The practitioners of western magic frequently believe they work an ancient
art, with tools and techniques passed on from the gods themselves. What few
realize is that magic evolved with societies in the far east while western culture
was still scrambling together simple spells in huts made of mud and straw.
These mysterious arcanists have learned refined, complicated rites and spells
that seem esoteric and strange to those not familiar with their ways. Through
the manipulation of earth, fire, metal, water and wood, these wu-jen wield
arcane power that rivals the strength of the greatest magical traditions in the
The heart of the wu-jen tradition is difficult to describe outside the context of
the culture that produces it. These spellcasters hone their art through practices
and small rituals that seem inconsequential to observers, but each motion and
position subtly channels arcane energies through the wu-jen. Even subtle
differences in wordings of casual conversations can hold significance to a wujen
adept enough at his art to utilize them.
While most western arcanists believe the base elements of creation are earth,
fire, air and water, a wu-jen views the list as being slightly different. Metal is
considered a pure enough force to be an element, as is wood. Air, however, is
seen as a byproduct of other forces, and not considered an element.
Wu-jen come from all walks of life, but most are educated in multiple artistic
fields such as calligraphy and music. While more rustic practitioners of the
esoteric arts exist, they are few and far between.