Guild of Mages

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The sigil of the Mages Guild

The Guild of Mages ("Mages Guild") is the oldest and largest guild in Tamriel, and a significant power in its own right. Founded by Vanus Galerion in the Summerset Isles city of Firsthold in the early Second Era, the Guild is today the dominant magical institution in the Empire.

This page is a work in progress!


When Vanus Galerion, a Psijic of Artaeum and student of the famed Iachesis, began collecting magic-users from around Summerset Isle, he attracted the animosity of all. He was operating out of the urban center of Firsthold, and there was a common (and not entirely unfounded) attitude that magical experiments should be conducted only in unpopulated areas. Even more shocking, Galerion proposed to make magical items, potions, and even spells available to any member of the general public who could afford to pay. No longer was magic to be limited either to the aristocracy or intelligentsia. - from Origin of the Mages Guild




Six Archmagisters sit atop the hierarchy of the Mages Guild, and make up the supreme council of the organization. These Archmagisters are among the most powerful mages in Tamriel, and have pan-Guild authority. When necessary, the supreme council of the Guild meets at the Arcane University in the Imperial City. Although the Archmagisters generally base themselves out of the Heartlands or the Summerset Isles, historical Archmagisters of the Guild have been known to establish themselves in Skyrim, the Iliac Bay, or Morrowind. Wherever Archmagisters are, their authority supercedes that of all other members of the Guild, even local Arch-Mages.

Below the Archmagisters are the day-to-day leaders of the Guild, the regional Arch-Mages. Arch-Mages are generally charged with leading a regional collection of guildhalls, though a few Arch-Mages have other roles (the Palatinus of the Order of the Lamp is of Arch-Mage rank, as is the Dean of the Arcane University). Arch-Mages are generally among the most powerful magic users in their region of responsibility, responsible both for presiding over Guild affairs and training new local mages.

Below Arch-Mage, the ranks of the Mages Guild are, descending: Master Wizard, Wizard, Warlock, Magician, Conjurer, Evoker, Journeyman, and Apprentice. Contractors, prospective Apprentices, and other such affiliates are granted the title Associate.


Several subfactions exist within the Mages Guild. Most guild members are not explicitly aligned with a subfaction, though most Arch-Mages, Master Wizards, and Wizards have at least sympathetic leanings towards one or another.

Three main political forces contend for control over the direction of the Guild. These are known, unofficially, as the Academics, the Isolationists, and the Patricians.

The Academics

The Academics are the newest political group, having come into existence sometime around the reign of Uriel V. They are dedicated to expanding the Guild's reach, conducting mass recruitment and training, and initiating outreach efforts to the general public, especially in the Eastern Provinces. The Academics call for a surge of investment into Telvannis and Black Marsh, and form the driving force behind the Guild's endeavors in the Padomaic. They are on friendly terms with the Tricho subfaction of the Imperial Curia, and have a standing arrangement to share discoveries of mutual interest with the Exarch of the Concordian Archives. The Academics are the most diverse of the three "parties" pushing on Guild politics, but their most prominent advocates are currently Bretons, Dunmer, and the newly powerful Arch-Mage of Haafingar, Hesta. Traditionally, the Academics are led by the Provincial Guilds' Masters of Academia, from whom they earned their name.

The Isolationists

The Isolationists are a conservative political force who oppose the Academics in their efforts to expand the Guild into new territories, and chafe at the idea that the Guild should share its discoveries with any other faction. The Isolationists remind Guild members that the Guild of Mages existed long before the Empire was born, and that only wise policy will ensure that the organization survives past the Empire's (imminent) death. They are led by Altmer, as one might expect from a subfaction with such a long view, but the Isolationists are by no means an exclusive Summerset club. Isolationists are the staunchest advocates for the interests of Guild members of all races across Tamriel, and prioritize their well-being above the Guild's ability to provide services to the general public or to solicit artifacts for the Empire.

The Patricians

The Patricians are the "new establishment" - the powerful core of the modern Guild, dominated by cosmopolitan and politically well-connected Cyrodiil elite. Mages sympathetic to the Patricians aren't opposed to expanding the Guild, but are generally concerned foremost with making the MG as powerful and integrated with Imperial interests as possible. They are reluctant to support dead-end money sinks like the outpost boom in Black Marsh or rebuilding Guild facilities damaged during the Simulacrum. Unlike the Academics, the Patricians see the Tarquin Tricho as a fierce political rival, and are known to have contacts with the Exarch of the Palatial Estates, Parcemon Corax. Numerically, the Patricians have far less support than the other two political groups, but their leading members are disproportionately powerful in Guild politics, and lead most of the large Cyrodiil guildhalls.

Together, the Academics, Isolationists, and Patricians drive most Mages Guild politics. Some smaller subfactions also exist, however, based on specialty guild roles:

Special Mages Guild roles
Specialty subfaction Description Unique Class
The Cabal Formerly a powerful force within the Guild, the Cabal are much reduced in stature after decades of Imperial investigations into Tharnite complicity among Cabal members during the Simulacrum. However, their remaining members (no more than two dozen or so continent-wide) are individually very powerful summoners and conjurers, and are still sometimes called to guildhalls across the Empire to provide their expertise on Daedric matters. When represented ingame, affiliates of the Cabal should be presented as fearsome, high-level NPCs with unique dialogue. They are known to oppose the guild guides and the Travelers League, though their reasoning is unknown. [TBD]
The Order of the Lamp The Order of the Lamp remains the elite knightly protectors of the Mages Guild. Mostly non-spellcasting, though Lampknights do make heavy use of enchanted armor and weapons. Though most Order members are stationed in Cyrodiil, Summerset, and the Iliac Bay, every Province's main guildhall has at least one, and many more operate undercover. In principle, members of the Order are expected to remain uninvolved with intra-Guild political struggles. The Order of the Lamp is led in each Province by an NPC with the title of Palatinus. Currently, the Order is on the front lines of fighting Telvanni incursions into the Guild in Morrowind. Lampknight
The Travelers League The Travelers League, a free association of guild guides, is dedicated to ensuring that the Guild continues to train, deploy, and supply mages educated in the highly specialized science of Celaudine teleportation magic. They also lobby the Guild for their preferred teleport network configurations, and often push for expansion into areas without guild presence. While not all guild guides are members of the Travelers League, most are, especially in the eastern Provinces and High Rock. Guild guide

In addition to the above ranks and subfactions, some guild affiliates are specialized enough in function they are worth mentioning separately, but are too few in number to be considered a true "subfaction":

Crafters Guild mages especially skilled in enchanted item forging are known as Crafters. Though many mages in the Guild can enchant mundane items, only the Crafters have the skill of creating new artifacts that are already magical. Every item created by a Crafter is unique (ie, a named artifact), and their services are retained at the most prestigious guildhalls in Tamriel. Crafters do not offer their services to the general public.
Mercenary Mages Occasionally, the allied Fighters Guild requests the assistance of the Guild of Mages. In these instances, the Guild deploys its Mercenary Mages. Mercenary Mages are generally (but not always) battlemages, and often have a closer relationship with their Fighters Guild comrades-in-arms than with the rest of the Mages Guild. In places like the Velothis Fighters Guild training facility, Mercenary Mages should be depicted as rough-and-tumble spellswords rather unlike the somewhat stuffy standard Mages Guild types.
Odylic Mages Odylic Mages are the master scholars of the Guild, called upon to provide insights on mysteries the guildhalls cannot solve. The Odylics are mega-savants; because of the sheer number of fields they must have unparalleled expertise in, there are no more than a handful in the entire Guild. When they appear in quests, Odylics should convey an air of academic mastery, and their unique dialogue should be laconic and definitive.
Utility Mages Utility Mages are responsible for the creation and storage of the Guild's soul gems. The arcane rituals used in this process are a tightly-guarded secret. Utility mages are rarely found outside Provincial guild hubs and the Arcane University.


The Mages Guild operates guildhalls in all provinces of the Empire, as well as in the territories of Cathnoquey, Roscrea, and Yneslea. Guild guide networks connect most of these guildhalls.