Unlike the Paths, Orders are not something intrinsic to mages. They are social organizations, occult fraternities, research fellowships, historical societies and political bodies all rolled into one. More relevantly, a mage chooses what Order he will belong to, and though this choice carries a great deal of weight, it is hardly final.
Mages can and do switch Orders, although the alliances between the Orders is strong enough to dissuade too much banner-hopping: one Order is a powerful ally to all the others, and often they would rather turn down a mage who has left another Order than to risk bad feelings between the Orders. The five Orders that follow are referred to as the Pentacle Orders - Orders defined by their adherence to a mythic history (or in one case, outright rejection of) that traces back to Atlantis as the source of all magic.
A sixth Order, the Seers of the Throne are technically considered an Atlantean Order as well, though only because of their shared mythology. They are deeply antagonistic to the Pentacle Orders, and serve dark occult godlike masters dedicated to removing all magic from the world and hoarding its wonders for themselves and themselves alone.
Each Order is defined by a number of things.
- Its Atlantean Caste tells which of the original mage-castes of old Atlantis the Order claims to trace its lineage and practices back to.
- Its Role in Awakened society indicates what other Orders look to it to do.
- Its Philosophy tells about what the Order's stated goals are, and the reasons why it works magic at all.
- Its Praxis defines exactly what its magic is like, and how it accomplishes that magic; each Order has three Rote Specialties that define part of how it works and a specific Dedicated Tool that some of its members consecrate and wield as part of their magic. Members of the Order gain a +1 die bonus to all rotes that incorporate one of the Skills of their Order.
- Each Order is organized differently, with different ranks of Order Status, titles, duties and factions within the Order making up its Organization.
- The Adamantine Arrow defends sanctums and cabals with its combat magic. Rote Specialties: Athletics, Intimidation, Medicine.
- The Free Council seeks to escape the strictures of the past and modernize the craft of magic. Rote Specialties: Crafts, Persuasion, Science
- The Guardians of the Veil protects the Mysteries from any who would despoil them or dare reveal them to the unenlightened. Rote Specialties: Investigation, Stealth, Subterfuge
- The Mysterium searches for valuable lore hidden throughout the material and invisible worlds. Rote Specialties: Investigation, Occult, Survival
- The Silver Ladder desires to establish a proper hierarchy of the Awakened — with its members at the top. Rote Specialties: Expression, Persuasion, Subterfuge