Friday, June 08, 2007

"The things you find when you put in an old data CD-R"

A long time ago, on an island far away,I was once a member of an ancient order now long forgotten- An RPGA ranked Dungeon Master. I had a membership card and everything (member ID#141888). I ran Living City, Living Jungle, and Even Living Death tournaments. I enjoyed the hell out of Living Death. I even submitted an article for Polyhedron. I never heard back from them. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

A secret organization for use with the AD&D Ravenloft “Masque of the Red Death” Gothic Horror Campaign

"Brother Santiago heard muffled voices coming from the double doors ahead as he moved silently down the mansions dark hallway. as he signaled his team to halt he adjusted the scabbard hanging on his back. He could feel cold sweat on his brow and a knot of fear growing in his stomach. Drawing in a short breath, he whispered a brief prayer in Latin, the fear disappeared, replaced with grim resolution. He was an instrument of the lord’s vengeance, a weapon trained to strike a killing blow against the minions of the Abyss.
These creatures were responsible for the death of several innocent children whose blood they collected to call forth the demons that they served. Even now he could hear the ritual chanting, the invoking of ancient forbidden names of purest evil. He had been told that agents of the church had just recently discovered the existence of this coven, and now he and his fellow members of the brotherhood would see to its destruction.
He signaled to Brother Marcus who then recited a prayer to determine whether the door was trapped or magically warded. As the prayer ended, Brother Marcus gave the “all clear” sign.
Drawing his saber and pistol, Brother Santiago gave the order for the assault. Brother Tobias rushed the doors and with one mighty swing of his sledgehammer smashed them to pieces..."

In 1199 AD Pope Innocent III convened a secret meeting of his most trusted Cardinals to discuss how best to combat the growing threat of the Red Death. The Catholic Church had been suffering greatly against the plots of the Red Death, and the brutality with which such plots were carried out. One of the primary reasons for the Red Death’s success lay in the fact that they made frequent use of sorcery, whereas the Church had forbidden the practice of magic on pain of excommunication.
After much discussion and debate the Pope decided that a small, dedicated group of Priests be organized and trained for the sole purpose of dealing with supernatural threats to the church. These young men would be extensively trained in the scholarly, martial and mystic arts. Including the extremely regulated use of magic, for which they were granted special dispensation by the Holy See. The existence of this organization was to be kept secret from all but a handful of the highest church officials.

The first recruits were summoned from all parts of the Catholic world, for the most part they belonged to Monastic orders such as the Jesuits and Michaelites. The candidates were chosen for their intelligence, physical condition and most importantly their unshakable belief in God and his Church. These recruits were taken to a remote monastery in the mountains of Spain where they were subjected to strict physical and mental discipline. Those who successfully met the stringent requirements were given intensive instruction in areas such as theology, Demonology and magical theory as well as swordsmanship and other forms of self-defense.
Using the virtually limitless resources of the church they were given access to an unparalleled library of occult works, mystic tomes, and ancient spell books.
This organization was named the Brotherhood of St. George (after the Cappadocian knight St. George the Dragon Slayer) but is known in cabalistic circles simply as “The Brotherhood.”

The Brotherhood operates out of a variety of church owned “sanctuaries” throughout the world, a hospital in Bombay, a seminary in California, a dockside warehouse in Shanghai, and a castle in northern England to mention just a few. These sanctuaries are well stocked with the most advanced equipment and weapons available. It’s even rumored that some of these sanctuaries may hold holy relics and items of mystic nature for use in the war against the Red Death.
Once accepted as a member of the Brotherhood the agents are exempted from the day to day duties of average church functionaries. They have no official parish nor do they report to a regular Bishop. They do of course retain all the privileges of the Priesthood (celebrating Mass, performing Baptisms, Marriages and Last Rites etc.) Their time is spent in training, research and information gathering. The Brotherhood is organized in cells of approximately four to six agents. Each cell has a Senior Brother who reports to a special Cardinal at the Vatican, who in turn reports solely to the Pope.
Members bear the mark of the Brotherhood branded on the upper right side of their chest (a serpentine dragon pierced by a cruciform lance) and all clergy regardless of their station are ordered by Papal Edict to give them any and all assistance without question.
Although the Brotherhood is a very secretive organization, there have been times where they have briefly allied with certain other cabals in order to defeat a common foe. They have assisted the Watchers to rid the Russian Royal Court of Doppelgangers and aided the Order of the Crimson Chalice destroy the Cult of Bhaal in Persia. There are also instances where members of the Brotherhood are “seconded” to other groups. And in some cases, leading members in other organizations such as the White Rose are actually Brotherhood agents who secretly monitor the efforts of said organizations to insure that their dedication to the fight against evil remains uncorrupted.

Mystic Kit

Agent of the Brotherhood

Class: Mystic
Ability Requisites: Wisdom 14, Constitution 12, Intelligence 12
Prime Requisite: Wisdom
Hit Die: D8
Attack as: Soldier
Save as: Mystic
Advance as: Mystic
Exceptional Strength No
Spell Ability? Yes
Exceptional Constitution No
Starting Cash: 2d6

Weapon Slots: 2
Additional Slot: 5
Nonproficiency Penalty: -4
Nonweapon Slots: 5
Additional Slots: 3
Available Categories: General, Arcane, Rogue
Bonus Proficiencies: Religion, Language (Latin)
Recommended proficiencies: Forbidden Lore, Ancient Religion

Description: a member of the Brotherhood is an extremely devoted priest whose sole mission is to protect the Church and it’s members from all supernatural threats. He is trained to take the battle to the enemy and to destroy the minions of the Red Death.

Role-Playing: As the existence of their order is not common knowledge, they will tend to adopt the role of a regular priest or even an average civilian in day to day dealings with others. But no matter how non-descript their appearance or demeanor, they display an unwavering devotion to their calling so that even when “undercover” they will conduct themselves within the tenets of their faith. Brotherhood agents are highly intelligent and resourceful. Because of the nature of their academic training they tend to first analyze a situation rather than rush in with guns blazing, yet they are capable of decisive action when the situation warrants.

Special Benefits: as a result of their martial training Brotherhood agents fight as soldiers of the same level. They are also able to request aid and sanctuary from any members of the Catholic clergy. Note: because the order is a secret one the Brotherhood frowns on agents using this benefit for mundane reasons (a free place to crash while in town or using altar boys as cannon fodder.)

Special Hindrances: Agents of the Brotherhood must be of Lawful good alignment.
As stated earlier the Brotherhood of St. George has been granted special dispensation when it comes to spell use (which is invoked in the form of a prayer), but they are limited in the spheres that are available to them. Only spells from the following spheres; All, Combat, Divination, Healing, Protection, and Sun can be used. Any deviation from this rule may cause a member to be expelled from the order and possibly even excommunicated.
And finally, as a member of the church the agent is always held to their priestly vows especially that of obedience, and as such the church from time to time will make demands upon the agents and they in turn are expected to comply without question.