Brotherhood of the Aromatic Winds
by John Calvin
Although the spellcasters of Alphatia are known to be a godless bunch, there do exist more devout practitioners within her borders. This is especially true for those living in the monstrous nation of Limn. Many of the spellcasters from this nation draw their powers from a divine source, as opposed to an arcane one.
One such example of this is a fairly large religious sect known as the Brotherhood of the Aromatic Winds. The cult can trace its roots to the Isle of Dawn and the ancient Thothian Kingdom there. The legends are that an ancient god-king of Thothia took a gnollish slave as his companion. The god-king, named Noumena, was on a quest. He saw that his kingdom was declining and so began to search for the cause. His companion, a gnoll called Menkthet, was instrumental in uncovering the secret. When Noumena left this world for the next, he rewarded Menkthet for his faithful service. Thus was the Brotherhood born.
Like their patron immortal, Noumena, the Brotherhood has a penchant for discovering secrets. It is the driving force behind their society. All of the Borthers have an overiding need to seek out what is hidden.
These cultists are known (and respected) throughout the Empire for their supernatural tracking abilities. There is a large population of Brothers in Limn, as well as a several satellite enclaves scattered throughout the Isle of Dawn (mainly in Thothia), Esterhold, Norwald, and mainland Alphatia. Brothers routinely hire their services out as guides, bounty hunters, trackers, and even occasionally navigators aboard ships (of both the ocean going and skyship varieties).
|Spells per day|
|3||+2||+1||+3||+3||Improved Scent Feat||1||0||-||-|
|5||+3||+1||+4||+4||Extra Scent Feat||1||1||0||-|
|8||+6/+1||+2||+6||+6||Extra Scent Feat||2||2||1||1|
Hit Die: d8
Appraise, Bluff, Intimidation, Intuit Direction, Scent, Search, Sense Motive, Wilderness Lore)
Scent Skill (Wis): This skill can be used to identify various odors*. The skill user must be able to inhale the air in order to use this skill, and is subject to any detriments which that might entail. Known scents can be identified. Unknown scents will be noticed, but without prior knowledge of what a scent is, the user of this skill will not be able to identify it. The following DCs apply to a scent skill check:
|Common/Known Scent||DC -2|
|Uncommon Scent||DC +2|
|Exotic Scent||DC +5|
|Weak Scent||DC +5|
|Strong Scent||DC -5|
|Overpowering Scent**||DC +20|
|Overlapping Scents||DC +2/additional scent|
|Old Scent||DC +2/hour|
Common: These odors are encountered during the course of everyday activity. They should be familiar to all.
Uncommon: These scents may not be encountered everyday, but should be within the limits of most character's knowledge.
Exotic: These scents are probably not known by name, however it is possible that the user of this skill has smelled them before. If this is the case, then the skill user might recognize this odor, but would not be able to identify it. It is possible that the skill user may be able to place the scent into a broader category of odors [Ex: herbal, some creature type, or mineral in nature].
Unknown: The user of the scent skill may be able to discern the odor, but would not be able to identify it or categorize it in any way. The character has never smelled this scent before.
The user of this skill can also use it to track a scent as if he possessed the tracking feat. Scents cannot be tracked across running water of any type. This skill can also be used to make a distinction across species, but is not refined enough to single out the scent of a individual of any given species.
I'm using this skill as a racial skill, which means that only certain races are allowed to take it as the equivalent of a class skill. Some acceptable PC/NPC races are lupin, rakasta, gnoll, bugbears, kobold, hutaaka, and perhaps even orcs. Races such as goblins, hobgoblins, ogres, and half-orcs can also take this skill, but as a cross class skill. Most animals, and many monsters, get this skill for free.
** Overpowering scents may mask other scents. If the overpowering scent is strong enough (skunk or troglodyte musk), it may actually burn the user's scent receptors causing them to be useless for an amount of time determined by the DM.
Improved Scent Feat:
Prerequisites: Wis 11+; Scent Skill
This feat increases all scent skill rolls by +3. It also allows the scents of individuals to be discerned from those of other members of his species. With a successful skill check the exact number and species of creatures in an area can be determined by scent alone. If the scent of a certian individual is already known, the user of this skill can make an attempt to gain additional information. It is also possible that poisons, or diseases may be detected and diagnosed.
Scent Tracking Feat:
Prerequisites: Wis 13+; Improved Scent
This feat allows an individual to track by scent, even through running water. Depending upon how large a body of water, or how fast the water is moving, there can be a DC penalty of anywhere between +2 to +15 (DM's discretion).
Scent Sense Feat:
Prerequisites: Wis 13+; Improved Scent
This feat allows an individual to interpret the emotional state of another being, merely by smelling him. Strong emotions such as love, hate, or fear are easily detected. More subtle states of mind may be more difficult to interpret, and require a successful skill check. This feat also allows the scent skill to be used in order to tell if a person is being truthful or lying. This usually requires that the skill check beat an opposed bluff check. Failure indicates that the opposition's claim could not be evaluated.
Upon attaining first level, Brothers of the Wind may gain some rudimentary spell casting abilities. The spells can be found in the PHB, and behave in exactly the same manner as those spells unless noted otherwise.
During the Wrath of the Immortals War, most of the Brotherhood found employment with the Alphatian military and various mercenary bands. Many of the more adept brothers served aboard skyships, while most others were employed as scouts and trackers for ground troops.
The Brotherhood found itself mostly intact after Alphatia sank beneath the waves. A few members still serve various military organizations, but the vast majority have come together in small groups in order to try and refashion the Brotherhood. They see this time of turmoil in formerly Alphatian lands as a time of opportunities, and they intend to use the ensuing chaos to consolidate their own power. Several such groups are detailed below.
A small group of Brothers were conscripted on board Alphatian skyships during the war (mostly privately owned ships, commanded and opperated by their owners). Once Alphatia sunk, many of the Brotherhood left their ships for Thothia. Some few were persuaded by their former commanders to stay on board, either by promises of wealth or for a chance of discovery.
These few skyships have banded together as a loosly knit pirate band. The Brothers of the Winds are instrumental in locating and identifying their targets (not that the identity of said targets makes much difference to the pirates).
Their was a large sect of the Brotherhood in Esterhold both before and after the war. In high demand by Alphatian overlords, and despised by the local populace, these Brothers perform a very important, and much needed service. They retrieve runaway slaves, and sniff out rebel elements.
When the Jennites won their freedom (after a fashion), the foothold of the Brotherhood became tenious in Esterhold. Many of the Brotherhold's former "targets" have become persons of some high influence, and are beginning to put pressure on their former hunters. The Brothers who have remained in Esterhold represent the worst aspects of the Brotherhood. They are greedy, and seek profit at the expenses of others. Many work for some of the less reputable orginizations.
Isle of Dawn/Thothia
This sect is the largest cohesive group of the brotherhood in existance, it is also the most introspective. Many members never venture further than their local library, and they are always in the company of several musty, or dusty, scrolls. These brothers disdain dealing with the outside world, but still ocasionally rent out their services to those who are interested in aquiring certian knowledge...as long as that knowledge can be found in a book. Thothian brothers rarely leave the Isle of Dawn, but a few may be persuaded to do so if presented with an intriguing enough puzzle.
This large group is second in numbers only to the sect in Thothia. They have flocked to Norwald under the leadership of a Brother they refer to as the "High Dog." The High Dog is a small, wrinkled kobald. Although his eyes are quickly fogging over with cataracts, the High Dog is not defensless. Over the years he has become one of the few masters of his order.
This sect has feelers in nearly every humaniod community in Norwald, and is currently trying to expand their sphere of influence down the coast and into the Northern Reaches. The High Dog uses this influence to "direct" the humaniod tribes toward his own purposes. Many of the human dominions in the area know of the High Dog and frequently rent out the services of sect members to act as guides for caravans and armies through the more dangerous wild lands. Those who don't use the sects services usually never see their caravans and patrols again.
Many of the Brothers who relocated to Karameikos are war veterans who have grown weary of battle. This small group is determined to live out the principles of their order. They seek knowledge. In particular they are interested in finding out more about the roots of their own order, and from whence it came. Many have heard the tales of a Hidden Valley, and are preparing to search for it in this nation.
Copyright (c) 2001, John Calvin. Used by permission. All rights reserved.