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Order of the Shadowby Joaquin Menchaca
Zirchev is known as the huntsman, man of the forest in legends past. Legend has it that the Immortals of Mystara taught him ways to tame, ride, and fight from horses, to train dogs to fight for their masters, and to take animal traits when stalking and fighting the enemy. However these skills were already long-known to the Traladar.
The Immortals were actually the legendary the Hutaakan, a race of jackal headed humanoids, and trained Zirchev in the arcane arts. During the incursion of the Beastmen (or rather gnolls), Zirchev became a powerful wizard, and was famous for summoning animals and monsters to aid the cause. From this vantage, Zirchev established a secret order that would train others in the arcane arts and called it the Order of the Shadows. The main goals in this secret society is to utilize its powers to protect nature and the Traladaran from powerful or supernational forces that so frequently roams the lands of Traladara, now Karameikos. The order represents the ideal of individuality and strives to protect the freedom of sentient races from these forces.
Members of the order have a long documented account of the history of Traladara including the heroic epics of many forgotten heroes. The also document legends and mythology about another race of beast-men called Hutaakan and an ancient empire called Nithia. However these tales are regarded as mythological rather than documented historical fact.
The Order of Shadow works predominantly in secret, so as not to draw attention from evil forces that would seek them out. The common Traladaran would never hear of the order, and other priests of Petra and Halav could only suspect its existence, but afford no concrete proof. The Thyatians have no knowledge of the order, and would most likely dismiss any mention of it as Traladaran superstitions.
The Order documents its history about various cults, supernatural forces, sinister villains, monstrous populations, lycanthropy, and vampire societies. Attention recently has focused on gather information about Baron Ludwig von Hendriks of the Black Eagle Barony, his recruitment of monstrous forces, and also his cooperation with a powerful slaver organization called Iron Ring.
Clerics of Zirchev sometimes act as representatives under the auspices of the Church of Traladara. The priests under this role can recruits members into the Order whom show promise.
The Order has a secret language called Tethrai, which is an ancient dialect of Nithian, spoken so very long ago. There are minor similarities to Traladaran. This language is never taught to anyone outside the order.
The Order of Zirchev meets annually is a secret location within Krakatos.
The Order of Zirchev members can include a variety of professions, which include Clerics, Druids, Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, and Thieves. The Immortal Zirchev will sponsor spells for Clerics and Paladins, and also sponsor druidic spells for Druids and Rangers.
Shades of the Shadow
There are many groups within the Order, in addition to the general members. These groups have specific missions and objectives.
Hunter of the Shadow
The Hunter of the Shadow are similar to bounty hunters, except they specialize in hunting and destroying a particular threat.
* Hunter of the Shadow
Hunter of the Chase
The Hunter of the Chase are not specific to the Order of the Shadow, though some may elect to become a member, in order to get the vast amount of information documented. The Hunter of the Chase is dedicated to the individual freedom of sentient creatures, and fights others that oppose that freedom.
* Hunter of the Chase
The Guardian Seekers are responsible to collecting all of the information that can be used within the order. They keep information about the history and lore of Traladara (Karameikos) and is dedicated to the acquisition, protection, and destruction of evil artifacts, all for the purpose of ensuring that such fell items are never used by mortal hands.
* Guardian Seekers
Knights of the Shadow
The Knights of the Shadow are a noble group that helps innocents in their greatest need. They will find out when evil strikes, comes out secrecy to intercede, and then quietly disappear. This group also acts as the strong arm of the Order of the Shadow, when the Order needs to coordinate efforts; though this occurs all too rarely, and only in the direst of circumstances.
* Knight of the Shadow
Unlike many organizations, there is no specific hierarchy. Many will take up a role as coordinator for either specific quests, and also as a leader of a specific group within a given focus. However, all decisions are either made upon an individual bases, or through more democratically when the Order of the Shadow meets once per year to discuss matters and choose a course of action.
In order to become an acting member of this secret order, the player character must meet the following requirements:
Religion: The character must be an active worshipper of Zirchev. Though this fact does not need to be made public.
Skills: Knowledge (Karameikos) 1 rank, Knowledge (History of Traladara) 1 rank
Special: The character must have demonstrated heroism in saving Traladarans from evil forces.
Once a character becomes a member of the order, the character may take on of the special prestige classes and learn the from following skills:
* Knowledge (Herbalism),
* Knowledge (Monster),
* Knowledge (Vampire),
* Knowledge (Lycanthrope),
* Knowledge (Traladaran Ancient History),
* Speak Language (Tethrai),
* Speak Language (Traladaran)
The Order of the Shadow also teaches special techniques and tactics, and so any member will have access to the following feats:
* Sworn Enemy
Those displaying the secret sign of the shadow will get a bonus +8 to Diplomacy towards elves, chevall, sylvan races, and monsters friendly to the order.
The Order of the Shadow maintains a great library underneath Krakatos that documents are more accurate account of Traladaran history in Tethrai. In addition to this, it maintains a wealth of arcane information, including spells, that is most useful spell researchers. Many of these spells within the library are more advanced that those that are maintained by the School of Magic in Specularum; and also includes many undocumented spells as well.