The Order of the Black Rose
Below is a chart that shows how the hierarchy works in the Order of the Black Rose (Earth). Pay attention to the colors of the boxes and the arrows as they show the different paths once can follow.
For those who are new with us, first characters in our community that are in OBR (which we highly recommend) will be required to be an Initiate to Confrère rank; but you can choose any pathway.
Ranks of the Order
These are ranks of members who are new to the Order and do not yet have any responsibilities beyond learning their place and mingling. Here, members get more perks then tasks as they are not yet ready to go into the field.
Initiates are invited members who have been fully inducted into the Order of the Black Rose. While these new faces have received their ethereal brand and security cards, they have yet to be assigned to a pathway. This rank is only designed to last months to a maximum of 6 months to teach the initiate the laws of the Order and discover the best possible path of training for them to follow.
Initiates will go through tests to explore all their possible pathways while enjoying the endless perks of the Order (to keep them enticed). While not all will obtain a sponsor, at least half of Initiates do
Initiates have no security clearances to enter restricted areas and are shielded from the 'negative' aspects that don't quite jive with common society. Rather, they are showered in help, acceptance, amenities, luxury and fun in order to gain early loyalties. Initiates do received training but it's based on order customs, rules, structure and general functions of the Order. At this stage they most certainly till not go out on missions; while their voice might be entertained they have not earned any respect to influence the order in any capacity.
When an Initiate has found a pathway that fits their abilities and has become savvy in the laws and basic ways of the Order, they will be given the rank of Neophyte where training begins in earnest.
Neophyte attend classes to hone their skills with similar students such they they do not feel alone and might assist each other in their beginning struggles. Minor tasks and missions are given to Neophyte such as couriering orders to field agents in sealed envelopes, picking up packages and delivering supplies to satellite facilities. Many of these tasks may be internal, such as cleaning, organization, restocking or tending to the books in the library. This is just to get the Neophyte into the mindset of doing tasks that are simple and secure to keep them confident later on. Some members might breeze through this rank if they show a higher mastery of their skills in training.
The Order of course prefers to not waste skills if one is capable. However, the shortest duration of time in this rank possible is a year. If one thinks this is a long time, there are many who feel quite comfortable at this level as they feel not strong obligation to the Order with small tasks while enjoying the perks. There is a place for everyone.
Pathways are broken down into 3 categories; these categories the Magi, the Mystics and the Corporeals. They may not make a lot of sense to the new initiates right away. However, there is a purpose to this structure and as members climb the ranks which is revealed further up in ranks. The early differences of pathway categories are in: methodologies of training and resources. Each category requires different resources, expertise and training facilities. Each category is grooming their members for a specific purpose further in the Order.
Pathways are ultimately selected based on what the individual display and are noticed for by the Order. Such that if a person displayed used of magic, but not that they are also telepaths, then the order would only known and acknowledge the magi use. This selection process has not always been perfected as it does not accommodate growth and discovery in power. It has also left a rather large hole as it is easy for individuals to 'withhold' their true ability, species and even identity.
Sub-pathways are much like a college minor to a major in a University. Sub-pathways are allowed for those who do not fit in a standard box and are considered to be multi-skilled; such skills recognized are those who are 50/50 split in skillset. This means they will not recognize minor skills on the side barely used. For Instance, someone who is a trained spy and assassin would be a Shadow & Corporeal; while someone who has skills in Magic casting but is in shroud, manipulation, or negate of memory they would be a Magi & Shadow. In more rare cases an individual might span over 3 pathways while most rare might cover the entire spectrum and become 'special interests'.
Magi | Alchemists | Botanists
The Magi category is based on the mastery of Magic and preservation of its craft and species. Without this, magic could become lost to the modern era. Equally so, this pathway is to police its own out in the world by finding chaotic magi users and either helping them control and conceal; or lock them away in the dungeons.This pathway category maintains wards, seals, sigils and other protective enchantments on the premises. They are also responsible for crafting charms and glamours for those who do not have a human enough physique to roam the modern common streets. Equally so they are consider Esoteric scientists in practice, often working with the scholar-mystics in utilizing research in lab experiments
Mystics | Scholars | Shadows
The Mystics focus is on the attainment and preservation of knowledge. This includes the past, present and future through ability, book, scroll, intelligence and espionage. Individuals of this pathway possess unique skills that may be seen as minor or completely impossible. Despite their allusive origins and functions, they are seen as critical to the order in order to maintain secrecy and control over a vast amount of members and their knowledge.When it is said that the OBR has eyes and ears everywhere, it is often referred to the shadows who lurk unnoticed. It is likely they have accessed your home, your work, your friends, family and every other aspect of your life. You might never know who they are... but they are there.
Corporeal | Envoy | IT
The Corporeal have two purposes; maintain the security of the Order and bridge the gaps to communities. By communities it is generally of some supernatural kind such as communities of Fae, Vampire Nests, Werewolf packs, Elementals, Hidden Elven communities and many many more. They are to keep members in-line, following the rules or punished for infractions as well as keeping bridges from being burned. Missions of this category may include assassinations of people of influence attempting to out a community or The Order or members who have gone AWOL.
As such this category is the muscle of the OBR in security, police and militia.
Any OBR member ranked Acolyte or higher, may be a sponsor to a protégé, including the retired
Emeritus. While it is unlikely anyone in the highest leadership positions will sponsor, it is not unheard of. Because leadership is busy with their many OBR duties, Politics, and outside lives they do not possess the time and patience to spend time with such fresh faces. Instead this is left for established OBR members, most commonly the Confrère or Magister Officiorum. To be sponsored by anyone higher means they are likely relatives, or it is an extreme honor.
It is important to note that not all initiates will obtain a sponsor, and it by no way impacts their ability to navigate the Order. If someone does not claim the fresh blood, then the initiate must actively seek a role model and personally request them for the honor of sponsorship. Furthermore, a sponsor does not need to be of the same pathway. While there is often only one sponsor, it is possible to obtain an initial sponsor and a sponsor for each pathway involved if different.
Sponsorship is not what one might expect as it is not entirely like the mundane world in concept. To the OBR a 'Sponsor' is someone who advises and advocates for their protégé(s). Thus they are both traditional sponsor and mentor in one.
It is not a sponsor’s duty to educate or train their protégé in matters of the Order for that is what the classes and training facilities are for. However, it is the responsibility of the sponsor to guide their protégé to success in the OBR. They have significant sway in adjusting what pathways new initiates belong to, can take their protégé on missions and might give more in depth tours and tutoring sessions. In total, the sponsor is responsible for ensuring the protégé is prepared for the trials before them.
*By no means is a sponsor responsible for the actions of their benefactors. They will not be punished for another’s actions as the OBR sees only the person in action as responsible. However, if a sponsor continues to produce consistently bad apples it will reflect on their reputation in rumors and might be destructive to their future.
*The person in receipt of this sponsorship may be referred to as a protégé (male), a protégée (female), an apprentice or, in the 2000s, a mentee. The mentor/sponsor may be referred to as a godfather or godmother.
The term protégé is used in lieu of initiate because sponsorship is for the rest of the membership with the OBR. Because sponsorship often leads to strong bonds of mentorship, the sponsor is often looked to speak for the protégé if they are ever in evaluations or tribunals. The sponsor's word has great weight when the protégé is due to rank up for better or worse. If there are ever to be issued warnings be them members, Emeritus or excommunicated, the sponsor is often the one sent. In instances where the protégé might be punished, interrogated, or assassinated the sponsor is often present or at least heralds what is to come, if not completes the task themselves.
Sponsors are advisors for both the Order and life. It is often the sponsor who is asked for help in times of need and it is the sponsor’s duty to ensure their protégé is taken care of. It is important to acknowledge that an individual who is sponsoring is also sponsoring others and because of this, must act on behalf of the majority.
To lose a sponsor or to ‘reject’ one is considered a great disrespect. It will effect the protégé more then anything as it will become unlikely that the OBR will assist in their time of need as a ‘lesson’. While this is not law, it is a social construct.