Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scientia Potestas Est

[This relates to my previous "Apocalypse Under Ground" posts, so take a look.]

Wizardry is a curse on all mankind.

This is what the common folk say, and sages acknowledge the rise of arcane knowledge went hand in hand with the emergence of the underground--perhaps more than once in history. Wizards are aware of how they are viewed (and feared) and are unconcerned. When you’ve held the words that encapsulate the true forms of reality in your mind--when you’ve experienced true gnosis--you’re above petty concerns.

Practitioners of the arcane art have always existed. Mostly they’re solitary, exploring their art removed from the intrusion of the mundane world. The opening of the underground changed that. It's entrances glowed like an arcane beacon. Those who might have lived their whole lives without ever knowing they had the talent were transformed by what they encountered, reborn into a new world--if they survived their first delve.

The old wizards came out of seclusion to tutor these fledging sorcerers--and to use them them to grow their own power with secrets wrested from below. In time, the adventuring wizards came to surpass their masters, sometimes frighteningly so. These new grandmasters took apprentices of their own, for much the same reasons--though as wizards grow older and more steeped in the arcane, their thoughts and desires sometimes grow more alien, and their whims more capricious.

One question above all concerns the grandmasters, though they seldom speak of it, even in their rare conclaves of peers: Does the arcane have a life of it’s own? Does the symbolary that is Man’s closest approximation of the true description of the universe have its own agenda? If so, does it favor Man--or the Monsters?


Beedo said...

Something struck me that makes this set up absolutely awesome - you could use this to run a totally historical campaign that is forced to deal with the widespread reintroduction of monsters and magic.

I have a soft spot for using the real world, and this solves all sorts of problems around explaining deviations from regular history. You just everything as is... up until the reintroduction of monsters.

Trey said...

Very true! It could be dropped into history at any point--or it could follow some sort of crisis (like maybe at the outbreak of the Black Plague).

richard said...

I love it. At least half of all the thoughts I have about fantasy are to do with gates between worlds or irruptions of the fantastical into worlds where it doesn't belong, so this whole series is just my kind of thing.

Did you see this? BLDGBLOG reporting on the development of undergrounds in cities that previously lacked them...

Trey said...

Interesting! Thanks for the link.

Risus Monkey said...

I've gotta agree with Beedo. I've had notions of a historical setting in which a D&D magical underground suddenly emerges for some time. These magical apocalypse posts distill my somewhat incoherent thoughts nicely.