If life was just about manipulating magic it would be easier by far.

Freeborn Proverb

The most powerful and organised magicians in Freeborn society, the Hakima are the guardians of magical lore in the Freeborn tribes. They trace their role back to the three founders who were each powerful ritualists with their own style and emphasis. A group of Hakima recruits the most promising individuals from every family that is part of the same tribe and gives its loyalty to the tribe as a whole, rather than any individual family. By drawing together a group of ritualists from all the families, the Hakima ensure they have sufficient ability to cast powerful rituals, something that would be difficult for a single family to achieve by itself.

The Hakima play an important political role in Freeborn life, acting as neutral arbiters between the families and serving as the glue that holds Freeborn society together. The traditional role of the Hakima is as guides to the families, providing advice and direction. While there are fools in any position, the position of Hakima is well respected by most Freeborn who appreciate that they represent something of a higher calling. The best Hakima use this respect to direct the Freeborn families in the best interests of all, the worst try to browbeat families into doing as they ask.

The Hakima have no formal power, but their neutrality gives them an important social role in helping to settle disputes and their magical skills mean that their support for individual families is invaluable, something they can translate into additional political influence. Members of Hakima groups should try to make sure they are present when all important business is being decided by the Freeborn families of their tribe, to ensure that the right decisions are made.

Magical Heritage

The Hakima of each tribe bring a unique perspective to their magical arts. The Riqueza perform ritual magic using energetic and rhythmic dancing accompanied by drumming. The magic of the Guerra makes extensive use of fire, mixing fire-breathing and dancing, while the Erigo produce enchanting singing or poetry often accompanied by synchronized dancing. Most groups of Hakima prefer to work magic at night, in the open air, in the same way their founders did. They practice a tradition that says ritual magic is the act of building up power from the participants and creating a connection to the Realms, rather than the more traditional assumption that the magician draws power down from the Realms to the world. As such, all their rituals attempt to include their bystanders as participants, whether that is chanting, clapping or singing.

More than being just magicians, the Hakima exemplify a connection to the founders of the tribes and the history of the Freeborn. They are traditionally held to be wise, able to perceive the larger picture more effectively than most Freeborn who are anchored in more mundane activities. They may be consulted when important decisions need to be made within a family, or when magical assistance is sought. They rarely wait to be consulted however – a Hakima is likely to be poking around any important business ready to offer a suggestion as to what to do next.

They are especially cautious about preserving the traditions that make the Freeborn what they are, and about preserving the links to the founders that form the underpinning of tribal identity. They have little time for dabblers and charlatans who debase the legacy of the Founders, and offer advice that claims to be based on divination but is as often as not made up on the spot.

Creating Hakima Characters

The Hakima are intended to allow players to play a group of Freeborn ritualists who also have a significant role in the politics of the Freeborn nation, if they choose to do so. Players can choose to create a Hakima group rather that play a traditional Freeborn family. The Hakima are drawn from a single tribe, so you should pick one tribe for the whole group to be from. It is worth taking account of the magical traditions of the three tribes when making this choice; you're not obliged to use the magical tradition of the tribe, but if your group is interested in using one of these approaches to do magic, it helps to make the appropriate choice when creating the group. It's also well worth checking if any other groups are playing or planning to play Hakima in that tribe, since it will be easier to have fun if you join a tribe that isn't already well served by existing Hakima groups.

Individual Hakima characters are recruited from every Freeborn family in a tribe, so you can still define your Freeborn family as part of your background. If you want to be from an existing Freeborn family, one played by current players, then it's worth contacting the group just to check they are happy with you doing that. Balancing the loyalties to your tribe with old ties to a family can be part of the fun of playing a Hakima. Otherwise you can define a small NPC family that your character is from.

It's perfectly acceptable to have characters in the group who aren't playing Hakima. Members who want to play warriors should take a look at the Kohan character role, who are often found with the Hakima. There is no reason why a group of Hakima wouldn't associate with a Sutannir or a merchant, but if your group doesn't include these sorts of characters you are likely to be dependent on the other Freeborn family groups for help, a situation which will make the events much more enjoyable for everyone in your group. You will have to roleplay with the Freeborn families to obtain what you need, which is a lot more fun than just being able to sort it out without any roleplaying required.

Focusing your group on magic will make it more enjoyable for everyone in the group but it will also bolster your groups reputation and ability to perform powerful rituals. The Hakima's position is derived from the magical support they render to the other families in their tribe, the more focused on magic your group is, the more important you will be to all the other family groups.

It is possible to play a Hakima character who is part of a Freeborn family group. The Hakima do not consider themselves part of a family, but your character might be associating with the family, or working with them to achieve some long term goals. Ultimately though the respect the families are supposed to have for the Hakima is based on their neutrality, on the fact that the Hakima are loyal to the tribe rather than any individual family. You can't expect other players to treat you as a Hakima if you are very obviously just a ritualist who is part of an Freeborn family group. If you want to play a ritualist who is part of a family group, it may be better to play that idea to the hilt, perhaps even a character who has rejected the role of the Hakima in favour of remaining loyal to their family.

You can create and play a lone Hakima; it's hard to be powerful as an individual ritualist but your character may be able to make themselves essential by performing weak but important rituals.

Playing Hakima

The political role of the Hakima is meant to be a subtle one. Part of their influence comes from the way they place the good of the tribe above the families, so the more unbiased you can be, the more power you are likely to wield. The magic rituals you can offer are vital to the other groups, so don't be afraid to use that to get what you want from them, but the more subtle you can be about it, the better. If you try to throw your weight around and expect other players to do what you say because "the brief says the Freeborn respect the Hakima" you are going to get nowhere. The Hakima are supposed to be shrewd and wise in their dealings with the families; you have to play that part of the Freeborn brief to get other players to play theirs!

The Hakima are written with a degree of hostility towards those ritualists and spell casters who are not Hakima but have remained part of a Freeborn family group. These characters undermine the power and influence by offering the families a way to perform rituals without being dependent on the Hakima. The Hakima consider them to be charlatans, which for a group who view themselves as wise and learned guides is meant to convey a degree of scorn and contempt for these dabblers. A good Hakima character will rarely pass up an opportunity to demonstrate how much more effective at magic they are than the fortune tellers in the families.

Please don't be intimidated by the magical traditions set out for the three tribes. It's great if you are able to make effective use of your tribe's magical tradition, but it's not required. You're better off picking an approach that you're confident you can do well and enjoy than trying something you are hesitant about.