- Rote Specialties: Expression, Persuasion, Subterfuge.
- Order Tools: Any badge or symbol of authority.
Vox Draconis, the Voice of the Dragon.
The Silver Ladder are often described as priest-kings, but they do not somehow hold a "religious" function for the Awakened. Like priest-kings, though, they mediate between the most ancient and sacred of traditions, conventions and laws, and the needs of those they serve. In this regards, they are the keepers of culture, upholding the Lex Magica and the traditions of Consilium, acting as judges of the proper way of doing things. As such, they often hold positions of leadership, but (at least in theory) it isn't because they crave the power - it's because they know the lore and society, and the Awakened come to them for it.
Philosophy: The Elemental Precepts
The philosophy of the Silver Ladder has long-ago been codified into the Elemental Precepts, an interlocking set of occult and social philosophies, using the symbolism of the "Supernal Elements" - pure and/or powerful versions of the Platonic elements.
The Awakened are One Nation
The Precept of Supernal Earth. The Awakened are the inheritors to the legacy of Atlantis, and that legacy is not one of hubris, laziness and corruption - those are the stories the Awakened tell to justify their own failings. The legacy of Atlantis is Unity, first and foremost.
- Hierarconis: The seers and prophets of the Silver Ladder have foreseen the rise of Hieraconis. If Atlantis was the Awakened equivalent of early city-state civilization, Hieraconis will be a massive nation. It is the nation that will arrive when the Supernal and the Fallen are united once more, and when humanity takes on its rightful inheritance.
- Enemies of Unity: Those who stand against unity are traitors not just to the Awakened, but to all of humanity as well. These enemies must be fought at every turn, and include the Seers of the Throne (who utterly oppose the uplifting of humanity) and many Left-Handed Legacies.
Imperium is the Right of Humanity
The Precept of Supernal Air. Humanity deserves the power of magic. Though Sleepers endanger the Mysteries, it is because of the broken world in which they live, not because of some inherent flaw or unworthiness in them. It is the duty of the Awakened to lead Sleepers to Awakening any and everywhere possible. Humanity is to be regarded with compassion, not contempt.
- The Stag, the Lion & the Sage: Human spirituality can be divided into three categories:
- The Stag symbolizes the emphasis on restraint, humility, self-sacrifice and other similar "virtues." It abhors violence, but appreciates its pageantry. It is the moral vehicle most people identify with piety and enlightenment, wherein one avoids harming others in order to avoid behind harmed. It is a spirituality in which the postulant is unworthy, and is thankful for the tiny miracles he finds.
- The Lion is the Stag's opposite. Fearless, strong, ruthless and taking prey as his right, the Lion symbolizes the human drive and willingness to use others to his benefit. It is selfish, although not always (necessarily) evil. Humanity tolerates predators in its midst - indeed, it elevates them to positions of leadership and governance, where they lay down the law for Stags and then indulge the very same desires they've denied others.
- The Sage is a bodhisattva, a culture hero - the mage who loves power, because power will set the multitudes free. It is a balance between the power of the Lion and the compassion of the Stag. The Sage is what is best in humanity - friend to the world, neither master nor slave.
- Inspiring Power: It isn't enough for the thearch to believe in Thunder - he must encourage others to believe. This often results in a dangerous game, where the Silver Ladder uses bribery, blackmail, love and hate in order to inspire Imperium in humanity, or in those who can grant it to humanity.
- Empowerment: Mages of the Silver Ladder believe in empowering others to do for themselves. They prefer not to fish for others, but to teach them to fish for themselves, as the saying goes. Thus, thearchs are often at the heart of programs and organizations looking to help and empower people, and much recognition in the Order is based on what the magus does to empower humanity around him.
- The Path of Thunder: Empowerment isn't just about others. Those with power may accomplish what those who have none may, and so the thearch seeks occult and temporal power hungrily. Yes, it means that the power-hungry blend in well in the Order, sometimes, but the thearchs are good at spotting those who use power and those who hoard it.
The Silver Ladder is the Path to Victory.
The Precept of Supernal Fire. The Star is the flame at the top of each Watchtower, which guides the mortal soul to Awakening. In the same capacity, the Silver Ladder guides the Awakened ever onward to rejoining the Supernal and Fallen.
- Propriety in Rule: Thearchs teach that if a Consilium does not have a Silver Ladder either in the position of leadership or in a position to advise the leader, that Consilium is not guided by the Diamond and Thunder precepts. It becomes nothing more than a conspiracy of selfish mages who contribute nothing to the world's liberation. The Silver Ladder is the glue that holds Awakened society together.
- Spirituality: While the Ladder will use any means possible to accomplish their lofty goals, they prefer cooperation and unity in purpose to blackmail and political maneuvering. Other Awakened must understand the importance of the Elemental Precepts; as such, many Silver Ladders tend to be somewhat evangelistic.
- Succor: Part of the thearch's method is an understanding that many of the Awakened fall into deep melancholy after their Awakening. They sometimes need someone to care for them, to provide comfort and safety while the magus finds his feet, all the while preparing him to pursue the loftiest of goals: the uplifting of humanity.
- Law & Justice: When a people know what to expect from one another, customs develop. When customs become the proper way of interacting, so that failure to adhere to them becomes punishable within that culture, customs become law. The laws of the Awakened are in place to maintain peace and to allow the heirs of Atlantis to work together powerfully and in unity.
- Arbitrators & Mediators: The Silver Ladder takes it upon itself to know and defend the Laws of the Awakened, and so rise to positions of leadership, whose natural purpose is to defend law. They arbitrate and mediate between the magi of their Consilium, and discuss such efforts with one another, adhering closely to the Lex Magica.
- Government: As arbitrators of law, the Silver Ladder are also the source of governmental traditions among the Awakened. This is part of unity, and ultimately supports the eventual goal of Hieraconis. Thearchs will use whatever it takes to accomplish their goals of unity: blackmail, underhanded influence peddling, stirring speeches and every means that mortal governments over the centuries have used.
The Sleepers Follow.
The Precept of Supernal Water. Sorcerers must respect, help and protect Sleepers. Each of them is a potential apprentice, or one of the ones who will find magic when the Lie falls. Thearchs - indeed, all mages, if the Silver Ladder has its way - should cultivate relationships with Sleepers, to the benefit of both, working towards enlightenment.
- Religion: Sleepers are the ministry of the Silver Ladder. Mages need to inspire hope, belief in miracles and a desire to test the limits of the world. Thearchs seek to lead mortals out of Stag and Lion tendencies, and many seek to use religion to empower mortals to find their own Sages within.
- Politics: For the Ladder, the ideal political system is the gnostocracy - the rule of the wise, or by wisdom. Thearchs are philosopher-rulers who direct an intermediate caste of warriors, scholars and police. Mages foster idealism and big dreams in those they support and nurture. The Silver Ladder is not above using their connections in this sphere to make their lives easier, as the goal is for humanity and the Awakened to nurture one another.
- Secret Societies: Secret societies allow men to question their place in the world - by taking on secret affiliations, rituals and philosophies, they reveal to Sleepers the possibility that there is more to the world than what it might seem. This weakens the Lie, and aids Sleepers in escaping from the prison of the Fallen World.
- Cryptopoly: Thearchs often foster fifth columns and secret brotherhoods within powerful organizations that support the Lie. These groups often foster ideological counterweights to the Lie, teaching in the inherent divinity of mankind and setting up situations to lend aid to mages.
Praxis: When the Dragon Speaks
The praxis of the Silver Ladder is simple - it is the Elemental Precepts put into action, the force of their philosophy given form. Their magic is power - not simply occult power, but in the exercise of mundane power, they often shape their sorcery as well. Thearchs seize all the power they can acquire, because the Fallen World will not release its hold on Sleepers and the Lie by begging; it will have to happen by force, and the Silver Ladder intends to have that force to do the job.
Outsiders often think of cryptopoly as the Silver Ladder plan for world domination. On some level, this is true, but in reality it's the concept the thearchs use to manipulate Sleeper society. The core philosophical difference between the Guardians' Labyrinths, or the Seers' slave cults is that cryptopoly exists to exalt humanity. Its conspiracies exist to make the world a better place, and any aspect of cryptopoly that fails to do so in a provable manner fails to measure up to the standards of the Silver Ladder.
- Structure: Ladder mages often study political philosophies, and have organized the structure of cryptopoly along logical lines. Humanity is divided into several categories:
- Mages: Magi should act as philosopher-princes, seeking to empower themselves in order to uplift mankind.
- Hieros: A Sleeper philosopher or priest, who provides comforts, spiritual development and social structure for those around him; they usually hold to the ideals of the Lion.
- In construction of cryptopoly, the first step is identifying the Hieroi in the group one wishes to exert influence over, and teaching him the proper way of leadership - through the Sage. The mage usually helps the hieros to reshape his convictions and teachings to be more in line with Supernal Wisdom and the way of the Sage, using logic, miraculous experiences and sometimes even simple bribery to win the heart of the hieros.
- Technoi: A Sleeper with practical expertise, technoi have high levels of skill in mundane fields. These are the ones who are often motivated to overcome the limits of the Fallen World, though the Lie usually frustrates their efforts. They are vital, though, because other Sleepers look to them for what is or is not possible in the world.
- In construction of cryptopoly, help the technoi achieve their dreams. Reveal ancient knowledge to scholars, perfect materials to engineers and when they have worked their best, give their outcomes a little push. Only when they are fully onboard does one reveal the magic.
- Polemarchs: These are the ones who lead Sleepers. They organize excellence, but do not create it. Truthfully, they are low on the list to convert to a cryptopoly, save after the hieroi and technoi are in line.
- In construction of cryptopoly, they are used as figureheads, many times or middle managers. Power must be firmly achieved over them, however, as they frequently become power-hungry, but once converted to the ideology of the Sage, they are useful tools.
- Stratiotoi: Grunts and soldiers, these are the strong arm of any cryptopoly. These are not just random violent people, but people who can apply violence according to a code and purpose.
- In construction of cryptopoly, it is necessary to identify the ways in which the stratiotoi feel constrained, and liberate them. All stratiotoi feel that they are under constant scrutiny, and are forced to operate under limiting requirements. By freeing them from these, and giving them a philosophy of Supernal-borne liberation, they become very useful tools.
- Bardoi: Society's famous, they tell their kind what is attractive, what is fun and what is popular. They are useful, in that society will direct its gaze in the direction the bardoi tell it to.
- In construction of cryptopoly, bardoi are brought into the conspiracy by assisting them in achieving a greater level of fame and renown. They are also often driven by goals and secrets, and helping them achieve goals and hide secrets can be of vital importance in getting and keeping them.
- Demoi: Everyone else that does not fit into one of the categories above, the demoi are often victims of the Stag ideology. Each one has individual talents and things that may make him useful; despite this, it is easy to see them as simply useful only in groups.
- In construction of cryptopoly, the demoi are the hardest to anticipate. In truth, if enough of the others become part of the cryptopoly, demoi will appear within it, too, attracted by the words and actions of their leaders, their philosophers, their famous, the defenders.
- Terata: These are the other things outside the social hierarchy - intelligent, inhuman beings like vampires. These must never be recruited into the cryptopoly, as they have a tendency to either attempt to take them over, to use its members for their own purposes, or to simply attract too much attention.
- Advancement: Sleepers are brought into the cryptopoly and slowly introduced to concepts that bring them nearer and nearer the truth. A proper cryptopoly has multiple levels of belonging, with greater and greater rewards and responsibilities, as it is in Sleeper nature to have something to strive for. Sleepers who climb in the ranks find their lives easier and easier, thanks to the miracles provided by Silver Ladder magics.
- The Illuminated: Eventually, the time comes where Sleepers in the cryptopoly have learned what there is to learn, and are ready to be exposed to Awakened magic. This usually involves a meeting with a "Secret Master" or some similar set-up, and exposure to obvious, vulgar magic. This is referred to as "the Sign."
- Those who see the Sign and either Awaken or become Sleepwalkers. Those who do not are tried again later; once someone has failed to see and remember the Sign three times, it is assumed they will never break free of the Quiescence, and are put to use in the upper echelons of the Sleeper portions of the crytpopoly for good.
- The Illuminated of a cryptopoly become aware of allied conspiracies (usually the cryptopolies of other Silver Ladder in the caucus) and some of their supernatural enemies.
- The Illuminated: Eventually, the time comes where Sleepers in the cryptopoly have learned what there is to learn, and are ready to be exposed to Awakened magic. This usually involves a meeting with a "Secret Master" or some similar set-up, and exposure to obvious, vulgar magic. This is referred to as "the Sign."
The Silver Ladder often gathers in Convocation, a grand assembly that finds deacons from each participating Consilium, as well as other thearchs and delegates from other Orders. These are formal affairs, with plenty of pomp and ritual.
- The Secret Charter: This 12th Century document is the origins of the Convocation, appearing as some sort of treaty (signed by Atlantean sigils) to hold Convocations under the terms of the charter, "Until the Ende of Tyme."
- Convocation Schedules & Size: Ordinary Convocations are usually held on an equinox of the Magisterium's choice within a given year, while Extraordinary Convocations are called when the Magisterium feels there is need. There are four varieties of these:
- Least Convocation: Least Convocations unite members of at least two Consilii who are generally established allies or at least neighbors. These occur annually.
- Lesser Convocation: Lesser Convocations gather members of at least three Consilii (usually more) that share a large region or an important history. These occur every three years.
- Great Convocations: Great Convocations gather all the members of an entire continent - or at least, they do in theory. There hasn't been a true Great Convocation since 1900, though they're supposed to be held every five years.
- Grand Convocation: A Grand Convocation has never happened, insofar as anyone knows or can remember, though the Secret Charter states they're to be held every seven years, and gather mages from the world over.
- Magisterium: The Magisterium is the supreme Council of the Convocation. Their meetings are informal, usually one-to-one affairs, between peers who hold the title of Magister in the Silver Ladder. They are also responsible for convening the Convocations. A rare few Magisters are given the title of Great or Grand Magisters - in theory a title reserved for those who gather the Great and Grand Convocations, though it has become more a note of respect than a duty.
- Authority: Technically, the Magisterium assumes total authority in a Consilium where a Convocation is hosted, though in reality they tend to avoid impinging too much. Some Consilii are uncomfortable with this state of affairs, though, and usually host Convocations in neutral areas. The Magisterium technically has the last call on whether or not this is acceptable, but most accept it.
- Decision-Making: The Magisterium is required to make its decisions by vote, and there must be a two-thirds agreement (meaning consensus in the case of Least Convocations). Magisters often appeal to delegates to back them.
- Other Convocation Offices: Magisters may appoint other delegates to serve in a variety of capacities.
- Pages: Junior thearchs given the responsibility for tending to the needs of delegates and other important guests, including seeing to their lodgings.
- Chancellor: In charge of the pages, announcing the agenda and calling for order when things get out of hand, the position of chancellor is usually offered to a member of the Mysterium.
- Harlequin: According to the Secret Charter, the position of harlequin is the last one that can be eliminated due to low attendance. The harlequin oversees entertainment for the Convocation, but also is responsible for speaking out of turn, heckling the Magisterium and other Lord of Misrule interactions. Though once often held by a Guardian, the harlequin's role seems a natural fit for the Free Council these days.
- Orichalcum Stick:' A sort of sergeant-at-arms, the Orichalcum Stick holds a ceremonial mace of office, and acts as the Magisterium's bodyguard and security chief for the whole Convocation. This position has the authority to enact violence when it is called for, and to expel rude or violent delegates. Frequently filled by an Adamantine Arrow, who may be given deputies.
- Scribe: Responsible for recording what happens at the Convocation, the scribe is usually a mystagogue. By tradition, they are forbidden from omitting or adding any detail, but can be asked to make corrections by a Magister or chancellor. The scribe is obligated to provide copies of the official record to all attending Consilium Heralds.
- Talionist: Often a role for an Interfector from the Guardians of the Veil, the talionist metes out any punishments called for by judicial proceedings at the Convocation. They are permitted to perform these punishments without fear of personal retaliation.
- Protocol: Convocations are held at large private venues, with delegates arriving the day before the Convocation's beginning. The politicking is often fierce during that day, and the inevitable parties and dinners that night. Each day opens with the Rite of Convocation. The Days of the Convocation are divided thusly:
- Day of Silver: Focus is on Silver Ladder delegates, with an emphasis on policy and other internal issues. It begins with an ejection of non-Silver Ladder from the Convocation chamber by the Stick. Once they have discussed their matters, they permit the others back in and provide a truncated synopsis of the day's outcome.
- Day of Swords: In this, the Convocation discusses enemies and the effectiveness of the Adamantine Arrow. Praise and rewards are rendered for faithful service, and Arrows are taken to task for failures. Often these days end with a common enemy identified, and a near-crusade organizing against them.
- Day of Scrolls: Symposium on the Mysteries, with new discoveries being discussed. New rotes, treatises and eyewitness reports cross the tables, and several speakers are usually lined up to discuss matters of relevance to the Convocation - these speakers are often Mysterium magi.
- Day of Sleep: The topic of Sleepers is the focus, and here many Guardians of the Veil make their views heard. Arguments between Guardians and thearchs are common here, but the main topics discusses are Sleeper politics and goings-on that may affect the Awakened.
- Day of Justice: A day for airing formal grievances before Convocation - because Lex Magica and the Consilium usually resolve common difficulties, these are usually the platform for grievances to be aired regarding a Hierarch or Councilors, or between members of different Consilii.
The Proximi are dynasties of hereditary Sleepwalkers. So strong is the touch of the Supernal in their bloodlines, that some of them gain the ability to use very basic Rotes, tapping into the places where the Supernal connects with the Fallen World. Though other Orders maintain a few Proximus families, the so-called Silver Dynasties are the best integrated into Awakened society and the most numerous. They are often recruited for the formation of cryptopolies, and often form its first order of Illuminated.
- The Priamids: A bloodline that traces its lineage back to King Priam of Troy and his oracular daughter Cassandra. Honored as advisers and aides, the Priamids carry the secrets of a variety of Death, Fate and Time magics in their family lore, particularly focused on magics that grant them occult knowledges. Priamids who Awaken often Awaken as Acanthus.
The Lex Magica is the law of the Awakened Nation, maintained and judged by the Silver Ladder. It is the standard of conduct by which all Consilii of the Pentacle Orders are measured. Thearchs refer to the "Fourfold Scepter," the basis of the Lex Magica, in which tiers of legal applicability are denoted: if two laws conflict, and one is on a tier lower than the other, the one on the higher tier is the proper law to be followed and enforced. This is symbolized by a scepter, divided into four bands of metal: gold at the top, then silver, bronze and finally a footing in iron.
- Gold: Atlantean Law: These are the laws which are assumed to have descended from Atlantean times. These include the Great Rights, the tradition of //certamen// (magical duel), the tradition of returning a soulstone to a magus after he has rendered three favors to the bearer and the right of murder wielded by the Interfector of a Consilium. They are ascertained by three methods:
- By Artifact: The law was recorded on an Atlantean artifact that is impossible to reconstruct in the Fallen World, or comes from testimony from Anneke or Atlantean sentinels.
- By Harmony: The law dates back to a time before the majority of the world was in constant communication, and is know to have been practiced by Awakened in at least three different, distant Consilii (and today, the preference is for more than three).
- By Supremacy: A lesser-tier law has stood without any record of ever being contested, is of unknown provenance and was rectified as Atlantean by at least a Lesser Convocation.
- Silver: Consilium Concords: These are the laws and customs of individual Consilii, local in scope and losing relevance upon leaving that Consilium.
- Those imposed by Hierarchs or Councils are viewed with suspicion by the Silver Ladder - traditional laws and concords that are inherited or those established by the will of the Consilium as a body are those upheld first.
- The Lictors in a Consilium usually take it upon themselves to keep track of the Consilium Concords for their Consilium. They often encourage the HIerarch to compose a set of Prime Concords, delineating the rights and responsibilities of Consilium subjects and nullify contradictory Bronze Laws as they arise.
- Bronze: Common Law: These are not laws so much as they are judgments - when any person in a position of power makes a decision on how a situation not covered in any of the Gold or Silver laws are to be handled, these are recorded by Lictors as a body of precedent from which future situations might be argued. There are two forms of law:
- Consilum Law: These are the pronouncements and judgments made by Hierarchs, Councilors, Sentinels and all others in positions of authority to do so.
- Lictoral Law: These are the judgments of the Lictors. In every Consilium, the Lictors put forward their judgments on all situations of law. The Consilium is under no responsibility to follow them, though Lictors are forceful in their adherence to higher laws, and can usually quote precedent well, so a wise Consilium takes their judgments into serious consideration. It is the goal of the Lictors that there be no disharmony between Consilium Bronze Laws and Lictoral Bronze Laws, though in most instances, this is merely an ideal.
- Iron: Oathbound Law: These "laws" are of such limited scope that they literally interact with only the individuals who originated them; generally speaking, these are agreements made between magi. Because an element of honor is part of the precepts of Wisdom, such agreements can and will be enforced. These includes oaths and promises between individuals, as well as compacts between cabals, Legacies or local Caucuses in an area. There are three major kinds of Iron Law:
- Vox Contractus: An agreement where both parties agree to have their interactions subject to Iron Law and the Consilium's interference if necessary. If both parties don't agree, then it isn't considered bound by such.
- Vox Publicus: The oath or agreement is sworn before Awakened witnesses. Traditionally, there must be three witnesses per two oathtakers. Alternately, an oath made before the Hierarch qualifies as well.
- Vox Libertas: An oath or promise is only bound under Iron Law if it is sworn from a position of liberty - that is, not coerced or intimidated into the promise in any way.
The faith of the Silver Ladder lies in the philosophy of the Avatar - the perfected human soul, more divine than any spirit or Supernal entity. All manner of creatures have usurped the divine birthright that is due humanity, but the day will come when the Fallen World is burned away and the human soul perfected. This perfection is the focus of Silver Ladder religion: not an entity that exists now, but an entity in potential. Four philosophies have emerged:
- Eidolonism: Eidolonists believe Sleeper religions are imperfect copies of true faiths. Their real doctrines can be expressed only in the Supernal Realms. Fallen Christianity is wrong, for instance, but there is a perfect Christianity compatible with the Elemental Precepts. It can be fully understood only by the Ascended, but until that great day the Fallen version is an acceptable substitute. This school is often criticized for begging the question but not solving it.
- Reconciliationism: Sleeper religions are hidden forms of Avatar worship. Deities and saints are really symbols of humanity’s inner potential, so it is acceptable to do them honor. Some supporters believe ancient mages hid the truth in these religions; others say all faiths are fragments of the true Atlantean faith. Critics point out that many religions specifically deny such doctrines.
- Transcendentalism: Transcendentalism describes a layer of reality that is to the Supernal Realms as the Supernal is to the Fallen World. They often point to Plato’s discussion of “the Good” and the Gnostics’ Sophia as precedents. The higher powers of Sleeper religions might exist on that plane. Even if Sleepers get the details wrong, what they revere are true gods that deserve worship. Opponents say if an even higher realm exists than the Supernal World, humans should rule that, too.
- Supernal Realism: This school seeks no compromise at all. The order is right, Sleepers are wrong and acolytes should get over their doubts. Many théarchs spout this line with bravado, but few enforce it in their caucuses to any serious degree.
The various Silver Ladder caucuses - poetically referred to sometimes as the "Houses of Silver" - maintain strong ties to one another and are often the bridges between the Consilii they represent. A thearch caucus is part church, part political party and part law school. They are all formal bodies rich in ritualism, tradition and dedicated to standing together on issues; it is almost unheard of for a Silver Ladder caucus to send mixed messages.
- Agenda: Every caucus has a fourfold agenda:
- Cryptopoly: Each caucus maintains the operation of at least one cryptopoly; in some cases where the caucus spans multiple Consilii, they may run multiples, with the Deacon of that caucus acting as the top of those respective pyramids.
- Justice: Caucuses monitor the state of the Lex Magica and develop ways to lobby the Consilium for a more formal process.
- Political Influence: The caucus seeks to coordinate the efforts of the thearchs of the caucus for the purpose of harvesting ever-increasing political leverage. They are not shy about doing so, but neither are they obvious - strong, confident subtlety is the goal.
- Spirituality: The caucus is concerned with the spiritual well-being of its members, as viewed through the lens of Wisdom. They seek to not only manifest the best possible in its own members, but use all its means to spread the word about the destiny of humanity.
- Meetings: Most Silver Ladder caucuses meet on a weekly basis, using this format:
- Opening: The opening ritual is one that binds the thearchs of the caucus together, using the symbolism of the Elemental Precepts.
- Schedule: A claviger then relates the agenda of the current meeting, as determined by the ranking deacon. There is often time for general, unannounced business, but not much of it, and it is the first thing to be cut when pressing issues weigh heavy.
- Authority: All voices in the caucus are heard, but all final decisions are made by the deacons, and enforced by the clavigers. Even those that operate democratically vote to determine the caucus' decisions, and then present them as advice to the deacons.
Status is gained in the Silver Ladder through political advantage, spreading the importance of the Elemental Precepts and achievements in cryptopoly.
- Neophyte (–): Unknown,
- Neophyte (•): Known to a small part of Order; considered to have "taken the mantle" as a full member of the Order; may be made Acolyte.
- Famulus (••): Known to majority of Order in region; assumed to have taken positions of personal or administrative leadership in community; expected to mentor at least a single neophyte; may be made Lictor.
- Famulus Superior (•••): Known to majority of Order in nearby regions; assumed to have taken positions of public leadership in Consilium; may be made Claviger.
- Magister (••••): Known to majority of Order in country; assumed to have positions of influence and leadership over large areas; may be made Deacon.
- Greater or Grand Magister (•••••): Exemplar of Order ideals; assumed to be the masters of the Order.
Each dot in Status grants a discount to purchasing a specific type of Merit, reducing the cost to New Rating x1 for that Merit. The Merits for the Silver Ladder are:
- Allies: Silver Ladder mages frequently make friends in a variety of strange places, many of them involved in some capacity in the cryptopoly.
- Contacts: Sometimes it seems that the Silver Ladder somehow knows everyone of importance, and are capable of activating networks of useful informants from a bewildering variety of interests.
- Resources: Money seems to flow easily and without real effort to mages of the Silver Ladder.
- Status: Many Silver Ladder magi seek out involvement and power in various Sleeper organizations, agencies and businesses.
- Retainer: Silver Ladder mages frequently employ the aid of a number of very useful individuals loyal to them. This includes not just Sleeper Retainers, but also Sleepwalkers and Proximi.
Silver Ladder Caucuses gather once a week, generally speaking.
- Acolyte (•): Acolytes are those younger magi of the Order who are actively involved in the affairs of the Caucus and Order. Not every young magus of the Silver Ladder is given this status - those who spend most of their time alone or with their cabals, who have no time to tend to the needs of the deacon and higher-ranked thearchs remain simply neophytes.
- Factotum (••): Acolytes who decide to study the Lex Magica intently may be declared a factotum of the Caucus. This requires Academics 3 (Specialty: Lex Magica), Investigation 1, Occult 2, Politics 2 and Persuasion 2. These magi are to make themselves available to anyone who needs the knowledge of the Lex Magica, and in many ways serve as a sort of barrister or lawyer for a Consilium.
- Lictor (••): Wanderers without home or apprentices, lictors are the roaming judges of the Silver Ladder, called upon to interpret law. Though they maintain regular circuits, they are also at the beck and call of the Ladder in the places they serve, and may be summoned from their normal routes for specific, pressing events. Only a lictor can name another lictor. Lictors have the following benefits:
- Immunity: A lictor may not be challenged to a duel over his duties, nor are they beholden to oaths that would limit their function.
- Judgment: A lictor's judgment is final, and there is no appeal, and it applies to magi of any rank. Lictors may also determine the format of the trial, though factotums may investigate the evidence and are to be granted full access to the lictor's findings.
- Support: In the course of an investigation or trial, the lictor may command all of the resources available to the Silver Ladder in that Consilium. He can also lay claim to acolytes in a caucus, ordering them to aid him.
- Claviger (•••): The "key holders" are the ones responsible for maintaining ideological purity. They have proven they understand the Elemental Precepts, and usually act as the caucus' emissaries to the Consilium. Clavigers are also the Order's primary "missionaries," convincing other mages of the necessity of the Elemental Precepts, though they must do so first by example and secondarily by subtle evangelism. Most Acolytes are assigned to a specific Claviger, who tends to fill the role of "middle management."
- Deacon: Leader, lawgiver, priest and chief representative, the deacon rules the Caucus. He sets the Caucus' agenda, summons lictors, organizes Convocations. Many deacons also sit on the Council in a Consilium (usually with a Claviger as his Provost).
There are a number of factions among the Awakened of the Silver Ladder.
- Powerbrokers: Perhaps the most notorious of the thearchs, Powerbrokers are aptly named - they reach out and seize power at every opportunity. They also tend to consider themselves the rightful rulers of the Sleepers. The only thing that diverts the gaze of those who worry about the goals of Powerbrokers is that mages of this faction tend to focus their aims for wealth and power in Sleeper society, rather than among the Awakened. Powerbrokers usually become advisors and guides, both among Sleepers and the Awakened.
- Theurges: Their focus is on spiritual enlightenment, and shepherding others towards Ascension via the path of Wisdom. Though they rarely agree about specifics, the theurges guide both Sleeper and mage towards the fulfillment of that goal. Theurges are often focused on otherworldly concerns and fascinated with other planes, such as the Underworld, Shadow or the Astral.
- The Ascended: For these magi, Ascension is not a possibility - it is an absolute goal. It is their intent to achieve Archmastery from day one; the Ascended embody the Silver Ladder's hunger for magical knowledge and its application to the state of the soul.