Guardians of the Veil

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  • Rote Specialties: Investigation, Stealth, Subterfuge.
  • Order Tools: Cloaks, veils or masks.

[edit] Atlantean Caste

Visus Draconis, the Eye of the Dragon.

[edit] Role

The Guardians of the Veil are the spymasters and secret police of the Pentacle Orders. Where the Adamantine Arrow looks outwards for threats to the Awakened, the Guardians look inward, testing and suspecting everyone, and taking it on themselves to not simply set everyone to the inquisition, but to eliminate those threats they may find.

[edit] Philosophy

The philosophy of the Guardians can be divided into two facets: the Exoteric Tenets and the Esoteric Tenets. While the Exoteric Tenets are something known about the Guardians throughout the other Orders, the Guardians keep the Esoteric Tenets a fairly closely guarded secret.

[edit] The Exoteric Tenets

These are the philosophies that the Order publicly associates itself with. Those mages who pass the final Veil learn these, and every Guardian adheres to them, although some may come to understand them in different ways from their fellows.

  • Paradoxes Strengthen the Abyss as Punishment Answers Pride: To the Guardians, Paradox is the single greatest threat faced by the Awakened. They never accept the trivialization that other mages sometimes ascribe to Paradox - it is not a failed technique or lapse in concentration, it is a moral failing that allows the Abyss to consume yet more of the Fallen World.
  • Sins for a Just End Grant Wisdom to the Awakened: The sum total of all Awakened souls are called the Diamond Wheel. As the Awakened as a whole approach a perfected, moral state, it spins faster and faster. This is a matter of quantity as well as quality: the more mages are able to pursue enlightenment, the faster the Wheel spins. As such, rather than permitting all mages to perform the sinful deeds that are called for by living in the Fallen World and fighting the battles they do, the Guardians take on those acts, concentrating the acts of sin into fewer individuals, and thus freeing the Wheel to turn faster, as the load of sin is not "concentrated" among a broader base of Awakened. In essence, the Guardians sin so that others may hone their Wisdom.
  • Merit must Guide the Fallen World: Magical understanding and Wisdom contribute to the overall merit of the Awakened. As such, Sleepers are wholly unfit to guide themselves, and the Awakened who would lead them must be held to a very stringent ideal of Wisdom and magical power. Properly speaking, Guardians are generally considered by themselves to be unfit for positions of leadership because of the previous tenet, although some Guardians may work to fulfill the requirements of Wisdom and power if they are best suited for leadership positions. Those who have been tested and passed are sometimes referred to as the "True."

[edit] The Esoteric Tenets

These concepts are considered secrets of the Order by the Guardians, primarily because the motivations behind them are easily misunderstood and/or twisted in the public sphere by adversaries. These are considered actively sacred by the Guardians, and well protected from general knowledge.

  • All Thrones are False; All Souls are Flawed: Merit must guide the Fallen World, but there is no one with merit. Understanding Paradox to be a moral failing, the fact that every mage risks Paradox reveals that there is none of the Awakened who are worthy. As such, Guardians do not ever experience true loyalty to any leader; they are there to constantly test and castigate those in positions of leadership, not support them.
  • There is a Secret Hierarchy of Souls: Though all souls are inherently flawed, some are more flawed than others. Souls pass through successive reincarnational cycles with the intention of honing themselves, causing the Diamond Wheel to spin faster and faster. Not all souls have the same amount of potential: some are simply better than others, and have the potential for greatness, while others - even Awakened souls - are doomed to mediocrity in this lifetime. The Guardian must learn to identify the potential for greatness, and strive to bring them together with others of like potential. Likewise, the Guardians must also identify those infested with mediocrity and prevent them from infecting other souls with their Wheel-slowing uselessness, going to far as killing them and speeding them on to their next incarnation if necessary.
  • The Hieromagus will Fulfill the Diamond Wheel: In time, when spins the Diamond Wheel fast enough - caused by there being enough enlightened, Awakened souls in the world at once - the way will be clear for the coming of the Hieromagus, the mage without flaw in his soul. This Awakened messiah will be immune to Paradox, and will explicitly not come from within the Guardians (who are all too flawed to ever produce such a bodhisattva). When he comes, it will be the Guardians who recognize it first, because they will test him and find him perfect. He will gather the Awakened around himself, and form Atlantis anew, and then lead the Awakened to rebridge the paths to the Supernal Realms, and heal the Fallen World.

[edit] Praxis

Guardian Legacies

[edit] Common

  • Bearer of the Eternal Voice: (GoV; Mind/Life/Space)
  • Subtle One: (MTA; Mind/Fate/Space)

[edit] Uncommon

  • Brotherhood of Holy Knives: (Home; Death/Prime/-)
  • Eleventh Question: (GoV; Time/Matter/Death+Mind)
  • Votaries of the Ordained: (GoV; Fate/-/Space)

[edit] Rare

  • Cupbearer of Lethe: (Home; Mind/Prime/-)
  • The Ipseity: (Home; Mind/Life/-) A Legacy innovated by a Mastigos of the Consilium of the Rose, based around the notion that true Selfhood is broader than any Fallen World identity, and "filling out" the Masques with entire unique personalities.
  • Thread Cutter: (L:tA; Fate/Death/-)

The traditions of the Guardians are rooted in code and deep secrecy. Learning them is a process not of just recalling what those traditions are, but of discovering them from the obfuscations put in place by the Order to begin with, leading Guardians to be individuals prone to viewing the world in layers, with a healthy dose of paranoia and the understanding that everyone and everything has secrets.

[edit] The Law of the Mask: Methods

The basic ways of the Guardians are never committed to writing. Writing is too accessible, ultimately, and provides the unworthy with a means of accessing what is intended for the worthy alone. Thus, the body of oral tradition is referred to as the Law of the Mask: it is learned in layers of storytelling, metaphor and proverb.

  • Learning to Remember: Guardians are expected to hone their memory skills, whether through magic or (preferably) mundane methods. In addition to providing a more reliable means of transmitting the Law of the Mask, it also makes the Guardian more of an effective operative and agent in their service to the Order. As such, many Guardians either have the Merit: Eidetic Memory, or they learn the Merit: Trained Memory.
  • Parables and Koans: Small tales with layers upon layers of meaning are typical for the Guardians. Contemplation of these tales are intended to help break beyond Quiescent modes of thought to discover Supernal secrets that hide behind the facets of the Fallen World. Plus, many of them serve as excellent codes for communicating concepts - a story is easier to remember than a lecture, after all.
  • Oral Histories and Prophecies: The Law of the Mask includes generation recounts of the flight from Atlantis, the establishment of the Order throughout the world and other elements of Guardian history. Many of these stories are transmitted through epic poetry, which draws on the repetition of certain phrases as mnemonic devices. And just as the Guardians recall the past in such terms, they also focus on the future - there are many, many prophecies that have come to the Order's seers over the centuries, and many of them are recounted constantly for wisdom in the issues the Guardians must deal with. In fact, many of the oral histories of the Guardians begin with a piece of prophecy, incorporating the divination that led to that event into its retelling.

[edit] The Culture of Secrecy: Behavior

Around all of this, the Guardians maintain what they call the "Culture of Secrecy" - teaching their apprentices to treasure the discovery of information and lore for themselves, rather than having it handed to them, so that they are hungry seekers, rather than the informationally corpulent waiting to have knowledge served up to them by others.

  • Anonymity & Reticence: Guardians do not talk about themselves. Generally speaking, those who do are lying, or seeking to use a piece of throw-away information to some benefit. They learn to dissemble well, deflecting questions with questions of their own and taking advantage of the fact that people like to talk about themselves. Guardians tend to avoid lying, not because they are averse to deceit, but because the signs of lying are a form of giving information away as well. This very much applies not just to in-person communications, but other forms as well.
  • Habitual Surveillance: Guardians make a habit of being aware of everything. The pieces of information that cross their paths, information that most people ignore, are voraciously devoured for clues and interconnections. While Guardians are taught to downplay paranoia - which is the projection of one's assumptions onto details of the world around them. Instead, they are trained to simply take notice of everything around them, and Guardians on their own frequently play the "spy game" with themselves, looking around and figuring out where in the area they would stage an ambush, hold a private conversation, eavesdrop on someone, drop an item for someone to pick up and the like.
  • Levels of Trust: Guardians maintain a subjective hierarchy of levels of trust. They do not give away secrets or trust casually, nor do they do so based on "feeling." These levels are:
    • Grey (Sleeper): Common knowledge, including Sleeper occultism. When revealing such information, Guardians often slightly twist occult lore, in an effort to draw intelligent seekers into further searching for "the real thing," and to send fools away on wild goose chases.
    • Crimson (Sleeper, Labyrinth Status ••• or Other Mages): Anything a Sleeper Retainer would need to accomplish a mission for the order. May reveal some of the morally or legally questionable aspects of the Labyrinth's activities. May be sent to perform some of those activities themselves. Fanatics unlikely to Awaken may even be used as sanctum guards.
    • Black (Guardians Initiates): Fully initiated Guardians learn the Exoteric Tenets, the Law of the Mask and about activities specific to the caucus. Forbidden from learning about other caucuses. Guardians must convince their fellows that they not only are worthy of these secrets, but need to know them.
    • White (Guardians, Status •): Trusted with all but the highest levels of secrets, including the Esoteric Tenets. These secrets are not handed to the Guardian, but gained through personal drive and proving to be worthy.
    • Colorless (Guardians, Status ••••): Secrets so dangerous they must be hidden from the rank and file of the order.
    • True (Worthy Mages): Mages of other orders who have been tested and passed. They may be told more than others, including information needed to remain safe in the event of Guardian purges. (This status is almost never granted to those of the Free Council.)

[edit] The Divine Thread: The Caucus

Inspired by Sun Tzu's term for espionage, the "Divine Thread" is the Guardians' activities as spymasters, a vocation they pursue with grace and efficiency. Each caucus is effectively an autonomous spy ring, story circle and place for testing mages. Secret missions are their stock in trade.

  • Objectives: The objectives of the caucus' espionage covers four main areas:
    • Defend the Awakened: Guardians perform this duty not as the Arrow does, martially, but by uncovering and exposing threats to the Awakened. They arm others with their intelligence, and allow others to tend to the threats they find. Sometimes, though, these secrets are too dangerous to reveal openly, and the Guardians embrace their sinister reputation and perform assassinations as needful.
    • Protect the Sanctity of Magic: Guardians work to ensure that only the worthy find their way to the Mysteries, testing not just those who are at the threshold of the Awakened world, but even those who are firmly within it. Guardians regularly test magi of the Consilii they operate in, although they do not do so without internal debate over the necessity and form of the testing. This is usually done in groups of three: one argues for testing, the other argues against, and one decides. Any testing is then performed by all three Guardians. The Guardians also maintain Labyrinths intended as a place to herd those nearing the Mysteries into, providing them a safe space in which to be tested for their worthiness. There are some Sleepers and mages that no amount of testing will vindicate, however - psychopaths, Banishers, the Mad, Scelesti and other Left Handed magi. These must be rooted out and destroyed, by the Consilium when feasible, or by the Guardian caucus when needful. Finally, the most public expression of this objective is the Guardian condemnation of paradox-inducing magic. Guardians are usually in places where they can discover reports of such strangeness first, and they do not hesitate to publicly call out those mages who flaunt preservation of the Veil.
    • Weaken the Enemies of Atlantis: The foes of the Awakened Nation must be expunged, whether they are Banishers, Seers, nests of Left Handed magi or any others. Guardians often work subtly against these foes, preferring to avoid tipping their hand while waging wars of attrition and resource denial, weakening them for the final blow. Guardians also keep their attention directed inward, seeking out those who may be traitors and fools among the Pentacle Orders. They routinely gather evidence of wrong-doing of their fellows, and will even fabricate it when necessary for the greater good. The Order also secretly opposes all efforts to artificially rebuild Atlantis before the coming of the Hieromagus.
    • Prepare the Way for the Hieromagus: In the end, the Guardians work to prepare the world for the coming of the Hieromagus. This Awakened messiah will recreate Atlantis, and his soul will be the new Spire that reaches into the Supernal, where he will throw down the false gods that now inhabit those realms. The ordeals of the Guardians serve this purpose, for they believe that once enough Awakened souls are purified and strengthened, the Hieromagus will appear. The Order also attacks competing messiahs and false prophets, stridently investigating and exposing falsehoods in them.
  • The Great Game: The Guardians discuss the practice of espionage as though it were a game, albeit the most important one. Successful espionage exists within the mage's soul first - each Guardian must find and hold on to their clear purpose, their willingness to sin against Wisdom in order to preserve Wisdom, to test and scourge the world to a state of purity that the Hieromagus may come.
    • Seers of the Throne: The slaves of the Exarchs use the techniques of espionage as well, for their numbers are small, though their temporal power is greater than that of any other single Order. The Seers are the true rival of the Guardians in the Great Game, and in some way, the Guardians admire the Seers. In many Consilii and caucuses, the Guardians exist in a state of cold war against their Seer foes, developing rivalries tinged with mutual respect, sometimes even exchanging gifts or compliments when they encounter one another outside of controlled situations.
    • The Left-Handed Legacies: Guardians consider the Left Handed to be a threat to the Consilim not in their antagonism, but in their seduction. Each usually has a great power to offer other mages, and the Guardians consider it their job to prevent such temptation from ever reaching those they watch over.
    • Allied Orders: Guardians watch their allies most closely of all. After all, the Awakened of the Pentacle Orders represent the largest population of magi, and thus the broadest chance of threat. The other Orders sometimes spy on the Guardians in return, but most caucuses have prepared for just such inquiries, and offer up wholly or partially fabricated truths to satisfy those who don't play the game with the depth they do.
    • Sleepers: Though most of the Orders have an interest in Sleepers, no one regards them with the antagonism that the Guardians do. Moral failings are rife in those still in the grip of the Quiescence, and the bits of the Abyss that maintain that Sleep are the enemies of the Guardians. The Order is brutal in its willingness to keep Sleepers from uncovering the Mysteries - at their kindest, they divert such individuals into a carefully-controlled Labyrinth, feeding them seemingly-true answers.
    • Other Supernatural Beings: Of all potential foes, the Guardians are involved with other supernatural entities the least. The reasons for this are simple: they wield unpredictable powers and form societies with traditions the Guardians simply don't understand. Large caucuses sometimes have one or two who make it their business to remain abreast of the doings of other supernatural entities in the area, but these are far from common.
Tradecraft
  • Tradecraft: The techniques of the Guardians' espionage have a core of mundane spycraft. The reason for this is simple: most Awakened are very prepared for magical incursions, but remain ignorant of mundane techniques of hiding their information and doings. It is easy to achieve secrecy with magic, but most mages simply don't know how to avoid leaving tracks and traces of their doings in mundane ways. Guardians use magic to augment these techniques, but almost never to replace them.
  • Cells: Though a Guardian generally knows his own caucus, knowledge of other caucuses is usually accorded a White-scale secret, preventing captured Guardians from endangering any Guardians but those of his own Order.
  • The Caucus as Spy Ring: Even within a caucus, the Epopt often adopts a cell-structure in terms of what individual Guardians are doing. Individual agents never speak of their current projects to others in the caucus, and small group projects maintain their silence outside their operating group as well. In this way, it is usually only the Epopt who knows the full picture of what is going on. Guardians are rewarded not for temporal power, but for putting themselves through difficult ordeals and accomplishing the goals of the Order well. Guardians favor personal initiative, but only if it leads to success. Hubris that leads a Guardian to undertake a project he is incapable of accomplishing often leads to chastisement and outright punishment. A Guardian is expected to monitor his cabal for dangers, but is never to act against his cabal - given the closeness that usually develops among cabalmates, this prevents Guardians from ever having to decide between Order and cabal, which is a decision that the Order usually loses.
  • Agents: Much as with their philosophies of spycraft, Guardians often prefer Sleeper agents for much of their basic espionage. The Awakened often come to basically ignore Sleepers. Plus, it is easy enough to direct a Sleeper agent to perform a necessary function without them ever actually knowing why they do so - and what an agent does not know, he cannot reveal if discovered. The acquisition of agents is a skill in and of itself, one with much lore in the Law of the Mask, which speaks of the seven kinds of folk who can be turned into agents. These are:
    • Crown of Roses: Believing her talents are unrecognized, the Crown of Roses can be turned by promising (and providing) success and elevation in station. They are best controlled by aiding them in achieving their aims through methods that can be used to blackmail them later.
    • Smoke of Altars: This potential agent has a habit or addiction that is onerous to others, but not to the Guardians, who are happy to help them acquire what they lust after as a means of turning them. These agents are best controlled by helping them to hide their vice, and by providing it in a steady stream. These agents are often wracked by guilt and shame, though, and so are best for only short-term and suicide missions.
    • Ebony Palanquin: The least reliable kind of agent, this one is motivated by money. Providing a steady stream of income, along with the hint of increases for exceptional success, are the best ways of controlling this one. They are mercenaries, though, and willing to betray for a higher bidder.
    • Pomegranate Eater: Possessed of a yearning for something that others often take for granted, such as sexual intimacy, popularity or a particular body image, these agents are very easily controlled by providing access to what they desire. They frequently remain steady and loyal, particularly after a demonstration of how all that has been given can be withdrawn.
    • Oubliette: Useful, this potential agent wants not just success for himself, but for his competitors and rivals to fall as well. The technique for controlling the Oubliette is simple: arrange to give them the ability to cause their rivals to fail, and then blackmail them with the proof of their actions. Caution is necessary, however, to remain a seeming ally, rather than yet another rival to be bested.
    • Battlefield Gull: A nihilist at heart, this potential agent harbors a deep dissatisfaction with the world, and would see it all destroyed. Difficult to wield properly, they are still potent if their urges and desires can be turned into weapons for the Guardian's use. Care must be taken to keep them properly aimed, however.
    • Portal Warden: Idealistic to the point of willingness to betray confidences and loyalties in the name of a greater good, these agents are controlled by expressing sympathy for and support of the agent's goals. These agents tend toward martyrdom, which can be useful, and are best controlled by blurring the lines between the agent's "greater good" and the Guardian's objectives. If he believes the tasks put to him by the Guardian are in line with his idealism, he is an excellent agent.
  • Agent Tactics: There are three tasks agents are entrusted with by Guardians, each in increasing degree of trust: gather intelligence, pass false information and sabotage the enemy organization. Ironically, the more they are trusted in this regard, the less fit they are considered for Awakening. The more treacherous the agent, they more useful they are, but the less virtuous they are, also. As such, Guardians have no problem sacrificing their agents when it is needful.
    • Gather Intelligence: Guardians constantly recruit new assets, identifying them by their agent archetype and setting them up to have control exerted over them. Guardians almost never use newly-acquired assets: they are too readily identified as such. Instead, they make a point of acquiring as broad a net of assets as possible in hopes of being able to put one or two to use in any given situation.
    • Pass False Information: In contrast, the passing of false information is best accomplished through unwitting assets. This prevents discernment of the Guardian's intent in passing the knowledge, and the discovery of the asset. Only very trusted assets are permitted to lie for the Order.
    • Sabotage the Enemy Organization: Only the most trusted of agents are permitted to perform acts of destruction on behalf of the Order - and even then, each such act is assumed to be the burning of that asset, a suicide mission he or she won't survive.

[edit] Organization

[edit] Status

  • Neophyte: Neophytes are still in training, often by famuli to whom they are assigned. They are given long-term assignments, usually surveillance of some sort, to which they must dedicate the majority of their time outside of cabal or mundane life demands. Neophytes may be called upon by famuli or magisters for special projects, organized into teams with specific goals.
    • New Initiate (Status -): Must have one Arcanum ••+, six rotes. Gain access to Black-level Secrets.
    • Experienced Neophyte (Status •): Must have one Arcanum •••+, eight rotes. Known to a small part of Order; gain access to White-level Secrets; may be made Cultor or Emissary.
  • Famulus: Famuli are proven in skill and dedication. It marks the end of a formal training with superiors; famuli are expected to call upon order members to help them round out any elements of their magical training they are missing, but they no longer actively learn from someone else. They may undertake the official training of a neophyte, however. Often expected to take up titles within the caucus or consilium. They are also expected to plan and execute important tasks within the order.
    • Junior Famulus (Status ••): Must have one Arcanum ••••+ or two Arcanum •••+ each, ten rotes, Politics ••, one other Mental Skill •• appropriate to role in order. Known to majority of Order in region; may be made Interfector.
    • Famulus (Status •••): Known to majority of Order in nearby regions; may be made Susceptor.
    • Senior Famulus (Status ••••): Known to majority of Order in country; gain access to Colorless-level secrets; may be made Epopt.
  • Magister (•••••): Must have one Arcanum •••••+, twenty rotes, Occult ••••+, one other Mental Skill ••••+. Exemplar of Order ideals

Each dot in Status grants a discount to purchasing a specific type of Merit, reducing the cost to New Rating x1 for that Merit. The Merits for the Guardians of the Veil are:

  • Contacts: Guardians frequently create for themselves vast networks of informants, spies and similar sources of information.
  • Occultation: It is very common for Guardians to manifest occultation, fading from Sleeper society.
  • Paranoia Merits (Group): Guardians often develop a sort of paranoia that allows them to anticipate surprises and notice everything. With this selection, Guardians get the normal discount on the Common Sense, Danger Sense, Fast Reflexes and Trained Memory Merits.
  • Status: Guardians often infiltrate Sleeper government, espionage and military organizations.
  • Unseen Merits (Group): Guardians master techniques of moving quickly and without being seen or getting lost. With this selection, Guardians get the normal discount on the Direction Sense, Fleet of Foot and Tunnel Rat Merits.

[edit] Factions

  • The Faceless: Master spies who revel in the loss of self to the many forms of the Masque. Identity is a lie, and it's one the Faceless tell with infinite variations. The Faceless take great pride in hunting down the targets of the caucus, and in providing a great deal of its harder-to-access intelligence.
  • Inheritors: Notorious for their authoritarian bent, the Inheritors considers themselves the only ones truly dedicated to preserving the Mysteries from the eyes of the unworthy. To the chagrin of the Awakened, this doesn't simply mean policing Sleepers - Inheritors also turn their attention to their fellow magi. Those who fail to uphold the Guardians' high moral standards of behavior earn their attention. Inheritors frequently function as "cleaners" for Awakened society, first on the scene to rid it of evidence of magic and the actions of the Awakened. They are also those who spearhead the investigation of the Awakened to ascertain their worthiness.
  • Messianics: Spiritual center and fundamentalist wing both, the Messianics take their Guardian duties not as simply tasks, but as spiritual calling. They remind their fellows that all of this work is for one end: the coming of the Hieromagus. They remind their fellows that they are sinners without hesitation to uphold the Path of Wisdom for the rest of the Awakened. Messianics do not pull punches in their preservation of the Mysteries, either. Because the theology of the Hieromagus is one of the Esoteric Tenets, Messianics often seem inscrutable to those outside the Order - they are clearly driven by some measure of fanatacism, but unlike most fanatics, they do not speak of what they support.
  • Ordeal Keepers: Like other Guardians, the Ordeal Keepers know they are tainted by their deeds. Unlike the others, however, they make up for their defilement by undertaking ordeals and tests meant to sharpen mind and body. In a similar fashion, they also tend to be the Guardians who ordain similar tests for other Awakened, both within and outside the Guardians. Ordeal Keepers are the strongest adherents of the Guardian ideals of meritocracy, and the ones quickest to judge the worthiness of others.
  • Prophets: The diplomatic wing of the Guardians, Prophets are less concerned with ordeals, punishment and preventing Sleepers from seeing through the Veils. What they are concerned with, however, is gathering information. Mundane or magical, divination or intelligence, the Prophets make all information their domain. They are not researchers or archivists - new information is a weapon, and they intend to be the masters of that weaponry. Though they have a reputation as affable and politically-minded, Prophets are also paranoid. They see everything as interconnected and refuse to believe in coincidences of any kind.

[edit] Schisms & Heresies

Though the Guardians use myriad methods of ensuring loyalty from their own, the fact is that they accept agents of many differing perspectives, and sometimes that leads to those who choose to betray the caucus for some reason or another.

  • Treachery & Disobedience: If any Guardian aids an enemy of the Wise, the penalty is death; the order removes traitors silently and hate to reveal that any of their own might betray the Awakened. Lesser crimes are looked upon with severity, and the Guardian is not only given a punishment of some kind, but must climb his way back into the good graces of the Epopt through personal initiative and voluntary ordeals.
  • Selfishness & Obsession: Guardians are chosen for their loyalty and discipline, not for their fanaticism. Those who habitually focus too steadily on one singular obsession or fascination are dangerous, not simply because their actions and preferences can be anticipated and thus used against them, but because those obsessions often manifest in their magic as well.
  • Twisting the Wheel: The Order has no room for those who espouse a lack of faith in the reality of the Hieromagus, for those who question whether or not the Order has crushed the chance for Atlantis to come again. Those who lose faith in the Hieromagus or worse, who proclaim themselves the Hieromagus, engage in basest heresy - the prudent Guardians who hold less than fanatical opinions on the Hieromagus are well-advised to keep their thoughts to themselves. There is, however, room for those who maintain the Hieromagus is a spiritual idea rather than an actual person, but to deny the Perfect Master completely is to deny the Order itself.

[edit] The Caucus

The caucus functions as an autonomous spy-group, training academy and multi-purpose conspiracy. They also function in a cell structure, forbidding those of insufficient Status to even know other caucuses.

[edit] Caucus Titles

  • Cultor (Status •): Cultors create and oversee the maintenance of Labyrinths. Though they are not responsible for the ways in which the caucus will use the Labyrinths, they are responsible for seeing that the Epopt's decisions are made manifest in the Labyrinths.
  • Emissary (Status •): As many caucuses avoid revealing the identity of their Epopt - or sometimes, even the identities of their membership at all - the emissary acts as the public face of the Guardians to the local Consilium and other orders. Emissaries attend to public and private meetings, even being the one to deliver threats.
  • Interfector (Status ••): Executioners, torturers and scapegoats. The usually-masked Interfector is the Consilium's headsman and interrogator, with permission to kill any mage selected by the Hierarch and a majority of Councilors. Interfectors are immune from prohibitions against violence, violating sanctums and similar prohibitions. The Interfector may even be send against other Guardians.
  • Susceptor (Status •••): The elite spies of the Order, Susceptors are the field agents of the Guardians, their identities usually known only to Epopts. They eschew long-term strategies in favor of immediate objectives and tending to goals personally.
  • Epopt (Status ••••): Master of spies, the Epopt directs the activities of the caucus, remaining in contact with other caucuses to oversee the functioning of the order as a whole. Epopts tend not to be authoritarian, as Guardians who pass through the Veils rarely need such direction. The Epopt acts as the clearinghouse for the intelligence gathered, granting the Epopt a perspective no other Guardian in the caucus has.

[edit] Prominent Caucuses

  • Project: Chimera: Northern and Central California.
  • Caucus Eruditia: San Francisco, California. A tiny, local caucus in the Consilium of the Mists, this caucus' members base their Shadow names and Awaekened identities on Commedia dell'arte archetypes, following some manner of occult inspiration unrevealed to non-initiates of the caucus.
  • Limeri Agkeros: Oregon.
  • The Hidden Thorn: Portland, Oregon. A small city caucus formed out of the hierarch of Portland's distrust of the Guardians of Limeri Agkeros. Those Guardians in the city were given an ultimatum - retain their loyalty to caucus and leave, for remain in Portland and form a new, independent caucus.

[edit] Order Merits

[edit] Contemplation of Paradox (•)

Prerequisites: Guardian of the Veil Status •
Benefit: The Guardian may seek Wisdom through the contemplation of Paradoxes that she does nothing to prevent or mitigate, whether she caused it or another. If she contemplates such a Paradox for one day after it is caused, her player may reroll that character's next failed Wisdom roll, keeping the results of that roll. Only one such reroll may be "banked" at a time.

[edit] Ancient Signs (••)

Prerequisites: Occult •••, Guardian of the Veil Status •
Benefit: The Guardian is privy to the body of secret signs imbedded in secret societies throughout history by the Guardians. A Wits + Occult check is necessary to determine those signs when encountering such a group. Each success grants a bonus die to Social dice pools used to interact with that society.
Drawback: If the deception is discovered or the Wits + Occult roll fails, the society abandons those signs as unreliable or compromised.

[edit] Assassin's Advantage (••)

Prerequisites: Faceless Faction, Guardian of the Veil Status ••
Benefit: May contest a target's Wits + Composure roll with a Wits + Stealth roll when making a surprise attack. Must have studied target for three turns. Additionally, the Guardian may use Arcane Experience to purchase the Masque Merit. No more than half of the cost may be paid for with Arcane Experience.

[edit] Inheritor's Privilege (••)

Prerequisites: Inheritor Faction, Guardian of the Veil Status ••
Benefit: May purchase new Artifacts and Imbued Items with Arcane Experience. No more than half the cost of item may be drawn from Arcane Experience. Such items come from the vaults of the Inheritors, who take such items from the unworthy.

[edit] Sabbatical (••)

Prerequisites: Messianic Faction, Guardian of the Veil Status ••
Benefit: The Guardian may request a Sabbatical, in order to seek signs of the Hieromagus and realign his Wisdom. For one week, he may not use Masques, engage in work for the Guardians or use any magics beyond the Practices of Knowing, Unveiling and Shielding. If these limitations are observed for at least one week, the Guardian may increase his Wisdom using Arcane Experience. No more than half the cost of such an increase may come from Arcane Experience.

[edit] Ordealist (••)

Prerequisites: Ordeal Keeper Faction, Guardian of the Veil Status ••
Benefit: Through the use of one of the Ordeals, the Guardian may use Arcane Experience to increase his Physical Attributes. No more than half of the total cost of the increase may be spent from Arcane Experience.

[edit] Network Spider (••)

Prerequisites: Prophet Faction, Guardian of the Veil Status ••
Benefit: The Guardian may use Arcane Experience to increase his Allies or Contacts Merits. No more than half of the total cost of the increase may be spent from Arcane Experience.

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