Friday, December 4, 2015

A List of Organizations, Cabals, and Cults

Below is a brief list of organizations, big and small, which play important roles in the political landscape of the Eracian Empire and its neighbors. It is not comprehensive, but describes the most common types of government agencies, cults, and independent organizations.

 Imperial Corps: This secret group of agents is responsible for investigating and halting violence and disorder that results from the actions of monsters, supernatural creatures, and aggressive groups of humans and humanoids within the borders of the Empire. Their leader is Jacob VanNuys, a former member of the Hand who was "condemned" to his current post by Prime Minister Orestes after questioning the Elven War's methods and reasoning. VanNuys has transformed the agency, and runs it from Rorstad in Bevin and reports directly to the Emperor.

Imperial Hand: The Hand is the elite corps of spies, agents, and provocateurs who supply information back to the Imperial government. Since they have traditionally reported directly to the Prime Minister, and that office is vacant at the moment due to the ignominy brought upon it by Orestes, they are said to be without a leader at the moment. They are certainly acting like a body with no head. A number of agents have gone rogue, or are working at cross purposes to one another, though they still make a token effort to report to the emperor.

Imperial Protectors: This carefully constructed network of mages acts as defense and counsel to cities and towns all across the Empire and its Commonwealth territories. In full provinces, all Protectors must be graduates of the Imperial Arcane Academy in Eracia, but Protectors in satellite areas--such as Hohenshau or Emilia--can simply be competent mages. This network was famously exploited by the Nereneans, who infiltrated its ranks and used its privilege to very nearly bring the Empire to its knees. During the Elven War, the Protectors reported to the Prime Minister, but they now report to High Protector Magus Amisa, who reports to the Emperor and the Senate.

Imperial Academy of Arcane Magic: Floating over Eracia City, the Academy stood for centuries as a bastion of learning which provided Protectors, military mages, bards, and merchant mages to the Empire. During the violence at the end of the Elven War, it was damaged extensively by Nereneans and their giant allies. After the war, Magus Aerth, a former Protector who devoted much of his time to research and was instrumental in ending the war and discovering Prime Minister Orestes' role in it, was given the difficult task of rebuilding the Academy and setting a new course for the organization. Aerth has chosen research as his primary concern, and while the Academy itself is still being rebuilt he is sending his baccalaureate students out into the field to understand magic as it functions in the greater world. The Academy also works closely, as always, with the Protectors, and has been very meticulous in weeding Nerenean influences out of its texts and its faculty. Academy students and agents can be found anywhere there is a magical anomaly, and anywhere there is suspected Nerenean activity.

Nereneans: The secret society known as the Nereneans is composed of both the genetic and spiritual descendants of the cult that destroyed Aster Isle over eleven hundred years ago. They began as a cult that secretly revered the Titans, but soon began to see them as little more than a power source. After ripping Aster Isle asunder trying to harness the slumbering creatures' power, they fled to what is now the Baegnolian desert, where they manipulated the native gnomes into building an impressive city and network of roads for them, but were soon defeated by an army of elves who sought to end their influence and their blasphemies against nature. After being crushed militarily, the survivors fled west and insinuated themselves into the new Eracian Empire. Around five centuries ago they turned public opinion against both the elves and the Fiannans, neutralizing the nation that would likely have been their greatest foe. In 1109 ER, after orchestrating a long war against the elves and draining the Empire's resources, they hatched a plan to raise an immense army with the aid of the Titans' children, the giants, and overthrow the entire continent, but they were ultimately defeated by the Revenant Blades and their adventurer clients.

Revenant Blades: An organization founded by Sydney Morrow and most of the members of the once famous Blades of the Moor adventuring group, the Revenant Blades seeks to employ retired adventurers who have a hard time settling down in an ongoing effort to protect the Empire's (and more recently, the entire region's) citizens from monsters, sinister cabals, and the mistakes of its own government. They are essentially professional meddlers, and they often employ younger, more active adventurers into their service.

Libris Immortalis: The Libris Immortalis does not have a large membership, but it pervades the continent. A loose confederation of intellectuals bent on learning the secrets of immortality by any means necessary, they have members in universities and hospitals, and among lay people who are fascinated with death and its defeat. The name of their order is taken from a book which was said to sit in the Senatorial Library on Aster Island before its destruction at the hands of the Nereneans, and which was said to contain the secrets of eternal life.

Libris Mortis: The Libris Immortalis has spawned a number of splinter groups, but perhaps the most dangerous and prolific is the Libris Mortis. Based in the province of Emilia, and having a strong following in Pezane in particular, this group abhors the idea of immortality or even unnaturally long life, and they believe all creatures should adhere to the lifespans of humans and halflings. They caused a great deal of conflict in Pezane in Autumn of 1109 when they contributed to the death of the God-Emperor of the Lizardfolk.

The Holy Brotherhood: Founded a few decades ago by a visionary priest of Ahura, the Brotherhood is an ecumenical alliance of divine casters that spans the known world. Rather than worshiping a specific god, they plead for and receive spells from the gods they feel are the most appropriate for the task at hand. They focus on good works, and helping the destitute and imperiled, and have developed a vast network that spans the Aster Sea.

Fenians: Founded in the aftermath of Fianna's departure from the Empire, the Fenians were originally meant simply to replace departing Protectors and integrate those that wished to stay, as well as giving druids a larger role than wizards in less urban areas. Seeing an opportunity, Archdruidess Erinn has recruited heavily and expanded the group's mission. Now, in addition to protecting towns within Fianna, many members of the Fenians act as open agents and emissaries who help to gather intelligence, provide assistance to surrounding Commonwealth and independent provinces, and work to gain allies for the new Fiannan nation. The group was founded in Spring of 1109, and by late Autumn had succeeded in a number of endeavors, including but not limited to: preventing centaurs from destroying the city of Pezane, allying Fianna with several cities in Talar and the nation of Gora, and investigating the blight that affected Brecon's barley harvest.

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