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Black Rose Cult

by Max Monas

The Black Rose Cult (taken from the Netbook of Cults, with some adaptations by me).

A Lawful Evil Cult, of priest/assassins. Members don't necessarily have to be an assassins (it is preferred though) as long as the have a priest as a class. The Cult currently also have priest/fighters and priest/mage (if anyone thinks another class should be included, please let me know). Classes of a combination with assassins are not allowed, because the Cult worships a Lawful Evil Immortal (I still don't have any idea which one, please let me know which one can be inserted here). The Immortal should be one of Death, so the cult can use spells of this Immortal. The original Immortal I had in mind was Thanatos, but he seems to be a Chaotic Evil Immortal which doesn't seem to go along with strict hierarchy in the Cult (please correct me if I am wrong).

The Cult also so called "sleepers" (not very original, I know) in high position in society. They "sleep" at the moment but the can be activated by the High Priest (he is the only one who knows who they are), if he thinks it is necessary. In the meanwhile they pretend to be normal members of society. They do attend Holy days of this cult (once every two months a human sacrifice has to be made, in order to keep the Immortal happy), but they were masks. The Cult does not want to gain power in a country, they believe members of the Cult, should be selected by them, they approach priests who they believe are worthy and an asset to the Cult, by gaining to much religious power in a country (this is set in Karameikos) they feel that "impure" elements will corrupt the Cult. They want to remain underground, but when an opportunity arises to makes themselves know they will take it, but they still want to be able to select members of the cult themselves. The "sleepers" are placed to get to know whether the Cult is know to the authorities in the country. If so the "sleepers" will get the assignment to do everything possible to get ride of evidence or to persuade people (without revealing that they are members of the Cult, of course) to leave things be. If things seem to get out of control, key people in the investigation will either disappear or die under mysterious circumstances.

The Cult consists out of approximately 30 members. 20-25 of these active members are priest/assassins, and the remaining 5-10 members are either priest/fighters or priest/mages, these members are called Cloaks. A team can be assembled (so there are no fixed teams) according to the job at hand. Teams are accompanied by a higher level member of the Cult, called Shadows. Above the Shadows are three Masters. The inform the Shadows on assignments and the assemble teams and they assign Shadows to teams. Above these Masters is the Grand Master, the leader. He is the one to accept jobs from Baron Von Hendriks (who in my campaign is also the leader of the Iron Ring), and if need be he will also accept jobs from other people, as long as they pay enough. Jobs do not necessarily have to assassinations, it could also be spying, infiltrating groups, guilds, foreign governments (although this will take a long time and a lot of money has to be paid for this), basically any job in which assassin skills or spying skills are necessary. The Cult is loyal to Von Hendriks, because he has granted them freedom in the former Black Eagle Barony (the campaign in set in 1012). He also has promised that when he takes over power in Karameikos (his ultimate goal), they will be granted freedom of religious practice again, something they can't find any where else.

The things is which Immortal can be best served by this Cult? I think it is best if they serve a Lawful Evil Immortal who reigns over life and death (this will give priest spells that will come in handy in their line of work), but I don't know which Immortal this could be.

The Cult has been around for a long, long time. They existed in Thyatis were the members were put to a horrible death if they got caught. In order to avoid this they decided to eliminate anyone who could pose a threat to them. Because this seemed to work (the people died an even more gruesome death then the cult members when they were caught, they decided to train themselves in the "art" of assassination (much like Ninjas in Japan). At this time they bribed (or forced) people in powerful position to tell them who knew what about the Cult. This worked, although this meant that they were becoming know, something they tried to avoid at all costs. At this point it was agreed that they had to get some members in key positions in the Government, which happened. It took a while, but after several years (in which they had to keep a low profile), members had risen to positions where they could manipulate on going investigations on the Cult.

Rumours were then spread that the Cult had completely been destroyed by the authorities, which were not completely believed. Investigations to the Cult were still conducted. When Karameikos became a Kingdom, they quickly moved members to Karameikos, who then could rise quickly in this Kingdom and they moved the whole Cult to Karameikos, in order to get some "well deserved" rest from the Thyatian authorities. The Thyatian authorities do believe that the Cult has been destroyed, and the problems are just about to start in Karameikos.