The King's Own Horticulturalists

Known as “Horties” by almost everyone else, for their brash demeanour and annoying tendency to get the girls, the Horticulturalists are the closest thing Albion has to Special Forces.

They deal particularly with creatures—dragons and sea serpents (which have been proclaimed by the Church of England to have a soul) and gryphons (about whom the debate still rages, though is erring on the side of them not).


The Horticulturalists were formed by Major-General de Vries in 1607, to handle the more unusual problems of the First Civil War, specifically an infestation of alchemically mutated plants in Hertfordshire, which gave them their name.

Their efforts training dragons during the Second Civil War, which contributed greatly to the English victory, caused the Queen to grant them autonomy as an organisation, as well as the right to add the the royal name to theirs. Prior to the Queen granting her name, the Horticulturalists were known as the Horticulturists. However, the document granting the right to use the royal name, penned by Queen Elizabeth herself, spelt it with the added “al”, and thus everyone else realised they'd been spelling it wrong for years.

Membership Requirements

The skills required by the Horticulturalists are so diverse that there are no set prerequisites for joining. Duties, however, increase with rank and so it is advisable to have relevant skills if you wish to be high ranking. Note, however, that the definition of “relevent” does vary somewhat—there is considerable demand for many different types of character

To have command of an animal, though, it must be purchased as a Quirk. The cost of buying a creature is reduced for Horticulturalists, and the animal will follow you if you leave, however the Horticulturalists do not take kindly to the loss of trained animals.


Barrow Boy (Rank 1)

The Barrow Boy is the lowest rank in the Horticulturalists. Although Barrow Boys have almost no resources at their disposal, and are often expected to do the dirtiest and most dangerous work, the possibilities of promotion are great.

Note: despite the name, Barrow Boys may be male or female.

Topiarist (Rank 2)

Note: If you have a gryphon, this is the lowest possible rank at which you can start the game.

Topiarists generally have some means of transport—normally the back of a gryphon—and have command over a small number of Barrow Boys. The witches and bowmen of the Horticulturalists are generally of at least this rank.

Tree Surgeon (Rank 3)

Note: If you have a sea serpent, this is the lowest possible rank at which you can start the game.

To get to the stage of Tree Surgeon, a Horticulturalist must somehow have proven him or herself, either as a capable commander of men, or as being able to control and manage some of the Horticulturalists' creatures. Unlike other organisations, it is exceedingly difficult to buy rank in the King's Horticulturalists.

Gardener (Rank 4)

Note: If you have a dragon, this is the lowest possible rank at which you can start the game.

There are only a small number of Gardeners in the Horticulturalists, each commanding a number of Tree Surgeons. As well as managing their forces and creatures, Gardeners are expected to find food and other supplies.

Master Gardener (Rank 5)

The Master Gardener is the head of the Horticulturalists, a post presently held by Bellerophon Tolliver. This rank can only be reached by another person in the event of Master Tolliver's death or retirement. The Master Gardener has complete control of the Horticulturalists and the resources at its disposal.

The Master Gardener

Bellerophon Tolliver (known strictly behind his back as Belle), has been the Master Gardner since the retirement of Edward de Vries. Upon taking the position, he has worked to ensure the security of the Horticulturalists as a fighting unit, taking swathes of Wales so that the dragons have dry land on which to practise. Gryphons are still mainly trained in the mountains around York.

Master Tolliver has never been a front line fighter, and despite running the Horticulturalists, he has never had much contact with the creatures in the organisation, and prefers to spend his time dealing with administration.


  • The Master Gardener may claim he has no creatures, but really he has dragons eating out the palm of his hand.
  • The Master Gardener is deathly afraid of any animal bigger than a horse.
  • The Master Gardener is a sea serpent.
  • Fighters? Naah. But those gryphons can do a beautiful arrangement of carnations.
  • You think our dragons are big? You want to see the ones they have in France!
  • All the Horticulturalists' creatures come from Zilmatillia.
horticulturalists.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/04 11:22 by helen