Age of Dragons: Scholar-Sage
An Academic Point
The Scholar-Sage Words-Remembered was fascinated by the insect that had alighted on the tip of his fore-talon, and as was his affectation, he began talking - almost to himself - about whatever piece of academia had fluttered into his mind just as the butterfly had fluttered onto his outstretched claw.
"...it is a butterfly, of the order Lepidotera, though specifically it is Hesperia argentia, or silver moth, as we can see from the silvering on his pectinate antennae. It is easily mistaken for the grey iron moth, though we can see from its horn-shaped genitalia that it is indeed argentia and-"
The Scholar-Sage didn't get any further, as the Argent Warmaster stood in front of him impatiently interrupted him.
"Yes, yes, I'm sure the sexual organs of insects are most fascinating, but I believe I summoned you here about more pressing matters, vis a vis arcane solutions to our current situation..."
This situation, to which the warmaster was referring, was that a vast orcish army was marching into the Argent domains. Words-Remembered had been provided as an "incisive mind" and a "solver of problems", but the Argent was beginning to have his doubts.
An entire barony had crumbled under the surprise appearance of the orcish legion, that had seemingly managed to march across a vast expanse of Kalarni desert undetected, and was now pillaging the domain at the edge of the Arrantian City-States. The invasionary force formed a beach-head, and that beach-head could have a profound impact on the greater war.
"It is an academic point I admit," continued Words-Remembered, "but an important one at that."
"I fail to see..." started the warmaster, but it was the scholars turn to interrupt.
"Indeed, you fail to see. Which is why you need my help. You imagine that I can summon some arcane force to decimate the enemy army... and indeed I could."
"Then do so."
"But what then would you do about the remaining nine-tenths of the invasionary force? No... I can help you far more with thought than with magic. Consider this... the silver moth is not usually found in this area. Its normal ecological pattern is to boom in population every three centuries or so some seventeen leagues north of here, then for populations to follow the tricentennial storm front as it sweeps along the edge of the Kestrel Hills. If they are here at this time, then the storm front has been changed, and I can only surmise that the weather has been magically manipulated somewhere in the region to the north here..."
The war-master was listening silently now, so the scholar continued.
"If we look at the map of this region, we can see that overt attempts to create rainclouds over the Kalarni desert to the north-east would have been noticed from a great distance, especially from the Citadel of the Mother's Sword. So we must presume that instead additional rain must have been created here, along the so-called 'scorpion path'. Water here would have eliminated the titular scorpions, who are of course not animals but guardian demons of an earlier age. Thus, a route not usually available..."
"..is where we will find the orcish supply line," finished the warmaster, smiling.
Words-remembered smiled and nodded. Attention to detail, a little knowledge and observing a butterfly could change the course of a war. Sometimes, the academic point was the important one.
The Scholar-Sage Lifepath
Knowledge is power. In the case of draconic scholar-sages, this is often literally true as study leads to the mastery of powerful sorceries. It is unsurprising that many outside this Lifepath regard this as the Scholar-Sage's true calling: to master magic.
However, a true Scholar-Sage knows that the mastery of magics is a mere side effect of diverse learning and represents only a fraction of useful knowledge. A draconic mind is capable of incredible feats of applied thought, deep philosophy and academic mastery. While a mortal has only mere decades to study, the dragon has centuries, and is has the advantage of far greater intelligence as well.
To the Scholar-Sage, to waste this gift of superior sophia is an insult to to their own potential and a rude denial to the world of the gifts of thought that might be formed through a millennium of study.
Field of Expertise
With age and experience, the Scholar-Sage gains an encyclopaedic knowledge of his chosen areas of expertise. This depth of knowledge will be far beyond what a mortal can ever achieve, and will likely rival even the sum knowledge of entire libraries and universities.
When this Skill is taken select a single field of knowledge that the skill represents. You can take this Edge more than once to reflect different fields of Knowledge, but each Edge represents that field only.
Note that what consists a field of knowledge is up for negotiation between GM and player, but it should generally be something that relates purely to known information rather than practical applications, and should be quite limited in scope. Suitable examples for a field of expertise might include the following:
Draconic History, Metallurgy, Elvish literature, Brewery, Insect Zoology, Forest Ecology, Alchemic Science, Herbalism, Political geography, Coastal Culture, Orc Culture, Pure mathematics, Statistics, Aerodynamics, Stone construction.
Note that the field should never be an expertise in practical, artistic or non-mental activities (such as blacksmithy, crafting, surgery, martial arts or aerobatics) and should never involve the casting of magic or magical effects. Also, anachronistic fields (such as electronics, computers, etc.) are out of bounds.
The Lifepath Skill adds the Dragon's Arete in Scholar Sage when calculating Technique within that field of expertise, for example with regards to:
- Testing whether the dragon is aware of an obscure piece of knowledge within that field.
- Research within that field.
- Academic argument within the field.
This Lifepath Skill adds the Dragon's Arete in Scholar Sage when calculating Technique for the following types of tasks:
- Application of logic to solve problems.
- Employing systematic approaches to investigations, research or deduction.
- Handling and processing data in a logical way.
The scholarly and studious habits of a Scholar-Sage can result in mental transformation, honing and conditioning the mind over time.
- Arete 1+: Conditioned Mind
The Dragon permanently adds +5 to his Sophis sphere.
- Arete 21+: Inviolate Mind
The Dragon becomes permanently immune to magical mind-altering effects of any sort, including arcane emotional manipulation, magical control of perception, or magical control of thoughts.
- Arete 31+: Inner Library
The Dragon can now commit anything he reads to his "inner library" - a mental construct that he can visualise with a few minutes of meditation, and then reference as if it were a true physical library containing every book or piece fo writing he has ever read. While he might not have this knowledge to access instantly with his surface mind proper, he carries around within himself a mass of wisdom. with a few more minutes of concentration the dragon can even pull back past experiences of other sorts, dredging up perfect recollections of any sensations he has had, be it sights, smells or sounds.
- Arete 41+: Enlightenment of the Erudite
The Dragon permanently adds a further +5 to his Sophis sphere.
The Scholar-Sage studies magic in all its forms. A Dragon who selects a Suspire as a Scholar-Sage Lifepath Edge may, if he chooses, instead choose a Suspire from another Lifepath he is already following. For example, a Scholar-Sage who is already on the Ambassador-Courtier Lifepath could choose the Lore of Words as one of his Scholar-Sage suspires.
The Lore of Alchemy
The Lore of Alchemy sees that Pneuma is the building block of reality, and that through the shaping lense of visualisation and the direction of will, anything can be created from the raw stuff of magic itself. With the lesser Lores it is possible to create only the simplest of constructions, however. With increasing mastery the creation process is taken to the next level, breaking the limitations of what lesser magicians consider possible. Anything can be formed from pneuma, and anything is possible.
- Arete 1+: Perception and Protection
The dragon can now use his suspires to sense objects which have been alchemically shaped or created, and can also recognise the "maker's signature" on items. The dragon can also exhale an alchemical aegis that shields items against the alchemy of others.
- Arete 11+: Conjuration
The dragon can exhale glowing mist, which then coalesces into solid material. This material can be almost any simple homogenous material that the dragon has previously encountered and studied. Each casting will create about ten kilos of stuff, be it gold, mud, water or whatever else. With conjured materials, stability depends on the law of sympathy - if there is a lot of the same material in the vicinity of the new material, then it will tend to manifest permanently, whereas if the creation is unique to its environment (for example creating diamonds in the middle of mud) then it will last less time, perhaps a minute or two, or even just seconds.
- Arete 21+: Transmutation
The dragon can transmute raw materials within sight, with each casting changing around ten kilos of stuff. This material can be almost any simple homogenous material that the dragon has previously encountered and studied. As with conjuration, the stability of the transmutation depends on the law of sympathy. Also, no material that has pneuma or sophis can be transmuted, so sentient creatures and the like cannot easily be harmed through this spell. The dragon can also shape raw materials into different shapes and forms, though nothing can be crafted that the dragon would not normally be able to craft with just his claws, or which he would not normally have ths skill to craft. Regardless, a mage can get quite creative with this, using the magic to save time on arduous tasks. For example, he might craft a block on ink into a mass of text, or instantly turn a lump of rock into a makeshift weapon-spike.
- Arete 31+: Craft and Complexity
The dragon breathes into something he has created, imbuing it with movement or complex function. His transmutations grow more complex too, so he can now deal not only with base materials but can also create flesh and bone, etc. For example, he could turn a stone sculpture of a clock into a working machine, or a paper bird into one that flutters and flies. He can even give these automata orders to carry out simple repetitive tasks. However, he cannot imbue mind into his creations. The law of sympathy applies in that if form is ill suited to function, the magic will soon end.
- Arete 51+: Breath of Divinity
The dragon can bring his creations to life, though usually with no more intelligence than that of a small animal. The law of sympathy applies in that if the creation is not in the appearance of a sentient creature, the created life will soon fade. In contrast though, if the dragon emulates higher forms of life in form (for example crafting something that looks like a man or a dragon) he can achieve higher levels of intelligence and independence than he might otherwise.
The Lore of Thaumaturgy
Thaumaturgy is the magic that deals with magic, examining the fundamental nature of arcane energy and pneuma. The lesser lores are concerned primarily with perception and self protection. With the greater lores, the thaumaturgist becomes the master of arcane duels, able to dictate the nature and activity of the field of magical battle.
- Arete 1+: Perception and Protection
When this spell is cast, the Dragon becomes aware of the flow and presence of arcane energy. He can immediately detect how much arcane energy everyone present has remaining, can detect all magical effects int he area, and identify all magical items, objects and creatures. He can even identify the lore of magic responsible for a given magical effect. He can now also shield himself or others from the effects of thaumaturgy, intercepting attempts to interfere with the core strands of his magic.
- Arete 11+: Ebb and Flow
The Dragon can strengthen or weaken the flow of magic in particular areas, for example causing arcane power to flow into a caster's hands, or weakening them by denying them magic. Magics of this sort can directly enhance the arcane power of the dragon or of other casters, adding or subtracting puissance from their efforts. What this magic can't do is grant knowledge or arete - there are no shortcuts to wisdom or mastery.
- Arete 21+: Negation and Unweaving
The dragon can counterspell magics as they are cast, or pick apart magical effects already in existence. The most potent enhanted artifact can be unwoven by a master of thaumaturgy.
- Arete 31+: Nullify/Surge
The dragon can create null-zones where no magic can be cast, or surge zones where magic is multiplied. He can even permanently "turn off" the spellcasting ability of individual casters, though doing so usually requires an arcane battle.
- Arete 51+: Control and Alter
The dragon can use his Thaumaturgy to alter the castings of other sorcerers. When magic is cast in his vicinity he can use thaumaturgy to manipulate the desired effect of the magic, for example redirecting an offensive spell so it strikes a new target.
This Lifepath does not have any special Techniques associated with it.