Fun With Steerswomen (i. e., I’m rereading the first book now that I’ve read all four and I have some incredibly spoilery thoughts)
So Sharon, the first steerswoman, notes the establishment of the first wizard, which leads me to believe that the wizards became wizards only well after the colonists forgot they were colonists and established their own stable culture. What if the wizards aren’t the crew from the first colony ship at all? What if they’re a crew from a check-in, or a second wave? It’d explain how their tech and cultural isolation stayed so stable, and why they’re a late addition. It’d also explain exactly how panicked Slado is at the arrival of the third wave: oh, shit, they’re going to notice that we decided to pretend we were all-powerful in order to keep things going instead of telling the colonists the truth and restoring Earth-level tech!
(Even more wild guessing: What if Sharon’s the steerswoman off that ship?)
Unrelatedly, it’s pretty funny that the wood gnomes are probably chimps. Bioengineered chimps, maybe? But either way, such an artifact of eighties scientific thought—yeah, great apes TOTALLY have sign language!!