Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?

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 Glossary, For those who want to know what we mean
 Posted: Jul 31 2014, 08:38 PM
Man with a Plan
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Abyss, the: The bizarre realms that the Scourge calls home. Some claim it is the Hell of various religions, others believe it to be a "hole" in reality from which the Scourge leaks into our world. still others believe it an artificial realm created by the Exarchs to house their captured enemies. What is certain is that the Abyss is a place of suffering and torture for those unfortunates who end up trapped there.

Acolyte: A Sleeper who is sufficiently aware of magic and/or an assistant to a mage.

Astral Reaches: The spirit realm of the mind. Any thought that humanity has ever had takes physical form in this spirit world, for good or ill. Can be reached through either spirit or mind magics.

Astral Umbra: Another term for the Astral Reaches.

Awakening: Another term for Enlightenment

Awakened: The blanket term for all supernatural entities, also sometimes used to refer to mages specifically.

Bygone: Non-sentient supernatural creatures (dragons, unicorns, etc) that have gone into hiding in the modern world.

Cabal: Another name for a small conspiracy.

Censure: A level of punishment equivalent to parole wherein a mage is warned to avoid future infractions to prevent more severe punishments.

Certamen: An old term for a "Wizard's Duel."

Conspiracy: Sometimes called a Secret Society, this is an organization of like-minded mages brought together for mutual benefit and common cause. These groups can range in size from two to thousands.

Dark Umbra: Another term for the Underworld

Diabolist: A mage who deals regularly with demons, with or without selling their soul.

Enlightened: Another term for a mage

Enlightenment: The magical state of awareness and power which "Awakens" a Sleeper and transforms them into a mage.

Exarch(s): The 9 rogue magi who broke with the original Order in the interests of personal power at the expense of all others, also used to collectively refer to their followers, the Exarchic Ministries.

Familiar:A spirit given physical form, thus bonding the spirit and mage in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Gilgul: An archaic term for Soul Execution, the highest punishment in Enlightened society.

Hollow Ones: Independent magi who refuse to join either the Exarchs or any Houses of the Order. Sometimes used as a vulgar term for House Ex Miscellanea.

House, Great: The nine primary Houses of Hermes, of which all members of the Order are part of one.

House, Lesser: The small conspiracies and organizations seeking recognition of the Order as a Great House. Most are absorbed by one Great House or another before achieving such recognition. Officially, all are part of House Ex Miscellanea.

Hubris: The overwhelming pride which leads a mage to the belief that the cosmos is theirs to command and warp as they see fit, i.e. becoming convinced that one is "a god" or "godlike." Most often leads to the Scourge being summoned to punish the mage in question.

Mage: Anyone who is capable of doing magic. Plural form: Magi.

Magistrate: The leaders of the Great Houses in a given location. In the case of the Academy, the acting House leaders on campus.

Mana: Magical energy, used to cast spells. Every living creature has mana within them, a mage uses this energy to work their magic. Sometimes referred to as "Life Force."

Middle Umbra: Another term for the Spirit Wilds.

Order of Hermes, the: The official name of the assembled magical traditions brought together at the Grand Convocation to oppose the Exarchs and protect human free will, both Enlightened and Sleeper. Rarely referred to as the Great Houses of Hermes or the Nine Mystic Traditions.

Ostracism: Also called "banishment," a state where the mage is shunned by others of the Order. Rarely, this is enforced through magic.

Primus: The currently appointed leaders of the Great Houses.

Rote: Another name for Spell.

Sanctum: A place, usually a room, where a given mage works their magics so often that it becomes a place of power for the mage. Magic becomes easier to work and less likely to draw the Scourge while within the mage's sanctum.

Scourge, the: The semi-sentient force which "protects" Sleepers from the hubris and dominance by overt magic. When massive spells, or a multitude of small spells in rapid succession, are cast on or near Sleepers the Scourge arrives to punish the mage in some fashion.

Seeking: Another name for a "vision quest." These mystic challenges, while rare, usually act as a transition between varying stages of Enlightenment. Entering and succeeding in a Seeking is often used as a form of "final exam" at the Academy, to represent the mage's growth in both magical power and overall Enlightenment.

Shadow War: The name of the ongoing conflict between the Exarchs and the Order. Sometimes open "wizard's wars," but far more often resembling a magical "cold war" of conflicting conspiracies and manipulations.

Shallowing: One of the increasingly rare locations where the Wall becomes so weak that even Sleepers can enter the spirit worlds unaided. Today, these can typically only be found in deep wilderness and places of great power.

Sleeper: A person who has not yet Awakened. A normal, mortal human being.

Sphere: One of the nine schools of magic, divided by the pieces of reality that the mage can alter with their magics. (Note that in-universe, mages refer to ranks using the following terms: 1-Initiate, 2-Apprentice, 3-Disciple, 4-Adept, 5-Master)

Spirit Wilds, the: The term for those spirit worlds that represent the natural order of things. Home to nature spirits of all kinds and strange realms such as Pangaea (which represents ancient Earth).

Umbra: The collective term for all the worlds beyond the Wall. The spirit worlds.

Wall, the: The barrier between the physical world and the Umbra. The strength of this barrier varies based on various factors, but generally can be assumed to be weaker in more natural and wilder areas and stronger in urban centers. A Shallowing is a place where the Wall has grown so weak as to be almost non-existant.
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