In game terms, a discipline is an abstract framework that defines a character’s abilities in terms of numbers. It is analogous to a character class in other role-playing systems. All characters that follow a discipline are known as adepts.
In terms of the setting, a discipline represents how closely an adept’s pattern is attuned to a philosophy or way of being. It informs a character’s perception of reality and influences their personality.
There are fifteen disciplines in the core rules, and numerous others introduced in various sourcebooks. The core disciplines are Air Sailor, Archer, Beastmaster, Cavalryman, Elementalist, Illusionist, Nethermancer, Scout, Sky Raider, Swordmaster, Thief, Troubadour, Warrior, Weaponsmith and Wizard.
A character that does not follow a discipline is called a non-adept. Because of the high level of ambient magic, non-adepts are still able to make use of minor magical items, but lack access to deeper magic like the ability to weave threads, utilise talents, and cast spells. Non-adepts usually rely on their skills.
Each discipline is comprised of a number of circles. Circles are equivalent to levels in other role-playing systems. They represent the depth of expertise an adept possesses in their chosen discipline. The higher a circle, the greater the adept’s expertise. Circles range from first to fifteenth.
Circles are arranged into tiers. Tiers provide a mechanic that helps define and limit the range of talents available within any one discipline. Lower tiers grant access to the fundamentals of the discipline; higher tiers allow adepts to access more powerful talents. Tiers are structured as follows:
|Second - Fourth||Novice|
|Fifth - Eight||Journeyman|
|Ninth - Twelfth||Warden|
|Thirteenth - Fifteenth||Master|
Circles and tiers allow a character to relate their own abilities to, and judge the strength of others. For example a character may describe themselves as “a Warrior of the Fourth Circle”, or a “Novice Troubadour”.