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  Chapter 2: Daily Life

Arcane Guilds

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Abarisian Order
          Grand Council: The Grand Mysteriorae at Tulgaren, Zengara
          Locales: The Abarisian Order is fairly popular in the east and a chapterhouse in most major human cities. It's power in Aebasan and the Adan-Halic lands is waning, though still strong.
          Nickname: The Magi
          Philosophy: The Abarisian Order is dedicated to the precepts of Abaris and works closely with her priests. Their interest is primarily in researching the nature of magic itself, though the Abarisians prefer to do research in their labs and libraries as opposed to fieldwork. Research into illusion was proscribed until very recently, so they tend to have view illusion spells available in their tomes.
          Membership: Members of the Abarisian Order tend to be viewed as typical mages: conservative, reclusive and pedantic. Most do fit into this stereotype, though there are some whose research leads them into the creation of magical items. A small few (usually of a younger generation) who follow the precepts of St. Libriacus and explore the world first-hand.
          Hierarchy: The Council of Five in Zengara leads the Abarisian Order. Each Councilor oversees the chapterhouses of a specific region. Each region is further divided into five Demesnes, each led by a High Master. Demesnes are further divided into five Precincts, each with its own Governor. Precincts can be further divided into five individual Chapterhouses, with a Provost oversees each chapterhouse. The Order maintains no more than 625 chapterhouses throughout the world. Every ten years, the hierarchy of the Order is examined by the Council of Five to determine if a new chapterhouse needs to be established to replace one that was destroyed or disbanded.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Fellowship of the Golden Quill
          Grand Council: The Hall of Night at Parvos, Eeridia
          Locales: The Fellowship is gaining in popularity and has numerous chapterhouses in both the Aebasan lands and amongst the Adal-Halic people. Its influence is weak in the south, where the Abarisian Order still commands much respect.
          Nickname: The Apostates
          Philosophy: The result of a schism in the Abarisian Order, the Fellowship is primarily a group of secular mages who have many of the same interests as the Magi, but few of the rules restricting research. The Apostates believe that, while Abaris is an important patron of magic and its wielders, magical research should be independent of ecclesiastic influence. One of the Fellowship's first interests was the exploration of illusions, which was once proscribed by the Abarisian Order.
          Membership: The Apostates tend to be more interested in the world around them than their parent Order and encourage their members to be fruitful members of society as well as researchers in the magical arts. Over the centuries, this policy has garnered them much support in Aebasan and Adal-Halic lands, to the point that they enjoy almost as much popularity in those regions as the Magi.
          Hierarchy: The Fellowship's hierarchy runs along clearly defined lines, but it is much more open than that of its parent Order. The Fellowship is ruled by the three-member Council of Archmagi, which dictate the overall policies of the Order. Regional governance is handled by a varying number of Magiarchs, from which the Archmagi are elected. Each region is further divided into Precincts, each governed by a Lord Magister. The Precincts are composed by the chapterhouses, each of which are commanded by a Magister. While the Fellowship encourages magical research into new areas, the Office of the Examiner, which has branches in each Precinct, must approve each new experiment.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Iron Band
          Grand Council: The Triple Tower at Bellad, Oridal
          Locales: Nobles generally distrust the Iron Band, but they still have at least one major guildhouse in most human nations. They have an uneasy truce in Oridal, where their Grand Council meets, with the merchant guilds that trust them even less than most, but still find themselves in dire need of their services.
          Nickname: Directors
          Philosophy: The Iron Band are a semi-secret society of mages interested primarily in research into mind-influencing magic. While their existence is generally well-known, few know about their internal workings, which has resulted in much suspicion from other mages and non-casters alike. The central philosophy of the Iron Band is the belief that an understanding of reality can only be gained through thought. Based on the writings of Agemo the Wise, their belief is that reality is an illusion created by the mind of the individual and by experimenting with thought, one can piece together the true nature of reality.
          Membership: Membership in the Iron Band is open to anyone who can pass the rigorous mental tests that they require of all potential apprentices. These mental inquiries not only determine if an individual is knowledgeable, but also if the aspiring Director has the willpower and problem-solving skills that the Order requires.
          Hierarchy: The internal Hierarchy of the Iron Band is generally unknown, but the most believable theories hold that the Band is divided into several Circles, each with its own responsibilities and goals. It is known that the internal hierarchy is extremely rigid and members of the Band are not beyond executing someone who has transgressed their code.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Malachite League
          Grand Council: The Thaumatrium, in the City of Thenos, Aebasa
          Locales: Highly respected in most lands, the Malachite League is strongest in lands with a central nobility. Their dislike of democracy makes them somewhat unpopular in Aebasa and other lands that do not have a ruling hierarchy.
          Nickname: Regents
          Philosophy: The Malachite League was established by mages who found themselves working closely as advisors to local nobility and, thus, believed themselves of a more noble calling. Their philosophy is a strange mixture of servitude and domination which is firmly organized according to the occupation and social status of members. To their liege, they are commanded to be absolutely loyal even, sometimes, to the point of betraying the Order itself. But they also expect respect from non-noble classes, barring important Guild Masters and powerful merchant families. The Malachite League is known to be a harsh critic of democracy and many suspect that the entire Order itself, if not individual members, are aligned strongly with Phlegethon, god of tyranny.
          Membership: Membership in the Order is free to those of noble blood. Members of the merchant class must pay an exorbitant fee as proof of their higher blood and members of the lower class are almost never permitted entry, unless they can prove some measure of noble blood in their heritage. Members of the Order are often third or fourth sons of the noble class who aren't expected to inherit their family's wealth, but do not have a head for the Church. In nations without a noble class, such as Aebasa, being able to prove that you are descendant of noble blood has made the League almost incestuous in its practices.
          Hierarchy: Authority within the League is based on a highly complex mixture of heredity and merit. The Orgaro family of Thenos leads the League currently, tracing its ancestry back to the deposed King of Thenos. The head of the Order carries the title of Sovereign. Below him in status are the Archmagi, Magiarchs, Baron Magi, Lord Magi and Peers of the League. This hierarchy is mixed with the typical Archmage-Mage-Master-Apprentice hierarchy common to the Orders. Thus, there are certain situations in which an Archmage-Peer must bow to an Apprentice Sovereign. Usually, blood is more significant in secular matters, while rank is more important to magical matters.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Order of the Dark Star
          Grand Council: Unkown
          Locales: Generally feared and mistrusted by most, the Order of the Dark Star is rumored to have guildhouses in most human nations.
          Nickname: Theurges
          Philosophy: Like much about the Order of the Dark Star, their philosophy is clouded in mystery and half-truths. More earnest researchers have suggested that the Order is founded around the concept that the fabric of magic is not part of nature nor the aspect of divine power, but emanates from a black sun, which can only be seen by particularly gifted mages. The Theurges attempt to understand this Dark Star through the use of shadows and illusions and, it is said, it is this sort of investigation that leads so many of the Order into madness.
          Membership: Many other magi distrust the Order as power-mad geniuses. This stereotype is not without its basis in fact, as many of the greatest villains of history were also members of the Order of the Dark Star. It is unknown how the Order selects its members, but it is known that no one applies for membership; potential apprentices are offered a place among them. That no one is known to refuse them either highlights their extreme care in choosing a member of their Order or their tendency to silence those who refuse. The truth in this matter is, of course, unkown.
          Hierarchy: The ruling hierarchy is unknown, but it is generally believed that, like most other Orders, positions of authority are given to those who show merit in service to the Order. As truthfulness about the Order is strongly discouraged, the masters of this order must certainly be very good at being someone else.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Order of the Stave
          Grand Council: The Hermitage, in the Tarescan Fields
          Locales: The Order of the Stave is strongest in remote regions, though they do have a few major urban guildhouses in the Lagorkan lands.
          Nickname: Hermits
          Philosophy: The Order of the Stave believes that magic is a natural part of the world, no more unusual than a babbling brook, a tree in full bloom or a towering mountain. Most mages believe that magic emanates from a divine presence, another plane of existence or even an unseen sun and ridicule the concept that magic is not a disparate part of reality. Though the order only gained prominence in recent years, its members believe that it is based on some of the original theories on magic, from a primordial time when man was only beginning to understand his potential.
          Membership: Because they see magic everywhere, members of the Order of the Stave tend to wander through nature, attempting to understand its processes and, through this, the nature of magic and reality itself. Members tend to be loners, only congregating when some great event must take place. There are a few urban-based chapterhouses scattered about, but only the Hermits understand why and where the rare chapterhouse is established.
          Hierarchy: The Hermits do not have a strong need for organization and the hierarchy is based almost solely on merit. The master of the Order is called simply the Magister, but other than the respect that this title gives, his responsibilities are few. The only other rank within the Order is one of respect, awarded by the Magister, called an Olam. The title of Olam is given only to those of the Order who have proven themselves to be wise as well as adept in the magical arts. The few chapterhouses of the Order are all led by Olams.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Order of the Sword
          Grand Council: The Red Tower, in Haleland
          Locales: Predominant in the Adal-Halic lands, the Order of the Sword enjoys popularity in nations currently at war, though they are often viewed as trouble-makers in more peaceful countries.
          Nickname: Myrmidons
          Philosophy: The Order of the Sword promotes two central philosophies. The first is the concept that through discipline comes enlightenment: only those who have first learned to serve can be given the responsibility of command. The other belief is that the power over life and death is paramount to an understanding of reality and, thus, magic. These two philosophies have resulted in a highly respected Order of warrior-wizards who either serve their nations with great vigor and loyalty or operate as highly paid mercenaries, loyal to their employer and contract.
          Membership: Members of the Order of the Sword must be in excellent physical shape, as well as possessed of a quick mind and the wisdom to properly channel the power that they can attain. Apprentices are expected to learn to use a sword early on in their careers and many receive training as fighters as part of their studies. The most powerful members of the Order are master strategists and can command extremely high prices for their services during wartime. Unfortunately, their propensity towards combat often leads to trouble during peacetime and this highly respected Order can easily lose that respect when times are more comfortable.
          Hierarchy: The hierarchy of the Order of the Sword is strict, but it is based almost solely on the merits of the individual membership, not on politics or blood. Though most members of the Order paid to become apprentices, some who show promise are allowed to become apprentices despite being unable to pay for their studies. The Order is commanded by the High Warden. Beneath him in rank are the Warden, Seneschal, Monitor, Mage-Steward, Subaltern, Mage-Commander, Serjeant, Wizard 1st Class, Wizard 2nd Class and Apprentice-Cadet. Mixed in with these ranks are titles denoting an individual specialty or responsibility. Preceptors, for example, are responsible for teaching the apprentices of the Order. Proctors oversee the tests that are given between each rank and approve an individual for a rise in rank. A Majordomo is responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the chapterhouses and a Mage-Reeve is responsible for enforcing justice within the Order. A Specialist usually refers to a Mage who has focused on a particular school of magic, particularly evocation (members of this Order tend to be excellent Evokers). This is further complicated by names for various units, such as Auxiliaries (who tend towards magical support), Lancers (who are typically horsemen), and the much-feared Bombardiers (who specialize in devastating area-effect spells).

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Philsophers' Academy
          Grand Council: The Grand Hall of Philosophy, the City of Pelora, Aebasa
          Locales: Pervasive throughout the east, the Philosophers' Academy enjoys almost as much respect as the Abarisian Order.
          Nickname: Philosophers
          Philosophy: The Philosophers' Academy believes that everything is composed of the four base elements, earth, air, fire and water, and only through the understanding of those elements and the basic force of life itself can one comprehend reality and its workings. While many within the Order promote the use of one particular element over the others, the true masters are those who have at least some comprehension of each element and its associated magic. It is said that the most enlightened members of the Academy have discovered the secrets to immortality, though most authorities outside the Order discount this as mere rumor.
          Membership: Potential members of the Academy typically display an aptitude for reason, tempered by wisdom. Even so, personalities among members often vary wildly, from hot-headed water wizards to over-emotional geomancers. What most do not realize is that the Philosophers' Academy is actually four Orders unified by their specific interests and a common ruling hierarchy. Pyromancers, Geomancers, Aeromancers and Hydromancers make up the four sub-Orders, each with their elemental specialty.
          Hierarchy: Each sub-Order is led by a Council of Sophists who dictate the precepts of each sub-Order. The High Alchemists handle regional governance and each region is divided into precincts ruled by Magisters. Individual chapterhouses are led by a Provost, under which are the Preceptors, who are responsible for the education of Apprentices. A wizard who masters each sub-Order can be selected for membership in the Resplendent Order, who oversee the four sub-Orders as a whole. Membership in the Resplendent Order is reserved only for those who have become truly enlightened by their research into the elements and tend to be a secretive and reclusive group. It is rumored that there is a single individual, known only as the Transcendant, who is the highest ranking member of the Academy. It is unknown what his responsibilities are or even if he exists.

[The Abarisian Order] [The Fellowship of the Golden Quill] [The Iron Band]
[The Malachite League] [The Order of the Dark Star] [The Order of the Stave]
[The Order of the Sword] [The Philosophers' Academy] [The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn]

The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn
          Grand Council: The Oracle at Parni, in the Peaks of Dreg'nor
          Locales: Though not policially significant, the Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn has many guildhouses throughout the east, though they tend to concentrate in Aebasan lands.
          Nickname: Augurs, Seers
          Philosophy: The Watchful Order of the Shrouded Dawn believe that they have been chosen by Fate itself, which has power even over the gods, to pierce the veil of time itself and guide others into the future presents. Their philosophy is extremely complex and highly personal, but is based upon the ability to understand the signs and portents which tell of what is to come, as well as what has come and is coming. Little is known about the Order, though this is not as a result of the secrecy of the Order as a whole. Its philosophy encourages explaining how they work, though their explanations are often couched in many layers of allegory and metaphors. While the Watchful Order is not isolationist, they do claim neutrality in political events and avoid involving themselves directly in historical events. Sometimes, they attempt to prevent a particularly harsh future for an individual or even groups of individuals, while other horrific events are allowed to proceed without intervention. Their interests lie not only in the future, but in events of past significance as well, and their libraries are rumored to hold the most accurate histories in the world.
Membership: Requirements for membership in the Order are as mysterious as their philosophy. Many have visions before receiving formal training and some are selected only because, they are told, Fate has chosen them. Mages within the Order are often viewed as strange and eccentric, partially because of the visions that haunt them and partially because of the mind-altering drugs they are known to enjoy.
          Hierarchy: The hierarchy of the Watchful Order is almost non-existent. The Oracle at Parni, both a physical structure and the seer within, is typically the most respected member of the Order, but is also the most plagued by insanity. As the Order believes that no man should dominate the fate of another, there are few actual leaders. Chapterhouses are created almost at a whim and disband just as easily.