Wielders of arcane magic – also known as the Art – are rare in most societies. No more than one person in a thousand or so is likely to have any ability as a wizard or sorcerer. Half of those are dilettantes and dabblers – a merchant who’s studied a little wizardry to protect himself on the road, or a noble who received an unusual education. In some lands and among some races, of course, the incidence of arcane magic use is much higher. Elves and Gnomes take to the Art with such ease that mages might be more than ten times as common in their lands as elsewhere.
The Arcane arts are tightly controlled by a large organization known only as The Order. Their towers, which reside in almost every major Human city, are bastions of arcane knowledge and lore. Their distinctive blue cloaks cut through crowds like no other, and few rarely are seen travelling alone. Their grip on the magic of the land is almost complete, and some wonder if they don’t have some sway in almost every decision made in the Human Kingdoms. Feared more than trusted, their displays of charity for the poorest of the land tend to keep any populace from turning on them outright.