Human destiny is written in the stars. The earliest magi turned their attentions Heavenward almost by instinct. Their heretical descendants, astronomers with the gall to call themselves "Celestial Masters," have stopped watching those Heavens and started questioning them. In the dead of night, they aim their telescopes upward and pray the answers they receive do not drive them mad.
To these magi, the sun, planets and stars are enigmatic hosts who reveal troubling truths. Examining the skies is only part of the plan; the Masters want to visit them — to walk in through God's gate and request a personal audience.
When the priests of Babylon and Egypt charted the skies, they divined events and personalities in the passage of the stars. As communities demanded schedules, the astronomers gave them days, weeks and years. Yet the undeniable connection between the skies, Divinity and mankind remained out of reach. A hundred celestial disciplines provided a foundation for greater study when Antonio Velio and his patron (and mistress) Mariana Sabine assembled a school of astronomers and adventurers: the Colliegium Astrologia. Unsatisfied wilt being playthings of Heavenly forces, these philosophers turned an active hand toward discovery; rather than simply noting and tracking phenomena, they wanted to affect it. Wrapped in their academic robes, these so-called "Celestial Masters" toyed with devices of questionable design, hoping to sight Heaven itself. Most heretically of all, they soon began to experiment with sky-travel. Legendary heroes had ascended to the stars; the so-called Masters wanted to follow them. Soon, they did. Some Masters call it "the Ruined Road," "the Straight Road," or "the Long Road" — a path off" the edge of the world. To navigate it, ships depart in the dead of the night and sail outward, never dipping below the horizon, going ever forward until they leave the waves behind. These ships catch the Celestial Wind in their sails or cruise upon the notes of the Music of the Spheres, striking out for different worlds. The sea fog swallows the craft and carries if away into the Otherworlds. But the Ruined Road is treacherous and uncertain; many sailors never return, or drift across the oceans until they find land, not stars. Expeditions on the Road are expensive, and often ill-fated. To surmount this problem, Captain Bernardo Marzani constructed an airship and went up rather than out. His first expedition returned from the moon with its crew largely intact. Although Marzani died soon afterward, his example has given the Masters a new quest, a Profundum Expeditio that travels straight to the stars rather than out toward them. Now the Masters divide themselves between those who study, those who invent, those who explore, and those who prophecy. The House of Prometheus maps the Firmament, describing the character of the skies in vast, cryptic tomes. The House of Daedalus works with Craftmasons and Artificers, engineering the great ships, weapons and clockwork fantasias so essential to the Expeditio. The House of Helios sends adventurous "Skyriggers" out to sea or into the clouds, while the House of Selene transcribes chronicles, publishes theories and makes prophecies based on the mysteries they uncover. The latter group is called "the House of Cassandra" behind their collective back; like that prophetess, these seers have begun to sound a quiet hub urgent alarm. Returning Skyriggers claim the Earth is an insignificant hall in a celestial Void, and that horrific creatures lair beyond the stars. This rumor is not only blasphemy to every religious and scientific truth, but it hints at forces than not even God can conceive. Some "Cassandras" have thrown their fortunes into war parties, equipping Skyriggers tor a campaign against these forces; others arc suppressing their discoveries, or undermining the entire Expeditio before it gets out of hand, Either way, their efforts are subtle. Men of faith (especially the Gabrielites) would be happy to burn the entire Convention it a single Master was overheard questioning God's Grand Creation. As a whole, the Masters are a wealthy Convention; most Prometheans and Daedaleans are nobility, or have rich patrons, The group's deep coffers fund elaborate experiments and journeys, some of which pay handsome returns. The greatest wealth, however, comes from the potential to command the Spheres of Heaven. Compared to that power, mere gold is nothing. Some Masters, however, have begun to doubt that anyone — man or God — can truly claim that title when the skies go on forever.
Within the stars, there is power; a wise and educated visionary can tap that power. Knowledge is the key to chains of ignorance. To free yourself of those chains, pluck that key from the Heavens. Weird mathematics and secret "tricks" of time and distance allow Celestial Masters to open doorways across space. Astrological charts, properly used, can become vehicles for prophecies, influence, charms and even mind reading. Ships, telescopes and navigational tools perform their usual functions, while wild Devices from Promethean laboratories channel elemental forces. And then there are the occasional alien herbs, ores and gases, brought back from space and capable of God-knows- what....
- House of Prometheus
- House of Daedalus
- House of Helios
- House of Selene
Largely autonomous; each lodge has one Magistrate, who conducts business as he sees fit. Those Magistrates convene a council twice a year in Paris, deciding policy during elegant week-long meetings. Skyriggers consider themselves a separate Convention tied to both the Celestial Masters and the Seekers, but follow the dictates of the Magistrate council, if only for gold. Despite the popular image of long beards and spyglasses, many clever women form the backbone of this Convention.
|Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade Conventions|
|Artificers · Cabal of Pure Thought · Celestial Masters · Craftmasons · High Guild · Hippocratic Circle · Ksirafai · Void Seekers|