The Whispering Ravens Edit
Once a powerful cult in the Allarian Empire, they lost a lot of their power and influence when the empire fell.
-They are worshipers of a female aspect of Hermes/Hermethis/Merkari whose portfolio includes secret knowledge and spies, she is known as the ‘Elysian Raven’ or the ‘Secret Lady’. They believe that Merkari actually is female, and has duped the rest of the world into thinking she’s male.
-Merkari’s true female name is a secret; perhaps the higher tier of the cult know that name?
-The cult is organised hierarchically, with each member only knowing one person in the tier higher than them. Cult members lower than that are probably not aware of how large or organised the cult is; sects in different towns and cities probably have different names. This makes it difficult for anyone to realise their existence. The higher tiers of this hierarchy haven’t been defined too much to sustain an air of mystery about the organisation, they may have an eventual agenda; but right now they are only just beginning to reassert themselves after a long time hidden and inactive.
-The Whispering Ravens have a magic tattoo which lets them communicate over short to medium distances as well as serving as a means of identification between members. The standard way to pass a message to another continent is to use the tattoo to send it to the nearest safe house, which will have some method (fast courier, teleportation circle, longer range communication magic) of getting the word to the next safehouse, etc, until finally it reaches one which has something capable of reaching across continents. Of course, the more complex this network is, the more chance there is of things going wrong (meaning the capability is there if the DM wants a message to get through for story reasons, and if they want to block it it's easy to find an excuse).
The highest-level leaders also have a long-range communication ritual that works between continents, but is unreliable, so they only depend on it during emergencies. The exception is during certain concordances when the state of the heavens and the shifting seas line up just right, which lets this ritual work without flaw.
That means that during certain astronomical conjunctions, the entire leadership of the Ravens, wherever they're located, "meets" to plan strategy and discuss the most privileged of secrets. They keep this fact well hidden, because if an outsider ever found out how to calculate the conjunction they might be able to find some way to eavesdrop or even mess with their great conclave. But they do it despite the risks because this is the only time such a meeting is possible.
-The cult's main tenet states that they cannot influence events or civilisations directly; they may take no actions. They can however influence others through the giving or withholding of knowledge.
The Institute for Arcane Ciphers Edit
The Institute for Arcane Ciphers was conceived in The Hanged Man Tavern, by a small group of arcanists hailing from differing racial and circumstantial backgrounds. The group began with a very general goal of furthering each members research. Paperwork was filed, and The IAC was born.
Daunton is home of the IAC headquarters, and another satellite was quickly formed on Bacarte. Membership had nearly doubled over-night. The exact number and names of The Institute for Arcane Ciphers' members has not been released, nor has the exact location of either their headquarters or the location of their satellite.
Speculation as to the whereabouts of each location has pointed to The Hanged Man Tavern - Drowned Man Tavern portal, and the general nature of the patrons of each of these establishments, but nothing has been confirmed.
Public Knowledge Edit
Little is known publicly about The Institute for Arcane Ciphers. The group has done an excellent job of keeping there presence low key. Regulars at The Hanged Man Tavern may know more than the average citizen though, due to occasional meetings of the shadowy organization held at the establishment. Rarely a coded message can be seen posted above the bar, with the letters IAC as a footnote.
The intentions of the group are as of yet unknown.
Members Only Info Edit
Congratulations! You've become part of a secret arcane society.
Membership information, and your Grade Band will be left for you at The Hanged Man Tavern.
Esoteric Arcana Edit
Members of The Institute for Arcane Ciphers, are vested with the power to claim an unclaimed arcane site for research purposes. Including but not limited to; Recently-Deceased Dragon Lairs, Abandoned Wizard Towers, Anomalies of Inter-Dimensional Space, Failed/Successful Ritual Sites...
Sites thus claimed are property of The Institute for Arcane Ciphers, and trespassing or robbery will be punished accordingly. The Institute for Arcane Ciphers reserves the right to bar entry to any site deemed hazardous to public health.
Members are also vested with the responsibility of keeping vigilant watch over The Institute for Arcane Ciphers interests.