White Council of Wizards
The White Council of Wizards is the governing body of mages and mortals’ use of magic in the Dresdenverse. They’re generally a bunch of uptight and rigid old men. Given the long lifespan of mages, those who govern tend to be older and more set in their ways and views.
- They police the use of magic by mortals, enforcing the Seven Laws of Magic. They also represent the mortal world in the politics of otherworldly affairs.
- The Wizard edge represents formal training and conditioning by the Council. Therefore anyone with this edge probably is or was a member of the council.
Important White Council NPCS
- Eddie Fenner – Regional Warden
- Maggie Kerson – Bounty hunter
- Patricia Delmon – Ranking member, stationed at the Jamaican safehouse. She appears to be in her 50’s, is of slight build with brown hair striped with grey, and speaks with terse, clipped speech.
- Orlando Hughes – Another member at the Jamaican safehouse. Talk, well-built black man with Wesley Snipes hair, who talks with his hands.
Walking the Pattern
Walking the Pattern is a test of will that every wizard must pass in order to make the transition from “junior mage” to being recognized as a wizard who has matured and come into his own as a member of the council. Passing this test is how a wizard earns his stole.
The Pattern is a large maze carved into the floor of a cavern (usually). The lines of the maze glow with magical energy, that flares up from the floor and clings to the maze-walkers legs, forming physical and mental resistance. The farther into the maze the walker goes, the greater the resistance becomes.
In game terms, successfully negotiating the Pattern requires a series of four Spirit checks.
- They start with a difficulty of 4, just to enter the Pattern. Then at three significant points int the Pattern, called Veils, the walker makes another Spirit check. Each subsequent test raises the difficulty by 2 (6, 8, and 10 respectively).
- Failure to pass one of these checks generates a level of Fatigue, and thus two failures means the character loses consciousness or just collapses from exhaustion. He fails the test and will have to perform a task of retribution before being allowed to test again.
- A critical failure leaves him with a lasting consequence. Perhaps the loss of a die size to his Spellcasting skill or a new Hindrance. It should be something that makes sense in the story.
- Successfully completing the Pattern means the walker has earned his place within the Council, symbolized by the gaining of his wizard’s stole. Also, from the center of the Pattern, the walker can teleport to any destination he can picture in his mind.
Roleplaying the Pattern
I created the Pattern in my game to give the Wizard character a chance to have a meaningful story development. Since the start of our game, he’s been a pawn of his White Council handlers and I felt it was time for him to come into his own in their eyes. So he earned the right to walk some sort of gauntlet. I turned to one of my favorite fantasy stories, Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber.
Walking the Pattern should be more than a series of die rolls. It should mean something. In Zelazny’s material, successfully walking the Pattern requires the character to face his psychological demons and conquer them, so by the end he has overcome the physical obstacle of the pattern, and his inner blockages as well. It’s exhausting and cathartic.
At the first two Veils, I had the player narrate a flashback scene for his character. Something painful or a personal struggle. If he created something good, I rewarded it with a Bennie, which in turn was key in helping him negotiate those last two Veils. The final Veil required a full-on psychic combat against a thematically appropriate monster. (In our case, since we were on a tropical island, it was a giant, psychic sand crab construct.) While I referred to it as a psychic battle, I let the player use normal physical abilities: spell casting, fighting, etc. in order to make it “feel” more real. We both kept saying “this is really just happening in his imagination.”