Arcanum 1780: A New World
Freemasonry had come to the Americas long before the Event, but in its aftermath the Lodges became yet another way in which organisation and charity could flow, beating back the chaos of a world gone mad. Today, Freemasonry flourishes in New Britain with lodges – often multiple lodges – existing openly in every city and sizable town as the most unsecret secret society of them all. The different traditions of Scottish, English and Irish lodges, along with some influences from the continent, have been combined into one unified whole. Freemasonry is popular with the upper and middle classes, especially attracting Deists, Episcopalians, businessmen, those in government and philosopher-mages.
Being a member of the Freemasons is a Claim To Hospitality 10 and Rank within the organisation is Courtesy Rank [1/level]. The ranks are: Entered Apprentice 0, Fellowcraft 1, Master Mason 2, Royal Arch 3 and Grand Master 4. The current Grand Master of all New British masons is Arthur St,Clair, Baron Greensburg and also the current Director of the Secret Service.
Perhaps because of their Grand Master’s position as the Crown’s spymaster, the Freemasons have gained a reputation as spies themselves and anyone who is known as a Mason is at least suspected of also being an agent of the Secret Service. Indeed, there is some question over whether the tail wags the dog – that is, whether the Secret Service uses the Freemasons or vice versa. Certainly, a list of Royal Arch Masons would have much in common with a list of the great and powerful, the movers and shakers of the Kingdom.
It is an article of faith in New Spain that the Freemasons are a diabolical conspiracy dedicated to the downfall of the Pope and Catholicism. The Pope has even suggested that they were responsible for the Event itself. The Inquisition actively seeks out and prosecutes Spanish members – who admittedly are often in truth used as agents and proxies by the New British Secret Service.
Rumors and legends about the Freemasons are rife, even in New Britain. One of the most persistent is that the organisation’s senior members are privy to magical knowledge handed down from a remote antiquity when magic was also awake in the world.