It appears that, once again, I need crucial information that only you can provide, and, as I am unwilling to divulge certain secrets I learned about other worlds, I will again write about wizards. In this case I will talk about the renegades, those mages not affiliated with the Conclave. The following piece explains what I personally know, or have heard, about renegades. It is not extensive and conclusive and many of the “facts” I present have been drawn from my experience. Again, as in my last piece, I will not touch the time of the Graygem and wild magic, as I know not a lot about it. My experiences start at the end of the Age of Dreams and the beginning of the Age of Might.
Yours in Knowledge,
What exactly is a renegade?
Morton’s Dictionary About All Things Magical states: “A renegade is a magic user that has refused the authority of the Conclave of Wizards, and still casts magic. These wizards have not taken the test nor did not pledge loyalty to any of the three robed orders (white, red, black) of sorcery. By their refusal, their powers are not ruled by the moons of Krynn and are hunted by their brethren”. Morton’s definition is a good one but, if you ask me, lacking. A renegade is a wizard that casts magic not allowed by the Conclave and who refuses to admit that this august body has any say on how to use magic. However Morton is wrong, really wrong, by saying that a renegade has not taken the test. I personally know wizards that became renegades later in their lives, many years after taking the test.
The famous, or infamous, Raistlin Majere was a renegade, or not, depending on whom you ask, but he took his test. Once I was also branded as a renegade because of certain events that took me to places where the Conclave authority is not recognized and I learned certain spells that I should not have. So there is a lot of discussion about what it is a renegade. But one common misconception, especially among the common people, is that renegades are evil. Not so. A renegade can be a good person, one that thinks that can do more good without bowing to the Conclave. Or it can be a power hungry tyrant bent on conquest. Not all renegades are created equal, and all should not be judged by the actions of a few notorious renegades.
Becoming a renegade
Why does a wizard become a renegade? The answer is fairly simple, it stops paying attention to the Conclave’s will. Actually there are three broad categories of renegade wizards and another one in discussion:
- Those who thought they would not pass the test Most of the renegades I know, or had hunted, belong to this category. Many wizards become renegades because they think they won’t be able to take the test and return alive, but they do not want to give their ability to use magic. Those who belong to this group are the “least” dangerous. Wizards who are in this category are renegades because of a perceived weakness. They continue to study, but without any hope of formal guidance or the ability to trade spells with someone from the robed orders, their advancement is slow (1). One famous renegade wizard belonging to this group was Magius.
- Power Hungry wizards Those belonging to this category are the ones who think that they have enough raw power not to bow to the wishes of the Conclave. Usually these are powerful wizards, able to cast spells of the seventh circle or above, that do not need the structure of the Conclave to help them, and often see it as a hindrance. Those belonging to this group, unlike the previous ones, do not have any problem learning new spells. They usually have access to vast repositories of magical knowledge, or simply slay less powerful wizards to gain their spellbooks or laboratories. Infamous members of this group are Raistlin Majere, if you consider him a renegade which I do as he went against the wishes of Nuitari his patron, and Galan Dracos, a little known renegade from the time of Huma.
- Those who don’t know As curious as it might sound, there are wizards who have never heard of the Conclave. In the remote regions of Khur or Balifor there are some renegades who have never even heard about the conclave. They teach their magic as they learned it and became renegades by “default”. Usually when a robed wizard explains the situation to them they become willing followers of the High Sorcery way, leaving for Wayreth to take the test. Wizards from the distant land of Taladas, fall into this category, though it is rare in Ansalon.
Another type of renegade, though there is some discussion if this kind of wizard is a renegade, is the one that learns spells forbidden by his god(dess). For example, necromancy is the province of the black robes so white and red robes are not allowed to learn necromancy spells, some people say that they can not. This is not true, I a red robe, do know necromantic spells, though they were learnt outside of Krynn so the limitation may apply to Krynn only. My personal experience is this: another red robe saw me cast a necromantic spell while wearing the red robe, so he assumed that I was a renegade in disguise. This sort of confusion can mount into a deadly spell battle, so if you know spells that you should not know, do not cast them in the presence of another robed wizard. So, as we saw, no two renegades are alike. The second category bears special watching, after all both Raistlin and Dracos wanted to challenge the gods and become one of them.
A short historic overview of renegades
Renegades were never numerous, not even in previous ages of Krynn. The greatest concentration of renegades, and the only recorded instance of them working side by side with members of the Conclave, happened during the last year of the Third Dragon War. A group of renegades, under the leadership of Galan Dracos, allied themselves with a cabal of black robed wizards, helping them open a portal to The Abyss. Needless to say this loose alliance dissolved with the death of Dracos and the betrayal of the black robes, who left no renegade alive.
This kind of cooperation between renegades is rare. Usually no more than two renegades are found working together for a time and then only when it benefits them. Most renegades are wise enough to stay out of the spotlight, so famous renegades are few and far between. The only time where renegades were prominent was during the time of the “Edict of Thought Control”. The clergy employed their services to cast ESP spells on unsuspecting citizens. While the Conclave frowned this practice, it was powerless to stop it.
After the Cataclysm the wizards avenged themselves on the few renegades that survived the fall of Istar. After all they had become careless, knowing that their priestly friends would protect them from the Conclave retribution. Because of that they were ruthlessly hunted and almost exterminated. Only one in ten survived and, as their numbers were never great, renegades became a legend from a previous era. They were attributed vast powers and become a hated sort of “evil wizard” above and beyond what was usual at that time.
Different powers used by renegades
It is said, though I have not documented it, that renegades use a different kind of magic than the one normal wizards use. One theory is that they use the wild magic from the beginning of Krynn. By forsaking the moons, they are no longer able to control their magic as well as normal wizards. They suffer from unexpected wild surges that cause all sort of magical mayhem, such as turning the wizard, or their enemies, purple or disintegrate them. Their magic is, most of the time, completely random (2).
I have heard that some wild mages tap the “primordial” magic of Krynn. According to this source they tap the “magic” before the existence of magic. They powers are somewhat limited when compared to high sorcery wizards, but they are able to create spells on the spot and their control of magic is greater than most high sorcerers (3). Lastly I know of some people whose magic is innate. Many high sorcerers consider this type of magic, the wrong type (4). They can cast spells innately and cast less spells than high sorcerers, but they do not need to prepare spells beforehand.
Renegades did not have a huge impact on the history of Krynn. Save for Galan Dracos, Raistlin (if you consider him one) and Lyam, no renegade has threatened Krynn. They are a footnote on most stories. But never underestimate them, they are truly dangerous.
(1) Renegades in this category advance more slowly than normal wizards. They need ¼ more experience to advance a level and do not get an automatic spell once they reach a new spell level.
(2) Renegades as wild mages
If you have access to the Tome of Magic then you can rule that, when a wizard becomes a renegade, he loses the normal spellcasting ability granted by the gods of magic and becomes a wild mage. The wizard acts within the “wild mage” entry on the Tome of Magic, except that it does not gain an extra wild magic spell per level and do not have the bonuses of a specialist. They have, however, a 25% penalty when learning spells that do not belong to the wild magic school.
(3) Renegades as SAGA sorcerers
If you wish, and have the renegades use the Fifth Age system. There are plenty of articles about how to use the fifth Age system with D&D. Check some on this nexus.
(4) Renegades as Sorcerers
We can consider sorcerers to be the renegades on Krynn.