Groups and Organizations

Please note that the existence and/or activities of some of these groups are secret. Please try to respect the privacy of the players and their characters, and do not advertise the group's existence -- in or out of game.

Under the name of each group you will find the creator or contact person for that group. If you want to use the group, please consult with the group's contact person, since the creator(s) will be able to tell you much more, and will be able to catch any conflicts or inconsistencies.

If you have a group to add, or a correction/addition to an existing group, please contact the CG Game World Chair.



Aurelians (The Order of Aurelius)

from Sam Gxailey:

(PC group)

The Order of Aurelius is an ancient and well-respected order of sages within Hesket. Founded on the teachings of Aurelius the Great, the Order began in Allondell, but has since spread to every civilized and even a few of the uncivilized countries. The University of Aurelius, in Tolbury, Allondell, is certainly one of the premier institutions of learning in all the world. Aurelians are widely respected for their knowledge, learning and the superior education to be had at their schools. Aurelians are widely known for their absolute fairness and impartiality. They are trusted by both nobility and commoner, and are often mediators in times of conflict. They are peaceful by nature, but due to the wide range of their studies many know the arts of war and will employ them for sufficient cause.

The Order is monastic in tone. Both sexes are welcome, though men make up a somewhat higher proportion than their female counterparts. Celibacy is not required, though many Aurelians are celibate by choice, seeing attraction between the sexes as disruptive to contemplative study. This asceticism carries itself to many levels. Flashy or ostentatious clothing is frowned upon, as are other excesses. When a novice enters University, he renounces worldly wealth and politics. When he gains his first ring as a sage he swears his adherence to Truth and chooses a new name, forswearing all other ties and allegiance. By tradition, names are taken from the teachings of Aurelius himself. Thus, Aurelians bear names like "Prosperity comes through Knowledge" or "Those who seek truth find Illumination". Mercifully, these names are shortened to "Prosperity" or "Seek-truth". Among themselves, Aurelians call each other brother or sister (if from your own university) or cousin (if from another). Though many Aurelians are ensconced in the white towers of their universities, many follow the path of Aurelius himself, who was a traveling, mendicant sage much of his life. Traveling Aurelians can be recognized by the distinctive staves they carry; atop the staff` is mounted a single large brass ring, which carries up to eight other rings, denoting the Sage's level of learning. Aurelians are welcome wherever they go, both for their tales and for the healing arts which all of them possess at least a little of. Lower ranks within the order are based on examinations; selection of higher ranks is murky, based on accomplishment, publications and ability.

The Order is based on the teachings of Aurelius, which are quite extensive, but it is particularly based on "the twelve exhortations". These are the last twelve instructions he gave to his students before (at the age of a hundred and seven) he took up his staff as a wanderer for the last time. Thus "Go ahead and publish, but you'll perish anyway" is a respected teaching of Aurelius, but not an exhortation.

The Twelve Exhortations Of Aurelius:

  1. Beauty is Truth, and nothing to excess.
  2. Live simply, for knowledge is without price.
  3. Knowledge is to be valued for its own sake
  4. Scorn no art, knowledge or circumstance. Goldsmith and tinker sit equal before Truth.
  5. Wear no blinders, follow no path, share your discoveries with all.
  6. Knowledge knows no politics. The affairs of king and serf are alike in the light of Truth.
  7. The way of the scholar is the way of peace.
  8. Ignorance is to be pitied.
  9. Knowledge must not be lost.
  10. Beware the cynic, for cynicism knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
  11. Truth is the only judge of Truth. Let no one presume to judge the worth of word or image.
  12. Knowledge belongs to the People. Let humanity be your highest goal.

Blossomites (Order of the Blossom)

from Alisha Rxichman:

The Blossomites are a group of Alians and Ubriallans devoted to bringing beauty and joy to Hesket by planting flowers and flowering trees in desolate regions. They usually travel in small groups or as individuals and are known for their talents in gardening and flower arranging. Many, although not all, are also talented in swordcraft, mainly for the purposes of protecting both their flowers and their fellow Blossomites from harm.

Brotherhood of the Binding Chain

from Alisha Rxichman:

The Brotherhood of the Binding Chain is an organization dedicated to the study of undead beings. They consist primarily of Traladosian monks, though there are also lay worshippers, and few worshippers and clergy of other gods, notably Brinning. Their goal is the eventual removal of all undead from Hesket and the prevention of the raising of undead, mainly by improving the present state of divine magics.

The Brotherhood was founded by Brother Spirit Chain, a devoted Traladosian monk originally from Allondell. While the Brotherhood's headquarters is located on the outskirts of Tolbury, the organization maintains several "research facilities" throughout Hesket, located in areas with known incidents involving unusual undead activity.

Many, though not all, of the Traladosian brothers take on a new name when joining the order, a name taken from Traladosian symbols (e.g. "Spirit Circle", "Iron Circle", "Steel", "White Fang".)

The Black Company

from Reese Cxorley:

(PC group)

The Black Company is an infamous mercenary company that is both feared and respected throughout Hesket. They have a reputation for merciless villainy, caring little about whom they work for. Yet at the same time, the Company holds itself to its contracts rigidly. Once paid, their loyalty is unquestionable. The Company sticks tight to their code of honor: they never reneg on a contract, and never leave one of their own to die. They pay their debts and "pay back those who choose not to honor theirs to us".

The Company saw its first action in Hesket during the Ennitarian war. The Company had fewer than 50 members at that time, and served under Sheriff Stephan Von Albrecht of Kislevia.

During the Vorskyr wars, the Black Company fought for the vorskyr, and were instrumental in the conquest of Outlook and Northwind. During the Yamamotoan invasion, the Company saw action on both sides. They fought for the Delonans during the defense of Napermo, and then, fought for the Yamamotoans a year later, once again during the defense of Napermo and the Azure Citadel.

Recently (1000 AI), the Black Company’s ranks have swelled, and they have seen relentless action. The group constantly sends out small squads to handle smaller jobs.

The Black Company’s banner is: On a Chief Sable, a skull argent, cabossed, a flame gules.

Blackfists (The Brotherhood of the Blackfist)

from Andrew Sxtoner:

(PC group)

The Blackfists are a Rannashite order founded in 448 by the Zdunarovan warrior Tallos Kerian "the Blackfist". The order is based in the Zdunarovan settlements on the borders of the Great Wastes, with its center in the city of Archtova. The order's main tenets are protection and vengeance: protection of those deemed weaker than oneself, protection of those who make an honest request for help, and vengeance if the protector fails the pact.

The order is very hierarchical, placing its priests at the top, then its warriors and lastly its mages -- though each of these has its place in the Brotherhood.

Brothers generally do not use last names, calling themselves "X son of Y" or using the last name "Blackfist" instead.

The Blackfists are known for their drunken brawls when Brothers meet and toast Rannash. (The first toast is always made to Rannash.) This is to remind them that even during peace they must not forget their vows or the sting of conflict. Even sober, bouts of fisticuffs are frequent among the Brotherhood.

Between the frequent brawling and the unorthodox cosmological beliefs, even other Rannashites consider the Blackfists a strange cult.

Bringers of Life Unbounded

from Jeff Yxaus and Jer Bxernstein:

(free to use)

The Bringers are an Ubriallan order of friars that believes in the beauty and sanctity of life running free. Its Brothers and Sisters are gentle and good-natured healers, and (being friars, and believing in running free) wander the world spreading their message and goodwill. Their philosophy means they tend towards advocacy of simple freedoms, and they have been known to work on the building of roads and blazing of trails.

Catalinans (the Order of St. Catalina)

from John MxcGann and Jen Jxoseph:

(free to use)

The Catalinans are a scholarly order of Majenirans who perform research in the healing arts. They are not in the business of healing everything that moves, but instead are scholars who study the healing arts for the purpose of healing.

Codexers (the Order of the Divine Codex of Justice)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Knights of the Codex are the most prominent Nennite order of military monastics (like the Knights Templar). They are fiercely dedicated to the code of justice and to Nen's principles. They dress androgynously (although armor and coifs go a long ways toward masking gender), and do not go by "Sir" or "Dame" but simply "Knight", out of respect for Nen's genderlessness. (A Codexer knight would go by "Knight David", not "Sir David".)

Codexers patrol the land seeking injustice and lawbreakers. They are well-respected among the people as just and free of corruption.

Commission of Common Faith

from Adam Mxorse, Sam Sxherry, and Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

Heresies in Northern Hesket are unusual, but they happen. The Collegium welcomes difference of belief, but also understands that there is a "common faith" shared by worshippers, and that various zealots and fringe cults may go against that faith. The Commission of Common Faith is a task force, appointed by the Collegium, that investigates sects, to determine whether those sects' unusual beliefs are heretical or simply unorthodox.

The Commission on Common Faith is an appropriate group for priests with Status who are members of large, well-established human religious organizations with conventional, commonly-accepted beliefs. Binding rulings by the Commission are undertaken by groups of three or more Commissioners, at least one of whom must be a priest of Nen.

Cosintines (Knights of the Order of St. Cosinti)

from Sam Sxherry:

The Cosintines are the newest of the three Balthazarian military orders, founded after the death of the Balthazarian crusader Cosinti in the Pious Crusade of 986-987 against the Marakhs. Cosinti was later canonized and many of those who served with him founded a new order in his name.

The Cosintines are much the same as the other two Balthazarian orders -- who, being long since established, consider the Cosintines to be green upstarts. By contrast, the Cosintines find the other two stodgy and entrenched in their ways.

Cosintines, upon joining the order, each take on a new name different from the one given them at birth, to show their "new life" in the order.

Crimson Standard (Knights of)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Order of the Crimson Standard is a royal knightly order (ala the British Order of the Garter or the Bath) awarded for service to the Kislevian crown.

The Cult of the New Gods

from Jer Bxernstein, Susannah Pxaletz, Dan Rxossi, Sam Sxherry, and Jeff Yxaus:

Note: The Cult is not well-known in Hesket at large -- only among select, unlucky people (like some of the PCs).

Historical info:

The Cult are a group of intolerant fanatics who believe that the old gods are unworthy and on the way out, soon to be replaced by a mysterious band of new ones. They believe they can bring about the advent of the new gods by helping to destroy the old ones (such as by destroying their churches and their clergy.) The Cult delights on profaning and desecrating churches and temples and killing their clergy.

The Cult desecrates temples whenever it can, usually killing priests in the process. "Desecrate" doesn't just mean "topple" or "destroy" - it means urinating on the altar, killing the clergy with their own holy relics, etc. etc. Sacrificing the clergy of the old gods is a time-honored Cult tradition, and the Cult will spare no aim (even resorting to "underhanded", "ignoble" or "immoral" tactics) to destroy the old gods' institutions.

Herein lies the Cultists' most gruesome tactic. In a combat, a band of swift-moving Cultists will attempt to sneak behind the front lines and kill all the clergy, or anyone wearing a holy symbol or showing visible piety to the old gods! This is not only an underhanded move, but will really hurt the PCs: after all, the priests are the healers, and if the PCs lose the healers, they're really screwed.

The Cult believes that attacking the old gods' institutions will weaken the old gods, making it easier for the New Gods to arrive. Thus they attack temples first and foremost, clergy second, and worshippers third (but a distant third - it's hard to kill 99% of all Hesket, now isn't it).

Cultists are, themselves, unable to use Cleric magic. This fazes them not a bit; they of course believe that when the new gods come about, it is they who will have all the Cleric magic, etc, etc, so it's just a matter of time.

Cultists suffer actual pain when a Cleric spell is cast on them (even if it's a beneficial spell.) The power of the "old" gods stings them. There is one exception: if a Truth spell is cast on them and is successful, the Cultist will suffer a stroke and die on the spot. The reason for this is yet unknown (but hey, a Truth spell is a priest channeling the power of a god into the target's mind…)

The average Cultist knows very little about what these "new gods" are going to be like. This doesn't bother most of them, because "all will be revealed" yadda yadda yadda. There is a vague sense that the New Gods play favorites more than the old gods do, and thus loyalty to the New Gods will be rewarded at the time of the great reckoning. Most Cultists believe that the Cult leaders must know the details about what the New Gods are like, and have full faith in them.

Current info:

Most of the Cult's leadership was destroyed in March 998, and with the head lopped off, the rest of the group withered and died. The average Cultist, adrift and losing momentum, either slipped back into a "normal" life or latched onto some other nutso cause. The Cult as an effective body is gone.

Cult of Steel

from Sam Gxailey:

The Cult of Steel are a secret society, a group of mercenaries who hold a strict code of honor, devoted to honorable and fair combat as they see it. They believe that in order to get honor, what you need to do is take someone else's honor from them by killing or conquering them. Honor is thus a shared possession between warriors. As one hero of the Iliad says to another: "Come, let us go forth into battle and either give some fellow honor, or win it from him."

The Cult is not public. They usually work under the auspices of mercenaries' organizations, and recruit individuals who impress them.

Any code of honor is exclusive; theirs is no exception. An insult from a fellow warrior is cause for a duel; an insult from a peasant is cause for a whipping. The only exception to this rule is for clergy. In every system of heroic honor, clergy and warriors are intimately associated. (Who is the first person a warrior calls for when the battle is done?) Therefore, clergy are protected under the warriors' code, even ones of opposing viewpoints. This protection continues until a person or sect proves unworthy of it, and the word is passed that The Code no longer applies. Most sects find that the protections of The Code are too valuable to lose, and abide by its tenets.

Soldiers, as a rule, dislike mages, and particularly dislike seeing them in a battle. Where is the honor in having some hoity-toity wizard death-spell you? A mage is not protected by the Code. A mage may be tolerated for his usefulness, but will tend to be distrusted, and the higher the level of the mage the greater the distrust will be. Nevertheless, mages often do make good employers, and the relationship between the mages' guilds and the mercenaries' guilds is usually one of strained truce. There are, very rarely, fighter-mages. In order to have the protection of the Code they must fight as fighters and cast no offensive spells in battle, except against monsters and other dishonorable types.

A thief is often a highwayman, an inferior fighter who has fallen on banditry to support himself. An honorable warrior regards this man as the lowest cur, and will slay him if it is convenient to do so. Other thieves tend to be streetwise daredevils, turning to crime out of necessity. A warrior is not as harshly disposed towards this type of thief and may even admire his devil-may-care attitude. But no warrior will be entirely comfortable with a thief's habits of back-stabbing, setting traps and theft, and the warrior may feel honor-bound to do something about these practices if they are blatantly done. Remember, too, that some warriors carry rights of justice, and may be called upon to try and pass sentence on thieves within their domains.

Cult of Steel Honor Code (approved and official):

A fellow warrior who yields honorably may not be slain, unless it was clearly stated before the combat began that there would be no quarter given. Once a warrior has yielded, all money, treasure and unusual/magical weapons he possesses are the property of the victor (he retains private weapons, but the value of his possessions may be figured against the cost of his ransom). A defeated opponent may be offered one of three honorable choices; Ransom, Service, or Parole.

Dierremont Irregulars

from Michael Dxavis-Wilson:

(free to use)

The Irregulars are the remnants of the Valennian mage corps. With magic disabled in Valenne in 997, the Duke no longer needed a loyal mage corps at his side, and sent the otherwise-useless corps to Delona to assist in the war. 95% of the corps died there, with most of those losses occuring in the liberation of Frignenza.

With the war's end, the Duke dismissed the corps altogether, rather than continue to pay them for a craft they could no longer practice at home. The surviving mages formed a mercenary company and now seek employment outside Valenne.

The Ferdinandians (Order of St. Ferdinand)

by Michael Dxavis-Wilson

(free to use)

The Order of St. Ferdinand is an Elunian order based in Tamplonia dedicated to the study of magic. For more information, see "Magical Traditions".

The Foundation

(PC group)

from John Exure:

The Foundation is an organization of mages dedicated to the scientific study of magic. Their main goals are currently to recover the lost knowledge of Sturia, to understand how Yamamotoan magic functions, and to fuse the two together into a unified magical theory. They are based out of Tolbury, although there are Chapter Halls in many of the major cities of eastern Hesket. Any mage is allowed to join, as long as they share the goals of the Foundation and are willing to do research.

The Foundation was founded in 812 by a small group of Allondine mages. These mages had realized how far the use of magic had degenerated since the fall of the Empire, and decided to try and reclaim the lost knowledge of Sturia. The small group soon expanded, both in numbers and in mission. Their new goal became reaching an understanding of the magical force which exists everywhere in nature. To this end, they have been working to transform magic from a mysterious art to a logical, coherent science.

The Foundation has made remarkable strides in recovering lost knowledge, and in a few small areas they have actually progressed beyond what the Sturians were capable of (as far as anyone knows). But despite these successes, they still have a very long way to go before they even approach the level of understanding that Sturia had achieved.

They have recently gained access to a new source of information, however - Yamamoto. The Yamamotoans have achieved a different understanding of magic than the Sturians, and this has provided a new perspective for the Foundation. Although they are currently baffled by Yamamotoan magic, they are confident that, with more information and more study, they will achieve new insights and gain new knowledge of how all magic works.

The Main Hall of the Foundation is located in Tolbury, and there are Chapter Halls in many of the major cites in eastern Hesket. The Main Hall is where the Foundation has its largest laboratories, most expansive libraries, and where the central vaults are located. These vaults contain one of the largest collections of magic items in Hesket, most of which are not fully understood. The Main Hall is also the meeting place of the Council, which is composed of 10 Councilors and the Head of the Council. They take care of administrative work and deal with policy issues.

Each Hall is always working on several major projects at once, and individual members are also expected to be doing work of their own. The quality and quantity of work determines a mage’s standing within the Foundation. All information, data, and resources are placed in the library of the Hall, and are made available to any who are seeking knowledge. Since the mere presence of a Foundation Hall attracts mages and tends to increase the level of magic-use nearby, most countries are more than willing to provide for the maintenance of a Hall (in return for certain favors which do not interfere with the operation of the Foundation). Thus, the Foundation does not have to worry much about money and resources. The Foundation takes on any mage who wishes to join them and is willing to help with research. They do not care about a mage’s past or about their current condition - all that matters is that they be dedicated to the goals of the Foundation. Members on average tend to be analytical and deep thinkers. They can also sometimes seem either extremely boring or quite on the edge depending on how fanatical they are about their work. Members occasionally go on extended journeys to seek information about something they are studying.

Although all members try to maintain a detached impartiality, there does unfortunately exist a small amount of politicking and ‘turf warfare’. Fortunately, thanks to the nature of magical research and the structure of the Foundation, this is mainly confined to the Council, although there have been some rather nasty cases involving allocation of resources.

Free Company of East Ragnorack

from James Gxregory

(PC group)

Captain Clappe (James Gregory) belongs to (and is currently captain of) The Free Company of East Ragnorack, Ltd, a privateering company drawn up along the lines of the 17th and 18th century ship owners partnerships. The company, along with others like it, varies in size between 0 and 10 ships, depending on the current luck of the company and how recently it has been dissolved for profit taking and reformed.

The Company always fulfills its contracts or legally dissolves them. Despite rumors to the contrary, Clappe realizes that mercenary companies are only as valuable as their word. He will however take advantage of any position for some profitable merchanting; however, that might not be quite as legal.

The Freemen Alchemy Consortium

from Andrew Sxtoner:

The Consortium is a large alchemist's organization founded by Stephen Freemen, after whom it is named. In early 998 one of the group's heads, Freidrick Devestasio, was named to the King Robert of Chardreau's council of sages. As part of his nomination, King Robert granted the Consortium a large meeting house and plot of land in Lorraux, making that city the premiere alchemical center of Hesket.

Membership is open to any character who fulfills these conditions:

Gatherers (Gatherers of Information Against the Cult of the New Gods)

from Anthony Rxobinson:

(PC group)

The Gatherers are a group commissioned by the Collegium in July 997 to investigate the Cult of the New Gods. When Presider Anne of Sordonne called for an investigation into the Cult's nature and activities, it was this group which did much of the work. When the Cult's aims became more visibly sinister, their stated mission became to "investigate, evaluate, and suppress their activities in the Kingdoms of Hesket," actively "removing" the threat of the Cult, one member at a time if need be.

Although given certain "official" bounds to work to work under, unofficially they were given free reign, which includes torture, execution, seizure, and temporary restrainment (within reason) if need be. Activities that would put them in conflict with local authorities were done on the quiet...sometimes people would vanish, untraceable. No connections have as of yet been made between these disappearances and the Gatherers, and likely never will.

When Abbess Elaine of Ornach became Presider and called for "swift retribution" against the Cult, they became more active. They are cold, calculating, more or less honest, and singleminded in their duty. The members must undergo a long, painful process of initiation into the Gatherers, in order to prove loyalty to the True Gods, the culmination of which is a truth spell cast on them by their head, Archbishop Marcus Selenus.

The head of the taskforce is Archdeacon Edward Racind, a priest of Nen, who reports to Archbishop Marcus Selenus. There are roughly twenty Gatherers, many of them who have died in their search, murdered by Cultists. Most of them are military religious, truly faithful foot soldiers, who are sworn to their mission, and brutally loyal to Racind. They are made up of three major groups of priests and clergy: Tiranon, Elune, and Nen (respectively the Hunters, the Information seekers, and the Judges.)

Racind reports back directly to Selenus, who reports directly to the Presider. He (Racind) and his group are directly answerable to the Collegium, and the ruler of whatever country he might be in.

Their symbol is a triangle pointing to the right; an arrow points up from the bottom of the left-hand side, going up and to the right, parallel to the bottom right side of the triangle.

Gypsies

from a bunch of people

There are a number of gypsy groups, which are detailed in the Gypsy document. You can download it from the player packets page.

Heathcliffites (Knights of the Order of St. Heathcliff)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Heathcliffites are a Balthazarian order of military monastics who seek to combat evil in the world (represented as a "rat" in Balthazarian metaphor.) They are similar to the Knights Templar or Knights Hospitaller of Earth. They are addressed as "Sir" or "Dame", but when talking amongst themselves will sometimes address each other as "Sister" or "Brother".

Brothers and sisters of the order wear a white surcoat with two red cats, as per their coat of arms.

Hobbesines (Knights of the Order of St. Hobbes)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Hobbesines are basically the same as the Heathcliffites -- except, of course, that the former have an intense rivalry with the latter, and neither group will admit that the two orders are similar in their philosophy and practice.

Brothers and sisters of the order wear a blue surcoat with two white cats, as per their coat of arms.

Iron Stars (Order of the Iron Star)

from Dan Rxossi:

(PC group)

Symbol: an ornate five-pointed star made of iron, usually worn as a pendant.

The Order of the Iron Star was formed about 700 years ago during the collapse of the Sturian Empire and the loss of central power and protection that entailed. They are dedicated to protecting humanity from the ratmen, who were rising at that time, infiltrating and disrupting what remained of the governments of old Sturia. To this day this remains the order's primary function. In the recent ratman war in Kislevia (in 992), a large number of the Order's members were sent in to deal with the problem and to act as military advisors to the Kislevians.

The order is spread throughout most of the northern kingdoms of Kjolnir, Kislevia, Cadfaigh, Ragnorack, northern Allondell, and has even spread to some of the areas in Kiljukan and Bilgosh.

Being a member or a knight of the order does not convey any status for a character. Also, one's rank outside the order has no bearing on one's rank within the order.

The Order is a semi-secret society, sort of like the modern Masonic lodges: they do not advertise or publicize and prefer to keep their membership and activities secret, but are not paranoid about it. However, the identities of the leaders of the order are always kept secret, as to prevent any assassination attempts and minimize the chances of infiltration by the ratmen.

Knights Particular

from Peter Mxaksym:

(PC group)

This order merely referred to itself as "The Order", but was nicknamed "The Knights Particular" because they tried to uphold a code known as the Particulars. In order to cover more ground, the knights were to avoid working in the same area on the same problem, particularly in the same way. This led to a very incohesive group. Over the summer of 996, it disintegrated, rather bloodily, and Diego (Peter Maskym's character) is one of the very few survivors.

Knights Protector of Nen

from John Exure:

(PC group)

The Knights Protector were an order dedicated to the service of Nen and Elune, who upheld truth, justice, the law, and fair play during the Sturian Empire and afterwards, and who were wiped out 200-500 years ago. Every single one of them was assassinated in a single day by some organization they had uncovered.

Sir Rolan (John Eure's character) was raised by monks and has decided that the Knights had the right idea, and that reviving them (even just by one person) would be a Good Thing. He is the only one left, as far as he knows.

There were three orders within the Knights Protector - the Order of the Hammer, the Order of the Eye, and the Order of the Blade. The Order of the Hammer was composed of clerics who served mainly as itinerant or town judges and clerics. The reason that they were superior to ordinary judges was that, like all Knights Protector, they were absolutely incorruptible and incapable of telling a lie (if a Knight ever tells a lie, s/he will immediately die; however, they are left with the ability to misdirect or leave out parts of the truth if they need to).

The Knights of the Eye were the more "hands on" branch of law enforcement. They usually acted as roving policemen or town sheriffs, etc, like in Kung Fu (the TV series).

The last Order, that of the Blade, was formed of military chaplains. They were strong front-line fighters who also had healing power, and enforced the articles of civilized warfare, back when there were any.

The Knights as a whole stayed out of politics and concentrated on the lesser aspects of justice. Thus, they were gladly welcomed into any land which was ruled justly, because they would basically be skilled, non-paid law-enforcement. Since they would not uphold or obey laws which were (in their experienced judgment) unjust or counter to the principles of Nen, they also tended to exert pressure on evil or corrupt rulers and officials -- since to have your laws publicly decried as wrong by servants of the god of justice was considered to be a Bad Thing, and tended to incite invasions (to free the common people from their wrongful oppression, of course). The Knights assumed broad rights of justice, but deferred to local authority when possible. They obeyed a long Code, which allowed a great deal of room for personal judgment.

Kyta's Fists

from Steven Axndreadis:

(PC group)

Kyta's Fists are a guerilla revolutionary group, formed during the Yamamotoan invasion of Delona, dedicated to the liberation of Napermo and the other islands from Yamamotoan control.

The Legion

from Matt Rxaftery:

The Legion are basically like the Mob. (Or like the "thieves' guild", if you insist upon using that term -- not that thieves would form a "guild".) They're the big band of organized criminals and have agents basically everywhere. "Legionnaires" are into theft, blackmail, murder, smuggling... you name it.

"The Mercenaries' Guild"

from Sam Gxailey:

The odd thing about the Mercenaries' Guild is that it doesn't really exist.

No, really.

The Mercenaries Guild has no structure, no assets, no chain of command, no overall guildmaster. It does not collect dues, appoint officers, give largesse or send ambassadors. There aren't even any guildhouses (though temples and monastaries of Rannash sometimes serve the same function).

What does exist is the idea of a mercenaries' "guild". It exists because mercenaries everywhere agree that it should.

The mercenaries' guild centers wherever there are profitable wars to fight. All mercenaries are regarded as members of the "guild", whether they remember signing up or not. A mercenary is defined as someone who fights for coin. (Not land or honor or feudal duty). If you have taken money in payment for military service you are considered to be a member in good standing of the Guild and you are expected to follow its traditions. It's as simple as that.

Some freebooters take coin and claim not to belong to the Guild. When this kind of fool shows up, real mercenaries smile knowlingly and soon a mercenary is found who will swear blind that the particular freebooter signed up at the seige of so-and-so. When the gentleman in question denies ever being within a hundred leagues of said city, all those who do consider themselves guild members will drift over, hands on hilts. A hush usually falls over the room and someone asks "you mean, you're a scab?"

There is only one punishment for scabs, though the accused is always given a last chance to sign up with the guild (usually by signing the back of a wine label). It is tradition that "new" members are always required to buy all older members a drink when they sign up. Thus, even the rawest recruit will swear he's been a member since the seige of such-and-such, and the Guild as a whole has very few membership problems. Since it doesn't really exist, the guild levies no dues; then again, there are few tangible benefits to claiming membership. Still, claiming to be a member says to other mercenaries that you accept the code of behavior the "guild" implies.

Rank within the Guild is based on rank held outside the Guild. Typically, the highest ranking mercenary officer in a region is designated the local "master", and he conducts matters in the name of the other "guild" mercenaries in the area. These "chapters" have no formal way of communicating with each other, and no power to enforce the decisions of their heirarchy. The Guild's only interest is in ensuring that contracts are honored (on both sides), that guild members are free to travel, and that the neutrality of its mercenaries is respected. Many wonder at how such a disorganized and haphazard organization can get anything accomplished, yet the Guild does have a certain respect; in part given by the tale of a certain earl. The Earl, desperate for troops and short of cash, once impressed a troop of mercenaries into his army without pay or contract. Two months later, a mercenary army of over twenty thousand men cast down the last stone of his castle, butchered any non-guild troops still in his service, sold his family into slavery, and sawed off one joint from his body a day, which they then fed to him, boiled. The Earl lasted three months, and died a shrunken man. The Guild may not be organized, but it does know how to get people's attention.

The Mercenary Code (not a GWC-approved code, just a character guideline):

  1. No pay, no fighting. Though Guild members will occasionally fight for personal reasons, the motto of the Guild is "no gold, no blood." Mercenaries don't fight for free any more than a merchant gives away his stock out of charity. Real mercenaries regard adventurers who engage in warfare as a part-time hobby with intense dislike. Knights and others who fight for glory are just plain crazy. Or stupid. Or both. The trade is dangerous enough without idiots like that cluttering up the battlefield.
  2. Contracts must be honored... on both sides. A mercenary contract is always written out formally. Though Guild members are chiefly concerned with making sure their employers keep their end of the contract, it is also recognized that mercenaries breaking their contracts is Bad For Business. Machiavelli said it best: "Mercenary captains are either very capable men or not. If they are, you cannot rely on them for they will always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, their master, or by oppressing others against your intentions; but if the captain is not an able man, he will generally ruin you." To counter this, there do exist customs of mediation between a Mercenary captain and his employer. Often, members of the Cult of Steel or clerics of Rannash judge these disputes, and every attempt is made to keep them fair. Oath-breaking mercenaries are tried by their own Guildmembers first; if found guilty the Guild may elect to punish them themselves or strip them of the guild membership and hand them to local authorities to deal with. The Guild rarely executes its own, except for mutiny, cowardice or treachery. But Guild gossip is long-lived, and a man stripped of Guild "membership" soon finds himself unemployable. Besides, it is well known that Rannash doesn't like oath-breaking soldiers and lets them get killed at the next handy opportunity.
  3. The brotherhood of mercenaries is to be respected. Part of the odd thing about being a mercenary is that quite often you are fighting other mercenaries, people you know and maybe even like. This is normal and proper, and by the "best efforts" clause of most contracts, you're honor-and-contract bound to defeat them. But defeat is as far as it goes; mercenaries always grant fellow mercenaries a chance to surrender if they can. (Non-mercs are another matter and can be slain if you want... Unless, of course, you're also a member of the Cult of Steel). Fellow mercs can be trusted to hold to their parole, and ransom is seldom demanded for anyone but their officers. Having to kill a merc in a fair fight is one thing; butchering a helpless brother after you've already won is evil. Exception: Some mercenary bands have formally declared feuds with each other. These bands do not attack each other if they don't have to (that's giving away free what you might sell) but if they do end up on opposites sides of a contract, there is no quarter between them.
  4. Unemployed mercenaries are to be free to travel. If there's one thing that unifies all mercs, it's the issue of travel and impressment. If a brother decides to fight without pay that's his own lookout, but no one forces mercs to fight without pay or contract. Ever. Similarly, if the lord a group of mercenaries has contracted to loses, the mercenaries immediately become non-combatants and are granted safe passage from the area. This custom is almost universally recognized, in part 'cause mercenaries that aren't granted safe passage have a nasty habit of cutting their way out.
A Standard Contract:

Article the 1st: Terms and players
By this contract the mercenary troop of_______________, Guild members in good standing, (Hereafter referred to as "The Troop") pledge to serve and if necessary fight at the orders of _____________ (hereafter referred to as "The Lord") or his/her designated successors from the period of _______ to _______.

Article the 2nd: Payments
In return for the services of the Troop, the Lord shall pay the Troop the sum of ______ marks as a hire-on fee, the whole amount to paid to the Troop's Captain upon the signing of this contract. Furthermore, the Lord shall pay the sum of ___ marks for each member of the troop who be alive upon the rising of the sun, said amount to be paid to and disbursed by the Troop's Captain. This wage shall be paid ____ (daily, weekly, monthly). The Troop shall be paid a bonus of _____ marks per man for every battle won, the whole amount to be paid to the Captain of the Troop. Upon the completion of the term of this contract, if the contract is not renewed, the Lord shall pay the sum of ____ marks to the Captain as Traveling Money.

Article the 3rd: Looting rights
When opportunity arises for the taking of loot, the Troop shall be free to loot the common men-at-arms upon any battlefield in which the Troop has emerged victorious. If more than one troop has engaged in battle, or if the army be mixed, then the battlefield shall be cordoned off and looting parties shall be formed of one officer and one common man of each troop that took part in the fighting; they shall strip the dead, and all the valuables thus obtained shall go to a common pot, to be disbursed as is right and fair, according the numbers and valor of each troop thus engaged at the battle. The Lord shall have indisputable claim upon the belongings and personal effects of any nobles and officers among the slain, but the Lord must in turn pay _____% of the fair value of any such items to the Troop. The tents, horses, pay-chests and other "commonly held" property of the opposing army are by right the property of the Lord, as are the ransoms of any prisoners of quality. But the Lord will, of his generousity, pay ___% of any ransoms so gathered to the Troop that took said prisoners captive. If the war be fought over treasure, the Lord may specify certain items that he reserves to himself alone, and the Troop must respect that claim, though the lord must pay a bounty of _____ marks for each item so recovered.

Article the 4th: Command
The Troop will be commanded by such officers as it sees fit, and these officers shall be responsible for the discipline of the Troop. Orders for the employment of the Troop shall be given by the Lord or his representatives to these officers and they shall carry them out according to the precepts of this contract, the rules and customs of armies and their own honor. The Lord shall not have the privilege of appointing his own officers to the Troop nor shall s/he have the power to split the troop except by the Troop's own consent. Also, no mercenary may be tried by the Lord's justice without first being tried by his/her own officers.

Article the 5th: Best Efforts
The Troop will do all in its power to effectively carry out the orders and wishes of the Lord, and to see that his cause prospers, except by the limits of this contract and the Code of War. The Lord, in turn, shall pledge that the troop shall be used as his/her own troops are, not used heedlessly nor sent before insurmountable odds.

Article the 6th: Medical Care
The Troop shall be responsible for the hiring of its own healers and this sum shall be included in the payments the Lord disburses to the Troop. However, should the Troop's own healers be busy, exhausted or casulties themselves, then the lord's chirurgeons must treat and care for the Troop's wounded as they would the lord's own soldiers, on the basis of triage and greatest need first.

Article the 7th- Prisoners and Ransom:
If in the course of war a member of the troop is taken prisoner, then he is still entitled to half pay while held by the enemy. If a member of the Troop so held gains his freedom by means of a parole, the Lord is bound to respect the mercenary's word and not order him against the terms of his vow. If possible, such a paroled man must be assigned to duty not in conflict with his vows; if no such duty exists, then he must be given severance and free passage to the borders. Members of the Troop who are captured and cannot honorably accept parole may be hired by their captor, save that their service may in no way be used against the the Lord until the term of their original contract has expired, as detailed in Article the 1st. These twice-employed men are not entitled to prisoner's half-pay. The Lord is not required to ransom members of the troop, except those detailed below:



Article the 8th- Retaliation
If, in the course of combat, the Troop is overrun or cut off, the Troop is still obligated to inflict as much damage as possible upon the enemy before surrendering. In such cases as when surrender is not possible then the Troop must inflict maximum damage in retaliation for their loss.

Mountain Wolf (Knights of)

by Jeff Yxaus

(free to use)

The Order of the Mountain Wolf is a royal knightly order (ala the British Order of the Garter or the Bath) awarded for service to the Ragnorackan crown. Its head is the Ragnorackan monarch. Its members include all the Ragnorackan peers, many of their knighted children, and other Ragnorackan knights who have distinguished themselves (e.g. during the war in Cadfaigh.) There are about 200 Knights of the Mountain Wolf.

Radical Purists (the sect of Radical Purity)

from Michael Dxavis-Wilson:

(free to use)

There is a movement within the church of Majenir that believes that all human woes and ailments are due to a lack of purity, which can be easily introduced through improper diet. Members drink nothing but water or fruit juice on special occasions, and eat grains, vegetables, and fruits at all meals. Alcohol and rich food is expressly forbidden. They have a certain "meat is murder" philosophy; why would you kill an innocent animal just in order to pollute yourself?

There are few members of the sect in the formal church hierarchy, but many wandering friars have joined the sect. Of late, Radical Purity has organized to form churches in regions where they feel their influence is particularly needed.

A large part of the sect's nature is that they have a purity-based philosophy rather than a virtue-based one, a sort of "better living through brown rice", with a healthy dose of sanctimonious "everything that sucks is your fault, sinner". Radical Purity members have a reputation for being convinced that everything most people eat is bad for them, and being more than willing to tell people about it.

Roudoigne Academy

from Alisha Rxichman:

The Roudoigne Academy is a institute with a rigid hierarchy, chartered by the duchess for research and education, and located on the outskirts of Sordonne. Acting in many ways like a standard university, the Academy accepts students, provides educational opportunities, maintains special libraries, and does skills-based research in a variety of fields. Some research is provided to various publications, but because the vast majority of the research involves topics of "importance to the security of Roudoigne", the libraries and much of the research are available only to members of the Academy. Most published research is in the areas of magic and metallurgy, although some more recent research has focused on creating more effective traps and finding more cost-effective materials for use in creating magical items. (Note: Among those who know of the Roudoigne Academy, it is common knowledge that they do not publish all of the research that they conduct.)

While many Academy members perform their research and other activities within the duchy's borders, others travel abroad in order to accomplish research goals and missions for the organization. Outside Roudoigne, the only ones who openly identify themselves as members of the Academy are those of the lower echelons and those conducting research on topics which the Academy superiors have approved for open publishing. While within Roudoigne's borders, though, most Academy members openly identify themselves as such.

The symbol of the organization, known as the Blind Eye, is a pair of concentric circles, usually modified with various odd lines and decorations. Despite the name, the Academy is not affiliated with the Elunian Church, although many of its members are Elunians. (For people intending to play as Academy members, the hierarchical colors for symbols are, from lowest to highest: white, yellow, purple, red, gold, black, silver, green, blue, and orange. Students should use white symbols, recent graduates staying on at the Academy or continuing their education should wear yellow or purple symbols, and those working on independent research for the Academy should wear red or gold. Those wishing to play colors higher than gold should contact the GWC.)

Silver Serpents

from Bob Sxweeney:

(PC group)

The Silver Serpents are a Nennite military order. The main thing that embodies the Serpents is Justice. Law and justice are two different things even though they usually work hand in hand. Here is an extreme example: A Serpent sees a man kill another man. The murderer is tried and found not guilty over a technicality. To see that justice is served, the Serpent kills the murderer. The Serpent would then turn himself over to the authorities and stand trial for his act. Most Silver Serpents take Honor, Honesty, and Law-Abiding.

The Serpents are led by the Grand Master. Beneath him is the Council of Nine, made up of three War-Mages (mind), three High Paladins (spirit), and three Lord Magistrates (body). Next are the Knights of the order, which are split into three distinct groups (as above). The first group holds the Battle-Mages and Apprentices. The second has the Paladins and Acolytes. The third has the Magistrates and Warriors.

After the Knights are the Footmen, who constitute the majority of the order.

The Council of Nine has to approve all appointments to Knight status. The Council could appoint you to a position but, then, you would have the choice of accepting it or not. While the order has a hierarchy, it never forces anyone to do something that they do not wish to do -- while all members were "chosen" by Nen (being "bitten by the Silver Serpent"), all members volunteered to join the order. The Serpent bites you, but you choose to travel to the monastery and join the order.

Footmen don't need any Status. The "lower" knights have Armsbearing. The "upper" knights also have Social Distinction. The Council and Grand Master have Prominence.

There are about 200 in the order. 10 are the Grand Master and the Council; there are about 20-25 "upper" knights and about 40-50 "lower" knights. The rest are Footmen.

Slitted Eyes (Order of the Slitted Eye)

from Tamaris Rxivera:

Devoted to watching the Paw of Fate, and its workings in the world, the Bathazarian Order of the Slitted Eye is a dual order. The Outer Sanctum acts in the outer world, gathering information for the Order, and dispensing the wisdom of the Inner Sanctum. The Inner Sanctum devote their lives to study of the fate of others and are forbidden to leave the walls of the convent, so to remained better attuned to Balthazar's will. The Inner Sanctum tends to be single-sex; the Outer Sanctum can be both but is also sometimes single-sex.

The order's abbeys are far and few between, and mainly self-reliant. They communicate with each other and the Cat's Curia, but on an infrequent basis - about once a year, or in case of emergencies.

The Abbesses or Abbots of each abbey are often gifted with some sort of ability, when chosen by Fate to lead the Abbey.

Song and Sword

from Alan Wxitt:

(PC group)

While Saranans are not generally warriors, the Saranan church recently created a military order, the Guardians of the Song and Sword. Its purpose is: to destroy bandits, the scourge of the wandering minstrel, wherever they may be found; to search out old songs, ballads, and epics of ancient times; to wander the road collecting what tales may be found; to inspire said tales, doing heroic deeds for personal glory and the glory of Sarana; and to protect the clergy and worshippers of Sarana wherever they may be.

The order enlisted the help of the minor noble Sir Drogo Kensington, a fervent Saranan, who donated a parcel of land from his estate in Allondell to be used as a chapterhouse for the new order. The order then began to recruit warriors within the Saranan laity. Such warriors tended less towards the aggressive militarism and more towards swashbuckling; as of 1005 there were about thirty members.

The ranks in the order are:

Initiates are novices. They must already be proven warriors when accepted, and are then trained to hone their skills and to teach them to basics of the clerical arts.
(Admission to the order requires at least Weapons 9.)

Once the novice reaches basic mastery, he or she is promoted to the rank of Brother or Sister. These members go adventuring, usually on simple bandit-killing or caravan escort missions, and are closely watched and supervised by a brother or sister in the order. When deemed worthy, they are let loose to wander as they please, though the order periodically sends them out on specific missions.
(To advance to Brother or Sister, Initiates should take a month off from games for “training”, though an initation run with a proven member is also acceptable. The character must also have Cleric Initiation.)

The next step is Guardian, jokingly referred to as “Bard-errant” within the order. While the order keeps holy weapons in trust for general use by the order, the Guardians each have their own weapon set aside for them alone. They are sent on the more dangerous missions.
(To become a Guardian, the character must have a permanent Holy Weapon, Cleric 1, and must have spent two months as a Brother or Sister.)

Finally, there are the Guardians Superior, who act as training masters and commanders in the order. Currently there are three, and the order wants to maintain a 10-to-1 ratio of Superiors-to-members as it grows. Generally, one is at the chapterhouse at all times, while the other conducts diplomatic missions and high-profile missions. The Guardians Superior answer only to the Knight Protector and to the Collegiate Saranans.
(Guardian Superior requires the knight kit for Status, Cleric 3, the Charity disad, and another three months in training.)

At the top is the Knight Protector, Sir Drogo. He has it good; as a religious order, his troops are exempt from the king’s levy,

Stimpites (Order of St. Stimpo)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Stimpite order, a Balthazarian order, are a band of friars (that is, monks who wander rather than remaining in a cloister.) They take vows of poverty, and avoid the use of the first person to emphasize the community. (For instance, a Stimpite friar might say "This one would like some milk.") They are addressed as "Brother" or "Sister", or sometimes "Friar" or "Friaress".

Stimpites wear simple robes of black and are otherwise unadorned.

Stimpite philosophy argues that it is better to reform "dogs" (the evil element) than to punish them, just as St. Stimpo developed his friendship with the self-serving Ren. Stimpites seek to provide care for the poor, since it is the poor who frequently must resort to crime and thus become "dog-like". Thus, they act much like Christian friars or monks from the real world, tending to the poor and downtrodden.

One difference between the Stimpites and their real-world Christian counterparts is that Stimpites acknowledge that the world is full of dangers, and Stimpites are permitted to bear arms. However, while they are permitted, they are not overtly encouraged. Many have no martial talents, and few will carry more than a simple staff or sword. (A Stimpite would never be seen in chain mail, shield, and sword, for example.)

St. Fiona's Apothecaries' Guild

from Jeff Yxaus:

St. Fiona's is one of the largest apothecarial guilds in Tolbury, Allondell. It is dedicated to (and named after) St. Fiona, the Furthanian saint of medicinal crafts, herself an apothecary.

Their symbol, worn about the neck, is a small letter "F", with a small mortar-and-pestle icon on either side.

The Storm Lords

from Dan Mxangold:

(PC group)

The Storm Lords are a professional mercenary group with a rather large contingent to draw troops from. They will always treat other mercenaries with respect. They are interested only in the money and risk involved, not what side they fight for. (The cause with the most money wins the contract.)

They will always strive to complete their contract within the stated terms of such contract. Although they rarely ever break a contract, they have been known (or unknown as it were) to work around the rules. (In their last great exploit they worked for the Duke of Valenne, but had a secrete treaty with Bertrande's mercenaries that all combat between the two parties was to be to subdue only. Didn't know that? ... well, see, that's what I mean about the unknown part.)

They have a great dislike for those who like to "change" contracts, and have been known to make a second contract with the opposing side and reveal this at times very inopportune for the original contract holder -- aka the 'screwer' gets screwed.

Otherwise they fight in an organized manner. Group formations and well-equipped forces keep their chances for victory optimal. Usually at least one mage and one cleric will accompany any group where there are equal to or more than six Lords, and even the mages and priests generally have weapons skill.

Their colors are green and black. They fly a standard of the white symbol on a field of green. Their commissions usually consist of a green cowl/hood, a green shirt, green breeches, black tabard, and the Storm Lord insignia (which they wear at all opportune times, undercover missions not withstanding.) The rest of their equipment tends to be a dark color.

Sylvesterites (Society of St. Sylvester)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Sylvesterites are an order of priests within the Balthazarian church. They seek to undermine the evil element through education and subversion. They are roughly equivalent to the Jesuits of Earth.

Triumphites (the Order of Heavenly Triumph)

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Triumphites are a Rannashite military order. Their current commander is Knight Commander Viktoria Pleneshovna, a Zdunarovan sister.

The Triumphites, like most Rannashite orders, are not generally as much the "chivalrous knight" variety as are the orders of the other gods. Triumphites are generally more like mercenaries, although they do require the cause to be at least somewhat just before they will get involved. Note that the money they accept is given to charity rather than to the troops, so unlike mercenaries they can't be bought out or otherwise motivated by greed. Being religious, they are also better disciplined than most mercenaries, rarely looting the countryside.

The Triad Society

from Jeff Yxaus:

(PC group)

The Triads are an association of mages aspiring to become a new mages' guild once they have sufficient resources. They maintain that the existing guilds have collective strength but are conservative and stodgy, while individual adventurer mages make new discoveries but lack resources and influence. They espouse exploration and discovery before founding their guild, so that their new guild will have the best of both worlds.

White Roses

The White Roses are a Caelti revolutionary group who take their name from the emblem on the Caelti coat of arms.

Wolf Watch

from Jeff Yxaus:

(free to use)

The Wolf Watch is an elite border patrol created by King Dmitri of Ragnorack in 999, whose express charge is to keep the passes between Ragnorack and Cadfaigh (White Wolf Pass and Innisfree Pass) clear and safe. It consists largely of ethnic Cadfainn. Members wear the Watch's own unique tartan, either as a kilt or as a sash.