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D&D and the Arcane Lores

Previous posts in this series can be found here and here.  This post focuses on the Arcane Lores and fitting them into the D&D 5e ruleset with the end goal of running an Old World campaign using D&D.  Here is an overview of the magic in the Old World and, where possible, D&D rules.  I am not 100% satisfied with these rules, but, until I actually play test them I can’t make a judgement call.  Would also make custom spells for each Lore if a player actually chose to play one.  Otherwise, these high level rules should be fine.


The knowledge and power of the Orders of Magic are contained in the Arcane Lores.


The Lore of Beasts is the most feral of sorceries.  It is the magic of animals and primal savagery.  It is based on manipulation of Ghur, the Brown Wind of Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Amber Wizards and they cleave to the wild places that are the source of their strength.  As they gain in power, Amber Wizards grow ever more aloof and restless with human society — their thickly sprouting hair, ragged nails and pointed teeth mirroring the wild nature of their souls.  The Sorcerer class is nearly always part of the Lore of Beasts.

  • PHB Archetype: Sorcerer/any or Wizard/Conjurer with a focus on nature summoning and poison damage.
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: Animal Handling


The Lore of Death is the magic of mortality, endings, and the passage of time.  It is based on manipulation of Shyish, the Purple Wind of Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Amethyst Wizards and they are rightly feared.  While often contacted with Necromancers, Amethyst Wizards are quite distinct.  They embrace the natural ending of all things, whereas Necromancers seek to conquer death with the darkest of magics.  As they grow in power, Amethyst Wizards grow more silent, though not grim.  The breath of the grave follows them, and even the fattest turns to lean; however they retain a wicked wit and respect for life.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/Necromancy but they do not animate or deal with the undead in any way outside of destroying them.  Replace the 6th level class feature with any healing orientated class feature of equal or lower level.  They may never learn the animate dead spells or related abilities.
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: Intimidate


The Lore of Fire, or Pyromancy as it is sometimes known, is the most aggressive school of magic. It is based on manipulation of Aqshy, the Red Wind of Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Bright Wizards and are frequently found on the battlefield since they command an array of impressively destructive spells.  As they grow in power, Bright Wizards grow ever more quick-tempered and hyperactive.  Their hair and eyebrows turn to flaming red and flicker in an unseen breeze.  They are quick to take offence and quick to feel the cold.  Bright Wizards often take on facial tattoos as they progress in ability.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/Evoker.  Bright Wizards always pick fire based spells before any other type.  They never use cold based spells.  Spells of any other damage type are automatically converted to fire damage when cast by a Bright Wizard.
  • Bonus Spell: You gain command as a bonus spell.


The Lore of the Heavens is the magic of the sky and stars, of portents, fate, and the movement of heavenly bodies.  More commonly known as Astromancy, it is based on manipulation of Azyr, the Blue Wind of Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Celestial Wizards and they are famed oracles, diviners, and masters of the skies and stars.

As they grow in power, Celestial Wizards grow ever more unearthly and dreamlike.  Their eyes turn to a glowing blue, and their hair tends towards white.  Full of slow, graceful movements, Celestial Wizards seldom hurry anywhere.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/Divination.
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: You gain the unique skill Intelligence (Astronomy) dealing with anything to do with celestial bodies.


The Lore of Life is the magic of nature, the growing earth, and the seasons.  It is based on manipulation of Ghyran, the Green Wind of  Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Jade Wizards and they are most at home in the countryside. They visit cities when they must, but prefer to be surrounded by the majesty and power of the wild.

Powerful Jade Wizards go barefoot, that they might be in constant contact with the earth. As they progress in their Order they take on aspects of the seasons, growing tired in Winter, sombre in Autumn, excited in Spring and vibrant in Summer.  Their hair and fingernails grow very fast, and they seldom suffer from illness.

Many Life spells require natural earth to function. is means the area speci ed must consist of dirt or even mud and can’t be covered with wood, stone, ooring, cobbling, etc. Essentially, such spells can’t be cast inside buildings unless they have dirt oors.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/any.  You may replace elemental damage to poison when casting a damaging spell.
  • Bonus Spells: You gain the cleric Nature domain spells as part of your spell list.
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: You gain proficiency in the Survival skill.


The Lore of Light is the magic of physical and mental illumination. Based on manipulation of Hysh, the White Wind of Magic, this lore is about truth, wisdom, radiant power, and life-giving energy.  Magisters of this lore are known as Hierophants or Light Wizards and they are wise philosophers, potent healers, and fearless Daemon banishers.  As these Wizards grow in power, they tend towards dry intellectualism and wit, rather than humour.  The colour leeches out of their skin and hair, growing lighter and semi-transparent in some cases, whilst the eyes tend towards milky whiteness or a golden luminescence.  Most spend their spare time reading or in solemn contemplation. Lore

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/Abjuration or Theurgy.  You may replace elemental damage to radiant when casting a damaging spell.
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: You gain proficiency in the Medicine skill.


The Lore of Metal is the magic of transmutation, logic, applied knowledge, empirical investigation and experimentation. More commonly known as alchemy, it is based on manipulation of Chamon, the Yellow Wind of Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Gold Wizards or Alchemists and they are amongst the most learned folk of the Empire. Alchemists make frequent use of ritual magic and their most legendary transmutations are spells of this type.  As they grow in power, Gold Wizards become more conservative in their attitudes, preferring to deal with tangible, pragmatic, measurable things, rather than fancy new ideas.  Mirroring this consolidation, their bodies grow ever slower and stiffer, the joints seizing and the skin growing thick and calloused with a goldish hue.  Many elder Wizards resort to contraptions to get their frozen bodies about.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/Transmutation.


The Lore of Shadow is the magic of concealment, illusion, confusion, and occasionally unseen death.  It is based on manipulation of Ulgu, the Grey Wind of Magic.  Magisters of this lore are known as Grey Wizards and they are an enigmatic lot.  They are so cloaked in deception that their true feelings and agendas are rarely known.  Grey Wizards are sometimes known as illusionists or trickster Wizards.  As Grey Wizards grow in power, they take on an enigmatic presence and a wolfish look to them.  With long wiry grey hair and a lean, light-footed stance they begin to seem almost roguish, but for their storm grey eyes.  Even with these distinctive features, folk find it hard to describe a powerful Shadow Wizard, as their faces seem grow vague and indistinct. Some claim they subtly change to fit their surroundings, but this seems too far-fetched, even for High Magisters.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/Illusion or Enchantment
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: You gain proficiency in the Stealth skill.


While most Arcane Magic is powered by one of the Winds of Magic, there are two types of magic that manipulate all eight winds at once. High magic, or Qhaysh, is magic in its purest and most undiluted form. It is so difficult to master than only the High Elves of Ulthuan have the skill to use it regularly.

Whenever a high elven wizard gains a class feature he or she may choose a class feature from any of the Lores of Magic of equal or lower level.


If Qhaysh is the eight colours in harmony, Dhar is the eight colours in discordance.  It is the magic of destruction, domination, and pollution.  The Dark Lores of magic are based on the manipulation of Dhar.  They are the province of evil and desperate men, those willing to risk their lives and souls for power.  There are two main types of Dark Lore, Chaos magic and Necromancy.  Like Arcane Lores, they have associated skills.  Casting Dark Lore spells follows the normal rules with an additional complications.

Whenever you are required to roll on the Tzeench’s Curse table and you roll doubles you are also exposed to an additional side effect if you roll doubles.

Side Effects

Descriptions of the various side effects follow. You can gain each side effect multiple times and effects are cumulative.  The DM is responsible for determining the details of each side effect (what allergy is gained, how you are disfigured, etc.)

  1. Allergy: You have an extreme allergy to a common material, like leather or fur. When in contact with it, you suffer a –1 penalty to your attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws.  If you roll this side effect more than once, you either get a new allergy or your existing allergy becomes more severe.
  2. Aversion: You develop an aversion to a common element of daily life, like light, water, or the crying of infants.  When forced to be around it, you suffer a –1 penalty to your Wisdom saving throw and Charisma Ability and Skill checks.  If you roll this side effect more than once, you either get a new aversion or your existing aversion becomes more severe.
  3. Cadaverous Appearance: You begin to look like a corpse. At first, you simply grow pale and develop rings around your eyes but eventually you become indistinguishable from a real cadaver. You suffer a –1 penalty to your Charisma checks in all social situations, but gain a +1 bonus on Intimidate checks.
  4. Debilitation: You permanently lose 1d10 hit points.
  5. Disfigurement: You gain a repulsive disfigurement to a random part of your body.  This can be nearly anything, from unsightly sores to scaly skin to the growth of fur. Unless you can disguise the disfigurement, you suffer a disadvantage on all Charisma checks in all social situations.
  6. Disturbing Presence: Your aura becomes so malignant that children and animals refuse to go near you and you suffer a –1 penalty to your Charisma checks in all social situations.
  7. Madness: You gain a random madness (DMG pg. 258).  It starts with short term madness if you already have a short term madness you gain a long term madness.  If you already have a short and long term madness you gain an indefinite madness.  If at this point you gain another madness the cycle starts all over again.  Remember, that each time a character gains a madness their Sanity score is reduced by 1 (DMG pg. 265).
  8. Mutation: Your body is wracked by Chaos energy and you develop a mutation. You must roll on the Mutations tables.
  9. Palsy: You become prone to periodic fits of shaking.  At the start of any stressful situation (combat, a verbal confrontation, etc.), you must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC determined by the DM or 15 by default) or suffer a fit that lasts 1d10 rounds. During the fit, you suffer disadvantage to your Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma ability checks and all related checks derived from those abilities (to-hit, saving throws, skills etc).  You also are slowed as the spell.
  10. Stench: You develop a most unpleasant odour.  For each instance of this side effect, it takes 1 application of perfume to mask the stench for a day.  If you had gotten stench three times, for example, it’d take three applications of perfume a day to hide the smell.  When the smell is noticeable, you suffer a -2 penalty to your Charisma ability and skill checks in all social situations.
  11. Weakness: You permanently lose 1d4 from your Strength Characteristic.
  12. Roll twice ignoring a roll of 12.


The Lore of Chaos is the magic of change, destruction, temptation, and decay.  It is based on manipulation of Dhar, also known as dark magic. The practitioners of Chaos magic are known by many names—sorcerer, witch, and cultist to name but a few.  As with all followers of Chaos, these mages are the enemy of civilisation and all that it stands for. They seek the overthrow of the Empire and all nations of the Old World and their vision of the future is one of darkness, blood, and endless change.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/any (but usually conjuration), Warlock and Sorcerer.  You may convert any damage type to necrotic when casting a damaging spell.
  • Bonus spells: You add the Demon Summoning spells to your spell list.
  • Bonus Language: You gain proficiency in the daemonic language (equivalent to abyssal and infernal) skill.


The Lore of Necromancy is the magic of death. Unlike Amethyst magic, Necromancy is an unnatural art. It is based on manipulation of Dhar and involves extending life and conquering death in violation of the natural order. Necromancers make frequent use of ritual magic and their most infamous abilities are spells of this type. They are widely reviled and are forced to practice their sorcerous arts in secret.  They must stay one step ahead of crusading Priests, templars, and Witch Hunters.  Necromancy is strictly forbidden in the Empire and those caught can expect no mercy.

  • PHB Archetype: Wizard/any (but usually necromancy, Warlock and Sorcerer.  If the arcane tradition chosen was originally necromancy then the restriction on the use of undead is lifted.  In addition, when choosing your class feature you may instead choose a Death Domain feature of equal or lower level (DMG pg. 96).
  • Bonus spells: You add the Death Domain spells to your class spell list.
  • Bonus Skill Proficiency: You gain proficiency in the Religion skill.



Posted in 5e, Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer


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