The Brotherhood Of Magic

The Sussex Brotherhood of Magic is the organisation responsible for controlling and providing magical education and regulating the use of magic within Sussex, including Brighthelm.

Members of the Brotherhood are encouraged to carefully read their Brotherhood Player Guide as well as their College Player Guide, for those documents contain information not listed here.

The main site of the Brotherhood of Magic was built around a much older building which was constructed to defend and control the most powerful ley nexus (or 'ritual circle', to use the vernacular) in Brighthelm. This site is heavily guarded and warded, and a senior mage with ritual training is always on hand to observe any ritual performed by a junior mage, for safety reasons; in practice, this means that the waiting list for rituals is massive and growing, as the Master concerned feels this duty worth only an hour of her time each day and thus keeps the place locked down the rest of the time. Any mage recognised as a Master by any College may of course use the circle at any time they choose.
There are elemental colleges of magic corresponding to each elemental colour of magic; the Light College being the most prestigious. Collectively the colleges form the Brotherhood of Magic. The day-to-day affairs of magery in the city are left mostly to the individual colleges, only when required to act a whole to provide a united front will the 'Brotherhood' be called upon. The colleges are dominated by elemental elves; this is only to be expected, as the elves are both naturally magical and extremely long-lived.

The Colleges confer ranks upon their members, officially equating to personal power and progress in the study of elemental magic; the process by which one qualifies for the higher ranks is different for each College, but it is generally the case that one must be astute and an avid self-promoter to reach them. The lowest rank, that of Student, is for those aspirants who have not yet gained the ability to cast magic. Upon graduating in Elemental Theory, the rank of Apprentice Mage is conferred. This is the rank of most nonelven mages; the titles are all considered from an elven point of view, so there can be and have been many very powerful human 'apprentices' within the ranks of the colleges. Starting characters, at150 experience points, are considered to be Apprentice Mages; it is quite possible, and in fact encouraged, for characters to attempt to rise through the ranks in their College and reap the commensurate benefits. The higher ranks - Journeyman and Master - confer dining rights and access to proprietary texts and laboratories, but bear the responsibility of teaching the Students and Apprentices.
The Brotherhood itself is ruled by the Masters of the Colleges in conclave, with the head of the council, the High Mage, being elected from among them by majority vote. This position is currently held by Master Solstice of the colourless college, otherwise known as the human Harold Forthright. It is very rare for a non-elf to be elected High Mage - Master Solstice was granted this position in recognition of his brilliant contributions to the field of magical study.

Magical training is expensive, and while the Colleges' endowments are extensive they are not infinite. There are scholarships available to gifted students - two per college per year, and one Brotherhood-wide for humans - but most students either pay their own way or have some wealthy patron.

The Brotherhood does not generally consider it a worthwhile academic pursuit for mages to learn more than one colour of magic, as it reduces the time available for study of the first type - Colourless magic is a special case, as its theories are widely applicable. In order for a mage of the Brotherhood to learn more than one elemental colour of magic, they must independently approach a Master capable of teaching the colour they wish to learn and impress them sufficiently that they are taken on. Such a mage would likely have little spare time, as magical study is quite demanding enough when only one colour is being studied.

It is commonly known that the Brotherhood maintains an extensive library of magical tomes for its members, including iron-bound grimoires containing literally hundreds of spell matrices. It also offers magical supplies, such as magical paper and ink. It is a common practice for mages to earn a little money on the side by performing magic for hire; this practice is slightly disapproved of by the more stuck-up of the Masters on the basis that magic is a rarefied Art which should not be made available to the general public for mere coin.
The vast majority of Mages owe their loyalty first and foremost to their college, but at any one time there will always be a few Mages with loyalty to the Brotherhood itself, using the resources of the Colleges only for training purposes. Foremost amongst these mages are the Guild of Warlocks, charged with ensuring the safety and security of mages on Brotherhood business. Loyal to no college, bound by oaths of secrecy and service, they are trusted by all.

The sizes of the Colleges vary, from 400 (many of them absentee) for the College of Fire to less than a hundred for the College of Water. The size of the College of Darkness is not known.

The College of Light

The College of Light is one of the six colleges in the Brotherhood of Magic, specialising in White Magic (Element of Light). They consider themselves to be the most important college because Light is the most important colour of magic, although this view is not shared by the other five colours. They have historically had a fair amount of political clout, due to the College's massive wealth.

The College of Darkness

The College of Darkness is reputedly one of the larger colleges of magic, although the exact number of members is shrouded in secrecy; there are undoubtedly more members of the College than can be accounted for by the apparent size of the college. Ostensibly, the College of Darkness is one of the most forward-looking and progressive of the Colleges; its membership seems fairly evenly divided between humans and elves, with many true-elf members as well as Drow.

The College of Fire

Fire mages are renowned for their quick tempers and the flamboyant manner in which they display their ire - Fire Mages are by far and away the most common form of Battle-Mage and the College of Fire exists mostly to train mages so that they can fight effectively with the Kings Armies, most of the Warlocks being Fire Mages. That is not to say, however, that all of the mages of the college of fire are of a martial bent, it boasts a share of mages whose interests lie in teaching and research, although the college has fewer of these theoretically minded mages than can be found in the Colleges of the other colours. The groups which students are taught in, often referred to as coteries, form strong and lasting bonds amongst the members, and these friendships are often lifelong. However, Fire magic is dangerous and although relatively easy to learn it occasionally claims the life of one of its students.

The College of Water

The College of Water is unlike most of the other Colleges in that its demeanor and organisational structure do not follow the traditional stereotypes of its element. The College is traditional in outlook; its structure is rigid, with exactly thirty-six Journeymen and six Masters at any one time. Though the number of Apprentices is not fixed, it is typically fairly close to the number of Journeymen.
The teaching structure of the College is also traditional. The Masters lecture the students according to the same timetable they have used since the College's inception, and each also has responsibility for the tuition of a variable number of apprentices depending on the size of the College at that time. They delegate this responsibility to the six journeymen under their supervision, and in return give them sage advice and assistance with advanced study. Each Master bears an ancient title: the Bursar, the Senior Tutor, the Praelector, the Head Ritualist, the Librarian and College Master. They sound much more hieratic translated into the hydrokin dialect.

The College of Stone

The College of Stone is a straightforward research organisation with what the masters consider a sideline in teaching. Students of the College soon become quite fit, as a result of climbing from their basement-level accommodation to the teaching areas at the top of the great Tower; this is deliberate preparation for the strenuous work that Stone mages are often fond of. The quality of teaching is very variable: the journeymen of the College are typically very erudite and skilled, while it is often said of the instruction in Grey Lore that one is better off being lectured by a rock.

The College of Air

The Air mages tend to take a neutral approach to politics in the city, rarely overtly joining in the day-to-day affairs. Whether this is because they are too flighty to focus on an important issue to cause a change, or too deeply concerned with communing with the wind in search of deeper truths, is generally dependent on who you talk to and who was the last Air mage they met. Most Air mages display an individualistic streak or some form or another, and thus many varied teaching and study methods are followed. Although nominally each junior mage is supervised by a master, this in practice can end up as anything from a single meeting once every few years, to schooling in the magical arts for up to twelve hours a day. Transfer of tuition from one master to another is easily handled and without acrimony, for the direction of an apprentice's studies is more important than who led them there.

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