The 20-level classes presented in books other than the Player's Handbook have become popular choices for players and DMs. Earlier articles in this series discussed how to import the classes from Player's Handbook 2 and the warlock class into the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. This installment focuses on two classes from the Miniatures Handbook -- the Warmage and the Favored Soul. At the end of each entry are alternatives for how to include the ideas written here but without requiring the introduction of these classes into your game.
Warmages are the undisputed magical lords of the battlefield, equipped with a greater array of destructive evocation and conjuration spells than any other class. Despite their great power, warmages suffer from a fundamental lack of versatility. They are unable to cast the breadth of utility spells -- protection, concealing, information gathering, transportation, and other magics -- that make wizards powerful. To some of the cultures of Faerûn, the ability to destroy in a variety of ways is (or was) too much to ignore. To other cultures, warmages serve as elite battlefield generals, espousing the old adage that the best defense is overwhelming offense.
The ancient Raumathari battlemages were some of the most fearsome examples of warmages in Faerûnian history. While many of the battlemages were wizards and sorcerers, a significant portion of was made up of warmages. The art of this forlorn empire may be mostly lost, but those few who still practice it are extremely dangerous. Raumathari battlemagic involves a mixture of both destructive arcane magic with swordplay, blending the two in terrifying destructive synergy. When the Bronze Battletower (UnE -- the home of the powerful Raumathari battlemage Vostas) was under siege, her lover, a warmage by the name of Welbohn Khuul, defended it to his last breath. It is believed that Welbohn's spirit was absorbed into the tower after his death, leaving the warmage to haunt the tower forever. Locals whisper that the current resident, a renegade Wychlaran by the name of Iaokhna Nuchlev (NE female Rashemi sorcerer 3/druid 3/durthan[UnE] 3), is being driven mad by Welbohn Khuul's spirit (CN Raumathari male human ghost swashbuckler 3/warmage 6/Raumathari battlemage 10). Khuul is trying to drive out the durthan in the hopes of bringing students back to the Bronze Battletower to study battlemagic. He can't drive her out himself, because she hides in a room that is shielded from him in his undead state.
While many Thayans look down on warmages as narrow-minded louts, they can't deny the usefulness of having a contingent of these casters in their armies. From the perspective of the Red Wizards, warmages make excellent subjects because they are powerful weapons but lack the magical protections to defend themselves against mental control. A band of politically neutral warmages has arisen in Thay in recent years under the leadership of Norano Reked (N Mulan male warmage 14). Calling itself Daarthos Koruna after a strange magical artifact the members discovered in the Sunrise Mountains, the band serves Thay as mercenaries for hire. The Daarthos Koruna are seven circlets that render their wearers undetectable by magical and psionic means. For the most part, the band clears out the ruins of the Sunrise Mountains and Delhumide, but they have been known to perform special missions for a number of zulkirs.
Warmagic traditions have developed among a number of other races and lands. A small number of warmages are found among the War Wizards of Cormyr, though the order generally looks askance at the narrow focus of these members. The Shoon Imperium kept an elite cadre of warmages known as the sihirbalak. Many members fled to the Heartlands and Inner Sea lands after the fall of the Shoon Empire in 450 DR. Among the sun, moon, star, and wild elves, warmages are uncommon but do exist. They were instrumental in a number of battles against demonic hoards before the fall of Myth Drannor.
Currently, several warmagic are academies scattered across Faerûn. A small academy, appropriately known as the School of Warmagic, has been open for the last three years in Halarahh, the capital city of Halruaa. Though boasting only 50 students, this academy doesn't have the negative reputation that warmage schools have in other parts of Faerûn. A small department at the Wizard College of Gheldaneth in Mulhorand teaches warmages, though only 75 are enrolled. Some of the other students in the college look down on the warmagic students, but the nation sees them as an important line of defense in its continued existence. Small private academies also exist in Waterdeep, Silverymoon, and Suzail.
For those wishing to use the ideas presented above but without adding the warmage class into their games, here is an alternative. It's quite possible for sorcerers focused on offensive magic to duplicate much of what warmages do. They might not be as versatile in their breadth of damaging spells, but they make up for that by being able to supplement their destructive spells with defensive and utilitarian magic.
Mortals who perform great services to deities, devoting their lives and work to the cause of their god or goddess, sometimes become the Chosen of that deity. Mystra's Chosen -- the seven sisters, Elminster, and others in the past -- are the most well known, but many other deities have Chosen worshipers. The Rotting Man, the hideous blightlord who corrupts and rots the Rawlinswood, is the Chosen of Talona. While some Chosen come into their status because of deeds and service, others come into the world with their deity's favor. These Chosen are known as favored souls, infants born as physical manifestations of a deity's power on Faerûn.
Being born a favored soul has both advantages and disadvantages. Like a cleric, a favored soul has access to her god's divine magic. Unlike a cleric, however, the magic of a favored soul is natural. As such, it is unlikely to be denied by her god. Because favored souls do not need to pray for their spells, deities don't need to approve or disapprove each and every incantation. This and the many divine powers of a favored soul make members of the class quite powerful. Despite these powers, favored souls are often hindered by a sense of inescapable destiny that surrounds their births. They didn't choose their paths and may not want anything to do with their religion. In this way, the powers of a favored soul can be a burden rather than a blessing.
Most Faerûnian deities have at least a few favored souls in their service. Some choose to have only one at any given time, but others spread out their favored souls among the lands in their worship. Rarely is there more than one favored soul in a given region, unless it's highly populated. Because they are often seen as direct signs from their god, favored souls rarely lead normal lives. The reason there are so few is because they create ripples in their travels, affecting everything they touch with their god's divine power.
A number of favored souls are known to exist among the many faiths of Faerûn. Braeden (DoF, LE female half-brown dragon half-human favored soul 10 [Tiamat]) is Tiamat's favored soul in Unther and the daughter of the brown dragon Slavin'Krath'Magaal (DoF, NE female fiendish juvenile brown dragon blackguard 4). She has received visions from her god showing something monstrous emerging from the Pit of Many Colors. She believes that this creature will play a crucial role in the upcoming battles faced by the Church of Tiamat. When she revealed this information to her father Malise(DoF), the high priest of the Altar of Scales (DoF, a hidden underground temple in Unthalass dedicated to draconic experimentation), he laughed at her, suggesting that she could never receive visions from the goddess. Now she plots with her mother to overthrow him, feeling that he has lost touch with the will of the Dark Lady.
The favored soul of Urdlen is a terrifying creature known as Curdle (CE male half-fiend spriggan favored soul 11). Curdle vaguely resembles a gnome in stature but is massively built for a creature of its small size and reeking of rancid flesh and blood. It has gleaming red eyes, long, bestial talons, and in its large form, batlike wings. Curdle stalks the fields near the town of Asbravn in the Western Heartlands, looking for things of beauty and innocence to destroy. The Riders in Red Cloaks have reported seeing the creature's handiwork on a number of occasions -- destroyed works of art and gems, eviscerated livestock, maimed and murdered pets, the occasional elderly couple frightened to death, and much worse. Recently, Curdle has gone on a dark rampage, stalking the edges of Asbravn at night, murdering gnomes and other townsfolk coming home from evenings of drink and song. Rumors abound that the creature has been sent on a destructive spree by its dark god for some hideous purpose. The events have become so dire that they have attracted the attention of Embrel Berrodwyn (NG Male Gnome Beguiler 4/Favored Soul 4 [Baravar Cloakshadow]/Mystic Theurge 10), the favored of the Sly One. Embrel has been busy at work crafting a grand gnomish illusion, but the murders have enraged him so much that he's put his great spell on hold. Townsfolk whisper of an approaching epic conflict between the two gnomish scions. All are certain that Asbravn will never be the same again.
For those wishing to employ the concept of favored births but without adding the favored soul class to their games, here is an alternative. Favored status need not have a mechanical representation. Prophecies, signs, and portents could indicate the favored status of an infant's birth without requiring a special class. Feat and prestige class choices, as well as spell selection, can create a theme for a cleric that separates her from her colleagues.
About the Author
Eytan Bernstein hails from exotic Long Island and spends his days writing and editing projects for numerous game companies. In addition to his work on Dragons of Faerûn, the Magic Item Compendium, and numerous other projects, Eytan serves as a partner and PR & Marketing Manager for Silven Publishing. Eytan enjoys hunting for gems and minerals in rock quarries, studying religion and theology, composing music, and playing with his many pets. For more information about Eytan, check out www.eytanbernstein.com. Send questions and comments for Eytan here.