A battlefield can shift without warning, and while several magical implements offer greater power than a Neophyte's Aid, few can match the versatility of simply having an additional reserve of personal mana to call on. Equally valuable to battle mages and magical healers, the rod is often compared very favourably to the Witchwood Wand which it surpasses in almost all areas. Indeed, some magicians point out that the rod is even more versatile because it can be used effectively in a fight - unlike the smaller implement.
While some magicians claim crystal mana is more efficient, demand for these rods increases greatly when sources of crystal mana are scarce. Further, because the rod actually increases the reserve of personal power a magician can call on, they gain additional utility when magical herbs - and a skilled apothecary is available to provide easy access to the Philtres of the High Peaks.
- Form: Weapon. Takes the form of a rod. You must be wielding this implement to use its magical properties.
- Requirement: You must have the magician skill to bond to this item.
- Effect: You gain two additional points of personal mana.
- Materials: Crafting a Neophyte's Aid requires nine ingots of tempest jade and five measures of iridescent gloaming. It takes one month to make one of these items.
The Urizen mage came to the end of the requisition order. The provisioner nodded, noting each article in his ledger. Around them, the encampment was filled with the bustle of preparations – a column of Marcher infantry filing out through the palisade gates, dozens of Dawnish yeomen polishing armour and hammering out dents, freshly arrived League soldiers lining up to receive their armaments.
“Oh,” said the mage, squinting at a final line on the list. “And a dozen enchanted rods for the neophytes.”
The provisioner spluttered, and not from the dust that the Marcher boots were kicking up as they went past. “A dozen? A dozen? Are you spirefolk not supposed to possess a trove of such things – and to ask for them for neophytes, no less?”
The mage gave him a wan smile. “I and my pupils have travelled six hundred miles to join this effort, and bringing a veritable trove with us would have been a little beyond the strength of my back, hmm? Not to mention that even a neophyte can save soldiers' lives if he or she has a focusing aid to strengthen their magical reserves.”
A scowl was now resident on the provisioner's face, and showed little intent of giving up its new home. “If it's mana you need, I can authorise another satchel of crystals be delivered instead.”
“If I were leading a circle of ritualists,” the mage countered, “then I would consider your offer a generous one. However, we are here to serve as battlemages, and I foresee long weeks of campaigning ahead of us. My pupils are going to be pushed to their very limits in the coming conflict. A simple bag of mana crystals will quickly disappear, but the focusing aids will provide every day, for as long as there is strength left in their bearers. It will cost you far more to supply us in mana crystals, in the long run, than to simply acquiesce to my request and dispense the rods.”
“Listen,” the provisioner said, “I can't just hand that calibre of equipment out! You think the Dawnish weavers or enchanters will be happy if I tell them I handed out most of the reserve to some newly-arrived Urizen? I-”
But the mage had clearly had enough, his aquiline visage growing stern. “Listen to me. General Haytham sent us assurance that we would have the supplies we need; I brought my spire-fellows over six hundred miles on the belief that the good general would prove true to his word.” He was thrusting a letter at the provisioner now, who flinched away as he saw the Marcher general's seal at the bottom of the script. “I will not send out those I have taught into battle just for their power to be squandered, and for good people to die as a result. So would you like me to go and ask the general why his word is suddenly in question, and why he would rather his country-folk not be given the aid of Urizen mage in this war?”
The scowl stayed in place, but the provisioner relented. “Alright, alright. You'll have your blasted rods, and the mana besides.”“Thank you,” the mage said with a graceful nod. “There. Such a simple decision, but with it, you'll save many lives upon the field of battle.”