The Pirates Of Atlantis
Basics of Atlantean Magic
Atlantean magic involves the manipulation of the four classical elements — Air, Earth, Fire, and Water — plus some other elements and raw arcane power (though the latter are rare, and often viewed with suspicion). Spells are divided into the simple, easily-cast, and relatively low-strength Lesser Powers known as Arkanoi Legoteros and the much more powerful, complex, and difficult to cast Greater Powers known as Arkanoi Segalos_. Atlantean wizards (_arkanistoi, sing. arkanistos) cast and write spells using a special language called Urlogos. Learning how to speak and write Urlogos is the foundation of an Atlantean wizard’s studies and occupies most of his time during his apprenticeship (and a not inconsiderable amount of time thereafter).
Most people can’t understand advanced Urlogos when they hear it spoken; its words are obviously words of power, but their very power makes them incomprehensible to someone who’s not equipped to wield that power.
Over the course of centuries Atlantean wizards have developed a rich body of spells and rituals that are commonly taught by masters to their apprentices. However, Atlantis is so rich in magic, and her wizards so learned, that they devise new spells every day, creating an ever-growing body of arcane lore that not even the most puissant mage can hope to master in full. A particularly skilled wizard can even devise temporary new applications of his magical powers in mid-combat, without the need for detailed study or spell creation procedures.
However, despite its power, Atlantean magic is not unrestricted. There are some things a wizard simply cannot do. Some wizards believe these limitations come from the gods, some from the inherent nature of magic, and some from both (or another source), but regardless of the cause they exist. These restrictions include: very little in the way of travel- or movement-related magics; an inability to heal wounds or cure diseases (only priests may have these powers; see below); and a general lack of mind-affecting magics. Additionally, spellcasting tends to be very tiring; wizards typically draw on the power of orichalcum to overcome this problem (see below).
LEARNING ATLANTEAN MAGIC
Only Atlanteans can learn how to use Atlantean magic. Wizards are an idiosyncratic group to be sure, but one thing all Atlantean wizards have in common is this: they recognize that the nature of their world depends on Atlantean magic remaining exclusively Atlantean. If the secrets of Atlantean wizardry were ever revealed to outsiders, others would soon be able to match Atlantis’s power. No Atlantean wizard wants that to happen — and so no Atlantean wizard, no matter how malicious or depraved, would ever think of teaching Atlantean magic to a non-Atlantean. (Even Cormar and Dalsith, at the height of their evil power, recoiled from the thought of this.) Any Atlantean wizard who broke this rule, and his student(s), would be hunted down by all other Atlantean wizards and gruesomely killed.
Most Atlantean wizards learn their craft at the feet of a master wizard through apprenticeship. (A few of the better academies do teach some magic, but only the most basic information; none of them are equipped to turn a student into an actual wizard.)
A child who shows the desire, intelligence, and natural gift for wizardry apprentices to an established wizard at age 8. At first he mostly just does chores, but as his standard education progresses the study of magic becomes part of the curriculum. By his late teens he’s studying nothing but spellcraft.
When his master believes he’s ready, he goes before a body of three wizards who oversee apprenticeships in that Atlantean kingdom. The triumvirate sets him a task — researching a new spell, defeating a particular monster with nothing but spells, recovering a lost artifact, or the like.
If he completes the task successfully, he’s released from his apprenticeship and is entitled to refer to himself as “wizard”. If not, he must endure one more year of apprenticeship before the board tests him again.