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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Content>Magic>Magic Systems>Spellweaving>Order of Esow
The Venerable Order of Esow


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Variant: The Order Of Esow Variant: Brotherhood of Stahryc Variant: Derwydda
Sample Esowyc: Erich von Nehoppel
VARIANT: Spellweaving Magic System
To use this variant Magic System, simply use the Spellweaving document in its entirety with the exception of sections that have been "overidden" by this document, as indicated in the section headers below.
MODIFY: Means to Power
The general rules given in the Means to Power section of Spellweaving apply to the Order of Esow, but with the following alterations.
Esowyc are able to channel Magic more easily if they have symbolic objects relevant to a Spell Effect they are trying to cast. This is handled by using Expendable Foci, called Material Components. Players of Esowyc characters should be made to keep track of what Material Components their characters have available.
This is an important facet of this style of Magic. Esowyc should always be on the lookout for unusual and interesting Material Components to keep their inventory up to par. Good Material Components are also valuable commodities between Esowyc, and trading them back and forth is a common past time, similar to baseball card trading.
In addition to their Spell Skills, Esowyc must also have an INT based Knowledge Skill, KS: Material Components. This Skill allows an Esowyc to identify the symbolic usefulness of various items for casting Spell Effects.
Limitations work in the same fashion for Order of Esow as defined in Spellweaving, but an alternate list of Allowed Limitations is used, as follows:
  • Incantations
  • Gestures
  • Expendable Foci
  • Increased END
  • Exhausting (SE (Always Occurs): AP/10 in LTE (-1/2) or AP/5 in LTE (-1))
All of the options for Incantations other than Complex are usable by Esowyc.
All of the options for Gestures other than Complex are usable by Esowyc.
As described previously in the Material Components section, Esowyc are able to use symbolically relevant objects to assist them in the casting of Spell Effects.
If, in the opinion of the GM, a player tries to pass off a sketchy Material Component with a weak symbolic link to the Spell Effect they are trying to cast, a successful KS: Material Component roll (modified by the GM as he sees fit) indicates that the symbolic link is strong enough and the Material Components works for that single casting.
Any level of Increased END is usable by Esowyc.
Exhausting is represented as an always occurs Side Effect that causes the Spellweaver to take either the Active Points divided by 10 in Long Term Endurance for a -1/2 Limitation or the Active Points divided by 5  in Long Term Endurance for a -1. This is in addition to any other END Costs.
Details Of The Order
The Order of Esow (EE-sue) is a guild of spellcasters that teaches a variant of the Spellweaving Magic System. Individual members of the Order are called Esowyc (ee-SUE-eek) singularly and collectively.
Esowyc are members of the Venerable Order of Esow, an independent organization whose membership endeavor on their on the behalf of both themselves and their Order.
The Order actively seeks to identify, recruit, and train new members to keep the Order's ranks filled, serves as a political lobby for the aggrandizement of Esowyc, and as a self-protection network for its members. In return members are expected to carry out tasks when directed to do so by the Elders.
NOTE: In the World of San'Dora, the Order exists in the Nordmanner lands of the north, and is strongest in the western and central counties, but has some presence across all the Nordmanner counties. They compete with several other groups of Spellweavers as well as practitioners of Metier based mostly in and around Daelanthanor. The Order is the dominant mystical society in the Nordmanner lands, and they wield their power and influence with a deft hand.
The Order of Esow is a large and stable organization, with several large regional centers of operation called Siontrwyc (shawn-TRUE-eek) collectively and Siontrw (SHAWN-true) singular, each home to a panel of at least six Elder Esowyc plus at least one Administrator, and many smaller centers called Dynwyc (deh-NEW-eek) or Dynw (DEH-new) singular.
The Order is a meritocracy, lead by committees called Pwyllgorau (pweeth-gor-AH-ee) plural and Pwyllgor (PWEETH-gor) singular formed from Elders of the Order.
The following Rank Perks differentiate levels of authority within the Order of Esow:
Cost Rank Description
1 Initiate
Newly accepted to the Order, an Initiate can expect to be fed, clothed, and protected but has few other privileges. Kept cloistered in a Siontrw and taught Magic.
2 Apprentice
An Apprentice has at least 15 points spent on Spell Skills and knows at least 5 different Spell Skills. Sent on a tour of other Siontrw in small groups to learn more Magic and get seasoned.
3 Journeyman

A Journeyman has at least 30 points spent on Spell Skills and knows at least 10 different Spell Skills. Journeyman have broad latitude and function independently; though they are actively tasked with most of the leg work of the Order such as Gathering Spell Components, Finding Recruits, Carrying Messages between Siontrw and Dynw, and so forth.
4 Master
A Master has at least 50 points spent on Spell Skills and knows at least 15 different Spell Skills. Masters do what they wish aside from occasional special tasks given to them by the Elders.
5 Elder
An Elder is a Master that has proven themselves to the Order and been raised by the majority vote of a minimum of nine other Elders. Elder status is a rank, not an age; some Elders have been as young as their late twenties. Collectively they lead the Order via committee; rule is conducted via majority vote and each Elder may cast one vote.
The Order has many formalized Roles, particularly at the Journeyman level. The following list includes the most significant ones.
Role Description
This Initiate Role is given to Initiates that are taken in to young to begin studies; the Order generally wont start training a child in earnest until they have hit puberty but take them in when they are younger.
Scratchers carry messages within an Order House; their name comes from scratching at closed doors to notify those inside that they are waiting to deliver a message. 
This Apprentice Role is given to the most promising Apprentice in a clutch of Apprentices, marking them as the "first among equals", general spokesperson, and person responsible for that group of Apprentices.
This Journeyman Role is responsible for guiding clutches of new Apprentices on their tour of Siontrwyc. This is an important Role, in as much as the Journeyman is effectively in charge of helping the Apprentices translate their classroom learning into practical application.
This Journeyman Role is responsible for seeking out and acquiring Material Components for the Order. This is a crucial Role, but one few want, as it is often very dangerous; many Gatherers meet a bloody end. (Gatherer is an excellent Role for an adventuring Esowyc)
This Journeyman Role is responsible for finding promising youths to induct into the Order. They are seeking children that are unusually bright and precocious, particularly among the poor and orphaned.
When they find likely candidates, the Finder offers a tidy sum of gold (to be paid by a guarded courier later), and takes the child to the nearest Siontrw to become an Initiate.


This Journeyman Role is usually assigned to promising Esowyc that seem destined for higher Rank, as the carrying of messages for the Masters and Elders gives them both an insight into the inner workings of the Order, and also familiarity with many of the movers and shakers in the upper ranks that will be useful to them should they gain rank later.
They are also usually accompanied by armed guards, making this Role safer than some others.
The Role is given to trusted Masters, who are sent out to get to the bottom of some Mystery, or investigate a matter of some concern to the Elders of the Order. Such missions are frequently dangerous and can take an Esowyc in unexpected directions. (Truthfinder is an excellent Role for an adventuring Esowyc).
This temporary Role can be assigned to either a Master or Elder. A fairly open ended Role, a Speaker is given a verbal contract by a committee of Elders that defines what they can and cannot do, within the confines of which they have the full backing of the entire Order and speak on its behalf.
This Master Role is in charge of the care and upkeep of an Order House's Ystorau (eh-STORE-ee), or inventory of Material Components. Almost universally a Keeper was previously an experienced Gatherer, as few others are knowledgeable enough about Material Components and their rarity to do the job correctly.
This Role is assigned to a trusted few Elders, no more than one per Order House. Each Librarian has a single Master as an assistant, called a Tudalen (two-DAH-lynn), or Aide. It is the responsibility of a Librarian to be intimately familiar with all the Codeci (Ysgriflyfrau) kept in their Order House, and every Codex kept at two other Order Houses.
The Order uses many layers of deception, blinds, double blinds, obfuscation, and secrecy to ensure the safety and secrecy of their master list of Codeci. The Elders regard them as the most valuable asset of the Order by a far margin and take no risks in securing them.
Further, the Librarian is responsible for the physical security and care of the Codeci in their Order House, the occassional scribing of new Codeci as needed by the Order, and controlling access to the Codeci.
Their Aide is essentially their shadow in all things, though they are only entrusted with the knowledge of which Codeci are at their Order House, and eventually will take over the Llyfrgellydd upon their retirement, or more rarely will be raised to Elder status and become the Llyfrgellydd of a new Order House.
This Role is assigned to either a Master in some Dynwyc or an Elder in all Siontrwyc and most Dynwyc. Some of the larger Siontrwyc have several Administrators.
The task of the Administrator is to see to the day to day administration and upkeep of the Order House they are in charge of. They typically command a staff of some sort, and deal with the locals of the settlement the Order House is located in.
This is an important Role, and carries a lot of political clout in as much as Administrators that are Elders break ties on votes held in their bailiwick, and Administrators that are Masters get a vote.
Often Masters that are on the inside track to become an Elder are made the Administrator of a Dynw near the Siontrw they are based out of, or a junior Administrator of a Siontrw if it is large enough to have multiple Administrators.
The Order is an old organization much given to symbology. Much of their symbology is private, maintained as Mysteries of the Order, but some of it is public.
The official Crest of the Order is a lozenge (diamond) bearing a shooting Comet Or (gold) issuing from the sinister chief (upper left) on a field of Purpur (purple) over a Sable (black) terrace in base (solid color across the bottom).
NOTE: In Heraldry left and right (sinister and dexter) are from the perspective of the sigil, which is to say they are reversed in respect to the viewer. Left is right and right is left.
The comet represents mystic power, the gold represents the financial security and political clout of the Order, the Purple represents the Mysteries of the Universe that the Order learns the secrets of, and the black base represents the Physical World where the Order resides and exerts its power.
Every Esowyc Siontrw bears this Crest prominently, and most members of the Order wear some form of adornment incorporating it.
Each Rank and most identified Roles within the Order have a symbol associated with them, and it is customary (and expected) for members to wear the symbols appropriate to their Rank and when appropriate their Role.
The most common symbols are:
  • Initiate: a simple white robe and a distinctive haircut (head shaved on the left temple) mark this Rank.
    • Scratchers have both sides of their head shaved.
  • Apprentice: a light blue robe, their shiny new metal and black leather components pouch, and their unadorned black oak staff mark this Rank.
    • Beacons are allowed to have a single silver cap on the top of their staff, and are given a silver ring bearing a garnet.
  •  Journeyman: practical sturdy black robes, a black pointed travel hat, and the addition of silver caps to their staff mark this Rank.
    • Guiders wear a silver ring with an amethyst encircled by four garnets.
    • Gatherers are given a distinctive cloak with many pockets sewn on the inside.
    • Finders wear a silver ring with an amethyst encircled by four white spinels.
    • Couriers are given special staffs that come apart in the middle; convenient when they are on horseback; the silver joining caps in the middle of the staff is a giveaway. They also wear silver rings with a single amethyst in a gold setting.
  • Master: the addition of a golden comet shooting down from the top right to the bottom left of their accountrements, and golden caps on their staff mark this Rank. Also, Masters receive a larger stipend from the Order, and most tend to replace their travel-worn garments and pouch with new ones.
    • Truthfinders don't have any special symbology, due to the nature of some of their investigations. However, they do bear a document describing their mission in broad terms and identifying their status in case they need assistance from other Order Houses.
    • Speakers wear a golden torc (neck collar) bearing a relief of a comet over the wearer's throat.
    • Keepers wear a golden locket that contains a special gold coin stamped with the Order's comet on one side and a hand on the other side, the meaning of which is symbolic.
    • Aides are given a gold brooch bearing a golden feather.
  • Elder: purple robes, a golden pendant featuring the shooting comet, and a golden ring bearing an amethyst mark this Rank.
    • Librarians carry a small lockable book on a golden chain cross slung over their shoulder. Contrary to popular belief these books do not contain a list of the Codeci in the Librarian's care. Instead it is a schedule book allowing the Librarian to keep track of which Codeci (referred to only by code), are currently being used and are scheduled to be in use in the future. This allows them to avoid double booking the same Codex to Esowyc that have been permitted access to them.
    • Administrators wear a symbolic golden key set with an amethyst as a pendant.
Membership in the Order definitely has its privileges, in relation to an Esowyc's Rank and the favor they find with the Elders. All members receive respectible sustenance and comfortable shelter from the Order as long as they are at any Order House.
There are financial benefits as well; Apprentices and Journeymen are given a modest stipend (sufficient for baseline Wealth 0), Masters are given a more respectable stipend (sufficient for between Wealth 4 and 6), and Elders receive a princely compensation (sufficient for between Wealth 7 and 10).
Additionally those on specific missions for the Order are well funded as a matter of course; the Order does not believe in setting their people up for failure. And other material goods are provided either for free or at cost to members, including the basic accoutrements and symbols of Rank and Role.
Further individual members can call on their brethren for assistance, and expect a certain level of it to be forthcoming. This is a reciprocal process of course; Esowyc can be called on to help their brethren in turn.
Each Order House maintains a Ystorau (eh-STORE-ee), essentially a Material Components pantry. Members are allowed to browse the Ystorau and either trade for components from their own selection, or else offer sufficient reimbursement to the Order. Each Ystorau is run by a Keeper, who makes decisions as to the value of the Material Components being taken and offered for trade.
All the material and temporal benefits aside however, the real benefit of membership is that Esowyc can gain access to the Order's large collection of Ysgriflyfrau (ehs-griv-LEAVE-ree), or Codeci as they are more commonly known, which each describe the mystic secrets necessary to learn new Spell Skills. These are the most valued and important of the Order's Mysteries and they are well guarded, with access to them strictly controlled. Each Order House has one or more of them, with a disparate selection available at each; the largest Siontrwyc have 30 or more Codeci each.
Unknown to the general populace of the Order, the Elders long ago devised a clever system of overlapping partial coverage of all the many Spell Skills possible, so that if a Siontrw were to fall to violence only a fraction of the Order's Mysteries would be taken, and further Codeci's for each Spell Skill still exist in the vaults of at least three other Siontrw. It would thus take an concerted assault on all the Siontrwyc at once to guarantee the capture of a Codeci for every Spell Skill. To protect this form of security, only a few Elders are entrusted with knowledge of which Codeci are kept where, and it is believed by most that no one person knows the full inventory.
Rarely an Esowyc decides they do not wish to be part of the Order, and more frequently an Eswoyc is found wanting and cast out, but in either case there are those that once held some Rank in the Order but are members no longer. These individuals are called Celanedd (keh-LON-eeth) collectively and Celaneddion (keh-lon-eeth-EE-on) singularly, which basically means "dead ones", indicating that from the Order's perspective they are effectively deceased. This is a form of excommunication. Members are not supposed to fraternize with, associate with, or even talk to Cerlanedd if they can at all avoid it. Sever all ties is the party line.
 This hard-line attitude is somewhat petty, but supported by the very real concern of internal security. The Order is far flung, and large enough that few Esowyc know more than a fraction of the current members of the Order. Thus a Celaneddion, who knows more than enough about the Order to talk the talk and walk the walk so to speak, could travel to an Order House outside of their original stomping grounds and have reasonably good odds of being believable as a current member. Once inside, such an infiltrator could take advantage of the Order House's library of Codeci and other facilities, in addition to potentially gaining inside knowledge of the current affairs of the Order.
Due to this real issue, Calenedd caught in the act of doing this are killed. Those who get away are made the target of a Truthfinder, or if powerful enough a posse of Esowyc and some armsmen, called a Torfoedd (TOR-vayth), is assembled to hunt the malefactor down. In short, Calanedd are left alone if they go their own way, but there is a single strike policy for those who do not.
Generally speaking once out of the Order, one is out forever. However there have been a relative handful of recorded instances of a Calenedd earning their way back in to the Order by some spectacular act, perseverance, or circumstance. It is practically unheard of, but there are precedents. For instance, it is possible for a committee of Elders to offer a Calenedd  a return to the Order as the prize should they perform some ridiculously dangerous task that no sane Esowyc would take on.