|Sable Order Apprentice|
Welcome back to Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight. Today we will talk a little more about the Pentagarchy, where it comes from and how it differs from say Hogwarts.
The Pentagarchy is a magical order made up of five originally independent and unrelated magical groups. The five groups that comprise the Pentagarchy have joined together for the common purpose of expanding their own individual power and influence throughout the world by maintaining that arcane magic by its very nature is extremely dangerous not only to the individual who dabbles in it but to the wider community. Because arcane magic is so very dangerous this power cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of irresponsible and unenlightened individuals who may cause lasting and horrific harm to the wider community if they are left to their own devices.
The Pentagarchy upholds the principle that all arcane knowledge should be regulated and controlled. Only sanctioned spells should be taught and only those who pass the careful standards for knowledge and morale bearing should be allowed to advance as magic-users.
The Pentagarchy has used this argument to good effect and at the present time controls great influence within the courts of every civilized human kingdom surrounding the Sea of Harlots.
Each of the five Orders of Sorcery that make up the Pentagarchy teach their own custom spells along with those shared almost universally throughout the organization. New members are introduced into the Pentagarchy as an apprentice of one of the five magical orders. An apprentice is more than a mere student. A apprentice magic-user is recruited at the human age of sixteen at the very youngest and at the human age or equivalent of twenty two at the oldest. An apprentice serves their master as a student, a servant but also as their personal agent in the world beyond the order. An apprentice may enter the service of a master at level one but is soon dispatched upon one errand or another on behalf of their instructor. Apprenticeship is therefore more of a system of give and take. The master agrees to teach a new spell when the apprentice returns but the apprentice must leave on a mission for their master to earn this knowledge. Many masters have more than a single apprentice. Some masters even cull their apprentices and encourage competition between them.
The closest example I can think of for this structure is found in the Star Wars universe. A first level magic-user in my campaign may have a certain amount in common with a padawan studying under a Jedi master but quickly by level two or three and beyond they function more like a Jedi. They still must obey the rules of their individual order and the directions of their assigned master but they are considered capable adults and agents of their organization, not clueless children that require protection.
Unlike the Star Wars universe there are only two titles in the Pentagarchy. One is either an apprentice and remains so all the way to level seven at the earliest or they are a master. Most of the five magical orders within the Pentagarchy have clear rules to govern the behavior of both their apprentices and masters. Most restrict a master from having more than three apprentices at any given time but one who is killed or vanishes while on assignment can be quickly replaced.
While an apprentice is expected to complete missions on behalf of their master each master is expected to complete important missions which are in the interest of the larger order.
The Pentagarchy is a highly political organization and rivalries exist between masters, even masters within the same order. Each of the five orders of sorcery have their hated opponents within the Pentagarchy, one particular faction that stands out as an enemy to that order's cause and interests. Each of the five orders also has at least one other order to which it is (at least publicly) aligned.
The Crimson Order
The Crimson Order has its roots within the City States of Carthusia. It has long sold itself as a cabal interested in warfare and the application of magic both for the defense of a city or fortification and magic use during a siege. During the Nightshade War it was the Crimson Order which unleashed a massive weather control spell to slow the advance of the Necrogarchy's undead armies by creating the Bitterfrost Spellblight.
On a deeper level I picture the members of the Crimson Order as a society of Leonardo DeVinci characters. They are brilliant scholars with an interest in inventions, especially magically powered inventions and not only the sorts that make for grand explosions or spectacular death during war. These scholars have a great interest in applied knowledge more so than scholarly pursuits into history or lore for the sake of knowledge. They are movers and shakers. They want to shape the world and the course of history not merely catalog it in a library.
Members of the Crimson Order tend towards Neutrality.
The Sable Order
The Sable Order has its origins within the mageocracy of Sorcerous Xian. Its ancient citadel still stands just beyond the walls of the capital of that dark and exotic nation's capital, the city of Tamger. The Sable Order is the only sorcerous order within the Pentagarchy which is overtly malevolent. They openly practice necromancy which is an evil form of magic outlawed in almost every kingdom outside of Xian and Leng. Despite this agents of the Sable Order seem to be active at least in small cells almost everywhere scattered through the world.
The Sable Order promotes the traditionalist point of view that only blooded members of the Hundred Lords of Man should rule over the civilized kingdoms. This and their fairly bloodthirsty pursuit of anyone practicing magic outside of the membership of the Pentagarchy keeps them in good standing in places where their questionable morale standing might not otherwise be tolerated.
Members of the Sable Order tend towards Chaos.
The Amethyst Order
The Amethyst Order has few members any longer. It represents perhaps the least politically motivated of the five cabals. Members are trained to put wisdom and knowledge over power in their magical pursuits. They tend to be isolated loners, sages and researchers. The main focus of many members of this order is the creation of powerful and unique magical objects or the acquisition and research of artifacts.
If the Amethyst Order survives and retains its grip on power at all it is because its members cooperate and can act quickly and decisively as a unified whole. Every other cabal within the Pentagarchy is gripped by schism and infighting of every sort while the Amethyst Order seems to tolerate one another fairly well.
Members of the Amethyst Order tend towards Law.
The Azure Order
The Azure Order is the newest of the five cabals that make up the Pentagarchy and it still tends to cater to a younger, more forward thinking crowd. The Azure Order is all about power, money and power...and not the magical sort of power. One can rise to a high rank within the Azure Order by being a great politician and leader more than a high level spell slinger. The Azure Order seems to have an interest in illusion magic, charms and other mind influencing spells. They share a traditionalist world view with the Sable Order and the two cabals would get along well if they weren't both trying to grab control of the same kingdoms.
Members of the Azure Order tend toward Neutrality.
The Pale Order
This Order has long existed at the front of any crusade meant to protect or forward the cause of men. If there is a cabal within the Pentagarchy with members running around like Gandalf the Grey it is this one. At the present time the Pale Order is most heavily engaged in the ongoing war against the undead being created by the Pattern Storms in the Kingdoms of Daria and Kyrene and Western Leng. They see this undead host as the single most pressing danger to the future of the kingdoms of men of any threat in the world and they work tirelessly against it.
Unfortunately for the rest of the civilized kingdoms this cabal of good guys is so busy trying to save the world that they leave most of it up for grabs for the power hungry opportunists that populate most of the rest of the Pentagarchy.
Members of the Pale Order tend towards Law.
Where there you have it. Today's Wednesday Wonder Worker's blog update and your daily installment of homebrew goodness from Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight. See you next time!