Sorcerous Societies of the Flanaess | by Gary Holian | From the Oerth Journal Vol.1 #3 March 20, 1996; the Council of Greyhawk
MAJOR | The Guild of Wizardry of Greyhawk | The Sagacious Society of Nyrond | The Sorceror's Nexus of Rel Astra | The Zashassar of Ekbir | INTERMEDIATE | The United Artificers of Irongate | The Society of Magi of Greyhawk | The Council of Wizards of Winetha | The Silent Ones of Keoland | The Conclave Arcanum of Dyvers | The Sign of the Red Talisman in Zeif | The Eldritch Lords of Rel Deven | The Sorcerous Union of Radagast City | MINOR
The Magical Organizations of the Flanaess arranged according to importance and with my comments:
MAJOR: (Indicates widespread regional or international influence)
The Guild of Wizardry of Greyhawk
Still the largest and broadest guild of mages in the whole of the Flanaess. It is also one of the least political, secretive, or closed guilds in existence. In fact, by most accounts almost any proven practitioner of magic is welcome, whether he or she is a mage, illusionist, bard, or an even more exotic spellcaster. It has no political agenda save perhaps its own continued existence and aggrandizement. In an unusual turn, the Guild does not require the exclusive allegiance of its membership. This means that many mages from all over the Flanaess claim affiliation; in fact, it has become a source of local prestige in many areas to be a member of the famous Guild of Wizardry of Greyhawk. Its official rolls over the last decade number nearly a thousand active mages, though perhaps half that many are in the city at any one time and a majority of those are dilettantes or virtually inactive.
Founded as a free haven for all mages in the late 4th century CY by the legendary Mad Archmage, Zagig Yragerne, the Guild of Wizardry has the most expansive collection of known magic and of arcane texts in the Flanaess (it has long been one of the fastest growing guilds in Oerik). The large structure surrounding this enviable collection and the guild is in the Free City's Garden Quarter. It is an architectural wonder, thought to be impregnable and of magical design. Within its vaults (which have been continuously stocked over the last two centuries) are the magical fortunes of numerous archmages, including, it is believed, those of the legendary Mad Archmage, himself.
The Guild of Wizardry still draws adherents from all parts of the Flanaess, virtually untouched as it was by the history of the recent war. In fact, it has become a kind of haven for many an exiled mage from beleaguered foreign lands. The Guild has long since taken over the stewardship of the College of Magic (once within the purview of the more austere Society of Magi (mentioned below) and it is now run in cooperation with the guild itself. Interestingly, it is one of a very few wizard's guilds to widely support the so-called "Wild" or "Chaos Magic" that has resurged in popularity within the last two decades (teaching the same, in cooperation with the College of Magic), reaching heights not achieved since the time of the Mad Archmage, himself.
Infamous members of the Guild include the archmages thought to comprise the mysterious Circle of Eight, and such luminaries as Kieren Jalucian and the enigmatic Blue Wizard, Philidor. There are, of course, many others who are not so relatively well-known, but act behind the veil of dispassionate association. Currently, the Guild of Wizardry's reputation suffers from a small handful of nasty blemishes, not the least of which was the apparent spectacular and complete destruction of two of its most luminous members and the traitorship of a third before the Great Signing last year.
The Sagacious Society of Nyrond
Based in Rel Mord, but widely represented in all Nyrondese Cities, this arcane society is even older than the Guild of Wizardry and the Society of Magi in the Free City of Greyhawk. Though not the only Nyrondal guild in existence, the Sagacious Society is certainly the most influential and consequential, and is expected to remain so for many years to come. This long-lived gathering of mages is unusual, in so far as it contains a large majority of non-practitioners with a voice equal to that of the member mages. Therefore, it is often considered as much a philosophical and debating society as a true sorcerous guild, for it includes sages, learned-folk, priests (particularly of Boccob and Rao), and even the Olve.
The magic-using branch, however, is viewed as a distinct element within the Sagacious Society (particularly when viewed from within) and it is referred to as "Boccob's Rostrum". This diffuse, though potent group is comprised of a powerful block of medium to highly skilled mages, the most celebrated of which are thought to be the puissant Royal Archmage, Ghiselinn (almost certainly) and The Grey Seer (uncertain, but possible). Most of the War Wizards of Nyrond are also thought to be members, even if their support fluctuates between the tacit and dangerously zealous. The Society is quite proud of the Royal Magical College [attached to the prestigious Royal University at Rel Mord] which still turns out some of the best generalist mages in the Flanaess. Though the Royal College lacks the sheer artistry and exuberance of the Pyramid Arcane in Greyhawk (being housed in buildings little different than those of the regular Royal University), it is still thought to harbor many treasures and secrets as well.
The Society has recently lost many valiant sorcerers to the Great War and even some to cowardice, who have since fled to smaller guilds in the Urnst States (Radigast City or Leukish/Seltaren) or even farther afield to escape the menace to the east. This, of course, has been a great blow to the strength of their efforts. The Sagacious Society is in the midst of a laborious process of recouping from these losses, and they are known to be scouring the Flanaess for lost items of magical power, particularly some noted items of pre-imperial Oeridian manufacture. The current focus of the Sagacious Society is its total opposition towards the fractured Aerdy behemoth to the east and the restoration and preservation of the Nyrondese heritage and culture. Time will only tell if they can be successful, but as always, we watch and wait.
The Sorcerer's Nexus of Rel Astra
The name actually refers to the infamous guildhall, rather than the organization itself, which is officially called: "The Aerdian Coadjutancy for the Independent Practitioners of Magecraeft and the Mystical Arts". The guild is housed in a series of interconnecting towers, eerily hanging structures, and angular buildings of strange and unique architectural design in the central quarter of the old city. The Nexus (as it is often referred to both inside and outside the guild) has been an evolving part of the city since the Astran metropolis was founded less than a millennium ago. Legends have it, that the structure was initiated with the leaning tower of a single magus, rumored to have been Suel (perhaps even an exile). So it remained for a very long time, until necessity required expansion. Century after century of new and sometimes wildly bold additions have created what we know today to be the single most odd and interesting place in the city. Surprisingly, despite a dozen varying styles of architecture, and even what seems like impossible construction (no doubt magical in origin), this slowly growing anastomose is still a wonder to behold.
From its founding, the Nexus has ever been a gathering place of free and gifted mages (the Art always having been a carefully controlled commodity in Aerdi society) whether because they have been of ignoble birth, or without a secured position in a Celestial House, or among those few blue-blooded rogues who were no longer welcome in their own houses. The Nexus is by historical standards an untraditional magical guild, having routinely offered such services as accommodation, magical resupply and training, and even employment to any and all comers, before such things became fashionable in guilds from Astra to Mitrik.
Stewardship has traditionally fallen to tenured elder mages and even some fortuitous benefactors (of which the House of Drax was one.) However, control of the organization has recently been assumed (within the last two decades) by a group of mysterious and powerful mages calling themselves the "Dweomermasters". Who they are and their exact purposes remain almost entirely unknown, both inside and outside the guild. It is suspected that they are a cabal of noble mages (including even a Prince of the realm), who have come together from all over the Great Kingdom, somehow sensing the fall which was to come. This, however, remains unconfirmed. The name of the legendary mage, Daern, has also been linked to them, but as yet such rumors remain unproved as well.
What is known, however, is that in this same span of time, the Sorcerer's Nexus of Rel Astra has become the greatest haven for the independent mages of the former Great Kingdom and of the entire Solnor coast who seek to escape the madness of Grand Prince Ivid and his animus lords. Scores of exiled and hunted mages from all over Aerdy have swollen its ranks. Indeed, the Sorcerer's Nexus is fast approaching the size of the Guild of Wizardry in the City of Greyhawk and it is the greatest threat to the latter's influence as the most preeminent center of magic in the Flanaess. Ironically, it may have been the combined power of the membership of the Nexus that convinced the Overking not to lay siege to the great city of Rel Astra during the war and his imperial majesty's policies since then have only increased the Nexus' power and influence. For that, the Nexus has received the near total deference of Lord Drax and the general support of the populace. This, despite the unseen tendrils that seem to be weaving themselves throughout all of Astran society of late. This situation bears close watching ... attention that it no doubt receives.
The Zashassar of Ekbir
This wondrous place in the City of Ekbir is perhaps the oldest continuously surviving magical society in the whole of the Flanaess. Sitting across from the Caliph's glorious palatial abode in the Grand Plaza of the aforementioned great port city of the Dramidj is one of the most unique places in all of Oerik. Couched in mists and constructed entirely of a pristine white marble that appears to soar far into the sky, the Zashassar is both a school and an enclave for the last great magic of the Ancient Bakluni people. It is believed to have been founded before the Invoked Devastation itself, more than a millennium ago, as a haven for Baklunish mages escaping the terrible war with their nemeses, the Suel (though many legends hold that none of the Elder Ones escaped their last stand against the Suel at Tovag Baragu and that their secrets therefore died with them).
The enclave has thus far remained intact, and as the City of Ekbir grew from but a distant outpost of the Baklunish Empire to the new center of its surviving people's culture and politics, so has the Zashassar grown. Today, it is regarded as the most puissant school of elemental magic in all of Oerik, if not all of Oerth. Amongst its members are some of the most powerful Pyromancers, Aeromancers, Geomancers, and Hydromancers extant in the Flanaess in over a thousand years. Its school of traditional sorcery, accounting for the other magical disciplines, is also nearly peerless. Even the Art of the Sha'ir flourishes within this edifice, much to the chagrin of the priests of Al-Zarad (Boccob), who claim that its practice is not true magic.
Legendary graduates of the Zashassar include such famous individuals as the brothers Al-Sammal: Rary and Arkalan of Ket (the latter, now resident in the Free City of Greyhawk) and the arch-pyromancer, Karzalin of the court of Belvor IV. In centuries past, the infamous black necromancer, Iggwilv also emerged from the Zashassar, a mistress of the Rites. Even the infamous Kermin, the Mindbender, now in service to the Darklord of Dorakaa, is also believed to have attended the place at one time.
The Zashassari (as its members are called) are assumed to be divided into various internal societies, who are of strong influence throughout all of the Lands of Bakluni, save perhaps in the City of Zeif, where there is some distrust between those of the Zashassar and the more independent local sorcerers. It is difficult in the East to ascertain such things as the manner of their governance or details of their hierarchy, since few if any in the East have ever joined the enclave and left to tell of it (known associates have not been forthcoming). It is known that the society is deferential towards the ruling Caliph (thought to be a direct descendant of the four legendary Padishah-Kings of old), but wary of outsiders, particularly foreign mages. The Baklunish public is not privy to their interests or their collective goals, either.
The events of the recent wars have seemingly passed by this group without incident. Ultimately, it is unsure whether or not they still preserve some vestige of the great magic that felled the Suel Imperium so very long ago, but it is doubted.
INTERMEDIATE: (The influences of the following societies are limited to a city, nation, or small region.)
The United Artificers of Irongate
A strongly political (at least at the top) and influential rising star on the magical horizon. The magical guild of Irongate was once a small, but thriving guild until the last century, which saw the quick formation and forging of the ill-fated Iron League. Unfortunately, though the United Artificers and the other leaders of the Free City of Irongate were able to help protect their own lands from the Scarlet Ones' treachery, they were too late to assist their brethren in Idee, Onnwal, and the Lordship Isles before the unseen darkness swept them away from power.
Now, following the Great Wars, the Irongaters' resolve has been forged anew and this combative spirit (and perhaps siege mentality) extends to Irongate's mages as well. Their numbers have grown disproportionately and they now include a large group of refugees from the former Iron League in residence, including a significant, though small handful of four archmages from Idee and Onwall (who each had the sorcerous might to make good their escape). Cobb Darg, the putative ruler of Irongate, relies upon the U.A. (as it is often called for simplicity) for needed intelligence and the guild closely and wisely advises the city's Lord Mayor in all matters both arcane and even mundane.
The wizard's school supported by the U.A. is probably the most highly regarded in the region, particularly the school of Invocation. Many a raiding party has met instant death at the hands of the Guardians on the city's gates. The guild's current focus is divided between the South Province and its Witch-King, Reydrich, and the Scarlet Brotherhood. It has so far managed to check the advances of both, but the undeclared assault grows with every day, causing the shrewd mages to become both desperate and ingenious in their defense of the city.
Many rumors abound that the senior mages are now engaged in the construction of an extra-dimensional Matrix of intraplanar gates beneath the burgeoning metropolis at great cost. One such gate has already been supposedly completed, linking the Free City with the Velunian capital, Mitrik. This is believed to have occurred with the assistance of the mage, Bigby (formerly of Scant), and the mages are well on their way to opening a second link in either Verbobonc (perhaps with the help of the Silver Consortium), Dyvers, or even the Free City of Greyhawk. Part of the relatively vast Undercity that is being meticulously carved from the earth by the dwarves of Irongate is said to house these gates. To what end this will all come, no one is quite sure.
The Society of Magi of Greyhawk
Influence generally limited to the Free City; it is often mistakenly thought of as part of the Guild of Wizardry, though it is in fact a far older and more insular group. The Society is an entity to itself, founded four hundred or more years ago by a small traveling group of exiled mages from the Great Kingdom (many claim from Dyvers, though in those days, one was the other.) When the Free City of Greyhawk was but a trading post on the great eastward migratory trail and long before the renaissance that brought the city to prominence during the 4th century C.Y., the Society found itself along the Selintan (one of its members, a personage called simply, "The Grey Savant", founded the Grey College in this time.) Its primary concern has always been the power and visibility of the Free City and its mages, even when the place was simply a backwater. In that respect, they were among the first to see the value and potential of the place that would later become the "Gem of the Flanaess". Its members were instrumental in the founding of the College of Magic and the Guild of Wizardry itself, in which the majority of the Society are also members.
The Society of Magi have always been a relatively democratic group. They elect a president for a two year term, which by the new city charter of CY 498, has a seat on the Directing Oligarchy. Currently, more than a hundred mages comprise the Society, but they are rarely found together as their personal interests are as varied as any. Usually, the Society breaks down into coteries, each devoted to their own special interests. At least once per year, the entire group meets, usually in the private home of one of the members or at an inn or hostelry appropriated for the purpose. It is rumored to be quite an event, which on more than one occasion in the Free City's long history, has ended in a remarkable display of sorcerous artistry, foolery, or bravado.
Currently, the Society of Magi lies mired in a struggle for leadership. Kieren Jalucian, the Master of the Guild of Wizardry, is the interregnum President until a new election can be held, due to the untimely death and disappearance of the mage, Otiluke. Jalucian is unsuitable for the permanent post, unless he gives up his position as Guildmaster (lest mages be under-represented on the Oligarchy due to his double-duty), which he seems unlikely to do. Word also has it that a small cadre within the group has come across a most audacious plan to build a flying ship. They cite similar plans in Gradsul, Dyvers, and Radigast City as impetus, but ironically have the resources of all three put together. Another group seeks to restore the ruins of the infamous Castle Greyhawk, making it the society's new headquarters. Such plans have been discussed for a century, but have been always abandoned due to strong opposition from one faction or another. However, Tenser's recent disappearance took away the strongest leader of the opposition to such plans. And, since he is no longer around to voice his often vehement objections, yet another expedition is being planned to this most mysterious edifice to see if a reclamation is indeed possible. Skilled adventurers are currently being engaged for the task.
The Council of Wizards of Winetha
The largest group (60+) of independent Aerdy mages outside of the great cities of Rel Deven and Rel Astra. While generally considered to be a modestly prolific, though highly inventive lot, the Council are known to number many great enchanters and artificers (i.e. they excel most greatly in the craft of magic, rather than its practice) and are credited with the creation of many common magical implements, such as potions, wands, and a plethora of sorcerous armaments.
By their own official charter (which was sanctioned by the Overking Manshen in the Common Year 102), the group is strictly democratic and all major decisions involving this self-styled "guild" must be put to the Council. While dissent is common, it has not been allowed to interfere with the daily business of the city of Winetha or its collective interests. It is this kind of codified collegiality and collective strength which has kept the Council of Wizards together before, during, and even after the recent Great War. The Overking has long lost the ability to compel them into direct service, nonetheless, they continue to perform some of the duties once required of them by the Malachite Throne (usually limited to minor magical resupply and advice on matters arcane.)
Why this is so remains unknown. The nominal head of the Council of Wizards is Prince Lakaster, skilled archmage (probably the most powerful mage in the region), and the lord and suzerain of the city-state of Winetha. In political matters involving the other lords of the realm or the Crown, the Council of Wizards defer to the Prince without question, but in day-to-day affairs, the collective group of sorcerers are otherwise the undisputed stewards of this Aerdian port city, seeing to all of its needs and defenses. Due to their own self-interests (and somewhat suspicious natures), outside mages are rarely allowed to join the Council, but visitors are tolerated, even welcomed should they bear some magic or artifact of interest to the guild, or even news of the outside world so long as it does not threaten Lakaster or his interests. In that respect, he is most probably the greatest threat to the guild's continued existence, for it is well known that the mage harbors ambitions that far exceed those of his brethren, although the fruition of these ambitions remains to be seen.
The Silent Ones of Keoland
This ancient society is almost entirely closed to outsiders, but it holds significant, though tacit influence over all other Keoish guilds and throughout the valley of the Sheldomar. Emanating from the infamous Tower of Silence [which the Silent Ones and locals of Suel extraction call "Shraal-Tal'mara"] less than a days ride south from Niole Dra, the silent brothers are said to form the backbone of an ancient order that seeks to protect what is reputed to be the last vestige of Ancient Suel magic that has remained in continuous hands since the Rain of Colorless Fire, over a millennium ago. Whether the order of the silent ones is actually this old, is both uncertain and difficult to uncover, since they communicate little outside of their own circles.
An architectural wonder, the Tower of Silence is an alien structure that seems to defy all the laws of sensibility. Erupting from the ground without any base or support, like the trunk of a great tree, it rises to the sky almost a thousand feet high, completely and totally dominating the flat and featureless plain that surrounds it. No mage who casts eyes upon it can deny the fact that it would be nearly impossible to construct today, since great sorcery was no doubt required during its construction. The blue-grey stone that composes it has no counterpart in more than a thousand miles. Legends abound as to its origins.
As for its inhabitants, the Silent Ones [who call themselves the "Shraal-Kha'dum", a Suel phrase that can often be roughly translated as 'Those Who Must Not Speak'] live an existence apart, completely free of the ruling Keoish King according to the first line of the founding charter of the nation, penned nearly a thousand years ago. The Tower itself is headed by a single undisputed leader called the Wyrd (currently, Mohrgyr the Old) and it is staffed by dozens of adherents (namely, the brothers). Their true numbers remain unknown, but are thought to be small, shrinking with every passing year. The Shraal also have smaller enclaves in a handful of Keoish cities from which they travel the countryside in missions and tasks that they appear to keep closely to themselves (thus their appellation, since they are by no means thought to be mute). One thing is for certain, they seem to be drawn to ancient places of strong magical power and import.
This limited treatise can only begin to scratch the surface of the true tale of the Silent Ones, a tale that will be told another time. (See 'The Chronicle of Secret Times' by Uhas of Neheli for more information.) One recent note, however, the activities of those calling themselves the Scarlet Ones seems to have drawn the attention of the usually withdrawn Shraal. To what end, no one is quite certain.
The Conclave Arcanum of Dyvers
An influential guild, particularly in the adjacent Kingdom of Furyondy which sports no other significant magical guilds. This city is of course, the major trade link between the east and west along the Nyr Dyv and the mostly navigable Velverdyva, thus making it an important trade and travel center. The long-lived magical organization here is generally considered to be in decline, directly in proportion to the rise of the Greyhawk guild in it's fast growing and petulant sister city to the east. The Conclave is many centuries old (at least as old as the Sagacious Society of Nyrond) and was perhaps the first modern guild to be established in the Flanaess. It currently occupies a series of low towers in the hills above the main districts of the City of Sails (these were constructed about two and a half centuries ago, just prior to the rise of Zagig Yragerne), though the guild still holds significant influence on the streets and wharves of Dyvers, itself. The Conclave also maintains an impressive meeting hall on one of the many islets in the Lake Quarter, linked only to the mainland by a single invisible bridge that is said to be highly unnerving to negotiate, keeping most save the initiated from paying unwelcome visits to the group.
Many credit (or blame, as the case may be) the Conclave Arcanum for the city's decision to declare itself free and independent of the Kingdom of Furyondy in CY 525, because the then Magister of the city, Ghorannus, was also head of the Conclave and leader of the opposition to the growing Velunese influence in the city's affairs. Just as the city's Magister is chosen, so does the Conclave choose its leadership by a quasi-democratic recognition of merit. This assures that the best and wisest usually rise to the top, but that has not always been the case (a certain amount of haughtiness pervades the organization.) While the list of the Conclave Arcanum's membership is impressive, many note that the list of those denied a place in the society is equally impressive. Zagig Yragerne, Keoghtom, Karzalin, Otiluke, and even the puissant mage, Mordenkainen, were all denied access at one time or another.
The guild currently suffers from a total lack of self confidence (probably owing to a near-complete lack of distinction in recent years), allowing itself to be drawn into squabbles with Greyhawk and certain intrigues with the Cult of Iuz, believed to be gaining a foothold in the undercity.
The Sign of the Red Talisman in Zeif
This may or may not be a true guild, since little is known about this organization in the east (less even,than the mysterious Zashassar). The Talisman is believed to be headed by a small group of independent and powerful Bakluni archmages who directly oppose the interests of the predominant Zashassari and who appear to contemplate a "Greater Bakluna", encompassing all lands east as far as the Nyr Dyv and west, to the borders of the legendary Suhfang Kingdom. Living in great soaring towers and seldom, if ever, setting foot in the streets of the great City of Zeif, it is unknown if these mages ever congregate in the traditional sense. They undoubtedly crave magic and its secrets and they are suspected of seeking to uncover the lost sorcery that once brought their ancestors (and their ancient enemies, the Suel) to heights never before known by Man. Numerous apprentices support the often varied interests of these personages in the courts of Tusmit, Ket, and Ull, (though they are certainly ill-received in Ekbir.)
The Talisman are known to consort with Efreet, Dao, and even more exotic beings
(some whisper that even the Princes of Elemental Evil are involved here) on
occasion, including some recent overtures to the Tyrant of Dorakaa, with whom
they are somehow believed to be acquainted (it is often rumored that this vital
link is provided by none other than the dreaded, Kermin). How these offers have
been received is unknown, but they appear to have borne some fruit, nonetheless
(see below). The de facto leader of the Talisman may or may not be the infamous
Tuerny the Merciless, thrice dead sorcerer of legend (surprisingly, many rumors
also hold that he is not even of Baklunish decent). Should this malign being
truly continue to walk the Flanaess, he is almost certainly doing so amongst the
undead (many suspect him of being no less than a Lich.) Nonetheless, though
these rumors persist, nothing is expected to confirm them any time soon.
Recent evidence exists to suggest that The Talisman assisted the Ketites and the Beygraf Zoltan in the capture of the east-west buffer state known as the March of Bissel (again, the role of Iuz in these matters makes the prospect of collusion likely). The Talisman are also believed to be closely tied to the Sultan Murad and his infamous court and they are further rumored to be an instrument of his will, or perhaps vice-versa. While this is unlikely, the Sultan and his forces grow increasingly belligerent towards Ekbir, even as they move to secure treaties with Tusmit and Ket.
The Eldritch Lords of Rel Deven
This society was founded in the second of the three great Aerdian cities of the "Enlightenment" (the first being Rel Mord, which later became the capital of Nyrond, and the third and final being Rel Astra, the imperial crown jewel and one time capital of the whole of the Kingdom of Aerdy, before Nasran I established Rauxes following his imperial ascendancy). The Eldritch Lords are a most enigmatic group about which little is currently known outside their own city. This isolation began long before the recent wars which made it thorough and complete, however. They were once a consortium of skilled mages and artificers that guarded, developed, and duplicated some of the ancient secrets of High Oeridian magic for the Overkings of old. In this role over the centuries, they created heroic weapons, staffs and symbols of office, and even ensorcelled whole buildings, fortresses, ships, and towers. That role changed during the Turmoil Between the Crowns, when the (largely Cramden) Eldritch Lords refused to pledge allegiance to the first Naelaxian Overking, Ivid I of the North. The Eldritch Lords spirited away much of the Malachite Throne's magic that was still in their possession and closed their ancient and prodigious archives to his Celestial Supremacy's heralds until as they intimated, "a true heir of Nasran sits upon the Celestial Seat of Heaven". Their collective power enforced their determination, and despite a few unsuccessful skirmishes over the decades between CY 446 and the recent wars,they remained intact.
Their organization evolved somewhat (rarely do they don the stiff, high-backed lacquered collars of office that once towered a foot over their shoulders), and their direct influence in the City of Rel Deven has grown over the last century and a half (they abandoned all ties in Rauxes). They've undoubtedly become one of the most dominant power nodes in the city. The Eldritch Lords, obviously, refused the summons of the Overking during the great war and for that, Ivid V laid siege to the city even as Almor and its capital, Chathold, were put to the torch. Half a thousand men from Ahlissa in the South Province and eleven hundred levies from the central fiefdoms marched to take the city and enforce the Overking's will. In the end, only a token force survived, claiming that fiery death rained down from the heavens to swallow the great host amassed outside the city's gates. Rel Deven, however, lay totally untouched.
The city has remained entirely independent ever since, an unsullied jewel in the broken Aerdy crown. Unfortunately, with the diabolical Duke Szeffrin to the north and the scheming Herzog Reydrich in Zelradton to the south, the city is isolated and virtually inaccessible to outsiders (though they are thought to be welcome). So far, the long-term intentions of The Eldritch Lords continue to remain a mystery and yet one can't help but feel that some great secret lies buried just beneath the surface of their cold, solemn faces.
The Sorcerous Union of Radigast City
This is a small but robust guild that may or may not have the most noted school of illusion in the Flanaess (while still a matter of opinion, there is no doubting the skills of some of their membership). Together, they are a fairly independent group of mages, patterning themselves much after the Guild of Wizardry of Greyhawk with whom they feel some kinship and friendly rivalry. They lack the latter's resources and prestige (and infamous and legendary patron, Zagig Yragerne), but are nonetheless trying to position themselves to become the next center of magic on the Nyr Dyv. Their motive is less political, rather than simply appealing to the questionable virtues of magedom and the Art and the Craft. Their hopes continue to approach realization as a small group of foreign sorcerers (including two archmages) joined them quite recently from Nyrond, Almor, and the Shield Lands.
Currently, Radigast City has become the most open port on the Nyr Dyv and the
primary destination of lake traffic leaving the vicinity of the Cities of
Greyhawk and Dyvers. It is the gateway for the trade and travel moving eastward
to Nyrond and beyond that seeks to avoid the former Shield Lands and all of the
lands of the Old One. Growing by leaps and bounds like their urban home, the
Sorcerous Union has recently secured permission from her noble brilliancy, the
Countess Belissica for the construction of a new guildhall within the precincts
of the city. A small multitude of artisans have been commissioned to work on the
project (including the efforts of the Union itself, of course) which is expected
to result in a wondrous new addition to the magical architecture of the Flanaess.
If the plans hold true, no less than four huge towers will support a massive
spherical edifice with an open air cylindrical center overlooking a public
courtyard. Numerous "special" items required in the construction are
being contracted out for discrete "acquisition".
(Adventurer's take note: five gallons of the milk of a Marilith's teat figures prominently and will be remunerated for quite richly.)
MINOR: (Most cities sport some sort of a mage's guild [a rare few have more than one], but most do not share anywhere near the influence and power of the above organizations. Most magical cabals number anywhere between a handful to a dozen mages and are often located in the local temple of Boccob. While I will not go on to name them all, here are a brief selection.)
Noteworthy Examples of Smaller Guilds Include: (including a thumbnail sketch)
Veluna City: The Society of Enlightened Mages (or simply, the Enlightened Society) is a small and erudite lot that includes branches in Verbobonc (where they are known as the Silver Consortium), Mitrik, Devarnish, and a headquarters in the largest city of Veluna. They are highly noted diviners and well regarded scholars, acquiring quite a patronage in the lands of Ferrond (comprising Furyondy, Veluna and the Shield Lands), who seek them out for their sagistry and insight. They are known to have many priests (particularly of Boccob and Rao) and mage-priests in residence. Political involvement is generally regarded to be nil.
Niole Dra: The National Academy of Wizardry. Small but countrywide, this guild includes a chapter in every Keoish city and town of consequence. These chapters are organized to be fairly independent of each other, save in name. Their power has waxed and waned over the centuries and they are currently in decline. At one time the National Academy regulated nearly all magic in the nation, save that in the hands of the Silent Ones (see, A History of Keoish Aggression). They granted licenses to practice magic and sanctioned the production of magical items. Now, they exert no such influence, barely even able to sway their own membership. In most respects they are a middling group of middling mages, with all too middling ambitions. Lashton, the court wizard and close councilor to the King of Keoland ([in]famous for leading the recovery of Istivin during the unfortunate incident of some years ago), has recently assumed the presidency of the Academy. This may herald some interesting changes, but we must watch and wait, since the Archmage is believed to be extremely ambitious.
Gradsul: The branch of the National Academy of Wizardry in Gradsul is unusually weak, given the large size of this Keoish port city, as is the local enclave of the Silent Ones. The group calling themselves "The Sea Mages", however, are the truly fashionable guild of this city, and by far, they are the most active. Aside from the common functions of this guild, they also work to keep the Scarlet Brotherhood and their Sea Prince conspirators in check and have so far met with some good successes. Their members work closely with the royal navies and mercantile companies to ensure Gradsul's security and free access to trade across the Azure Sea. Many have pledged themselves to act as a bulwark to the southern menace, so all hope may not be lost.
Exag: An ancient and little known society calling themselves simply "The Illuminated Ones". They play almost no role in the current politics of Perrenland. In fact, Exag is often treated as a city unto itself, and is said to be far more ancient than anything within a thousand miles of it, including in the Lands of the Bakluni. Nothing short of a direct investigation is liable to reveal more.
Rel Astra: A smaller, more recent organization, calling themselves the "Scholars of the Arcane", sits quietly beneath the shadow of the Sorcerer's Nexus. They interact little outside of their own circles (requiring little it seems, save the free exchange of magic and information) and are thought to be quite skillful and wizened old men who plot little but their own research.
Rookroost: The once keen and able Warlocks of Rookroost organized (and to great extent still do) a large network of agent-mages in the former Bandit Kingdoms, providing all the trappings of a guild. While not by any means a charitable or scholarly organization, the mages that found themselves amongst the Warlocks simply had no place in the more civilized and law-fearing South. It is thought that many of them despise Iuz and pay paltry lip service to his stewards. Others of course, have embraced their new Master wholeheartedly, finding his tastes to their liking. It is certain that some of the Warlocks even work towards the Old One's downfall, whereby in an ironic twist of fate, the one time oppressors become the oppressed.
Molag: The Necromancery was, before the war, a "thriving" guild in the City of Shadows. Its current status remains unknown, as is their disposition towards the Tyrant of Dorakaa, that is, should they even have survived the night of the Blood Moon massacre. Nonetheless, it is known that the guild often opposed the Hierarchs in the past, save perhaps, certain priests of the Dark One, Nerull. Their role in current matters remains entirely clouded, though rumors persist of strong resistance in the undercity beneath the stinking streets of Molag.
Sefmur: The abstruse "Order of the Inner Flame" continues to exist in the old capital of Tusmit, side-by-side more traditional yet less distinctive guilds. They practice a variety of magic nearly totally unheard of (and little understood) in modern times, namely, manipulating the ambient energies of the multiverse with the powers of their minds. 'Look to Zuoken' is a common catch-phrase amongst this group.
Nevond Nevnend: "The Keepers of the Flan" were largely a ceremonial congregation until the fateful beginning of the Great War. Supposedly guarding the magical secrets of the Flannae (less erudite scholars insist there were none to guard), they have now turned to attempting to liberate their homeland from the hordes of Stonefist and the grip of the Dark Lord of the Howling Hills. The Keepers were able to escape as the uncertain darkness came, but refused to abandon their homeland for the hated Pale and the ineffectual Nyrond. They fight for the freedom of their nation, and are thought to do so from hidden enclaves in the Griff Mountains. The mage, Nystul, is thought to be their greatest benefactor.
Seltaren/Leukish: The Wizardholme of Urnst finds it's primary headquarters in the large inland city of the Duchy, far away from the lakeward bustle of the capital, Leukish, although the latter sports a sizable chapter, as well. A traditional group, their eyes have usually looked south and east, to the Abbor-Alz and the Celadon Forest. Their most luminous member is currently the Archmage Warnes Starcoat, Chief Sorcerous Councilor to the Joint Courts of Urnst (who rose to the post after the mysterious disappearance of the Seer of Urnst). At one time the legendary mage Keoghtom numbered among them, before he retreated to the depths of the Celadon, where it is whispered he remains to this very day. Today, the Wizard-holme grows increasingly concerned about the activity of the archmage calling himself the "Emperor of the Bright Desert", from whom one spy has already been necessarily dispatched after he was uncovered in their very sanctums.
Monmurg: A group calling themselves the "Wizards of the Coast" is the most infamous gathering of mages in the former lands of the Sea Princes. Never scholarly, or even all that politically inclined, they have always benefited greatly from their position at the gateway to the unknown worlds lying opposite their shores (which the Sea Princes have never been reticent to explore). With influence in both Westkeep and Port Toli, the Wizards are (or at least were) a force to be reckoned with which has however, seen better times. The Scarlet Brotherhood's agents have thus far found it difficult to outmaneuver them, albeit, the persistence of the Scarlet Ones will no doubt eventually break these stalwart mages unless some kind of succor is soon to be forthcoming.
built by unclefester | sternzwischen | updated 14-05-29 23:15:23