Wild Magic

Despite the wonders they can work, magic-users do not have a very good reputation throughout Leng. While there are some places - notably Vingaard - that welcome spellcasters with open arms, most of the continent regards them with fear and suspicion. In most of Leng, wizards are not the providers of expensive but useful services, or invaluable additions to an army. They are either hedge witches and solitary warlocks, or they are the unpredictable, dangerous figures of legend who wield powers that cannot be fully controlled.

Wild Magic is the source of this fear. Although High Magic is the art and craft of any self respecting magic-user, it is a relatively young science. For far longer, those with magical talent have manifested it in a raw fashion far more dangerous and unpredictable than the carefully woven lattices of energy and the incantations of a High Magician. A novice mage's initiation into the ways of High Magic are marked by frustration and careful study; their experience is somewhat akin to trying to catch a greased eel. They spend countless long nights of study and the hours of careful discipline required to hold in their mind the delicate glyphs and sigils with which magical power can be safely trapped, and even then they find the very power they seek elusive. It slips away, ephemeral, until they begin to doubt that they possess the talent at all. And then, one glorious day, they finally succeed - their carefully laid traps suddenly fill with power and they experience the breathtaking euphoria of their first hard-won spell.

The experience of a Wilder is the polar opposite. Where a High Mage struggles to grasp magic, a Wilder struggles to control it. The vast majority of Wild Mages only ever cast a single significant working; this is all it takes to be destroyed or burnt out by the energies they have summoned. Wild Magic is magic without any of the protections that High Magic was designed for - without the words of power and arcane sigils to binds and direct the spellcaster's power. It is pure will manifested in reality, and few survive its invocation.

As scary as the poor child doomed to death by their own talent and a lack of education is, those who gain some control over Wild Magic are scarier still. They are not mages in the same way that a High Magician is - they are closer to bull-wranglers or drug addicts. The sheer power they can access is intoxicating - and incredible things have been done by Wild Mages throughout history - but they are fighting a constant battle. Invariably, the tale of a Wild Mage ends in tragedy. It is from these dangerous souls that the fear and ignorance arises. When the common folk think of a sorceror, they don't think of the Court Wizard of Solamnus, nor do they think of the Magisters of the Red Tower. They think of the Dragon of Alta, whose ancient city is now home only to ghosts and evil shadows.