The Church of Azuth, also known as the Magistrati, was the collective clergy of numerous temples around Faerûn dedicated to the Lord of Spells, Azuth. It was composed primarily of wizards, sorcerers, and monks, though clerics typically held the most power within the hierarchy of the Azuthan church.
The Magistrati were staunch believers, and enforcers, of the concept known as the magebond. This informal pact, taught to all wizards since the days Azuth served as Magister, stated that magic was best left to those willful enough to devote their time to its study and mastery. It further declared disputes between spellcasters, especially their duels, should never affect the non-magic community at large. In fact the lore and ritual of this ancient tradition were closely guarded.
Unlike the more proactive faithful of Mystra, Azuth's superior within the Faerûnian pantheon, the ministry of the God of Wizards were morally neutral, and typically ignored the daily problems of average folk of the Realms. They preferred to engage in abstract debates regarding esoteric arcana and strove to ascribe formulae to magical processes.
Azuthans stressed the preservation of a calm demeanor as well as creative, albeit judicious use of magic to their congregation. In their eyes magical power was accompanied with grave responsibility; within it were effects that could be made, but not necessarily unmade.
They were appreciators of magic, and could enjoy the nuanced complexities of dweomers and elegance of deft spellwork.
The followers of Azuth were taught to learn every spell they came across for posterity, but they were to never hoard magical knowledge. Rather, they were instructed to copy any newly discovered magics for the temple library.
Azuthan novices were tasked with traveling the lands to educate townsfolk about the nature of magic, purely with the aim of sharing knowledge and further propagating wise use of the arcane arts. To this end, the Magistrati sponsored magefairs, and distributed spellbooks and minor magical items to those who demonstrated budding magical aptitude.
The clergy endeavored towards one primary goal, despite how distasteful it was to most wizards. They aspired to ensure that no spell or magical item was unique to a single spellcaster in all of Faerûn, under the reasoning that their death would displace an aspect of arcane knowledge that would then be lost for all time. To help achieve this objective, the Magistrati employed magical spying and even endorsed the temporary theft of obscure magical items.
When Azuthan wizards encountered spellcasters who abused their powers, their initial response would be a fair and earnest warning. Failing that, their retaliation would escalate as necessary. In the most extreme circumstances, they were been known to utilize the services of mage-killers to outright defeat the apostate.
The Magistrati tended to attract magic-users that loved magic for its own sake, rather than those who sought it out as a means to gain power.
Upon being confirmed as a priest of the Magistrati, an initiate to the clergy would undergo a ritual known as the Transforming. Over the period of a tenday, the Azuthan would be enthralled by an ongoing shapechange spell in order to humble them to the power of magic. The actual specifics of the ritual were a secret kept within the church and it was only used outside the initiation ceremony in rare and extreme circumstances.
The following titles were used by the church:
- Magister: A sole mage chosen by Azuth to encourage the spread of magic, its use, and influence within the Realms.
- Blessed: These sanctified servants of Azuth acted as both his heralds and scribes to his church's work in the magical sciences. While the source of their prodigious abilities was shrouded in mystery, they were a grand sight to behold, including telekinesis and the power of flight.
- First: These members within the Magistrati, referred to in public as revered ones, would lead the community of a single temple. Many of these patriarchs lived well over a century, leading to the belief they had found some archaic source of immortality.
- Shield of the High One: Azuthans who have helped eliminate magical monstrosities or imbalances were granted this rank within the church.
- Enlightened One: This title was granted to wizards who joined the church after reading one of Azuth's touched tomes, though they wouldn't rise to any official rank above novice.
Within a temple, the most powerful practitioner of a specific school of magic was granted a specific title. For example a temple's master of abjuration magic would be referred to as the "First Abjurer".
- This faction of the Magistrati distrusted sorcerers and the more chaotic aspects of Mystra and the Weave. They often called back to the fall of the archwizards of Netheril, using the catastrophic event to deter and admonish those who sought raw magical power.
- A sect that strove for the ever-expanding wealth of arcane knowledge by all of humanity, regardless of the source of their abilities.
- Order of the Forgotten Page
- This order, voted upon by the Firsts, was comprised of clergy members who made great effort in recovering magical knowledge that was previously thought lost.
- A subset of priests who, in their travels, served as advisers and councilors to Azuthan wizards.
- An elite branch within the Azuthan church that specialized in the construction of golems.
Clerics of Azuth prayed for their spells at dusk. Liturgical readings of Azuth's tenets accompanied shared meals in their temples.
Azuthans recognized few holidays but did celebrate when a wizard ascended to the rank of Magister. They achieved this illustrious title after selection by Azuth himself, among candidates nominated by his Chosen.
Temples to Azuth were common in the more civilized cities of the Realms, ideally those with large practicing arcane guilds. By 1372 DR, they had established major temples in Halarahh, Bezantur, Lhair, and of course, Saerloon. This Sembian city was home to the church's most revered temple, the House of the High One, which was jointly led by six master wizards.
Equipment, Spells, and RelicsEdit
During services and ceremonies, the Magistrati dressed in elaborate silk garbs of dull, muted colors, that featured absurd collars, garish hats and scarves with a sprawl of arcane symbols. The symbol of Azuth was splayed on the chest, surrounded by a colored aura that denoted their rank within the church. A yellow aura was given to acolytes, apprentices and monks; a red aura to unacknowledged clergy; and white to the Firsts.
In the field, clergy wore sensible clothes, typically in shades of grey. Just as in the church they displayed the holy symbol of Azuth.
As he was known as the Lord of Spells, it followed that Azuth had several spells attributed to his clergy. These included:
Azuth's alteration mantle • Azuth's exalted triad •Azuth's fedensor • Azuth's firing frenzy • Azuth's immobility • Azuth's spell shield • destroy magedoom
The library of the Magistrati maintained a collection of sacred books known as the touched tomes, various spellbooks or other magical tomes, that ages ago comprised the personal library of the mortal Azuth. Priests of Azuth or Mystra were allowed to read these books and memorize their spells as a mage would. Non-Azuthan wizards who were allowed access to these texts would experience a magically induced dream in which they were asked if they wanted to join the Azuthan church and refusal carried no penalty.
- Vorthyn's Archivir: A book of spells dedicated to Azuth, written by Vorthryn Saraddath. This relic has a long and storied history in its existence on Toril.
Since the Time of Troubles, Azuth struggled to reconcile Mystra's older manifestation with her newer one. While it was unknown to the church's practitioners, Azuth's Favored were actually a byproduct of this conflict and, in turn, tore the church apart and turned away much of his worshipers. This divide was furthered by the growing conflict between factions of the Magistrati such as the Loomwardens and the Spellsavants.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 34. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 35. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 237. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 185. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Ed Greenwood and Doug Stewart (1997). Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 108. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 John Terra (February 1996). Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Edited by Steven E. Schend. (TSR, Inc), p. 68. ISBN 0-7869-0368-6.
- ↑ Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- ↑ Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 978-0786903849.