Name: The cult is known by many names. Most notable are The Last Tribe (the name given to them by still-enslaved barbarians), the Order of the Avatar of Agratha (the name “given” to “themselves”, and Those Foul Heathens (the name given by the Church of St. Cuthbert).
History: The desert barbarians to the south have long been a simple folk with simple brains and simple faiths, mostly venerating their ancestors or animals or concepts like “nature” and things like that. At least, until the Church of St. Cuthbert got the bright idea to send their missionaries to convert the heathens. After a couple years of general disdain shown to the ways and faiths of the indigenous peoples, often using techniques we in the real world think of when we think of the Spanish Inquisition, the tribes rose up against the missions that sprang up like mushrooms in the oases of the southern deserts, slaughtering the missionaries.
Reprisals were harsh. Seeing the actions of the southern tribes as poor payment for bringing them “civilization”, the Church of St. Cuthbert petitioned the civilized nations to send a “peacekeeping force”. Plying the populace back home with tales of slaughter of priests and nuns from all of the “good-natured” lands, the peacekeeping forces were sent en masse and with no end. War ensued for forty years until the many barbarian tribes were enslaved or forcibly converted to the Church.
The story shifts at this point, so I will show the story known to the Order and to those outside the Church who have been following reports of the cult’s activities, and then show the true story.
All was lost but for a single tribe of 100 warriors, their village burned, wives and children abducted, and lands seized by the Church. Only one thing kept their hope: a powerful artifact said to be created by the progenitor of the tribe, the shaman venerated beyond all others, Agratha.
A many-faceted gem shaped into the form of a human hand, the Avatar of Agratha is rumored to hold the spirit of Agratha himself. When the Avatar comes into contact with one of Agratha’s descendants, he will possess the descendant and wipe out the enemies of the tribe. It is hoped that the return of Agratha will mean the end of the Church of St. Cuthbert. Until then, the tribe will continue to raid and pillage peacekeeper strongholds, liberating their bretheren.
The TRUE story:
All was lost, the tribes all either enslaved or converted to the cause of St. Cuthbert through mind-altering magic, but the Church still didn’t have what it was looking for, the reason for venturing South in the first place. The item known to the Order of the Avatar of Agratha is in fact an artifact capable of altering faith itself, the worst sort of God-killing artifact. Any cleric wielding it can sway well nigh anyone to their religion. Worse still, it leaves no memory of ever having faith in any other God, and its effect works in a radius measured in miles, not feet.
To the Church of St. Cuthbert, it is an item capable of spreading their dogma- the best dogma, the most pure dogma- throughout the world, and in the process, eliminate every other diety in the world. It is unknown how it was created, but those who know of its true nature know only that the High Priest Arden Molgrive first detected its presence in the world a hundred years ago. He claims that St. Cuthbert told him where to look in a dream, and as in the nature of the Church’s organization, he has gone unquestioned.
However, he could not pinpoint is location, just its power and the nature of its abilities, and that it lay somewhere in Barbarian lands. The solution was simple: convert the heathens and use their labor to find the artifact. When the process was resisted, the Church saw its opportunity and took it: they used the uprising as an excuse for a genuine invasion. Seizing the land by force, enslaving the barbarians, and taking their children to be raised as devout followers of St. Cuthbert, they all but annihilated the culture of the indigenous people.
Still the artifact eluded the Church. It was High Priest Arden who got the idea of taking a group of slaves and altering their minds to send them to look for the artifact. The Church selected 99 barbarian slaves for qualities known to lead to fanaticism, then subjected them to some of the most potent mind-altering effects known to the Church. Confident that their actions were for the greater good, they blanked out the minds of all knowledge of the ancestors of the barbarians and their experiences as slaves of the Church, implanting legends of a fictional shaman named Agratha and an item of such power as to bring him back.
These barbarians were then placed under command of their tribal chief, Gaelin of Agratha (really a Grand Inquisitor of St. Cuthbert named Finneus Keldin) and sent out to “avenge the downfall of the tribe and bring about the return of the Avatar of Agratha”. Leading raids regularly to make sure that the Church is viewed in a good light back in the civilized nations and thus ensure continued support and expand the size of the search party for the artifact that brought the whole mess about, Finneus/Gaelin’s job is a tough one that he (and the Church) are confident will bring about true religious homogeny.
The Dogma of the Cult: Agratha was the greatest shaman who ever lived, a force more powerful than the Gods of the invaders, but old age has taken his Avatar from the world. The greatest deed a member of the Order can do is to retrieve the Avatar and bring it to the tribal chief, who will then become Agratha himself. The Church of St. Cuthbert has committed unforgivable evil against the Tribes of the South, and Agratha will make the Church pay. In the meantime, it is the duty of the Order to liberate their brethren and give the Church an inkling of what Agratha will bring.
Impact on the world: The Order of the Avatar of Agratha has almost negligible effect on the major population centers of the North other than the tales of their exploits, which consist of freeing slaves (or as the Church says to the public, “tainting purified souls”, raiding peacekeeping forces’ camps (“Burning missions!”, and occasionally showing clerics that they’re not that bad (“Kidnapping our priests and committing spiritual rape, perverting their minds and tempting them to Sin!” but actually drawing more clerics to watch over the Avatar search parties and make sure the searchers don’t figure things out). Now numbering in the thousands, the Order has over a hundred members in parties of four or five searching for the Avatar while the others fight a guerilla war of distraction, each with a “converted” cleric to lead it.
The leader of the cult: Tribal Chief Gaelin / Grand Inquisitor Finneus Keldin LN Male Human Cleric 18 of St. Cuthbert; CR 18; Medium Humanoid; HD 18d8+54; HP 135; Init +0; Spd 20 ft.; AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +13; Grp +16; Atk +19 (1d8 bludg.+2d6 holy +2d6 lawful +3/x2 crit, +3 holy axiomatic heavy mace); Full Atk +19/+14/+9 (1d8 bludg.+2d6 holy +2d6 lawfu +3/x2 crit, +3 holy axiomatic heavy mace); SA: spells, turn/rebuke undead, Smite; SQ: spells, Strength Domain granted power; Saves: Fort +14, Ref +5, Will +16; Str 15, Dex 11, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 21, Cha 18.
Spells: Gaelin/Finneus casts spells as an 18th level Cleric, favoring spells that aid his masquerade as the “Tribal Chief” and will impress the barbarians which he leads. Domains: Gaelin/Finneus has the Destruction and Strength domains. Smite: As his granted power from the Destruction Domain, Gaelin/Finneus gains a +4 bonus to hit and +18 damage for one attack per day. Supernatural Strength: As his granted power from the Strength Domain, Gaelin/Finneus gains a +18 enhancement bonus to strength for a total of one round per day. Activating this power is a free action. Turn/Rebuke undead 8/day.
Possessions: 1 +3 holy axiomatic heavy mace, +2 Hide armor, Ring of Protection +3, Ring of Sustenance, Crystal Ball (used to access his holy symbol- to turn undead and as a focus for prayer- which is kept in his quarters in his home back in civilization) Languages: Common, Celestial.
Typical member of the Order of the Avatar of Agratha: Male human warrior 2; CR 1; Medium humanoid, HD 2d8+2; HP 14; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12; Base Atk +2; Grp +3; Atk or Full Atk +5 melee (1d8+1 piercing/x3 crit, masterwork spear) or +2 ranged (1d8+1 piercing/x3 crit, spear); SA:-; SQ-; AL CN; Saves: Fort +4, Ref +3, Will -1; Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8. Possessions: 1 masterwork spear, 2 regular spears, masterwork leather armor. Languages: Common
Special Notes With this cult, I wanted to create something… different than what people think of as a cult. There are no Black Masses, no human sacrifice, no cannibalism… Just a group of ancestor worshippers wishing to destroy the Church that enslaved them and eliminated their traditions, but are in fact serving the very Church they loathe. Membership is fairly lax… If you’ll fight for them, you’re in. The Church is, in general, not worried at all about the “threat” posed by the Order of the Avatar of Agratha… After all, if they succeed in finding the “Avatar”, the Church will be victorious, and the Church has the support of the civilized world.
With regards to adaptability, I have used only the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide for game mechanics, with Sharn: City of Towers referenced for stat block organization only, and by no means does a DM require that particular book to use this cult. I have used one variant in concept, however: an alignment system in shades of grey, much like in the Eberron Campaign Setting. Good and Evil are largely subjective with regards to motives, but however righteous the Church and the Order may feel they are in THEIR cause, I have kept both the leader of the Order and the typical members Neutral to reflect the fact that many DMs still prefer to use the Universal Force theory of Good and Evil in their campaigns. Also, I have not detailed the actual powers of the “Avatar of Agratha” in case a DM would like to have the plan backfire on the Church.
Story Hooks The party are scouts in the peacekeeping forces sent to "neutralize" the "barbarian threat", kidnapped and given-for the first time- the Order's side of the story. Do they help the Order find the Avatar, or do they work to escape and help the Church "eradicate" the Order?
Devout followers of St Cuthbert all, the party is sent to teach the children of the barbarian slaves the ways of the Church. Caught in a raid along the way by an Avatar search party, they are told the way of things by the attending cleric. Knowing now for the first time the nature of the Order, do they still feel the same way about their "holy" mission? Do they help to find the Avatar knowing what it really is to spread the glory of St. Cuthbert, or do they adventure to destroy it and preserve free will and choice in worship?
Members of the Order of the Avatar of Agratha, the party finds from a cleric of St. Cuthbert that the Avatar is not what theyare told it is. Do they tell what they have found, or do they disregard it? Do they let doubt hinder their search?
In Brief: Arsilan is a strongly chaotic and (generally) good deity, whose followers are rightfully considered dangerous rebels. His domains are Chaos, Good, Trickery, and Protection. Some sort of Sacrifice domain would be appropriate, but I leave that up to the discretion of any DM who chooses to use this cult. The idea of this cult assumes the presence of a primitive nomadic society that has been subsumed by a larger conquering one.
History: Arsilan is a demi-god originally honored by a nomadic plains-people who were subsequently conquered and ‘civilized’ by a much more orderly agricultural society. In the requisite battles He is said to have stood by His faithful to the last, eventually being defeated and bound in an extraplanar prison by the gods of the conquerors. Several hundred years passed until, quite recently, His followers managed to free Him…only to find His people economically downtrodden and/or enslaved by the conquerors.
Goals: Despite the vast changes society has undergone since the conquest, the worship of Arsilan is strongly colored by the ways of the original nomads…who largely lacked modern conceptions of property. The cult of Arsilan actively seeks to destroy the underpinings of the current society, especially including government, legal institutions, stratifiction by birth (caste or nobility depending on setting), and standards of ownership. Ownership of land, businesses, and people (as slaves, serfs, or indentured servants) in particular is held to be morally wrong.
Beliefs: Liberty: Most notable among the rites of his faithful is the Vow of Self-Determination, which proscribes the venerators from allowing their fates to be decided by others or “Holding dominion over Man nor Beast.” Followers are forbidden from owning slaves, governing others, or owning animals/livestock (the plains-nomads were hunter-gatherers). Animal companions or pets that follow a cultist around by their own will are accepted.
Self-Sacrifice: Also strongly associated with the cult is the concept of Self-Sacrifice and Martyrdom…which is rapidly developing into part of Arsilan’s portfolio. The height of spiritual enlightenment is said to be gained by giving up some central aspect of one’s life, especially (though not necessarily) for the benefit of others. Particularly zealous cultists have been known to suddenly give up their family fortune and live as beggars, cast off their arms and armor (when soldiers), refuse to cast spells again (when wizards), or even cut off limbs/gouge out their own eyes as symbolic acts. Many of the “Sacred Vow” feats from the Book of Exalted Deeds are very fitting here.
Rituals/Worship: Aside from generalized teachings, comparatively little in the way of formalized prayers or hymns are offered, though there ARE a number of rites. In general, it is thought to be better if a worshipper creates his own prayer or writes her own hymn. It is considered disrespectful to kneel before a holy place. Offerings, given regularly, are an important part of worship, and supposed to be of significant sentimental or personal cost (see Self-Sacrifice, above). Living sacrifices are never offered. Followers also rarely use obvious shrines, most often leaving offerings at old and secluded places such as graves, odd stones, or ancient altars about the countryside. Offerings are collected by anonymous clergy and used to promote cult purposes. Arsilan is prayed to for health, safety, freedom from bondage, and general improvement. Because worship of Arsilan tends to be illegal, cultists generally use masks and magic to hide their identity when dealing with others of the faith. It is considered to be safer if one is incapable of giving away another’s secrets.
The cult attracts a highly diversified group of followers, but nearly all of them are from the lower classes. Clerics, Rogues, and Commoners make up the bulk of the worshippers. While not technically a nature god, Arsilan’s socioclastic teachings might very well be suitable for druids…particularly if the nomadic culture He arises from had a natural bent.
Symbology: The symbol of Arsilan is the Blue Asphodel (any real-world similarities purely incidental), a small plains flower that blooms early in the spring when winter still holds sway over the land. Cultists often recognize each other by this symbol, worn behind ears, serving as decorative wreaths or freshening sachets, and frequently growing at significant gravesites, old monoliths and altars where anonymous travelers might encounter each other. Clothing or accoutrements of pale blue are also used to show faith/loyalty. An open or broken ring, symbolic of freedom and broken chains, is also sometimes used.
Institutions: The cult maintains a number of different institutions to promote and hide it’s activities. Primarily it is associated with thieves’ guilds, using the guise of greedy profiteers to undermine the concept of property. The cult may completely control such a guild, using it’s revenues to feed the poor, free the imprisoned, purchase slaves (if present) so as to release them, or generally foment rebellion. In such cases, the Blue Asphodel is often used as a symbol of the guild itself. Elsewhere, cultists may simply provide clerical magic or other services to more legitimate guilds…which by their very nature still tend to promote the cult’s agenda.
Cultists also tend infiltrate or take over ‘low charities’, such as lunatic asylums, leper (or other disease) colonies, and poorhouses. These establishments provide excellent cover for gatherings of those disaffected with society, as well as prime grounds for seeking out converts and charitable causes for collected offerings.
Finally, the cult may infiltrate coffeehouses, inns, taverns, and sometimes even brothels. Notes may be anonymously left at rooms, or with bartenders. Furthermore, such environments provide excellent grounds for expressing or inciting dissatisfaction and rebellious philosophy.
Statistics: Current Leader: There are none. Members of the cult are expressly forbidden from leading or following a leader.
Example of a Follower: Joachim Stonebright. Male Human, rogue 1/cleric 1. AL: CG; CR 2. HD: 1d6 + 1d8; hp 14. Init +0; Spd 10 (see below); AC 13; flat 11; touch 12; BAB/Grp +0/-1; Atk +0 melee (1d4/19-20, MW dagger); SA: Sneak Attack +1d6; trapfinding; turn undead 4/day; SQ: Broken leg (see below); Fort: +2; Ref: +4; Will: +6; ST 8 DX 14 CN 10 IQ 13 WS 15 CH 12. Feats: Deceitful, Iron Will. Skills: +6 Bluff, +2 Concentration, +5 Diplomacy, +8 Disguise, +3 Forgery, +5 Gather Information, +6 Hide, +3.5 (1 cc rank) Knowledge (Religion), +6 Listen, +6 Move Silently, +6 Sleight of Hand, +6 Spot Equipment: Crutch, begging bowl, dried blue asphodel (Holy Symbol), padded armor, MW dagger, ratty clothing, disguise kit;
Notes: Joachim disguises himself and frequently lives as a ratty beggar, the better to escape notice and reach “the common man”. He deliberately broke his leg to honor Arsilan, resulting in a reduced speed and likely some skill penalties (left to DM discretion).
Notes on Inclusion in a Campaign: This cult was specifically designed to add some moral quandary and complexity to class struggle in a game society. If the society the cult is rebelling against is largely good, it’s entirely possible to have Lawful Good forces coming into violent conflict with Chaotic Good forces. In keeping with discussions of the term ‘cult’ as used in the original post, the cultists are intended to come across as disturbing, extreme, and possibly evil-- at least when first encountered. After all, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. And vise versa.
History The Cult of the Adamant Beast is a relatively new group worshipping clockwork machinery and manufacturing clockwork items of supernatural craftsmanship. It was first formed when Brendlen, the founder of the Cult, was just starting a career as a soldier in the army of the expanding Klax Empire. Brenden had been appointed as a squad leader because of his natural ability to improvise in the heat of combat. Unfortunately, his squad had been placed on the front line in an assault against an elvish stronghold. Every member of his squad was slain, but Brenden miraculously survived the magical fires of his enemies, only to be captured. During his thirty years in solitary confinement Brenden was visited by the extension of an imprisoned deity, and taught in the arts of divine magicks and machinery. Two weeks before he was to be released, Brenden reduced his magically fortified prison to rubble, killing every elf and arcane spellcaster inside, then returned to the dwarven metropolis of Idnos on foot. Brenden started the Cult in Idnos with a few close friends, using a clock shop as their front. The works of this so-called "Clockworker's Guild" quickly became renowned for accuracy and durability, and Brenden began to set up the layers of membership in the Cult that exist today. When he had acquired the vast sum of money to purchase a small adamantine mine in the mountains, Brenden performed an impressive demonstration for the leaders of the Empire which got him a military contract to manufacture armor for elite units. Today Brenden's work can be seen everywhere in the Klax army. Even lowly footsoldiers use powered armor and chainswords. The Clockworker's Guild is the largest employer in the Klax Empire, and singlehandedly supports its military machine.
Beliefs Brenden believes that he represents a creature known as "the Adamant Beast", which manifests as a fluid mass of complex, saw-edged adamantine gears. The Beast once ruled the plane of Mechanus, but it was betrayed and cast down by Primus because Primus did not believe that it followed the tenants of Absolute Law closely enough. Now the Beast is being aided by Brenden to draw magical energy from the Prime Material Plane in order to restore itself to its former power, after which it will exalt the Geartouched to be rulers over the Prime Material. Only Brenden knows that once the Adamant Beast has been restored, it will turn the Prime Material Plane into a realm of Law (much as Mechanus is), kill every creature that resists becoming Geartouched, and enslave the creatures that do become Geartouched. Brenden has been promised a place as the Beast's High Priest, and that the curse of law will be lifted from him so that he can freely travel to other Prime planes to spread the Beast's work. The members of the Clockworkers Guild, in the employ of the Cult and technically part of it, don't know anything concrete, and only manufacture machines that use the Void Gears as power sources.
The Cult itself creates Void Gears, perpetual adamantine clockwork machines which suck magic from around themselves. Void Gears are usually black, adamantine cogs which never seem to stay in the same complex configuration. Even people who use the same Void Gear for years will admit that they can't ever pick out a particular reference point on the device. A Void Gear always seems to have a piece sticking out that will fit into whatever piece of machinery is on hand. Only members of the Cult, specifically the Geartouched described below, are capable of creating Void Gears. The process requires large amounts of adamantine, since parts of the machinery extend onto the Astral Plane, and is kept as a close secret. The Cult uses the guise of the Clockworker's Guild to employ dwarves in manufacturing armaments that can be powered by the perpetual machines. Skilled craftsmen who work with the Void Gears will become tainted by the radiant Lawful energies that the Gears produce, and eventually become Geartouched. Void Gears are used to power clockwork machinery, and in the Klax Empire titanic Void Gears are used to provide electric power to cities, often in exposed positions as a demonstration of power. Brenden has used his influence and wealth to manipulate the Klax Empire, mostly to provoke war against nations that use large amounts of magic. A common Void Gear will only draw the energy used by a cantrip from its surroundings in a day, but Void Gears used in combat involving magic will absorb huge amounts of energy. Since the Klax Empire uses Void Gears to power most of its weapons and armors, Brenden sees this as the quickest way to revive the Adamant Beast.
Every active Void Gear generates an antimagic field as the spell with the following exceptions: -The radius is 1' per pound of the device -A spellcaster can make a DC 20 Spellcraft check or caster level check when he casts a spell to make it last for one round in the field (enough for a spell with a duration of Instantaneous to operate normally) -The spell antimagic field will cancel and be cancelled by the Void Gear's field -When a Void Gear is in the field of another Void Gear the field becomes centered between them and the radius is determined by the total weight of the Gears.
A hand-sized Void Gear can be forcibly stopped for one round with a DC 25 Strength check, dealing 1d6 points of damage on a failed check, after which it can be held still by any material with Hardness 15 or higher. A stopped Void Gear does not generate an antimagic field, and can be restarted by a simple push. This only represents a common Void Gear. Greater versions would have a higher DC to cast spells in the field or a larger radius. Void Gears are never found on the market. Brenden sends Cult members to track down Gears that aren't being used in the armies of the Klax Empire, and any character who carries one will become a target within a month.
Brenden Oilbeard, Venerable Geartouched Dwarven Servant of the Adamant Beast Medium Humanoid (Dwarven, Law) Fighter 2/Cleric 20 HD: 2d10+20d8 (180 hp) Initiative: -3 Speed: 60' Armor Class: 20 (-3 dodge, +3 Divine Deflection, +10 armor) BAB/Grapple: +15/+15 Attack: +6 Chainsword of Axiomatic Power +21 melee (1d10-1 bludgeoning and slashing and law, 17-20/x2 vorpal) Full Attack: Chainsword +21/+16/+11 melee (1d10-1 bludgeoning and slashing and law, 17-20/x2 vorpal) Special Attacks: spellcasting (Law and Artifice domains, Artifice is from page 104 of the Eberron Campaign Setting), rebuke undead Special Qualities: Immune to polymorphing, petrification, energy drain, ability drain, ability damage, and mind-affecting effects, Dwarf Traits, DR 10/Epic and Adamantine, Fire Resistance 5, Spell Resistance 32, 50% Fortification, 20' radius antimagic field Saves: Fort +14 Ref +3 Will +25 Abilities: Str 6 Dex 4 Con 10 Int 15 Wis 26 Cha 17 Skills: Craft(Clockwork) +28, Spellcraft +22, Intimidate +8, Diplomacy +9 Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Chainsword), Combat Expertise, Blind-Fight, Endurance, Diehard, Scribe Scroll, Improved Critical (Chainsword), Heighten Spell, Combat Casting, Leadership CR: 25 Equipment: +6 Chainsword of Axiomatic Power, Holy Symbol, 2 scrolls of miracle, 3 potions of heal Alignment: Lawful Neutral Divine Rank: 0
Brenden is well into his fifth century, thanks to the immortality granted him by his Divine Rank. He is an wrinkled, stooped Dwarf with white hair, and he conceals his body (and the black gears that coat him) in public with a tightly wrapped dark cloak. Despite his age, Brenden carries himself with dignity and power that would be expected of a person who has been chosen by a deity to be the leader of its cult. Brenden is the only cult member who truly understands the Adamant Beast.
Geartouched Dwarven Cult Initiate Medium Humanoid (Dwarven, Law) Expert 2 HD: 2d6 + 6 Initiative: -1 Speed: 20' Armor Class: 19 (-1 dodge, +10 armor) BAB/Grapple: +4/+4 Attack: Chainsword +6 melee (1d10+1 bludgeoning and slashing, 19-20/x2 vorpal) Full Attack: Chainsword +6 melee (1d10+1 bludgeoning and slashing, 19-20/x2 vorpal) Special Attacks: none Special Qualities: Dwarf Traits, DR 10/Adamantine, 50% Fortification, 20' radius antimagic field Saves: Fort +6 Ref -1 Will +1 Abilities: Str 19 Dex 8 Con 16 Int 13 Wis 12 Cha 6 Skills: Climb +9, Craft(Clockwork) +6, Disable Device +6, Disguise +3, Jump +9, Listen +6, Spot +6 Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Chainsword) CR: 4 Treasure: goods Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Geartouched A Geartouched creature is a creature that has become a conduit for the Adamant Beast, much like a Void Gear. Any creature that is in direct contact with one or more Void Gears over an extended period of time has the potential to become a Geartouched. A Geartouched creature has some or all of its body covered with minute adamantine gears in a seemingly random configuration. A Geartouched creature is in continuous empathic contact with the Adamant Beast, and Brenden can track its location within one mile. With a few notable exceptions, only Geartouched Dwarves are initiated into the Cult. Cult members who disobey Brenden are swiftly assassinated.
The Geartouched template can be applied to any creature with a Constitution score and 5 or more ranks in a Craft skill. A Geartouched creature uses the base stats of the normal creature with the following additions: -Creature's alignment changes to Lawful and the creature gains the Lawful subtype -Creature gains a +10 armor bonus, DR 10/adamantine and becomes incapable of wearing armor, this does not inucr any armor check penalty, maximum dexterity bonus, or arcane spell failure -Creature gains a +4 bonus to Strength -Creature gains Medium Fortification (50% chance to ignore critical hits or sneak attacks) -Creature generates an antimagic field as noted for Void Gears above, but the DC to cast a spell in the field is 30 and the field covers a 25' radius for Large creatures, 20' radius for Medium, and 15' radius for Small creatures -Creature can take 10 on checks to cast spells through antimagic fields generated by Void Gears or Geartouched, and does not need to make checks to cast spells through his own field CR +3
This template is not suitable for PCs.
Equipment of the Guild
Chainsword Two-handed exotic clockwork sword, 1d10-5 bludgeoning and slashing, 19-20/2x, vorpal. Hearing an active chainsword is a DC -30 Listen check. 100,000 gp, 20 pounds, Craft DC 29. Chainswords used to be steam-driven, with an exceptionally strong Dwarf carrying a pressurized steam canister on his back to drive it. The chainswords currently used in the Klax empire can be powered by a 5 lb Void Gear.
Power Armor Power Armor is a clockwork pressurized suit of full plate. It grants its user DR 3/-, a +14 armor bonus to AC, and 50% fortification against sneak attacks and critical hits. It denies its wearer any Dexterity bonus and imposes a -20 armor check penalty. Arcane spells with somatic components cannot be cast while wearing it. Unless the wearer of the Power Armor has the Power Armor Proficiency feat, he takes 2d6 points of subdual bludgeoning damage each round (Fort 17 for half) unless he only makes one move action or one standard action. If the wearer does not have the Heavy Armor Proficiency, he takes the normal penalties associated with that. 40,000 gp, 70 pounds, Craft DC 34. The suit of Power Armor noted above includes a 20 pound Void Gear as its power source. Like any suit of fullplate, Power Armor has to be fitted for its wearer, which costs 5,000 gp.
History The average folk, even the nobles, are unsure of the origins of the cult. One day you will be out tilling your field, and you will see a strange fellow walking into town clad in a light green, hooded robe. Then the next day you will see two, then three, four, five and six. Then you will begin to see people clad in bright green robes leaving the town. Most towns beset by the Hihatchi cult will tell you that they have been coming steadily from the west, and then have been slowly making their way east.
But what most people do not know, and probably will never know, is that the origin of this cult extends deep into the bowels of the space-time continuum. For in the infinite multi-verse there exists a corporation known as Hihatchi Incorporated. This corporation has recently begun to dabble in the art of inter-dimensional travel and has proceeded to extend its will onto other dimensions and worlds. Being that this world, and many like it, are technologically handicapped compared to the Hihatchi Corporation, they make the perfect targets.
In this particular scenario, some big-wig of the Hihatchi Corporation put into plan an initiative to commercialize numerous dimensions. Their motives may not be entirely known, perhaps to create entire markets utterly loyal to Hihatchi Incorporated, or perhaps have a loyal base of drones so the Hihatchi Corporation has numerous worlds to draw upon for unlimited resources and raw materials. Whatever the reason, having such markets and resources at ones disposal can only be good.
In this particular world, Constantine Hanzapolous, an agent of the Corporation has been sent to spread the “eternal grace” of Hihatchi. He travels the world, spreading the dogma of Hihatchi. Once a small base was established in a town he appointed High Priests and instructed them to spread the grace of Hihatchi.
Constantine began to supply his fellow cult members with reading material and books about Hihatchi. The nigh unlimited resources of the Corporation allowed for mass production of books and pamphlets to be spread amongst worlds. This world has never seen a media campaign of this magnitude, and many quickly succumb to the messages of Hihatchi.
Constantine then began to travel in this fashion for who knows how long.
The Graces of Hihatchi (beliefs)
For the sake of brevity, The Thousand Morning Graces of Hihatchi, The Thousand Afternoon Graces of Hihatchi, The Thousand Evening Graces of Hihatchi, The Thousand Morning Disgraces of Hihatchi, the Thousand Afternoon Disgraces of Hihatchi, and the Thousand Evening Disgraces of Hihatchi will not be listed here.
All Hihatchi cultists beleive that Hihatchi is a god that has been long traped by all the other gods. Now, Hihatchi has freed himself by finding ultimate enlightenment in the form of peace and pacifism.
The purpose of the so called god Hihatchi is to spread peace and prosperity. All cult members believe in resolving conflicts with words. Words like: teamwork, understanding, working together, friendship, and prosperity.
Hihatchi cult members are not allowed to own property or possessions. When inducted into the cult, all of the one’s possessions now belong to Hihatchi. The cult may use the possessions of Hihatchi to benefit the cause. Shops and homes are commonly closed down, only to be reopened as a Sanctum of Hihatchi hours later.
Hihatchi cultists do not believe in violence. As a direct result they do not believe in weapons and actively work to destroy all weapons. Cultists commonly set up road blocks on well traveled high-ways and demand the weapons of travelers as tolls. Though a suitable donation could also get you by.
Setting up a road block usually attracts some sort of attention, usually the sort that involves an angry mob, or just a group of adventurers. When having to resort to combat, the cult employs non-lethal weapons, or daggers that have poison capable of rendering their foes unconscious. Nets and caltrops are also used extensively.
Last, but not least, the Cult of Hihatchi is cult of creation. According to the Book of Hihatchi, the easiest way to create is to plant a garden. Many cultists find other cultists and travel around a town or untamed wilderness planting flowers, trees, and trimming bushes. “Would you like to cultivate our garden with us?” is what many cult members have to say to non-cult members when they are gardening.
And least, Hihatchi Cult members all know of The Nerhatchi. Cult members believe that The Nerhatchi is a giant that is the direct descendant of Hihatchi, who when found can be awoken to walk the earth spreading the graces of Hihatchi to all who have yet to find the grace.
The Nerhatchi is actually something very different. It is an Inter-Dimensional Portal (IDP). IDPs are huge, massive. The size of a fortress. Sending a fortress size hunk of stuff to another dimension is insane at best. The exit point and even exit time are almost impossible to determine. It can be narrowed down to a 4,000 mile area during a span of 200 years. The Nerhatchi belief exists so that cult members would actively research this object. Surly an other-worldly object just appearing out of thin air will inspire a load of myths and legends? Once the Nerhatchi is located an agent of the corporation can activate it and a stable portal between the two worlds will be established.
Without an IDP on both ends, the only thing that can be sent with any deal of accuracy are objects no bigger then your average humanoid.
Once this is done, the Hihatchi Corporation can begin to profit.
Hihatchi + You (Current Influence On The World)
You are the average tavern patron, well-to-do noble, or adventurer. You tolerate the Hihatchi Cult because other then fill you vision, they have not done much. In fact, they planted a nice garden and cleaned up that row of trees that was blighted by termites.
From the port city of Gordonhelm down the coast to the city of Gadsen, and then inland for maybe 100-200 miles, everyone knows of The Cult of Hihatchi. Many people do not mind there presence here. They have not gotten in anyone’s way and have cultivated nice gardens and given away free vegetables.
The leadership of most towns do not feel threatened and guards have been ordered to leave the cultists alone. Cultists will come and go in groups numbering from just a few to several dozen.
However, others have real problems with these cultists. Mostly traveling merchants and adventurers. They find themselves encountering Hihatchi road blocks a little too often on the highways and major path networks. At this point, the cultists can still be negotiated with and one can get threw these road blocks with ease, but there numbers grow every day, and it could become a real threat if no one does anything…
In a select few hotspots, however, the cult has grown out of hand. The small mining town of Schefield and the surrounding area is completely overrun with cultists. The nearby city of Hart’s Location is beginning the feel the strain of excessive cultists. In these areas the cult is less willing to negotiate. They have the numbers to back up their audacious demands. And every day new cultists come from the west…
3 Levels of Hihatchi Activity
Hihatchi, is that some type of new drink? (Level 1) The Hihatchi cult has just begun to take hold. It could very well fail to grow. At any rate, there may be one Hihatchi Cultist for every 2000 people. Usually it is a very capable person able to rally people to the cause. They commonly hold demonstrations in the town square at the discretion of local guards, and this single member will avoid all potential conflict. He will even go as far as to not protest people carrying weapons. (gasp!)
Hey you know Joe? He is a member of that cult now! (Level 2) The Cult is growing. Maybe 1 in every 200 people is a member. One will see them gathering on street corners, planting gardens, and booking all of the gazebos at a park. They will set up blockades, demand people relinquish weapons, become more aggressive in recruitment, and plant more gardens. It is still possible to negotiate with the cult. A DC 15-20 diplomacy can usually get them off your back with just paying a small donation. The cult is not yet strong enough to rise above the law of the land. ( The Gordonhelm/Gadsen region in the above example is currently at this level)
Raymond? I am not Raymond. I am Tanya of Hihatchi! (Level 3) Things are out of hand! Who knows how many people are a member? Like 70% of that last town was Hihatchi!
This scenario is bad, but fortunately for you it only happens at a few towns, with Hihatchi activity radiating outwards. When areas are at this level of Hihatchi activity one will have a hard time negotiating with them. In many situations the only way to deal with them is to either accept their demands, kill them, or just avoid them all together. Hihatchi cultists will not over throw the leadership of the town or city, unless the leadership decides they want to exterminate the cult. (The town of Schefield is currently at this level)
Constantine Hanzapolous (cult leader) Constantine is resourceful, cunning, and hard-working fellow. He worked his way up to the top of Hihatchi Incorporated security management. His skills made him perfect for the task of journeying to an alternate dimension to face the untamed and dangerous world. Constantine is 1 of 400 other agents that are a member Group Three, or the third group of people trained for such missions. He graduated top of his group. He was assigned one of the most important missions- Advanced Marketing of Alternate Realities. It is a job that requires the best of the best. Constantine’s current assignment will last for 5 years, then he will receive a hefty pay check, a load of vacation time, and another agent will take his place.
Constantine Hanzapolous Human Expert 3/ Fighter 7 HD: 3d6+7D10+30 (82HP) Init: +3 Speed: 30ft AC: 25 (+3 dex, +4 ring of protection, +8 EnviroSuit MK12 BAB: +9/+4 Grapple: +13 Attk: +3 Light Mace of Fiery Burst, +17/+12 melee (1D4+ 9 +1D6, 19-20 x3) Attk: Las Pistol +13/+7 ranged (3D8 19-20x3) Saves: Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +5 Abilities: str 19, dex 16, con 16, int 16, wis 10, cha 12 Skills: Bluff +16, Climb +8, Diplomacy +16, Gather Info +11, Hide +19, Knowledge religion +9, listen +6, move silent +5, perform fiddle +14, survival +12 Feats: Weapon Focus (light mace), Weapon Specialization (light mace) ,Weapon Focus (Las Pistol), Weapon Specialization (Las Pistol), Persuasive, Point Blank Shot, Dodge, Endurance, Combat Reflexes, Mobility Alignment: Lawfull Evil Equipment: EnviroSuit MK12*, Las Pistol *, Chameo Cloak*, compass, bedroll, 20 platinum, +3 Light Mace of Fiery Burst*
*Hihatchi Tech EnviroSuit MK12 This is a specialy fitted suit designed for survival. It is extremely tough, light weight, and durable. It acts as a Ring of Sustenance to whoever is wearing it. The material the suit is made out of has a Hardness of 10 with 50 HP per inch of thickness Las Pistol This was taken from the Dungeon Masters Guide(pg 146), though I modified it a bit. This device can scan its user for a certain chemical in the blood stream. Only agents of the Hihatchi Corporation have this chemical, and thus only agents can use this weapon. It has unlimited shots. Chameo Cloak This cloak is light green in appearance. Though when needed, it can be made to match the color of its surroundings to blend in. It grants the wearer of the cloak a +10 to hide checks (bonus included above) +3 Light Mace of Fiery Burst This mace was constructed of the finest alloys and materials. The +3 enhancement bonus comes from those materials, and NOT magic. Dispelling the mace will not remove the +3 enhancement bonus for any period of time. The Fiery Burst quality is magical, and is subject to all the normal rules. This mace has an increased critical range and critical damage. It’s the finest Hihatchi Incorporated has to offer. The mace counts as a light martial weapon for purposes of who can use it.
Combat Constantine Hanzapolous will avoid a confrontation if possible. He will use all of his abilities to escape his foes as quickly as possible. He will only stop to fight if he has no choice, or if he can defeat his foes quickly and not be observed by Hihatchi cultists. He will only use the Las Pistol in the most dire of circumstances and if it would be advantageous to use a ranged weapon at that time.
Human Commoner 2 HD: 2D4+2 (7hp) Init: +0 Speed: 30 ft AC: 10 BAB: +1 Grapple: +3 Attack: Dagger, +3 melee (1d4+2 plus poison) OR Attack: Net, -1 ranged (see PHB for rules of nets OR Attack: Long Spear +3 melee (1d8+2 plus poison) SQ: The Rage of Hihatchi (Ex) Saves: Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +0 Abilities: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Wis 7, Int 10, Cha 10 Skills: Knowledge (Graces of Hihatchi) +4 Feats: Improved Grapple, Iron Will Alignment: Lawfull Good Equipment: Light green hooded robe, dagger, net, 1 bag of caltrops Combat In combat, the cultists will use swarm tactics. They will grapple their foe and attempt to attack with their daggers. Other cultists will attempt to throw nets. Cultists with long spears will attempt to flank their foes. They will sometimes form a phalanx formation with dagger cultists in front and long spear cultists behind.
When defending a road block or Sanctum of Hihatchi, cultists will never retreat or give up. In any other situation (unless they are in rage, see below) they will retreat if they suffer extensive casualties. The Rage of Hihatchi (Ex) Cultists of Hihatchi can summon up much fury. At the start of each round of combat roll a percentile. The percent chance of the cultists going into this rage is equal to the number of cultists currently in the fight. If there are 18 cultists, then there is an 18% chance. When they enter The Rage of Hihatchi, they get a +6 bonus to strength and constitution. They also gain a +2 morale bonus to all saves, grapple, and attack rolls. The Rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to the amount of cultists that were alive when the rage was initiated. Make one roll for the entire group. If the roll succeeds, they are all in The Rage of Hihatchi. Hihatchi Poison When you take damage from a weapon that has Hihatchi Poison on it, you must make a Fortitude Save with a DC of 12. If you fail you fall unconscious. You have a 10% chance to regain consciousness each round afterwards.
High Priests of Hihatchi (typical cultist cont.) Constantine is recognized as the leader by all cultists, but most leadership decisions come down to High Priests. No one High Priest has authority over anything, but cultists will consult High Priests for advice on what to do. In any town there is usually a few High Priests roaming around direction cult activities.
High Priests have the following abilities over other cultists. They are all spell-like in nature Cure Minor Wounds 3/day Doom 2/day
You can find any race or class as part of the membership of the cult, but most of the membership makes up desperate people who want a more peace full, happy life. A rich adventurer is unlikely to join the cult, but a poor farmer with a low wisdom score is very likely to join the cult (hence the 7 wisdom for the typical member) The cult will succeed amazingly in war torn areas bereft with famine and sorrow, and fail quickly in extremely rich cities where everyone is treated equally and with respect.
High Priests all have equal authority, but there will usually be two or three that stand out. They will be known by most cult members, and neutralizing these priests would probably slow expansion in the area.
Some of these High Priests may not be Hihatchi worshippers. They infiltrated the cult in order to have control over people for making money and accomplishing their own goals. There is no central authority to root out corruption of this nature. (well, there is Constantine, but he is only one guy…
The chances of encountering Constantine Hanzapolous are extremely rare. He travels around, seeding the world with Hihatchi. Then he moves on and the cult is left to grow on its own.
Story Hooks With the exception of traders and other adventurers, most people will not have a problem with the cult. However, your PCs should not have a hard time finding some disgruntled business man or noble who would like to see those Hihatchi road blocks dispersed. The PCs could also have a mission to infiltrate a town that is over run with the cult and take out one of the more influential High Priests. The best way to include the cult (in my opinion) would be to just have it exist. Whilst the PCs are doing other missions, the cult will just be in the back round, growing and growing. As your campaign progresses, the PCs will run into more cultists and it will become more and more problamatic. When the cult is out of hand, there will be plenty of quests that involve removing the cult. Perhaps the main plot-line could lead to a conspiracy involving the cult? Alternatively, your PCs could hear rumors of the cult from afar. Maybe they would encounter Constantine Hanzapolous?
The midnight sword. (Please note, all hp were rolled and so may not be the average)
Cult history. Founded after an event known only as the Gelmain massacre, in which over seven thousand young knights and squires were put to death by the church of Lolth for crimes they defined as “treason”, this cult seeks to eradicate once and for all that stain on history that is the Drow.
The Gelmain massacre was the last in a long series of events that transformed the once noble order of the blazing sword into a small shard of dedicated and genocide obsessed warriors. The order of the blazing sword was famed as both a paladin order and an academy of knighthood, were noble youths trained alongside the “foundlings” of the temple, the rights of foundlings was the oldest and most sacred of the order’s duties. Any child under 5 (or a proportional age for non-humans) who could not expect a good life, or perhaps any life at all, in his current place in life could be given to the temple with three symbolic payments, a loaf, a coin and a belt, to feed, clothe and educate the child with. The order was renowned for the excellent treatment of its students, it stern discipline, it determination in the face of evil and its education in history, language and mathematic, as well as the arts of war. The order made no distinction between race or gender, and some of its greatest heroes were of the most peculiar races.
The first instance on this path was the assassination by a Drow of Grand-Master Seldain, the Grand-Master of pupils.
The second was the torture and eventual execution of Master Melkor, the Master of Armoury, by an unknown group, it was assumed by all to be Drow, but in fact had nothing to do with them, see Melkor’s description below.
The third and final before the massacre was the replacement of Grand-Master Theros with a shape-changer, and using this to insult the leaders of the orders who could have saved the Blazers (for that was the name most knew them by) from their destruction.
Details of the massacre are vague, but it is know that the Drow force inserted itself in the temple at the founding banquet and disarmed and bound each of the warriors and then, after a long and humiliating show trial held in their own sacred temple, put them to the sword, the youngest being but 6 weeks old. Only those who were absent from the banquette, 8 of the mighty warriors, survived.
The midnight sword was formed by these warriors to swear vengeance for the eradication of their brethren by the eradication of the Drow.
But the leader, despite being alive (or in a form of life) at the time, was not one of these 8 knights, but Master Melkor. Having been cursed to return as a ghost he formed the organization and currently leads the Black 9, the inner circle of the cult. Now shorn of his honour, he seeks nothing but revenge.
Tenets 1. All Drow, regardless of age, gender, creed, history, position or occupation must die. 2. Any who aid Drow or attempt to stop us must die. 3. All who were once enslaved by the Drow must be allowed to join us, should they wish. 4. Foundlings must be cared for and educated. 5. There is only one punishment for any crime against the order. Death must come to them as well.
Current influences The midnight sword has very little influence on the surface, for there are few there who they have interest in. However there are surface organisations that have an interest in them, namely the Re-forged sword, a group of Paladins who are trying to resurrect the old order in their burnt out castle at Gelmain, and the Blue Dagger, a group of assassins and thieves with a significant Drow membership. Of course the Drow Church is not exactly fond of them either.
Organisation The Black nine, headed by Master Melkor. They make decisions on a global level. Each except Melkor has a Grey seven beneath them, who make decisions on a regional level. Each of these has several Midnight Threes who control a cell of the cult each. Membership is secret, but the method for this secrecy is also the method for their recognition. Each is given a long black travelling cloak to wear for the meetings to hide their face, and the garment is not that distinctive, but it has silver stitches around the hood that code for their rank, measured on a level or skill: neophyte, acolyte, greater acolyte, pupil, master or grandmaster, and seniority: Pre member, (children mainly) Member, Midnight three, Grey seven or Black Nine. This means that in reality many will know who in their community is also a member, but not who is which member in each meeting.
A case study by the blue dagger for the church of Lolth, the Coleman family]This family consists of the leader of the local human community (the town of Undergreen, some two days travel from your nearest slave camp), his wife, an elf (who we believe was liberated from one of our camps, see my previous report on the “ wrote:
This family consists of the leader of the local human community (the town of Undergreen, some two days travel from your nearest slave camp), his wife, an elf (who we believe was liberated from one of our camps, see my previous report on the “Blackening and Beating” fantasies lead by many guards.) and their five adopted children, ranging in age from 6 weeks to 23 years (all freed salves, foundlings). This family seems very prevalent in the local cell, we have no way of knowing for sure but we believe that he may be a midnight three, possibly a grey seven. She has no real status in the cell as of yet.
Before the cell begins its planning it first deals with the allocation of foundlings (petitions made in secret in order to preserve the privacy of the cult members, as many slaves arte routinely splayed this is one of the few ways freed slaves can gain children) and with the memories of the dead. This is the first point were the identity of the cult members becomes known, with those who die having their names read out. The children are then taken to another chamber for a period of education and play. The rest of the procedure appears to be typical council, with a randomly nominated chair person and the member in authority having the casting vote. Their democracy is a weakness you could exploit.
Their appears to be no single religion for the cult, although Hexorites are in prevalence.
Leader of the cult. The restless spirit of Master Melkor. Tortured to death shortly before the annihilation of the order, this fuels the rage that turned Melkor to evil. However he was not (as all believe) killed by Drow at all, but by Nethurul cultists who were working on an entirely different plan. He started life as a foundling warrior, but when he was assigned to the armoury he spent much time studying both the mundane and arcane crafts of the armoury (gaining his expert and Wizard levels) He rarely uses magic in combat due to his massive Arcane spell failure chance, but makes good use of unseen servant and identify in meetings.
This is clearly the ghost of a human warrior, tall, strong and well armed, the ghosts equipment shines with an unready light. A black cloak’s hood covers his face.
Ghost 9th level fighter, 2nd level expert 1st level wizard Medium undead (augmented humanoid (human)) Hit dice: 12d12, hp:78, innitative+2, speed: fly 30ft (perfect), AC:15 (10+1 Dex (reduced for armour),+4 def) touch: 15, flat footed:14 or 25 (10+1 dex+10 armour+3 Shield +1 def), Touch:12, flat-footed: 24, BAB/Graple:+10/+13, Attack: Incorporeal touch +12 melee or +13 vs ethereal foes (d4 ability damadge) or +16 melee or +17 vs ethereal foes +2 flaming bastard sword (d10+4+d6 17-20x2 or d10+7+d6 17-20x2 vs ethereal foes) or +1 heavy crossbow +14 ranged (d10+2 19-20x2) Full attack: Incorporeal touch +12/+7 melee or +13/+8 vs ethereal foes (d4 ability damadge) or +16/+11 melee or +17+12 vs ethereal foes +2 flaming bastard sword (d10+4+d6 17-20x2 or d10+7+d6 17-20x2 vs ethereal foes) or +1 heavy crossbow +14 ranged (d10+2 19-20x2) Space/reach: 5ft/5ft SA: Draining touch, telekinesis, malevolence (DC 20), manifestation. SQ: Darkvision 60ft, incorporeal traits, rejuvenation, +4 turn resistance, undead traits. Saves: Fort: +6, Ref: +5, Will: +8 Abilities: STR:16 DEX:14 CON:-- INT:13 WIS:10 CHA:18 Skills: Appraise +13, Crafts (Armour smith, weapon smith, bow making) +12, Intimidate +15, Spellcraft +13 Feats: Exotic weapon proficiency, weapon focus, weapon specialisation improved weapon focus, improved critical (all with bastard sword), combat expertise, dodge (not figured into AC) mobility, spring attack, Whirlwind attack, Power attack. AL: LE CR: 13 Equipment: +2 flaming bastard sword. +2 fullplate, +1 heavy steel shield, Ring of protection +1, +1 heavy crossbow, 30 bolts, ring of ram, wand of enlarge person, spellbook, Black Cloak Spells know: Level 0= all Level 1= Identify, true strike, unseen servant, mage armour. Spells per day: Level 0=3 Level 1=1+1
There are in fact three ways to lay Master Melkor to rest, either anialate all Drow, Prove to him that Drow did not kill him, or slay him with the Blazer ( a majour artifact that funtions like a bastard sword holy avenger with flaming burst, Melkor swore his oath of knighthood (NOT paladinhood) on this sword, as did all other knights of the blazing sword.)
Typical member, Ellina. Saved from slavery by the cult, Ellina was a member of a chain gang working in a mine, the fury that she felt allowed her to fight her captors when the attack started, but the rest of her chain gang died. Her old slavery chains are what make up her flail.
Human 2nd level commoner 1st level barbarian Medium humanoid (human) Hit dice: 2d4+d12+3+3 hp:17/23, innitative+1, speed: 30ft, AC:16/14 (10+1 Dex,+5 armour) touch: 11/9, flat footed:15/13 BAB/Graple:+2/+4/6, Attack: +5/+7 MWK heavy flail (d10+3/+6 19-20x2) or +3 javelin ranged (d6+2/+4) Full attack: +5/+7 MWK heavy flail (d10+3/+6 19-20x2) or +3 javelin ranged (d6+2/+4) Space/reach: 5ft/5ft SA: Rage 1/day SQ: fast movement, illiteracy (I treat commoners as illiterate) Saves: Fort: +5/7, Ref: +2, Will: +2 Abilities: STR:15/19 DEX:13 CON:14/18 INT:8 WIS:12 CHA:10 Skills: Profession (mining):+9 Spot:+7 Feats: Toughness, skill focus (profession (mining)) weapon focus (heavy flail) AL: CN CR: 2 Equipment: Mwk breastplate, Mwk Heavy flail, 6 javelins, winter clothes, black cloak (Enchanted as cloak of resistance +1) Potion of enlarge person, 3 potions of cure light wounds.
Hooks: It is perfectly feasible for the party to either end up working for or against this cult, any disappearances of good aligned Drow may well be to do with them, however if the party has run foul of the church of Lolth, they may seek help from this cult. Any Drow PCs better have good running shoes though...
The Children of the Pelor’s Fire started from a small group of clerics of Pelor who sought to study His Sun aspect. Through their studies, one man, Canles Rathern, discovered that Sun and Fire were more closely intertwined than most believed. Canles pursued this discovery unknown to the main body of the church, learning how to manipulate fire to produce the same effects that other clerics gained from Pelor’s blessing. Knowing that the church would never condone his actions, Canles instead began recruiting the common folk – those who showed an inclination towards fire, who shared his dislike of authority – teaching them fire magic. He taught that Pelor granted them the ability to be free from the oppression of leaders through His fire, and that, as His servants they were bound to free people from servitude to governments and religions. To do this, the Children encourage rebellion against almost any form of government, although they are most commonly found where the government is truly oppressive. The official church of Pelor fights the Children, saying that these individuals are out only for personal gain, and that they are not related to the church. Often when the Children are found encouraging rebellion, the Church of Pelor can also be found attempting to put it down. Because of this, the cult itself is well known, but individual Children prefer to remain unknown until they have a fairly secure position in a community, so they will be safe from harassment from clerics of Pelor. To identify themselves to each other, and to those who seek them for aid, however, Children will often carve a small, tear-shaped flame on their doorpost or shop sign; so that others may identify that they live there. Although the Church of Pelor seeks to eliminate them, the Children are often welcomed into a community once they reveal themselves, because they have a reputation, not just for aiding the oppressed, but also for being generous with their magic, and helping anyone who comes to them for aid.
Practices: The Children have very few rituals or beliefs, as they are a generally chaotic organization. Most Children are experts and commoners, who live normal lives except for occasional meetings with the cult. Each town has a section leader, usually an ex-cleric of Pelor, who organizes meetings, and teaches new members the blessings of the Fire. Meetings are called very rarely, because they understand the risks of meeting in groups, and are only called when they are in the process of organizing a rebellion, or when they are initiating a new member. Children recruit others subtly, observing them for some time before revealing what they are, and offering them a chance to join. Those who actively seek to join are required to swear to their honest desire to join in the presence of a Discern Lies or similar truth spell before they are permitted entry. Once they are accepted, a higher-ranking member takes over their training, teaching them the skills they need to know to be active members and to call the Fire. Every member of the cult who is capable is strongly encouraged to take at least one level of Cleric dedicated to Pelor’s Fire (domains Good, Healing, Sun, and Fire). Some Children are wanderers, usually bards or clerics, traveling from town to town, keeping the sects in touch, and seeking and aiding those who they perceive as oppressed.
Cult Leader: Canles Rathern, Cleric of Pelor’s Fire CG Male Human Cleric 10; CR 10; Medium humanoid; HD 10d8+20; HP 69; Init +3; Spd 30 ft; AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 19; Base Atk +7; Grp +7; Atk +8 (1d8+1d6 fire (+1d10 fire on crit), +1 flaming burst heavy mace); Full Atk +8/+3 (1d8+1d6 fire (+1d10 fire on crit), +1 flaming burst heavy mace); SA: Spells, turn undead 6x/day, turn water/rebuke fire 6x/day, spontaneous casting; SV Fort +8, Ref +2, Will +12; Str 11, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 20, Cha 16.
Spells: Canles casts spells as a 10th level cleric, with the healing and fire domains (Spells/Day: 6/5+1/5+1/4+1/4+1/2+1) (Save DC 15+spell level) Spells prepared: 0 -Detect Magic x2, Light x2, Read Magic x2; 1 - Entropic Shield, Obscuring Mist, Remove Fear, Sanctuary, Shield of Faith, Burning Hands (D); 2 - Augury, Eagle's Splendor, Make Whole, Undetectable Alignment, Zone of Truth, Produce Flame (D); 3 - Continual Flame, Dispel Magic, Obscure Object, Protection from Energy, Resist Energy (D); 4 - Discern Lies, Divination Freedom of Movement, Restoration Wall of Fire (D); 5 - Mark of Justice, True Seeing, Fire Shield (D) D: Domain Spell. Domains: Fire (Turn water/rebuke fire), Healing (Cast healing spells at caster level 11) Turn Undead: Canles turns undead as a good cleric, 6x/day. He gets a +2 bonus to turning checks because he has more than 5 ranks in Knowledge (religion). Turn Water/Rebuke Fire: Canles can turn or destroy water creatures as he does undead, and can rebuke, command, or bolster fire creatures as an evil cleric does undead, a total of 6x/day Spontaneous Casting: Canles can chose to switch out any prepared spell for a cure spell of the same level or lower.
Possessions: +1 flaming burst heavy mace, ring protection +2, cloak of resistance + 3, Periapt of Wisdom +2, +2 Elven chain, Silver holy symbol, MW heavy steel shield
History:Canles is a middle-aged man who discovered the nature of Pelor’s Fire when studying his aspect as the Sun. When he attempted to reveal his discovery to the church leaders, he was told that his discoveries could not possibly be true, and to cease his research. Surprised and angry, he continued his research in secret, becoming more and more wrapped up in the chaotic nature of the Fire. Finally, angry at the authoritarian attitude of his superiors, and realizing that he needed to share his knowledge, he claimed he had been called to teach the people of Pelor’s glory, and went out into the world, secretly spreading his discoveries and beliefs to the common folk as he went.
Typical Cultist: Ranis CG Female Human Expert 2/ Cleric of Pelor's Fire 1; CR 2; Medium Humanoid; HD 2d6+1d8+6; HP 14; Init -1; Spd 30 ft; AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +1; Grp +3; Atk +3 (1d6 bludg + 2, light mace) or +0 (1d8 pierce, light x-bow); Full Atk +3 (1d6 bludg + 2, light mace) or -1 (1d8 pierce, light x-bow); SA: spells, turn undead 4x/day, turn water/rebuke fire 4x/day, spontaneous casting; SV Fort +4, Ref -1, Will +6; Str 15, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 10
Spells: Ranis casts spells as a 1st level cleric, with the healing and fire domains (Spells/Day: 3/ 2+1) (Save DC 11+spell level) Spells prepared: 0 -Mending x2, Light; 1 - Endure Elements, Sanctuary, Burning Hands (D) D: Domain Spell. Domains: Fire (Turn water/rebuke fire), Healing (Cast healing spells at caster level 2) Turn Undead: Ranis turns undead as a good cleric, 4x/day. Turn Water/Rebuke Fire: Ranis can turn or destroy water creatures as he does undead, and can rebuke, command, or bolster fire creatures as an evil cleric does undead, a total of 4x/day Spontaneous Casting: Ranis can chose to switch out any prepared spell for a cure spell of the same level or lower.
Use in a campaign: This cult is most dangerous for its belief that freedom from leaders is the best way for a society to operate, and its willingness to do nearly anything to achieve their goals. Although not actually evil (they will not harm an innocent if it can be helped, nor do they believe in torture), they are often perceived as such by those attempting to preserve order. Possible uses include
The PCs could be asked by a Cleric of Pelor, or hired by a government official to eradicate a sect of the cult in the area. When they investigate, the sect could appear as either dangerously misguided, or righteous crusaders, depending on the PCs and the government, for they are as likely to appear in a strict Lawful Good city as they are in an evil one.
The PCs could be asked to perform a mission for the cult, such as eradicate a particularly high-level and corrupt official that they are unable to reach, perhaps unknowing of the allegiances of the people who asked them
Order of Social Justice History Approximately ten years ago, an extremely charismatic wizard named Marvus Einzvex arrived in the metropolis capital of a very regimented country. He was struck speechless by what he saw as oppresion of the common man and tyranny at all levels in government. He was sickened to see such treatment of people but was opposed to violence as a means of achieving equality. Within a few months he had founded a small, local organization of a few volunteers to help him pressure politicians to increase personal freedom and reduce government controls. In a few months their numbers had increased to over one hundred members and Marvus was overwhelmingly chosen for a local government position(details should be chosen by DM to fit into the setting) and immediately went to work trying to achive his goals. He did everything in his power to help the common man. Now, years later, Marvus is a major politician/noble/whatever, amongst the most famous of people in the country, and has achieved astounding reform to further his goal. He turned the country from a place where government regulations ruled large portions of daily life and controlled every aspect of society with a highly restricting set of laws to a place of freedom and choice. It's even been suggested that he may succeed the leader when they retire(details on the means of retirement should also be setting-specific.). All of it is a charade. Marvus is an illithid wizard named Vixquorl who leads an inquistion dedicated to putting the resources of the country at the feet of the mind flayers. He was selected to lead the task because he was a talented speaker who possesed the necessary skills to disguise himself and appear to be a human. He has been hard at work slowly disassembling the government so that there will be less opposition to him when he finally takes over, as well as to assure that there is enough disorganization for his ilithid bretheren to work unnoticed. He uses the order of social justice, which now houses over a thousand members or more,(depending on the population levels for the local area) as a base of support and power, and also as a recruitment base for fanatics who may be able to help him and the occasional able-bodied slave for his home underground. Once the country is in a state of near-anarchy, the mind flayers will be able to regularly take shipments of slaves with no regulation agencies to stop them. He's manipulated over 1,000 people to do his work deconstructing the government for him. As soon as he takes power, everything belonging to the governmenrt will be taken by mind flayers. In addition, he has used charms on a number of people while he convinved them of his necessity, so he can summon additional 20-50 standard mambers(see below) within an hour or two. These are utterly convinced that he is necessary to the order, and will even fight to protect him. He has over 100 people fooled this way, and they will be the first ones he ships into slavery when he has the chance.
Beliefs All people are created equal. The government is the servant of the people, and should not view it's citizens as subordinate. The government that governs best governs least. Personal freedom is the first priority of any just government, and should not be restricted under any circumstances. The people should protest these actions until their demands are met. Revolt leads only to more suffering and oppression. Peace and protest is the way to implement change.
OR I swear loyalty to the inquisition. I will take every action in my power to succeed at the task I have been appointed to. I will not return until I am sucessful.The knowledge I seek will benefit the minds of Illithids everywhere, and guarantee my entry into the elder brain when I have died.
Influence At the moment, the order of social justice is the most powerful political orgainzation in the home country. It can greatly guide the course of action for the country it is involved, and foreign policy could easily affect other countries. They influence events everywhere, and order officials hold numerous low-power political positions. They hold little world wide influence, but can greatly affect events in the local area. Vixquorl is in complete control of it all. His word determines the action of the whole group. He is their unquestioned leader and could rally the whole movement to nearly any action he wished, as they are completely devoted to him. In addition, fanatics may be violent and much more effective in getting their will performed then other members.
Leader Vixquorl Is intelligent, even for a mind flayer. He calculates every action to have the maximum possible gain for him. He uses his charisma to convince those who doubt him that he is interested only in the benefit of the common man and the increase the freedom of everyone. He is extremely cold-hearted and would gladly sacrifice every person loyal to him if it would help him accomplish his mission. He strongly believes in the use of subtlety rather then force to accomplish his mission, and so almost always tricks people into helping him rather then using his power to force him to reveal his secrets. He makes few public appearances, preferring small meetings with occasional breaks which allow him to make use of his alter self spells. His goals include access to all of the country's military and practical knowledge and access to their workforce for slaves. When not keeping a disguise, he shows very little emotion and appears concerned only with his goals. He enjoys the benefits disorder has on allowing him to work unnoticed and always works to keep things chaotic enough that he can work without scrutiny. He uses misdirection when in public on a quill or other mundane item he will always have on his person. His Hat of disguise allows him to appear human for as long as he needs, though he always keeps a few disguise self's prepared in case of an emergency, as well as a few imge spells and Nystul's magic aura(to hide his hat).
Vixquorl; male mindflayer illus 5/brd1; CR 14; medium abberation; HD 8D8+16+5D4+8+1D6+2; hp 72; init+7; spd 30ft.(6 spaces); AC 22, touch 18, flat-footed 20; base atk+8; grp+8; atk+11 melee(D4, tentacle); full atk 4 tentacles + 11 melee(D4); space/reach 5ft./5 ft.; SA mind blast, psionics, improved grab, extract; SQ spell resistance 31, telepathy 100 ft., darkvision 60 ft., bardic knowledge+ 8, bardic music 1/day, fascinate, inspire courage+1; Al CE; SV fort+ 5, ref+ 7, will+ 15; str 10, dex 17, con 14, int 24, wis 16, cha 23; bluff+17, concentration+13, diplomacy+ 17, disguise+ 17(+19 acting), gather information+ 10, intimidate+15, knowledge(arcana)+18, knowledge(local history)+ 12, knowledge(local, whatever area he's in)+ 10, knowledge(illithid's home local)+ 15, knowledge(nobility and royalty)+ 15, knowledge(the planes)+15, knowledge(religion)+ 15, listen+14, perform(speech)+ 10, profession(inquisitioner)+ 14, profession(politician)+ 7, sense motive+14, speak language(gnome, dwarven), spellcraft+ 15; combat casting, greater spell focus(illusion), improved initiative, scribe scroll, spell focus(illusion), spell mastery(Disguise self, Nystuls's magic aura, ventriloquism, silent image, major image, misdirection), weapon finesse;
Mind blast: 60 ft. cone, will DC 20 or be stunned for 3D4 rounds, Psionics: at will- charm monster (DC 20), detect thoughts(DC18) levitate, plane shift, suggestion(DC 19). Improved grab: To use this ability, Vixquorl must hit a small, medium, or large creature with it's tentacle attack. He can then attempt to start a grapple as afree action without provoking attacks of opportunuty. If he wins the grapple check, he establishes a hold and attaches the tentacle to the opponent's head. He can grab a huge or larger creature, but only if he can somehos reach the opponent's head. If he begins his turn with at least one tentacle attached, he can attempt to attach his tentacles with a single grapple check. The opponent can escape with a single successful grapple or escape artist check but Vixquorl gets a +2 circumstance bonus for every attached tentacle at the beginning of the victim's turn. Extract: If he begins his turn with 4 tentacles attached and makes a duccessful grapple check extracts the opponents brain, killing it instantly. This is useless against constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, or undead. It is not instantly fatal to opponents with multiple heads.
wizard spells prepared(4/5/4/4; save DC 17+spell level): 0-detect magic, read magic, ghost sound, detect poison; 1st-disguise self(2), Nystul's magic aura, silent image, ventriloquism; 2nd- minor image, misdirection(2), invisibility; 3rd-major image(2), hold person(2). spellbook: 0-all,1-color spray, disguise self, Nystul's magic aura, silent image, ventriloquism, identify, shocking grasp, alarm, hypnotism, setect secret doors, magic missle, expeditious retreat. 2-minor image, misdirection, locate object, invisibility. 3-major image, dispel magic; Bard spells known(4; save DC 15+spell level); 0-detect magic, ghost sound, read magic, message; spells per day: 2 possessions: bracers of armor+3, amulet of natural armor+, ring of protection+ 2, gloves of dexterity+ 2, cloak of charisma+2, hat of disguise, wand of dispel magic, wand of magic missle(5th level caster), potion of undetectable alignment, spellbook, spell component pouch(3), signet ring(country's symbol), . Vixquorl keeps approximately 2000Gp in storage for emergencies, or bribing someone corrupt.
appearance: Vixquorl appears to be a tall, middle-aged man when disguised. When not, he is an impressive, terrifying illithid who uses his force of personality to convince others that his way is correct. As a human he appears completely benevolent, while the mind flayer is completely cold-hearted and emotionless.
tactics: if attacked in public, he will use his hold person spells to restrain someone while help is summoned. In the meantime, he uses charm monster to avoid the fight. If in real danger, he plane shifts away rather then engaging in combat. Even if about to die, he will use every means available to him to protect his identity, perhaps using a message spell to summon help. If in private, he will mind blast his opponent and use hold person to further restrain them. He will then use detect thoughts to examine their intentions and extract their brain to cover the evidence. If mental attacks seem to be ineffective, he uses levitation and magic missle for as long as possible, while summoning his inquisition of mind flayers to assist him. Vixquorl is intelligent enough to realize when an extract won't work without trying it, and even if forced to plane shift away, he will return with whatever he needs to win. Vixquorl will never allow someone who has seen his true form to escape alive.
Typical cult member The average member of the order of social justice, unaware that Marvus is an illithid. human male or female com1; Cr 1/2; medium humanoid; HD 1D4; hp2; init+0; spd 30 ft.(6 spaces); AC 11; touch11; flat-footed11; base atk+0; grp+0; atk +0 melee or ranged(D6, club); AL CG; SV fort+0, ref+0, will+0;str10, dex10, con10, int11, wis11, cha11; profession: farmer+5, handle animal+4; skill focus: profession: farmer, skill focus: handle animal; possessions: club
inquisitioner(4); standard mind flayer, see monster manual for details. Vixquorl's inquisition. No one knows of their existence.
fanatic: Vixquorl has hand selected approximately 20 people to act as his personal assasins. He checked them all with detect thoughts, choosing from members of his order with the least resistance to his mental attacks and the most combat ability. He has used charm monster to gain their support, and occasional use of suggestion to get them to tie themselves to his service(none of them realized they were forced, due to their low wisdom.). He uses these to do acts not normally promoted by his pacifistic followers or the law. They have no idea he is really evil or a mind flayer typical fanatic: male or female hum rog5/asn1; CR6; medium humanoid; HD 6D6+ 6; hp 29; init+ 7; spd 30 ft.(6 spaces); AC17, touch 13, flat-footed 14; base atk+ 4; grp+ 5; atk+ 8 melee(D6+1, mwk rapier/18-20) or + 8 ranged(D6+1, mwk mty[str+1] composite shortbow); SA sneak atk+ 4D6, death attack; SQ evasion, trapfinding. trap sense+1, uncanny dodge, poison use, spells; AL CE; SV fort+2, ref+ 9, will- 1; str12, dex16, con 13, int 14, wis 6, cha 12; balance+10, bluff+8, climb+10, disable device+14, disguise+10(+12 when acting in character), escape artist+7(+9 to escape from rope bonds), hide+12, move silently+12, open lock+14, search+9, use rope+12(+14 to bind someone); weapon finesse, improved initiative, stealthy, nimble fingers;
typical assassin spells known:1-ghost sound, jump spells per day:1 Possessions: mwk studded leather armor, mwk rapier, mwk buckler, mwk mty[str+1] composite shortbow, elixer of hiding, elixer of sneaking, rope of climbing, dagger, mwk thieves tools, climbers kit, disguise kit, tactics:These assassins work in teams to infiltrate areas, then do whatever it is they are wanted to. Usually this is theft of plans, murder, or planting evidence. They are used only occassionally, and vixquorl always makes sure to see that he is never suspected.
Adaptation Advice This cult is best used in a capital of a country that is extremely lawful with citizen discontent, but not so much that they would rebel. The importance of Vixquorl's changes can be minimized if necessary. Ideally, they would serve a large enough mind flayer city that could use some of the resources provided effectively. The cult can strengthened or weakened by changing the number and level of the fanatics, or by lowering Vixquorl's class levels(start cutting bard, then wizard levels. I recommend keeping at least 2. This can easily become a long-term mission, taking the PCs up a few levels before finding out the truth while they level up on fanatics. This could be an investigative mission, as the majority of higher-reanking members are evil fanatics appointed to ensure that if anything happens, the order will take illegal action to help itself without anyone worrying about morality. The PCs could uncover any number of scandals among the officers of the order. If Vixquorl survives, he could be a good long term villain for nearly any party. Since the vast majority of members are good, players may not want to beat up and interrogate them, but the membership will happily cooperate with people who are asking legitimate questions about the order. If corruption at the top is revealed, the order will suffer great damage, but not be destroyed altogether, as enough members are actually interested in freedom that they could continue the order's work.
Possible plot hooks: PCs hired to find damaging information on the order, to investigate a politician's murder(would require a mistake for them to leave evidence), order of social justice members causing trouble, PCs investigating why, PCs asked by the dying ruler of the country to ensure that his likely successor is worthy, PCs against the order for philosophical reasons, or their employer isPCs hired to prevent an assassination attempt on Vixquorl and discover his secret while watching him without his knowledge. In an evil group, they could even be the ones hired to kill him instead. Good PCs might consider stopping the slave shipments their first priority, and might have to intercept one. Investigating these disappearances could also be what draws the characters to investigate the order.
In the surrounding area, the Hak'Suk (pronounced hack-SOOK) tribe are known as a simple, ancestor worshiping people who live in a secluded, hilly area. Their belief in their elder, Harthak's, immortality is regarded as mere superstition; few know of the truth of their beliefs. Besides, declaring war on the Hak'Suk would be folly. The Hak'Suk stop monsters from spreading to attack the more civilized, less prepared areas away from the mountains. If they were defeated, the civilized villages would be under constant threat. The monsters in the surrounding areas suspect the supernatural powers of the Hak'Suk, however; the paralyzed and disease-ridden creatures surviving after a battle with the Hak'Suk are a testament to their undying might.
The Hak'Suk Tribe was once a simple ancestor-worshiping barbarian tribe. One member, Harthak Hak'Suk, was a bloodthirsty adept who feasted on the corpses of his fallen foes. When he was killed by an ogre, he returned as a ghast with increased cunning, persuasiveness, and power, as well as a craving for humanoid flesh. Returning to the Hak'Suk tribe, he was celebrated for surviving death and became their main religious figure.
The Hak'Suk revere their elders and ancestors, believing that observing them grants them luck and prosperity. Over their years under Harthak's influence, he has perverted their beliefs. Now the Hak'Suk believe that the state of death (and therefore undeath) itself is what grants them luck. As Harthak is now the oldest member of the tribe, the Hak'Suk bring him tribute in the hope that when they are near death he will grant them immortality.
Harthak, however, has other plans. He realises that if he transforms the entire tribe into ghouls and ghasts the more powerful members might threaten his authority. As it is, he infects younger members of the tribe who show devout loyalty to him with ghoul fever, applying unguent of timelessness to their bodies after their death to prevent them from decaying. Meanwhile, he basks in his power, enjoying his position of status and the flesh sacrifices offered to him by his loyal flock.
The Hak'Suk tribe has about 70 members, ranging from 1st to 6th level. The tribe is mostly chaotic neutral, but true neutral and chaotic evil members are also common. Thanks to the perilous area in which the tribe makes its home, most of its members are warriors, but barbarians and adepts occupy higher positions in the tribe. At any given time about five to ten of the Hak'Suk are ghouls in Harthak's retinue. Shan Hak'Suk, an example cultist, is one of the tribe's more powerful warriors. Shan believes that if he gains eternal life it will do justice to his father, who was killed in battle against ogres. To accomplish this, he fights off the ogre raids and brings the ogres' corpses as fresh meat for Harthak.
The Hak'Suk tribe work best in a secluded, 'frontier' area, inhabited by evil humanoids, monstrous humanoids, or giants with middling intelligence and an average encounter level of about 3 or 4. These creatures challenge the adventurers, menace the civilized areas past the Hak'Suk tribe, and serve as food for the tribe's ghouls. A hilly area inhabited by ogres is a wonderful area to place the tribe. For other campaign styles the Hak'Suk could be wild elves in a tropical jungle rife with ettercaps, lizardfolk settling on the border of a swamp full of harpies, or even merfolk living at the edge of a deep chasm that serves as a kapoacinth nesting ground (with Harthak as a lacedon with five levels of adept).
[size=+1]A Sample Adventure[/size]
The Hak'Suk tribe works well as a side quest. Because of the wide range of power within the Hak'Suk tribe, characters of 4th or 5th level will be well challenged by the tribe's members, whether low-level members attacking in large groups or elites such as Shan accompanied by a few grunts and maybe a ghoul or two. It is not difficult to tie the Hak'Suk tribe into a more long-term plot; for instance, Harthak may have been created by a fiend or necromancer, or the Hak'Suk may hold an item that is key to the adventurers' quest.
Because the Hak'Suk tribe is in good graces with the surrounding areas, proactive action against the tribe is unlikely. Instead, a good way to introduce the tribe is by having the adventurers attacked by the native monsters of the area; for instance, two ogres (EL 5). Near the end of the battle, Shan arrives and helps them finish the monsters off. He offers to take the adventurers back to his village for healing and rest in exchange for the corpses of the ogres. Shan explains that the ogre's bodies will be used in tribal rituals. He is not lying. The 'tribal rituals' consist of Harthak and his ghoul henchmen devouring the corpses and Harthak offering blessings, including pieces of ogre meat, to his worshippers with promises of eternal life.
Once inside the tribe, the adventurers may catch a glimpse of what is truly going on in the ritual. Perhaps Shan's coat has a splatter of blood on it, or perhaps an ogre-sized bone is spotted in a cookpot. If it appears that the adventurers are on to him, Harthak will stir up rancor in the tribe.
Because the pride of the Hak'Suk is at stake, the adventurers will find themselves hunted by the members of the tribe. Small raiding parties composed mostly of barbarians attack the adventurers while they travel, and each raiding party contains a single ghoul. The ghoul is undecayed and lifelike (thanks to Harthak's oil of timelessness, but its paralysis ability and reaction to positive and negative energy should provide a clue to the true nature of the Hak'Suk "immortality".
As the adventurers draw closer to discovering the secret of the Hak'Suk, Harthak finally decides that they truly constitute a threat to the tribe. With Shan, three ghoul assistants, and a higher-level ally of the tribe (for instance, a 6th-level barbarian or a tamed wyvern), Harthak sets out to put an end to the adventurers once and for all.
Once Harthak is defeated, the adventurers still have a few loose ends to clear up. In order to escape prosecution for the murder of Harthak, a fairly well-known man in the surrounding areas, they need to provide proof of the sinister intents of the Hak'Suk, and they need to convince the remaining members of the tribe of the falsity of their leader, whether through diplomacy or brute force. Keep in mind, however, that if the adventurers simply exterminate the Hak'Suk tribe the surrounding towns will have no defense against monsters and the adventurers will earn the ire of those communities.
Harthak Hak'Suk: male ghast Adept 1; CR 4; Medium-size undead; HD 5d12; hp 32; Init +3; Spd 30 ft. (6 squares); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14; BAB +2; Grap +5; Atk spear +5 (1d8+4/x3); Full atk bite +5 (1d8+3 plus disease and paralysis) and spear +3 (1d8+2/x3); SA ghoul fever, paralysis, stench; SQ darkvision 60 ft., +2 turn resistance, undead traits; AL CE; SV Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +9; Str 16, Dex 18, Con --, Int 15, Wis 19, Cha 20. Skills and Feats: Bluff +11, Concentration +6, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +5 (+7 acting), Intimidate +11, Listen +11, Sense Motive +6, Spot +11; Brew Potion, Multiattack. Possessions: Spear, wand of command (25 charges left), scroll of bull's strength, scroll of invisibility, 2 flasks of unguent of timelessness Adept Spells Prepared (3/2): 0th-- create water, ghost sound, and touch of fatigue; 1st-- bless and cause fear. Caster level 1st; save DC 14 + spell level. Ghoul Fever (Su): Disease-- bite, Fortitude DC 17, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex. The save DC is Charisma-based. Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by Harthak’s bite or claw attack must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Even elves can be affected by this paralysis. The save DC is Charisma-based. Stench (Ex): The stink of death and corruption surrounding Harthak is overwhelming. Living creatures within 10 feet must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or be sickened for 1d6+4 minutes. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by Harthak’s stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from a sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Shan Hak'Suk: male human Barbarian 3; CR 3; Medium-size humanoid; HD 3d12+6; hp 31; Init +1; Spd 40 ft. (8 squares); AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14; BAB +3; Grap +5; Atk masterwork greataxe +4 (1d12+9/x3) or javelin +4 ranged (1d6+4); SQ illiteracy, rage 1/day, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 14, Con 15, Dex 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8. Skills and Feats: Climb +8, Craft (weaponsmithing) +6, Jump +8, Listen +7, Survival +7; Cleave, Power Attack (-3 to attack included in statistics block), Weapon Focus (greataxe). Possessions: Chain shirt, masterwork greataxe, 5 javelins, 3 potions of cure light wounds, potion of protection from good, gray bag of tricks Rage (Ex): The following changes are in effect when Shan rages: HD 3d12+12; hp 37; AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 12; Grap +7; Atk masterwork greataxe +6 (1d12+12); SV Fort +7, Will +4; Str 18, Con 19. Shan's rage lasts for 7 rounds.
History & Background Ten years ago, a young and poor homeless boy was given a vision. He was visited by a god from a lost pantheon who told him that by restoring his worship, he could give the boy power beyond belief. Easily tricked, the young boy started to. This god, known as Razera, told him to bring people to his domain, deep below the city. The young boy, named Eran, after his father, brought people to Razera, who teached them the ancient rites of his pantheon. Soon, Eran had a base of power, and his influence started to spread through the city. Now, ten years later, the cult has around 160 followers. For about two years ago, they started identifying themselves by wearing a medallion made from wood around their neck, carved in the shape of a water drop.
Major tenets or beliefs The Children of Razera follows a code that tells them how to live their lives. Something unique with the cult, is that it allows its members to do what they wish during their free time, but they are forbidden to ever speak of the cult with anyone, except when Razera tells them to do so. The code
Thou shalt follow the command of Razera
Thou has no name as long as you are with the cult
Thou must, at least once per day, speak out the code
Thou shalt not eat fish more than once each week
Thou must initiate your family into the cult
Thou shalt avoid fire
These are the six tenets of Razera, and they are the only rules that all must follow this far. Razera however, is currently working on a book that he calls The teachings of Razera, which contains every rule you must follow.
Influence The cult has very little influence outside its members. Only one person of importance has joined the cult this far, and that is the son of a noble that lives in the town. Razera has no plans to use him for further influence, since he plans to spread the belief to others towns instead, preventing the rulers of the city to hunt him down.
Razera 24 years ago, a child was born in a lizardfolk tribe. The child was horrid and misformed, bearing an extra arm and an extra eye on the back of his head. This abomination was cast out and given no name (an utter shame in this specific tribe). The child however, survived and eventually grew up in the outskirts of the village, close to the nearby river. This lizardfolk, hateful towards his fellow men and women, was known as Razera to the people of the tribe. They never had any contact with him, and neither did he wish to have contact, as long as it wasn't neccessary. About 10 years ago however, the tribe was attacked by another lizardfolk tribe and the village where burnt to the ground and all men slaughtered. The poor wretched Razera fleed along the river, hunted by a few men of the other tribe. About two weeks after the attack on his home, Razera came to a small fishing village, which was built upon ancient ruins of some former civilization. He hid in those ruins, and fleed from the sunlight. Razera found a young boy who he tried to communicate with. Razera didn't know the tounge of the humans well enough to make himself understood, and after a while, the young boy started to bring people who seemed to be impressed by Razera... Quick to grasp the situation, Razera learned the human tounge to perfection so that he could lead this new cult. Razera, Male Lizardfolk Humanoid2/Rgr3/Rog3: CR 7; Medium Humanoid (Reptilian); HD 2d8+8(Humanoid) , 3d8+12(Ranger) , 3d6+12(Rogue) ; hp 68; Init +2; Spd 30; AC:18 (Flatfooted:16 Touch:12); Atk +7/2 base melee, +8/3 base ranged; +7/+2 (1d4+1, 2 Claw; 1d4, Bite); +6/1/+6/+2 (1d8+2, +1 Longsword; 1d4+1, +1 Dagger; 1d4, Bite); SQ: Hold Breath (Ex), Subtype: Reptilian; AL LE; SV Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +3; STR 13, DEX 15, CON 19, INT 13, WIS 13, CHA 17. Skills: Balance +6, Bluff +14, Climb +5, Diplomacy +16, Disguise +5, Forgery +3, Handle Animal +8, Heal +6, Hide +10, Jump +8, Move Silently +7, Spot +6, Survival +12, Swim +5, Tumble +6, Use Magic Device +8.
Feats: Armor Proficiency: light, Armor Proficiency: medium, Deceitful, Diehard, Endurance, Improved Natural Armor, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Track, Two-Weapon Fighting. Possessions: Weapons: +1 Longsword: Defending (8,315 gp); +1 Dagger (2,302 gp). Armor: +2 Chain shirt (4,250 gp). Goods: Coin: gp (6133) (6,133 gp). Magic: Wand: Cure Moderate Wounds (4) (Charges: 50) (6,000 gp). Notes: Razera has an extra arm and an extra eye. These extra body parts has no function and he can't use them for anything else than look intimidating.
Typical cultist Typical Cultist, Human Com2: CR 1; Medium Humanoid; CR 1; HD 2d4(Commoner) ; hp 7; Init +0; Spd 30; AC:12 (Flatfooted:12 Touch:10); Atk +1 base melee, +0 base ranged; -3 (1d6+1, Sword, short); AL LN; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will -1; STR 12, DEX 10, CON 10, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 13. Skills: Bluff +3, Craft (Pottery) +1, Gather Information +1, Hide +1, Knowledge (Religion) +1, Sleight of Hand +0.