LGtC:Faction: Mages Guild

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“The Guild of Mages provides benefits to scholars of magic and established laws regarding the proper use of magic. The Guild is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge.”

-The Mages Guild Charter

What began as a branch of the exclusive Psijic Order during the Second Era, the Mages Guild grew to become a self-sufficient organization of unified mages throughout Tamriel. When Vanus Galerion proposed to offer magical services such as enchanting, alchemy, and spellcasting to the general public for a price, he caught the attention of the King of Firsthold. Almost immediately after, the Guild was formed. Slowly but surely, the Mages Guild started to expand its reach through most of Tamriel, conquering initial skepticism from certain provinces. Since then, the Guild has become a well-known institution for those with an aptitude for magic that wish to learn more about the arcane arts. The Guild provides services, training, and classes in all of the schools of magic and magical trades, and its vast libraries contain knowledge of mystical history and arcane artifacts. They have even been known to teach some forms of necromancy, although the extent is largely dependent on the region and current cultural climate. The Mages Guild's influence is able to affect local governments concerning magical policies, and their mages are known to be apt advisors who are willing to share their knowledge with the world.

The Fate of the Mages Guild

In the Fourth Era, the Guild was disbanded after the Oblivion Crisis. The fallout of anti-magic sentiment of the major populations was too much to withstand and the guild dissolved. The mages, sorcerers, and mystics that made up the guild eventually split into two new magical guilds vying to be the next arcane authority. The rival guilds are the Synod, a group that has banned necromancy and many other aspects of conjuration magic, and the College of Whispers, who aims to learn more about conjuration to prevent the next crisis.

Inside the Mages Guild

At the top of the Mages Guild’s organization sits the Arch-Mage. This accomplished spellcaster spends most of their time at the guilds headquarters, the Arcane University, inside the Imperial City. The Arch-Mage acts as the figurehead of the guild, advised by a Council of Mages, who determine the magical policies and internal politics of the entire guild, which influences most magical endeavors throughout Tamriel. As the Mages Guild is seen as an authority on all things magical, they are responsible for determining classification and education of the arcane arts, which leads to a strong-armed control of what magic becomes available to the public through the availability of spells taught and sold inside the guildhalls. Over the eras, this has become particularly noticeable with the general public’s attitude toward necromantic magic. Through the advisory of the Council of Mages, each Guild Hall is run by a Guildmagister, who interprets and enforces the guild laws at a local level. The Magisters direct the research and development of magic within their Hall, and organize the local teachings and sales. The Guildmagisters at each Guild Hall are assisted by a counsel of two masters: The Master at Arms and the High Incunabulist. The Master of Arms has their own counsel of two, the Master of Initiates and the Palatinus, which acts as the leader of the local chapter of the Order of the Lamp, an order of knights that act as protectors of the Mages Guild. The High Incunabulist also presides over an additional counsel of two mages, the Master of Academia and the Master of the Scrye. Under these masters, mages within the guild focus their studies and efforts in the areas that interest them the most, or where their talents can shine through. Sometimes the local guilds develop knowledge and research in specific magical subjects to set their experiments apart from the other chapters.

GOALS OF THE MAGES GUILD

The Imperial Charter of the Guild of Mages clearly details the public goals of the guild. It states that the guild is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge. When the Mages Guild was proposed by Vanus Galerion, he insisted that magical items, potions, and even spells would be available to any member of the general public who could afford to pay. Not only does the Guild focus on selling their services, but they also offer magical advice to rulers and citizens alike in times of need. Studying and protecting magical knowledge is an important aspect of the Mages Guild. Vast libraries have been created in the Guild Halls to house the numerous books dedicated to the arcane arts. Using the knowledge gained from these tomes, they organize expeditions and excavations to discover long-lost antiquities. Detection and analysis of magical items becomes an important part of these undertakings, and secured relic vaults have been created to preserve the magical artifacts and keep them safe from those who seek to abuse their capabilities These mages also strive to study powerful forms of magic and to improve upon the arcane arts. At times, the guild has outlawed the practice of certain schools believed to be a danger to the public, specifically the study of necromancy. Banning of the dark art can be linked to the guild’s precarious relationship with Mannimarco, the King of Worms. Politically, the guild endeavors to stay neutral as often as possible. Within the Empire, they are expected to abide by the Guild Act, which provides the guild with protection and encouragement within their borders. Outside of this, they attempt to help the general population with everyday magic and advising local governments on magical policy while maintaining a non-partisan stance. Only in times of crisis has the guild broken this neutrality, becoming involved in local political struggles. On these occasions, the Guild’s participation has been the ultimate decider in the conflict.

Mages Guild Characters

Alignment: Typically good or neutral
Suggested Classes: Mage, sorcerer, spellblade
You might enjoy playing a character who is a member of the Mages Guild if one or more of the following statements are true:
◈ You read everything and try to seek out knowledge.
◈ You like to use your mind to solve problems.
◈ You are drawn to powerful magical spells.

JOINING THE MAGES GUILD

Members of the Mages Guild typically start as apprentices to more powerful mages, assisting them alongside other initiates by recording ample notes, researching relevant material, or simply being a test subject for experimental magic. While it’s not glamorous work for enterprising wizards, there is a lot to be learned by watching the masters. While the guild is open to all people, membership is almost exclusive to those who have the potential to cast spells. If you already know how to cast a spell, perhaps you are a mage or a sorcerer, the guild will welcome you into its ranks quickly. Your preferred school of magic or your particular type of sorcery will usually have you paired with a master with similar interests or in need of your particular competencies. If you are a spellsword, crusader, or someone who has unrealized magical capabilities, you will still be taken in by the Guild, but you will likely have a much slower progression until you can substantiate your ability. You may be passed over, given menial tasks, or other assignments that don’t require the use of magic.

LAMP KNIGHTS

The Order of the Lamp is only open to those that can demonstrate their fighting skills. These knights are the protectors of the Mages Guild. If you are a crusader or spellsword, you will easily fit in among these ranks, even a warrior or ranger will have a place, as the ability to cast spells is not a requirement. Under the direction of the Palantinus, you might be entrusted to escort and protect other mages on expeditions, or be sent out on errands on behalf of the Guildmagister. While you may not exhibit the same skills as other prominent mages in the guild, your rank is still considered to be equal, although your role might look significantly different.

HOW DO I FIT IN?

As an adventurer within the Mages Guild, you will often be tasked with various small requests from your superiors at first. These might include fetching things, helping with experiments or aiding in spell testing. But as you advance your talents and you achieve greater success, you will be entrusted with more important tasks such as helping your fellow mages to unearth historic artifacts, or analyzing magical anomalies in nearby ruins. Regardless of your position, you represent the Mages Guild during your missions. The more experienced you get, the more responsibility will gain, and the more you will be relied upon to help shape the future of the guild. Perhaps the Arch-Mage will approach you personally with more specific requests once you have made a name for yourself. Either way, you will always have enough room to follow up on your own leads, interests, and hobbies, allowing you to hone your skills when you are not directly doing work for the guild.

A MAGES GUILD PARTY

A party that fully consists of Mages Guild members will be sent on missions that require more than just one mind. An example of this could be dealing with a threat to a nearby city or delving through ancient ruins, looking for magical knick-knacks. There may be one or two accomplished mages or sorcerers that form the scholarly portion of the group. They might be accompanied by a lamp knight (a spellsword or warrior) or a shadowmage (nightblade).

Rank and Renown

Renown within the Mages Guild is a measurement of skill and importance. Each rank brings on new levels of responsibilities and expectations as you demonstrate your effectiveness in your school of magic. Of course, these promotions also allow you to pursue your own research and experiments. Opportunities for advancement become rare after becoming a Master Wizard, but the prestige gained from those promotions provide ample motivation to keep studying.

MAGES GUILD SPELLS

Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Night Magic class feature

For you, the spells on the Mages Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class. (If you are a multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)

Mages Guild Spells
Spell Level Spells
Cantrip dancing lights, fire bolt
1st comprehend languages, identify
2nd enhance ability, misty step
3rd clairvoyance, magic circle
4th arcane eye, dimension door
5th legend lore, scrying

RANK 1: WIZARD

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher with the Mages Guild

You have shown an aptitude as an apprentice and have been promoted to the rank of wizard. In this role, you serve under a master with a more hands-on approach to research and discovery than you had as an initiate or apprentice. You lead these experiments, but with your master’s goals in mind. Only spellcasters can conduct magical experimentation, while Lamp Knights are more likely to help in research projects or provide themselves for another mages experiment. As a wizard, you gain access to 1d4 apprentice wizards that also serve under your master to assist you in your research projects. When you achieve this rank, you are directed to create your own mages’ staff (described in Chapter 4), which is used as a symbol of your status as a wizard. This staff likely represents your key school of interest, or the magical school you are the most practiced in. To create the staff, you must spend 10 days of downtime at a Mages Guild enchanter’s study, assisting a master wizard in the construction of the staff, which is given to you at the end of this time. If your staff is lost or destroyed, you can create a replacement by spending 200 septims and another 10 days of downtime.

Between work and adventures, you now gain a salary pursuing your duties that supports you at a modest lifestyle.

RANK 2: MASTER WIZARD

Prerequisite: Rank 1 and Renown 10 or higher with the Mages Guild

Regardless if you have become an accomplished mage or a stalwart protector, you are now eligible for a promotion as a master wizard. In this position, you oversee one of several functions of the guild, as well as the mages that you once apprenticed alongside. As a spellcaster, you are likely promoted to either the Master of Academia or the Master of Scrye, depending on your arcane path and skill. In this role, you serve as counsel to the High Incunabulist and communicate their goals to the wizards and apprentices that assist you. You have increased independence in the methods you choose to establish your goals and gain the assistance of 4d4 apprentice wizards. Lamp Knights advance to the role of the Master of Initiates or the Palatinus. As Palatinus, you lead the local chapter of the Order of the Lamp, and as Master of Initiates, you are given a significant role in determining the Order’s recruitment and training protocols. In either role, you are in regular contact with the Master at Arms, and provide counsel when requested. You can secure the assistance of a band of 2d4 soldiers and 2d4 hedge wizards that can accompany and assist on missions for the guild. As a master wizard, you now earn a salary sufficient to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

RANK 3: HIGH WIZARD

Prerequisite: Rank 2 and Renown 25 or higher with the Mages Guild

You have made a name for yourself within your Guild Hall, and you are becoming known throughout the entire Mages Guild. As a high wizard, you are now eligible to be promoted to one of the highest ranks beneath the Guildmagister. As a spellcaster that is already a Master of Academia or a Master of Scrye, you are qualified to take on the leadership position of High Incunabulist. If you are a Master of Initiates or the Palatinus of the Order of the Lamp, you are capable of becoming the Master of Arms. To receive this promotion, a vacancy for this position must be available within the Guild, and you must receive approval from the Council of Mages, likely after being referred by your Guildmagister. If this role isn’t available in your Guild Hall, you may be transferred to another location.

It is your responsibility to put together the right councils required to uphold the Guildmagisters goals. You decide which directives to focus on and assign these responsibilities to each master wizard and their apprentices. Between adventures, you continue to earn a salary that supports you at a comfortable lifestyle.

RANK 4: GUILDMAGISTER

Prerequisite: Rank 3 and Renown 50 or higher with the Mages Guild

As one of the most accomplished mages in Tamriel, you are now eligible to become a Guildmagister. The decision to promote you to this rank lies solely on the Arch-Mage, although the Council of Mages might be able influence this decision. There are only as many positions for Guildmagister as there are Guild Halls, so you will need to wait for a vacancy or a new hall to be formed. When you become a Guildmagister, you are given great latitude to pursue the ambitions and goals of the Council of Mages, including the Archmagisters and the Arch-Mage. This means you can direct the activities of your Guild Hall to focus on specific schools of magic or research particular artifacts and arcane mysteries. You can also influence the local attitudes towards certain arcane beliefs, lifting or creating taboos, as you see fit. As a Guildmagister, you can maintain yourself at a wealthy lifestyle between adventures.

ENEMIES AND ALLIES

Sometimes the Mages Guild as a whole, can be seen as aloof. They are sometimes more focused on their own research and ambitions than they are with the goings- on of the world. This is often exaggerated by their neutral stance when it comes to politics. Of course, they step in when they see their skills are needed, but they prefer to keep out of such efforts. This creates a friendly, but sometimes uncomfortable, relationship with the Empire and other rulers. They are seen as capable, but unreliable allies. When it comes to the other guilds of Tamriel, the Mages Guild sometimes relies on the Fighters Guild for mercenaries on their projects when the Order of the Lamp isn’t sufficient. They have a tenable relationship with the Gold Coast Trading Company, as this group is capable of supplying necessary provisions, but can become adversaries when looking for lost antiquities. The Mages Guild goes to great efforts to keep their plans away from the prying eyes of the Company and the Thieves Guild. There are also those who are afraid of the capabilities of the Mages Guild. Both Nord and Redguard nations have been historically known to be either hesitant with or will even shun magic entirely. The guild will also find enemies in the many necromantic cults and Daedra worshipers throughout Tamriel, as their practices have generally been outlawed or denounced by the guild. The guild’s most notable adversary is the Cult of the Black Worm.