Name: The Eldritch Watchtower
Submitted by: Jade Williams
"For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past."
"The profession of magician is one of the most perilous and arduous specialisation's of the imagination. On the one hand there is the hostility of God and the police to be guarded against; on the other it is as difficult as music, as deep as poetry, as ingenious as stage-craft, as nervous as the manufacture of high explosives, and as delicate as the trade in narcotics."
The Eldritch Watchtower, is a recent addition to the city of Arylon. Founded just seven years ago, in response to the growing magical chaos following the Time of Troubles, the Council found the existing organisations- The Silver Crescents, and The Order of the Sphinx- were ill-equipped to deal with the wide variety of Art in and around the City.
The council had called on independent mages- and the Priesthoods of Mystra and Azuth- in the past to deal with their immediate concerns but found the need for a more systematic, council-sponsored organisation. Thus, the seven facets of Watchtower were created. Seven mages, six who had just finished their apprenticeships and one trusted ex-adventurer, were the first to be given the rings of office. The council chose these low-level mages, as they were unsure of the viability of hiring, and keeping, more experienced mages. The rings of office they wear distinguish the mages. These are adamantite bands, set with the gemstone that denotes their rank within the Order and enspelled with the following powers: When the wearer holds an open palm up and concentrates, a glowing sigil appears on their palm. This marks them as members of the City Guard, and they can commandeer resources, help, or enter buildings on official business. This sigil is registered with the Heralds, and protected by the Tri-fold Curse of Mystra. The ring can transmit a brief message to any other ring-wearer (3/day), or all ring-wearers (1/day). This message can be words (up to 15), sounds, smells, or even a picture. The ring cannot be worn without a magical 'attunement' being placed on the wearer. Only Diamond knows this spell (the council have the only two copies on scrolls).
The Order is concerned with magical conditions within the city, and local external affairs- such as the dead magic areas to the north, the rumoured magic in the ruins to the south, and under the city. Sapphire liases with the other groups that deal more directly with these, but on the whole the mages take no pre-emptive action. They do not restrict the access of mages to the city, and only monitor them if powerful Art or numerous magical items are present. They patrol with the Crescents, dispel magic, trap criminals, and help with large-scale problems (such as house fires).
Carnelian- the newest recruit starts out as Carnelian. This role is, in many ways, similar to that of an apprentice. Carnelian has very little responsibility as far as the city is concerned, being more involved with the odd-jobs that need doing around the tower. However, the other members see Carnelian as the oil that keeps the gears of the Watchtower working. Carnelian is responsible for cleaning the tower, disposing of unwanted items, running errands, fetching spell components, delivering messages, and all the little jobs that the older members are too busy, or not interested in doing. The current Carnelian is Fleur Cassidy (hf, M1, NG), an eager young girl who was recommended by her tutor who saw she wasn't cut out for the adventuring life.
Onyx- having served as Carnelian, and learned about the physical work involved, Onyx is very much a thinking role. This member is primarily assigned to investigations. Working with the other agencies- the Silver Crescents, The Order of the Sphinx, council-sponsored adventuring groups, independent priesthoods- Onyx lends a magical hand to the investigations. Equipped with a variety of divination magics, Onyx experiences much of the daily goings-on in the city. The current Onyx is the only exception to the 'mages-only' rule. Edwardo Halez (hm, M2/P2 [Azuth], NG), so impressed the retiring Emerald with his hard-work, and logical approach to studying the Art, he was nominated, and accepted as the new Carnelian by a majority vote of the Order.
Jade- Jade is where the real work of the Order begins. Jade is responsible for researching spells and items that have been brought in to the Order for identification. In this capacity, Jade works closely with the various libraries and sages in the City, and with the church of Azuth (who help with research and also get copies of any relevant information Jade finds. Charles 'Chuck' Brazen (hem, M4, NG) is the current Jade.
Garnet- Working closely with Jade, Garnet is more concerned with the manufacture and recharging of spells and items, rather than investigating new finds. This facet is more tedious than the others, but the work itself is easier. Garnet is currently Lana Hopkins (hf, M4, LG), a pale, gaunt woman, who is the daughter of Matthew Hopkins, a paladin, known for his crusade against the forces of undeath.
Sapphire- Similar to Onyx, Sapphire is the role that liases with other groups. But unlike Onyx, Sapphire is more concerned with collecting and sharing information. This is an overt exchange with regards to official organisations like the Silver Crescents, but also involves covert surveillance and intelligence gathering of any other power groups within the city. Sapphire is the shadowy figure of the Order- responsible for the safety of the city from within. Adventurers who come to town loaded with magical items and wealth get a visit from Sapphire (whether they know it or not). Sapphire employs a host of shape-changing and masking magics to carry out the job as efficiently as possible. Astra Whyte (hef, M5, NG), the current Sapphire is beginning to worry that she spends so much time disguised as someone else she will lose her self-identity. She is close to retiring- the influx of half-elves over the past year has made her stop and re-evaluate herself and her lifestyle. She hopes to be able to retire, find a partner and settle down.
Emerald- To most people of the city, Emerald is seen as the leader of the Order. For good reason- Emerald is the active defender of the City. Equipped with the best battlemagic available, Emerald is the first line of defence from any magical source, whether this is a spell experiment gone awry, a wild magic surge, orc shaman, or any number of other possibilities. This role is an aggressive stance- kill or capture are the first two possibilities that Emerald considers. If these fail, or are inappropriate, containment, banishment or suppression magics are employed. Emerald is seen alot around the city, even when not on the assigned patrol with the Crescents. The current Emerald, Jasper Baker (hm, M6, NG) is Arylon born and bred. He was one of the original apprentices, and has worked his way up from Jade. He loves the city, and sees himself as the 'shining knight' protecting his people from any harm that is inflicted on them.
Diamond- The leader of the Order, Diamond takes a back-seat role, and is virtually unseen by the common citizenry of Arylon. Diamond sits at the centre of the Eldritch Order, and co-ordinates the activities of the other facets. The main job at this level is administration- completing paperwork, organising schedules and rotas, and is the council contact should they request a meeting. Diamond is Anwah Dahn (hm, M13, LN) an old man who had retired to Arylon along with his old adventuring buddies (they were bored with their retirement and so decided to get together again and formed The Circle of Distinguished Gentlemen). The council chose him to create and manage the new mages due to his past adventuring career, his association with the churches of Mystra and Azuth, and his advanced age (he's not interested in personal power, political influence, nubile young wenches, or a host of other bribes).
The Eldritch Watchtower is set into the NW wall of the city. It consists of a main tower, surrounded by seven single story, living quarters for the mages. The main tower is four levels, the ground floor consists of a meeting chamber, with a circular table and eight chairs (for the seven mages and a representative of the council, or city guards). This is where the official meetings, both with the city representatives, and for internal matters, take place- a map of the city is on the wall to the right of the door, and this usually has messages and notes pinned to it.
The first floor is a work area- it contains a kitchen, pantry, and workspace for mixing and preparing meals. A room contains cleaning materials for Carnelian and a rack holds empty pouches for spell components. A locked room contains raw spell components that Carnelian mixes and bags up when needed.
The second floor is the work area of the mages- it resembles the archetypal 'mad professors laboratory'- with tables full of arcane equipment. It has countless beakers, flasks, and glass vials lying around on the tables and shelves. Liquids bubble through yards of glass tubing, bowls containing strange powders line the shelves, a stuffed alligator named Terry hangs from the ceiling, books lie open on tables- their pages stained with forgotten concoctions. Jade and Garnet can often be found working here and there are magical items strewn around the workbenches. Large one-way windows are spaced around the walls providing light throughout the day, and at night continual lights are uncovered allowing work to continue as long as needed.
The top floor is the Sanctum for the facets- it is one large study, with curtains covering the stairs and windows. The floor is covered with a thick, dark red carpet and large cushions and leather armchairs are spaced out around the room. The smell of pipesmoke is heavy in the air here, and the remnants of many snacks lie forgotten under the chairs. This is the meeting room- away from the sights and sounds of the city the mages can relax. Here the mages meditate, study their spellbooks, and contemplate matters arcane.
In the centre of the room is a gold and platinum stand that holds a crystal ball. It has the power of clairvoyance when scrying within the city, but is standard in all other respects. When not in use it is covered with a dark blue velvet cloth that is embroidered with the sign of Savras. For some unexplained reason the room always smells of pipesmoke- even though none of the current mages actually smoke. Some think it's just the lingering effects of all the old smoke, while others are convinced an enchantment is responsible. There are no windows on this level- light is provided by enchantments cast on several of the ceiling stones that cause them to light up whenever anyone enters the room.