Varosimancer

"Not a lot of luck, eh lad? Not to worry, that's actually the point of this exercise. If our thief had passed through Old Town, you'd have gotten a clear answer, because the street spirits there know who we are and are more willing to give up their secrets. The streets here might have a passing memory of me, but don't know you at all. They're going to keep mum, especially if our thief lives near here and doesn't make much trouble for the locals. They're naturally protective of their own, and aren't going to sell them out to strangers unless they've got their own reason to want them out of the neighborhood. Many of our spells work equally well anywhere in the city--or in just about any city, for that matter--but when it comes to dealing with the street spirits directly, familiarity is always the key." 
--Vakshua Hurcz, Varosimancer

Career

Qualifications

"Varosimancer" translates loosely to "urban wizard," so one of the primary qualifications for using this form of magic effectively is an understanding of the area where it will be practiced. The effectiveness of many varisomancy spells can vary considerably depending on where and how they're used, so varosimancers benefit greatly from a working knowledge of the history, traditions, local character, and peculiarities of the places where they operate. While varosimancers in smaller towns can usually function effectively throughout the city, those in large cities like Khezvaros and Tanrilar tend of focus on a single neighborhood or district.

Career Progression

The organization, opportunities, and role of varosimancers varies considerably from city to city. Some places have city-wide or regional guilds or other organizations that oversee the training and activities of members, others incorporate varosimancers into the city's leadership or civil service, and in other places--especially those with only a few practitioners--they operate independently. The varosimancers of Khezvaros are not formally organized, but those with similar interests and goals tend to travel in the same circles and often work together. As with many forms of wizardry, the trade is learned through an apprenticeship, the details of which vary from wizard to wizard.

Payment & Reimbursement

The profitability of urban magic as practiced in Khezvaros varies according to the wizard's moral and ethical leanings, particularly concerning their flexibility. Some varosimancers think of themselves as guardians and leaders of the neighborhood and focus on its protection and improvement; their pay comes in the form of respect from the community, heart-felt gratitude, and the occasional home-cooked meal or baked good. Those with less altruistic leanings can provide many valuable services to thieves and other criminals, for which they collect a tidy profit. Others cut out the middleman entirely and use their powers to advance their own criminal careers.

Other Benefits

In addition to the aforementioned community respect and pies, varosimancers who are willing to contract with imperial agencies, guilds, criminal organizations and other factions can cultivate valuable connections and alliances in addition to earning gold for their services.

Perception

Purpose

Varosimancers are not organized beyond the local level and don't subscribe to any unified philosophy that posits some greater purpose for their powers. That said, street sorcerers do work to preserve and protect their city or section thereof. Even those who see their powers as purely utilitarian have a transactional interest in placating the people and spirits where they live and work.

Social Status

While varosimancers in some cities command (formal or informal) power and respect, Khezvaran ward wizards occupy the same position as other sorcerers, so a particular varosimancer's status owes more to personal reputation than occupation.

Operations

Tools

Many varosimancer spells utilize the architecture and infrastructure of the city itself. For example, a varosimancer may use a paving stone to transfer a spell effect when the intended target steps on it or form a magical connection with a statue that allows them to see through its eyes, hear through its ears, or speak through its mouth. These spells often require that the wizard inscribe a sigil on the object to be used as a focus, so several pieces of chalk and a few vials of paint (for more permanent spells) are essential tools for any varisomancer. Coins, particularly those minted within the city, are also used in numerous varisomancy spells.

Materials

Varisomancy makes use of many of the same naturally or symbolically powerful substances and forms used in other types of magic. In addition, their spells often make use of maps and other objects symbolic of their city or district. Historically significant objects can be used to amplify certain spells.

Provided Services

Because of their comprehensive knowledge of the area where they practice, varosimancers are highly valued as sources of information. In addition to mundane knowledge about history and current events, they can use their ability to contact what they call "street spirits" to uncover secrets or hidden information, find lost items or people, and determine whether a new construction or similar project will be blessed or cursed by the city's spirits of place. Their ability to practice remote viewing through statues makes them valuable as lookouts and spies, while their ability to sense the "flow" of the city can be valuable for those who need to travel quickly or along unconventional paths (most varosimancers can find a path along the Rooftop Highway even if it hasn't been marked). Varosimancers also have the ability to use their power over the city both defensively and offensively, but these powers tend to be reserved for personal use or when the varosimancer is an active participant in crimes or schemes.
Alternative Names
Ward Wizard, Street Sorcerer
Type
Arcane

Cover image: Main Header Banner City of Ten Thousand Daggers by Steve Johnson

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