The Painters Guild
Smeer was dragging a cart full of strings. Another cart of another strings, it was heavy, but probably the best job in these works for a weak boy. He brought it to the machine that weawed the ropes; the hands of older boys powered it. They were paid a few coppers more, but could barely move after a whole day of work. Smeer hoped to get older and stronger one day, to help his family out of poverty. Pulling the cart back through the yard, he suddenly noticed something. Does not that pebble look like... a coin? A glistening silver coin?! That would help for a few days! Looking around, he carefully picked it up, and hurried to work to stay unnoticed.
But something has noticed him.
The Painters Guild is another boring professionals organisation, that trains apprentices, and organizes a feast&dance celebration once a year, plus the usual small politicking.
And as you surely expect now, it is a facade.
The 'Shadow' or 'the Night' is a power that many fear, said to have fanatical followers, delighting in terrible rituals, but luckily living in remote areas, where they stalk upon unwary travellers, etc, etc, etc.
Followers of the Shadow are Illusionists; there lies their main power. While they are all priests to a little degree, they are really wizards, common magic-users. Since there are so few believers, their god has little of mortal magic to give back. They gain no special powers, but they know that sometimes... if an illusion is particularly well-created, or its creator in great need, their god may transfer some power into it, making it more... REAL. If an illusion cannot really harm anyone, it could then, or it could gain actually a mind of its own, or last much longer, and be surprisingly hard to see through.
The Painters Guild is their cover, a way to find new students. As shown above, they search mainly among the poor folk, a coin disguised with a crude illusion may suffice. Few people manage to look past it, and if it is placed well, talented children may be found. (Needs some means of spying though.) Later come the recruiters, they simply let children paint something, and offer them teaching if their paintings are interesting (or are marked as having potential). And what parent would deny its child basic education, learning a trade, complete with food and lodging, with a possibly great future?
Painting (or drawing) wasn't chosen accidentally. An artistic pursuit, it teaches one the need for details, to look carefully on the world around, and other things important for creating illusions. Throughout the study, they are carefully selected, and later offered another kind of training.
Many of them become good, or at least mediocre artists, that can sell their works with some success, and a little illusion can make their works seem even better, for a while.
Their morals are, well, somewhat dubious. While they strongly reject stealing, they argue that lost things belong to no one, and can be therefore safely claimed. Some actually try to arrange for things to 'get lost' or 'forgotten', and take them, but that is discouraged. The problem is that the loosing person must know the object is lost.
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? Responses (7)
This is a great idea. I love that they set out illusions for people to see past to weed out the unobservant.
Still, there's more I'd like to know. What's the greater purpose of this guild? To what purpose do they worship and train illusionists? How do they move people over from painting to knowing the true purpose of the guild?
As far as a means of spying, perhaps (since the illusion could be a coin) they could place some kind of 'alarm' spell on it - whenever the coin is moved, someone at a nearby guild outpost is alerted. Perhaps one of the guild overseerers/recruiters uses coins that he has magical ties to so that he can track it anywhere it goes?
That could be a cool twist as well - someone/some kid picks it up because they are collecting rocks to heat the local bath house, and the guild recruiter follows them thinking they have seen through the illusion when they haven't. Still, this person/child is an excellent painter, and ends up a member of a guild in which he/she has no talent. The longer he goes without displaying any talent, the more convinced the guild elders become that his/her talent is going to be absolutely overwhelming when it finally does emerge, and are unwilling to let him/her go. What a mess!
Intriguing group! I would like to add them as a linked reference in something I'm working on, if thats ok Manfred.
No problem with that.
ok linked now ;)
Thank Strolen for the Daily Highlight!
It would be something I'd like to try out in a session.
Come back manfred!!
I like how this incorporates the divine with what would generally be considered wizardly magic.