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Monday, February 4, 2013
And the Superhuman Krewe
The Southron canal city of New Ylourgne has a culture all its own. This is as apparent in its magical traditions as anywhere else. While a professional, (somewhat) public, and singular Thaumaturgical Society holds sway in the City, New Ylourgne is home to a patchwork of societies and cabals, secretive in their teachings but often flamboyantly public in their rivalry.
Despite the tales sometimes heard in the Sorcerers' Quarter, most of these mystical societies or “krewes” don’t trace their traditions to the Averoignian magocracy that once ruled the city. Most seem instead to date back about fifty years, and the oldest rarely more than a century. They began as as social clubs for local thaumaturges (and non-thaumaturgist adventurers), who threw public parties and helped fund parades and celebrations related to Oecumenical holy days. These krewes began to compete for public acclaim, and thaumaturgical spectacle was part of winning these contests.The spells that created illusions and wonders became closely guarded secrets, hidden behind layers of coded language, and artificial mythology, unique to each krewe.
There was some precedent for these organizations. The mages of the Black Folk had long formed gender-specific orders for socialization and the exchange of knowledge.These orders waged ritualized magical battles in order-specific costumes in the city’s streets. Though this practice was suppressed by the ruling Averoignian sorcerers, it was never completely eliminated. The krewes may have been inspired to a degree by these groups, and in turn the Black Folk orders have conformed their primary ritual performances and competitions to the Oecumenical holiday calendar.
The krewes typically have exalted or archaic sounding names, harkening to some legendary founder or progenitor. The officers of the krewes (which are typically almost every thaumaturgy practicing member) take on ornate and nonsensical titles, and often go masked in public performances to evoke an air of mystery. Much of this mummery is magical enhanced; in many ways, the krewes are as adept as illusionists at fooling the public.
While the vast majority of the krewes are only out for fun and entertainment, the magics they wield are very real. Though it happens less these days, it’s not unheard of for serious magical feuds to exist between krewes that have ended in death.