Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Order of Rulebreakers

In Magic there are rules.  Ways in which rituals must be performed, orders in which spells may be learned, manners in which curses and enchantments can be broken, effects of magic that are irreversible. 

Then there is the Order of Rulebreakers.  The Rulebreakers are a loose collection of spellcasters, primarily wizards, who make it their business to learn any governing ideas concerning magic, and then either break them or create workarounds:  curing people of vampirism, cheating death, reviving the dead, traveling to the underworld, casting higher level spells at lower levels, rewinding time, creating immunities to magical effects, writing new spells: those sort of things.  Many of these tactics and new spells are considered disruptive, possibly even dangerous, by more established spellcasters, and so the Order of Rulebreakers is outlawed in many kingdoms and states. 

Precisely where the Rulebreakers originated is not well-known, although it was likely somewhere in the Province of Visia, on the Great Peninsula Span, located to the southwest of Gull.  Pockets of Rulebreakers have spread to Aqueia, the most western Province of Gull, and there are scattered members beyond there, for Rulebreakers often travel.  They are illegal in most of Talia.  Their existence has been known for a little over 80 years, but some believe they may be as old as 200 years. 

When Rulebreakers appear in public or gather for meetings, they dress in dark cloaks and bright, monochromatic masks, usually white.  These mask are usually modeled on nondescript human faces, with black paint suggesting stylized features.  Rulebreakers refer to themselves by extravagant aliases, such as the Duke of Divergence, the Lord of Lilies, or Lion of the Lotus.  One of the most famous Rulebreakers is the Moron of the Sunless Depths.  He dresses in dark green with an aquamarine mask with enormous eyes and a small circular mouth. 

One theory of the founding of the Rulebreakers that explains their penchant for masks is that they started as an attempt by a party of spell-users to overcome the effects of a Medusa’s Petrifying Gaze, either to more easily defeat her, or to allow her to join their ranks.  As it stands, at least one Medusa is a known member of the Rulebreakers, The Lady of the Kindly Face. 

All Rulebreakers are either Chaotic Good or Chaotic Neutral.  They have spells that ward off all other alignments from joining their ranks.  Most Rulebreakers are Human or Tiefling, although there is the occasional Elf, Halfling, or mixed-race member.  And of course, there is at least one Medusa.  Some Rulebreakers have been known to turn themselves into Vampires or Liches.  How exactly such evil beings relate to the Order’s statutes concerning alignment is not generally known, although the theories are that either such beings get a special dispensation, or that Rulebreakers have figured out how to turn such beings away from being Truly Evil.   

Rulebreakers have a fondness for Alices (see A Red and Pleasant Land, pp. 29-33) and the more powerful of the Rulebreakers will often cast themselves as the benefactors of Alices they happen to run into (See Alice: Exasperation Table,p.31 in AR&PL, ROLL11).  They will do this even if the Alice does not belong to their favored alignment, as they think any insight gained from studying Alices as magical events supersedes the dangers of their ideology growing in power.    

Almost all Rulebreakers must be capable of spells of at least the 5th level of some spellcasting class, although junior members are allowed to join after reaching the 3rd level. 

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