The Magic-User is one of the fundamental classes of Dungeons & Dragons. Magic-Users wield occult forces to bind men and demons to their will, travel great distances in the blink of an eye, or transform themselves into mythical beasts. Early in their careers, however, they are exceptionally frail, and have mastered only the most rudimentary spells. Given the hazards of their profession, few apprentice Magic-Users survive to master their craft.
In the Black Peaks
In James's Black Peaks game, the most powerful Magic-Users once banded together to form the Wizard's Cabal, under the leadership of Mordenkainen the Wizard. The Cabal broke apart during the reign of the Dragon Army. Now, there are dozens if not hundreds of competing little schools, taught by eccentrics, quacks, and criminals. In terms of mood, I'm aiming for the type of thing like in the old kung-fu movies: after the fall of the Shao Lin Temple, the true knowledge of kung-fu was lost amid all these competing monasteries that vied for power.
Image by Mike Bell, copyright 1975 by TSR, Inc. Image used without consent on a fair-use basis (non-commercial, non-harmful).