Magic is a part of life in Eberron. Arcane energy suffuses the world. Those with sufficient knowledge can channel and shape this power with word and gesture. Once this gift was rare and mysterious, and the greatest spells are still the stuff of legend. Over the course of centuries, however, the people of Khorvaire worked minor magics into everyday life, finding ways to use arcane power to improve communication, transportation, warfare, and general labor. The use of magic in Eberron is a broad topic that will be explored over the course of many future articles. This column focuses on the most common form of arcane spellcaster, the class whose existence transformed Khorvaire: the magewright.
The Meaning of “Magewright”
Arcane power is invisible and omnipresent. Ritual allows a magic user to draw on this energy and use it to reshape reality. The process of spellcasting is considerably more complicated than wiggling a finger and shouting a word. Mastering a spell requires intense mental discipline. In addition to complex gestures and incantations, a spellcaster uses thought and will to transform and shape mystical energy. A true wizard is a master of this art, able to grasp the principles behind any spell he can find or create. This level of talent is a rare gift. Still, most common folk can learn to cast one or two minor spells, if they work hard enough. While they lack the diversity or raw power of the wizard or sorcerer, these lesser spellcasters bring simple magic to the marketplace and into the world. These are the magewrights.
Just like the expert, “magewright” is a generic term encompassing dozens of professions. “Magewright” describes an individual’s magical skill but it tells you nothing about the actual trade they practice. A commoner seeking to learn magic wouldn’t go to “magewright school.” Instead, he would become an apprentice wordsmith or seek out a traveling tinker who might share the secrets of her trade.
The vast majority of magewrights only have a limited amount of experience in an arcane trade. They are primarily commoners or experts in a trade who underwent intense training in order to learn a single useful spell. The most common choice is magecraft, a ritual that guides an artisan’s hands and infuses his work with a touch of magic. An innkeeper might have wanted to gain access to prestidigitation or unseen servant to make their lives easier and their inns more popular, while a translator could learn comprehend languages to expand their skills and broaden their potential market. These dabblers are not defined by their mystical knowledge; instead, they know a single trick that enhances their mundane skills.
An artisan producing masterwork materials may use magecraft to enhance her work, and the tailor could use mending for especially difficult jobs. Magic is a part of life in the Five Nations. Magewrights make up approximately 1% of the adult workforce, and their spells are seen in action on a regular basis.
The augur is a professional seer. In addition to her divinatory magic, she is familiar with a variety of nonmagical traditions of divination and may use cards, runes, or the movement of the moons to foretell events from romance to the weather. While she is generally consulted about the future, she can also use her talents to identify magical objects or decipher unknown writings. Higher-level augurs may learn arcane sight, clairvoyance/clairaudience, divination, scrying, or contact other plane.
The tinker is a jack-of-all-trades. He has a basic grasp of many crafts and can use his mystical powers to repair damaged items. A tinker might travel from place to place in search of work or he may settle in one small community where his talents make him invaluable. While anyone can pursue the path of the tinker, the magewrights of House Cannith dominate this trade because of the power of the mark.
Anyone can run an inn but the spells of the hosteler make the job much easier. A hosteler can use his spells to clean clothes and rooms, to prepare food, transport items, understand guests from distant lands, repair minor damage, and create mystical locks for his doors. While most hostelers are trained by House Ghallanda and have ties to that house, Ghallanda employ people of all races, both marked and unmarked. A hosteler can be an excellent source of gossip and local information, but it may not always be reliable.
Between war and adventurers, there’s a major market for healing potions. Apothecaries come in all shapes and sizes but those of House Jorasco are the masters of healing; without the dragonmark, an apothecary must have levels in some other spellcasting class to produce potions of healing. The apothecary represents a secular alternative to the Jorasco healer presented on page 232 of the Eberron Campaign Setting, one that relies on her dragonmark and her potions to aid those in need. If she advances further, she might take expert levels to improve her Heal skill.
Magical light has had a tremendous impact on the culture of the Five Nations, allowing the citizens of Khorvaire to work through the night. Lamplighters produce everburning torches,everbright lanterns, and other sources of light. Given the long life of an everbright lantern, however, a lamplighter will eventually run out of work in a small community. As a result, most lamplighters are wanderers who live lives much like those of the tinkers.
Most wardens learn their trade with House Kundarak but a few part ways with the house and work as independents. Paranoid lords occasionally hire full-time wardens to secure manors and vaults. A higher-level warden may learn detect magic, dispel magic, false vision, fire trap, glyph of warding, symbol of pain, or symbol of sleep.
Wordsmiths are professional scribes and translators. While many work for the Speakers’ Guild of House Sivis, wordsmiths can be found at any of the major universities or arcane institutions of Khorvaire. Higher-level wordsmiths may know illusory script, secret page, sending, or tongues. A wordsmith who intends to serve as a mediator or advocate will probably have expert levels to enhance her Diplomacy and Sense Motive skills.