d20 Package Deals – the Obsidian Order and the Crystal Seers

   The Obsidian Order:

   There are people who make – or are – trouble. They unseal ancient crypts, rummage out and read copies of the Necronomicon, and publish translations and analysis of dark rituals in scholarly papers. They know words of power, deadly secrets, and bits of history that should remain forever buried. If the man on the throne is decent enough – even if he is NOT the rightful king – is “THE TRUTH!” really worth a civil war?

   There are some secrets that should never come to light.

   The Obsidian Order is dedicated to concealing such secrets and dealing with such people. Before they can make too much trouble. With extreme prejudice.

   Sometimes that has to wait while they help the responsible parties clean up whatever horrific mess they’ve made – but the Obsidian Order tries to make sure that it happens in the end.

   If preserving that shroud of secrecy means tearing out the throat of an elderly academic, braining three of his students, and burning his house and laboratory to the ground, that is a small price to pay. They’d prefer to get that academics small grandchildren out of the house first – but if it can’t be done, it can’t be done.

   Sometimes the troublemakers are adventurers, and are considerably harder to deal with – but no one said that the duties of a member of the Obsidian Order were going to be easy.

   Obsidian Order Package Deal:

  • Minor Privilege: Access to the facilities of the order – a modest selection of safehouses, a loose information network, and some basic equipment and services (3 CP).
  • Mentor andSecret Master, Specialized/provides no XP bonus, but the instructors can teach a variety of advanced Witchcraft and Combat Techniques (6 CP). Note that their version of Witchcraft training will normally include two Pacts – Hunted (by the Crystal Seers) and Taboos (Must never reveal any secrets that have been entrusted to them, must never pay for research, and must not tolerate the use of major divination effects without protest).
  • Cloaking, Specialized/only conceals the existence and nature of secrets entrusted to the character (3 CP).

   The Obsidian Order tends towards secrecy and combat missions – and thus towards warriors, rogues, and similar types. They’re a shadowy, undercover, group of ruthless murderers and assassins – who admittedly mean well. After all, they’re serving the greater good, even if it is pretty hard on the occasional individual who happens to be disturbing the peace. In most places the Order is officially unknown, and – in most places where they’re known – they’re illegal.

   They also have a big job and not nearly enough agents – partly because of the caution with which they approach prospective new members, partly because of a fairly high casualty rate, and partly because suitable members are not easy to come by. They don’t want someone who causes gratuitous damages, or who might be tempted to abscond with some horrific arcane secret. They prefer to teach their recruits Witchcraft, including various Taboos (about revealing secrets that have been entrusted to them, paying for research, or allowing the use of major divination effects without protest.

   The Crystal Seers:

   Secrecy is never helpful in the long run. You don’t deal with a dangerous location by keeping those dangers a secret from the people who need to pass through it. That which is buried always comes to light again. Admittedly, you don’t need to pass out the exact text of the dread ritual which ends the world – but making sure that everyone knows enough about the ingredients list and conditions to know what to watch out for is the only way to go. Otherwise the only people who will know what to look for are the ones who are fascinated enough by such a ritual to spend ages digging up all the details – which is fine if it’s academic curiosity, but what happens if they’re obsessed enough to try it out and no one else knows enough about what they’re doing to give the alarm?

   Some groups try to hide such information. They place their own judgement above that of everyone else – an arrogant, and ultimately disastrous flaw in their thinking.

   Such foolishness cannot be tolerated. Knowledge must be sought out, recorded, and disseminated. The consequences of foolish accidents or the misuse of knowledge must be dealt with, and the individuals involved must be educated, so that they will know what not to do in the future.

   Crystal Seer Package Deal:

  • Create Relic, Specialized for Half Cost/only to create relics from the Enthusiast points, below. (3 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized in Relics for Double Effect.2 CP worth of Relics (3 CP). The Crystal Seers are always tinkering with things.
  • Lore/Cryptic Secrets, Specialized/must consult various tomes and references to sort out the relevant information (3 CP).
  • Favors/from the Nobility. The Seers have a certain amount of influence with the nobility and the courts, where they often work as court magicians, and can often obtain minor favors for each other (3 CP).

   The Crystal Seers tend towards research and magical tinkering – and so towards mages, bards, sages, and similar types. As might be expected, they’re fairly well known – albeit mostly in academic circles. Every magical academy and major court is likely to have a representative of the Seers around. Of course, this same visibility weighs heavily against them when it comes to undertaking quiet missions or when people are trying to find out about them. As might be expected, they’re very much against the Obsidian Order, which they see as a band of arrogant murderers. While they prefer to avoid direct confrontations, they’ll certainly try to make life difficult for members of the Order if they can manage it safely. They do have a problem finding recruits though; most prospective members simply aren’t idealistic enough to join.

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