The Worshipful Company of Free Masons

With kind permission of the copyright holder, http://www.ngw.nl/heraldrywiki/index.php?title=File:Lon-masons.jpg When addressing a mason, be careful to remember that they have spent years mastering their craft. They are no mere peasant labourer, to consider them such is a grave insult. This is doubly true of a Master Mason who might oversee construction projects that would beggar most noblemen.

The Worshipful Company of Free Masons is the official guild for the masons who design and build all large structures in England. From Cathedrals to Castles, the masons design, manage and build.

The Company was originally formed to ensure fair treatment and payment for services rendered after Æthelred the Unready threw his mason off the top floor of his new castle after he complained about only getting half the promised payment. Given the difficulty of replacing master masons, the withholding of labour on the King's other projects forced the monarchy to compromise.

The current state of affairs, left unchanged by the House of Normandy, sees the following conditions:

  • Masons are free to practice their craft without interference of the Crown.
  • All Crown projects will be awarded to a duly inducted Master Mason in good standing with the Company.
  • Fees follow the Schedule of Fees agreed between the Crown and Company and published on Whitsun each year.
  • The Company guarantees the completion of the contract, or will provide compensation according to the Schedule of Fees.


CC-BY-NC https://www.flickr.com/photos/saucydelarosa/ The Company is head-quartered in the recently completed Grand Hall of Free Masons and situated opposite the Temple Church. All members of the company have the right to claim lodging appropriate to their position—for set fees. However, due to the nature of the profession, there are very few permanent residents, with those staying mainly consisting of those seeking employment or on a nearby job.

Stone-shaping and Masonry

The arrival of the fae was slow to impact the world of masonry. Traditional projects can take decades or centuries to complete, and changing the design or techniques part way through is frowned upon. In the past century however, several fae have taken a fancy with large construction projects, competing to make the greatest and most fanciful buildings from stone.

It seems the fae cannot create stone from nothing, but are able to shape it to their will using magic, an act that has come to be called stone-shaping. In contrast to traditional masonry this process is quick and limited only by the imagination and concentration of the stone shaper. However, traditional masons are quick to defend their arts, observing that such constructions are inferior, and that masonry is not just stone shaping. A deep understanding of how to design load bearing structures, prepare foundations and the artistry of perception are arguably more important. There is also the small problem that apprentices are not well known for their ability to pay attention, resulting in substandard results.

It is when these are combined by a true master that the greatest buildings arise. The new style known as Gothic makes extensive use of new fae techniques to build quickly and with artistry, but based on the characteristic use of pointed arches, ribbed vaults and buttresses required to support large structures. Together these methods have enabled the construction of buildings of a vast scale never seen before, except perhaps in the greatest works of the ancient Romans.

The use of fae stone-shaping techniques makes the construction of moderate projects such as village churches easily completable within a six month period (weather permitting). Larger projects such as Cathedrals or Castles now take only a few years rather than decades or centuries. See the quirk Stone-shaper's Knowledge below. More potent stone related spells are known to exist, but you will have to seek teaching from those who use them.

Divine Architecture

In addition to the obvious training in masonry, many in the Company take a deep interest in divine architecture, seeing work upon a Cathedral as the ultimate pinnacle of one's career (and indeed that of one's lineage given the length of some such projects). It is said that a correctly constructed church is much more effective in glorifying and thus worshipping the lord than one that is rough hewn. Critics also point out that it is much more costly.

Recent years have seen a number of disputes between the Company and the Church over unusual and unasked for features appearing in some new churches. Rumours suggest that accusations of heresy and indulgence in heathen religions have been thrown at some masons by members of the clergy, but the official line from both Church and Company is of minor contractual disputes - normally settled by the removal of a problem architect from the project by the Masonic Council.

Fortress Engineering

"Bodiam Castle through the trees" by Pilgrimsoldier - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bodiam_Castle_through_the_trees.jpg#/media/File:Bodiam_Castle_through_the_trees.jpg Others within the Company instead look to the erection of permanent monuments able to withstand armies. Here too does the new Gothic style influence construction, the same techniques that enable a cathedral to reach towards heaven allow the reinforcement of walls against siege weaponry. Other advances include the incorporation of fae magicks and blessings from the Gods, allowing entirely new designs previously thought unworkable.

Unfortunately there is no real test of a construction other than to wait for an army to attack it. Several masons have recently begun working with army sappers and others such military men to deploy and test new techniques on the battlefield.

The Quattro Coronati

"FirenzeOrsanmichele03" by Nanni di Banco (Italian, 1375–1421) - it:Utente:MM, own picture (April 2005). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FirenzeOrsanmichele03.jpg#/media/File:FirenzeOrsanmichele03.jpg The Quatuor Coronati are the four patron saints of masons. Whilst originally their names were are unknown, it has been revealed by the Lord that they were Claudius, Castorius, Simphorianus, and Nicostratus. The legend tells of how they were martyred by Empress Diocletian in 298 AD. The Empress had ordered that they erect a statue to one of the pagan gods of ancient Rome; being good Christians Claudius et al refused to partake in such idolatry. In return Diocletian had them sealed into lead coffins and thrown into the sea.

It is traditional to invoke a blessing in their name before starting a major building project to ensure the stability of a building's foundations, the strength of its walls and the safety of the workers. It is also said that the surest way to bring such a blessed building down upon one's head is to give them offence.

Ranks of Freemasonry

To protect themselves from outside impostors and those who seek to bring down the company, many secrets are kept and only taught to those found to be worthy through years of study. Upon induction to a new rank members are taught a number of secret handshakes to identify themselves to their fellows, and permit the free flow of information between peers. Failure to assess the rank of a fellow member and address them by their correct title is a terrible faux pas.


The Grandmaster (currently Jeanne de Bellemare) is responsible for the smooth running of the company, and has ultimate carte blanche over any member below the rank of Master Mason. Election to the position is said to require a majority vote of the Masonic Council, normally chaired by the Grandmaster. With the obvious political backing therein implied, and with control over many other aspect of company life, even Master Masons step carefully around the Grandmaster. The position is awarded for life, or until a unanimous vote of all others upon the Masonic Council forces retirement.

Warden of the Masonic Council

Four Master Masons make up the Masonic Council, which is the ultimate disciplinary and ruling body of the Company. The Masonic Council meets twice a year, upon Shrove Tuesday and then again on the feast day of Saint Thomas (July 9th).

Each position is elected every 4 years through a majority vote of the other members of the council. It is not unusual for the same member to be re-elected until their death. Former members should be addressed as “Former Warden”.

Master Mason

Master Masons have the distinction of being eligible for large Church and State projects. Many of the higher nobility would also never stoop to hiring any lesser crafter to oversee their latest constructions. A master mason working in the right circles is able to accumulate significant wealth.

Master Masons may also take apprentices, be called upon to issue trials for apprentices, and are privy to the deepest secrets of the Company.

You may start as a Master Mason if you take the Rank (Masons) +2 quirk.


Masons make up the vast majority of the company's members and many are content with the rank throughout their days. A mason is free to work where he wills, often working under a master mason on major construction projects. They are also free to undertake lesser projects on their own, and to subcontract works from the master masons who hold the contracts.

For those wishing to progress to the rank of Master Mason, a suitably impressive masterwork must be constructed. This could either be a small building or chapel of one's own, or part of a larger construction project. Upon payment of the substantial review fee, the masterwork will be judged by a representative of the Masonic Council, which will then hold a majority vote to determine if they believe the mason to have achieved mastery of the art.

You may start as a Mason if you take the Rank (Masons) +1 quirk.


All masons start their life as apprentices, where they spend a seven year period learning the basics of the craft. Only Master Masons may train apprentices. A typical apprenticeship starts at age 14, with the apprentice expected to travel with his master wherever the work takes them. Upon completion of seven years as an apprentice, candidates must undertake a test of masonry under the supervision of a master mason as appointed by the Masonic Council. Should they satisfy the mason that they are competent in the craft, they are granted the rank of Mason. Should they be amongst the one in five who fail to perform to an adequate standard, they are struck from the roles of the company and directed to seek alternative, lesser, employment. Many such men join the ranks of common labourers employed on large construction projects, where their familiarity with basic masonry is highly valued regardless.

By default members of this faction start as Apprentices

Important Masons

  • Grandmaster Jeanne de Bellemare, a venerable mason at the age of 70. She is famous for her design of the Cathedral of Saint Magnus on Orkney. Her grasp of logisitics for building in such a remote place are attested to by the speed of construction, with the current works due to conclude in only 60 years, already 50 years ahead of schedule. Very much of the traditional school of masonry, she is seen as the last of the old guard who disapprove of the new fae techniques.
  • Dythaem Stoneshaper, as one of the fae, is capable of shaping stone through the power of his will. He is famous for inventing the new Gothic movement in his construction of the new Basilica of Saint-Denis near Paris 50 years ago, a feat he accomplished in only 5 years. He is a pioneer, but often impatient with the progress of large projects; he is known for delegating such works to a subordinate for years at a time before suddenly returning to either check on the progress, or seize control and rectify a project he feels has gone astray.
  • Naisens the Flighty is Dythaem's main rival. Also of the fey they are known for their ability to turn into a raven and fly around projects to check every detail. Many an apprentice has learned the hard way that they cannot hide imperfections out of normal sight. Naisens' most famous work is Lincoln Cathedral, said to be the tallest building in the world.
  • Aem of Aquitaine has dabbled in the past as a poet. And a writer. And an artist. And a playwright… you get the idea. She completes the trio of fae presently involved with the masonic “scene” as she would have it. When she heard that most see her as an also ran to Dythaem and Naisens, she swore to prove them wrong. She is currently engaged in some secret project for the Church at Dunkeswell in Devon. A great shroud of illusion covers the site, and workers are sworn to secrecy under peril of Oathbreaker's Lot should they reveal the secret. And given the magical power demonstrated by Aem, that is a spell no one wants to risk.


Stone Shaper's Knowledge (+2)

This is a specialised version of the quirk Fae Knowledge. It grants you the following spells at game start:

Stone-shaper's Concentration

By touching a block of stone up to the size of a large dog and concentrating, you are able to slowly, over the course of several minutes, shape it as you will. Many masons swear that they get a better finish if they also use their hands to mould it. The quality of the final product is related to your powers of concentration (Willpower). However if you wish to use the result as part of a larger project you will require an appropriate skill (normally Crafting) to get the right shape.
Willpower: 1

Medusa's Glare

By glaring at an organic object no bigger than your head (for example a cut flower or piece of rope) you may turn it to stone over the course of a few minutes. The spell does not work on living creatures. It will bond to whatever surface it is in contact with at the time. This spell is often used by masons to create fine detail without the need to carve it by hand, however the resulting stonework has a reputation for being more fragile than equivalent forms carved by the hand of a master mason.
Willpower: 2

masons.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/07 17:39 by gm_rowan
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