Arcane Traditions: Wizards of High Sorcery

Image result for tower of high sorcery

During the Age of Despair, wizards are either ‘renegade mages’ or are members of one of the Orders of High Sorcery: the White, Red or Black Robes. At 2nd level, when a wizard character chooses an arcane tradition, they do so as normal, keeping these specializations in mind:

  • White Robes: abjuration, divination and enchantment
  • Red Robes: conjuration, illusion and transmutation
  • Black Robes: enchantment,  evocation and necromancy

As normal, wizards learn new spells when they reach 2nd and 3rd level. At 3rd level, they become eligible to take the Test of High Sorcery. Until they complete the Test, they will not learn new spells when they level, and will only be able to learn spells they find in other ways – as treasure, scrolls, etc.

White Robes and Black Robes share an interest in enchantment, for different reasons. White Robes focus on the use of enchantment magic to resolve conflicts without bloodshed. Black Robes enjoy the power of taking away another’s will.

Test of High Sorcery

At 3rd level, a wizard can take the Test of High Sorcery. If they survive, they become a member of one of three Orders: the White Robes, Red Robes, or Black Robes. When they gain a new level as a Wizard of High Sorcery, they can learn two spells from any of their three associated schools.

Order of High Sorcery

At 6th level, the wizard chooses a new Arcane Tradition option from any of the Arcane Tradition options associated with their Order.

Bound to the Moon

At 10th level, a Wizard of High Sorcery becomes bound to one of the three moons of Krynn. Each of the Orders of High Sorcery is bound to one of the three moons of Krynn; the White Robes to Lunitari, the Red Robes to Solinari, and the Black Robes to Nuitari, which only they can see. When the moon is in high sanction, your spells are empowered, and when it is in low sanction, your spells are impeded. Nuitari swiftly waxes and wanes; Lunitari’s cycle is much longer, and Solinari’s lies somewhere between the two. The advantage is that a Wizard of High Sorcery can plan for this cycle.

When a wizard’s moon is in high sanction, they receive a +1 to spell save DCs and spell attack rolls. When it is in low sanction, they take a -1 penalty to both.

Master of High Sorcery

At 14th level, a Wizard of High Sorcery is known as a Master, and is eligible to serve on the Conclave on behalf of his Order. The wizard can either choose a 14th level benefit from a school associated with their Order, or choose a 10th level benefit from any school of magic learned from one of her colleagues.

More Arcane Casters

Bards in Krynn

Bards in Krynn are likely to be devotees of Branchala, or possibly Gilean (lore) or Shinare (travel and trade). Maybe Sargonnas? The ability of bards to cast healing spells would make them sought-after miracle-workers during the Age of Despair in particular, and as they grow in power they would surely garner the attention of the Wizards of High Sorcery. It might even be necessary for a powerful bard to pass the Test of High Sorcery in order to avoid being labeled “renegade mages.” That would be an interesting way of handling the Wizards of High Sorcery, since they came about when the setting only had one arcane spellcaster, the magic-user. The become a kind of Mafia charging protection, or a questionable Union that everyone has to join or else face consequences.

Sorcerers in Krynn

The term “sorcerer” comes to mean something else in the Age of Mortals, but I prefer the Age of Despair for DnD and so am only really addressing that time period. Sorcerers would be the very definition of “renegade mages”, able to replicate many wizard abilities but without the training and discipline required of a wizard. Wild magic sorcers could be Chaos-touched, and dragon-blooded sorcerers would presumably be common among draconians. Since all dragons on Krynn can shapeshift to humanoid forms, there could theoretically be a lot of dragon-blooded mortals out there in the world.

Warlocks in Krynn

5th Edition adds another core class of arcane spellcasters into the mix, and they are not a great fit with Krynn, in the Age of Despair or later settings. Pre-Catyclism, maybe. But fiends and fey, and certainly Old Ones, do not play a big part in the story of Krynn. Of course, they could.

The Forestmaster is a possible fey or celestial patron, for example, and any number of fiends might be in the world serving Takhisis. The god Chaos could take the place of the Old Ones, since that chaos has a sinister overtone and is presented as being in contention with the High God of the setting.

Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters

Neither of these archetypes, nor similar ones, are likely to be a bit deal during any age of Krynn. They don’t become so powerful as to come to the notice of the Wizards of High Sorcery necessarily, and will both be so extraordinary as to be singular (like Gilthanas Kanan or possibly Ariakas).

Keep Casters Extraordinary

In any age of Krynn, it is not a setting replete with magical items and spellcasters. The vast majority of people on Krynn have little or no experience of magic, and many mistrust it, especially in the aftermath of the Cataclysm. A PC wizard will often be the first wizard many people have seen. Same for a PC bard or sorcerer, certainly for a PC warlock. It’s actually easier if you treat these casters as extraordinary in the setting, because there is less explaining to do. Why aren’t bards tested at a Tower of High Sorcery? Because no one has heard these magical songs before. What even are they? And so on.

What have you done in your Dragonlance games to accommodate the variety of casters in DnD 5E?

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