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message 1: by E L L E, Queen Mab (last edited May 15, 2020 02:46PM) (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

Tombs, grays and other idiosyncrasies

Existence of the Arcane
Arcane Abilities
Grays and The Veil
Elixirs and Other Manifestations
The Circle of Aurora
Lethe House

Houses of the Veil
Skull and Bones
Scroll and Key
Book and Snake
Wolf's Head
St Elmos

*I'm aware that there's a lot of information here, it's not necessary to read through all of it. I've just included things that might be interesting or relevant to the plot, and help inspire your characters.

message 2: by E L L E, Queen Mab (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

Existence of the Arcane

For most in our world the arcane arts are considered nothing more than a con, the tv illusionist or the batty old psycic fleecing money from grieving widows. Little do people know, that the true arcane exists in many forms and has done for centuries. Though it has fallen in prominence with the arrival of science and new technologies, the rawest forms of magic are still utilised in our world today. There remain several pockets across the world where these practices are still performed in secret. A hot-bed of magical activity, Yale University and the surrounding town of New Haven are amongst the most notorious.

It is here under the guise of the secret societies that these magics are performed. These societies have dedicated themselves to a particular branch of arcane arts, and have maintained their funding by completing rituals for the wealthy benefactors who request them. The magic seen here is not innate, these people are not born with such abilities but are instead gifted them upon their induction into the Houses of the Veil. Rituals, potions and talismans are the currency upon which individuals are offered these abilities. Some present a greater challenge than most, but all give their students a glimpse into the unknown.

However, learned magics are not the only kind to exist within this world. There are innate abilities that have been passed down through generations or gifted from the dead beyond the Veil. These are perhaps considered softer magics, human magics compared to their society counterparts. The ability to commune with the dead, to walk through dreams or maybe see just what someone is feeling. They are an incredibly rare power, hard to pin-down and seldom seen. But, if you're one of the lucky few to find yourself with such an ability, there's a good chance the House of Lethe already knows of it, and you may find yourself receiving a prestigious scholarship and an opportunity to join them.

The town of New Haven is situated over a large number of Ley Lines, which have in turn made it a place where those with an interest in the arcane have flocked to. It's not just the university where magic secretly hums in the halls, it also has a presence in the town as well. Those rare soft magic skills may make your therapist that little bit more aware of how you're feeling, or perhaps the fortune teller with the net curtains is a little more perceptive than she lets on. Either way, there's magic just about everywhere you look. And everywhere you don't...which brings us to the Veil itself. Consider it a curtain that exists between this world and the next, a place where ghosts can pass between and where magic buzzes like electricity. It's invisible, everywhere and it presents a dangerous challenge to those who wish to learn about it.

We have made a number of magic claims available in the societies and in Lethe house for you to take a look at. At present we have not created claims for gifted townspeople, however we would like to extend to you the opportunity to create one each if you wish. Simply tell us their job and the gift you would them to have (soft skills, no fire wielding for example...) and we will note them down in the claims thread for you.

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E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

Arcane Abilities

Within this world a number of arcane abilities exist. These come in the form of gifted or innate abilities and are available for you to claim in the character claims thread. The Houses of the Veil are users of gifted magics, while Lethe House tends to seek out those with existing innate abilities. Claims are limited, especially with regard to innate abilities due to their rarity.

At the moment there are only eight innate claims available, with each each character holding one of the abilities included on the list. If all of these are taken and you wish to create a character with an innate ability, please speak to mods and we will do our best to accommodate you. As Lethe House offers scholarships to all innate students, it may be that you can create a character in the town, or a graduate/visiting student.

Gifted Arcane Abilities

Extispicy and Splanchomancy are the grisly learned magics of the society Skull and Bones. New initiates master the practices from old Mesopotamian texts and grimoires before performing a ritual themselves. Extispicy is the practice of using anomalies in animal entrails to predict or divine future events. Splanchomancy is the term used for human prognostications. Organs inspected include the liver, intestines, and lungs. The animal used for extispicy must often be ritually pure and slaughtered in a special ceremony. Historically humans were presented as sacrifices, but now unassuming patients from the local New Haven General Hospital are used and returned to their beds no worse the wear. These two practices can be used to predict anything from trends in the stock market, to football results and even exam timetables.

Portal magic, Astral and Etheric projection or duru dweomer is the art form used by Scroll and Key. Their abilities are gifted to them during a ritual in which they must pass through a series of doors within the premises. The doors are rigged with magic to allow them to open on different floors and rooms. If you make it to the end you'll find yourself worthy of their gifts. The magic of Scroll and Key, if successfully executed, allows them to open portals in different locations on Earth, travelling from place to place in a matter of seconds. They are also capable of astral projection which enables them to project a spiritual imprint of themselves to a different location, while their bodies remain elsewhere. This is a dangerous practice as a Gray may choose to enter their body while it remains uninhabited. And finally, Etheric projection is the most underdeveloped magic of Scroll and Key. At present it allows users to see into other spiritual planes, even enabling them to see Grays. It is not yet known how else this power could be utilised.

Necromancy and Bone Conjuring also referred to as Nekyia or nekromanteía is what Book and Snake built their society upon. A series of bones will be presented to new delegates of Book and Snake. They must write their name upon a bone, and if the Gray whom the bone belongs to appears before them then the ritual has worked successfully. The abilities of Book and Snake, allow them to bring spirits back from beyond the Veil, provided they have a body or something that belonged to the deceased individual. This is often used for the purposes of gathering information and is carefully regulated. They are also capable of Bone Conjuring which allows them to communicate with a Gray by drawing runes upon their bones. In these instances they may continue to use a Gray as an informant as they can move around completely unnoticed and listen in on secret meetings.

Therianthropy is mastered by the delegates of Wolf's Head. Newly inducted students are gifted the talisman's of Norse legends Sköll and Hati. While wearing the talismans and reciting spells they can shape-shift into various creatures at will, of course this does not always work correctly. The most physically taxing of the learned magics, those who study Therianthropy have to be especially careful during their rituals. Their magic allows them to transform into anything at will, though it needs to be a creature they have seen before. It's about changing the physical, relinquishing their human form by maintaining human awareness, a feat that is not always easily achieved. It takes several years for acolytes to master and even then they tend to stick to a few tried and trusted creatures. Sometimes it can take a few days to shake off the traits of a creature.

Mirror Magic and Glamours are the domain of the society Manuscript. Acolytes of Manuscript must recite an ancient spell in front of the mirror of Narcissus in order to gain their abilities. If they are deemed worthy, Narcissus himself will appear in the reflection to shake their hand, gifting them with magical abilities. This magic is all about warping the consciousness, revelling in deception and persuasion. Much of their magic relies on fooling unsuspecting people into believing something is true. They are known for imbuing mundane household objects into items of compulsion, upon touching them you'll find yourself at their mercy. This magic is grounded on illusion and lies, but a lie isn't a lie until someone believes it, which is why much of this magic is performed in large gatherings. They are capable of hiding the appearance of most things, buildings, people, objects and fooling individuals into believing their glamours. Manuscript wear many faces.

Logomancy is the magic of the Aurelian's. New delegates must write their name in the Book of Shadows, if the ink stays on the page they will be imbued with magic and welcomed into the society. The magic of words is perhaps the most delicate to exist within this world, but it is no less powerful than the rest. This arcane art is often used to unbreakable contracts, binding vows and even seal the dead within their graves. But this magic presents a far greater danger, there have been stories crafted that can literally put a man to sleep forever, and there are those who believe that logomancy can indeed kill a person if the right enchanted words are uttered. Many turn to logomancy in search of inspiration, performing rituals in order to gift them with the stories and words they wish to write. During exam time their delegates tend to do especially well in their written papers. Essentially with enough power, anything they write can produce a magical effect.

Elemental Magic and Storm Calling also known as Tempestate Artium is practiced by the society of St Elmo's. Perhaps the most dangerous of introductory rituals, acolytes of St Elmo's must first recite a spell from the texts before climbing to the top of Harkness Tower during a storm. When the lighting hits the tower, all worthy delegates will receive their magics and as for the rest...well. One of the most temperamental of the arcane arts, elemental magic and storm calling are used for a number of reasons. These delegates can summon blizzards, droughts and high winds if they so please. Their magic works on a high scale and as such requires a lot of power, something which their small premises on St Elmo's don't always have. There are of course ways to utilise this magic on a smaller scale, to start a whirlpool within a bowl of water that will sink a ship some two thousand miles away, or imbue tea with the ability to create a power surge. Brew it too weak and the lights will simply flicker, brew it too strong and an electrical storm will short the entire eastern grid.

Innate Arcane Abilities

Aura-reading - The ability to see through a single layer of the Veil, onto the plane in which aura's exist. Readers are capable of identifying the coloured aura which lingers around all human beings. Every individual will have a colour that represents them, though when they are emotionally taxed, tired or sick, this aura may change slightly to depict that. Aura-readers are very perceptive and will likely be able to see through your lies by studying your aura.

Dream-walkers - A particularly unique skill, dream-walkers are capable of leaving their own dreamscape and venturing into that of other's nearby. This can be achieved through meditation or lucid dreaming. Depending on how skilled they are, they may be able to delve into someone's dreams unnoticed, although on some occasions the recipient will wake up. You can tell a lot from a person's dreams so they may be able to uncover your deepest secrets and desires.

Psychometry - This arcane art is a form of extrasensory perception. Those gifted with this magic are capable of seeing the history or associations of an object. They may be able to trace someone's location by simply holding onto it, or see what happened in someone's final moments if they have passed beyond the Veil. Supposedly all objects have an energy field which those gifted with psychometry are capable of tapping into.

Mediumship - The ability to commune with Grays and see the plane of the Veil in which they exist. mediums can see the spirits of those who have died and in some rare cases can even speak with them. Unlike anyone else who uses magic or takes Hiram's Bullets, mediums are able to see Grays in colour. It is said that Grays may be able to take over the body of a medium for a short time but this has not been tried or tested and is only based on hearsay.

Retrocognition - A skill associated with human touch. Those who possess the magic of retrocognition are able to see past events by simply touching an individual. This may sometimes be an involuntary action in which they see flashes of a persons past when they come into contact with them. In some instances, if a close individual is feeling particularly emotional about a past event, someone with retrocognition may experience glimpses of this without making physical contact.

Empath - Anyone with the skill of empathy is able to read peoples emotions to the extreme. They can judge how a person is feeling simply by coming into contact with them, and are capable of changing an individuals mood with careful magic persuasion. You'll have a hard time lying to an empath if you're in close proximity to them as they'll almost certainly recognise the change in your emotional resonance.

Precognition - This ability sits on the other side of the coin to retrocognition. Those exhibiting precognition are able to see into the future when they come into contact with an individual. Like their retrocognitive cousins this may happen involuntarily. There may be instances where they feel particularly ill at ease, and this may be because something beyond their control is about to happen. They can't predict exactly what terrible events will unfold on a large scale, but they may get a sense that something is coming.

Arcane Imprint - All magic leaves behind an imprint which is impossible for the naked eye to see. It presents itself on a separate plane of the Veil and appears to those with this ability. They may see a glowing or wavered edge around objects imbued with magical power. And are capable of seeing Ley Lines and magical energies in the air around them. Magic imprints may last for days, so they may be able to trace a magic user under the correct circumstances.

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E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

Grays and The Veil

The spooky shells that remain of the dead after they pass beyond the Veil. Grays as they're called, owing to their colour and appearance, are not quite ghosts, but not really anything else either. When an individual dies their spirit passes beyond the Veil, and for the most part they stay there. However, sometimes these spirits will come back and when they do, they take the form of Grays. We don't know why they return exactly, for some it may be that they have unfinished business, for others the powerful magic of a society ritual may be enough to bring them back.

They don't speak as far as we know. Though some gifted with mediumship may be able to communicate with them. They are not visible to the human eye, and only those who have taken Hiram's Bullet (Orozcerio) or possess such sight are capable of seeing them. Many will be present around rituals owing to the large amount of magical energy or occasional blood that is present. Grays are drawn to things that remind them of life: blood, sweet things, laughter and parties. And avoid things that remind them of death: cemeteries, funerals, bones. They can interrupt rituals and so often Lethe members will keep them at bay with things such as graveyard dirt, bone dust and death words.

Grays always appear as the moment they did in death, wearing the same clothes or sporting the same injuries which can make them particularly ghoulish. Most of them are considered docile, vague and old, though you would be wise not to get too close to them. Do not make eye contact. Do not smile. Do not engage, else they might just follow you home. Though Grays do not take a physical form, some are more powerful than others, it is these Grays that are capable of causing hauntings. They will knock things from shelves and rattle windows in an effort to frighten any human who may have disturbed them.

We know very little about the Veil itself beyond what has been included in history books and teachings. Consuming such elixirs as Orzocerio allows you to see into it, but gives no more insight into what it truly is. It's worth noting that any who tamper with the Veil (either by consuming Orozcerio or through other means) will be left stinking of it. The smell is said to be something like the electrical crackle of the ozone after a storm coupled with the rot of a pumpkin left too long on the windowsill. The only thing that can remove the stink is soap made from cedar and palo santo.

There are a number of famous Grays in New Haven who appear in The Haunted New England guidebooks. The Bridegroom is one of them. His full name has been removed from the Lethe records as knowing the name of a Gray may cause you to form an attachment. At present we have not made Grays available as RP claims though we may do so at a later date.

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E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod


On a plane separate to our own lay a network of Ley Lines, think of them as magic power cables that have existed for as long as the earth has turned. They form in places of particular significance, sometimes where many have died, where magic has been used and often in places relating to education. A nexus or nexuses are where the power on these lines eddies, and it's what allows the society rituals to function. Each of the societies have built their tombs over a nexus. In New Haven there are twelve documented nexuses, there are society tombs over eight of them and the others are on sites where structures already exist.

The societies draw their powers from the nexuses, and can replenish them using certain rituals. Some are weaker than others. The Skull and Bones, Scroll and Keys, Book and Snake and Manuscript nexuses are amongst the most powerful which is why their rituals are the most effective. It is not known how nexuses are created. Some have theorised that they based on their locations that many in New Haven formed where blood was spilt. This theory remains unproven. Lethe House have dedicated much of their time to trying to identify just what factors are needed to create a nexus.

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E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

Elixirs and Other Manifestations

There are numerous spells, potions and manifestation which exist within the world. Many of these are created by the Houses of the Veil and are used in order to advance their standing. Spells and potions can be used for countless things, some as simple as magic stimulants, to the more complex concoctions that enable you to see Grays. A list of common elixirs and manifestations are included below:

• Astrumsalinas - Also referred to as Starpower, this little powder is particularly effective for any that ingest it. It's salt skimmed from a cursed lake where countless men drowned, in love with their own reflection. It gifts the user with the ability to ask anything of the people they speak to. Anyone they make a request of will instantly become submissive and eager to please. A favourite of those in Manuscript, it is often used by the delegation to complete their rituals and to get people to do their bidding. It has a slightly glittered texture and if anyone has ingested it you won't be able to resist the demands they make of you.

• Address Moths - Initially used as a means to transfer secret messages from one location to another, this particular breed of magic now serves many different purposes. They appear just like ordinary moths, a little paler in colour perhaps, and when placed onto a paper with a hand-written message they will absorb all of the ink. Place them onto another blank piece of paper, utter the correct spell and your message will appear. In recent years Lethe House have used them to temporarily remove the tattoos of their delegates to make them less recognisable. Simply place the moths upon the skin and the ink will be absorbed by them. Fair warning, the magic can be reversed by human saliva so in the throes know what, just be careful.

• Basso Belladonna - A magical stimulant that provides you with an extra couple of hours of complete alertness. It comes in liquid form so all you have to do is squeeze a couple of drops into each eye and you're ready to go. The sensation is not unlike cracking a cold egg at the top of your neck, but it instantly makes you wide awake. Every detail becomes that little bit clearer, the light seems brighter and as does your awareness of your own body. But be careful, the crash is brutal and you'll need more than a couple of hours to sleep it off afterwards.

• Coins of Compulsion - Created by Manuscript and occasionally used by the delegates of Lethe house, these handy gold coins are an excellent means of getting your own way. They take a tremendous amount of magic to create but are especially powerful. Simply hand it out to the person you wish to control, when they take it, they'll find themselves instantly compelled to do whatever you ask. The use of these coins are not to be abused, like Merity they make the victim particularly pliant and should therefore be used with care. Compulsion only lasts a short, an hour at most, and is normally used by the Lethe House to gain entrance into certain buildings or extract information. Manuscript may however sell them to other societies for price. The victim will not remember being compelled, they may just find a gold coin in their pocket at a later date and wonder where it came from.

• Corpse Beetles - These are among the nastiest of magic creations and can be fatal. Formerly used in ancient times to clean the inside of a body before it was stuffed with fragrant herbs, they are now used as an assassination technique. The assassin can transport the beetles in a fine red powder, but once consumed by the victim the beetles return to their normal size and colour, consuming the victim from the inside. It is not known which of the societies decided to weaponise them in this way, but they are definitely something to be wary of. If someone does ingest them, they can be saved by drinking a concoction of brimstone. The brimstone will burn them away, and though this will leave the victim in pain, these injuries are superficial and can be healed.

• Glumae - This particular manifestation was the creation of Book and Snake. Sometimes, in instances where it's not safe for an individual to communicate with the dead, they will summon a Gluma to do it for them. A gluma is a husk, a spirit raised from the recently dead that is capable of passing through the Veil. They possess human forms but like Grays cannot be seen by the naked eye. Gluma actually have more in common with golems than Grays. Like golems they are created by a master who can then order them to fulfil any task. Only the master of the Gluma can destroy it, however you may be able to keep them at bay by using a pocket-watch wound tightly. The tick of the clock confuses their senses, and may distract them long enough for you to escape.

• Hiram's Crucible - A large solid gold bowl, the circumference of a tractor wheel and made of beaten twenty-two-karat gold. It lives on the third floor of the Lethe House mansion Il Bastone and is used to craft Orozcerio - the elixir that enables the drinker to see Grays. The crucible is said to have come from Peru though no records of it's early existence have been found. It acts in the same way as a cauldron, allowing potions and elixirs to be successfully brewed where other non-magic vessels have failed. Hiram's crucible also possesses healing properties, if an injured person submerges themselves in a bath of milk within the golden bowl, they will be healed of all ails upon which the milk will turn clear.

• Memento Mori - A symbolic or artistic reminder of the inevitability of death. Not unlike bone dust, graveyard dirt and crematory ash, Memento Mori is a means of dispelling Grays. They hate any reminder of death and as such coins, drawings or other forms of symbolism are effecting in keeping them at bay. Often Memento Mori are used as part of warding rituals to keep Grays out of particular areas or buildings. They can be anything provided they bear a marking that alludes to death.

• Merity - A drug sourced by Manuscript to make it's acolytes more pliable during rituals. Merity only grows in the Greater Khingan Mountains and is therefore particularly hard to get a hold of. The Manuscript delegates distill the leaves into a dark purple liquid and are the only people to know the formula. When consumed subjects will do anything they are told, even if it puts them in danger. Merity gives them an incredibly intense high though the come down is equally brutal and may leave them with a raging headache. It's use is carefully monitored within Manuscript, but that's not to say that the delegation haven't made some extra cash by selling it on the side.

• Orozcerio - Also known as Hiram's Bullet and the Golden Trial, this little elixir is a favourite of Lethe House and gifts them with the ability to see Grays. It's brewed within Hiram's crucible and is used by many of their delegation in order to observe and protect the sanctity of the society rituals. Ingesting Orozcerio is an uncomfortable process, not unlike being submerged in icy water. It tastes not dissimilar from aspirin but enables it's users to see through the layers of the Veil. The elixir is somewhat toxic and consuming it too regularly has the ability to damage the user's liver. The effects tend to last a couple of hours, but it may take longer still for the user to feel warm again.

• Spirit Hounds - Jackals forged from magic, the spirit hounds are bound to serve the sons and daughters of Lethe. Anyone who belongs to the Lethe House delegation can call upon them, simply by willing them to appear and whistling. They will attack anyone who poses as a threat to the Lethe delegation are appear in a pack. The jackal is the symbol of Lethe House which is why the spirit creatures were forged in this image. It is not known where they go when they are not in service to the delegates.

• Perdition Water - Said to come from the seven rivers of hell, Perdition Water is only to be used in the event of an emergency. It allegedly has the ability to banish demons and even destroy Glumae, though we are yet to put this to the test. Lethe House keeps several bottles in its armoury which remain a source of intrigue for it's delegates.

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E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

The Circle of Aurora

Inspired by Steven King's True Knot, the Circle of Aurora are an order of psychic vampires who have settled in New Haven this year. They typically travel all over America, moving from place to place to avoid suspicion. New Haven has been of particular interest to them owing to the power of the Nexuses and the sheer number of people using magic in the university. They feed off the emotions and essence of others in order to stay alive, remaining unchanged even as centuries pass.

If they are desperate they can also feed off Grays, though this is not enough to truly satisfy them. Typically their feeding won't kill an individual, it will just leave the person feeling incredibly drained, most of the time they won't even know they're being fed on. There are instances where members of the group may feed for too long which will leave a person in a zombie like state, no more than an empty shell. (Think dementor's kiss)

The oldest amongst the group has been around since medieval times. Newer initiates, though rare are made by killing an individual who has recently consumed essence. Like Lethe House they do look for individuals who are gifted with innate abilities. If they don't feed the Circle will die. Since arriving in New Haven they have been looking for a way to drain the power from the Nexus' in order to fuel them for years to come. The Circle travel in RVs and appear as a large group of family/friends who are travelling together.

They can be killed though it may take a little more than their human counterparts, they are also stronger and will heal from injuries quicker. To banish them, one must find a Selenite crystal and perform a blessing which will imbue the crystal with magic.

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Lethe House - 1898

We are the shepherds.

Formed after the conception of the original four secret societies, Lethe's purpose is to ensure that the activities and existence of these sacred establishments remain secret. Edward Harkness, a member of Wolf’s Head, joined with William Payne Whitney of Skull and Bones, and Hiram Bingham III of the now-defunct Acacia Fraternity, to form the League of Lethe as an oversight body for the societies’ occult activities.

Their work involves watching over the rituals that take place and using their own magical abilities to ensure that nothing dangerous or untoward takes place. They report directly to the Dean who is in charge of organising the rituals via the requests she receives from various benefactors. Unlike the other societies who's existence is presumed and relegated to legendary status, Lethe remains a complete secret.

All initiates are inducted into the University on a scholarship, this is to ensure that Lethe gets the very best candidates who might be considering studying elsewhere. They typically look for innately gifted individuals, though this is not a mandatory requirement. Like the other societies they also learn to practice magic and utilise it safely.

The Lethe delegation consists of an Oculus, Virgil, Centurion and for the purpose of this RP multiple Dante initiates.

Oculus is typically a grad student with an interest in the occult, they may be selected from other universities and tend to hold the post for the duration of their post-graduate study. Their role is to organise the Virgil's and the Dante's, help with decoding and soft-skill magic, and essentially mother everyone in Lethe.

Virgil is a former Dante, now a senior whose purpose is to train and ensure the next generation of Lethe is ready to take on anything. The Virgil only stays on for one year and chooses their own successor.

Centurion is the only member of the New Haven police department to keep tabs on the secret societies, they ensure that there is no crossover between the societies and the town. They typically commune with Occulus who will pass on any necessary information. Sometimes Lethe may be called to investigate the goings on in town if something suspect has taken place.

The Dantes are the Lethe initiates who are chosen from the pool of Yale applicants (though others may be sought out for their particular innate abilities.) They start in their first year with the intention of taking the mantle of Virgil. Some may drop out or leave during the process.

The societies know of Lethe's involvement and many of them react to Lethe delegates accordingly, some agree to be mutually respectful, and other's don't. Lethe's has two separate headquarters, Il Bastone - an old mansion where most of their training takes place, and The Hutch - a safe house/den where they can hang out when not observing rituals. There are a number of Lethe claims available, including those with innate gifts.

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E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 112 comments Mod

Houses of the Veil

There are eight secret Yale societies each of them listed below. All of the societies save the House of Berzelius, practices a form of dark magic. Many of the societies were founded in the nineteenth century, bringing old customs and ancient magic practices into use once again. The societies provide the University with a huge amount of funds, and all of them have enabled their initiates to reach great heights after completing their study.

Each of the houses operates out of a building known as a tomb. Those societies such a Skull and Bones, and Book and Snake have much grander establishments owing to the money they receive for completing their rituals. Companies, high ranking officials and even government organisations may come to the Houses of the Veil to request rituals. For example, Skull and Bones has links to Wall Street and Aurelian can provide even the most uninspired writer with some much needed assistance.

The societies are incredibly powerful and those who are members are granted that very same power. Though the societies are whispered about, and have become something of an urban legend, the activities that take place within them, remain completely secret. Lethe is in place to ensure that none of the practices are uncovered by the outside world.

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∙ Skull & Bones - 1832

Rich or poor, all are equal in death.

Teachings: Extispicy and splanchomancy. Divination using human and animal entrails.

Notable Alumni: William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, John Kerry.

Oldest of the landed societies, first of the eight Houses of the Veil, founded in 1832. The Bonesmen can boast more presidents, publishers, captains of industry, and cabinet members than any other society. They are also the wealthiest of the eight houses, having secured a huge amount of funding in return for their valuable insight.

Capable of predicting assassinations, trends on the stock market and global events, Skull and Bones' ability to see the future makes then a dangerous presence on the Yale campus. Their acolytes are taught the arcane arts of extispicy and splanchomancy, gifting them with the ability to divine the future from animal and human entrails. New initiates master the practices from old Mesopotamian texts and grimoires before performing a ritual themselves.

All human prognostications are performed on living people, taken from the nearby Yale New Haven Hospital, returned to the ward upon the completion of the ritual. Skull and Bones pays off numerous hospital employees to turn a blind eye to such practices. Their residence at Yale is a large red brick building referred to as 'The Tomb'.

High level prognostications are performed by a Haruspex - a Bonesman alumni who will travel to the University in order to conduct the ritual. They are held in the highest esteem by the acolytes and existing members of the society. A celebration which usually follow such an event in which people will drink and some may even submit themselves to the Haruspex.

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∙ Scroll and Key - 1842

Have power on this dark land to lighten it, and
power on this dead world to make it live.

Teachings: Duru dweomer, portal magic. Astral and etheric projection.

Notable Alumni: Dean Acheson, Gary Trudeau, Cole Porter, Stone Phillips.

One of the original four, and amongst the most powerful of the societies, Scroll and Key specialises in portal magic and the ability to send people from one place to another. Over the years their magic has been used to safely help fugitives out of the US, extract troops from war zones and deliver aid to front lines. More recently they've been using it to zip down to Mexico for Springbreak and return without having to deal with the drive.

There are rumours however that Scroll and Key is seeking to open something darker. Historically they have only opened portals onto the Earth plane and very rarely onto the Veil itself. If the whispers are to be believed then the are seeking to open a portal to hell itself. Lethe does not yet know about this, though if they find out, Scroll and Key will likely lose their tomb and society privileges.

Former Lethe House Virgil James Keene was investigating Scroll and Key at the time of his disappearance, though no evidence has been uncovered, there are a few people who think that they were involved.

The exterior of the Scroll and Key tomb pays homage to the origins of their power, but the interior of the tomb is nonsensically devoted to Arthurian legend, complete with a round table at its heart. There are some who claim the stone comes from Avalon itself, others who swear it comes from the Temple of Solomon, and still others who whisper it was quarried down the road in Stony Creek.

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∙ Book and Snake - 1863

Everything changes, nothing perishes

Teachings: Nekyia or nekromanteía, necromancy and bone conjuring.

Notable Alumni: Bob Woodward, Porter Goss, Kathleen Cleaver.

Known as the Lettermen amongst their society peers, Book and Snake practice the unsavoury art of necromancy. They are one of the original four societies, and were also the first of the Houses to induct women into their delegation. Their headquarters are a large, mausoleum-type building made of white marble.

The majority of their work is intelligence, gathered from a network of dead informants. They can commune with Grays from beyond the veil and summon them in order to ask questions and spy for them. They also make use of Hiram's Bullet which they received from Lethe in order to complete their rituals. Typically they create Glumae to do the spirit work on their behalf. The gluma can travel beyond the veil and pass messages to the spirits where the Letterman can't.

Though necromancy is their main practice, they will only raise the dead for the right price. Such rituals require a huge amount of power that Book and Snake will only part with if someone is willing to pay. They do a lot of work for intelligence agencies, seeking to uncover what happened to their agents as well as finding out how assassinations were performed. It is thought that Book and Snake were the society who created corpse beetles, though this has not been proved.

Like the other societies, they should only be completing their rituals when a member of Lethe is present. However, many of them will continue such practices outside of hours, often communing with Grays to cheat on their exams or spy on their fellow students.

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∙ Wolf's Head - 1883

The strength of the pack is the wolf. The strength of the wolf is the pack.

Teachings: Therianthropy.

Notable Alumni: Stephen Vincent Benét, benjamin Spock, Charles Ives, Sam Wagstaff.

The Wolf's Head society are known for their shapeshifting ability and their equally boisterous behaviour. Typically their choice of initiates are loud, confident individuals, usually with prowess in sports. They practice the art of Therianthropy which is in it's essence, shapeshifting. Capable of turning into any animal that physically exists, they have been used often throughout the years to collect information from intelligence agencies and to spy on individuals in animal form.

Their magic is perhaps the most volatile as they have to change their physical form and it can sometimes take a while to change back. For first transformations they are encouraged to choose something small and controllable as their conscious mind may not always follow them into their animal form. There have been one too many occasions where a new initiate has turned themselves into a wolf or a buffalo and endangered the lives of their fellow society members. Even after changing back, it may take someone a couple of days to shake off the traits of the animal.

Wolf's Head was one of the four initial societies, though they were the last society to accept women into their ranks. Their tomb is a large greystone mansion with high walls to ensure none of their shape-shifting practices are seen by the outside world. Wolf's Head and Scroll and Key have a long standing rivalry as the latter stole a statue from them during their Valentines Day party.

Wolf's Head was a recruitment ground for the CIA in 1950's and 60's, and many still go on to work for them to this day. Their magics are also used for corporate espionage and political sabotage.

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∙ Manuscript - 1952

Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion.

Teachings: Mirror Magic and Glamours

Notable Alumni: Jodie Foster, Anderson Cooper, David Gergen , Zoe Kazan

Manuscript, the young upstart among the Houses of the Veil but arguably the society that has weathered modernity best. It is easy to point to its Oscar winners and television personalities, but their alumni also include advisers to presidents, the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and, perhaps most tellingly, some of the greatest minds in neuroscience.

When we speak of Manuscript, we talk of mirror magic, illusions, great glamours of the type that can make a star, but we would do well to remember that all of their workings derive from the manipulation of our own perception. Manuscript though seemingly harmless if perhaps the most dangerous of the societies in its manipulation of peoples own understanding.

They are renowned for throwing the best parties on campus, but underneath all the glamour and intrigue they are truly very powerful. Such events are used to power up their nexus and provide them with more energy to utilise during their rituals. They are capable of disguising objects, changing appearances and altering the mind if they so choose. The drug merity is often used by them in order to control their delegates during rituals and ensure that their glamours are believed.

Though you might expect them to have a particularly gaudy tomb, their premises actually appear quite understated. It's only when you truly look closer does it actually reveal itself. Their crypt actually extends eight stories beneath the ground. Manuscript are the minds behind compulsion coins, and can also create mirrors which will show the victim whatever the user requires them to see. They are commonly used for forging documents.

Word to the wise...don't eat or drink anything at a Manuscript party, you may come to regret it.

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∙ Aurelian - 1910

Teachings: Logomancy--word binding and divination through language.

Notable Alumni: Admiral Richard Lyon, Samantha Power, John B. Goodenough

Aurelian, home to the would-be philosopher kings, the great uniters. Aurelian was founded to embrace ideals of leadership and, supposedly, to bring together the best of the societies. They modeled themselves as a kind of New Lethe, tapping members from every society to form a leadership council. That didn’t last long. Lively debate gave way to raucous argument, new members were recruited, and they soon became as clannish as the other Houses of the Veil.

In the end, their magic has a fundamental practicality best suited to the working professional, less a calling than a trade. That has made them the object of ridicule by some with more delicate sensibilities, but when Aurelian found themselves banned from their own “tomb” and without permanent address, they managed to survive where other Houses have foundered—by hiring themselves out to the highest bidder.

Aurelian typically perform rituals for wealthy writers seeking inspiration, those wanting written oath's and binding contracts, as well as writing seals to keep demons locked away. They are also capable of writing stories that will put the reader to sleep, and allegedly even kill a person. Since regaining rooms for their rituals, they are eager to please and are always on their best behaviour especially around Lethe to ensure they don't run the risk of losing it again. Their secret rooms are in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall or SSS.

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∙ St. Elmo's - 1889

Teachings: Tempestate Artium, elemental magic, storm calling.

Notable Alumni: Calvin Hill, John Ashcroft, Allison Williams.

Powerful as St. Elmo's sounds they are actually one of the weakest houses, owing to the low energy of their nexus. Historically they were able to summon storms and wield the elements without a second thought, over the years this power has diminished and they're not as strong as they once were. This is something they are trying to rebuild, by finding new ways to energise their nexus.

In their heyday they could summon blizzards that raised utility prices, droughts that burned away crops, and winds high and strong enough to sink a battleship. Now they work on much smaller magics with the hopes of one day returning to their former glory. From time to time they can call on the rain, or capture lightning to try to bolster up their nexus. But until their nexus is stronger, their days of performing huge feats of magic, are long forgotten.

Their tomb is the least impressive of the lot, an old house instead of a grand old marble buildings. As the funding for St. Elmo's has diminished over the years, so has their ability to retain a place in which to perform their rituals. Many of their rituals are instead performed inside or at the top of Harkness Tower.

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∙ Berzelius - 1848

Teachings: None.

Notable Alumni: None.

Berzelius is something of a joke to the other societies though they take themselves very seriously. They don't practice magic or any arcane art, but instead ground themselves in science. Initially created to oppose the use of magic, Berzelius has made great leaps in scientific discoveries and continues to do so to this day. They don't receive a huge amount of funding like the bigger societies but they do have a delegation comprised of some of the brightest scientific minds on campus.

It has a slight rivalry with Wolf's Head owing to the fact that the shapeshifters name themselves the fourth landed society even though Berzelius came about before this. Most of the societies have learned to ignore their presence, and Lethe doesn't worry too much about them either. They do however produce some scientific works that are so intricate they could be mistaken for magic. It is said their primary goal is to eventually travel through time with the use of science.

They possess a marble tomb not unlike some of the other societies and meet more frequently than the other houses of the veil as their practices do not exhaust them quite so thoroughly.

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