Orders/Organizations/Power Groups.   Posted by Dungeon Master.Group: 0
Dungeon Master
 GM, 7 posts
Thu 19 May 2016
at 03:53
Orders/Organizations/Power Groups
ORDERS/ORGANIZATIONS/POWER GROUPS

Illyria boasts numerous religious/chivalric orders, cabals, trading costers, brotherhoods, etc.  Most are small groups that meet for little more than the camaraderie, but others were established with specific goals in mind and can be quite powerful.  Some are well-known, even throughout the entire Known World, while others are secretive and known only to their members.  The impact some of these groups have is almost as great as the impact of kingdoms, even if their actions are largely unknown.  Some of the more important or prominent groups follow:


THE ARCHGUILDS

The archguilds are simply guilds (generally outside the direct [though not necessarily the indirect] control of the Dragonmarked Houses) that are widespread throughout the Twelve Kingdoms and even beyond.  Most have been standing for several centuries (some even for millennia) and are well known by the citizens of the Twelve Kingdoms.


1. The Holy Orders of the Stars (actually three Orders):  Decreed by Ka the Preserver, all deities must adhere to certain Laws.  To this end, their mortal followers created the Holy Orders of the Stars.  Each of the good, neutral and evil deities fall under a separate order lead by the Prophet (good), the Starseer (neutral) and the Nightmaster (evil).  These three must strive to keep their flocks from tearing the seams of society apart and maintain a balance of power within the world.  This has met with limited success over the millennia.


2. The Order of High Wizardry (actually three Orders):  Composed of the Order of the White Robes, the Order of the Grey Robes and the Order of the Black Robes, the Order of High Wizardry is lead by the Conclave (a group of seven members from each Order).  Bound by their love of the Art and a desire to protect their knowledge from those who fear magic, these three orders have managed to work together and remain intact for millennia.  Collectively, they have the power to destroy the world, but even the vilest of them would not do such a thing.


3. Order of Maesters: An ancient order of sages, these learned scholars (sometimes referred to as the Wise) receive their education at the prestigious Illyrian University in Starcrown.  Vows of celibacy, purity, and poverty set them apart from other sages.  Maesters are known as the most learned of people (an accolade that is quite true) and are contracted to any government, House, or family that desires their services.  These services are expected to be for life (having a Maester in one's employ is considered a mark of distinction).


4. The Celestial Knights (actually three Orders):  Composed of three orders that fall under a unified leadership, the Celestial Knights include the Knights of the Sword, the Knights of the Crown, and the Knights of the Rose.  Generally speaking, the Sword Knights are simply warriors of good conscience who seek to serve something greater than themselves.  The Crown Knights are actually clerics of one of the three deities that sponsor the Celestial Knights.  The Knights of the Rose are paladins of the same.  Paladine, Torm and Heironeous are their gods.


5. The Winter Watch: This group is considered a knight's order but hardly resembles what most such orders look like.  Most are warriors and rangers and man the Icewall far to the north.  This 360 mile long/720 foot tall/300 foot thick structure is one of the Twelve Magical Wonders of the Known World.  Built over 12,000 years ago using ice magic, the Icewall is used to guard against the barbarians and draugr north of it.  There are a total of 31 castles along its length spaced every 12 miles apart.  From west to east, the castle names are:

Westkeep, Blackwatch, Foeguard, Frostfell, Snowshear, Winterwatch, Starkhaven, Queenskeep, Deepwinter, Nightguard, Bleaktowers, Greenguard, Honor's Fall, Hoarfrost, Wailing Keep, Icewall, Stonekeep, Deeplake, Frostbite, Woodguard, Whitehall, Blackfort, Frostreach, Winterfell, Draugr's Bane, Crow's Nest, Rimegate, Rhaungan's End, Icewatch, Bonechill, and Eastbridge.  Most of these castles are unmanned these days and there are less than 1200 men in the Winter Watch now.  Most of them are criminals and nobles who've fallen on hard times.


6. The Companions: Also known as the Heroes' Guild, the Companions were established centuries ago by an adventuring band known by the same name.  The guild's membership acts as a mercenary corps for hire with members usually hired for guard-duty, the retrieval of lost items, or undertaking missions (read: adventures) for those with the coin to pay.  Prospective members must prove themselves by going on a 'Hunt' with a member in good standing who delivers a review of the applicant.  Those who succeed are known as Shield-Brothers/Sisters.  This name is used regardless of the individual's profession/class.

The Companions operate as competition to House Deneith and have remained both popular and successful in the face of Deneith's political and economic clout.  This is because the Heroes' Guild was well-established before the Dragonmarked Houses solidified their position.  Because of this, Deneith is largely used for guard-duty while The Companions are used more for 'Hunts' (though they still hire out as guards).  One of the primary reasons for their continued success is the fact that members tend to have very diverse abilities.


7. The League of Shadows: An assassin's guild par excellence, the League has existed for millennia.  They trace their genesis to the rise of slaves and commonfolk who decided to quietly slay their oppressive masters.  For centuries they aided the weak and the oppressed against those who ruled them too harshly and even now they often aid such individuals for little or no charge.  However, they have come to be more of a weapon to be used against political or business rivals.  So long as such individuals aren't too harsh in their dealings with the commonfolk, the League obliges such contracts.

The Faceless: A subset of the League, the Faceless worship the concept of Death...but they follow the Night Mother (the goddess Shar, also known as Lady Loss).  The Faceless strive to erase their personal identities (sacrificing even their personal names and referring to themselves only as 'a boy' or 'a girl' when speaking).  They will accept virtually any contract, even against innocents and children, as they believe Death to be the greatest of gifts.  Ironically, it's members are far kinder than the main branch of the League and take great pains to see that their victims do not suffer.


8. The Shadow Thieves: The Shadow Thieves took root in the south before the formation of the empire.  However, the First Father moved their main base of operations to Starcrown as soon as it was declared the captital.  The pinnacle of 'organized' crime, the Shadow Thieves have guilds throughout the Twelve Kingdoms and have tens of thousands of members.  Although they are criminals, they tend to act with a modicum of honor and strive to keep the majority of their activities targeted at visitors to the Twelve Kingdoms rather than citizens.  Although they extort protection money from businesses, they do provide ample protection to their 'children' (as they are want to call them).


9. Twelve Dragon's Trading Coster: Established by the Dragonmarked Houses to facilitate trade between nations, this trading coster has existed for over 800 years and controls over half of all trade in the Twelve Kingdoms (and much of the trade beyond the region).  The number of ships, warehouses, wagons and personnel they have is staggering...as is their bargaining power.  This highly organized group is responsible for the fact that many of the products sold in the Known World are of decent quality and fairly priced.


10. The Psijic Order: Also known as the Evergreen for the color of the robes they wear (usually a dark green similar to that favored by rangers), the Psijics are an order of monks with strange powers of the mind.  They train their minds, bodies, and spirits to achieve perfection (as they see it).  To this end they take vows of poverty, chastity and purity.  In addition to their unusual powers, they are known for guarding a strange type of crystal at their monasteries and for the elaborate tattoos they wear.  This rare crystal, called Lumiil, is extremely hard and light (being as hard as adamantite while being as light as mythryl).

The Scarlett Brotherhood: In centuries past, a group of psijics broke off from their brethren over a division regarding their place and activities in the wider world.  The Evergreen wanted to maintain their solitude and pursuit of perfection.  Those that came to be known as the Scarletts, however, wished to assist the world more directly.  Sadly, this 'assistance' was rather tyrannical.  Given that they remain few in number, most of its members act as advisors and secret agents for those in power.  Unknown to most who make use of their abilities, the Scarletts usually manipulate matters to their own gain.


11. The Heralds: Almost all Heralds are former Maesters.  Although the Maesters take their positions for life, the Heralds are ordained by the gods and the order has never denied its members the honor of accepting a position with them.  Although they store knowledge much as the Maesters do, the Heralds focus their efforts on genealogy and history and it is the Heralds who are called upon when questions of one's birthright surface.  Unlike the Maesters, the Heralds are imbued with special powers by the gods.


12. The Dragonblades: A more recent group formed in the wake of the Great War, the Dragonblades are individuals who have bonded with dragons and now ride them throughout the world enforcing peace.  Such individuals have always existed throughout history, but they have only recently formalized a hierarchy.  To some, they are seen as a group overreaching their authority as regents are loathe to share their power with those they cannot control.  To others, however, they are seen as either saviors or a necessary evil (depending on the personality of the dragon and its rider).  Their primary goal is to prevent another Great War and they serve Akatosh the Dragonknight (a lesser dragon deity concerned primarily with peace through strength).

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:50, Wed 06 July 2016.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 38 posts
Wed 6 Jul 2016
at 12:21
Orders/Organizations/Power Groups
The Brotherhood of the Black Flame:  This cabal of mages have learned the secret of wielding blackflame magic.  Blackflame somehow harnesses the energy of fire, cold, necromantic and entropic magic into a single style of the Art.  Though believed to be a type of elemental magic, it is as yet unclear just what blackflame truly is.  The brotherhood is believed to be exclusively male and universally evil in its pursuits.  It is true that they seek to dominate the regions in which they dwell (they are a widespread group), but to what purpose none yet know.


The Zhentarim/Black Network: A highly successful cartel concerned primarily with trade, the Zhentarim is run by a group of evil wizards, priests and others who have no qualms with using bribery, murder, extortion, blackmail or any other means to make coin.  Despite the best efforts of the Dragonmarked Houses, the Black Network has successfully maintained a large market share of trade throughout the Twelve Kingdoms and beyond.


The Harpers: The Harpers are probably the most successful spy network in the world.  They exist to curtail the power of kingdoms (to ensure they don't become oppressive regimes), evil religions/heresies, and evil individuals whose grasping for power becomes too destructive.  They work in almost direct opposition to the Black Network, but have also meddled in the affairs of the Dragonmarked Houses (more so now that they have become royalty), and even 'good' organizations that become oppressive.  Their ultimate goal is to maintain a balance of power between nations and other power groups and to protect the commonfolk.


The Emerald Enclave: The Emerald Enclave exists to curtail the spread of civilization.  They aren't opposed to it outright, but they seek to preserve the wilds more so than cities and large towns.  They often help villages and small towns to survive the harshness of the seasons and the wilds, but larger settlements may be opposed directly.  Even small townships, however, may be attacked if the citizens living there assault nature on some level (cutting down trees as opposed to taking lumber from fallen trees or hunting more game than they need to survive, for instance).


Order of the White Flame:  The knights of this order (called the Templars) are self-appointed guardians of all that is 'good' in the world.  This is not unusual (there are many goodly orders of knighthood), however, the Templars are becoming feared for their overzealousness.  Over the past century they have increasingly harmed people many thought innocent of any crime, begun mind-reading people for 'evil' thoughts, and are debating instituting slavery as a form of penance.  Wizards in their lands are practically slaves...if they survive among them at all.


Cult of the Dragon: The Cult was founded by an insane necromancer long ago who believed that  undead dragons would come to rule the world.  Despite being viewed as an abomination by most of the draconic deities and having many enemies the Cult has nevertheless managed to grow in power.  They work to seduce dragons into dracolichdom (and secretly to control them) and have met with more success than most would expect.  Still, there are few dracoliches in the world.  Most of their operations are geared toward acquiring wealth and power in which to better seduce their dragon 'masters.'


The Lords's Alliance: This group of city-states signed mutual-defense & trade pacts in order to curtail the growth of the Empire centuries ago.  Though largely not a concern at present, the Alliance continues to maintain faith with their fellow cities.  These cities have been careful to maintain a neutral status with other regions of the Known World.  They maintain a governing council that operates in a different city every year.  Although they aren't a kingdom, their political and economic clout is still considerable.  Even at the height of its power, the Empire never moved against the Alliance.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:50, Wed 06 July 2016.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 51 posts
Thu 24 Aug 2017
at 19:48
Orders/Organizations/Power Groups
THE KNIGHTS OF AEDEN

An exclusive group of knights appointed by the Emporer/Empress of Imladrys (though now appointed by the High Regent), they act as both champions and ambassadors throughout the Twelve Kingdoms and beyond.  Their titles are:

Knight/Maiden of Stars
Knight/Maiden of Moons
Knight/Maiden of Seas
Knight/Maiden of Mountains
Knight/Maiden of Forests
Knight/Maiden of Skies
Knight/Maiden of
Knight/Maiden of
Knight/Maiden of
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Knight/Maiden of
Dungeon Master
 GM, 52 posts
Sun 27 Aug 2017
at 20:44
Orders/Organizations/Power Groups
THE TWELVE WIZARD SAINTS

Though not necessarily the most powerful wizards in existence, these wizards are drawn from the 'greatest' magical races and are considered the strongest of their peoples.

1.  The Arcanamach

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:32, Sun 27 Aug 2017.