I got the very awesome Crimson Pandect from Sine Nomine has some really great new rules on variant magic users. Wanting to get them into my campaign world, I’ve come up with more details on the previously monolithic Mage’s Guild.
In the Empire of Old Valas, there are many houses of magic subsumed within the grand ‘Mage’s Guild’ that most magic users join (by choice or by force). These houses vary in size and importance, but they are all focused around a particular philosophical approach to magic. Some are chosen because they have a knack for one type of magic or the other, while others simply gravitate towards charismatic mentors. Others learn at the hands of wandering magicians too long to forge their own paths and their road is chosen for them. Regardless, they all hold power and prestige and are, tacitly, considered equal within guild law, even if this is not often the true story.
By far the largest school is often called the ‘Grey House’. It is said this name stems from the early days after the Sundering, when it was decided that if magicians were to survive the religious pogroms and manipulative politicians, they would have to be ‘grey’ in form and function. That is, neither too Light (which might anger the clergy for their presumptuousness while failing to provide the services that jaded and pragmatic nobles would demand) nor too Dark (which would lead their potential destruction at the hands of an angry civilization). Another story about their name comes from the colors that mages are meant to wear. Since apprentices wear white and masters wear black, all other magic would be differing shades of grey. Whatever the case, they now account for nearly half of all practicing magicians.
Grey Mages call their magic the High Path, or High Magic. They justify this by the fact that there are few limitations to what their spells can (eventually) achieve. Though individual Grey Mages might choose to branch out into Elementalism, Enchantment, Transmutation or even Necromancy, they never surrender their ability to perform the rest. This diversity makes them some of the most capable of all mages. Further, due to the large number of practicing Grey Mages, their libraries outstrip any of the other Houses. Mentors can easily afford to freely teach a student a new spell each time they have achieved a new level of mastery.
However, as the other Houses often point out, dilettantism has its own price. By refusing to commit to a focused path of magic, Grey Mages have less raw power at their disposal. Grey Mages have a (slightly) smaller number of spells both per day and in their repertoire than a focused magician has access to. In addition, each focused house develops arcane abilities that are beyond the scope of simple spells, innate magic that Grey Mages never learn.
Rules: Grey Mages are the standard Mage class from ACKS.