Date Posted: 28-10-2020

WFRP: Folk and Folklore of the North – Part 2

A few weeks ago we shared part 1 of Folk and Folklore of the North here and today we have part 2 from WFRP Developer Dave Allen.

Folk and Folklore of the North  – Part 2: Magical Oddities

‘Here I am trying to glean the merest strand of Hyish from the air, never an easy task, and I no sooner commence tuning myself in to the Aethyr when I am awash with seething torrents of Ghur. It’s like sitting at the back of the Royal College of Music trying to appreciate a softly intoned aria whilst to either side of you a pair of Dwarfs blast away on mountain horns. Can’t something be done about it? The Arcane Towers of Altdorf separate and funnel each wind to their respective colleges… oh that would be sacrilege, you say? Well what am I to do? Get used to it? Like getting used to having my left eye gouged out! Aethyric tinnitus, that’s what it is.’

 Light Wizard Abd Rabbo, recently relocated to the Spice Port of Copher (where the sun shines)

Wizards have always had a haven in Middenheim —  whilst in all other civilised quarters of the Old world the practice of magic is regarded with suspicion. Middenheim’s Wizards’ and Alchemists’ Guild existed long before Magnus the Pious established the Colleges of Magic in Altdorf, and effectively ended the outlawing of Wizards throughout the Empire. Though Middenheimers are not exactly comfortable with sorcery, the Guild was always a place where magicians could train and experiment in relative safety.

This liberal attitude towards wizardry is one of several bones of contention that exist between Ulricans and Sigmarites. Whilst Ulricans never saw fit to institute widespread persecution of Wizards; Sigmarites, prior to the reforms of Magnus, saw them as dangerous liabilities, and preached that even the most conscientious of magic users was a Warlock in the making.

Middenheim is an unusual city within which to work magic. In most urban areas, the Amber Wind Ghur is hard to grasp and channel, yet in Middenheim those with magical sight can see vast quantities, rushing through the bustling city streets and boiling off into the cold Northern air. Its source is obvious even to those without the sight, a great pillar of cold silver fire that issues from rents in the Fauschlag rock.

So the Shamans of the Amber Order, who find their chosen wind somewhat elusive in other cities, are well supplied with Ghur in Middenheim, whereas Wizards of other Orders can find the profusion of Ghur makes it harder to channel their own wind, at least until they get used to it.

To faithful Ulricans the profusion of magical energy is no mystery. Their holy tales talk explicitly of how their god pummelled the Fauschlag with the butt of his axe and sent the silver fire roaring forth. But not everyone agrees.

The Queen of the Laurelorn has her own suspicions about the source of the silver fire, supposing that it relates to tales far older than Teutognen folk stories of the deeds of Ulric. She also fears that the vast profusion of Ghur may invite intrusions into the mortal world of a strange and malign nature. Wild magic, such as the Amber Wind, isn’t merely a tool to be used by the Shamans of the Amber Order, but nourishing to creatures few Human folk properly comprehend.

Dave Allen, WFRP Developer

‘Mote the Fetchling’, portrait by Sam Manley

More about the city of Middenheim, including insights into Mote the Fletchling’s malignant mischief, will be discussed in Middenheim: City of the White Wolf due for release later this year.

The Woodland Realm of Laurelorn is one of several places examined in Archives of the Empire, an extraordinary collection of fascinating articles for use with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, due for release in 2021.