A Mage is a person who has committed him or herself fully to the pursuit of wisdom. Their ranks are filled with the children of hopeful nobility, or those who sought an escape from the intellectual void of manual labor. Because of their intelligence, a collective group of magi could single-handedly rule society, were they ever to try. However, their true love is neither money, nor power, and those who see the study of magic as a means to such ends often lack the very conviction required for true mastery.
Upon the successful culmination of their apprenticeship, a mage is stripped of the brown robes of an apprentice and given the ruddy cloak of a master. The significance of this change is often lost on the peasantry, who mistakenly title Master Magi as 'Red Magi'. Likewise, the symbolism of the change in colors is often mistaken to signify the mage's ability to seemingly conjure fire from nothing but thin air, a trick which, although undeniably useful, is viewed by the magi themselves as a crass application of their hard-won knowledge. Though physically frail, and untrained as warriors, the 'Red Magi' have a number of tricks up their sleeves, including the gouts of fire which may have cemented their colloquial name. However, some magi, as they learn about the world around them, and learn the truth of the suffering and squalor in which humanity too often lives, find that they cannot bring themselves to be cloistered into a life of study. These men and women give up the life of a mage, and join monastic orders, dedicating the skills they have been given to the good of all. After their ordination, they often travel the world, ministering to sickness and injury.
Silver magi, or "wandering mystics" act under an agenda which is obscure even to their own colleagues. Though helpful to the magisteriums which often employ them in the field, they remain somewhat aloof. They have, in fact, their own order amongst the ranks of magi, an order which withholds certain secrets from their peers. One of these is an apparent ability to cross great distances, faster than one could possibly travel on foot. Members of the silver order ardently refuse to discuss the workings of this with any of their fellow magi, and on those rare occasions when others have pried into their work, they have abandoned the endeavor, never to speak of it again.
The title of Arch Mage is traditionally conferred only after a lifetime of study and achievement to match. Arch Magi are often employed in positions of education, or as advisors to those sensible enough to seek the fruits of their wisdom. Many tend to wealthy patrons, a profitable enterprise for both as, outside of the occasional thaumaturgy or word of advice, it gives the mage leave to pursue their research undisturbed. From this flows the greater body of human knowledge; the sciences, the philosophies, and the arts which give beauty to the world at large.
Any person who is even considered for the title of Great Mage is quite nearly a legend in their own time, and town criers have forcibly learnt discretion in applying the title. Merit for the title is carefully considered by a council of the leading magi of the age, and the conferment of the title is given only by a majority vote. Regardless, anyone who is seriously nominated for the honor of being called a Great Mage is, without question, a master of their art, and has surpassed almost any of their peers in skill.
Mages generally start out with basic light balls as a form of attack. As they advance, the chosen path will decide which form of attack will be used. For example, mages who go down the path of light learn to attack with holy light, while mages who tread the path of alchemy learn how to blast foes with fireballs.