--Bona al la encycla lorica.
A spellshaper is one who invents new spells or innovates off pre-existing ones - or is working on doing so. Thus spellshapers are the ones who contribute to a guild's or sect's library (collection) of spells.
To the extent that spellshapers need to create and cast spells in the process of testing their spells, they are also spellcrafters and spellcasters. This, along with their extensive knowledge of how magic works, makes them the most versatile category of magic-users.
Creating new spells
Those spellshapers who have successfully created a new high-end spell are given the further title of Mage. Spellshapers are also involved in the daily operation of a guild's high magic, as the guilds constantly work to enhance their high magic and adapt it to suit other purposes.
Creating a novel spell is no easy feat, as the collection of spells 'on the books' at any guild is quite extensive, covering most of the imaginable versions of the simpler spells and a great many based on the high magic of each guild.
Spellshapers are the ultimate scientists of Lorica. They do R&D - basic research, the advanced research based on it, development, troubleshooting, and enhancement. As they have to have such a wide knowledge base, requiring familiarity with a great portion of the scope of the magical knowledge available, in a sense they are renaissance men/women. It also means that the learning curve for becoming a spellshaper is extremely lengthy (much longer than either of the other two professions), and may take a decade or longer.
Joining as a Guild Spellshaper
To join a guild as a spellshaper one must first have joined by the age of seven. The work of a spellshaper requires extensive learning of foundational principles, and to be successful, a spellshaper must be as fluent in them as one would with breathing. The best time to train the mind for something such as this is when one is young; hence the very early cutoff for recruitment. In addition, it takes intelligence to become a spellshaper, so only those deemed worthy will be permitted to join as a spellshaper.
Generally, because people at the age of seven or lower are in no capacity to make life-changing decisions on their own, the guild sends recruiters out to people with children known to be of age. They meet with the parents, and generally the parents will allow the recruiter to test the child’s mental capabilities, knowing that should the recruiter approve, the child may be able to join the guild and have a good living, which is the desire of many a parent. The recruiters test the child’s intelligence - in particular, the ability to integrate new and disparate packets of knowledge in unusual ways and the ability to reason out things that seem daunting at first - and make a decision. Should both sides approve, they will bring the child into the attendance of a local magistrate (a noble, notary, judge, etc) to officially hand over guardianship of the child to the guild as a future member of the guild - and thereafter the parents would not have any legal right to have their child back, and may only occasionally visit the child. This is because the guilds refuse to take up any children those parents might demand them back at any moment (they can't afford to spill guild secrets). The recruiter spirits the child away to the local guild hall where the child will study as a novice.
As novices the children partake in daily mental exercises and in learning both the local language and the high Lorican used by guild mages throughout all of Ethaya, both reading and writing, which relatively few commoners know. They learn basic arithmetic and geometry.
The noviceship lasts until age ten, at which point they become initiated (becoming initiates) and continue their training. As an initiate, training broadens to include more advanced subjects, including an extensive study of the principles of science, metallurgy and crafting and glassblowing, more advanced math (starting with algebra and trigonometry), and being indoctrinated with the guild's teachings and philosophies, in particular the principle of guild secrets and intellectual property upon which the guild structure depends. This helps to make it less likely that a member would leak out the secrets. Initiateship continues until the age of fourteen, when they become apprentice spellshapers. During all this time they are not taught of the ways of magic, as they have not yet been initiated; and as a general rule the children are too young to protest it much.
If a child proves to be inept at learning the foundational principles, and demonstrating the skills and talents, which necessary or being a spellshaper, the child can be relegated to being a spellcaster or spellcrafter. By the time they reach 14 and the initiateship ends, the guild already has a very good idea just how capable the child will be, so it is very rare that apprentice spellshapers get relegated.
Titles for Guild Spellshapers
Within guilds, spellshapers are looked up to as the authority on all things magic, which (since the guilds are founded on use of magic) means they're the ones in charge.
Titles of spellshapers in the six guilds follows a standard pattern, which is similar to that of spellcrafters:
- Novice (Novice spellshaper) - One who has pledged to study the guild's teachings and obey its laws. Novices participate in near-daily trainings. All guild spellshapers have to have passed through this at one point. Training usually occurs at one of the guild's holds.
- Initiate (Initiate spellshaper) - One who has attained initiateship. One who has been initiated into the guild and accepted by the guild for continued education. This is the next title after novice.
- Apprentice (Apprentice spellshaper) - One who has attained apprenticeship. One who, after further training as an initiate, has been apprenticed to a fellow for further training.
- Assistant (Assistant spellshaper) - One who has attained assistantship. One who has reached enough of an education that he/she can start becoming an asset to the guild, but still in need of direction from a more experienced member of the guild.
- Associate (Associate spellshaper) - One who has attained associateship. Associates usually travel the world, associating with associates of other guilds as well as with members of sects. While fellows stay within the guild's halls, associates are the guild's face to the rest of the world. The two titles are equivalent but entail very different roles.
- Fellow (Fellow spellshaper) - One who has attained fellowship. Fellows are given freedom to operate as they will within the structure of the guild, and are trusted to work on their own projects. The majority of guild members are these.
- Senior associate (Senior spellshaper) - An associate who has contributed to the guild over the course of a great many years (usually at least 10 years since achieving associateship, often much longer) and is intricately familiar with the guild's interactions with the rest of the world. They usually act as the lead on team initiatives as well as supervise and tutor more junior members of the guild.
- Senior fellow (Senior spellshaper) - A fellow who has contributed to the guild over the course of a great many years (usually at least 10 years since achieving fellowship, often much longer) and is intricately familiar with the workings of the guild. They usually act as the lead on projects as well as supervise and tutor more junior members of the guild.
- Master (Master spellshaper) - One who has attained mastership. Only masters and above have the privilege of leading training classes. Note that master ranks draw from both senior associates and senior fellows.
- Headmaster - A management position involving oversight over and responsibility for several masters.
- Grandmaster - A management position involving oversight over and responsibility for several headmasters and the masters beneath them.
- Hallmaster - A senior management position involving oversight over and several grandmasters. Each hallmaster is in charge of a hall. In practice, this means a hallmaster is in charge of a guild's hold, which generally have the larger halls, while grandmasters would be in charge of the smaller halls of the guild's many chapter halls.
- Ordermaster - A leadership position, charged with the general direction of a particular focus or drive (a wide category of projects and initiatives) of the guild. A guild will usually only have a handful.
- Guildmaster - Each guild's highest-ranking executive officer, and the highest-ranking member of the guild. Responsible for determining the overall direction of the guild and for making strategic initiatives and partnerships with the other guilds, sects and nations of Lorica.
Rising up the ranks of the guild hierarchy generally takes several years per tier. Most only make it to fellow or senior fellow, and then stay in that position.
The various sects are much smaller groups with less access to the necessary resources for crafting spells as well as much smaller library of known spells. This means that the spells that sect spellshapers devise often tend to be reinventing the wheel, and furthermore, that these spells tend to be inferior to the spells available in guild spell libraries, or may have vulnerabilities already known by guilds who would already have counterspells to take advantage of them.