Location: The Pearl Court is located outside of Athandra, in Thrane, not far from the epicenter of the Church of the Silver Flame. Thrane is considered the power center of the Ayus Maji, though they have agents all over Dersei. Ayus Maji are located almost exclusively in well domesticated, civilized regions.
DescriptionThis is an ancient organization of wizards. In the region the campaign starts, the Last War that has recently ended resulted in a somewhat poor outcome for the organization. The power of the Ayus Maji has waxed and waned through the millennia, but recently the treaties of the Last War have set them back by reinforcing/clarifying their three oaths (see below) and restricting some of their power. The past of the Ayus Maji is storied, but their most salient characteristic is the three oaths they take. These oaths came about as a result of a treaty the negotiated over four thousand years ago with what was known as the time as the “Church”. In these times, the Church held significantly more power than the Church of the Silver Flame does today. The Church, then was hell-bent on exterminating all arcane casters, claiming that they profaned the sacred order of the world. Through careful political maneuvering, the Ayus Maji (then a small sect within a much larger magocracy) managed to ensure their survival by swearing the three oaths. These oaths were made binding by means of an Artifact called the Altar of Oaths, which could be used to ensure that a creature would keep whatever oath was sworn in its presence. Breaking an oath is simply not possible for a creature who takes an oath on the Altar. They freeze up and cannot complete the action which would break the oath. The oath cannot be removed except by the Salient Divine Ability: Alter Reality.
- To speak nothing that is not true
- To uphold and protect the lawful order of the land
- To never use arcane magic to slay a non-evil creature
Once it was demonstrated that the Altar of Oaths worked, the Church permitted their existence. As the years passed, the Ayus Maji established themselves as “servants to the Law”, whose salient services were arbitration, negotiation, and item creation. Soon, most every political center of significant power (recently Dragonmarked houses) considered it a status symbol to have an Ayus Maji in their employ. By the time we have reached the time of the campaign, Ayus Maji with the rank of first degree Maji are generally treated with the respect of a minor noble, although they have no entitlement to land. Second degree Maji are generally regarded as an average noble. Third degree Maji are advisors to kings, and in some cases earn almost as much respect as the kings they advise. Maji are respected by lawful citizens and rulers, they are shunned by chaotic people and neutral people typically regard interactions with Ayus Maji warily.
One of the more recent developments in the Ayus Maji role is out-of-court arbitration. Many lower class citizens are turning to Maji for rapid, equitable resolution of civil disputes. The reason for this turn of events is that the Pearl Court decided to increase their standing in a more grass-roots fashion by providing this type of arbitration free of charge, particularly after the losses they suffered in the recent Treaties of the Last War. The idea being that people might start treating the Maji as if they actually defined the law. The politics of this is not lost on the Church of the Silver Flame, of course and they are working the do away with the practice. Many of the nobles, however, are balking (likely in no small part because of their Maji advisers’ advice) from changing the laws to quash the practice. The current law which allows the practice is worded as follows: “Any contract or pact between two or more parties is not legitimate in the eyes of the Law unless an arbitrating body witnesses the event and pays the recording fees” Currently, the recording fees are set to be 1% of the sum of the disputed property and court fees involved in the arbitration of the contract. For most civil suits, this is a trivially small amount, but even still the Ayus Maji are able deduct a large portion of the costs they incur by offering free services via tax breaks filed under charity. For those who care, it’s quite a hot political issue at the moment.
Ayus Maji maintain proper appearances and generally behave (in public) like monks, dressed as nobles. One of the characteristics of a first degree or higher Maji is an air of serenity, an unflappable calm that is jokingly referred to as “Maji Poker Face”. Ayus Maji of any degree are sticklers for etiquette, respect for station, and the letter of the law. In order to maintain their perfect facade, Ayus Maji who are not capable of acting with the above characteristics are sequestered in the Pearl Court, where they may research and advance Ayus Maji causes outside of the eye of the public. Several local expressions arise from these characteristics:
- “Unreadable as a Maji” (Usually negative comparison, treat as a superlative)
- “Polite as a Maji” (Usually a positive compliment on one’s etiquette)
- “May as well make a deal with a Maji” (Statement that the outcome will be hopelessly fair. People looking to gain something usually say this)
- “Who died and made you (Ayus) Maji?” (Incredulous. Equivalent to “who died and made you king?”
- “What a bunch of Maji gas” (Derisive. Used to describe mystical bull shit)
- “An Ayus Maji never speaks the truth you expect to hear” (A common warning regarding dealings with Maji)
Factions within the Ayus Maji
For people interacting with the Maji, one of the more notable things they talk about is making or entering Pacts. The capitalization of that Pact is often noticeable in conversation. Within the Pearl Court, Pact makers (as they are called) are actually only a small faction within the organization, although they are certainly the most visible branch. Other factions include:
- Pact Makers: The “face” of the organization. These Maji specialize in social skills and politics. You can find them as advisers, judges, lower level magistrates, civil defense attorneys.
- Librarians: A group of dedicated researchers, whose primary purpose is to record and analyze all the information that is brought in by other Maji into the great libraries.
- Crafters: A small group of researchers dedicated to the advancement of creating new magical items or enchants. Their primary purpose is not to mass produce items. They focus on development and sell their designs. Crafters closely associate with specialized Pact Makers that deal with intellectual property rights.
- Battle Lords: An ancient branch that no longer accepts members. Few survive of this group, but the ones that do are powerful, battle-scarred wizards. The last time a battle lord was seen in the field was during the Last War. The Treaty of the Last War has prevented any additional members joining this faction.
- Staff: everyone within the Maji heirarchy is assigned a faction designation, even staff personnel. The administrative branch of the Ayus Maji is huge, though mostly populated by non-casters. You can distinguish a staff member by the distinctive arcane tattoo they wear on their foreheads. The tattoo is visible only when the staff member wants it to show.
Interactions with other Canonical Eberron Organizations
- Church of the Silver Flame: Ayus Maji interact with these people only when necessary. It’s no secret that the two are on very chilly terms with each other.
- Aurum: People with money are viewed as friends so long as they keep their contracts. The Aurum and their more shady counter part, the Cartel, both do business with Ayus Maji.
- The Blood of Vol: Formally Ayus Maji denounce the use of Necromancy for evil ends.
- Cults of the Dragon Below: Formally Ayus Maji denounce any worship which might disrupt the Lawful order of the land.
- Dragon Marked Houses: Maji are constantly vying to be in the good graces of any entity with political power, provided doing so would not hurt their image with other existing alliances.
- The Gatekeepers: There is not much reason for these organizations to hold enmity or friendship for each other.
- The Library of Korranberg: Something of a rival center of knowledge, the relationship between the gnomes of Korranberg and Ayus Maji has had its ups and downs. Currently, there is small trade of information between the two Libraries.
- Lords of the Dust: Creatures of Chaos are denounced by the Maji.
- Morgrave University: Maji recognize this institution as a legitimate and offer programs for student sharing. Recently, the Maji’e’domi has tried to make ties to this university more cordial, in hopes of bolstering the Maji’s connections to the less thoroughbred academic community.
- Order of the Emerald Claw: Terrorist groups are publicly denounced.
- The Twelve: This institution has been the largest rival to the Maji for thousands of years. The two organizations recognize each other, but both look down their nose at the other. Maji think the Twelve are a little better than a lap dog of the Dragonmarked houses. The Twelve think of Ayus Maji as cowards who hide behind oaths. The Twelve hold considerably more power than the Maji, but after the Last War it became clear that the Maji were a more cohesive organization. In any case, the two are strong competitors.
- Wardens of the Wood: Maji are polite with druids, as they are with the Gatekeepers, but they do very little business with them.
- Wayfinder’s Foundation: Ayus Maji happily fund operations of this small group.
Salient Ayus Maji Goals & Activities
- Political domination: Ayus Maji were born out of a magocracy that lasted millenia, but was toppled. The Ayus Maji have weathered a rather harsh anti-arcane period and more recently are still working on regaining public opinion and political power after the Treaty of the Last War. The machinations of the Maji’e’domi and the council of Marin (see significant Ayus Maji figures below), are long lived and as all encompassing as they can manage. This not to say that the Ayus Maji are some omnipotent organization, far from it. They are in a power struggle with the Church, in which they are still the under dogs.
- Artifacts of Power: You never know when you’ll need one, and there’s always the chance that you might learn how to make them. Artifacts and powerful magic items, no matter the purpose and means of extraction, are something the Maji collect and study behind closed doors in the Pearl Court. Illicitly acquired items cannot be directly handled by Ayus Maji or even acknowledged, but they manage to make it into the tower via a complicated underground network of agents. Thieves, treasure hunters, and their ilk know who to find if they claim any degree of success in this area. It isn’t widely known that the smuggling network (which is common knowledge and referred to as the “Cartel”) is intricately connected with the Maji. How the connection was established over the past centuries is very uncommon knowledge, perhaps known only to the a handful on the Marin council or perhaps within the Cartel’s organizational structure (which is quite separate from the Maji’s organization).
- The destruction of the Church of the Silver Flame: Revenge is a bitch and the Maji all dream of seeing the day the Church, even in the more neutered form that it is in, is dissolved back into the rabble of Divine worshipers that it once was in eons past. Because of the popularity of the Church, their political power, and the infrastructure they control, however, Maji are not AT ALL forthcoming with this opinion. While it may be a common whisper behind closed doors in the Pearl Court, you would have to torture a Maji have them bad mouth the church in public. It simply isn’t safe to hold negative opinions about the Church of the Silver Flame yet. Yet.
Notable Ayus Maji Figures
- Maji’e’domi: The title of the head Maji, which is currently held by Jerome Maltuus.
- 4th degree Maji: The fourth degree Maji, of which there are thirteen, act as the main legislative body of the Pearl Court. Executive power is held by the Maji’e’domi, but each 4th degree Maji (also called ‘Maru’ or collectively ‘Marin’), holds significant influence within the Pearl Court. Marin have no other obligations outside of the Pearl Court and, like, the Maji’e’domi are rarely by the public. If they were to venture outside, they could be distinguished by the trained eye by their age. All 4th degree Maji appear to be incalculably old, which is no illusion. They all consider the Last War to be just a foot note on their resumes. No one is certain how old they really are, nor how it is that they have not died. Some of them are human or at least look like humans. A good half, though, are elves.
- Maji Battle Lords: Remnants of the Last War, there are eight remaining wizards (apart from the Marin and Maji’e’domi), who can claim to have taken part in the Last War from beginning to end. They are something of local legends, capable of wielding both steel and magic with ease.
- Ayus Protar: Commonly referred to as Guardians. They are essentially cohorts of high-level Maji, and typically serve as body guards and secretaries. All Ayus Protar go through a rigorous selection process that is meant to ensure their loyalty to the Maji and competence. Protar are all outfitted with a cloak, ring and brooch that identifies their position. Guardians come with their own set of lore and mystique. The most common thread among all the rumors is that they are extremely capable with a sword. Many people fear Guardians unless their Maji is in sight. Sometimes (rarely), the Protar are also magically trained. Like Maji, the protar are bound by the three oaths. Though, in most cases, the third oath is irrelevant.
Below is the process for bonding a Protar and the effects of the bond. The bond is somewhat less binding than the three oaths, but it is still fairly strong. Here is the process:
- The Protar must become a cohort of the Maji.
- When the Protar becomes a cohort they are usually told to sign a contract to protect and serve their charge to the best of their ability. The contract is only binding as far as the Protar keeps his word. This period usually lasts anywhere from 6 months to five years. At the end of this “trial” period, both Maji and potential Protar must decide if they wish to continue and be bound together.
- Rary’s Telepathic Bond is made permanent between the Protar and Maji
- The Protar must accept a Geas/Quest to the following effect:
- The Protar is to serve and protect its Maji, even in circumstances which may lead to the death of the Protar.
- The Protar must endeavor to keep its Maji from harm in all circumstances to the best of its ability.
- The Geas/Quest and the telepathic bond is then made permanent via a series of 7 limited wishes. These wishes secure the Geas and telepathic bond in such a way that they are protected from all forms of dispelling and disjunction. The bond may only be broken via Wish. Violating the bond results in the typical penalties of Geas/Quest. If the Maji dies, however, the Protar goes mad with grief. Mechanically one can treat this as permanent form of confusion that does not permit a saving throw. The madness can be cured with a miracle, but nothing less. Certain psychological therapy can also cure the grief, requiring a DC 30 Heal check every day over the course of 30 days.
Mechanics of the bond: The Protar and Maji gain the following link:
Empathic Link (Su): The Maji has an empathic link with his Protar out to a distance of up to 1 mile. The Maji cannot see through the Protar’s eyes, but they can communicate empathically. Because of the limited nature of the link, only general emotional content can be communicated.
Because of this empathic link, the Maji has the same connection to an item or place that his Protar does.
This effect replaces the permanent Telepathic bond that was forged in the process of the Protar Pact. As a supernatural effect, it cannot be dispelled, but does not function in areas where Anti-Magic exist.
Ayus Maji as an Affiliation Per rules in PHB2, we can treat Ayus Maji as an affiliation. The rules for that are presented below. These rules enable non-mages to become affiliated with Ayus Maji. Generally, though, only a Wizard will have any hope of climbing to the upper echelons of the organization.
|Criterion||Affiliation Score Modifier|
|Character Level||+1/2 PC’s level|
|Knowledge (Any)||+1 per 2 ranks|
|Introduce new form of magic``||+3|
|Introduce new spell||+2|
|Invent a new item||+2|
|Posses the ability to craft items beyond scrolls||+1 per item type|
|Donate a magic item||+1 per 10,000 gp value, max +5 per item|
|Donate an artifact||+5 (lesser), +10 (greater)|
|Negotiate successfully to the benefit of Ayus Maji||+1-5 per negotiation, depending on how far reaching|
|Ability to cast Arcane Spells||+1 per level of spell able to cast|
|Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Bluff, Intimidate skills||+1 per 3 ranks|
|Bad Negotiation||-1-5 depending on how bad you screwed the Ayus Maji|
|Evil||-2 just for having the evil alignment|
|Evil Deeds||-1 for each act which brings shame to Ayus Maji|
|Years of Service as Maji||+1 / 10 years|
|Years of Service as Protar||+1 / 15 years|
|Years of Service as Staff||+1 / 20 years|
|Profession (Adviser, Attorney, Magistrate)||+1 per 3 ranks|
` This bonus mutually exclusive with other Knowledge skills. `` Currently known forms (at time of campaign start): Arcane, Divine, Pact Magic, Psionics (though the last is not practiced).
|Affiliation Score||Title Benefits|
|1-3||Acquaintance of the Maji. Permitted to engage in business with Maji|
|4-10||Affiliate of the Maji. Permitted to sell products with Maji seals legally. Permitted to be a Protar``|
|11-15`||Student of the Maji. Permitted to study in the outer Pearl Court.|
|16-22`||Advanced Student of the Maji. Access to the 1st library, able to copy spells without cost.|
|23-29`||Eligible Student of the Maji. Permitted to take the 3 oaths as a 1st degree Maji. Access to 2nd library. Free access to spell recording materials|
|30-40`||1st degree Maji in good standing|
|41-50`||2nd degree Maji in good standing|
|51-60`||3rd degree Maji in good standing|
|61+`||Candidate for Marin|
` Progression into these levels require that one be a Wizard and study in the tower. `` Only after taking the 3 oaths.
|1st degree Maji||Must engage in tutoring in the Pearl Court for at least 20 hours per month, 6 months per year|
|2nd degree Maji||Must take an apprentice OR record 1000 pages for the Mistress of the Library annually OR create 10 magic items per year|
|3rd degree Maji||Must maintain two apprentices OR create 20 magic items per year OR record 5000 pages for the Mistress of the Library annually|
|1st degree Maji||Given a wonderous item of 18,000 gp or less|
|2nd degree Maji||Given a wonderous item of 32,000 gp or less|
|3rd degree Maji||Given a free +5 tome or an item of equal value|
Note on Maji Sealed Items
The Ayus Maji do create a number of magical items. This is not their primary function however. Maji-made items are certified with a seal and guaranteed to function only in the hands of a Lawful character. This increases the cost of the item by 2000 gold. The special enchant, which is a guarded secret of the Maji, is much desired by political forces wishing to ensure that their soldiers are loyal (or at least lawful).
Maji specialize in enchants which operate under certain conditions. One of their marketed crafts are contingent spells.