Inspired by the following posts: Cosmic Orrery for the original idea, Spiceomancy for the format, and Nothic’s Eye for another example.
This was supposed to be a short post, but I love worldbuilding and especially talking about wizards. What a bunch of little creeps and freaks they are.
Culcaon the Bald (or the Young), Master of Seven Schools
I’ve actually mentioned Culcaon on this blog before. Honestly, he could fill out ten full entries on this list, but for the sake of variety, I’ll only list some of his various schemes. The first to really attract any attention was his infiltration and takeover of the Metallodrake Order, which was dedicated to making metallic dragon servants for human use. As explained in the blog post, he managed to finish a work that had been stagnant for a century, and bred the first copper dragons. The scheme fell apart when the copper dragons proved more loyal to their kings.
Domain – The Metallodrake Order had a tower/library complex in the city of Ehk Alloo in the Copper Islands, which shortly came under Culcaon’s control. The kingdom was one of the few that flipped when he fired his betrayal plot, along with a few others that shortly burned down without anyone to rule after the dragons toasted the current rulers.
Army – Approximately two dozen copper dragons, who had to face nearly a hundred that remained loyal to their kings. The copper dragons that served Culcaon mostly died, but a few hung around and helped out with his other plots. Two are rumored to still be alive, and to have learned magic and accumulated massive hoards in hiding.
Castle – The Drassane, aka the Dragon Hole. A literal giant depression in the ground that was covered with earth and used to mine copper and raise the dragons. Today it’s a confusing network of mines and collapsed tunnels, primarily filled with droggins and whatever other rejects slumped in there.
Monsters – Copper Dragons, and more generally all metallic dragons. Droggins as well.
Spells – Copper Body, Shape Copper, Dragon Beacon (points to nearest dragon, but every dragon within a hundred miles can sense it), Dragon Bind (forces dragon to land)
Ennarant, Mind-Ruler, Lord of the Tower, Soul Holder, the Beautiful
An enchanter that stretched the school to its greatest and least ethical heights. A true terror in that his rule was mostly invisible to all but those closest to the kings and nobles he mind-controlled. He was the first wizard on this list that had to be taken out by the Orthodox schools, at that time still centered in Glassen Shore. The kings just couldn’t do anything on their own. While the Orthodox schools claimed that they were always eight in number, the secret history of the world has enchantment joining them as the seventh after Ennarant’s apprentices betrayed their cruel teacher.
Domain – the entire continent of Eurus fell under his sway, with ties and networks as far as Xul. He held no land legally, but the garden city of Tonneria was basically his personal playground.
Army – The Lead Mask Order. An army of dire animal bodies, controlled through a leaden apparatus over their head that lets the commanders send orders while other wizards and enchanters are kept out. The commanders are never seen in the field, and are the center of many conspiracies of varying believability.
Castle – He had a massive palace-villa in the center of Tonneria, attended by mindslaves and completely unwalled. Unwelcome visitors (most of them) were kept out by a line of bricks lain into the ground which demarcated the boundaries of an intensely powerful repulsion spell. The spell was variably incredibly uncomfortable (purging from both ends) for accidental trespassers, and would actually implode the heads of anyone who meant him harm. Converted into a city within a city after his fall, complete with apartments, gardens, grocers, and baths – crossing the line remains mildly unpleasant and is rumored to cause strokes if crossed while in a bad mood. During his downfall, the villa was denuded of most of the royal artifacts that he liked to appropriate for humiliation and gloating purposes, though not all are accounted for.
Monsters – Cranium Rat, Assassin Jelly, Brain Eater Heron, Blank Man, Brain Eater Mole
Spells – Dominate Person, Mind Jar (as Magic Jar), Caper
Morilund, Crow Queen, Sable Queen, Dark Tyrant
A black mage employed as the advisor to Gomde the Great. In the waning days of his 92 year reign, his increasing senility caused the court to devolve into intrigues between the various nobles and chancellors. Morilund ended the period of low-intensity conflict by liquidizing her rivals and seizing the throne on the behalf of Gomde’s great grandson. In truth, her competitors barely ever stood a chance, but she was not known for her tact. She attempted to bring all the black mages of every kingdom into her coven (a faction known as the Crows), and nearly succeeded before being brought down by an anarchist black mage named Reathil with the help of a faction of likeminded, individualist black mages called the Ravens and a few still-solid political opponents. The fallout of this conflict is the reason why black mages only form small covens, if they bother at all. The most modern entry on this list – she died just over 100 years ago.
Domain – Towards the end of her reign, for the services rendered to her puppet king, she was made Duchess of Aletra, and quickly instilled in them the loyalty and adulation which tended to follow her. Guilds, small landholders, and many peasants still adore her. The title now typically resides in the royal demesne, since it has been a hot bed of rebellion ever since.
Army – The mercenary-army of the kingdom of Gitra was at her disposal, and was incredibly and anomalously loyal during her reign. Some of them still idolize her, and these units are typically employed on the frontiers where they can’t raise any trouble – but also get the most combat experience. The Crow Coven was the organization of her black mage followers, which has probably half a dozen child organizations, each claiming to be the “true” successor to her legacy, none with more than a dozen members.
Castle – Aletra Hold, a crooked blackstone castle wrenched from the earth in the course of a day and night. Most of it is solid stone, with fewer and narrower rooms and halls than one would expect when viewing it from the outside. The halls are all unmarked, and the doors likewise appear as solid stone – the castle’s innate intelligence decides when to open doors, and for whom.
Monsters – Hellcrow (those fucking things from Elden Ring), Crushing Slab (black stone slabs that turn end over end, crushing anything in their path), Blackstone Sprites (kind of look like the little dudes from Spirited Away, but the coal is part of their body. Used as servants)
Spells – Crow Swarm Form, Slashing Cone
Rokon the Student, The Bloodmage, Scarlet Rokon
Almost all the earliest wizards were diabolists – the school of wizardry taught by the devils, in this case the Prince Melsh. In fact, many lay people incorrectly believe this to be the origin of all magic. Diabolists were in theory very powerful, but dependent on what knowledge they could gain from their benefactors. Rokon is the oldest of all these wizards, so old that their gender, other personal details, and true final fate has gone unrecorded. We do know that they were a promising and ambitious student that found a way to enhance their practice independently using blood sacrifice. At first, this just made their own spells more powerful, but eventually they started making their own. Their crowning achievement was the invention of bloodworks, a form of magic that is much quicker and easier to learn than diablerie, although more limited in scope and requiring blood sacrifice. They were somehow betrayed by their own students, at the behest of Melsh’s angels, though the historical record fails to elaborate.
Domain – the island of Vith, even now a popular stop for corsairs and slavers. This is the only place on the ring where bloodworks is explicitly legal. The white marble docks and buildings have long been replaced by rotting wooden hovels following multiple repeated crusades to purge the isle, none of which took permanently. An entire layer of the island is made of the bones of sacrificed slaves, with secret tunnels running through them.
Army – None that has persisted to the modern day. The Selectmen of Vith in theory continue their political legacy, but their control of the island is loose at best, and nonexistent once you get close to the water. The various undesirables on the island would all run at the first whiff of crusade.
Castle – Rokon’s Lair is in the mouth of the Vith’s volcano. Yeah, seriously. The only way to reach it is via their lava boys, a race of strong salamander-toad like humanoid things that can swallow you to bring you to the Grand Hall. The complex is a haunt of devils, ghosts of the sacrificed, and insane (like, the entire room turns upside down) lava-themed traps.
Monsters – Lava boys, blood golem, Slave Mimic (looks like a sacrificial victim you just saved, is most CERTAINLY NOT), Slave Catcher (giant headless humanoid with a huge mouth on its body, swallows slaves whole to deliver them)
Spells – Exsanguinate, Agonize, Blood Heal, Double Murder, Blood Boil, Hotblood Shield, and the entire skill of Bloodworking, which does many similar things without having to learn magic.
Mingol, First-Learned, Crystal King, Glassen King, Devil Slayer, the Silver Mage
Diabolist, Evoker, Abjurer, Generalist, and the first to organize the orthodox schools that now form the mainstream of wizardry. These were Evocation, Conjuration, Illusion, Divination, Abjuration, and Transmutation. Officially, Animation and Enchantment were there from the beginning, but were actually incorporated later. As many wizards of his time, he was a diabolist, but some poorly understood event caused him to turn from diabolism and develop the burgeoning schools of human magic (he copied a lot of stuff from elves, though) and shear them from their diabolist influence. In this, he was largely successful, and his university of Glassen Shore was the blueprint for all magical universities to the modern day. This dude is basically the father of orthodox magic, including the notion that some forms of magic can be orthodox. He is also the reason why wizards use crystals so much – his treatises on using crystals for magical items are still read to this day. He was is also responsible for the ‘scholarly’ character of orthodox wizards, taking his model of the university from schools of philosophy, law, and science. His treatises on the nature and practice of magic are likewise still studied. Unlike basically anyone else on this list, he was never overthrown, and died of a stroke at the age of 213.
Domain – The Glassen Isle, formerly Ganh Hon, covered entirely in plains of smooth glass or crystal, or dunes of small smooth grains of glass. The university was wrought out of the same pure crystal, though it now lays mostly destroyed.
Army – the Silver Mages, an ongoing fraternity of wizards dedicated to combatting the influence of devils and diablerie in the orthodox schools. Think wizard police, lately transformed into a fancy social club. Diablerie is an easy way to enhance any kind of spellcasting, so they are mostly ineffective, and even members of their order partake.
Castle – The Green Spire, made of mildly radioactive and unbreakable green glass. The singular door only opens to Mingol himself, so you have to teleport in – possible but difficult. The Spire is over a kilometer tall, but only about as wide as a townhouse. Different levels are dedicated to holding elementals, summoned experiments, imprisoned devils, and self-sustaining menageries of varyingly deadly wildlife.
Monsters – Silver Elemental, Prismatic Elemental, Fire Elemental, Sonic Monitor (pure pulsing sonic energy, invisible and intangible), Ool, Thunderbird (condor sized bird that can shoot lightning bolts), Hyalines
Spells – Meteor Swarm, Sonic Lance, Prismatic Wall/Spray, Turn Devils, White Hand, Argent Armor, Silverized Blade, Anti-Devil Circle
Half-Elf Animator, who later founded his own school based on remnant elf magic. The elf-mages claim that their practice comes from their elvish blood, a dubious claim since most half-elves have their last elvish ancestor more than thirty generations back and are basically pointy-eared humans. Still, his school focuses on very naturalistic magic, with less reliance on panoply items and more focus on enhancements to the practitioner’s martial and sensory abilities. This doesn’t really seem like the kind of magic the real elves practiced, but of course they claim otherwise. In any case, the Elf-Mages are all deadly swordsmen and combatants. He is heir and luminary of the weird ethnonationalist tendencies of the half elf state called the Sky Empire, and rose high in the ranks of their civil service. He eventually installed one of his own children on the imperial throne – a sorcerer bred in pursuit of the natural ‘elven’ magic. This heir then killed Turedhel, to rule in her own right. The dynasty ruled for a few decades before their instability and insanity led to their overthrow.
Domain – The entire Sky Empire at one point, mostly consisting of the normal scale mountains, hills, and valleys beneath the Bishop Ring’s soaring, anoxic boundary mountains. The empire’s territory expanded considerably under his rule.
Army – In the modern age, his Elf-Mages are automatically drafted into the civil service of the Empire upon graduation, but naturally many of them idolize Turedhel’s memory. Ideologically, his works are carried on by the True Blood Order, an ultranationalist extremist organization whose members can be recognized by their blood red clothes in their various lairs and during their pogroms, or by their fascist rhetoric and acts of violence in all other situations. Many Elf-Mages, generals, soldiers, and landowners are patrons and members of the organization.
Castle – Helcoron, a bond-villain-esque lair located under a glacier on one of the Boundary Mountains, built over an older elven ruin. The top levels are guarded by True Bloods who have somehow shamed themselves – the assignment is regarded as a punishment. The lower levels are the typical denizens of the underworld, plus some elvish constructs and byblows, plus the last living heirs of the Turedhel’s sorcerer dynasty – they aren’t on speaking terms with the Order.
Monster – Nullari, the bluish-black-haired line of sorcerers mentioned.
Spells – True Strike, Cat’s Grace, Haste
Culcaon the Grandmaster, Mage King, Sea Ruler, Bridge Raiser, Master of Twelve Schools
This was the big one. A couple decades after the dragon plot, Culcaon managed to get a tenure position at the university of Agliriane. However, this was not near enough for his ambitions, and he shortly converted the university into a war college to train an army of mages. He also managed to imprison and later enslave a lich-king from the days of the elves, overwhelming the pocket of lich-domain near Agliriane. Because of Agliriane’s awkward location on the isthmus connecting the two continents, Culcaon devised ‘bridges’ to carry his armies quickly to beach heads on the unguarded coasts of each continent. These aren’t the usual bridges, just a series of magically imbued 4 story tall stone rings forming a line along the trajectory – it accelerates the travelers along the line, shortening a month of sailing to a minute. In later years a few kings actually did fill in the space between adjacent rings to form docks, though. They are still intact, but very few people know how to activate them. This one fell apart because Culcaon was not a very good manager of people, and his armies soon fell into bickering and infighting until he completely lost control. He disappeared in the ensuing Wizard Wars, though this was not his last scheme.
Domain – The Isthmus of Agliriane, most of the islands between Xul and Eurus, and large portions of the coast on either of those continents.
Army – The War College of Yulus is a direct descendant of one of Culcaon’s generals from this time, and trains the deadliest war wizards in the world. Agliriane is still a huge university with massive reach as a result of his tenure as Headmaster, although ‘martial studies’ are banned for historical reasons. By the end of his conquests, his army was a true circus of strange, deadly, and bizarre combatants, all of which started killing other in the Wizard Wars.
Castle – The Infinite Main of Agliriane is where the poorer students room, the more desperate researchers experiment, and the larger classes of the university are hosted. It is, by all measurements, infinite from the inside, and includes the accreted bullshit from Culcaon’s time and everything that came since. It also appears to have entrances and exits all over the world (including many mirrors), which means there is also a bunch of inexplicable shit in there. It may have been employed by Culcaon as a travel method. Some of the rooms shift and a dozen freshmen, a handful of upper classmen, a couple of adjuncts, and occasionally a professor are lost annually. Culcaon also claimed the tower of the lich he enslaved (the lich is probably still inside it), but details on it are hard to find. We know it sends down flame strikes on anyone approaching it, and is completely invisible.
Monsters – Flameskull, Skull Servitor, Eye of Fear and Flame, Basilisk Statue, Cadaver Collector, Leucrotta, The First Chimera, Vargouilles, Choker, Gnoll, Dhergoloth
Spells – Flesh to Stone, Incendiary Cloud, Acid Wave, Disintegrate, Rot Iron, Orb of Horrors, Lightning Ring, Mage Armor, Dimension Door
Inguress the Supreme, the Suprema, Conqueror of All, the War Necromancer
A necromancer, and the only true conqueror and ruler on this list, in terms of disposition and capability. She rose high in the courts of kings, and used her position to pit the kings against each other. The dead bodies generated were added to her army, and the weakened kingdoms became easy prey. By the time the various polities realized her aims and banded together to stop her, she commanded a vast army of undead. She proceeded to deliver a series of crushing defeats to the unified coalition facing her, with many enemy generals joining her ranks. Her regime’s reputation for military excellence still persists into the modern day, with some of the living armies continuing to be idolized and many treatises and campaigns of the time forming the core curriculum of military studies. Inguress was known for her hedonism, cruelty, public bouts of melancholy, and orgiastic rituals that persist in Necromantic practice today. Virtually all stereotypes of necromancers have their origins in the personality of Inguress. She’s also the reason why the school is illegal basically everywhere.
Domain – All of the Ajulian subcontinent, large portions of coastal Eurus and Xul, the Isthmus of Agliriane, various allied polities further inland.
Army – More than I can list here, but the core of her forces was the blandly named Central Group, composed of several dozen armies of various undead, chiefly skeleton legionnaires. While most of its divisions were destroyed, Inguress undertook to bury several in large vaults under cities, forts, and prominent natural features until such a time as they are needed. Not all of these garrisons were uncovered and destroyed, and are still theoretically controllable with the proper methods.
Castle – Several, but Mount Solace overlooking the burnt bones of the city of Levea, was her home and palace. All the wonders of creation flowed into its storerooms and halls. The beautiful multi-colored marble of the surface structures was defaced, destroyed, or looted in the sack of Levea, but the fully lit extensive tunnel-garden network was never completely mapped.
Monsters – Sun Wisp (solar themed will o’wisp), Flesh-Scouring Locusts, Skeleton Legionnaires, Bloody Ones, Soulless, Death Knight, Cold Lover (succubus but dead), War Banshee, Bone Valkyr, Death Golem, Melting Sprites (needlessly intelligent suicide bombing undead), Vellum Strangler (human sized undead sheet of calfskin, slides under doors and assassinate people)
Spells – Turn Living, Energy Drain, Phantom Steed, Death Scythe, Skeletonize (she preferred skeletons since they made less mess), Corpse Explosion
Glannen the White (or the Short, or the Merfriend, or the Waif)
Necromancer, Biomancer, Transmuter, and the Wellington to Inguress’s Napoleon. They are largely responsible for the overthrew of Inguress, along with the remaining unconquered kingddms, partisans within her own territory, and several of her own generals. It is also an open secret that Glannen was the creator of the school of Animation, synthesizing Biomancy, Necromancy, and Transmutation and joining the orthodox schools. They also developed the skill of Turning Undead, which can be learned by anyone, as well as similar spells for dedicated use by wizards. The Golem*, first developed by Inguress, was further advanced upon by Inguress and their students as an alternative study for Animators. Their later life was dedicated to the suppression of the former two schools and folding of their purview into the university system. Glannen was considered a great friend of many kings and states, but their own holdings were ruled with an iron fist, and their hunt for outlaw wizards, undead, crossbreeds, and mutants frequently overstepped diplomatic boundaries, common morality, and good taste. Glannen entered forced retirement with the Merfolk, with which they had established diplomatic contact on the behalf of a confederation of surface-dwellers.
Domain – Officially, this was only the Redwater Isle, so named for it’s clay deposits. In Glannen’s time it was a massive port and center for crafting ceramics and golems. Now, it is mostly a backwater though still host to a chapter of the Suprazoetic Order.
Army – The Suprazoetic Order is dedicated to the “craft, energization, and inculcation of non-organic zoetic beings.” Basically, they make golems. Their practice was the best in the world hundreds of years ago, but is now generally surpassed by the work of universities. Glannen also managed the Balc Templars, whose three chapters are dedicated to hunting down Biomancers (and their creations), Necromancers (and undead), and other miscellaneous abominations and ‘enemies’, chiefly mutants. The last of these has inspired no shortage of incredibly violent paramilitary groups with the same goal, who have since largely eclipsed them. Animators are also big fans of Glannen, and are a big part of the reason why everyone knows Glannen invented Animation – they won’t stop bragging about it.
Castle – Redwater Theatre floats forlornly above the isle, tilted to one side and only connected to land by a rope bridge. It used to host the local chapter of the SZO, but concurrent infestations of sky-grubs and jumping spiders followed by a mistake in the central golem programming field caused them to abandon the island, along with much of their research and most effective creations.
Monsters – Mostly, they made new forms for golems and found new power sources. Before Inguress, constructs were either powered externally (from the sun, stars or the local natural environment, sharply limiting when and where they can be used) or basically elementals shoved into solid bodies. Inguress’s golem drew its basal intelligence from dead spirits and its power ambiently from any living beings nearby, giving it much greater autonomy, and scorching the earth behind it when moving as an army. Glannen standardized golem intelligence using inscryptions on or inside their body, and in short order invented the grain-powered, ethanol-powered, and fire-powered golem, all of which remain in use today. Glannen is also specifically responsible for the Glannen Golem, a horrifying war form with 4 legs and 4 arms, thankfully never replicated. They also created Living Fins, which latch onto a human’s legs and allow them to swim as Merfolk.
Spells – Disrupt Undead, Detect Undead, Scour Mutant, Saltwater Form, Water Breathing, Negate Transformation, Anti-Undead Shell
Cuinile, Starfriend, Beast Butcher, Astradonna, Void Strider
The creator of Stellamancy, synthesized from Biomancy and the now mostly subsumed school of Astromancy. Founder of the starbeast fleshmines that would eventually become Starhome, the greatest city in the world. The practitioners of Stellamancy are exactly as weird as you might imagine, combining the divining and evoking aspects of the older Astromancy with the insane body modification of Biomancy, all simmering in the malign influence of dead and decaying star-horror viscera. Cuinile embodied this mix, and was reportedly barely humanoid by the end of her (their? its?) life. The nearby Clan Mother Coalition was formed by the associated tribes to fend off the abominations that arose from the fleshmines. Cuinile was a desultory conqueror and that alliance successfully beat her back and weathered the decades of low intensity conflict, growing into an incredibly large polity that persists to the present. Cuinile herself was more concerned with the transformative, exultant effects of starflesh, creating human hybrids by introducing their tissue to the carrion turned up in her mines, or even fashioning entirely new creations in their image or using the flesh. She soon took to traveling the local planets with a variety of methods, starting first with her large castle converted to spacecraft, and later modifying her body to survive space. What she did in these sojourns is, of course, a mystery, but from the latest she has yet to return, marking around five hundred years of absence. Virtually no one believes she is dead.
Domain – Starhome, and all of the Star Beast gravelands surrounding it. Star beasts have been dying in various spots in the area for uncounted millennia, so some of the geological strata of the area are literally solid layers of star carrion. She would presumably be very surprised to notice that on the land less often chosen as a gravesite, the largest city on the ring has emerged.
Army – In Cuinile’s day, the army was composed of an unorganized mass of apprentices, hybrids, abominations, and other agents. Some of these may very well still be alive. The School of Stellamancy is obviously her intellectual progeny, but the current Council would probably not enjoy Cuinile’s return. They are major players in city politics, and a faction within it is making attempts to join with the local wizarding university, becoming the 9th orthodox wizarding school – all things Cuinile would probably hate.
Castle – The Twin Pyramids, a pair of pyramids mirrored at their base, one above ground, another below it. The pyramid is so shallow that it basically looks like a large hill from a distance, covered as it is by topsoil, vegetation and an entire neighborhood of the city of Starhome. The top is in theory capable of taking off and entering space, though the interior remains unexplored – filled with star spawn. The bottom served as a dock and access to the deeper levels of starflesh strata, including the Extinction layer, a near solid plate of the stuff undergirding the entirety footprint of Starhome, the hinterlands, and beyond. No one knows how wide the Extinction layer is. Here, the various parasites that attend the Star Beasts on their death spiral hold sway.
Monsters – More than can be listed, most of which are entirely unique. Some ‘species’ include xvarts, Telluric Minds (iron brains floating over and controlling vastly different bodies), Annihilation Angels (moving sphere of annihilation), Astral Dreadnought, Star Child (she was the first to force one to land)
Spells – Reverse Gravity, Cone of Void, Implosion, Black Tentacles, Annihilation Gaze
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