The Order of the Lantern
The Order of the Lantern
The Order of the Lantern acts as a guild for adventurers, providing its members with training, information and work and providing its clients with highly trained manpower. Based in the city of Tasir, the Order has no official political affiliations, freely offering its services to governments, organizations and individuals.
History: According to legend the order was founded by three adventurers: Ardamnond the White, a grizzled cleric of Pelor from swamps that surround Tasir, Tilano Parenzeos, a bored Tasiri aristocrat, and Faeronest, an outcast from the elven land of Cindoron. Upon foundation of the order, each began to recruit members that agreed with their own philosophy, giving rise to the factions within the order that exist today.
Becoming a member: Many people are apprenticed to the order at a very young age, much as they would be to any other guild. The parents pay a sum that will cover the cost of upkeep and teaching. Most apprentices end up as Chandlers, lacking the natural talent to become wayfarers. The order also raises the orphans of former members as well as some foundlings. There are also plenty who petition for entrance later in life. These must prove their worth and skill to be admitted.
Structure: The Order of the Lantern is headed by a Grandmaster, under whom are several Masters. The Order maintains a chapter house in all major cities of Nathemar, except in the Talisorian Empire, where it is outlawed. Masters are responsible for the maintenance of the chapter house and the oversight of members. The order is divided into several subgroups: Wayfarers, Associates and Chandlers. Associates are not actual members but blacksmiths, sages, innkeepers and other lay people who provide support to the Wayfarers. Although the Wayfarers take the risks and reap the glory, the Chandlers actually make up the bulk of the Order. The Chandlers are the administrators and trainers. Higher-ranking Chandlers are often former Wayfarers, while lower ranks are generally made up of those who lack the talent or inclination to become adventurers.
A single chapter will have a Master of Wayfarers and a Master Chandler. The Master of Wayfarers is usually a retired Wayfarer (level 10 + in a PC class) in charge of assigning contracts to bands, collecting dues, training and discipline issues. Serving the Master are deputies who oversee one area each: the Bursar (Level 9 expert/dues and contracts), the Sergeant of Blades (Level 9+ PC class/training) and the Sergeant of Keys (Level 9+ PC class/discipline). The Master Chandler (level 10+ expert) is responsible for the actual business of running the chapterhouse, such as supplies, building upkeep and serving staff, animal care and banking services. Serving the Master Chandler are: the quartermaster (supplies – they are also in charge of arranging favourable deals with local merchants), the Steward (castellan, in charge of the serving staff), the Wrangler (in charge of stables) and the Treasurer (in charge of banking) (All level 9+ experts). Every major city outside of the Talisorian Empire has a chapter house and some smaller settlements do as well. A large chapter house, such as that in Koskov consists of: The Masters and their officers (8-9), several trainers (4-8 7-8th level NPCs) and various employees such as servants, stableboys, scribes and pencil pushers (10-15). At any time there are usually two bands in a given chapterhouse with 1-3 more adventuring nearby.
The Guildhall in Tasir is also home to the Grandmaster as well as the Captain of Wayfarers and Captain of Chandlers, along with the Captains of Bursars, Blades, Wranglers, etc. Together, they set policy, enforce standards, conduct serious inquiries and oversee expansion.
Functions of the Order: Despite its name, the order acts more like a trade guild than a religious brotherhood. Each chapterhouse is like a home away from home for wayfarers, providing accommodation, food, financial, messenger and repair services, news and, most importantly, contracts. While the order can only provide some basic mundane equipment local quartermasters often can direct wayfarers to local merchants who they do a lot of business with. To the public the order provides the services of a highly select group with skills rarely found outside its membership, though at rates that only governments and the very wealthy can afford. They are also a boon to the local economy, bringing in wealth and offering employment.
Ranks: When an initiate completes his or her ordeal in the proving grounds they are awarded the rank of Brand. The remaining ranks in ascending order are: Torch, Lantern, Master and Grandmaster. To achieve the next rank, a candidate must be deemed ready by a sponsor who is of the rank being applied for. The candidate must return to Tasir and once again enter the proving grounds to be tested. The Grandmaster, once elected, remains in their post for life or until they relinquish the position. When the Grandmaster’s seat is empty the Masters and Journeymen of the Order gather in Tasir to elect a new Grandmaster. The existence of several factions within the Order means that the politics surrounding such an election can be fierce.
Factions within the order:
The Lightbringers: Almost a seperate order within the order, the Lightbringers are comprised of devout worshippers of Pelor, god of good, light and healing. Also called goldarms for the armbands they wear, they believe that the true purpose of the order should be to pacify the savages and the wilderness and to give hope to the people. They count among their ranks almost all of the order’s paladins and clerics of Pelor. They dislike the presence of rogues in the order and display open contempt for the more mercenary members, especially the greycloaks.
The Greycloaks The greycloaks take their name from the signature garment of one of the founders of the order, Tilano Paranezeos. They believe that the primary function of the order is to protect its members and make sure that they prosper. Helping the community is all well and good, but only because the order relies on the goodwill of the community to function. The greycloaks are largest of the factions of the order but the least politically active. Their agenda is simple: get paid, and anyone who ensures that gets their support.
The Seekers This is the smallest faction within the order, due to their rather specialized focus. They see the true purpose of the order to be the collection and study of ancient artefacts, items and lore. They are particularly interested in the Cataclysm and hoard all evidence of its cause. It was the Seekers who insituted the tradition of wayfarers keeping journals and they will often embark on missions to retrieve the journals of lost members.
Attitudes Towards the Order The Order is an integral part of daily life in the city of Tasir, providing protection and wealth to the city. Within the Great Hall district they are nearly a city unto themselves, policing the district and supporting a large number of Associates and their families. Outside of Tasir, reactions to the Order are mixed. The common people of the cities treat high level members like rock stars or superstar athletes, often mobbing them for mementos or just to say that they’ve met them. Some people make a hobby out of following the activities of their favourite members and cheap dime novels of the exploits of famous adventurers are common. Low level members are either curiosities or disregarded until they reach the ‘big leagues’.
In more rural areas reactions are more complicated. Few villages welcome the presence of dangerous armed men and trouble tends to follow adventurers. On the other hand, a village troubled by goblins will greet the sight of members with great relief and heroes fresh from a dungeon delve can be a massive windfall for a small town. In small communities, then, members of the order can expect to be treated very politely but kept at arm’s length.
Governments outside of Tasir do not share that city’s strong relations with the order. Very few power centers are comfortable with the presence of a highly skilled fighting force outside of their control. On the other hand, few lords have the resources to deal with monstrous incursions and wilderness expeditions and so have no choice to turn to the order. At best they are treated as a civic service like garbage collectors or town criers. At worst they are kept separate from the city and forced to set up their chapter house on the outskirts of town. The main exception to this is the Talisorian Empire, where the order is explicitly forbidden.