The 500 Archmages (Praemium Terra Supplement)
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The rulers and owners of Praemium Terra, there is nothing in all of the lands the 500 Archmages don't have influence on. Throughout the world of mages, the 500 are well respected, due to the fact that they sell a good deal of magical materials which are harvested from their estates to other lands. Magically powerful, incredibly wealthy, possessed of rich estates, and highly intelligent, each of the 500 is a formidable foe. The weakest on the list are still fairly strong, while the most powerful of all (the top ten) essentially transcend mortality (at least, in terms of aging and typical mortal vulnerabilities.)
The 500 may be diverse, but they all share a few commonalities. First, all of them are, in game terms, epic level mages. Second, they are all able to forge artifacts of varying power levels. Finally, almost all of the 500 have been known to take an interest in one or more aspects of very advanced magic, such as high-energy alchemy, the creation of massive constructs, complex teratogeny (highly developed monster creation), the collection of millennia-old magical items, or dimensional manipulation.
About 98% of the 500 are male, but the approximately 2% that are female include a few major names as well. At present, the most powerful female is the 57th most powerful archmage in the land.
The World of Archmages and great powers
The archmages and other great powers of the word don't think and reason like other people. They are hubristic and arrogant and do not deal with those of lesser power as well as they would another archmage. They also have fewer set social rules, as the main factor in their social dealings is power, not the law of the land, not a religion, and not a code of honor. Unusual actions like making an alliance to destroy a kingdom that happens to be in the way of a resource, or two archmages of different races deciding to have a child based on their powers alone (and what powers the child would have, or to see what the cross would bring) are considered fair dealings.
It is in this environment that the 500 act; with little regard for the less powerful among them and even less regard for those who have no power at all. The world is like a chessboard to them, and the common people are like pawns to them at best.
Of the Archmages and Power
Sentient beings respond to the possession of great power in different ways. These responses are partially governed by race, upbringing, religion, education, gender, and personal experiences, but the greater part of how one responds to power is determined by one's moral and ethical character. When possessed of tremendous magical might, some use it for the benefit of themselves, some use it for the benefit of others, some use it for the benefit of a cause, and some use it for all three reasons.
It can be hard to predict an individual's character when he comes to have great power. Some use it responsibly, others go wild with it. Sadly, the latter seems to be true more often, especially among the more emotional races. The demands of great power are a crushing load for even the finest mind. To an person who doesn't possess clear thought, it can be overwhelming. The choices we make are a vital part of who we are and what we become, and for most people, those choices have relatively little impact. But for someone with vast powers, every decision made can make a tremendous difference years down the road in ways that may be difficult or impossible to measure. Suppose a pair of mouse-sized extraplanar beings traveled through a portal that an archmage had opened up. Not bothering to stop such small, seemingly harmless creatures, they escaped. Within 10 years, they creatures had multiplied a thousandfold and were swarming all over the countryside, feeding off of people's life-force. An archmage has to be careful for things like this.
An archmage is more than an individual, he is a force of nature. His power can determine the lives and deaths of others, and, in a manner not at all dissimilar to a deity, he can manipulate forces beyond the ken of mortals. Unlike weaker mages who typically are part of or attached to mundane society, the most powerful among them are removed and may even spend more time in other planes than the material, or may be privy to secrets so terrible and knowledge so great that most humanoid races couldn't handle it. As it is, many archmages have difficulty handling the powers and responsibilities of their station. Some bury their problems in research, locking themselves away in their towers, hoping that years of poring over books can help their situation. Others act compulsively and revel in their power, and use it to obtain wealth and luxuries that are the stuff of dreams to most people. Still others seek to obtain even more power, hoping to remake the world so that everything is fixed; there are even reports of archmages trying to go back to the start of time and stop every wrong before it can start.
Some archmages are worthy of their power and use it for good. Unfortunately, there are few of these in Praemium Terra, and even the best among the 500 still commit occasional less-than-good actions, believing that they have to do these things to keep up with the rest of the archmages.
The 500 and the People
To most of the 500, the common inhabitants of Praemium Terra are simply a resource; a humanoid resource that is only slightly different from the crops they harvest and the wood they chop. They are treated as a means to an end. The mages only respect power, and most people don't have very much of that. The people, by contrast, have little choice but to serve the 500; the archmages control all of the good land. The few who live outside of the estates or areas of direct influence of the 500 live in marginal areas barely fit to herd goats. It is a hard choice for the people; surrender one's freedom for a barely sufficient livelihood, or be relatively free but risk starvation.
List of the 500
Listed from the most powerful (#1) to the least powerful (#500.) Note that each of the 500 has adopted a special name or title, which acts as a means of description. This has been done to facilitate interaction between the mages.
- Excipio of Nexus
- Dryic the Gatherer
- Proclus the Great
- Maliar, the Black Mage
- Leo Paleologos XIII
- Marcellus the Magnificent
- Domitian, the Golden Wizard
- Anaxagoras of the Seven Spheres
- Justinian the Lawgiver
- Gregorio the Alchemist
- Antonius of Purest Energies
- Micah the Shaded
- Auctorias the Powerful
- Hamaliel the Calculating
- Tabbris of Great Will
- Crocellus the Deceiver
- Ronov, Master of Languages
- Adramel, Lord of Flame
- Sonneillus the Cunning
- Veparius of the Thousand Waters
- Alexis, Master Thaumaturgist
- Preta-Gaki, Mage of Hunger and Thirst
- Sidraga, Archmage of the East
- Morard the Inventive
- Bedos the Learned
- Aniximander, Wizard of the Numbers
- Callippus the Astrologer
- Nicoteles of the Lines
- Anthemius the Blue Mage
- Olardoth the Red Sorcerer
- Pelagius the Dark
- Pertinax the Strong
- Adrian, He of Great Power
- Basil, Leader of Men
- Tiberius the Sad
- Alexander, the Silver Mage
- Formosus the Traveler
- Marcus, Archmage of the West
- Georgios, Mage of the Mountains
- Vespasian, Creator of Great Things
- Maximian the Usurper
- Artaxus the Mad
- Silvianus of Wild Rivers