1. Origin of Magic – Brimtag, Base Creatures, Base Plants, Base Insects, Base Reptiles, Base Birds, Base Fish, Base Mammals
  2. Casting Age
  3. Spell Casting – Reverie, Filament, Trance, Trance Box, Draw, Mana, Reverie Point, Veneficium, Construction, Recitation, Miscasting, Build Fatigue, Fixation, Casting, Casting Phrase, Brimbox, Bearing, Base Load, Losing Spells, Spooky Action at a Distance, Mind’s Eye, Racial Effects
  4. Practical Arts – Practitioners, Mages, Matteres, Flores, Faunes, Homines, Casting Year, Brim Salute, Description of Spell Charts, Miscasting Effects, Sages, Spellbooks, Spell Log, Yearly Review, Rogue Mage, Spell Researchers, Casting Chamber
  5. Sorcery – Sorcerers
  6. Bewilderweed
  7. Hedge Mages
  8. Witches – Herbalists, Covens, Covenellas, Forest Covens, Rural Covens, Water Covens, Plains Covens, Pine Wolves, Wood Nymphs, Cave Rats, Bearkin, Greencircle, Calf and Lamb, Joyous Day, Villagekeepers, Feverbreakers, Will-o’-wisps, Thunder Eels, Fenmothers, Watersnakes, Grass Snakes, Freerangers, Wagoneers, Butcherbirds
  9. Druids
  10. Cult Magic – Cultist, Cult Caster, Sect, Worshipper, Divine Magic, Channeler
  11. Cults – Cult of Ahriman, Ahriman, Rending, Shattermages, Cult of Belenu, Belenu, Cult of Tyr, Tyr, Cult of Vele, Vele, Cult of Hadrix, Hadrix, Hadrists, Cult of Spithra, Spithra, Plumbatas, Cult of Lokkemand, Lokkemand, Cult of Crom Cruach, Crom Cruach, Cult of Aja, Aja

Origin of Magic

In the Age of Man, there was little or no magic. The Fay had used magic in the Age of Fay, but they were driven out of this world by the humans. When the Brim ended the Age of Man, they brought a powerful new magic based on their language, which many believe was created especially for casting. Only a fraction of their magic survived their death, written down by their human bondservants. Perhaps the greatest loss was the Brim magic of transmutation, which was very powerful and kept secret from humans. They used this magic to reshape the world, and alchemists and Matteres are still looking for any Brimic texts on transmutation that may have survived the Brim War.

The Brim introduced a foundational element of magic called a Brimtag. This is a unique identifier assigned to every plant, insect, animal, and human. The tag is a unique series of Brim letters and numbers. All plants, insects, and animals of a particular species share a Brimtag. So, for example, all red roses share the same Brimtag, as opposed to each individual rose having a unique tag. However, humans all have unique tags. And what’s more, they continue to be born with them. For example, Margaret and Jeremy each have their own unique Brimtag, and when they have a child, that child is born with its own unique Brimtag unrelated to its parents. Each Brimtag has 18 characters. Academics believe that some of these characters are unimportant, and that others may describe properties or characteristics of the person. Academics universally agree that the Brim had powerful magic that could manipulate humans using their Brimtags, but that magic died with them in the war and has never been discovered by humanity. Today, Brimtags in humans are only used to establish identity. Brimtags are associated with the body, not the soul, and can persist for several days after a body dies (unless the body is burned).

Another element of Brimian magic are base creatures. There are five bases: a base plant, base insect, base reptile, base bird, base fish, and base beast. These creatures all have inherent magic that cannot be dispelled. They are used as template creatures in certain spells. Bases are found in the wild in a wide variety of climates, and all can be domesticated. Base plants are dark green and nondescript, two feet tall, with thick stalks and leaves, and without blossoms. They have a lifespan of 16 years. Base insects are three inches long, nearly translucent, oval-shaped bugs with six legs. They have a lifespan of 1 year in areas that freeze during winter, and 8 years in warm climates. Base reptiles are 3 feet long, brown, very narrow alligator-like creatures with blunted snouts and four legs that are so small as to be useless. They have a lifespan of 23 years and can survive freezing temperatures by going dormant. Base birds have thick gray feathers, are about the size of a robin, and no birdsong. They have a lifespan of 27 years and can survive freezing temperatures. Base fish are white and ten inches long. They have a lifespan of 18 years and go dormant in freezing temperatures. Base mammals look like small deer with chunky legs, thick gray fur, and sharp teeth. They have a lifespan of 32 years and can survive freezing temperature. All base animals have characteristic orange eyes. Base creatures taste dreadful and are never used as food. Base creatures have been carefully calibrated so as not to dominate their ecosystems. The Church considers base creatures an abomination and clergy are forbidden from contact with them.

Humanity’s current use of Brim magic has limitations. For example, diseases like Frenzy, which can affect people and animals, cannot be cured by either medicine or magic. And no one has found a cure for Recedence. Also, magic cannot bring back the dead, eclipse the sun, or grow back a missing limb.

It’s important to note that Logism, as practiced by the Clergy, is not considered magic. It is completely meditation-based and does not require spell casting.


Casting Age

Using magic is harmful to human Practitioners. It ages the body and causes Recedence. For this reason, spells are organized into a system based on how much time each spell ages the body.

Novice spells, the most basic spells in each art, age the caster by a few hours. The more mana a spell requires, the higher the aging time. The aging occurs during the mana draw, not at the actual casting. The most powerful spells can age a caster by several days.

A Practitioner’s casting age is their real age plus their casting time. So, for example, if a 42-year-old Practitioner has cast 9 years’ worth of spells during her career, her casting age is 51. She will look 51 and have the aches and pains of a 51-year-old. All Practitioners keep a spell log with a record of what they have cast and the results of those castings. Recedence can strike at a casting age as early as 63, so Practitioners are urged to retire from active casting at that age. Most university-trained Practitioners have gray hair and have retired from active casting while still in their thirties in real age, having earned 700-1200 Marks in casting fees during their short casting careers. After that, most spend another 20 years in academia before retiring in their 50’s in real years (80’s in casting years). Even with magic and good health care, most casters die of old age before reaching 60 real years of age, though a few have made into their 80’s.


Spell Casting

Casting is a five-phase process: reverie, draw, construction, fixation, and casting.


A Practitioner must achieve a special meditative state by closing their eyes and entering the Filament where they can sense the interconnection of all things, the ties between people, between people and nature, animals, plants, and even objects. In the Age of Man, few humans possessed this power. But it is believed the Fay could easily do it. During the occupation, the Brim interbred humans to make this ability more common in their slaves. Their society was built on using magic, so having servants who could do basic magic was a necessity. Now, nearly a third of all humans today can achieve a reverie, with the proper training and/or drugs.

Achieving a reverie takes experienced casters around 90 seconds and is difficult to do under stress. Some are a little faster and some a little slower to reach reverie. For people who have cheerful personalities, reveries are an ecstatic state where the Filament appears in their mind’s eye as rays of light connecting all things, and it feels like a group hug. Whereas dour people, who see the same Filament, conceptualize it as a threatening and uncomfortable collection of spider webs.

Within the Filament, people cannot see the real world or individual objects as we know them, just a complex web of luminous strings accompanied by a strong feeling of connectedness. The Church believes the Filament is not the Logos, but the metaphysical manifestation of the Logos. It is the interconnectedness of all things, and the explanation for how magic can seemingly affect things at a distance.

The most effective drug for achieving reverie is a plant called Trance, which was introduced by the Brim. It grows wild across a wide range of climates and looks like a green weed. But its tiny seeds, when dried and ground, and inhaled, can produce a reverie. The problem is, Trance is addictive and is a popular legal street drug because it’s so easy to grow and prepare. So it is always best to learn how to achieve a reverie without Trance.

Sometimes a new student will use their trance box (like a snuff box) a few times to achieve their first reveries, and then try to transition off the drug. University magic programs will not train students who remain dependent on Trance. Students who achieve reveries only with Trance have to take greater and greater doses, and after a few years cannot achieve a reverie at all but still need Trance just to avoid getting sick. Of the general population, about 35% of woman can achieve a reverie, and of those, 40% can only do so with the use of Trance. 20% of men can achieve reverie, and about 25% of them can only do so with the use of Trance. For this reason, there are about 30% more female than male Practitioners, and women are more likely to need Trance to achieve their first reveries. No one knows why there is a difference between the sexes. Many people suspect Pallor has affected men’s ability to achieve a reverie. Regardless of sex, the more intelligent the caster, the easier it is for them to achieve a reverie.

Practitioners are exceptionally vulnerable when in a reverie and should only do so in a safe place. They cannot move and cannot see the real world, so they are effectively blind. And although they can hear things happening in the real world, it is difficult to process those sounds because of the intense concentration required by the reverie. For this reason, most Practitioners will only enter reveries when inside a locked room or with a guard present.

Once a Practitioner has achieved a reverie and is experiencing the Filament, they can attempt a mana draw. Mana is drawn from within the Filament, so casting magic is impossible without a reverie.


Mana, the force that powers spells, is collected by the Practitioner at their reverie point within the Filament. This is much like breathing in air. The Practitioner opens themselves and draws mana into their body. Controlling the flow and the amount of mana is critical for successful spellcasting. Academics do not know where mana comes from, other than from somewhere within the Filament.

Mana itself cannot be seen, but it can be felt as it enters the body of the caster. Some believe that the Brim could actually see mana. As mana is drawn, nothing changes in the view of the Filament. However, there is a powerful physical sensation, like a cold wind rushing through the body. And if the flow of mana is too powerful or prolonged, it can become painful and accelerate the onset of Recedence. Once mana is inside the body, it fatigues the muscles and makes the limbs heavy. It can become tiring to move until that mana is released during casting.

The draw phase is usually only dangerous for student practitioners, who may inadvertently draw too much mana too fast. They must learn to control the flow rate and cut it off when necessary. The Practitioner can also release drawn mana back into the Filament if they take on too much or change their mind about constructing the spell.

The word mana comes from Melanesia. It is believed that the Melanesians were the first human servants of the Brim who were allowed to use magic. Melanesians are reasonably good with magic and can usually reach a casting age of 74 before Recedence becomes a possibility. No one knows why they are good with magic, particularly as many Imperials view them as a backward people.

Veneficium is the clerical and academic word for mana. No one knows where veneficium comes from, or even what it is. But the same can be said of fire.


Once the draw of mana has begun, the Practitioner must begin to construct the spell. A spell is built from a recitation. A recitation is the spell’s instructions. Only Brimic words can be used for recitations, and a specific sequence of words must be spoken by the caster. Although Brimic is understood and can be translated into Anglish, Brimic recitations make no sense when translated. They appear to be random words, which makes them very difficult to memorize. The correct words for a spell must be spoken in the correct order and cadence and pronounced correctly in Brimic. The words of the recitation must be memorized because Practitioners can’t read their spell books when in a reverie.

The flow of mana must be timed such that enough mana is packed into the spell by the time the construction is complete. A certain amount of mana is needed for each construction. If the mana comes in too slowly, the construction falters and the construction fails. If the mana comes in too fast, the spell can become unbalanced, overpowered in the first half and underpowered in the second, which can also cause a construction to fail.

The words of the recitation must be timed with the flow of the mana, and this can be tricky. Getting the words or the timing wrong will usually result in a miscasting when the spell is used.

The Church is adamant in their belief that casters are not giving commands to God or reshaping the Logos, but simply communicating with the living earth, a manifestation of the Logos. In doing so, there is a great responsibility not to send abusive instructions.

Breaking the reverie will end the spell and block the flow of mana, and this is something casters must do quickly if the spell is spiraling out of control. As mana is channeled through the caster’s body and into the spell, it must be properly directed with a Brimic recitation. A recitation is a very specific expression of Brimic words, essentially, the spell’s instructions.

Most casters recite aloud, but very advanced Practitioners (those with at least 30 casting years) can sometimes speak the words only in their minds. No two spells are worded exactly alike. For example, a Faune casting the same spell to make a dog or horse more obedient might vary the words somewhat between the two animals to account for changes in size and disposition.

There is no way to go back and edit a construction. It must be spoken perfectly the first time. Most Practitioners carefully write out their spells in Brimic and memorize them outside of reverie before attempting a construction. It requires a powerful memory that some people simply do not possess. Once written out in their spellbook, a Practitioner will have a more advanced Practitioner check their work before attempting the construction.

Knowing the words is not enough to complete a successful construction. The mana draw must be perfectly in sync with the recitation. It’s like drinking a cup of water. The water must be consumed at an even rate throughout, such that the cup is empty just as the recitation ends. And of course, more powerful spells use bigger cups of water.

If a construction fails, the caster can abandon it. Also, once a spell has been constructed, the Practitioner can choose to deconstruct it and release the mana back into the Filament (which feels like a large exhalation). Or they can hold the spell and cast it later. If they abandon the construction or do a deconstruct, the aging cost of the spell still counts against the Practitioner’s casting age. However, there is now no danger of a miscast during the casting phase because there is no spell. Note: failed constructions are rare, and usually only happen to a student learning a new spell. For this reason, when learning a new spell, the student must age themselves an average of three times the normal age cost of that spell.

Casters can save time by building several spells within a particular reverie. It doesn’t have to be one spell per reverie.

Constructing any spell requires high intelligence. But constructing the really powerful spells, those that cause over 50 days of aging, requires a near-genius usually found only in top students and Sages.

Casters must be wary of build fatigue. Building spells requires intense concentration and is mentally draining. After building a spell, casters are advised to rest for a period equal to triple the spell’s build time. So if a spell takes 3 minutes to build, the caster should rest for 9 minutes before attempting another spell. Building spells back-to-back without a rest doubles the chance of miscasting. Building again with only half the required rest increases the miscasting chance by +50%.


Prior to casting, a Practitioner must fixate on their intended target. They must have total visual focus on the target, to the exclusion of all things. This takes only a second, but it requires an intense concentration that may not be possible if the caster is being attacked by someone other than their intended target. Blind Practitioners can still cast but must perform a fixation by touching their intended target.


Once the fixation is complete, the Practitioner speaks the Brimic words used to release that specific spell, provided that it has been previously constructed. Unlike the Brimic used in recitations, which appear to be nonsense words, casting phrases usually translate as the Brimic name of the spell. Gestures are not required. As with the recitation during construction, most novice casters speak the casting phrase aloud at full volume. Some casters can merely whisper the trigger words once they’ve had 5-10 years of casting experience. And a few Practitioners can merely “think” their phrases once they have 15-20 years of casting experience.

Only when the spell is finally cast does the Practitioner learn how well the spell was constructed, and if it had any errors they failed to notice during construction.

Many spells have an area of effect of 1.8 cubic yards. This is known as a Brimbox. No one understands why so many spells are limited to those particular dimensions.

If the spell has problems, it can result in a miscast. Miscast spells often yield a poor or even catastrophic result that can damage the caster or target. However, some of these accidents have yielded positive results, and this is how magic has evolved and improved in the 200 years since the death of the Brim.

Practitioners can queue several spells in advance and cast them later in any order. Spells can be held weeks or even months, depending on the skill of the Practitioner. This effort is called bearing. However, holding large, or multiple spells in the mind is difficult and mentally draining. Even experienced casters can’t load more than 30 aging hours of spells and bear them for more than several days, 70 aging hours for more than several hours, or 100 aging hours for more than several minutes. However, holding less than 30 aging hours of spells for weeks is possible even for inexperienced casters, and for months if the caster is experienced. Practitioners call these spells their base load. They are usually the inexpensive spells that are useful in emergencies. It is possible to queue multiple versions of the same spell. If a caster is bearing too many spells for too long, they will begin losing spells, starting first with the most powerful spells. A lost spell must be rebuilt from scratch, incurring another aging penalty.

When magic is cast on an item or person, there is no flow of mana from the caster to the target. This is one of the greatest mysteries of magic. There is a mana draw and burn during the construction of a spell, where mana is used to build the spell, but no mana release when the spell is cast. Magic is a type of spooky action at a distance.

Practitioners can use visualization spells to determine if magic is having an active effect on a target or has had some effect in the past. Magic leaves a distinct footprint, but it is not the same thing as mana. Mana powers spells in the same way that food powers people, but it is the people who perform great feats, not the food.

Mind’s Eye

The Mind’s Eye is the cornerstone of all Brimian magic. Casting a Brimian visualization spell from any of the four Practical arts creates an image of the target in the caster’s head which they can examine visually, in their mind’s eye, when their regular eyes are closed. The mind’s eye is a permanent storage space where this detailed 3-D image exists until replaced by another image with another visualization spell. The image can be seen from all angles, and the interior of the object can be seen as well, as if the caster is passing through it and examining it from the inside.

Visualizations cannot be cast on things in motion. The target must remain still for several seconds. However, after the visualization is cast, the target is free to move as the Practitioner continues their work, because they aren’t working directly on the target, but on the visualization in the caster’s Mind’s Eye.

Racial Effects




They learn Hominia 10% faster.


No magic.


No Magic.


Learn Matteria 20% faster. Stacks with Maker.


Learn all magic 30% faster with half the normal chance of miscasting. Do not suffer from Recedence.


Learn all branches of magic 20% faster. Stacks with Maker. No extra learning time or extra miscasting penalties when learning sorcery.


No magic.


No magic.


They are 30% more likely than normal humans to have an elemental aptitude. They learn Matteria 30% faster with half the miscasting chance, and all the other Practical Arts 30% slower with double the chance of miscasting.


Learn Faunia and Floria 30% faster. Learn Hominia and Matteria 10% faster (stacks with Maker). They have half the normal chance of miscasting.


No magic.


They learn Homina 10% faster. Can create magical amulets and charms.


No magic.


Practical Arts

Magic cast by humans is known as the Practical Arts. This is to distinguish it from magic cast by Brim, the High Arts. Humans are only capable of casting a small subset of Brimian magic, mostly just the magic the Brim taught their human slaves. The High Arts are beyond human abilities.

Users of the Practical Arts are called Practitioners. But the vernacular word is mages. Practitioners speak Brimic and make heavy use of Anglicized Latic. Most major Universities have Artes Practicus programs in the four major fields: plants Floria (FLOOR-ia), animals Faunia (FAHWN-ia), non-living materials Matteria (ma-TARE-ia), and humans Hominia (oh-MEAN-ia). Experts of these arts are known as a Flores (FLOOR-aes), Faunes (FAHWN-aes), Matteres (ma-TARE-aes), and Homines (oh-MEAN-aes).

To achieve mastery, Practitioners must learn Brimic and earn a doctorate in their field of study before attending another three years of a university Artes Practicus program. This is actually not a degree program, mainly due to Church protestation, but completion does confer the highly respected and somewhat feared Practitioner title. Casting is difficult and less than half of those with doctorate degrees can achieve the meditative state necessary to use magic and complete an Artes Practicus program. During the three years of training, students do not begin casting spells until their third year.

All the practical arts are a blend of science and magic. Unlike Priests, University Practitioners charge for their services and do not tend to the poor. Practitioners will first try to solve a problem by using science, because of the danger and cost of casting. Of the four practical arts, Hominia uses the most mana, followed by Faunia, Floria, and Matteria. For this reason, Homines can be very expensive and Matteres much cheaper. Note: Matteria spells are not simpler than Hominia spells. Matteria can take just as long to learn and have just as high of a miscasting chance. It’s just that Matteria spells a require lower mana draw. No one knows why this is.

The typical Practitioner graduates from an Artes Practicus program in one of the four arts and has mastered the required Novice spells within that art. Beyond that, the spells they learn depend on their interests and the nature of the art.

Students of Artes Practicus programs are not allowed to graduate until they have successfully cast all of their selected spells under observation in the university’s safety yard. This means that fresh graduates leave school with a casting age slightly higher than their real age. Students must cast one year of spell time in the real world before learning additional spells. This gives them time to earn some money and zero in on their interests. Once they have finished their first casting year, they are allowed to receive private tutoring from their university Sage at a cost of forty times the casting fee of the spell.

Most Practitioners won’t consider retiring until they reach a casting age of 70, which is a little dangerous considering that Recedence can begin at 63.

Practitioners have a Brim Salute that is used to identify others of their kind. The salute is formed by holding one palm in front of the chest and displaying three fingers, an important symbol of the Brim because they had three fingers. Each university has their own way of performing the salute by varying which fingers are used and how the hand moves. This is used as both a greeting and a departing gesture. Most clerics consider the gesture somewhat offensive.

Spell Descriptions and Miscasting

Description of Spell Charts

The following chart explains how to interpret spell details.


The field of magic is shown here (Matteria, Floria, Faunia, Hominia).


The particular field of study within this art.

Spell Name:

All spells have a unique name.


A description of the spell’s effect.

Aging Cost:

How much time the caster is aged.


How long the spell lasts.

Build Time:

The number of seconds to execute the five spell phases.

Miscasting Chance:

The base percentage chance of the spell going awry. The miscasting percentages listed for each spell are for fresh university graduates casting on their own. Students casting under university supervision have a -5% chance of miscasting. Hedge Mages are twice as likely to miscast. So, for example, if a new Practitioner on their own has a 5% chance of a miscast, a Hedge Mage has a 10% chance. Chances of a miscast are -1% after each successful casting and -1% for every casting year of experience.

Learning Time:

How long it takes a newly trained Practitioner to learn the spell. It can take much longer for students still in university. And it can take less time for very experienced Practitioners. This section also shows how many days of aging occur when learning a new spell.

Fee for Casting:

How much money a Practitioner can earn from casting this spell.

Miscasting Effects

Because of the dangers of miscasting, fresh university graduates are not allowed to cast any spell of over 30 hours. And for spells over 30 hours, universities recommend at least three casting years of experience. For spells over 100 hours, twenty years of casting experience is recommended. If these rules are followed, death from a miscast is highly unlikely.

Miscasting has highly unpredictable effects. Magic is volatile and affected by unknown forces. A Practitioner who makes the exact same error in two consecutive castings will not necessarily receive the same miscasting effect each time.

The following charts explain what happens with miscasts. Practitioners or trainees under active University supervision enjoy a -5% bonus on all miscasting effect charts. Hedge Mages receive no bonuses. Everyone receives a -2% bonus on all charts for every casting year of experience and a -2% miscasting effect bonus for every previously successful cast. The effects of a miscast are experienced in the casting phase.

Miscasting Effects


Unintended harmless effect. #


Only partial success (1-75%).


No effect.


Harmful effect to target.


Harmful effect to caster.


Explosive reaction.

#Note: if an unintended effect occurs, there is a 1% chance (plus 1%
per casting year of experience) of making a new insight into the spell.


Harmful Effect to Target*


Target receives % damage equal to half the aging cost of the spell. So a 14-hour spell would damage the target by 7%.


Target receives % damage equal to the aging cost of the spell. So a 14-hour spell would damage the target by 14%.


Target receives % damage equal to double the aging cost of the spell. So a 14-hour spell would damage the target by 28%.

Harmful Effect to Caster*


Caster receives % damage equal to half the aging cost of the spell. So a 14-hour spell would damage the caster by 7%.


Caster receives % damage equal to the aging cost of the spell. So a 14-hour spell would damage the caster by 14%.


Caster receives % damage equal to double the aging cost of the spell. So a 14-hour spell would damage the caster by 28%.

*Note: the nature of the damage depends on the spell. A deaden
nerve spell would do damage to the nervous system. A muscle
restoration spell would do damage to the muscles. Any damage in
excess of 100% kills the victim.


Explosive Reaction+


Caster killed in explosion.


Target killed in explosion.


Caster AND target killed in explosion.

+Note: these are not fiery explosions. They are silent, bloody
explosions where space itself appears to warp.


A Sage is a university professor who teaches one of the Practical Arts at a university. They must themselves be a Practitioner who has graduated from the same program and has logged at least 20 years of casting time with no symptoms of Recedence. In addition, they must be able to enter a student’s reverie, to observe their mana draw and spell construction. Sharing a reverie is something no Practitioner can do until they are very experienced, and even then, fewer than half can achieve this. Wearing the red collar and black robes of a Sage is a dream for many, not because it pays well, but because it’s a position that confers enormous respect. Even the most powerful politicians avoid offending Sages.


All Practitioners keep a handwritten codex, or spellbook for each of their spells. These are notes to themselves about how the spell works and advice for any problem areas they may have. Most spellbooks average in length about a page per learning hour of the spell. The spell’s recitation is also in the spellbook, written in Brimic. There may also be variations written for varying circumstances. Practitioners make two copies of their spellbooks, one to leave at home and one to take when traveling. The ones at home are always hidden and usually not in their actual homes. Once a Practitioner becomes proficient with a spell, meaning they can cast it with no possibly of a miscast, they no longer carry a copy of that spellbook in the field. But no Practitioner ever throws their old spellbooks away because they have sentimental value, and because they are a tribute to the caster’s hard work and accomplishments.

If a Practitioner finds another caster’s spellbook, and that spell is one they do not know, the spellbook is rarely enough to teach the spell on its own. Spellbooks are not tutorials as much as they are notes to self. Any attempt to learn a spell from a spellbook alone takes four times as long with four times the miscasting chance. However, highly experienced casters with experience as university researchers may be able to recreate a spell solely from a spellbook. And someone struggling to learn a new spell might have their learning time reduced by studying another caster’s spellbook for that same spell.

A Practitioner who loses all copies of their spellbook before becoming proficient with that spell must do some retraining at university and complete a new spellbook, or else they double their chances of a miscast.

Spell Log

All Practitioners keep a handwritten codex of all the spells they have cast. This spell log notes the date the spell was cast, the target of the spell, as well as the outcome and any problems, questions, observations, and the signature of any needed clerical witness. Practitioners make two copies of their spell log, one to leave at home and one to take when traveling. The ones at home are always hidden and usually not in their actual homes.

At the end of each spell year of casting (not necessarily a calendar year), the Practitioner has a yearly review. They return to their university mentor, or possibly that person’s successor, and review their spell log with their Sage. At that point, a trusted functionary makes a copy of the log for the university archive, which is updated with each yearly review.

The yearly review is an important opportunity to seek advice with problem spells and determine if the caster is ready to learn new spells. Practitioners are sensitive about their spell logs and usually only show them to mentors. However, they may also, on occasion, need to present them to prospective clients to obtain work.

If a caster loses all copies of their spell log, their official casting progress reverts to the last copy of the log filed with the university. If a caster should forge a spell log or make an illegal casting, their university will disown them. The caster is branded a Rogue Mage and any magic they cast afterwards will be considered sorcery.

Spell Researchers

Every university maintains a casting chamber deep underground for the use of its Researchers. This is a very dangerous job, but a good one for brilliant Practitioners with no desire or ability to teach. Researchers study arcane texts and intentionally miscast spells, hoping to expand the understanding of magic. Most Researchers believe that humanity has mastered only a small fraction of the magic wielded by the Brim.



The Church actively hunts sorcerers, those who use magic to harm and manipulate the innocent. The highest crime in the Empire is practicing sorcery, an automatic sentence of execution by hanging, with no possibility of sanctuary. Eronyans are thought to be more naturally skilled at sorcery than Imperials.

Sorcery is the act of casting spells within the practical arts in a way that does harm. For example, one sorcerer may be an evil Homine, and another an evil Matteria. Most sorcerers are actually university Practitioners who have become corrupted, or perhaps were secretly corrupt all along. While a friendly Homine might use a spell that repairs a damaged heart, a Sorcerer Homine might cause that same heart to fail. While a friendly Mattere might cast a spell to strengthen a support beam, a Sorcerer Mattere might weaken it. While a friendly Faune might make a warhorse resist bleeding, a Sorcerer Faune might make the horse bleed easily. But by far, the most common type of sorcery is the perversion of Human Alteration magic.

Most sorcerers first learn the normal, healthy versions of a spell. Then they must learn how to pervert them for their own evil purposes. When working this out on their own, they must spend at last 50% of the original learning time, with double the chance of miscasting. However, if being mentored by another sorcerer or sorcerous group, it takes the normal learning time and there is the normal chance of miscasting.

Sorcerers generally cast magic only for their own purposes, but some will hire themselves out. For example, if someone wants to kill a rival, they may hire a sorcerer to stop their enemy’s heart or give them a deadly disease. But this can be quite expensive. These arrangements are rare because hiring sorcerers is costly and dangerous. Hiring a thug with a knife is a lot cheaper.

Note: The Church considers Cult Magic to be sorcerous, and those who cast it sorcerers. But Practitioners disagree because cultists don’t really cast spells. It is their gods who are casting the spells. Practitioners consider cultists to be untutored religious fanatics.



Bewilderweed is a pale green weed that grows wild across the central Empire. When brewed into a bitter tea, it can cause mild confusion for 8-12 hours. It is not harmful or addictive, but it does make a reverie impossible, so it can be used to stop Practitioners from building spells (but not casting spells, an important distinction). Mages can also be gagged to prevent them from casting, but some advanced Practitioners can build and cast spells without speaking aloud. Bewilderweed is used by the Church to prevent suspected sorcerers from casting spells while on trial. It does nothing to prevent the casting of cult magic, which doesn’t use spells.


Hedge Mages

Hedge Mages are casters who have not been trained in a university or cathedral school. They do not write down their spells. Instead, they have memorized specific spells passed down by oral tradition. Hedge Mages often live in rural areas, or even in the wildlands. Witches and Druid are examples of Hedge Mages. Unlike trained Practitioners, they are notorious for using spells from multiple disciplines and for overcasting until deep into Recedence. Hedge Mages are generally not as skilled as Practitioners, who use sophisticated magery. They have a shallower understanding of magic, fewer spells in their mastery, and find it difficult to make money from their casting. But Hedge Mages can cast in several disciplines, do not need an expensive education, and can rise to become powerful leaders within groups outside of civilization.



Witches are Hedge Mages, commonly found in deep rural or wilderness areas where the peasants are unable to pay Practitioners for magic, and where healing Priests rarely venture. Witchery is more of an organizational system than a specific branch of magic. Most witches know some healing spells from Hominia, and sometimes a few Faunia and Floria spells. Use of Matteria is rare among witches.

If witchery is used for good, it is not considered a crime, but the Church still frowns on this unregulated practice. Like Practitioners, most witches are women because they can more easily achieve a reverie. But there are male witches, and they are called witches, a gender-neutral term.

Witches are not to be confused with herbalists. Most herbalists do not use magic. Herbalists are essentially rural apothecaries, creating curatives (or sometimes poisons) from plants in their region. Although not illegal, herbalism is frowned upon by the Church as dangerous and unregulated, and it is a crime to create poisons or venoms. Many witches have some herbal knowledge, but few are expert herbalists.

As with all magic, Witches must speak Brimic as they cast their spells. However, most witches can’t speak or read Brimic, and have just memorized the words passed down to them. For this reason, many academics consider Witches to be nothing more than rural shamans.

Witchery is not considered a cult because it does not communicate with the Old Gods. Most witches are benign and focus on healing and curing common diseases (of people, animals, or plants). But a few witches engage in sorcery, causing diseases, bleeding, or broken bones. Some witches use the animal behavioral spells on people, which does have a limited effect. And a spell to make a man fertile could be reversed to make him impotent. Witches that are caught engaging in such sorcery are hanged.

Many witches have minions created from Faunia magic. This allows Witches to use the senses of their minion creature, turning them into remote observers or spies. Base Mammals transformed into cats are popular minions because of their keen senses.

Witch covens are groups of witches that serve the peasants in their own region. They are not religious. Many covens have branches in multiple locations. Most covens consider themselves virtuous. Only one existing coven is openly evil. All covens have their own traditions and hierarchy. In most covens, only a member can invite someone to join the group. Those considering joining a coven are called fledglings and can experience some aspects of the community without a commitment to join. Once initiated, they are sworn to the coven for life, where they become Novices, then Aspirants, Dedicants, and then finally become Apprentices to a Doyen (the gender-neutral title of a coven leader). Few Apprentices are chosen for this ultimate honor, and only after their mentor dies. With each level of the hierarchy, witches are taught more spells by the coven. The coven’s best spell is known only by the Doyen. There can only be one Doyen per coven.

Satellite branches of a coven are called covenellas, and are run by Dedicants on the Apprentice track, who occasionally report back to their Doyen at the main coven. Witches can sometimes be allowed to change covens, but they can never completely abandon a coven and rejoin the real world, upon pain of death.

Witchcraft follows the divisions of the practical arts (Floria, Faunia, Matteria, Hominia). However, unlike Practitioners, Witches are Hedge Mages and do not specialize in a single discipline. A Witch might know some spells in several of the four disciplines. For example, animal minions are in the realm of Faunia, whereas healing people is in the realm of Hominia. Some witches may also know some herbalism that complements their magic.


Forest Covens. Can brew powerful drugs from forest herbs and mushrooms. One such drug allows them to see better in the darkness. Can influence animals and make animal minions. High-ranking Witches know Merge with Trees and can hide within the trunks of trees. Some leaders are earth elementalists. Known covens: Pine Wolves, Wood Nymphs, Cave Rats, and the Bearkin.

Rural Covens. Can manipulate crops and influence animals. Good with human and animal fertility magic and healing. Some leaders are fire elementalists. Known covens: Greencircle, Calf and Lamb, Joyous Day, Villagekeepers.

Water Covens. Live near lakes, rivers, and marshes. They use magic to allow them to stay underwater for longer, brew arcane poisons, purify liquids and food, heal people and animals, and influence animals. Some leaders are water elementalists. Known covens: Feverbreakers, Will-o’-wisps, Thunder Eels, Fenmothers, and Watersnakes. Of these covens, only the Watersnakes are openly hostile and go out of their way to harm people, usually the privileged.

Plains Covens. Live in roaming wagon camps. Can heal people and animals, use orientation magic, influence animals, and have animal minions. Some leaders are air or lightning elementalists. Known covens: Grass Snakes, Freerangers, Wagoneers, and Butcherbirds.



There are few druids in the Empire, as they are mostly found in Brythony. Druids use a diverse array of Faunia, Floria, and elemental magics. Brythonian tribes each have their own brand of Druids and signature spells.

Druids also serve as historians and advisors for the tribe. Most are followers of Crom Cruach and sometimes engage in the sacrifice of prisoners and captives.


Cult Magic

Some of the Old Gods from the Age of Man experienced a resurgence after the arrival of the Brim. While the Old Gods had many followers, there was little evidence of them casting magic during the Age of Man. However, after the Brim, some of the Old Gods returned and are now casting a lot of magic. It is not known if the Brim taught magic to the Old Gods, or if the Old Gods stole it from the Brim. In any case, the Old Gods are now sharing magic with their followers. Old Gods never appear in person but can manifest their power through their followers. The Church considers all the Old Gods to be merely distant ethereal demigods, powerful entities with their own private agendas who use humans as their playthings.

Any group that worships an Old God and casts magic is considered a cult by the Church, and its members cultists. All cult magic is considered sorcery (except for the Cults of Tyr, Aja, and Belenu) and the use of it is punishable by hanging. Cult magic is different from the Practical Arts. Cult casters do not need university educations and they do not construct spells. Their gods construct the spells, though the cultists must bear them until they are triggered with a verbal casting phrase. Most cultists cannot bear more than a few spells at a time.

Cultists report feeling a presence when in their god’s good grace. As long as that presence is felt, the cultist’s request for a spell is granted. A cultist beloved by their god needs only form the request inside their head, and the spell is eventually constructed by the god on their behalf. Cultists are granted use of particular spells by their leadership. Longstanding and important members know all the group’s spells, whereas newer members may know only one simple spell. The caster may fall into disfavor if the god deems the caster is abusing the privilege and using spells for personal gain, rather than to further the cult’s goals.

In general, there are far fewer spells available in cult magic as opposed to the Practical Arts. However, cult magic is often more powerful and safer to use. Being a cultist requires above average intelligence and utter devotion. Slow or average people often have trouble communicating with their god, which requires a certain level of mental acuity. Importantly, cult casters do not suffer Recedence.

Cult, Cultist, Cult Magic, and Cult Caster are all terms coined by the Church. The various groups do not use these terms. Instead, they say Sect, Worshipper, Divine Magic, and Channeler.



According to the Church, cults are any groups that worship an Old God and use cult magic. Most cults are considered sorcerous and have been banned. The cults of Tyr, Aja, and Belenu are the notable exceptions. Because these cults are vestiges of the Age of Man, many of them are patriarchal. Each cult has a leader who can communicate directly with their God during prayer. Leaders recruit and elevate worshipers, as well as hand down spells. Leaders also assign tasks to worshippers who rarely have time to pursue their own personal interests. Cults require unquestioning loyalty and constant labor. They are a poor lifestyle for anyone who has trouble following orders.

Cult of Ahriman

Ahriman is the Eronyan God of Darkness and Chaos. His followers are typically very angry people whose magic only functions when they are furious. His patriarchal underground cult came to the Hallowed Empire with the arrival of Eronyan refugees. Ahriman has given his followers the power of rending, a magic that causes things to twist and break. His channelers are known as shattermages. Novices can break things like fingers or dishware, but the feared masters can break wagon wheels and even human necks. Ahriman’s followers commonly engage in human sacrifice to honor their God. The victim’s bones are broken and then they are thrown alive into a dark chasm. Ahriman’s worshippers within the Hallowed Empire are mainly in Anglia (in the marches and the big cities). Ahriman hates the Church, and the feeling is mutual. The symbol of Ahriman is the horned lion.

Symbol of the Cult of Ahriman

Cult of Belenu

Belenu is a Cymrian god that rose to prominence in the Age of Man when the present-day Brythons ruled most of the land in the present-day Empire. His patriarchal cult operates openly and has not been banned by the Church. His followers can heal or burn people and can make minions of horses. But mostly they are known as healers of people and animals. They dislike the Church and the country of Anglia. Belenu’s worshippers within the Empire are found in western Gallia and Moravia, but the bulk of his worshippers are in Brythony.

Symbol of the Cult of Belenu

Cult of Tyr

Tyr is a Teutonian war god, though his origins are in Norveg. His patriarchal cult operates openly and has not been banned by the Church. His followers are notoriously clever and often good fighters. They can cast spells on heavy weapons to create an edge that can cleave any armor, including Skysteel. And they can harden armor to make it unbreakable, even to their own magic. Worshippers who sacrifice a hand to a wolf can gain power over all wolves and have an alpha wolf as a minion. They dislike the Church and the countries of Anglia and Latica. Tyr’s worshippers within the Empire are mainly in Teutonia and they have a corps of powerful fighters aided by wolves. They are devoted to righting perceived wrongs and dispensing their own brand of justice. They probably would have been banned long ago, but they have close ties with the Teutonian military.

Symbol of the Cult of Tyr

Cult of Vele

Vele is a Moravian shapeshifting god depicted as a bear. His patriarchal underground cult operates mainly in Moravia, though there are some groups in Caledon, Northmarch, and the Maze Hills. Vele’s followers are trained in staff fighting. They can communicate with and control bears. They can cast an illusion to appear as a farm animal, kill or enrich crops, and control serpents and cattle. Vele’s peasant followers have been known to steal Noble children to raise as their own. They hate the Church and the wealthy.

Symbol of the Cult of Vele

Cult of Hadrix

Hadrix is the Hellanian God of Death. His patriarchal underground cult operates in Latica, southern Anglia, and the Marches. To the Church, Hadrix is the most feared of all the Old Gods. He is associated with nightshade and can communicate with those under its effects. His followers (Hadrists) can blend into the shadows as well as speak with the recently deceased. Hadrists can also magically kill anyone who is already close to death. The cult maintains a strong corps of assassins and thieves. They hate the Church, and often steal Brimian Artifacts in an attempt to gain the power of the Brim. In fact, some Hadrists have infiltrated the Delver’s Guild in order to find Brimian Artifacts. In addition to his cultists, Hadrix rules the feared Order of Shadowknights.

Symbol of the Cult of Hadrix

Cult of Spithra

Spithra is the Brythonian Goddess of Spiders. Her matriarchic underground cult operates mainly in the forests of Brythony, the Maze Hills, and in deeply rural areas of Moravia and Eastern Gallia. Their men are kept as breeding slaves. Spithra is believed to be half spider and half human. Spiders are sacred to her followers, and anyone joining her cult must sacrifice two toes and two fingers (so they are left with 8, like the legs of a spider). Spithra’s groups maintain a collection of large spiders, which they milk for venom, and they also domesticate manamorphs. Her worshippers are superb weavers, immune to venom, can summon spiders, and can climb up the side of walls and trees without the use of handholds. They fight with plumbatas, lead-weighted throwing darts with envenomed points. They dislike the Church and the Empire, but historically have kept a low profile and stayed out of trouble, so the Church does not actively hunt them. Of all the cults, they are the most puzzling. They do not seem to have any agenda or purpose other than to simply exist and grow their numbers.

Symbol of the
Cult of Spithra

Cult of Lokkemand

Lokkemand is the Norvegn God of Trickery. His patriarchal underground cult operates mainly in Norveg and Teutonia. His clever worshippers can cast illusion spells to alter their appearance and gender. They can create knots and tangles that cannot be undone. Poisons and venoms cause them pain and sickness, but never death. They enjoy playing cruel, irreverent pranks. They tend to be cowardly and hedonistic and hate authority figures, especially the Church. Lokkemand’s symbol is the knotted snakes.

Symbol of the Cult
of Lokkemand

Cult of Crom Cruach

Crom Cruach is the Brythonian God of Abundance. He was first associated with Cymrian farmers but is now worshipped by many of the hunter/gatherer tribes in Brythony. The cult operates openly in Brythony but is banned in the Empire. Crom has both male and female leaders who operate mainly in Brythony. Most Brythonian Druids are followers of Crom Cruach who demand the sacrifice of prisoners and captives either by burning in a wicker structure or else by hanging and ritual stabbing. By keeping Crom Cruach happy, Druids maintain an abundant supply of game in their forests. Followers of Crom can cause fear, thunder, and track game. The symbol of Crom Cruach is a crosier (a staff with snake heads).

Symbol of the Cult
of Crom Cruach


Cult of Aja

Aja is the Nubian Goddess of Nature. She is her most powerful near trees, or when the wind is blowing. Her worship originated in rainforests of northern Ket, in Nubia, and was brought to the Empire by immigrating Nubian scouts. This cult operates openly and is open to both men and women. Aja is a fierce protector of animals and the natural environment and will act against humans who exploit them. Most of her followers are herbalists and vegetarians. A lucky few are ascended by a strong wind into Aja’s presence in the underworld and are met by her personally (she is a black woman only 2 feet tall) and taught herbal magic. Such ascendents often, but not always, return to the mortal world in 3-7 months. Followers of Aja, depending on their level of experience, can avoid the attacks of all wild animals, develop the keen senses of wild animals, heal serious human wounds and injuries using herbal magic (a step above basic herbalism), heal plants and animals, travel without leaving tracks or other spoor, become invisible when sheltering within tree boughs, and manipulate the wind. The most beloved of Aja can ride the wind, though the details of how this is done are unknown.

Symbol of the
Cult of Aja

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