Time for another little lore drop from the Heroes of Iyastera campaigns! For those of you who don’t know, Iyastera is the homebrewed setting I created for on-going family-friendly campaigns I run as well as the written adventures you can find in the Library.
If you’ve read the Welcome to Iyastera article, you may remember that the use of Magic is controlled and monitored ever since the end of the Severing. Any magic users who wish to practice their craft openly must formally register with their kingdom’s Council. Registration serves the dual purpose of allowing a magus access to formal training and resources, but also means that they consent to being monitored whenever and wherever they use their abilities. A registered magic user can be identified by the special leather cuffs they wear, which bear symbols of the school of magic they use and the Kingdom in which they are registered.
Naturally, there are those who oppose this arrangement, who feel as though it strips away the freedoms of magic users and will lead to more instances of magi being used as tools of those in power…much like they were during the war. There are two factions in particular who organize themselves in opposition of Registration, and which give the Heroes of Iyastera different options if they wish to go the anti-Registration route during gameplay!
Yeah, you can probably guess that the name was inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academy, but that’s really where the similarities end! The Unseen are a group of rebel Magi who stand in opposition to the councils and the registration requirement. They fly under the radar, seek eachother out to train together and promote the freedom of magical education and practice. To the Unseen, these council-imposed controls are no better than the practices of the old royal families who tried to enlist and use magi as weapons of war…it’s just another group of nobles using others to meet their own needs.
The Unseen don’t want to overthrow the Council, nor do they condone violent methods. They simply want a voice to influence these policies, and attempt to do so through protests, underground trade, and unsanctioned training programs. Their most immediate goal lies in finding magi that have not yet been marked by the council and protecting them.
The Shades were once part of of the Unseen, a more aggressive branch organization formed by members who were dissatisfied with the “weak” and “non-committal” approach of the parent faction. These members favour more violent and grandiose gestures of rebellion, such as arson, kidnapping, and assassination. The Shades view the council as just another would-be master to those with magical gifts. Like the Unseen, they desire freedom from excessive regulation, but instead of equality they consider themselves superior to those who aren’t magically-inclined. They wish to overthrow the High Council and form their own government in its place. They are more extreme in their recruitment, and will kidnap magic users they identify, particularly young ones.
Another objective for this faction is to determine ways to harness more magical energy, which includes the rumoured corruption of the awakening Springs. Many of the Shades’ actions have been wrongfully blamed on the Unseen, leading to a generalized distrust of any magi who are unregistered.
These two organizations are open to any players within Heroes of Iyastera who wish to oppose the Registration policies, magic users or otherwise.