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Théan Wizardry

Father Juan Carlos de Gallegos pored over the old tomes in search of knowledge. Originally, he had been looking for knowledge about Sorte. Now, however, the padre continued his research for deeper reasons.

He shuddered to think what the Inquisition would do to him if they found out but as a good servant of Theus, he had little choice. A Fate Witch had come to his small parish in search of sanctuary and salvation.

Now, Father Juan was beginning to see a disturbing pattern.

Alchemical symbolism. Numerology. Color associations. Merciful Theus. Some of the imagery was taken directly from the Church -- the Hierophant card was obvious, but others, Temperance in particular, were filled with Vaticine iconography as well.

The priest's young refugee wanted to be rid of her witchcraft, a desire he could certainly understand. Nevertheless, he was beginning to wonder if that should be the end of it. His studies were beginning to pick up disturbing implications. It was as if...

Father Juan broke into a sweat.

It is as if Legion has taken a gift of Theus, and perverted it in every way imaginable.

After hours of study, Juan realized that, if he concentrated strongly enough, he could sense something like a connection to Theus' creation. His connection.

They weren't like threads -- more like rivers, flowing through him and around him. Analogies otherwise failed him. It was something wholly new in his experience, and only his certainty that what he was feeling was different from Sorte (the Fate Witch's flows were...fouled somehow) kept him from panicking.

A few years ago, he would have gone straight to the Monsignor. Perhaps he would have even contacted a Bishop. Certainly, he would have trusted the Church's wisdom to guide him, and in turn, he would give his discoveries without thought of recognition or reward.

He shuddered again to think what the Inquisition would do to him if they found out.

Father Juan carefully slid his chair back from the cards and books, meditating on the Cross of the Prophets. Slowly, the new sensations faded from his mind.

I must not allow arrogance or ignorance to turn me into a tool of Legion, Inquisition or no, he decided firmly. It would not do to take up something he could not be rid of. Still, he could make notes. Carefully hidden notes. Perhaps someday...


There are many mysteries in the world of Théah, not the least of which is the origin of sorcery. Some believe it to be a natural birthright, others a curse from Evil itself. What is certain to those who know of the world's powers is that sorcery is not the only such power. These powers do not all come from Bargains, good or evil. Some are based on faith and will.

Wizardry -- literally, the practice of the wise and clever -- is among the rarest of these powers. It is also among the greatest.

This is not to say that neophytes in the Wise Art can levitate wagons, discern the thoughts of men, or step across space and time. (Note: This distinction may not apply if using standard d20™ system wizardry; consult with your GM.) Certainly, the most powerful masters can do all these things and more, but such power takes a lifetime to achieve.

Théan Wizardry is, for the most part, a more subtle and arcane force than sorcery or regular fantasy spellcasting. Even the mighty masters of this art rarely use their power over creation's fabric, save in self-defense. Its powers are more akin to the Fate Witch's ability to follow, and influence, the loom of destiny, as well as gifts of divination familiar to more secretive organizations. Most of the Wizard's arts take more time to use, especially at early stages, but Théan Wizards are more versatile than the vast majority of their supernatural brethren.

Roll and Keep

Théan Wizardry costs 40 points at character creation, or 12 XP for each of the first seven dots in Knacks during play; note, there is no "half-wizardry." Wizardry is compatible with other forms of shamanism that do not forbid "stacking." For instance, it is explicitly compatible with Druid teaching and completely incompatible with all sorcery other than Pyeryem. Pyeryem sorcerers who are also Wizards are explicitly students of Koshchei and in direct service to Matushka. (Defying Grandmother Winter is not recommended!)

Apprentice Degree

While Adept and Master Wizards can purchase many wonder-invoking effects, the seven basic Knacks of Wizardry are Scrying, the Thomas Knack from Glamour (known to Wizards as Artistry) and the five Knacks of Sorte (known by their attendant elements: Earth for Coins, Water for Cups, Air for Staves, Fire for Swords, and Spirit for Arcana.)

(Note to Tarot purists: while in many Tarot decks, Swords are Air and Staves are Fire, the above associations are used due to the nature of the Strands in Sorte sorcery, and thus also in Wizardry.) Artistry can be used on both sorcery and shamanism, but cannot affect both at once. Countering other effects requires a Contested Roll, usually Resolve + appropriate Knacks, but negating sorcery does not require expending a Drama Die. (Countering other forms of shamanism, on the other hand, does.)

Wizardry, however, deals with these forces in a far less dramatic or immediate manner than Sorte. Sensing strands -- known as flows to most Wizards -- does not require the Wizard to be present, but he must know at least one of the subjects of the sensing or have an object belonging to one. The TN begins at 10 to discern the most potent destiny flow between the subjects studied, with one Raise required for each additional flow being discerned simultaneously. Apprentices require one hour for each 5 TN of the difficulty, and they can perform only one such reading per day.

A superior mental focus, such as a quality reflective surface or good Tarot deck, grants one Free Raise to the effort. Determining Arcana is performed exactly as described for Sorte in the Player's Guide™, although it takes just as long as sensing other flows for apprentices (meaning three hours for a normal reading).

Likewise, the apprentice Wizard can sense across space and time using the Scrying Knack, but these "knowings" do not provide the Wizard actual sights or sounds, only mental impressions. Attempting to Scry for knowledge of someone or something familiar to the apprentice has a TN of 20.

Finally, the apprentice Wizard may grant Blessing or Curse Dice, which function identically to those granted by Fate Witches. This is the most potent power of the apprentice, for while this talent requires the same amount of time as other apprentice Wizard rituals, it can be performed at any distance. Wizards may use the Spirit Knack to grant Blessing and Curse Dice, which then add to, or subtract from, every roll. This effect can only be placed upon a person, and (for obvious reasons) the Wizard must know the target in at least some manner. However, the powerful intent behind this ritual prevents TN penalties for lack of familiarity -- the emotional force required to affect another's destiny creates the necessary bond. (Characters who learn Wizardry during play cannot grant Blessing or Curse Dice until purchasing at least seven dots in Wizard Knacks.)

An important psychological function to keep in mind, particularly for self-taught Wizards (like Father Juan Carlos, above), is that none of the Apprentice's abilities have effects that can be overtly seen. A crisis of faith can result in a discouraged Wizard giving up on his studies and even seeing his hard-won Wizardry begin to atrophy. No mechanics are provided for this -- a player should not lose character abilities for good roleplaying -- but those who want to explore this option should need time to reacquaint themselves with their "lost" abilities.

Adept Degree

When the Wizard reaches Adept rank, the world changes. The ebb and flow of destiny becomes clearer, sharper, and more potent. By tapping into these flows, the Adept Wizard can create effects that manifest clearly in the physical world. Her more subtle powers also broaden as well as deepen, as destiny becomes malleable to the Wizard's will and visions gain visual and audible elements. (Use normal Scrying rules for Adepts.) These powers have clear limits, however. Most arts still require extended rituals to enact, though the Adept can invoke a few quick, powerful abilities as well.

While the Game Master should decide what Knacks an Adept can learn and which ones are beyond him, here are a few to get you started. Suggested Knacks from existing Sorceries include the weather Knacks from Laerdom (but not their emotional variants), including Villskap, the Porte Knack Bring (replacing "blooding" with ritual preparation), and the Speak Knack from Pyeryem (though Ussuran animals are no easier to speak to for a Wizard).

Here are a few entirely new Adept Knacks that Wizards might have as well.

Healing: Wizards who study such things are highly skilled at mending wounds. In terms of game mechanics, this Knack functions similarly to the Surgery Knack, with the following exceptions: the TN is calculated as if the Wizard had made a successful Diagnosis roll, a Wizard may heal one extra Dramatic Wound for one Raise rather than two, and Healing may be performed once per Scene rather than once per Act. Possession of the proper herbs, poultices or chemicals (requiring the relevant Knacks) will grant one Free Raise, though this is not cumulative; only one supplemental material can be used per Healing.

Mirage: The Wizard can temporarily enchantment one object, no larger than a wagon, or any one living thing, to make it appear different in some way to all who observe it. The subject of Mirage cannot be radically transformed; a man can seem to be another man, or perhaps even a woman, but not a snake. This alteration only affects appearances, not actual form, though all senses are affected. The Wizard makes a Resolve + Mirage roll, which becomes the TN for others to see through the illusion. Glamour mages and apprentice Wizards receive two Free Raises to this roll if they have the Thomas Knack, and one Free Raise otherwise. Wizards of Adept or greater power see through the effect immediately. The Mirage lasts for one Scene.

Suggestion: For long-term emotional attachments, the basic Knacks are best, but for times when a faster, brief effect is needed, suggestion is highly useful against weaker minds. Make a Contested Roll using Resolve + Suggestion against the target's Resolve (or half a Brute's rank, rounded up). Some Knacks, such as Meditation and Occult, may prove useful against this Knack if the GM wishes. If the Wizard is successful, the subject will follow a reasonable suggestion that he would be inclined to do anyway. With one declared Raise, the Adept may convince a subject to follow a reasonable suggestion that appears to have no harmful effects to her. With two declared Raises, the subject may be convinced to relent in a situation that may result in some difficulty or distress later. Under no circumstances can Suggestion force a subject to do something they would never consider normally (leap off a cliff, kick a sleeping drachen, run a friend through).

Mastery Degree

The Master Wizard is a being of power both subtle and great. Aside from having the equivalent of Sorte mastery, the ability to Scry through time itself, and the power to neutralize any other sort of magic, the Master gains an even greater breadth of power than the Adept, commanding the very elements themselves. Master Wizards may learn the Walk Knack from Porte (creating golden circles of light rather than blood holes), the Concentrate and Range Knacks from El Fuego Adentro, and a new Knack which functions in a similar manner to the El Fuego Adentro sorcerer's innate ability to direct fire:

Direct (Element): This Knack allows the Wizard to control the movement of one classical element: Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. The Wizard must make a successful Wits + Direct roll with a TN 15 to control a mass of element no larger than an average human for one scene, or a single fire. Add one Raise to establish or maintain control under stressful conditions, two Raises to maintain control while using Action Dice for anything other than controlling the element, and three Raises to establish or maintain control during combat. GMs are encouraged to come up with other increases to difficulty for Wizards who abuse this power. Only one elemental subject can be controlled at a given time, no matter how many versions of this Knack the Wizard has, without the Concentrate Knack. The elemental force has a Brawn equal to the Wizard's Knack rank, except for fire, which does damage as per the flame's original strength. Wizards are limited to the same speed as Fuego Adentro sorcerers when moving elements (see page 99, Castille™ for details). Direct (element) can be no higher in rank than the Element Knack that it corresponds to (Direct Earth cannot be higher than the Earth/Coins Knack, etc). It cannot be stressed enough that Wizards do not have the elemental immunity of a Fuego Adentro sorcerer.

Master Wizards may also learn stunts, much like El Fuego Adentro sorcerers, at the GM's discretion. Other possible Knacks include:

Dominion: Perhaps the most fearsome power of the Wizard is the ability to overwhelm another mind entirely. This Knack, unlike most powers available to a Wizard, can be used both in combat and as a ritual effect. During combat, make a Resolve + Dominion roll with a TN of the target's Resolve times 10. If successful, the Wizard can command the victim in any way for the remainder of the Scene. However, characters other than Brutes can immediately shake off this effect by spending a Drama Die. Characters with the Self-Controlled or Willful Virtues are immune to this Knack, and if a Wizard attempts to use Dominion against a character with Man of Will, not only does the attempt fail automatically, the Wizard is immediately given a Curse Die. The ritual effect is far more difficult, but provides a commensurate reward: the ritual takes a number of hours equal to the target's Resolve, and has the same TN described above. The intended victim must be held prisoner for the entire period. If successful, this ritual grants virtually limitless control over the victim, so long as the Wizard can express a desire to the subject. Obviously, this power is almost never used by any save the most Villainous of Wizards, except in truly dire circumstances.

Regeneration: Initially one of the most sought-after powers of the Wizard, and ultimately one of the least valuable to most, Regeneration grants the Wizard a semblance of immortality. Aging is halted from the moment this Knack is learned and thus the Wizard is immune to the ravages of time. (The Wizard does not grow any younger, however, without the use of even more powerful magic.) A Wizard with this Knack neither drowns or starves, automatically heals one Dramatic Wound per Act, is immune to Zerstörung, and adds two to all rolls to resist poison for each Rank in Regeneration. Any "death" in which the Wizard's corporeal body remains whole can be undone (with all damage healed, poison purged, etc.) in seven days minus the Wizard's rank in this Knack. Woe to the villain who fails to notice the slow healing this power provides after the Wizard is "dead"!

Know: The ultimate divination wizardry is true and full understanding of an item or being. Using the Know Knack requires a ritual, with a TN appropriate to the epic magic involved, but with a minimum of 40. The person or object to be Known must be present throughout the ritual. When using Know on an unwilling subject, add one Raise to the difficulty for each level of Resolve the target has, and as with Dominion, use of a single Drama Die negates the effort. Know cannot be used on a Man of Will, whether or not the subject is agreeable. This Knack should be strictly controlled by GMs, particularly in mystery-heavy campaigns.

The Price of Wizardry

Aside from the intense study required to truly master wizardry, manipulation of the fundamental powers set in motion by Theus is not to be taken lightly. Whenever a Wizard uses a magical Knack for anything other than acquiring knowledge (Scrying, performing readings, etc.), the GM may, at his discretion, warn the Wizard that Fate is turning against the character. (Prominently displaying a d10 set aside for this purpose should serve nicely.) Low rolls -- every use of wizardry should have a minimum TN of 15 -- are particularly good excuses for this warning. If the Wizard uses any wizardry again during that Scene, the GM may (again, at her discretion), give the Wizard a Curse Die, which functions normally. There is no limit to the number of Curse Dice a Wizard can acquire in this manner.

Heroic Wizards do not receive warnings or Curse Dice for using their magic to save lives or directly oppose Villains, unless they endanger other innocents to do so. The GM is the final arbiter of what constitutes responsible use of wizardry in this fashion and what does not. Wizards should also note that blatant use of magic can get one burned at the stake in Théah, whether Fate approves or not.

Villainous Wizards do not receive Curse Dice for abuse of magic, but they do pay another price. If the Heroes force a Villainous Wizard to use excessive amounts of magic against them in a single Scene, they should receive Blessing Dice as appropriate. These Blessing Dice function normally, except they expire automatically if the Villain is brought to justice or killed.


Although most uses of wizardry are described above, the GM may want to add extra uses for existing Wizard Knacks -- especially the Spirit Knack -- for flavor. A few such rituals are described below.

Spirit Circle (Apprentice): The infamous "summoning" power of Wizards. While not the menace superstition makes it out to be (this ritual does not penetrate the Barrier), Spirit Circle can be used to call one incorporeal being, whether a ghost, angel, totem, or other such being. This ritual has a TN of 15 to cast properly, using Wits + Spirit. The circle can either be used to call one willing spirit, or keep all such beings out of the encircled area (no more than one yard in radius per rank in the Spirit Knack). Unwilling spirits cannot be summoned with the Apprentice version of this ritual; more powerful variations may exist at the GM's discretion. The Wizard (and only the Wizard) can interact fully with the spirit -- seeing, hearing, and even touching an incorporeal being, although neither can harm the other. The effect lasts for as long as both participants wish it to; once either decides to break the circle, the magic ends.

Weapon Bond (Apprentice): This ritual charges a single melee weapon with the Wizard's power and awareness. At the end of an eight hour rite that involves consecrating the chosen tool -- anything from a simple staff to a Puzzle Blade -- with destiny flow, incense, and a drop of the Wizard's blood, the player makes two rolls, Wits + Artistry and Resolve + Spirit, both at TN 40. If either fails, the ritual does nothing. If both succeed, attempts to break the weapon require additional three Raises. Also, the Wizard receives a +5 bonus to her Passive Defense TN and a Free Raise to parry while using Active Defense, as long as she is using the weapon. Most impressively, the Wizard can now attempt to Actively Defend against any attack with a physical element, from bullets to thrown balls of El Fuego Adentro flame.

Strengthen Barrier (Adept): Wizards are all too aware of the dangers of the Barrier. This ritual takes several days, during which the Wizard can only stop to sleep and take short breaks (no more than fifteen minutes or so) for bodily maintenance. The exact amount of time should be determined by the needs of the story. The Wizard rolls Resolve + Spirit against a TN of 30, with one Raise if Bargain sorcery has been used in the area within one week. (Increase the number of Raises for truly epic Bargain sorcery.) If successful, the local Barrier is strengthened. Naturally, this ritual should require more than a simple roll, and be incorporated with the story.

Transform Arcana (Master): This is truly game-altering magic that should only be used by characters who have earned it in very impressive ways. Long campaign-spanning quests should be involved and the subject should have 30 XP (at a bare minimum) to expend on the effect. A Master Wizard, through use of the Tarot deck and intimate knowledge of both magic and the subject, can change an Arcana. This can only be used to eliminate a Hubris or grant a Virtue, not trade one for another. Again, the character should have proved worthy of this wizardry many times over by the time the Heroes find a Wizard willing to perform this ritual. Fate Witches all across the world will know when the Tapestry is being rewoven, and at least one legendary Villain should have a vested interest in stopping the ritual from being completed. Transform Arcana has not been given a TN, since its success or failure should be determined by the way the Heroes deal with the situations that the GM presents them.

Roleplaying Théan Wizardry

The first thing both players and GMs should keep in mind with wizardry in 7th Sea™ is that, if it even exists, it is exceptionally rare. In the most extreme high-magic settings that remain remotely related to canon, there should be no more than a hundred Wizards in the entire world, and a more likely number is only a score or so. The number of Masters can be counted on both hands at most, even if Koshchei and Derwyddon are among their number.

The second is that wizardry will be of tremendous interest to any society that learns of it. Those who do know of it are forever seeking new knowledge on wizardry, while any hint of the power's actual existence will draw attention from organizations ranging from the Explorer's Society to the Inquisition. Smart Wizards keep a very low profile, or stay close to powerful authorities. Preferably both.

Third is that while there are very many Wizardry Knacks, learning any beyond the core seven available to apprentices is problematic at best. As there is no organization of Wizards, the only options are trial and error (lots of fun for GMs) and finding a more experienced Wizard to learn from (ditto). If everyone is enjoying the quest, finding and apprenticing to a Master should involve a series of adventures. Otherwise, this should simply be treated as a Background that the Wizard receives no bonus experience for, with a rank based on how devoted to wizardry the character is (the more XP going to Wizardry Knacks, the higher the "Background").

Another matter to consider is that while there is little description of a Wizard's rituals, roleplaying these elements should be a part of the process. There should be ritual devices involved in the process, possibly including wands, robes, secret languages, and more. Most Wizards developing their powers in modern Théah will derive at least some inspiration from Tarot cards (again, see the fiction text at the top). The tools and iconography in the cards can play a powerful part in describing the ritual, and a character's deck may prove to be a useful tool.

Finally, for all the problems of wizardry (for both players and characters), it should be a rewarding pursuit in itself. The quest to transcend mortal limitations is epic, but success is sweet. Power is a mere side effect; the true prize is the ineffable unity with Theus' creation and the greater understanding of one's place in the universe. The clear-eyed Wizard knows that there is a purpose, a higher order, a nobility to existence that others may never touch.

This makes the Villainous Wizard ultimately tragic, but more evil than almost any other Villain can be. A Wizard who has felt that glorious, affirming connection, and rejected it, has essentially chosen to turn away from humanity itself.

PC Wizards can come in many varieties, but one thing all will have in common is an immense drive to question, and find answers. The big questions are the ones that drive them the most -- what are we, why are we here, how can existence be -- but Wizards are all driven to understand. Wizardry is simply too far beyond anyone without that drive for anyone to grasp even the fundamentals in a single lifetime.

At least, a single human lifetime...

Grand Masters

Even if a GM allows Wizardry in a campaign, the idea of Wizard Grand Masters is optional because it posits core changes to pivotal canon characters. However, there are hints that tie two important, long-lived magicians to the idea of human magic.

Derwyddon is an ancient Druid with epic powers. He can raise castles from the sea and foretell futures with an uncanny precision surpassing even the skill of his fellow Druids. Koshchei is immortal, said to command the elements and pierce minds with a gaze. Both could easily be explained as masters of more than one path.

Grand Masters are those Wizards who have also mastered another type of shamanism (or, optionally, Pyeryem). Their powers are essentially plot devices, exceeding those of both normal Wizards and others of the second school. Matter, energy, flesh, thought, space, time... all these things and more are subject to their will. Alas, their own wills are not entirely theirs any longer. Bound to the forces that turn the wheels of Fate, Grand Masters can exert their influence in the service of a higher being (like Matushka) or to direct outcomes to as noble an end as possible, but their very power restricts them to certain paths of Fate. By seeing how the observer affects the observed, Grand Masters are capable of knowing exactly how their best-laid plans can go awry. Thus, they move slowly, cautiously, lest a single arrogant display of power bring nations crashing down. Curse Dice are the least of their problems.

It is highly recommended that PCs not be allowed to become Grand Masters. However, if someone wants the roleplaying challenge, and the GM trusts the player, it can be attempted. Essentially, limitations of distance, time, mass, volume, and resistance (save for Man of Will) are effectively removed. However, the first "warning" is an automatic Curse Die. If Wizardry (other than divination) is used while the Curse Die is in play, the GM is allowed to do anything to the character, while affecting literally everything she cares about, up to and including her entire home country. Yes, the wizard can even be killed as a result -- but that will probably be a blessing compared to the fate in store for most Grand Masters who abuse their power.

Swashbuckling Adventures™ (d20™ system)

No rules conversion for Théan Wizardry to Swashbuckling Adventures is provided, as there is already a perfectly useable mechanic for scholarly magic in the Player's Handbook™ for the Wizard class. However, for GMs who want those playing Wizards to focus more on mysteries and less on fireballs, a few changes are recommended.

Perhaps the best way to keep Wizards in check in a campaign is to limit the spells available to them. While the GM should examine each requested spell thoroughly for its applicability to the setting, a good rule of thumb is to limit d20™ system Wizards to Divination and Abjuration spells from 1st to 7th level, then allow them to add Enchantment and Illusion at 8th level (Adept). After that, they may use any spells they wish from 16th level (Master) onward. Any known spell, however, can be cast as a ritual requiring 30 minutes per level (plus casting time if longer than a minute) without using up a prepared spell slot.

In exchange for this rather severe limitation, Théan Wizards should be given the class abilities of Sorte (Swashbuckling Adventures™, pgs.15-21). They should also gain Blessings and Curses class ability from 1st level, which would require the extra time and rituals described above in the original version. Wizards do not gain the extra spells or the ability to sense Black Strands, but a variation of the Black Spread may be possible for characters who pick up the Regeneration power -- both abilities granted solely at the GM's discretion.

Not surprisingly, in Théah, Wizards are viewed with suspicion. For general suggestions about dealing with wizardry in a world where sorcerers form much of the noble class, see pg. 14 of Swashbuckling Adventures™. Further, most devout Vaticines and Objectionists will be highly suspicious of such goings-on, with only the most educated and open-minded realizing the vital differences between the Bargain and the Practice of the Wise. Learning spells and applying experience to the Wizard class will not be easy.

Caveat magus!

Peter Flanagan (April 2004)

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