Pax Romana Arcana
[[Centers of Magic]]
Centers of Magic
As stated earlier, the Roman empire is now split into two separate empires based on sources of magic. The Western half is a theocracy, ruled by the highest ranking clerics of the major faiths. The Eastern half is a magocracy, governed by the arch-mages of the original ruling families. This is not to say that practitioners of either magic cannot be found in the opposite halves of the empire, but they are fewer in numbers and enjoy a lower social status (but tend to be wealthier due to the relative scarcity of the services they provide.)
Druids: Descendants of the lesser Atlantian families who practiced nature magic but were not included in the ranks of the ruling families on Atlantis. As expected, their centers of power lie in small groves scattered throughout the forests, jungles, and other wild lands of the empire and beyond.
Sorcerers: Descendants of pairings between Atlantians, dragons, and other magically-infused creatures and the native earth populations. These can be found throughout the empires, but tend to congregate in the Eastern half where they attend universities to try to hone their natural talents. Sorcerers and their ilk are not held in the same high esteem as wizards, since their spell casting was not “earned” through study or hard work.
Psionics: A large group of scholars studying at a number of major Greek universities searched inwardly to find a source of magic to rival that of the Atlantians who came to rule them. The result was the discovery of psionics, or using the almost limitless power of one’s mind to affect his/ her body and environment. Since the Greek isles lie on the borderlands of both empires, and much of this study was conducted in secret, this relatively new form of magic has gone largely unnoticed by those who practice the traditional arcane and divine paths.
Warlocks: Rather than spend countless years pursuing new forms of magical power, some chose the quick paths to power offered by the many otherworldly beings who were drawn to our planet by the sudden expansion of magic. Warlocks are generally reviled by the practitioners of the other sources of magic, and looked upon with fear and envy by those not willing or not knowledgeable enough to form pacts of their own.
A large portion of this plane was brought to earth in Northern Brittania (in the region historically known as Scotland) by a mass ritual (similar in concept to the one used to flee Atlantis, but desiring its opposite effect) invoked by druids and shamans trying to defend themselves from the invading Roman legions. The powerful nature magics of the plane have transformed the landscape into the the stunningly beautiful and deadly Fey lands. Agents of the sidhe queens and witches who rule the Feywild, continually breach Hadrian’s Wall to raid Southern Britannia, furthering the aims of their masters.
Created by the magic wielding leaders of Atlantis, these circles allow instantaneous and safe passage to any other Way Circle throughout the twin empires of Rome and beyond. Safety and convenience come at a price: the tolls for these circles are astronomical and heavy contingents of guards ensure that they are paid. Travel by Way Circles is also limited by their numbers and locations. Rituals to create Way Circles consume a reagent not native to earth. Adventurers who brave the dangers to harvest it can amass vast fortunes virtually overnight.
The shadow realms are used by many practitioners of the Art to travel the empire of Rome through this darker mirror-world of earth, avoiding the exorbitant costs of the much safer Way Circles. Distances are condensed on this demi-plane, allowing long distance travel on earth to be accomplished much more quickly. The time saved by traveling the shadow realms also comes at a price: the denizens and atmosphere of this plane are extremely dangerous and toxic to those not native to the plane. Shadow creatures and other night terrors are drawn to the life forces of outsiders and the atmosphere of the plane itself causes a creeping sickness that can overwhelm all but the hardiest of travelers. Permanent portals created by powerful “shadow-mancers” lay hidden throughout the empire in urban and rural locations alike. These present a great danger to the locals, particularly when would-be travelers are waylaid upon their entrance to the plane by its denizens before the portals can be properly closed.