The Genius Guide to the Riven Mage presents a new base class, one that masters a form of magic similar to spells, but considerably simpler and more primal. Known by various cultures as jinx, marvels, will-work, and invocations, most riven mages from more advanced cultures call their mystic powers “rivenspells,” meaning these powers use the same energies as spells but all the unnecessary trappings haven been removed. Rather than “cast spells,” riven mages talk of “riving energies,” as they see the act of creating a riven spell (“to rive” such an effect) the equivalent of tearing a magic effect loose from the background of reality. While rivenspells are significantly more limited in their breadth and flexibility than spells, at the same time they are freed of many of the limitations of spells. A riven mage never worries herself about having a component pouch, what armor she is wearing, or exactly what noises and movements she must make to call on her magic powers. While other spellcasters often claim riven mages are “primitive,” riven mages see themselves as the purest of magic-users, able to call upon their effects easily, quickly, and even under significantly adverse conditions.
Riven mages are proud of their powers, and like to show off what they can do. For goodaligned riven mages this often means using their powers to aid the downtrodden or defend their homelands. Neutral riven mages are more likely to seek compensation for their talents, acting as mercenaries or occasionally, entertainers. Evil riven mages are always planning to build a power base from which to gain wealth and comfort, but begin such efforts by acting as enforcers for groups who do not normally attract the full-time services of traditional spellcasters (such as gangs, brigand bands, slavers, assassins, and thieves guilds).
While riven mages are well known and understood in their native lands, they are also independent and often wander far from their homes. It’s not unusual to find riven mages thousands of miles from their homes, making it easy to introduce a few wandering riven mages into a campaign (as travelers from a distant land where their powers are commonplace).