Collectively known as the Amber Order, or the Amber Brotherhood, the Magisters of the Amber College practice the magic of beasts. Essentially, this is a form of animistic magic that holds the power, spirits, and the habitats of untamed and completely wild animals as the shaping influence and source of its power. They are called shamans by some and Amber Magisters by others.
Symbols & Appearances Edit
The Arrow, the Bear’s Claw, the Raven’s Feather, (almost any other animal totem or fetish).
The Arrow is the mark of Taal, god of wild places and the hunt. Therefore, it was naturally chosen as the symbol of the Amber College and wind of Ghur. Just as the Arrow is straight and unswerving, so are those who bear it as their mark. Amber Wizards are famously plainspoken and have little patience for those who would conceal their actions beneath fine words or false praise.[2a]
Just as they abhor evasion in conversation, Amber Wizards are wont to direction action in matters martial. Not for them the careful gathering of power behind the scenes, of subtle manoeuvre until the opportune hour. Rather the foe must be opposed directly, and with all speed -- particularly if that foe is being circumspect in his actions. Amber Wizards believe that to prevaricate is to brazenly display the weakness of indescision, which in turn draws in further foes like carrion. Best to stand firm from a position of strength, think they, than to scrabble around in search of a victory already forfeit through delay.[2a]
Amber Wizards can be easily recognised by their bestial appearance. They do not cut their hair or their beards, and their nails grow long and hard, becoming more and more like claws or talons. They dress in the furs and hides of animals that they have hunted and slain themselves.
They often make primitive jewellery and shamanic fetishes out of the fangs, claws, and feathers of various animals, interspersed with lumps of raw amber. They carry charms of herbs in small leather pouches, and for war and their great rituals, they make elaborate headdresses out of the skulls and horns of dangerous animals, like bears, wolves, and mighty stags.
They often carry staffs bedecked with feathers, lumps of amber, and animal bones, and they also carry bows and quivers of arrows that they manufacture for themselves.
Duties & Contracts Edit
Amber Magisters dislike human company and are shamanistic hermits. They live in areas far from the settlements of Humanity. They have little or no interest whatsoever in pursuing contracts of employment with merchants or nobles. The very idea is an abomination to them. They do, however, have duties, and they take them very seriously.
Amber Magisters require no money from the Emperor and would not know what to do with it if it was given to them. They live entirely off the land and serve the Empire by searching out the taint of Chaos in those dark and wild places where the Empire’s soldiery are reticent to tread, fighting Beastmen, toppling their blasphemous Herdstones, and dispersing the Dark Magic they contain. It is not unheard of for a noble who possesses estates that has large wild and untamed tracts to expend considerable resources seeking out an Amber Magister to ask him to reside upon his estates and guard them from supernatural harm.
The Amber Magisters consider themselves honour-bound to serve in the Empire's armies, just as their brother Magisters of the other Orders. They will only fight against the Chaotic and magical enemies of mankind, and will often receive word of any mustering of such creatures from the birds of the air. In such cases as these, shamanic Amber Magisters will join with any Imperial army facing such a foe.
The night or day before the battle commences the officers will emerge from their tent to see an Amber Magister dressed in furs and wearing a battle headdress of antlers or wild ram’s horns, crouching by a small fire, chanting softly to himself while casting bones on the earth. His headdress and his staff adorned with feathers, animal skulls, and other fetishes tell the officers who the Magister is, a shaman of the Amber Brotherhood.
Some officers in Imperial armies that find themselves posted near deep, impenetrable forests or at the foot of wild and lonely mountains are taught how to make strange totems and burn certain herbs and compounds that are signals to any Amber Magisters in the area that they require help. If seen, Amber Magisters in the region answer the summoning with surprising swiftness.
It would be useless to discuss tactics with Amber Magisters, for they will not listen. However, they can be trusted to fight with all their strength and will against the creatures of Chaos that warp and pollute the land with their presence, any enemy that causes supernatural harm to the Magister’s homelands, or the people the Magister has sworn to protect.
When the Wild Father, the Patriarch of the Amber Brotherhood, must be summoned for a conclave of the Patriarchs or for some other important matter, a great beacon fire is lit upon the walls of Altdorf that face the distant Amber Hills. The Wild Father will arrive the day after the beacon is lit and make his way straight to the Hall of Convocation.
The Amber College Edit
Of all the Orders of Magic, the Amber College is the only one to have no representative buildings in Altdorf. There is no College; instead, the Lord Magisters of the Order inhabit caves that lie beyond the city, among the Amber Hills that are named after for the Magisters themselves. These are rocky and wooded, unsuitable for agricultural purposes or as building-ground, are not easily found, and visitors are not welcomed. Other similar lairs of Amber Magisters are said to exist throughout the Old World, in deep forests and high up on mountain tops.[1d]
Amber Magisters will only meet, let alone accept as Apprentices, those who are drawn to wild places, like woodsmen, rangers, trappers, wanderers, vagabonds, and even some bandits. When the Brown Wind blows strongly it touches the minds of some people, drawing them ever deeper into those places that are largely untouched by Human hands and eyes. The Amber Magisters actively seek out people like these to judge whether or not they are worthy to be inducted into the secrets of animism and the bestial magic of Ghur.
This means that it is impossible to gauge just how large or small the Amber Brotherhood is. No Amber Magister will choose more than one apprentice at a time. Only candidates psychologically as well as magically suited to the life will be chosen. In addition to the spells and techniques of the shamanic Amber magic, the master will teach the student how to hunt and how to live in the wilderness. Everything he teaches will be done so through an oral tradition and demonstration. The magic of Ghur involves the summoning and binding of spirits of the wild places, as well as sculpting Ghur into spells through rhythmic chants. The shedding of blood carries great weight in Brown magic, both of animals and the Magister’s own.
As apprentices grow in confidence in manipulating the Beast Wind and communing with the spirits of animals and other strange entities, they will become ever more like their masters in nature and outlook. Amber masters charge their apprentices no fees.
Famous Shamans Edit
- Berndt Aberwold - Wizard Lord and honoured member of Grand Marshal Erkstein's war cabinet.
- Gregor Martak - Supreme Patriarch during the End Times.
- Kadon - Creator of the Scrolls of Binding. Transformed into a beast only to find he couldn't change back.
- Setanta Lobas - Wild Father and Magister Patriarch of the Amber Brotherhood.
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery (pg. 119-122)
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
- 2a: pg. 35