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    The name for the group of staff members who run 'Society in Shadow'

  • 2

    The Six Stones that make up the LARPs main mechanic

  • 3

    Players at a con in character with a GO

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    Players at a con creating characters

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    Player dressed up as her character for a local game

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Adept Orders

  • The Order of Hippocrates

  • The Shield Wardens

  • The Wuji Order

    • Wu T’ang Chapter

    • Shaolin Chapter

  • The Order of Bodhi

Adept Orders

It was not until world travel became more prevalent that Eastern and Western Adepts had the opportunity to congregate. For hundreds of years their ideologies grew apart, leading each group to develop a unique school of practice. Western Adepts emphasized the progression of their mental powers, while Eastern Adepts prized the conditioning of the body. Adepts of the West followed only Mental or Balanced orientations, while those of the East pursued Physical or Balanced orientations. As teachers traveled and sowed their knowledge in other lands, the mental and physical techniques spread throughout the world, and today no Adept is limited in choice of orientation.

The following orders have chapter houses in North America, and it is not uncommon to find their members attending gatherings other than their own. Adept Orders that are independent or offshoots from the main houses are frequent.

 

Western Orders

The Western Orders have traditionally been philosophers first and warriors second. Some of the oldest Orders have roots in Greece and Rome, where they served as visionaries, oracles, and theorists. As time progressed, many of these Adepts found refuge and built headquarters in monasteries and the early academies, prizing mental pursuits over those of the body. The martial arts developed by these Orders focused on using weapons, such as the quarter staff, to achieve deadly form.

The following Western Orders have Chapters in North America:

 

Order of Hippocrates

This Order was conceived in ancient Greece by Adepts who embraced the philosophies of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. This Order places strong emphasis on Western medicine as well as Adept healing-based powers. Members take their own, distinctive Hippocratic oaths, but there has been an increasing trend to use the modern oath sworn by mundane physicians. All members uphold a few core ideals including that the patient is the highest priority, the patient’s confidentiality should be maintained, and medical knowledge may never be used to cause her harm or death. The Order encourages the use of modern medical practice on mundanes when possible and teaches to keep the sanctity of the One Law even if it means the death of the patient.

 

The Shield Wardens

This Order began in the Middle Ages when four independent Adept monasteries with similar ideologies joined together. These monasteries, located in France, Italy, Greece, and Romania, collectively formed the Shield Wardens to actively guard humanity from supernatural threats. They do not take kindly to any supernatural force that disregards human life, and they hand out their own brand of vigilante justice when warranted.

The Shield Warden’s Greek Chapter has a tradition of producing strong mentalists. With ideologies originating from the first Stoics, the Greeks learned how to detach themselves from distracting emotions, such as pleasure and pain, and to attach themselves to the principles of logic and wisdom. They strive to protect others from manipulation and illusions and to unveil hidden truths. This Chapter is the calm pillar of the Order, and its members are frequently sought for leadership and guidance.

The Shield Warden’s fighting arm belongs to the French Chapter, which has excelled in weapons training since the late Renaissance, when the introduction of gunpowder forced cavalry to become more agile. This Chapter prides itself as the cavalry regiment for the Shield Wardens and instructs its members in alacrity, tactics, and the delicacies of battle formation. The weapon-based technique of this group uses light weaponry so that one may rapidly close on her opponent.

The Romanian Chapter excels in battling Vampyres, who threatened the Romanian homeland with wars and territorial disputes for many generations. The Chapter was originally created to protect the local mundanes from being used as cattle by the Romanian Vampyres. As the Chapter grew in force, the Adepts sought to drive the Vampyres back and thus began a fearsome struggle between the two Expressions. The conflict has since been settled in the Romanian homeland, however, and the Adepts of the Romanian Chapter now travel abroad to destroy any Vampyric threat. The Romanian Adepts are said to be lethal with their Hawthorn quarter staves.

The Roman Chapter began as a monastery on the brink of elimination as a result of a decade’s conflict with Vampyres. The threat of their collapse was in part due to the Chapter’s longstanding support for its Romanian brethren. However, the monastery drastically changed when a sizable group of Shaolin refugees, fleeing persecution of the Qing Government in China, were given refuge in the Chapter’s house in Rome. The refugees gave new strength to the Roman Adepts, and the Chapter was able to defend itself from the Vampyric threat. Afterwards, the Shaolin fully integrated themselves within the Shield Wardens and provided martial arts training to the order and their Western brothers. Their training continues to this day.

Today, Adepts of all of the Chapters travel the world to protect mundanes from supernatural threats, wherever found.

 

Eastern Orders

The Eastern Orders believed that in order to achieve perfect balance, it was necessary to develop the body’s full potential. The Orders of longest standing have their roots in China, India, and Korea. The intricacies of advanced Adept martial arts were developed and upheld in the Far East as a means of self-defense and meditation. Adepts taught mundanes martial art forms so that the mundanes could protect themselves and attain spiritual clarity. The majority of the Eastern Orders were located in dojos and monasteries, with a few maintaining an underground presence in repressive mundane regimes. Until the modern era, Mentalist Adepts were represented only by those of Balanced Orientation, with the one exception of the Bodhi in India, who developed a pure Mentalist Orientation but guarded its secret.

The following are predominant Eastern Orders:

 

Wuji Order

This Order is a combination of two ancient Chinese Orders that came together in the 18th Century. When the Shaolin and Wu T’ang Orders joined forces to fight the Aeternari-influenced Qing Government, the Wuji Order was born. Today, both Chapters marginally maintain separate identities by respecting both the Shaolin and Wu T’ang traditions. Followers of the two philosophies often share the same training grounds, and the students may be taught by masters from either.

The Wu T’ang Chapter teaches that true enlightenment can only be achieved when one discovers the balance between both body and mind. The core philosophy is to train the body to achieve mental health and to discipline the mind to achieve physical health. The Chapter also follows an internal philosophy on change: It is necessary to understand the full consequences of each potential action and to find the most appropriate change when reacting to outside forces. A common occupation of Wu T’ang Adepts is to travel the world in an attempt to end suffering. The members of this Chapter practice a soft style of martial arts, and they are said to compose the Yin of the Wuji. Wu T’ang theorists perceive that they lost their own inner balance by becoming the counterbalancing force between themselves and the Shaolin Chapter.

The Shaolin Chapter originally formed in 6th Century China and was based on the teachings of the Shaolin Temple. It is said that the Adepts did not have the physique required for a 16 hour meditative stance, so they practiced a strict regimen of exercises that later became the traditional martial art forms. The Shaolin monks were taught how to discipline body and mind in order to develop the inner strength to move beyond any obstacle. The Chapter’s claim to be the forefather of today’s martial arts is often disputed, although the Shaolin had an extremely successful Dojo that trained Adepts and mundanes alike in martial arts before being driven from their home province by the Qing regime. Today this Chapter provides support to the rest of the Adept community and yearns to one day retake its temple and continue the development of martial arts into a divine art form. Shaolin members practice a hard form of martial arts and are said to compose the Yang of the Wuji.

 

The Order of Bodhi

This Order began in Ancient India and teaches that enlightenment may be achieved upon realizing the true nature of reality. This is achieved through meditation and purification of the mind from outside impurities. The nature of what constitutes an impurity is often debated, but the Order commands its followers to never take a life, never lie, and always respect life. The goal of the Bodhi is to find universal enlightenment regardless of personal suffering. The members of this Order are either Mentalist or Balanced in Orientation. In the past, The Order of Bodhi closely guarded the development of the mentalist Orientation, believing that those outside the Order were not ready to undertake this path. Today the Bodhi travel the world, offering to impart their wisdom to those willing to listen.