|“||Battle is a matter of vital importance to the Great Mage. It is the realm of life and death, and lies upon the road to ultimate success or utter ruin.||”|
|— The Great Mage|
The Great Mage was the title of a bloodforge mage in the Utter East during the time of the Bloodforge Wars (648–657 DR). It was also a byword for any tactically skilled bloodforge mage.
The Great Mage taught a number of principles of warfare related to the function and philosophy of the bloodforge and basal golems and their use in battle, together with mana and mystical sites. His adherents labeled the bloodforge "the mother of battle", a thing pregnant with magic that gave life to armies, with basal golems "the children of battle", who would serve without question or doubt. They saw mana as a kind of food that fed their war effort. They saw themselves as masters of battle who would achieve greatness through conflict.
The Great Mage also created the "oracle", a marble interface that each mage who'd mastered a bloodforge could use to issue commands to their army while they took a place high above the battlefield.
In his own teachings, he used the term "Mage" for a hypothetical bloodforge mage and "Great Mage" for one who demonstrated superior tactical skill and leadership ability. Other writers and campaigners, such as Baykon the Bard, the Epic Urus, Grey Shian, Haliph Axe, Pavisi the Prophet, and Tok Ville the Traveler adopted this term, and hence "Great Mage" could also be seen as a byword for any talented military commander and bloodforge mage. For example, Tyranis Shagal was known as a "great mage", while Aelric the Avenger was said to be heir to a legacy of great mages.
The Great Mage was depicted as the quintessential image of the wizard: an old man with woolly white hair, mustache, and beard, with glasses and wearing purple robes and pointed hat adorned with stars. He spoke in a high, squeaky voice.
- On preparation…
- "The strategies of battle must be thoroughly studied. Pity those that follow the Mage who has not given this due consideration."
- "The Great Mage evaluates the conditions of terrain before deploying his forces. Only then can the proper number and type of followers be directed to an objective."
- "The Great Mage lures the enemy into traps, and draws opponents away from the true objective."
- "The plans of an enemy can be revealed in his actions. If he is a Great Mage, then his followers will act with deception."
- "No amount of planning can save the Mage who is unable to respond to unforeseen circumstances."
- On tactics…
- "Sporadic attacks can frustrate the opponent. This sort of badgering will wear upon his patience, and distract him from his plans."
- "Any battle may be won with the correct approach. The Great Mage exploits the weakness in his enemy, while avoiding the strengths."
- On leadership…
- "When an army resides at home, it must answer to the will of its king. Once in the field, the army is governed by the laws of its leader."
- "The Mage who does not recognize inherent dangers to his followers does not recognize the correct way to use them"
- "When the objectives of a Mage are in harmony with the will of his followers, all commands will be obeyed without fear of mortal peril."
- "Properly led followers celebrate the attack, and are resentful when ordered away from battle."
- On resources…
- "The wasteful Mage does not recognize which resources are needed. He occupies himself with inferior pursuits, and permits the enemy to act."
- "The Great Mage feigns weakness, and hoards resources for the correct opportunity."
- "That which cannot be acquired freely may be taken from the enemy."
- "The use of magic must be thoroughly studied. Be wary of the Mage who wields this ominous weapon without due reflection."
- On emotion and insight…
- "Arrogance and anger are the bane of all Mages. When these are encouraged, a Mage will attack without proper planning."
- "If a Mage is not courageous, then doubt will overwhelm him and drive great plans from his mind."
- "Idle comfort permits a Mage to reflect upon his world, yet the heat of battle forces him to examine his own nature."
- "Experience has no value when lessons are ignored."
The Great Mage is a peripheral character in the Blood & Magic game and documentation. In the Instruction Manual, some passages are titled "Teachings of the Great Mage". A mini-story in the Readme file for the Interactive Demo (though not the full game) refers to "principles of warfare as instructed by the Great Mage" and "a marble oracle created by the Great Mage" (that is, the game interface). Within the game itself, the Great Mage appears to teach the player in the tutorial mission. Finally, when exiting the game, a quote appears offering in-setting tactical advice, the majority of which is from the Great Mage. The Great Mage thus appears to be inspired by Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 (1996). Blood & Magic Interactive Demo README.TXT , link:. (Interplay).
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 (1996). Blood & Magic Instruction Manual (PDF). (Interplay).
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.