There are in fact very few underlying facts which can be held to be generally true concerning mages and their societies. A few simple things can be said, however. There are generally considered to be three classes of mages, the Magi, the Apprentices and the Hedge Mages. Magic societies usually cluster around a single coven or mage who teaches apprentices, some of which end up as Hedge Magi as they prove ill equipped to handle the tasks required of a true magi. As terms, magi and mage are considered the most neutral of terms and generally apply to most magic users, whereas others are more specific, often relating to certain traditions of using magic.
The Career Ladder
Apprentices are generally the bottom rung of the magical ladder in any given society. They are the ones who end up doing those chores which are left outside the purview of servants and such. They are still being taught the basics of magic and are studying under a mage. They are treated as unpaid servants, or gophers, or surrogate sons or daughters and many things in between. Apprentices are eventually supposed to take over the mantle of their teacher, however, and usually they will, though some are cast out, sometimes to make it on their own, other times out of spite and sometimes for just not cutting it.
Hedge Mages are apprentices who have quit their apprenticeship before being fully trained in the magical arts. They know some tricks, but are generally considered to be mere dabblers and incompetents. They often serve in important positions performing small feats of magic to earn their keep. Though their positions are often important, they lack the respect a true magi receives. As a result, those who merely dabble in the arcane arts are also known as hedge magi even though they have little or no formal training.
Magi go by many names; Sorcerors, Shamen, Warlocks, Wizards, Magicians, Mages, and so on and so forth, depending on the personal preference of the magi and the cultural traditions they follow. Some experienced magi may even don the extra mantle of Arch, referring to themselves as Archmagus or Archwizard, depending on their level of experienced when compared to their peers and their own self-conceit. They are the top rung of the magical society though they come in as many varieties as there are people.
Magical Servants and Tools
There are several magical servants which may be summoned up by skilled magi. Though the more usual extraplanar imps and similar used for this are one solution, some magi have found other ways of acquiring servants for other purposes and in other ways. Some are merely there for communication purposes, such as the Egregores, others are less subtle, such as the Magorgs.
Egregores are humans which have been joined together mentally. An Egregor is never alone, their mind permanently connected to the other members of their group, Egregores in the same group are always fully aware of what the others are doing and what they are sensing and feeling. This renders them especially vulnerable to such things as torture. Egregores in one group are always the same gender.
Familiars come in as many shapes and forms as magi themselves. Traditionalist wizards and witches will often choose cats and frogs, those experienced in Summoning may instead end up with imps or other strange extraplanar entities. All manner of strange creatures have been chosen, though magi do have to keep alert as anything more powerful than them might well end up becoming the proactive partner in the link between familiar and magi. Generally speaking, familiars act as a pair of extra eyes and ears for the magi, and the bond allows for telepathic communication between the familiar and the magi. Although there is very little direct control involved, magi deal with familiars as they do most other creatures, with diplomacy and outright force as necessary.
The name Magorg can refer to humans or humanoids who have had magical implants in general, though they usually refer to the sect of Magorgs which are found in the Archduchy of Starkwater.
Sleepers are humans which have been implanted with a specific spell. When given a set trigger, this spell will activate, usually replacing the human with an extraplanar entity of some kind. As the spell uses its host’s Numen as the power source, it only activates once and costs its host its life. Those implanted with this spell are often unaware of it. Sleepers often work as servants or otherwise near the mage who cast the spell and are used as a last resort defence if the mage should come under attack.