The Compass Rose
Magic was discovered on Ashtar some 2000 years ago. Although it was rarely seen in these ancient times, it is more commonplace now. It remains highly controlled. The Stars’ Children (or just “The Children”), established over 500 years ago, has a virtual monopoly on the study of the arcane arts. The group administers three schools of magic in Ashtar – in Llantry, Prue and Menia. The schools produce all known types of arcane spellcaster, except the Witch (see Core Rulebook and Advanced Player’s Guide). They identify those with magical potential early in their life. If the individual is not from a wealhy family, the Children arrange to have certain “benefactors” support them financially during their studies. Upon completion of their studies, the new magicians are often called for duty by these same benefactors.
The Children further control the use of magic by maintaining the supply of ama or “stardust”. It is a powdered mixture of precious gems, adamantium, and magical “star essence" that is specially prepared by a group within the Stars’ Children called the High Alchemists. It is so vital to the practice of magic in Ardia, that any arcane spell that is cast without its use, suffers a 20% chance of arcane spell failure (this stacks with other effects that can cause a chance of arcane spell failure, like wearing armour). The use of ama obviates the need for trivial material components (but not rare or expensive ones). Each casting of an arcane spell requires 1/16 of an ounce. Cantrips do not require ama to cast.
Stardust is readily available to members of the Children. A member spellcaster is considered to have an ample supply of ama and, thus, does not need to keep track of its use. It is extremely expensive and hard to come by to outsiders. The blackmarket rate for stardust is 50gp per ounce. Giving or selling ama to an outsider is considered a punishable offence. Practising magic outside of its purview, though not illegal in Ashtar, does not go unnoticed by the Children.
Magic use may be looked upon with either wonderment or fear by the population, depending on its use.
All members of the Stars’ Children may be identified by a 4-pointed star tattoo on the bottom of their left foot.