Arcane magic is the manipulation of the fundamental forces of reality. A natural evolution of Runic Magic, it expands passed simply using the basic words of original creation. Think of it as moving passed just nouns/verbs onto adjectives/adverbs/pronouns/dangling participles/fragments.
Development in Mynoth
Originally a product of the interaction between the Royhaar and the native Dwarves of Mynoth it was used as a utility. The humans slowly expanded upon the runic magic they learned until they no longer needed the traditional stone medium to cast the spells. Arcane magic was able to use words themselves as the medium. Some of the first arcane spells were simple, creating permanent light for cities, transporting heavy loads, etc.
Eventually arcane magic became more commonplace. Magically powered machines were used to clear forests, drain lakes, build cities. The Great Royhaar Empire stretched across the lands of Mynoth for two centuries thanks to the mages.
The Orcs changed all this. Faced with an organized and powerful foe for the first time, the Royhaar turned naturally to the mages for help. For the first time, arcane magic was weaponized on a massive scale. Simple fireballs and thunderbolts became hurricanes of fire, earth-shattering lightning.
The resulting devastation rendered much of the empire uninhabitable. To add insult to injury, the orc hordes were far too numerous, and although millions of them had been slaughtered, there were still enough of them to pose an insurmountable threat. The empire was doomed.
Migration to Verdacia
Those few that managed to flee the dying empire across the Terotatian Ocean took with them mere fragments of what arcane magic had become. Fearing another magical cataclysm the refugees vowed to limit the use of magic.
Over the next few centuries, a few great mages attempted to rediscover the lost arts, but were met with little success. Things such as magically powered machines, and lake draining spells remained lost. Still, what they were able to uncover was enough to start the College of Wizards at Highpeak. With a strict code of non-interference when it came to warfare, the college was able to flourish.
The Great Civil War and Today
Once again, the fate or arcane magic was shifted dramatically by war. Fearing for the safety of his institution, Headmaster Darius Thorrn agreed to the demands of King Willum Amberone IV
to once again send mages to war. And as in the last great conflict magic played a destructive turning-point, seen especially in the Battle of the Crimson Plane..
However, the mages were unable to fend off the opposing force of rebels and, more importantly, elves. For the first time, arcane magic found an opposing force in Elven Magic, drawing from the power of nature itself to protect the rebel armies. The other factor was the rise of Alchemy. No longer did mankind need to call upon arcane forces to burn his enemies to cinders, now all that was needed was the right mix of natural materials.
The end of the war saw the destruction of not only Highpeak Castle, but the College within. The few survivors went instantly into hiding, now outcasts in society. The city of Bridgetown passed an outright ban on arcane magic and branded all mages as criminals. South of the river, mages are seen as nothing but trouble, shunned and persecuted as second-class citizens.
Most have retreated to the wilderness, becoming hermits. Some still teach their ways to those who would seek them out, others have abandoned humanity and civilization completely. The future of arcane magic is, once again, in question.
Players and Arcane Magic
Since arcane magic has become quite rare in Verdacia, players have interesting choices to make when creating a Wizard or Sorcerer. Who taught you this forbidden lore? How do you feel about living in secret? How willing are you to betray that secret? And, most importantly, why did you seek this knowledge in the first place?