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Fraternal Order of Wizardry

Tood of Orven

Welcome to the Fraternal Order of Wizardry. As an existing probationary member of the Orven Chapter you are hereby invited to pledge to the Corvis Chapter, subject to ratification by the Corvis Chapter’s council of members. You will be able to use the Lodge as your home whilst in the city, use the Chapter library by arrangement and enter into transactional agreements with other individual members on a negotiated basis[1] . Wearing the supplied pin as a badge of office will allow you free use of the university library. You will be required to pay your monthly subscription to the Bursar within the first six days of any given month.

The Fraternal Order of Wizardry maintains a ritual system that is highly symbolic in nature and kept a closely guarded secret. Some signs point to common ancestry in both fraternity ritual and other forms of magic, but most are likely purely coincidental. Other "secrets" may include secret names for each member, passwords, songs, handshakes, journals and initiation rites. These vary slightly from Chapter to Chapter. Meetings of the active members are generally secret and not to be discussed without the formal approval of the chapter as a whole.

These Chapters are usually found where universities and other places of learning occur within the cities of Western Immorean, members often live together in a large house or apartment complex. This serves two purposes. First, it emphasises the bonds the members share as "brothers". Second, the house serves as a central location for the events and administration of the fraternity. Because of this residential situation, the individual organisations themselves at their respective schools are known as "Lodges".

Such establishments can be identified by the Symbol of FOW on the front of the Lodge. Depending on the size of the house, there may be anywhere from three to forty bedrooms or more. Larger lodges generally have a large meeting room or dining room, commercial kitchen with chef, and study room. There is usually a lounge of some sort, access to which is often restricted to fully initiated members. Each Chapter of the Fraternity also maintains a chapter room, to which only initiates may ever be admitted and the existence of which may be kept secret. The walls of the house may be decorated with pictures of past chapter events, awards and trophies, decorative or historic paddles, or composite iconographs of members from past years.

Visitors to another city are invited to "pledge" to that Chapter of the Fraternity for the duration of their stay in the city. If the invitation, or "bid", is accepted, the wizard will be admitted to the house as a guest of the same status as he holds within his own Chapter.

New members, wizard’s apprentices and so on are also required to become members if they are learning within a city in which there is a Chapter. They are taken on as probationary members, during which they will enjoy fewer privileges in the house until they are initiated as full members. A probationary member may pledge only one Chapter at a time, and most often agree to never pledge a second lodge if they have already been initiated into another one, though this does not preclude such events from happening.

Common requirements for probates usually include wearing a pledge or new member pin, learning about the history and structure of the Fraternity and Chapter, performing public service, or maintaining a deferential attitude toward current members. All lodges still practice something like "hell week", when pledges are submitted to compounded endurance’s, which may still include some types of "hazing". Upon completion of the probation and all its requirements, the active members will invite the probates to be initiated and become full members. Newly initiated members are expected to live up to the standards of their Chapter. Initiation includes secret ceremonies and sacred rituals that the new members are now permitted to learn.

Probationer names are a tradition in Fraternal Chapters whereby probates are given a nickname to be referred to during their pledging period. The names are most often selected by the brotherhood just prior to the new member's pledge period. The names often reflect a trait or interest that the pledge has, often resulting in a derogatory reference, but not always. The degree to which a pledge is associated to his name throughout his orientation period varies from chapter to chapter. Some houses will insist that a probationary member always be referred to by this Fraternal name; others may treat it only as a nickname that in some cases may fade from the consciousness of the brothers.

Probationers are likely to experience hazing of the more direct sort when first joining or if they switch lodges during their probationary period. This is likely to repeated on the occasion of a students ascension to the ranks of those can actually cast spells and are finally able to wield arcane magic under rigorous test conditions. He is now an Associate Member of the Fraternal Order of Wizardry. Becoming a full member (approximately 5th Level AD&D MU) is unlikely to see a return to Hellweek. More likely a formal celebratory banquet where the guests of honour are required to eat a whole roast turkey on their own and drink a case of fine wine at the same sitting.

Hazing is the ritualistic harassment, abuse, or persecution of prospective members of a group as a means of initiation. Hazing activities can involve all kinds of ridicule and humiliation within the group. All of the FOW’s activities take place behind closed doors. And many of these practices could easily be considered abusive if a candidate were not a consenting adult — while others are quite innocent, akin to pranks. Examples of hazing, often performed in combination, include:

  • Whacking: This is done mainly in the form of paddling among Fraternity Chapters, sometimes over a lap, a knee, furniture or a pillow (pile), but mostly with the victim 'assuming the position,' i.e., simply bending over forward. A variation of this ‘running the gauntlet’ where the initiate (wearing nothing but his hat) has to run between the serried ranks of the Lodge, whose members strike him with their eponymous gauntlets. Otherwise it is done with ornate bespoke paddles (like canoe paddles, but a lot smaller).
  • Being doused by buckets of cold water; covered with dirt or with (sometimes rotten) food such as eggs, tomatoes and flour (also as a food fight etc.), even urinated upon.
  • Tedious cleaning. Examples include swabbing the decks, cleaning the heads/toilets (e.g., with a toothbrush).
  • Servitude, such as waiting on others (as at frat parties) or various other forms of housework, often with pointless tests of obedience.
  • Being made to eat or drink too much. Pledges are sometimes force-fed raw eggs, peppers, hot sauce, laxatives, various liquids or even alcohol (mainly beer). Some hazing even includes eating or drinking vile things such as bugs, rotting food, even vomit or fresh urine.

Entry into the Order of the Golden Crucible is by proven academic standards and ability to cast arcane magic or re-create certain alchemical feats. They are concerned with professional standards and the continuing professional development of their fellows. They network for increased knowledge. Whereas the FOW networks primarily for social (and therefore economic) advantage, then to carouse with their brother members and only thirdly to actually increase their arcane ability. Thus the Corvis Chapter of the FOW is divided:

The includers. They maintain that as an organisation of wizards, the FOW has a moral duty of care to open its doors to their brother wizards fleeing from the Khadorian occupation. War is coming. What this inclusive policy will gain is new members (some of whom are very skilled and experienced, some are highly placed within Lleal society and some are Llealese nobility), new skills and hidden knowledge (the OGC is the foremost manufacturer of blasting powder; they are talented alchemists and item builders and many of them are travelling with their extensive libraries) and (taking into account the personal wealth of many of them) increased financial backing.

The main agitator for this position is Delp Gant. Along with Beck Hitch and Sebastian Hedley, he has done much to welcome émigré member of OGC to Corvis and indeed Cygnar, providing them with short-term accommodation and then letters of introduction to other Chapters in the nation’s major cities.

The excluders. Would like to see the FOW and the OGC maintained as separate organisations. The OGC allows women and non-spell casting alchemists into it’s membership. It is also flatter and less hierarchical than the FOW and therefore the integration of male members would prove problematic.

Vidor Broadmax and Icabod Mallory are more senior than Delp Gant. So far they are content with his taking liberties with the Chapter’s Lodge as the OGC members are loosing texts that they no longer want to carry and are tending to move on to quieter places, where they can support the Llealese resistance through ex-pat community work. Alger Kerrigan works on their behalf. He is quite friendly with the OGC members he helps, but truly believes that the FOW doesn’t need anyone’s help to fight any war that might be coming. He actually helps make their travel arrangements and puts them on the boat.

Bayden Talbot and Vinter Whitefield, two more members of the Corvis Chapter, are quite earnest in their belief that there is no place for women or non-spell users in the FOW. They represent the most extreme brand of Cygnarian patriotism to be found within the Corvis Chapter of FOW.

All of those mentioned so far are full members. Dunley Ashburn is the ‘Master of the Lodge’ and as such avoids being drawn into any factionalism (he’s an excluder). Kerne Borne, Regan Falk and Odger Atwood are the other full members. They are includers by inclination. Kerne is the custodian of the Chapter library and Regan is the Bursar. Durwin Ashburn has a full time job teaching at the University next door.

The associate members of the Corvis Chapter are Bowden Dunford, Garrett Raelthorne, Dalmer Brasher, Boren Whitefield, Vidor Oldham, Jonas Ratcliff, Julian Gilfin, Hawke Dryden and Bergin Grayden. The first two are staunch includers and Dalmer Brasher is a dyed in the wool excluder. The others all vacilate between being apathetic or extremists of either camp.

There are also many probationers who are also students of the University. Cormick Turlough, Olan Kerrigan, Odran Kearneigh , Flynn Glasneagh, Ardan Kaddock, Lorgan Beene, Bastian Burney, Dermot Sorleagh, Hagan Kaddock, Conleth Bain, Brogan Finnian, Kirwin Enabarr, Ossian Duffock and Byrleigh Finnigan.

In common with the Orven Chapter, the Corvis Lodge is arranged thusly:

During the hours of daylight, two members of the city watch are on guard at the front door. They generally will not prevent someone respectable looking from entering, they are there to keep out riff raff and ne’erdowells. During the hours of darkness, they take up station within the porch. Now their purpose is to arrest persons detained by the Lodge’s magical defences. One would stay with the unfortunate prisoner and the other would fetch a watch patrol to remove the miscreant from the premises.

Probationary members are not allowed into the Members Lounge, only the Fraternal common room. They are required to give up their seat to an Associate if requested to do so. It is traditional that an Associate or Member entering the common room will require a probationer to surrender his seat, even though there are other seats available. Associates are allowed into the Members Lounge but there are not allowed to sit down. The Chapter has a triptych suite of rooms known as the Fraternity, Sanctum and an Inner Sanctum. Only Members are allowed into the Inner Sanctum, which is a sumptuously appointed lounge. This is where the most important decisions of the day are decided upon by the voting members. The Sanctum is open to Associates and takes the form of a board room. It is here that the Members advise the Associates of their decisions. It is then up to the Members and Associates to marshal all their available resources in the Fraternity (which resembles a lecture theatre) to promulgate news, policy and instruction to any Probates.

Dinning arrangements in the Fraternal refractory are along similar hierarchical lines. All food preparation and serving is done by the staff, as is the cleaning up. Meal times are set, but can be varied with the staff on duty. There are self-service bars in the refractory, the common room and the lounge. These are stocked by members of every rank and condition and not touched by the staff. Brothers are expected to contribute to keeping these bars stocked. It is quite usual for individuals to lift popular or quality items to the next higher level of bar; thus the only way to keep popular or quality liquor in your own bar is to keep the bars of your betters well stocked.

There is a reliable free laundry service and the Bursar can make available lockable, iron doored, unfurnished cells below street level to those willing to pay. One of the staff will generally be on hand to provide quills, inks and paper, to find boys to run errands through the city, call for carriages or water taxis and so on. All these services are catalogued and delivered to the Bursar who will adjust future monthly subscription demands accordingly (ie by adding a nominal sum for each service used).

Accommodation is by suite. A Probate will get a bedroom with a bed, writing desk, working chair, reading chair, wash stand, a rug and an armoire. There will be a supply of candles or oil and a lamp. An Associate enjoys the additional comfort of an ante room with a small bookcase for use as an office, with another armchair or chaise longs for private entertainment of his guests. He has a larger armoire, carpet throughout and a larger bed. More lamps, possibly a large free standing one and a fireplace. Generally speaking there will be a communal ablution facility for the Probates and shared ones for Associates. A member gains the use of an en suite privy and tin bath. This shares a fireplace with the rest of the suite. He gets rugs over his carpets, as much shelf space as he wants and a huge bed. Bedding is changed fortnightly in order to ensure cleanliness.

[1] Goods and services provided to non-members (like the nation state of Cygnar itself) are always a set price, governed by the Grand High Chapter in Caspia.

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