any child with magical abilities.  Along with sorcerous training, the guild also trie[d] to impart ethical training...
Although Khazan is an elf, the Wizards Guild is run by humans and page 170 suggests that each race – or “kindred” – has its own Wizards Guild.  This is odd in that leprechauns “are rarely on good terms with the official Wizards Guild...”  (Edition 5.5 of Tunnels & Trolls specifically states that “Leprechaun lords won't allow the Guild to open branch offices in their area.”)

Additionally, guilds other than the Wizards Guild have access to magic spells:
These guilds have gained knowledge of spells useful to their profession and will teach them to guild members – even including citizens – for exorbitant prices.  Some of these spells are virtually the same as wizards' spells, while others have developed in different directions.  Thus the Carters Guild knows a spell for controlling draft animals; the Smiths Guild knows one for heating and softening metal; the Farmers Guild knows one for making it rain, and so forth.  Magic is ubiquitous in Trollworld.
Although ubiquitous, Trollworld magic is hardly static.  As stated in an earlier post, there are ten schools of magic in dT&T.  In the seventh edition of Tunnels & Trolls, “magic...was divided into four broad schools...”  Such changes in the rules are reflected in the 'backstory' of the setting.  Originally, casting a spell temporarily depleted points of the 'Strength' attribute (as a measure of fatigue). Eventually, a new attribute was added:  “Wizardry is the measure of how much kremm (magical potency, also called mana) that [a] character can store and channel for purposes of magic.” The Trollword Timeline (dT&T page 272) tells us that...
Khayd'haik, the trolf (half troll, half elf, with Trollish ancestry predominant) wizard explains his new understanding of how to use kremm, and within a few years this new understanding of magic fills the world.  No longer is Strength used to power spells.  The new attribute of Wizardry has been identified and isolated from Strength, and spells are now powered by WIZ.
We are also informed there may be variations in magic in different parts of Trollword.  For example, page 98 states, “There are rumors that luck is used in place of wizardry in a far distant land!”

Theoretically, the Wizards Guild could provide all manner of magical accessories at appropriate, substantial prices; however, this could easily throw “the game's playability out of whack.”  Even though magic may be ubiquitous, it is not necessarily harnessed easily; fashioning “really reliable magical artifacts” is seemingly a lost art.  However, “Today's wizards have relearned the basics of enchanting less powerful items but even the Guild's archmagi cannot ensure top-quality products that perform with the reliability of a spell cast by a competent magician.”  According to page 142, “Due to the warpage of reality represented by [magic] items, it is recommended that no character be allowed more than one...per character level.”   Additionally, “Carrying more than this results in interference waves and quantum entanglement, with unpredictable results.”  As St. Andre wrote, “[I]f everything is magic, then nothing is magical.”

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