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The Envoy

We've found a hedge wizard! What now?

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Hey, I do have a general question about the setting.

 

If a hedge wizard or some other low magic user is being found i.e. by a witch hunter, they are given a choice:

"Let yourself be tested by one of the colleges to become an official wizard or I burn the **** out of you right now!"

 

Why would ANYONE take the latter?

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No idea. I doubt there is a choice, either the Witch hunter kills them or gags and binds them then drags them to a wizard agent.

 

Witch hunters, witches and hedge wizards are a real problem, unless you make up a rule. There is also Cleric magic floating around as well.

Its even worse with a necromancer, those characters have no defence due to the ghoul following him around.

 

 

There must be a substantial reward for handing them into a cities Wizard agents. Its the only reason I can think of why they live.

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Thanks.

 

It's just from what I read, hedge wizards are usually given a choice. But "death or a really cool education" is not a choice, as I guess most hedge wizards would be pretty happy to become an apprentice in a college. At least, no sane person would be inclined to accept death.

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Well, you have to remember that many witch-hunters may not even give options. They hear about witch and that's it - burn baby, burn. Imperial College Wizards and Clerics might give more options, and speak reason to Witch-hunters, if they come together.

 

Also experienced Hedge-Wizards might easily be tainted by dark magic, even mutated (as mentioned - insane too). Could even be necromancer or follower of the dark gods. It might be difficult to hide these facts, even if they try.

 

Hedgewise, born and raised in the wilderness, who has learned the old ways from the elders. One who continues Old Faith (or something), might have difficulties to "sell" their religion and fate. And even there is nothing wrong in their hermetic ways, a Witch-hunter may not see this the same way...

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My general feeling is that if a young hedge wizard the person is sent to a college to be tested. An older hedge wizard might have less choice, as they are probably more tainted by the magic they have used (at least according to the Witch Hunters).

 

Also, a hedge wizard might have family, friends, loved ones that they care about. If they are beeing sent off to a college they might never see them again. If you do not have that much talent for magic you might get tested, be taught a few basic spells and how to do magic "safely" but not get much education beyond that. So it might become more or less like a prison, with little or no benifits from beeing at the college. In a village, a hedge wizard might have power, wealth and a lot of freedom if they play their cards right.

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I doubt a witch hunter would give a witch that choice. And seriously, to a witch hunter every unsanctioned magic user is a witch. Heck, to many of them the sanctioned ones are witches too, just protected by law. For now...

Edited by Ralzar

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As Ralzar said, witch hunters would likely give no choice in the matter. They are zealots and they care little for bolstering the Emperor's ranks with potential wizards. Of course, there is a chance that such a hedge wizard might be found by a rare breed of a witch hunter, and that's one who has a sense of honor and is level headed. Such a thing would be rare... The hunters are very careful to weed out such weakness in their ranks.

 

The best chance for a hedge wizard if caught, is for them to be found by one of the magical orders. One of my wizard characters who was talented in the ways of the Amber order, was found by a high ranking member of the Amber order, and as such saw the potential in my character and sent me to the college for training.

 

Once you become sanctioned, your relatively safe. Kind of. A sanctioned wizard is a very valuable asset and rare commodity to the Emperor; witch hunters going about and burning sanctioned licensed wizards is indeed frowned upon, and will not go unanswered by the Colleges, or by the Emperor himself. As such; licensed users usually have nothing to fear from witch hunters, unless... the hunters suspect foul sorcery or rogue wizardry. They are usually given free reign to investigate such claims, but without clear and present evidence, the witch hunters are playing a dangerous game to kill a licensed wizard without just cause.

 

But I do believe there is a rogue element within the witch hunters order (forget the name of this extremist group) that do make it their mission to kill any magic users, regardless whether they are licensed or not.

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Its allways good to remember that the Empire is as filled with religious fanaticism and political games as our own world.

For example, the witch hunters handbook lists all kinds of grusome ways to "test" if a person is corrupted. Trial by drowning, branding etc. However, at the end of the list, there is the "Trial By Cake": The accused must enter the Sigmar Temple and eat a piece of cake. If Sigmar makes him choke on the cake he is corrupted. If he manages to eat the piece of cake without incident he is cleared of all charges.

This test is reccomended if the accused is of noble blood and a benefactor to the Temple.

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All above good, though also as to "why choose death", remember hedge witches may be fanatics of their own viewpoints as well.

 

They connect their powers with beliefs not just technical skills and believe their powers are granted by mother earth, by sacred promises their ancestors made with nature spirits etc. and refuse to deny their faith just as a devout Sigmarite might (if you have the 2nd edition supplement "shades of the empire" that gives a good perspective on how non-chaos-cult hedge witches see themselves).

 

I would use this to play up "clash of beliefs" and the hedge witch as a martyr 'dying for their beliefs if suitable to your campaign tone etc.

 

This is part of what keeps 'witchcraft' going and connects it with a larger base, it's not just a 'way of working magic', it's a religion. 

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Definitely think that many Witch hunters will judge them guilty before asking any questions at all, and any questions are likely to be by torture to find out who else is a witch in the area. If a college wizard is caught in a quiet part of the world without any proof of college training then the witch hunter will probably kill them too!

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It's not just the witch hunters judging them as guilty, the fact is that they are guilty. Being a wizard is like being a mutant in Marvel, you're already being judged just by being born. Your family should have turned you in when you started making chairs catch on fire with your mind, and you should have turned yourself in when you knew you had powers.

 

By the time it reaches the "A Witch Hunter has found you" stage, it's probably too late for you.

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