I'll try and put up the OOC sometime this weekend, have some classwork to catch up on in the meantime. I encourage those of you still kicking around to start on character sheets so we can get rolling pretty quickly from there.
@Scribe of Thoth Aeromancy is unsanctioned for two main reasons: it's the magical discipline used by a particular tribe of unruly savages that descend from the northern mountains every so often (the tribe themselves call their magic Hrideki), and for reasons still unknown Photepi Sorcerers can't seem to get it to work the way they can.
Pyromancy is a sure bet. As for the Sekhmet aspirations, remember that the Red Orders choose who they want, not the other way around. Maybe your character has family in the Sekhmet, or is generally positive/ambivalent in attitude toward them. Remember also that most Sorcerers are distrustful at best of the Red Orders. Sorcerers that join their number are treated with pity, as most think turning their gifts towards warfare cheapens them. Sorcerers that try to maintain their status in their Cult alongside their membership in the Red Orders are treated much more contemptuously, and are generally black sheep in the Cults.
Alright so here is the CS as promised, and I'll edit this into the OP as well.
Name: Try to stay on theme for our Egyptian/Persian/Babylonian inspired setting. It's fine if your name is gibberish, because if you name your character "Set" or "Horus" or something like that I'm going to roll my eyes at you.
Age: Your character is 16, that is the age of commencement for Sorcerer-Novitiates. I'm putting this in the CS so there is no confusion about this fact.
Appearance: Simple enough, describe or provide images for your character's appearance. Art or photos are fine as long as they're on-theme for the setting. I'd prefer a more setting-agnostic looking character that could still fit over someone in a Cleopatra halloween costume, if you catch my meaning.
Background: What walk of life does your character come from? What was their upbringing like? Who is their family? What academy did they attend? If they come from the Pesedjet, how did they become enrolled in that prestigious school?
Personality: Just give me a general feel for your character. Their attitudes, what drives them, what they want out of life. Their feelings toward magic and their imminent commencement would also be good to note here.
Aptitude: Naturally your character is a novice, but they may still yet be a prodigy. What aspects of magic have they taken to most strongly thus far? Have they taken to any discipline with particular zeal? Do they wish to pursue anything as a specialty? This will likely determine what Cult inducts them, so be mindful of this.
Tutelary: This is the fun part; what is your Tutelary? It is up to you if your character has summoned theirs yet or not, and if not this is what they will eventually summon. What do they look like (feel free to include images), and what sort of personality do they have? What is their attitude toward their novice master?
Here is a sample CS, I may or may not actually play this character, but still feel free to use it as a reference point for what I generally want to see.
Name: Sekhandur Khain
Appearance:Sekhandur is tall and well-built for his age, giving some the impression of a man grown. Regal and statuesque in appearance, with dusky skin, thick dark hair, and eyes of glimmering gold. He dresses in rich adornments: gold, silks, gemstones, all to demonstrate his wealth and prestige.
Background: The family of Khain is a noble bloodline, tracing its roots back to the founding of Photep. While they have maintained their position of power and aristocracy for generations, Sekhandur is the first of his lineage to display any particular aptitude for magic. While his father, a lord of Photep's lower districts, would have preferred his firstborn son to inherit his holdings, his family had begrudgingly allowed him to pursue the life of a Sorcerer. Accustomed to a life of wealth and comfort, it was a simple task for Sekhandur to be enrolled in the Pesedjet, where his budding talents truly blossomed. He took to magic like a goose to water, and graduated from the academy with assessment results only exceeded by historical masters of sorcery.
Personality: Sekhandur is supremely arrogant, vain, and narcissistic, but he is not a malicious soul. He truly does believe that he is a superior being compared to most individuals, but does not fault them for it, rather seeing himself as an exemplar for others to look up toward. To that end, he is his own harshest critic, and sets extremely high standards for his own achievements, working as hard as he can to live up to these self-imposed expectations. He has a profound and genuine love for magic, and is excited to make it his life's work, and on the eve of his commencement can barely contain himself with anticipation.
Aptitude: A prodigy among prodigies, Sekhandur has completed and exceeded the Pesedjet curriculum for every magical discipline within their sanction for instruction. Among these, he has shown a particular talent for Telekinesis, his aptitude for the most materially-focused discipline perhaps stemming from his materialistic upbringing.
Tutelary: As expected from one of such rich talents, Sekhandur summoned his Tutelary a full year before most students made their first attempts, and as such has spent much time bonding and becoming accustomed to her. His companion is called Nedjem, and takes the form of a living statue of a lynx, carved from shimmering blue gemstone and adorned with gold. Nedjem is arrogant as her master, but a great deal more condescending and cruel in comparison to him. The only human she has met that she considers her peer is Sekhandur himself, and she thinks the world of her master. Nedjem is intensely protective of Sekhandur, and tends to interpose herself between him and those she deems unworthy of his attention.
I can see that I've caused some struggles/difficulty by being a bit too tight-fisted with lore, so I've transcribed my lore doc into something that's hopefully digestible and easy to access for reference purposes. I'll post this in the OP as well. If people feel like this gives them enough to work with, I can post a preliminary CS.
Ea is a harsh world, mostly desolate, with most of its landmass given over to searing desert and rugged mountain ranges. Dark blue seas break up the landscape, with thick vegetation lining the coasts. Days are short but hot, and the night skies are filled with the beautiful radiance of the cosmos that surrounds Ea, as well as its single moon, known to the Photepi as Kali. The very world seems to be seeped in magical energy, which infuses the people and creatures of Ea with its power, creating strange monsters and inexplicable natural phenomenon.
The history of Photep begins roughly five-hundred years ago, with a people known as the Aemeni. Roving tribes of desert nomads, the Aemeni counted many witches among their number, which was both a blessing and a curse. They paid dearly for the gift of magic among their people, and suffered terribly from the scourge of mutation. Many of their children would be born dead or deformed, and their lives were often cut short by cancer and premature aging. This sickness, which they called the Sybaris, had made the grueling task of surviving in Ea's harsh wilderness almost insurmountable, and their people never numbered more than a thousand at a time.
This all changed with the coming of the Crimson King. Legends differ on the truth of his origins; some say he was a miracle child born to the Aemeni, others claim he descended from the heavens on a falling star. Regardless, when he grew to manhood, he proved to be the most powerful witch that any of the Aemeni had ever seen. In this, he was the first true Sorcerer. He was able to cure the Sybaris and united the scattered Aemeni tribes into a single people, and together they carved out a home where they could be safe and prosper. This city would be known as Photep, and the Crimson King was its first and only ruler.
Photep has grown in leaps and bounds in the intervening centuries, and now its population rests comfortably in the millions. The Aemeni bloodline still remains the majority within its people, but over the years other tribes have come to Photep seeking shelter, safety, and civility, and have integrated seamlessly into the population (after examination to prove they do not carry Sybaris). The Photepi people pride themselves on the meritocracy of their civilization; if one is excellent in their craft, be it science, sorcery, technology, or even simple farming, then they will be exalted and prosper. This is not as true as many would like it to be, as a small but stable underclass persists in Photep, largely comprised of non-citizen refugees that have slipped in through the cracks, or build shantytowns along the ports or against the city walls. The government is aristocratic as well, with land-owning nobility collecting tithes from the laborers and craftsmen in their jurisdiction, which are then forwarded onto the Crimson King and the city's various governmental institutions.
Two major political factions have emerged over Photep's history. The Lions, comprised mostly of the city's aristocratic ruling class, as well as its military leaders, are political conservatives, concerned primarily with Photep's prosperity, safety, and stability. Their counterparts are the Eagles, mainly made up of Photep's scientists, scholars, sorcerers, and other intellectuals. More progressive, the Eagles push for the advancement of knowledge and the welfare of the city's people, seeking to reform that which they see as impeding their freedom or opportunity. Every Photepi citizen has the right to petition the city's government, but these political factions generally consolidate and strengthen petitions before they are presented to the Rehati, the city's ruling council which seats the Crimson King at its head. The Crimson King himself is represented by a heraldic Sphinx, symbolizing his hegemony over all of Photep.
Most laborers, craftsmen, scholars, and even artists are organized into formal bodies known as Fellowships. Equal parts worker's guild and labor union, Fellowships are divided up by craft or discipline and represent the interests of their practice to the Rehati. Fellowships maintain fair labor practices, safety standards, and ensure proper compensation for its members. They also provide financial and material support for their members when needed, and organize their petitions to the Rehati or local lords. Freelancers that do not belong to any Fellowship are still subject to its standards, but cannot benefit from its support.
Political, artistic, and religious expression are surprisingly well-tolerated within Photep, as diversity and discussion is encouraged to drive the city to new heights of thought and understanding, though its citizens are expected to "refrain from barbarity" and disruptions to social order are swiftly halted. Scientific research has almost no legal or ethical restraints placed on it, though this is often a point of contention between various scientific and philosophical Fellowships. Magical and military matters, however, are governed by entirely separate bodies than the Fellowships.
Sorcerers do not organize into Fellowships, but rather belong to institutions as old as Photep itself: the five Cults of Heka. Cultural remnants from the days of the wandering Aemeni, the Cults organize and materially support the city's lawful Sorcerers, regulate and oversee magical research, petition on behalf of Sorcerers to the Rehati, and present significant findings directly to the Crimson King. Compared to the Fellowships, which are unions of like-minded workers, the Cults are far more colorful and tightly knit. Individual Cults can be insular, keeping secrets and ancient traditions distinct from the others, and an element of rivalry is present between them, though it is rarely malicious.
Sorcerers are recruited into the Cults at age 16, following their graduation form one of Photep's academies. The most prestigious of these is the Pesedjet, founded by the Crimson King and as old as Photep itself. Initiates are scouted for their magical ability, and are granted the rank of Sorcerer-Novitiate at commencement, and are then formally inducted into one of the five Cults. While they are lawful Sorcerers at their time of induction, they cannot legally practice magic without supervision of a Sorcerer-Magus until they achieve the rank of Sorcerer-Acolyte. The use of magic outside of its most basic applications (a standard left deliberately vague) is illegal within Photep, and unlawful use of magic and rogue Sorcerers are rooted out and punished severely.
Each Cult is headed by a Sorcerer-Magus with the special rank of Magister, though this is largely a political rank, and some of the most powerful and respected Sorcerers in Photep treat the title with disdain. The five cults are the Cult of the Serpent, the Cult of the Phoenix, the Cult of the Scarab, the Cult of the Jackal, and the Cult of the Crow, each with its own colorful traditions and storied histories, and they each maintain their own pyramid in the shadow the Silver Tower, the palace of the Crimson King. While they are ostensibly equal in prestige, the Cult of the Crow is sometimes considered first among equals due to the number of legendary Sorcerers among its ranks, and the favor it has historically received from the Crimson King.
Many lifetimes of study have been dedicated to the study of magic, both within Photep and without. It is understood as the ability to alter the fabric of reality through force of will, and is intrinsic to nearly every living thing on Ea. Not every life form on Ea can wield magic, but most people can accomplish simple feats with enough practice. Photepi schoolchildren are taught basic magical discipline so as to keep their innate power from causing disruptions in society. Those who show promise are directed into dedicated magical educational programs, ideally with the desired goal of being inducted into one of the Cults.
One of the greatest mysteries of magic is the Aether, an alternate dimension of pure energy from which all magic seems to flow to and from. Skilled Sorcerers can open portals to the Aether, but it is a realm inhospitable to life outside of short forays. There are also consciousnesses within the Aether that can be called forth which some have claimed to be gods or demons, depending on their point of view. A common practice among Sorcerers, and indeed one of the first projects undertaken by Sorcerer-Novitiates is the summoning of a Tutelary, sometimes also referred to as a familiar. These are Aetheric consciousnesses given material form by the Sorcerer's will, and generally take the shape of diminutive creatures, though they have been known to take more esoteric forms. Each is unique, its body symbolic of the Sorcerer's skills and psyche, and every one has its own personality. Tutelaries are used as magical assistants, aiding Sorcerers in mundane tasks as well as focusing more advanced works of magic. While some undisciplined Sorcerers have been known to lose control over their Tutelaries, most regard them as mundane and benign.
There are as many possible permutation of magic as there are grains of sand on all of Ea, but the Cults of Heka have developed a generally-accepted categorical system to make its mysteries easier to comprehend and research. Five major Disciplines of Magic are known to exist, each one the dedicated specialty of one of the Cults.
Biomancy: the power of the mind over flesh. Practitioners of Biomancy can manipulate biological energy, matter, and processes. They can invigorate flesh with unnatural power, enfeeble their enemies, or shape flesh to their liking. Masters of Biomancy are said to be able to transform themselves into terrible monsters, or render their foes into dust. Specialty of the Cult of the Serpent.
Pyromancy: the power of the mind over energy. Practitioners of Pyromancy can wield the power of fire or lightning for themselves, and incinerate their enemies. Masters of Pyromancy are said to be able to take the form of a living flame, or soar through the air on a phoenix’s wings. Specialty of the Cult of the Phoenix.
Telekinesis: the power of the mind over matter. Practitioners of Telekinesis can lift enormous weights with a thought, crush their enemies with the sheer force of their will, or shield themselves from harm. Masters of Telekinesis are said to be able to tear holes in reality to teleport great distances, or to unleash energy-storms from the Aether. Specialty of the Cult of the Scarab.
Telepathy: the power of the mind over other minds. Practitioners of Telepathy can read the minds of others, create illusions to fool the senses, or assail their enemies with attacks against their psyche. Masters of Telepathy are said to be able to completely erase their existence from the minds of others, or dominate another will to assume control over their body. Specialty of the Cult of the Jackal.
Divination: the power of the mind over fate. Practitioners of Divination can scry over great distances, project their astral bodies into the Aether, mine the past for secrets, or attempt to glimpse into the future. Masters of Divination are said to be able to twist fate to their liking, and can cast terrible misfortune upon their enemies. Specialty of the Cult of the Crow.
There exist a variety of other Minor Disciplines as well, either too specific to be widely researched or a hybrid of multiple Major Disciplines. Known Minor Disciplines include Technomancy, Geomancy, Fulgurmancy, and many others. There are also some Disciplines that are unsanctioned for study by the Cults, either due to the potential danger they represent or the lack of research that has been done on them. These include Sanguimancy, Aeromancy, and Demonology, the latter of which requires special sanction from the Crimson King in order to research, even though the common practice of summoning a Tutelary technically falls within its purview.
It is fairly common for Sorcerers to delve into several different Disciplines to achieve a well-rounded understanding of their primary fundamentals. However nearly every Sorcerer eventually branches out to specialize in a particular Discipline, with the specific form of their specialization varying depending on their personal inclinations. The Cults which are known to specialize in one Discipline do not restrict the study of others; they merely have the most resources dedicated to furthering the study of that Discipline, and masters within their Cults are considered the preeminent authorities on it.
Photep's military forces are divided into three distinct organizations known as the Red Orders, each under the direct command and supervision of the Crimson King. Each is an elite force, not meant to be a true standing army as much as a tool used for a specific purpose. Their practices, traditions, and training are kept a secret from any outside of their own Order, and much of Photepi society treats the Orders with wonder and trepidation. Their three Pyramids, each positioned geometrically equidistant from each other and the Silver Tower, are silent and foreboding monuments. While the majority of their recruiting is done from promising candidates among Photep's academies, they occasionally draw from the Cults of Heka to add Sorcerers to their forces. While these requisitions cannot be denied (as the Red Orders carry the authority of the Crimson King) the Cults greatly resent these occurrences, and Sorcerers that attempt to maintain a "dual membership" within both the Cults and their Order are looked on with suspicion. Each one of the orders fulfills a peaceful, civil role within Photep's society as well as their martial role, as the Crimson King considers a life dedicated only to violence to be no life at all.
The Order Khenetai serves as Photep's peacekeepers and law-bringers. They patrol the streets and ensure civil order is being kept, and act as arbitrators and judges for petty disputes and discrepancies. They are known for their signature two-bladed fighting style, and are the most commonly encountered Order by the general populace. When not serving the law of Photep, they also act as medics, midwives, and morticians. As at any time they may help heal the sick or injured, aid in the birth of a child, embalm a body for entombment, or kill a murderer on the spot, they are sometimes called "the Keepers of Life and Death." A little-known fact about their order is their constant watch for signs of Sybaris among the populace, particularly newborn children. What actions they take on finding the sickness are not well known, and better left unsaid.
The Order Sekhmet are the defenders of Photep. They are akin to knights, warrior-nobles in heavy armor wielding great-blades and heavy bows. They exist to purge corruption wherever it is found within Photep, and to keep the city walls safe from monsters and invaders. The most straightforward and militant among the Orders, they are at times called "Ruiners," because of the devastation these highly-skilled warriors can leave in their wake. In the time they are not taking up arms, they serve the city as its civil engineers, in ironic contrast to their epithet. They monitor public works such as roads and aqueducts for deterioration and repair them as needed, devise new projects and direct their construction, and ensure the security of the city's walls. However, rumor holds that they also devise strange and horrifying new weapons within the depths of their Order's pyramid.
The Order Ammitara is kept concealed from the public eye; most would never know they existed, but the Order themselves ensure the population knows of them. They are the Crimson King's agents in the dark: his spies, assassins, and secret police. They blend into the population to uncover sedition, Sybaris mutants, and rogue Sorcerers hidden from the watchful eye of the Khenetai. Wherever they find maleficence, they cut it out promptly, and forward their findings to the Sekhmet to clean up whatever remains of the corruption. Whenever someone mysteriously disappears from their home, or never returns from their daily work, it is said that the Ammitara have taken them to be questioned in the dark cells beneath their pyramid. Their tools of warfare are as subtle and insidious as they are, typically daggers and poison, though they are known to make use of strange tools that defy logical explanation. Their civil role is equally understated; they are the Crimson King's personal historians, observing and recording Photep in its purest form, free of the bias and with nothing hidden. It is little wonder then that the population of Photep refers to the Ammitara in hushed tones as "Hidden Ones."