Wizards in AthasEdit
On Athas, the energy for wizardly magic doesn’t come from some extradimensional source as it does on other worlds, but from the living environment itself. It provides great power to those who can gather and shape it, though the cost to Athas can be beyond measure.
Athasian wizards drain energy from the surrounding soil. The method used labels the wizard as a defiler or a preserver. Preservers have the self–control to gather energy without destroying plants. Those who do not, or who feel no remorse about the damage caused, become Defilers. Defilers leave behind sterile soil and infertile ash when they cast spells. Because of this, most wastelanders blame wizards for the desert landscape that dominates the Tablelands today, and their hatred extends to defilers and preservers alike. In the seven cities, arcane magic is outlawed and feared.
Writing is also illegal in the Tablelands, thus wizards have to go to great lengths to conceal their spellbooks, and they have refined this art to the point where even fellow wizards can be hard pressed to identify a spell book. When found, they are precious resources, hoarded and studied by wizards thirsty for knowledge or power.
The kinds of activities that appeal to wizards depend largely on their alignment and energy gathering method. Good wizards spend their time trying to restore the devastation of Athas and fighting against the forces of the sorcerer‐kings, while evil preservers of defilers are interested in helping themselves. When not adventuring, Athasian wizards spend the majority of their time in study and in hiding. Much like wizards from other settings, they must constantly research new spells and study ancient arcane texts so thoroughly that they have little time to devote to other endeavors.
Wizardly magic on Athas isn’t as codified and formal as it is in other campaign settings. For example, there are no academies or colleges for teaching the wizardly arts. Instead, a wizard‐in‐training must find a teacher, which isn’t very easy in a world where wizards must hide their profession in order to survive. For protection from nearly universal hatred, the good wizards of Athas and their allies have formed secret societies, collectively known as the Veiled Alliance. However, each city‐state holds a different Alliance, they do not cooperate, and they share no leaders. Members of one Alliance do not automatically become members of another. At best, the different groups respect each other, and may offer courtesy assistance to a foreign member who arrives in town. Defilers don’t usually organize together, but they often join organizations, especially Merchant Houses and raiding tribes.
Arcane magic in Athas is viewed as more dangerous and destructive than helpful, so general NPC attitudes towards someone suspected to be a wizard range from indifferent to unfriendly. If a NPC actually witness a wizard drawing magical energy or casting a spell, the resultant fear and hatred shifts the NPC’s attitude toward hostile. Arcane magic is banned in almost all city‐states, though Tyr has unbanned it after after Kalak was killed.
Wizards are created as normal using the rules found in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook with the following exceptions:
Class Skills: Bluff, Disguise, and Literacy are all class skills for Athasian wizards.
Defiling: Wizards should familiarize themselves with the defiling rules detailed here.
Spells: A number of new spells and replacement spells are available to wizards, which can be found here.
Familiars: Athasian wizards may select any familiar from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook with the exception of the toad and the weasel, as these animals do not exist on Athas. In addition, wizards may also select a familiar from the table below.
|Dustgull||Master gains a +3 bonus to Perception rolls|
|Kes'trekel||Master gains a +2 bonus on Reflex saves|
|Skyfish||Master gains a +3 bonus on Fly rolls|
|Sygra||Master gains +3 hit points|