Watchmages and the Star of Nine

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Watchmages are Wizards that have taken on a role of leadership in the magical world. Each Watchmage rules over a region or a large city, where they are responsible for the regulation, assistance, and justice for all supernormal elements in their jurisdiction.

Watchmages are either appointed by the Star of Nine–the Wizard’s ruling body–or ratified by them. They are expected to abide by the Star of Nine’s rigid laws, and any Watchmage that does not is punished harshly. There’s a saying that “there are no ex-Watchmages.” This is not exactly true, as Watchmages do resign (forever is a long time to hold a position), but Watchmages are not cast out for failure, they are executed.

There are some Watchmages that are not connected to any city or region. They wander the world, dispensing justice as they see fit (though within a Watchmage’s jurisdiction, they (usually) defer to the Watchmage. They are called Shadowmages, and they have much more leeway within The Star of Nine’s Law.

The Watchmage’s symbol is a cane or staff, usually tipped with a Fourth Way Enneagram within a circle. Some have a separate sigil as well.

The Star of Nine rules over the Watchmages. It makes the Laws that all supernormals must abide by, and has final judgment over all. Although all Wizards have a say in the Star of Nine’s doings, older wizards carry the most gravitas and have the most control.

Though The Star of Nine exists to keep the status quo, there are many factions within and political infighting. One might say that it’s the infighting that keeps the status quo.

The Star of Nine’s symbol is an Fourth Way Enneagram without a circle.

A Watchmage’s Duties: A Watchmage’s primary duty is to prevent Warp within their domain. This means keeping a close watch of the Magelings and Dwellers in an area, as an errant spell or visible Dweller can warp and tear the Veil.

Other duties include providing assistance and acting as judge to the supernormals in their domain, and defending the domain from hostile supernormals such as elemnetals, werewolves, vampires, and the undead. They also investigate rumors of new supernormals, usually the product of Warp or magic gone wrong.

While Watchmages have the right of judgment within their domain, they sometimes pass prosecution of major crimes to the Star of Nine.

History of The Watchmages: Watchmages have existed as long as Wizards, though their duties and the name was never defined until the Star of Nine formed. The Wizards acted as leaders and shamans in small tribes, and later on court magicians, kings, or even gods on Earth.

The misuse of magic by Wizards has led to great calamities in the past, such as destruction of whole civilizations. After the Crusades, the oldest Wizards formed the Star of Nine to govern themselves. Since then, there have been no major breaches in reality, though thousands of magelings and Dwellers have been “purged” from our side of reality.

The population surge and technical advances since the Renaissance have changed the nature of the position. Watchmages are often overwhelmed with growing populations, and new inventions, and a changing world that they find hard to understand.  Like Dwellers, they are often lost in the new world, using laws and methods that no longer apply. Magelings have become both a greater threat and greater ally than ever before, for they understand the modern times.

The Star of Nine’s Duties: As mentioned above, The Star of Nine oversees all of the Watchmages and Shadowmages. They appoint Wizards to these positions, transfer them, and “remove” them when necessary. They make all of the Laws and hold trials for Magelings that commit grievous crimes (such as extreme Warp or creating new supernormals).

When necessary, they create new laws and weigh the virtues of new spells and curios, deciding whether to allow or outlaw them.

Although they’re banned from doing so by their own laws, The Star of Nine is very involved in mortal politics. Most of this puppeteering comes from the oldest Wizards whose power renders them free from the laws. Some have lived so long that they see humanity as nothing more than pieces on a chess board.

History of the Star of Nine: The Star of Nine formed after the Crusades in response to Wizards causing and using political upheaval for their own benefit. The original council consisted of nine members, but in 1653, under pressure from the Watchmages, they expanded it so that all Wizards have a say in the government. The original nine members still have the most power by way of influence and magical might. The downside of this equality is that The Star of Nine is incapable of taking swift action, at least with everyone’s knowledge. Instead, it created many clandestine actions and conspiracies within.

The Star of Nine has had trouble dealing with the modern world. The oldest members have the most difficulty. As such, The Star of Nine is approaching a tipping point where they must either adapt or implode.

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Gnomes are one of the most common Veil Dwellers in New York. Along with Pooka and Goblins, they make up about 80% of New York’s Dweller population. They are the “salt-of-the-earth” types, the dream incarnate of the common person that works hard for their families and for the joy of a job well done. Their inherent abilities reflect this.

They prefer to live in woodland settings, and even their houses in cities reflect this with plants and small animals living within.

Friendly but reserved, Gnomes are generally good, practical, reliable citizens. Except for Goblins, Gnomes have adapted best to life in the mundane world, as long as they stay in rural settings. Of course, life on this side of the Veil can corrupt anyone.

Appearance: Gnomes are shorter than humans, averaging four feet tall. Then tend toward stout bodies. Ruddy cheeks and broad faces are common as well. Adult men favor beards, but women keep their faces clean shaven.

Gnomes prefer understated clothes, especially earth tones. Comfort and practicality trump fashion. Some Gnomes dress in the fashion of their homeland, but not if it will make them stand out.

old gnome

Society: Gnomes are very family oriented. They marry early and tend toward large families. Like other Dwellers, they form clans that can consist of any Dweller race. They get along especially well with Pooka, and Gnome/Pooka marriages are common. There’s still stigma attached to this, as Gnomish parents push their children to marry of their own kind. Marriages with any other Dweller races is scandalish. Marriage with humans is looked down upon, but accepted as a fact of life in the mundane world.

Gnomes are distrustful of the larger races such as Ogres and Trolls. They have a fierce rivalry with Goblins that sometimes turns violent.

Gnomes are usually religious, following the traditional Dweller beliefs and attending church dutifully. Of all the races, Gnomes are the most likely to become priests.

Gnomish Names: Gnomish names tend toward the lyrical, like the Sidhe. They are usually two to four syllables, with the emphasis on the first syllable ie: GEE-bee, TEE-pa-tok, etc. Female names usually end in a vowel sound, and male names rarely do.

Illusionary Guise–Like all Dwellers, Gnomes can disguise themselves as human. Their guise is usually of a short, stocky person, a larger version of themselves.

Knack–Gnomes are born with extraordinary talent in one field. Common ones include farming, tradework (tailor, shoemaker, haberdasher, silversmith, etc), organization skills, writing, and cooking.

All Gnomes have some skill with plants and animals, which is why they get along well with Pooka.

Object Summoning–Gnomes can summon objects at will, but only those related to their knack or that will help them achieve a goal related to their job. This requires a small amount of Glamour.

Limited Apparation–Gnomes can apparate (teleport) short distances, no more than a quarter mile. This requires a very large amount of Glamour, so they rarely use it. If related to their knack, it becomes much easier (for example, Geebee often apparates around Turtle House when called).

Resistance to Injury–Like all Dwellers, they cannot be hurt by normal means. Only Magic, Glamour, attacks by other Dwellers, and extreme elements harm them.

Susceptible to Iron and Salt–Like most Dwellers, pure iron causes grievous injury to them. Even being around iron causes discomfort. Alloys like steel does not have that effect. Salt causes them discomfort, and too much will burn. If their knack involves salt (like in cooking) it causes less irritation.

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cosmic-cat tripping balls redux