The Winds of Magic

Some digging around has convinced me that the wikipedia entry on this chunk of lore is reasonably accurate, at least in the context of the tabletop game. Whether any of this will be noticably different so far as in-game lore is concerned, that’s anyone’s guess. Here follows my blatant rip from wikipedia, complete with summaries and commentary. (If you want to skip the commentary and just read straight from the source, *link*

When the Gate the Old Ones used to travel to the Warhammer world collapsed, raw chaos flooded the warhammer world. The mighty Slann fought (and still do) to contain the raw power of chaos. The High Elves, the second creation of the Old Ones after the Lizardmen, created a vortex on Ulthuan that together with magical stones present on both the island of Ulthuan and Albion contain the chaos and prevents it from completely overrunning the world.

The Old Ones were (still are, perhaps) an ancient, star-faring race that came to the world of Warhammer and created all the races that run around today (or most of them…some of them were Chaos’s fault, like Chaos Dwarves). In a nutshell, their gate broke (the cause elludes me) and the High Elves (a.k.a us) patched the problem.

The first magic users (besides the enigmatic Old Ones) were the Slann, and after them the High Elves. The High Elves taught the realm of men how to practice the eight lores of magic after the Great War of Chaos, when the High Elf mage Teclis helped Magnus the Pious of the Empire to found the colleges of Magic in Altdorf. The High Elves themselves were taught magic by the Old Ones. The Dark Elves and Wood Elves, both descending from the High Elves, are also naturally adept at magic.

There are no Dwarf wizards as dwarfs have a natural disdain for “uncontrolled magic”, but the Runesmiths of the dwarfs harness magic into magic items through the use of runes.

Wizards in the Empire marry themselves each to one of the Eight Lores of Warhammer Magic, which are:

– Fire – The Wind of Aqshy: Purely destructive.
– Metal – The Wind of Chamon: Very useful in building and repairs, but also useful in combat.
– Shadow – The Wind of Ulgu: Deception and illusion spells.
– Beasts – The Wind of Ghur: Allows communique with animals and the caster can change into animals.
– Heavens – The Wind of Azyr: Control weather and the sky (summon meteors, lightning), and the ability to see into the future.
– Light – The Wind of Hysh: Classic holy power. Channel light as a weapon (potent against evil/undead/etc) or as an aid (healing).
– Life – The Wind of Ghyran: Allows control over plantlife and water. Also useful in healing.
– Death – The Wind of Shyish: Magic of time and the dead. Spells tend to be destructive and/or psychological. This is not necromancy; it is geared towards the certainty of death, where as necromancy (a different lore) is geared towards evading that certainty.

Each lore is tied to a wind, and a Wizard of the Empire (e.g. Bright Wizard) would pick one of the lores/winds and use it exclusively. More than one lore would be too much for the mind of a human: ultimately subverting them to a gibbering pawn of Chaos. One wind they can handle, though extended use of it has the effect of physical alterations/mutations. For instance, the Brightwizard’s hair ultimately becomes bright orange and/or yellow, and flows like fire when they cast.

High Magic, also known as True Magic or the Mystic Arts of Saphery, is the lore of the High Elves. High Elves study magic as pure mystical energy, unlike the wizards of the Empire. The runic name for High Magic is Qhaysh and it represents the eight winds acting as a gestalt whole, intertwined and working together without losing their unique properties, the obvious metaphor being that of a rainbow. Because of this it has great diversity at a cost of being far too complicated and intricate for the human mind to grasp. In game, the lore has many spells to be used against enemy wizards. High Elf mages together with the Slann of the Lizardmen know the Drain Magic spell which can be used to limit the effectiviness of enemy spellcasters.

So, we get to use any of the Winds because we weave them together, balancing them against one another, and smoothing them out so we get all of the benefits and none of the detriments. In the game, Bright Wizards and Sorceresses have to deal with a sort of “overload” as they cast. If they build up too much, they need to simmer down their casting or risk injuring themselves. We can cast continually and our “overload” can be exploited, since we have the best control of the Winds in the game.

Dwarves don’t have to worry about hurting themselves as they use runelore, which you could view like a very ancient stable version of Debian linux; archaic and not always pretty, but viable for many tasks and extremely stable and safe to use. Greenskin shamans don’t use Chaos energy for their magic at all. They use Waaagh! which is actually psychic energy generated by hordes of excited orcs and goblins: shaman are conduits for this power. Lastly, of course, are the casters of Chaos itself…and frankly, they are mutated already. But they don’t hurt themselves (or break their minds), because they are given spells by their dark gods. Thus they may use magic without the risk of bending the Winds directly.

So that settles it: everybody cheats but us. =) We are, lorewise, the ultimate playable race in casting.

Post at
High Elf entry on wikipedia
Lores of Magic on wikipedia

~ by thade on July 8, 2008.

4 Responses to “The Winds of Magic”

  1. Awesome info thanks!

  2. Last I read the wiki entry it stated that, in the TT at least, an Archmage could choose to either learn a Wind of Magic (i.e. Aqshy), or High Magic. And, in addition, they knew “Drain Magic”. So, “High Magic” isn’t so much “using any wind you want” as, “using them all”. An AM who studies High Magic isn’t likely to be throwing fireballs… though, by studying High Magic, he is choosing to study a mixture of the Winds in their purest forms to create the effect he desires while not necessarily being as potent as an effect which would require using only 1 wind of magic.

    To be honest, the whole TT concept of High Magic reminds me heavily of the magical system used in the Wheel of Time series (weaving different elements together to create the desired effect. i.e. Fire and Air for a lightning bolt. Wind, Water, and Spirit for Healing.)

    Disclaimer: I am commenting only on the TT version of HM, this has nothing to do about what is in game.

  3. Interesting; thanks for that clarification, man.

    I had thought of Jordan’s “One Power” as well as I read this. I really enjoy those books…I’m actually working my way through them again now (just started book 7).

    Perhaps that all of the archmages in the online game use High Magic, that might account for the fact that they are “balanced” with the other classes (i.e. the reason they are not gods in one-on-one combat). Or in the TT they are even when it’s High Magic they use. Or perhaps we’re over-powered in the game. …Maybe they’ll let that slide ;)

  4. I totally agree with that. Everybody cheats but us. :D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: