High Sorcery’s unlock is in. Find a Tower of Sorcery, go to the top, and study. If you’d like to read the lore without the game’s interruptions, here is the full text:
You sit down at a bench and open a worn old book, one that has long since lost its gold leaf. The leather cover is faded and worn, and you can barely make out the words through a fine layer of dust. As you blow the dust away, a white flame flashes across the cover and sears the book’s name anew. This is The Handril Instructionary: Apprentice to Sorcery, 2nd Edition, Volumes I-II.
“Since the dawn of time, Man has wielded the primal mana which flows through the veins of our world. In the first empires, during the Age of Destiny, the primitive tribes of men, dwarfs, orcs, and elves drew magic from rare stones named for the gods Vinak, Hadash, and Ma’kor. As the race of men conquered the land, they came to wield mana directly, and so became the first druids.”
“For many years, the druids hid themselves, and squirreled their magic away from the world. As great cities rose and fell and rose again, and empires sank into the mires of history, the art of magic was kept to whispers. But even the druids could not keep this secret forever. High Sorcery begins with the druid who left his order and founded a school to investigate the true depths of the power of mana. For this, he was branded Warlock.”
“High Sorcery is by its very nature academic magic. It is pondered and forged where the so-called natural magic is raw and untamed. A sorcerer must learn to focus his — or her — energies. This is done through study, through ritual, and through rigorous practice. Each sorcerer is held to the highest standard, whether at the academy or in the field. Each sorcerer swears to uphold the core ideals of High Sorcery, even while pursuing his or her own ambitions.”
“A sorcerer swears first to be loyal to his prince. Above all things, we serve the empire. A sorcerer swears second to seek knowledge. Above all things, we know that wisdom is the true source of power. A sorcerer swears third to leave his sigil emblazoned on the pages of history. Above all things, our greatness must wave as an unyielding banner over the whole of the world.”
You find the book is missing some pages after the oath, and begin skimming through the sections that remain. There’s a section about the origins of mana and the proper techniques for channeling it through a staff, but that seems to be something you could figure out on your own. Pages have been torn from that section as well, and you flip through descriptions of some of the great spells and rituals contained within the book.
“Once, worldly travel was restricted to horses and canoes. Even modern ships of sail can take days or weeks to reach their destination. For this reason, the academy of High Sorcery has begun to craft a network of portals across the many continents. Through the proper invocations and rituals, a ring of stones can anchor reality itself and allow even a layman to bridge two such rings.”
“The earliest sorcerers learned to bind their magic to physical objects in order to enhance the physical prowess of their bearers. This craft, called Enchanting, brought the greatest emperors to the doors of the towers of sor- cery in search of powerful artifacts. Even today, powerful artificers and enchanters can earn a living in the service of kings.”
“When the druids began to emerge from their ancient hiding places, it was only to fight their successor, the academy of High Sorcery. And so ensued the great magic wars, pitting tribe against empire, staff against staff. In this way, the sorcerers came to train battlemages in the martial arts. Soon, these sorcerers became the most feared warriors in the land, capable of laying waste to whole armies with a single spell.”
“A battlemage protects himself first by wielding a staff. This traditional method of focus allows for powerful magic without draining the sorcerer’s own vein of mana. Many sorcerers who have suffered the loss of their staves have also suffered the loss of their lives.”
“A battlemage must learn to anticipate their enemy’s actions using a ritual known to some as Foresight. The truth, however, is that it does not allow the sorcerer to see the future. Instead, this ritual seeds the air with mana to show the path down which physical objects travel. The entire swing of a war- rior’s sword is visible even as his muscles begin to twitch, and the cleverest sorcerer is never caught off-guard.”
You close the worn old book and set it down. Perhaps that’s enough reading for now. It’s clear the path of High Sorcery is a long one, and this is only the start of the journey. As you reflect upon the book, its illuminated pages still fresh in your mind, you begin to wonder what else awaits you on this path. Only time will tell.