Goddess of Magic, Lady Arcane, Guardian of the Five Founts, Guardian of the Arcane Streams, the Grand Archmagister, Mistress Magic
Overview: According to legend, Numira played a crucial and major role in constructing the Five Founts of Arcane Magic located throughout Stormfell. The Five Founts allow mortals to access arcane magic without corruption or taint from the Elemental Chaos. Without the Five Founts, any mortal creature so much as touching arcane magic risks his health, sanity, and soul to the destructive influence of the Blight.
In her role as goddess of arcane magic, Numira maintains and protects the Five Founts, as do her priests. Many of her clerics and paladins devote their lives to keeping the Founts secure and, when possible, secret. As might be expected, these duties bring Numira’s clerics into direct conflict with the Blighted, as well as numerous cults devoted to the primordials.
Numira is in an unusual position in regards to the Covenant. Her mastery of magic helped broker this crucial agreement amongst the Gods of the Dawn, and her magic helps enforce the Covenant equally and fairly. Without her power and influence, the agreement would likely collapse and fail. As much as the various gods despise the accord, all recognize the necessity and benefits of maintaining their part in the contract. They also have come to realize and even appreciate Numira’s invaluable contributions both in past and present.
In the waning days of the Dawn War, Numira withdrew from the conflict to give thought to the aftermath – something few of the gods or primordials had bothered to consider. The Goddess of Magic knew, one way or another, the war would come to its end with legions of questions and challenges demanding attention. For Numira, the chief question involved arcane magic, its access, and its effects on mortal creatures.
Although mortal understanding of how magic works remains incomplete at best, most sages and scholars believe that arcane magic originates within the Elemental Chaos. In its purest form, this magic represents creation, chaos, and destruction in a continually mutating form. Gods, primordials, and similar beings tap into magic as they choose, manipulating powerful forces through sheer willpower alone. Because of their mastery of magic and other powers, such beings are immune to pure magic’s detrimental effects. Mortals, however, are not.
When a mortal taps directly into magic’s source, he comes into contact with raw chaos. Without fail, this contact corrupts mind, body, and soul in unpredictable – and ultimately dangerous – ways. Many wizards refer to these untamed flows of magic as the Blight, and they believe magic is infused with tainted energies. Those mortals foolish or brazen enough to draw magic directly from the source are known as the Blighted. These accursed spellcasters inflict death, destruction, and horror wherever they travel.
During the Dawn War, gods and primordials drew magic from its source without concern for taint. Once their mortal servants and soldiers entered the conflict, however, new dangers became apparent. The first mortal wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers fell prey to insanity, megalomania, and (eventually) murderous rage. Such creatures, no longer truly mortal, required swift intervention before they caused widespread destruction.
Numira, the deity most familiar with magic and its use, used her own essence to filter the chaos from the flows of magic. Mortal arcane spellcasters thus could cast magic without fear of harm or madness. Unfortunately, the demands of so many creatures threatened to overwhelm her, especially during lengthy battles.
As the war drew to its conclusion, Numira fashioned five secret locations in the mortal world. These “founts” connected to the Elemental Chaos and served as wellsprings for arcane magic. Magic flowed from the source through the founts and was cleansed of corruption. The founts’ existence allowed mortals the opportunity to access arcane magic without fear of harm.
To the surprise of many gods, Numira took her efforts one step further. She called upon twelve of the most powerful mortal arcane spellcasters. She appointed these men and women as Sentinels of the Five Founts: two for each fount, with one individual serving as Archmagister and overseer of all Five Founts. As part of these appointments, Numira granted a vast storehouse of knowledge to each Sentinel. In essence, she gave to them all secrets of arcane magic, at least to the capacity of mortal comprehension. These 13 individuals became the first priests of Numira. They established her church in the mortal domain, passing on her traditions.
Numira’s faith has remained a steadfast, albeit small, religion in this world, as well as in both the Feywild and the Shadowfell. Her worshippers are relatively few, and most common folk have little understanding of or appreciation for the Mistress of Magic.
Overall, worshippers of the goddess are unusual individuals, as are her priests. Numira’s church focuses on arcane rather than divine magic. Many of her priests are not truly clerics as recognized by other religions, but rather are wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, and bards. Religious services devoted to the goddess are heavily focused on discussion of and experimentations with magic. Her temples more closely resemble libraries than anything religious, and her priests tend to act and talk more like scholars, sages, and wizards than those of other faiths. As a result, many other religions do not consider Numira’s priests as “true” priests.
Numira remains somewhat of a mystery not only amongst her worshippers, but also amongst the other gods of the pantheon. She spends little time dwelling in her home in the Astral Sea, and interacts seldom with other gods or their servants. Legends suggest she possesses a draconic form and was, at one time, the chief consort of the dragon-god Io (and may be the mother of Bahamut and Tiamat). Even within her church, there is little consensus about such stories. Some myths indicate that the other gods punished Numira for granting mortals unfettered access to magic. These stories suggest she spent a length of time imprisoned in Torog’s vast dungeons, and only gained her release by seducing the King That Crawls. Many of these tales, although not considered sacrilegious within the faith, are considered insulting – and insulting any person’s patron god is rarely a good idea.
Spheres of Influence: Arcane magic, spellcasting, wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, mystical events, items
Avatar: The Mistress of Magic frequently travels the world, as well as the Feywild and the Shadowfell, in her aspect form. She also has been known to enter the Elemental Chaos – something few other gods dare attempt (or care to). She enjoys unusual freedom to travel as an avatar, and she does not labor under the same restrictions as her fellow deities.
When Numira travels the mortal realms, she almost always appears as a young human female (although sometimes she favors appearing as a half-elf). She has shoulder-length silver hair, deep green eyes, and her skin is the color of dark amber. She carries a large, gnarled staff fashioned from dragonwood, its length etched with thousands of tiny runes and sigils.
Although Numira travels to mortal domains frequently, she rarely interacts with mortals to any great degree. She might spend hours debating and discussing magic wards, or she might sit listening to a group of students arguing about arcane theorems. Often, however, she prefers to visit the great libraries and universities of the mortal realms; she has even been known to sit in on a class like a novice and listen to the teacher. She has been known to “fill in” for an absent professor. According to numerous stories and legends, she can teach a new spell or ritual with but the slightest touch of her hand to a person’s forehead, even if such a person never cast a spell before in his or her life.
Signs & Portents: There are numerous omens connected with Numira, and almost all of them involve a display of magic, however small, in one form or another. Signs from the Goddess of Magic invariably would be impossible (or at least highly improbable) without magic. A broken window may repair itself, shadows may appear to move independently of their owners, a damaged book becomes whole again, and a scroll yellowed with age becomes readable once more. Numira’s omens frequently help her priests and others to recover arcane secrets and items otherwise lost or forgotten. It seems the goddess delights in revealing “new” bits of magic to those willing to pursue such information. In this way, her signs are often referred to as guideposts or beacons, since they guide true believers towards intriguing discoveries. This places her in direct opposition to the god Vecna and his followers.
Tenets of the Faith: Seek out and learn all the lost knowledge and forgotten secrets of the arcane. Ioun’s worshippers seek out arcane books and scrolls with the intent of preserving the knowledge, often in some vast library or vault. A priest of Numira also seeks out arcane discoveries, but with the goal of sharing knowledge with others. Although Numira advocates caution in the teaching of magic, she does not want her servants hiding or hoarding what they learn. Possessing knowledge is not an end in and of itself.
Teach others what you have learned; advocate the responsible use of magic. Arcane magic grows, evolves, and improves as more and more mortals enter the field. The only way to keep the study of magic infused with new blood is to “share the wealth” and teach others. Priests of Numira do what they can to teach magic to those willing to learn (and capable of using magic responsibly). This ranges from teaching cantrips to taking on apprentices.
Practice and perfect the casting of arcane magic. Never stop learning, never cease exploring. Priests and followers of Numira are called to use magic whenever appropriate. They are also encouraged to learn magic of many different types, growing and developing skills and expertise. Arcane experimentation is encouraged.
Perhaps the core philosophy of Numira’s faith is this: magic is beautiful. Casting magic is akin to the act of creating life. Using magic honors the goddess, as does learning how magic works. Numira represents sheer, unadulterated appreciation of and love for arcane magic in all its many forms (excepting Blight magic, of course).
Holy Symbol: The encircled pentagram with three teardrops of blood
Place of Worship: Numira has no dictates or demands about appropriate places for worship. It is said she smiles upon prayers offered in a library, school, or laboratory alike. Numira’s temples often seem more like such places than temples of other religions, with little focus on traditional religious trappings.
Canon: Ex Libris Arcanum Magica. This lengthy, weighty tome in fact, comprises several books (at last count, three primary volumes and five secondary). Whereas the holy texts of most religions remain relatively static over time, Ex Libris continues to grow, evolve, and develop as the study of arcane magic continues. The core work of Ex Libris focuses on the first secrets of arcane magic as passed down from Numira to the first Sentinels. Surrounding these core principles are the supporting facets of arcane magic – elements that have become the standard for educating most wizards and many warlocks. Even in the absence of any other scrolls or books, a wizard can teach apprentices using just the three core books of the Ex Libris.
When new concepts are discovered, or old bits of knowledge unearthed, the current Council of Sentinels meets, usually every decade, and selects which information to fold into the holy book. These meetings often proven long, contentious, and fraught with bitter debate. Once the Sentinels arrive at a consensus (which can sometimes take up to a year), they adjourn and reveal their additions, changes, and deletions to the Ex Libris Arcanum Magica.
For various reasons, after the fall of the Nerathan Empire the Council did not (and often could not) meet regularly; decades often have passed without a gathering of these worthies. During this time, considerable arcane knowledge has been lost, abandoned, or overlooked, much to the shame and sorrow of Numira’s followers.
Cleric’s Alignment: Any
Duties of the Priesthood: Numira’s priests generally pursue one of three courses within the overall church. Each branch of the faith serves a particular function. Together, the three branches work to collect, preserve, disseminate, and educate in all things related to arcane magic. Even more important however, Numira’s priests strive to practice magic, uncover its secrets, and revel in the sheer enjoyment of creation.
The first branch is also the smallest, and its member priests are known as Warders. These clerics typically travel across Stormfell (as well as other domains) to protect people from the misuse and abuse of arcane magic. Specifically, they hunt down and destroy the Blighted and items crafted with Blight magic. They also strive to urge independent wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers to use their magic responsibly. Warders are trained in sensing magic, especially the Blight, and tracking down cultists. Their magical talents often focus on abjuration and invocation, in addition to a measure of divination. Warders are usually clerics, but often with training in the arcane arts as well. In their travels, Warders traditionally travel in pairs known as a dyad. The other member of the dyad is usually a person with extensive martial training and experience.
The second branch is the largest, with its members known as Seekers. These individuals track down arcane information, secrets, and items, including rumors of same. In this aspect they resemble a sect within the faith of Ioun; indeed, the Seekers often cooperate with Ioun’s priests when it proves beneficial to both parties. Seekers are trained to sort out information from rumor and guesswork. When they locate a book, scroll, tablet, magic item, or other splinter of magic, they bring it back to the local Numiran temple for cataloging and preservation. Whereas the followers of Ioun are focused primarily on preserving knowledge for its own sake, the Seekers pursue their agenda in the hopes that their discoveries are shared throughout the world. In their view, magic is meant to be shared, not coveted or buried in some dusty library for all time.
Members of the third group, the Masters, are educators. They teach arcane magic to anyone willing to learn, including wizards and their ilk, and others with a passing interest in the field. Many of the Masters work both for their local temple as well as a regional academy or school. The Masters take the knowledge gleaned by the Seekers and do their best to share it, and to teach the practice of responsible magic use.
Limitations & Sacrifices: The clerics of Numira must donate a considerable portion of their time, talents, and income to their local church. They give over half of any money earned back to the temple, and the temple uses such income to fund Warder and Seeker expeditions, and to expand schools operated by the Masters. It is customary for a devoted cleric of Numira to give half of his earnings back to the temple. Given the invaluable talents most Numiran priests possess, money is rarely a concern, even with such a large commitment to the temple. As the saying goes, “I spend my coin on books; if there’s anything left, I buy food and clothes.”
All priests of Numira are called to share arcane knowledge with those willing to learn. Her priests must also do what they can to locate, protect, and disseminate arcane information. Hoarding knowledge is a sin, especially when the knowledge could benefit others and enhance the practice of arcane magic.
At the same time, her priests must show appropriate restraint in the use of magic, and with whom they teach its practice. As much as the Goddess of Magic encourages people to use magic, her faith teaches the importance of responsibility in its use. She forbids her clerics or worshippers to teach magic or share arcane knowledge with the Blighted.
A follower of Numira may only draw magic through one of the Five Founts (this method is taught to all wizards; sorcerers; most warlocks learn from each other the proper way to channel magic through the Founts). She forbids her followers from drawing on raw (i.e., Blight) magic, or ever using an item forged with Blight magic. Such items must be destroyed, regardless of their potential value or use. Knowledge and information about casting Blight magic can be collected, but only for use in combating Blighted cultists and their dire magic.
Role-playing a cleric of Numira brings you the chance to play a cleric who thinks like a wizard (or other arcane spellcaster). Even though your cleric will still use divine magic and cast clerical prayers (as those found in the Player’s Handbook, or Divine Power, for example), she will do what she can to learn and use arcane magic, especially rituals.
The Good. A priest of Numira gives you a chance to play a cleric, but occasionally walk and talk like a master of the arcane arts. Such a cleric is likely learned, educated, rationale, and logical. He probably has a distinct weakness for books, scrolls, and the like. Because your god is more focused on aspects of arcane magic, you rarely concern yourself with fighting evil for its own sake. The pursuit of knowledge is what attracts you to your vocation first and foremost.
The Bad. There may be times where you find yourself a bit lost or disoriented in playing a cleric who thinks and talks more like a wizard. Numira’s priests are not always concerned with hunting undead, combating evil, or stopping the latest evil god’s sinister plan. Although this provides for a refreshing change of pace, it can also prove challenging as a cleric; Numira’s clerics tend to be more analytical and logical than followers of other gods. They love and appreciate their goddess, but rarely with the passion other priests dedicate to their patron deities.
Keep in Mind. Although the Religion skill is certainly important, most clerics of Numira focus heavily on the Arcana skill. Taking the Skill Focus feat (or the Skill Training feat in Arcana) is a good start.
In addition, consider taking a wizard, sorcerer, or warlock multiclass feat when possible to help add an arcane touch to your priest.