The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct her to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.Lebannon of Haros Water
The orders are political bodies with clear philosophies about how magic should be used. They are made up of like-minded individuals and exist to bring together mages who share a common vision for how magic should be used in the Empire. There is no requirement for a magician to join an order, and many magicians involve themselves in the discussions of multiple orders.
Any individual present who is not a member of an order can still take part in Conclave business. They can still raise items to the agenda, participate in votes, and may speak during debates if they have the support of a grandmaster.
Each order also controls their own Conclave vault. The vault contains mana crystals and materials that are distributed by the Conclave to the order for their use. As the property of the order, responsibility for their distribution lies with the grandmaster of the order.
Joining an Order
Any Imperial magician may join any order. To become a member requires the use of a simple magic ritual. Several civil servants associated with the Conclave have mastered this ritual and can perform it on an Imperial citizen at no additional cost beyond the crystal mana required. The ritual places an invisible mark on the target which can be revealed with detect magic and several other rituals.
During character creation, a character with the magician skill can join an order without needing to expend any crystal mana. A character who chooses not to take this option will need to join an order in play at the usual cost.
A magician can change order by replacing their Arcane Mark with the Arcane Mark of their new order.
However, a magician who changes order cannot vote in the election for a new grandmaster, if they were a member of another order when that order voted for a grandmaster in the last year. In effect you cannot participate in the election for a new grandmaster if you were previously eligible to vote when a grandmaster was elected at any of the previous three summits. Attempting to influence the election of a grandmaster without due authority is electoral fraud and can carry harsh penalties.
Powers of membership in an order
Electing a Grandmaster
A member of an order can vote to determine who the grandmaster of the order will be. The grandmaster must be a member of the order to be eligible to stand.
The number of members of an order attending Anvil determines precedence. The precedence of an order determines when they speak during a Conclave session, and what share of the Conclave resources they receive. Only members of the order who bear the order's Arcane Mark count for precedence. Precedence is determined by the civil service by performing a census of the arcane mark possessed by each magician attending the summit shortly before it begins.
Right of Challenge
Claiming to be in an order one is not a member of is considered electoral fraud. Any member of an order may request that another member prove their membership in the presence of a magistrate; in this case the onus is always on the challenger to provide the magic needed to examine the target's Arcane Mark.
Challenging the Grandmaster
At any time during the summit, a member of an order may challenge the grandmaster to try to remove them from their position. To do so, they must request a vote of no confidence with the Prefect of the Conclave (usually found in the Hub). An announcement of the challenge will be publicly displayed in the Hub and regularly updated with votes for and against the current grandmaster, as well as the current size of the order.
The challenge continues until the end of the summit (in which case it has failed) or until a majority of the order present at the summit cast either a vote of no confidence or a vote of confidence in their grandmaster. The threshold for a successful challenge is set by the precedence determined before the summit. A grandmaster can only be challenged once during each summit. A magician may change their vote at any time by informing the Prefect, however the challenge is successful and the grandmaster is immediately removed from their position if the threshold of votes of no confidence is reached.
If the challenge is successful, it is announced at the start of the next Conclave session. The order has no grandmaster during this session of the Conclave. An election for a new grandmaster occurs immediately afterwards, following all the normal rules for the appointment of a grandmaster.
As with other elections, it is not legal to vote against a grandmaster if you were eligible to vote in a different order's grandmaster election within the last year.
If any member of the order questions the eligibility of another voter then the Prefect will check that the magician bears the appropriate arcane mark using detect magic.
In the modern era, the following Orders are legally recognised as part of the Conclave:
- The Celestial Arch: The Celestial Arch maintain that the skill and knowledge required to master magic mean that magicians are naturally better leaders and statesmen. They champion the cause of magicians and magic in choosing the Empire's course.
- The Golden Pyramid: The manifesto of the Golden Pyramid centres on the role of magic in generating wealth across the Empire. This Order also champions the causes of artisans, and the right of all magicians not to be treated as servants or slaves.
- The Rod and Shield: The most martial of the orders, the manifesto of the Rod and Shield centres on the role of magic in defending the Empire and expanding its borders. The Rod and Shield is a popular order with battlemages and healers.
- The Sevenfold Path: The Sevenfold Path manifesto centres on the belief that magic serves the Empire best when it is used virtuously, and that the virtuous should not fear magic. It often serves as a bridge between the Conclave and the Imperial Synod.
- The Shuttered Lantern: The Shuttered Lantern focuses on the protection of the Empire and the accumulation of knowledge about allies and enemies alike. They are known to favour scrying, espionage and other subtle uses of magic.
- The Unfettered Mind: The Unfettered Mind believe that the study and use of magic are ends in their own right. They work to expand the Empire's arcane knowledge and power, and oppose measures to curtail or constrain Imperial magic.
- The Silver Chalice: The Silver Chalice focuses on the health and wellbeing of the Empire and its citizens, wielding magic that nurtures life, mends what is broken, and brings what is torn apart back together. They are the newest Conclave order, formed officially during the Autumn Equinox 381YE.
Creation and Dissolution of an Order
New orders can be created, and existing orders dissolved, by a constitutional vote of the Senate. A newly created order requires a clear statement as to its purpose and attitudes to magic, and a symbol, similar to those possessed by existing orders, that is used with the Arcane Mark ritual. When an order is dissolved, the contents of its vault are redistributed among the remaining orders.
- Conclave session
- Conclave order