The Upright Society of Civic Mages has one goal, to bring all wizards and sorcerers into their fold, in a manner similar to the heirarchy of the Clerics and other divine spell casters. Too many great errors and problems, and not to mention plot hooks, can be laid at the feet of mad, or evil spellcasters. Demons run amok, sorcerous experiments gone awry, and estrangement from society leading to moral, and social atrophy until the mage in question has no qualms about abusing the dead, torturing and killing the living and laying waste to the land and natural resources around him. All of this has a tendancy to give mages a bad name, even though not all that many go bad.
The Upright Society creates a magicly binding oath that limits the activities that it’s members can perform. No demonic summoning, no creating the undead, researching lichdom, and no creation, or drastic alteration of living animals, for the greater good. The society also encourages wizards to work together in their research, as well as taking up civic minded projects in place of their previous arcane studies. Why try to engineer a spell to create black lightning when that effort would better go towards helping end a decade long drought, creating magical vaccines against diseases, and creating self replenishing public fountains and the like.
The Upright Society also trys to play the polical role, standing with the local government, so long as it is willing to make life easier for members of the Society who in turn are willing to aid the country in it’s needs. There is one stipulation, the Society does not condone warfare and will not send ‘war wizards’ into the field, unless the enemy is using magic. Then the wizards sent will have the sole mission of negating the enemies magic.
The Society increases it’s ranks in two manners, recruiting up and coming magi, who are seldom strong enough to resist the Society, which is not above using threats, blackmail, and coercion to gain members. Secondly, it hunts down the doddering old magi in their towers to confront and destroy their mad creations, and force the resident mage into the order, or to submit to magical censure and geases, or should they prove more resistant, into an early grave. What is one life when hundreds, if not thousands could be at stake?
Now, for plot hooks.
- The PC mage could already be a member, and would take orders, and gain support from the ‘elders’ of the society, who remain secretive and discourage anyone from trying to discover their identity, thus making them less objective in their duties.
- The PC mage is approached and is given invitation to join the Society. They could readily accept, or stubbornly resist such authoritarian control. Do they find the inner mysteries, or must they escape, with the help of their friends to find the ‘underground’ resistance.
- The Society suddenly espouces a new policy, perhaps speaking of orcish rights, condeming elves as unwholesome and evil, and declaring a crusade against a neighbooring country that doesn’t support the society, is ruled by an evil mage, or is ruled by a freedom based, magic supported government.
- A PC is accused of Crimes Against Magic, and is marked by the Society for capture, or termination, depending on resistance. This could become a running problem, with the PC’s being under regular surveillance until they reach a weak spot, and are beset by a wizard hunting squad. Crimes against magic could be a genuine offence, or it could be as little as refusing to join, or actively resisting the Society.
- A current member of the Society goes rogue, and seeks the PC’s for help and protection from the Society. Mayhem ensues.
Filmograpy and Bibliography
The Skulls, ignore the sequel - secret societies are so much fun.
The Talamasca, specifically from the Anne Rice Witches books - non reactive organization with secretive membership, and mysterious practices
The Aes Sedai, The Wheel of Time series - organized magi with mandatary membership, and no tolerance for outside opinion.