Before it became the Imperium, Tevinter was ruled by a dynasty of kings. Long before the Chantry, there was a Circle of Magi: societies of mages in each city. The titles modern Circles use—Enchanter, Senior Enchanter, First Enchanter—all originated here, and the Circles were where the most powerful mages researched and practiced magic.
Today, the Circle of Magi is the dominant organization for the training of mages within nations of Thedas. Outside of the Tevinter Imperium, it has been governed and monitored by the Orlesian Chantry, as well as guarded and supervised by the Templar Order. Within the Tevinter Imperium, they are governed by high ranking Magisters and the Imperial Chantry who utilize the Imperial Templar Order, albeit to a lesser degree. The function of Tevinter's Templars being reduced to merely enforcing Imperial law in general.
During the events of the Mage-Templar War, and in efforts to seal the Breach, the Inquisition allied with the Templar Order instead of the rebel mages.
1. Recent History
◦ By 9:40 Dragon, all the Circles of Magi separated from the Chantry. Some, such as the loyalist mages and templars of Hasmal elected to maintain a refuge from the war, instead of partaking in it outright, by joining the Inquisition. Other mages and templars who wished no part in the dispute elected to join the Grey Wardens, who were willing to offer amnesty to such refugees on the condition they would undertake the Joining-many refugees from the Hossberg Circle of Magi, who were already known to have worked with the Wardens in the past, travelled to Weisshaupt fortress to partake of the offer.
◦ One month after the defeat of Corypheus, the Chantry named Cassandra as successor to the Sunburst Throne. Given the name Divine Victoria, she immediately enacted reform: a new Templar Order, and a new Circle of Magi. Despite her popularity, the new Divine's reforms have been seen, by some, as going too far.
◦ Vivienne was elected Grand Enchanter of the Circle of Magi, but her inauguration was not as triumphant as she had hoped. Those veteran mages of the Inquisition who did not return to the fold formed a new College of Enchanters—a secular institution seeking opportunities for mages across Southern Thedas—as a rival organization to her circle. Over the years, the two groups settled into an uneasy coexistence in which they continue to vie for power.
◦ Unlike the already established hierarchy of the Circle of Magi's College of Enchanters, the new, non-Chantry affiliated College of Enchanters is still trying to establish its official pecking order. Leadership changes seem to happen, by vote of the secular College's members, on the regular.
◦ Following the end of the Mage-Templar War, the vast majority of Circles in Thedas have yet to be rebuilt. Grand Enchanter Vivienne, with the backing and support of Divine Victoria, has seen her days busied, in organizing efforts to reform and reconstruct the Circles of Magi across the land. Many of these reconstruction endeavours will require the cooperation and/or financial support of local liege lords-thus requiring a great deal of diplomacy in the future.
◦ The Circle is allowed to take any child (usually age six to twelve) from their families as soon as they show signs of magical ability, including those from royals and nobility. As such, they are taken from their families while still children, and highborn children who are able to use magic will—usually, depending on region—lose all claims to their family's estates and titles when they are taken. High-born Circle Mages of the Tevinter Imperium, as well as those of Hasmal within the Free Marches, retain their titles. However, in the majority of Andrastian Circles, mages are usually not allowed contact with their families or anyone from outside with the exception of mail privileges.
◦ Mage children taken to Andrastian Circles are raised and trained by the Circle until they reach adulthood, at which time they must either undergo the Harrowing or be made Tranquil. In contrast, attendance at a Circle in Tevinter is not mandatory, but a privilege. Tevinter Circles of Magi are prestigious academies, not mage prisons. Upon joining an Andrastian Circle, apprentice mages undergo a process of having a few drops of their blood taken by the First Enchanter and placed in a phylactery. This ensures the mages' compliance and the ability to track down any mage who decides to run away, since a templar can track anyone through their blood. This practice involving phylacteries is not embraced in the Imperium, however.
◦ By law each Circle is supposed to respect certain rights of the mages. Ambiguity or inadequacy in regulations, however, such as a weak First Enchanter failing to advocate a Circle's rights or the local templars' or clergy's penchant for corruption and abuse, can affect how much these laws will be respected. The daily life of a Circle mage varies by fortress. Generally, the Circle provides for the new apprentices with standard issue robes, education, and room and board—the quality of which may vary. In some Circles, especially those outside of Tevinter, mages driven mad by their confinement attempt to end their misery by jumping from their towers to their deaths. The apprentices of all Circles, though, live communally and are taught by the Enchanters in small classes.
◦ A Circle's livelihood is usually maintained by the selling of Formari goods or the few magical services they are allowed to provide. The prices of these goods and services are decided by regional First Enchanters who handle the commerce and finances of the Circle fortress that they oversee.
◦ Romantic unions with mages are discouraged by the Andrastian Chantry, but that doesn't stop the mages of Andrastian Circles from carrying on with their love affairs in secret. Should such an affair produce a child with magical ability, the child would be sent to a Circle different than that of their parents. The Andrastian Chantry goes to great lengths to prevent mages from having family bonds within the same Circle. Romantic relationships between mages and Templars are explicitly forbidden, but are still known to occur. Tevinter does not work in such the same way, since family ties and magic are intertwined. Nevertheless, there is a pecking order in Tevinter Circles as, firstly, one's social status is dependent mainly on belonging to the noble class and, secondly, accolades granted by one's magical talent.
◦ A mage's training consists of extensive study of arcane lore and practice at harnessing and channeling magical energy. The former means that mages are very learned persons. The Circle of Magi encourages scholarship and regularly publishes completed research. Through their education and scholarship, mages are considered some of the most educated members of society and as such may sometimes function as advisers in royal courts. Many apprentices demonstrate a talent or propensity for a particular school of magic, and are allowed or encouraged to focus their studies there.
◦ Circles are war colleges, as well. The Chantry never forgets that its greatest use for mages is in fighting darkspawn, particularly during a Blight. Philosophically, this is seen as proper penance for the ancient hubris of the magisters of the Tevinter Imperium. Thus, even in peacetime, much of a mage’s training emphasizes battle magic. Every Circle mage learns to wield and master one or more combat spells. They train to keep their wits about them in battle and wield their powers to defend themselves and their allies.
◦ The Harrowing is a test that every mage-apprentice must go through to become a full member of the Circle of Magi. All of their training and apprenticeship is meant to prepare them for this test. Exactly what happens during the Harrowing is kept a secret from apprentices and people outside of the Circle. The Harrowing looms large for apprentices in part because the enchanters decide, on their own and in secret, when and if the apprentice is ready for the rite. When they do so the apprentice is taken, without warning or preparation, to face the Harrowing. It can come at any time, and so one must always be ready.
◦ The rite itself is fairly simple. First, the apprentice enters the Fade through ritual use of lyrium. Once across the Veil, the subject must face and overcome a demon that wishes to possess the apprentice's body and enter the living realm. This involves navigating whatever challenges have been set up and seeing through whatever ruse the demon puts on. The demon itself would have been summoned by Circle mages to the same part of the Fade the apprentice enters, lured by the promise of a living body waiting for it. The Harrowing is more a test of will, common sense, and the ability to resist temptation, than one of magical ability.
◦ If the apprentice succeeds in resisting the demon, he or she earns the title and trappings of a mage, becoming a full member of the Circle, having proven the necessary strength of will and character to master and use magic. However, if the apprentice is overwhelmed by the demon (or, some say, takes too long to complete the task), he or she is killed by templars, who are standing by to prevent the tragedy of an abomination. One templar (who remains unidentified to the mages present) is assigned the killing blow in advance, while the rest keep danger at bay and stand ready to replace the "designated slayer" if he or she is felled or wavers in their grim task.
◦ The Tranquil are mages who went through the Rite of Tranquility and belong to the Formari of the Circle. The Rite cuts off the connection to the Fade, and the Tranquil can no longer dream nor draw on the Fade to perform magic. It was initially intended as a tool of last resort to stop uncontrolled mages from hurting themselves or others. As a side effect, mages made tranquil find their emotional center is utterly removed, which makes them undesirable to be possessed by demons in the first place. Apprentices may volunteer to be made Tranquil instead of undergoing their Harrowing. Since passing the Harrowing theoretically proves that a mage is capable enough to resist possession, Chantry law forbids mages who passed their Harrowing from being made Tranquil. However, the Rite has been used by the Chantry and the Templars for punitive and political purposes to silence dissent and inhibit civilized discourse among discontent mages in the past. It is the judgment of the Knight-Commander whether even a Harrowed mage needs to be made Tranquil. The Rite moreover involves the use of a lyrium brand, the location of which depends on each Circle. Kirkwall brands their Tranquils with the seal of the Chantry's sunburst, permanently embossed on each Tranquil's forehead. The Rite is also used in Tevinter Imperium, despite their more relaxed attitude towards mages. It is a sentence passed down by the Magisterium for "abuse of magic" which has many convenient interpretations.
◦ The monotonous voices and blank, expressionless eyes of the Tranquil make mages and non-mages alike feel uncomfortable in their presence. Many Tranquil assume a placid smile, not because they are pleased about anything but because they know it puts others at ease. Some compare the Tranquil to sleepwalkers, neither entirely awake nor entirely asleep. In the mind of the Tranquil, there is no passion. They keep to themselves, and, if asked directly, will readily agree that having the opportunity to live out a peaceful and useful existence is far preferable when compared to what their alternatives would have been. They are also aware of the difference between their former selves and their Tranquil states, and able to understand that things that have happened to them since becoming Tranquil would have upset or traumatized their former selves. They are stripped of their capacity to form anything other than a logical opinion. However, they neither lose their memory nor become automatons: they still possess free will and they generally do not wish to die. Tranquil are incapable of taking offense and know no modesty, but they can be creative, insofar as a very logical scientist might be.
◦ Tranquil are no longer considered to be mages and are free to leave the Circle. Most remain, primarily because it's logical: they're not welcome elsewhere, and can serve in a productive capacity in the Circle and live comfortably. Some Tranquil choose to leave, but such cases are rare. Tranquil perform all sorts of menial and administrative functions in the towers: they service the mages' chambers, purchase the supplies, act as storekeepers, manage the archives, and maintain the records. They can also serve as sellers in Circle of Magi shops. Most mages attempt to ignore them or find them understandably frightening, and few appear to even attempt to forge a relationship with them. They lyrium to enchant items, as one does not have to be a mage to craft enchantments (the dwarves have been crafting runes for centuries), providing the Circle with its main source of funding. They are resistant to lyrium's effects and would be mostly unaffected by raw lyrium unless they spend too much time in its presence.
◦ Until 9:40 Dragon, the Tranquil were widely believed to be immune to demonic possession. Contrary to popular belief, they are not. They are invisible to inhabitants of the Fade and are also undesirable since a demon looks to possess an individual because it wishes to experience life. To a demon, a Tranquil is no better than an inanimate object. It would take the skill of a spirit medium to coax the spirit or demon into touching the Tranquil's mind by reaching across the gap between the Fade and the mortal realm. If the spirit (benign or malevolent) did do so, however, the Tranquil would be cured. As a side effect a mage who ceases to be Tranquil becomes very emotional.
◦ Formari are composed of individuals who focus on using their talents to create various items, most notably enchantments. Some Formari also create and sell herbal items such as potions. The Tranquil belong to this group and do all of the enchanting on behalf of the Circle. As such, enchanters among the Formari are not practicing mages given that true mages are unable to enchant. They are less a political organization and more akin to a tradesmen's guild. Formari have more contact with the outside world than other mages and as such maintain trading posts and trade houses in major cities and settlements in order to conduct business for the Circle.
◦ There is an irony in that Enchanters of the Circle of Magi can cast spells but cannot actually enchant. Enchantment is the process of inscribing lyrium runes on items, typically a piece of armor or a weapon, to add new properties or to enhance its existing properties. Without lyrium, enchantments placed on items are temporary. Enchantments in Thedas are produced either by dwarves or Formari-Tranquil due to their respective resistances to magic and their consequent ability to safely work with lyrium. Dwarves have used enchantments, otherwise known as runecrafting, for ages and typically use enchantments for practical purposes, such as making a blade sharper, or armor more durable. Dwarven smiths must work for years to learn to enchant. Tranquil, on the other hand, use enchantments to give items magical properties, such as a flaming sword. A true mage is unable to work enchantments. This is due to the dangers of handling raw lyrium. The more magically sensitive a person is, the more dangerous their exposure to lyrium. Raw lyrium can cause deafness, memory loss, nausea, and even internal hemorrhaging and madness.
◦ Unlike other races, dwarves do not naturally enter the Fade as they do not dream and lack magical ability. This is reflected in their resistance to magic, and accounts for their high tolerance to lyrium exposure. Although dwarves cannot become mages, a rare few have been permitted to study magical theory at select Circles of Magi—where their studies might help them to become Arcanists, which is ultimately similar to the Artificer specialization albeit with a focus on magical theory, enchantments, and the manipulation of Masterworks instead.
◦ In the extreme event that an entire Circle of mages becomes corrupted, templars also have access to the Right of Annulment which authorizes them to "pacify" or kill all of the mages in that Circle.
◦ It is solely supposed to be used as a last resort to restore order.
◦ Normally, the Right can only be invoked by a Grand Cleric or a de facto successor (such as a Revered Mother); if there is no access to a Grand Cleric or Revered Mother, then Knight-Commanders of the Templar Order have full legal authority to invoke the Right.
◦ The Right has been invoked 17 times in the last 700 years. It was requested 3 more times between 9:30 and 9:40 Dragon though was carried out in only 2 of those instances: once in Kirkwall by Knight-Commander Meredith Stannard without official authorization, in 9:37 Dragon, and again in Dairsmuid after Seekers found mage's of the Circle living more like apostates in freely mixing with their families and training young women in the tradition of the seers, in 9:40 Dragon.
◦ Outside of the Tevinter Imperium, mages who are not part of the Circle of Magi are considered apostates and are hunted, and either captured or killed, by the templars if discovered. Circle Mages who escape from any of the Andrastian Circles are also considered apostates and are either killed or brought back to the Circle by the templars. With enough secrecy, apostates can usually integrate successfully into Thedosian society, however. Any apostates that practice forbidden forms of magic such as blood magic are known as maleficarum, and are at even greater risk of being hunted down and slain. Technically, Dalish Keepers are also considered apostates. However, the Chantry and Templar Order, as a general rule, do not intervene as long as the Dalish move quickly and stay away from larger settlements.
◦ Hedge magic (a derogatory term created by the Chantry), also known as "arcanist derangement" among scholars, is a form of magical expression different than that of typical mages. Hedge mages are untrained magic-users who wield powers developed outside of conventional teaching. Some of these hedge mages are not even aware of their nature. Undeveloped, their abilities can express themselves in a variety of ways, which the hedge mage might attribute to faith, or will, or to another being entirely (depending on the mage's nature). Hedge mages cannot learn and cast spells as normal mages know them. "Hedge mages" and "witches" do not always employ forbidden magic, quite often their talents lie in the creation of charms, the use of curses and the ability to change their own forms. Their abilities may include being able to commune with spirits, as well. Still, those mages possess power no Circle spell could replicate and their unpredictable ability is deemed a threat by the Chantry. Prior to the Circle's formation, hedge magic was commonly practiced in the form of ancient traditions and rituals, with knowledge handed down from one generation of practitioners to the next. Examples of hedge mages include the so-called "witches" of the Chasind wilders, the "shamans" of the Avvar barbarians, and the "seers" of the Rivaini. Qunari Saarebas are also, essentially, hedge mages, albeit with a focus on destruction. Hedge mages live chaotic lives and are frequently lured into darkness, temptation, and sometimes even insanity. Their lives are often short as a result of this wild talent. The term "arcanist derangement" reflects this propensity toward madness in such mages.
In ancient times, within the Tevinter Imperium, the rank of Magister existed above First Enchanter as supreme authority in each Circle. After the mage Darinius claimed the title of Archon, the magisters became the only noble rank in Tevinter. All Circles outside Tevinter have abolished this rank.
◦ These are the heads of individual Circles, working in tandem with Knight-Commanders.
* Leadership roles will be played by staff until further notice, as these are positions with a great deal of influence over other players - we want to make sure established players of T&B are in these roles. In-game promotions can and will happen, however.
3.1. College of Magi (Original College of Enchanters)
The College of Magi, not to be confused with the "Circle of Magi", is a council of First Enchanters from all of the Circles in Thedas—excluding Tevinter. They routinely convene in the city of Cumberland, Nevarra to discuss Circle policy and to elect a new Grand Enchanter. They've recently welcomed Senior Enchanters into the council, as well.
Grand Enchanter Vivienne is the head of this College of Enchanters albeit with oversight from the Chantry.
This new faction of mages remains wholly unaffiliated with the Chantry, though some may have been members of the original College of Enchanters. These mages are widely regarded as apostates. They primarily operate in Southern Thedas—Ferelden in particular—and are comprised of mostly Libertarians formally affiliated with the Circles. In some ways, this new College of Enchanters is similar to the The Mages' Collective albeit most members of the latter were never affiliated with the Circle of Magi to begin with—many among the Collective being hedge wizards instead. The two secular factions have recently begun working together, however.
While they do not recognize Grand Enchanter Vivienne as their leader or adhere to Chantry laws, they have yet to settle on a permanent leadership of their own following the death of their first leader—Fiona. During Fiona's brief tenure, this secular faction called themselves the Bright Hand.
The Circles, as Circle fortresses are called, tend to be located in remote and difficult to reach areas, but the Formari have outposts in major cities for the purpose of trade.
Hossberg Circle* (aequitarian; restored)
◦ First Enchanter: Briaus
◦ Senior Enchanters: Verend
◦ Enchanters: Kessa Enos
* Many of the Hossberg mages and templars joined the Grey Wardens, rather than fight in the Mage-Templar War.
Lake Calenhad: Kinloch Hold (aequitarian; rebuilt; restored)
◦ First Enchanter: Irving
◦ Senior Enchanters: one of the Amell "Origins", depending on gender that's Daylen Amell, if male, or Solona Amell, if female
◦ Enchanters: Cera, Petra
◦ Mages: Connor Guerrin, Ines Arancia
◦ Apprentices: Rowan Guerrin
Ansburg Circle (loyalist)
◦ First Enchanter: Luidweg
◦ Senior Enchanters:
Gallows (Kirkwall's Circle) (restored)
◦ First Enchanter:
◦ Senior Enchanters:
◦ Enchanter: Bethany Hawke (potentially)
◦ Mages: Alain, Emile de Launcet
Cumberland Circle (loyalist; restored)
◦ Grand Enchanter: Vivienne
◦ First Enchanter: Gwenael
◦ Senior Enchanters:
Ghislain Circle (aequitarians)
◦ First Enchanter:
◦ Senior Enchanters:
Montsimmard Circle (loyalist)
◦ First Enchanter:
◦ Senior Enchanters: Percivale
Tine Tower (Vyrantium Circle) (unaffected)
◦ First Enchanter:
◦ Senior Enchanters: Verimus
Carastes Circle (unaffected)
◦ First Enchanter:
◦ Senior Enchanters:
Minrathous Circle (unaffected)
◦ First Enchanter:
◦ Senior Enchanters:
Antivan Circle (aequitarian; annulled in 3:09 Towers; restored at some point; disbanded in 9:40 Dragon)
Ferelden: Denerim Circle (aequitarian; razed; transferred to Kinloch Hold in 3:87 Towers)
Ferelden: Waking Sea Bannorn: Jainen Circle (loyalist; transferred to Kinloch Hold in 9:40 Dragon)
Free Marches: Hasmal Circle* (loyalist; transferred to the Inquisition in 9:40 Dragon)
Free Marches: Markham Circle (aequitarian; disbanded in 9:40 Dragon)
Free Marches: Ostwick Circle (aequitarian; disbanded in 9:40 Dragon)
Free Marches: Starkhaven Circle (loyalist; razed; transferred to Kirkwall in 9:31 Dragon)
Nevarra: Perendale Circle* (aequitarian; transferred to the Inquisition in 9:40 Dragon)
Orlais: Val Royeaux: White Spire (libertarian; disbanded in 9:40 Dragon)
Rivain: Dairsmuid Circle (libertarian; annulled in 9:40 Dragon)
* When the Inquisition was disbanded these Circle Mages widely dispersed with some returning to other Circles of their own free will, while others embraced newfound occupations altogether.
Fraternities are groups of enchanters who hold the same viewpoints, and band together to make their voices heard. They function as political parties among Circle mages and determine the policy of a given Circle, regionally speaking. Any full enchanter can join one. A fraternity counts enchanters from different Circles among their number, and the various fraternities vie for power in the College of Magi (the senior-most ranks of the Circle of Magi, overall).
◦ These are the dominant faction in the College of Magi—Kinloch Hold in particular. They promote a moderate and popular viewpoint that mages must use their abilities in a responsible and ethical manner, regardless of Chantry law. Aequitarians believe that all mages should help people and follow a set of rules and ideals. In practice, this usually means operating within the more reasonable tenets of Chantry law.
◦ By 9:42 Dragon they are represented in the College of Magi by Irving.
Known Aequitarians, past or present, include: Edmonde, Irving, Rhys, Sweeney, Fonst, Torrin, Ellendra, and Wynne.
◦ These are a small group of mages who wish to separate themselves from the Templars, the Chantry and even civilization altogether, both in order to practice magic without scrutiny and to ensure their powers do not negatively affect "ordinary" folk.
◦ By 9:40 Dragon they are represented in the College of Magi by TBD (Vacant Role).
Known Isolationists, past or present, include: Niall.
◦ These mages desire the Circle to become an autonomous, self-regulating order without Chantry involvement at any level. While many Libertarians advocate the use of peaceful means to ensure their independence, such as a bill of secession they proposed to the College of Magi in 9:31 Dragon, at least one subgroup, the Resolutionists, were willing to pursue violent means to their ends.
◦ By 9:42 Dragon the Libertarians are represented in the College of Magi by TBD (Vacant Role).
Known Libertarians, past or present, include: Uldred, Gravid, Boson, Prist, Adrian, Jeannot, Rhonus, Anders, Lysas, Finn, and Fiona.
◦ These mages follow the Chantry's word as it is written. They are often called "Chantry apologists" for accepting and enforcing the Chantry's and the Templars' ever-present supervision.
◦ By 9:40 Dragon they are represented in the College of Magi by Vivienne, the Grand Enchanter herself.
Known Loyalists, past or present, include: Maxwell, Vivienne, Lynden, Luvan, and Connor Guerrin.
◦ These mages prioritize the accumulation of wealth, with the gaining of political influence a close second. They are few in number.
Known Lucrosians, past or present, include: Elena.
Alte - prev. a Mage at White Spire; whereabouts unknown
Anders - prev. a Mage at Kinloch Hold; recruited by the Grey Wardens; wherabouts unknown
Dorian Pavus - prev. apprenticed at the Carastes Circle, and bounced around to different Circles, including Tine Tower; joined the Inquisition
Elena Castleworth - prev. of the Hasmal Circle and the Cumberland Circle before joining the Mortalitasi
Ellendra - prev. an Enchanter; joined the Inquisition
Finn - prev. a Mage at Kinloch Hold; whereabouts unknown (his full name is Florian Phineas Horatio Aldebrant, Esquire)
Lynden - prev. Senior Enchanter of Hasmal; joined the Inquisition
Lysas - whereabouts unknown
Maxwell Trevelyan - prev. of Ostwick's Circle prior to its disbandment; became the Inquisitor
Minaeve - joined the Inquisition
Rhys - prev. Senior Enchanter at White Spire and representative of the Aequitarians; joined the Inquisition (he's Wynne's son)
Rion - joined the Inquisition