|The Hermetic Concordium|
|Time period:||1230 - ?|
|Number of members:||60,000|
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The Hermetic Concordium is a global confederation of magic users, established for the purpose of controlling, developing, and conceiling earthern magic. They constitute a near-monopoly of magical knowledge and power.
Although only formally codfied during the Renaissance, the founding is generally assumed to have happened in 1230 by refugee Cathars and local witch covens. From the moment of its founding, the Concordium depended on an active masquerade supported by the Barrier spell to keep hidden from encroaching religious and secular forces. Thanks to its, for the time, progressive and proactive nature, the Concordium quickly swelled into a formidable organisation with an egalitarian hierarchy. By creating a quick way to identify each full member (so-called "Initiates") via magically created sigil, they were able to circumvent the provisions of the Barrier and create a network of footholds all over the world.
Aside from its founding, the most significant event during its history was the decision to decisively enforce the masquerade among its members. After several decades of buildup, the split of the Catholic church in the 16th century began the age of Witch Persecution which caused the Concordium members no small amount of grief and collaterals. In 1593, the Great Work went into effect, strengthening the Barrier enough so that the court magicians and seers could retreat from the public eye quickly and safely.
The nominal (although contested) headquarters of the Concordium is in London. Owing to its decentralized nature, the Concordium has countless independant laboratories, libraries, monasteries, castles, and similar sites hosting institutions for learning, researching and teaching Earthern magic. Additionally, since the Concordium has been involved in a low-level civil war, it seeks to increase its internal and external military strength to enforce its survival.
The Five AgreementsEdit
The Concordium has ever been an informal organisation, with the five agreements being the one constant that it derives its reason from. First codified in 1568, they continue to be the only law that all Ccncordium members agree on, although implementation varies. 1) Maintain Secrecy by deeds and magic. 2) Strive for perfection and purity, disdain the profane and corrupting. 3) Further knowledge both as an ideal and a means. 4) If asked for assistance, give as reasonable; if asking for assistance, request as necessary. 5) Call all those kin who follow these agreements, no matter their nature.
Practical implementation of these agreements vary between individual Initiates, but most will be paranoid towards revealing magic to the populace, somewhat friendly to fellow Initiates, and willing to support them if it is expedient. While violations will not usually be met with hostility, gross abuses (such as using a fellow Initiate who claimed the right of a guest as guinea pig) are often met with vigilant justice. Attempt by the London Diet to elaborate on the agreements and set up a dedicated enforcer group were met with indifference at best and hostility at worst.
The Major BranchesEdit
The Societas is the oldest branch of the Concordium, being founded in 1230 in southern France. While initially keeping the hierarchical organisation of the Cathar church, its members devolved into independant families and cliques. Often seen as the most "typical" Cocordium members, they keep themselves distant from the mundane world to practice and further their magic. Their outlook on life has been proven popular and newly joined groups of similar bent often claim formal alignment with them (preluded they find a group or family of good standing to sponsor them). However, other more active or progressive groups look down on them for their isolationism and luddism. In modern times, the Societas is losing the youngest generation, who is no longer satisfied with losing itself in mysticism and asceticism. Most of these rebells end up joining the Credentes, which enables them to actively practice their magic and travel the world.
The Eternal DietEdit
Situated in London, the Diet was the first and only attempt to strengthen and centralize the Concordium. Created in 1843, at the height of the Victorian age, when trains and telegraphs were beginning to make the world smaller, its most vocal supporters soon congregated at the capital of the British Empire and set up a discussion and government forum. Unfortunately, most other branches either ignored the Diet entirely or used it to displace unwanted or incompetent members from their positions of power. Now consisting of a significant percentage of conspirators and politicians, the Diet, which was originally supposed to meet periodically, decided to create and enforce its own system. Its first measures were to vote itself into a permanent session and make all member positions hereditary. Since that day, the Diet has been embroiled in a constant struggle for relevance with the rest of the Concordium, establishing dominance over newly joined magical groups wherever it could, forming the modern Credentes, contracting subsidiaries, and creating many front companies to finance itself.
Les Bons HommesEdit
A radical subset of the Societas, born in the chaos of the Great War and grown during what they called the "Age of Monsters", the "Good Men" actively fights modern technology and science, often covertly supporting terrorism and rebel factions.
Founded in the late 15th century in Firence, the original incarnation of the Librarians were a sect obsessed with finding and cataloguing the secrets of ancient philosophers and magicians. After decades of infighting of the various splinter groups, the survivors decided to relocate to Alexandria and rebuild the legendary library. Fortunately, the local magicians proved existing as well as amicable (their tale of lost glories proved popular among the magicians descended from Baghdad refugee families) and after absorbing the Librarians into the greater magical community of the Sassanid Caliphate, they became a breath of new life for the stagnating Concordium and opened up northern Africa to the whole organisation. Taking to the mission of the original Librarians with a passion, the Librarians are one of the most outwardly active branches, collecting, compiling and redistributing knowledge all across the world. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to shed a new "visionary" branch every few decades, with the last one established in 1986.
Credentes and SubsidiariesEdit
Credentes are the main enforcers of the Agreements, sponsored and paid for by the Diet in London. While some Credentes are powerful and worldly enough to travel and fight alone, they are mostly encountered in teams of 5 members. Extremely familiar with the workings of the Barrier, these combatants as often use trickery as they do brute force.
Subsidiaries are front companies or mercenaries the Concordium employs. Most of the mercenaries were already aware of the magical community before their contracts. Subsidiaries are most commonly associated with the Diet of London, who use them to further their influence.
Although a heterogenous group, most of the magic the Concordium uses is strictly Earthern in origin, thus taking the form of pleas to nature spirits or a collective "oversoul". Through centuries of dedicated research, this Animistic magic has become quite diverse in expressions, ranging from personal pacts to using pre-enchanted gem magic, powers derived from mathematical symbolism, up to on-the-fly summoning and contracting of lesser spirits.
A noteable minority is capable of using Linker Cores to power their magic, although they lack proper tools to fully realize their powers.