Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Order of St. Hermas

So here are details on the secret society/level titles/ advancement costs hybrid I proposed earlier.

Click to enlarge
This will certainly work best if the Society is the only reliable source for all these goods and services, which adventurers in laxer worlds have come to rely upon as their birthright. Henchmen can be obtained elsewhere, but may not be loyal or brave in the heat of the moment, and may shun a boss under whom too many have failed to return. Banking and treasure identification can certainly be presented as precarious enterprises in a savage world. Clerics, prophets, or whoever do not usually offer their services for a fee.

The four branches are identified with the four iconic classes of D&D but can also substitute for their absence in a party. It is reasonable for a wizard to join the Sword path wanting henchmen as bodyguards, or for a cleric to serve as the party's money handler, joining the Pentacles.

Can you spot the third idea from AD&D this draws on? Yep, alignment language.

More on St. Hermas here.


  1. I have an affiliation mechanism in my game, that is mostly fluff with no powerful mechanics, but grant access to training rooms, alchemy labs, libraries, secret spells, request missions, give some pay, grant respect and authority, followers, etc. (Training is important in my game since we use 3rd-like feats, that can be accessed by training, or by discovery, or has a reward after you perform a "feat"). It gives a lot of "texture" to the world.

  2. This is very cool. What's the idea behind the distinction between pentacle and wand? They both seem very magic-user to me. I would probably add a thief track as well if I used it.

    Another idea: make the organization monopolistic and very aggressive. With them or against them. So, no matter what choice the players make, they will have to deal with the order, either as an ally or an antagonist.

  3. Brendan: The pentacle is financially oriented, which fits the thief. Although it's a magic sign I'm using Tarot correspondences which have Pentacles standing for wealth and material objects.

    Also, I think the nature of the binding oath will create pressure for an all-or-none membership in the party. Imagine if only three of your group have sworn not to harm or steal from each other ... wouldn't you want to be in on that?

  4. Ah, that makes sense. Maybe access to stuff like thief tools and poisons also? Or spies to hire? Basically, the other tracks offer more obviously useful perks while the pentacle track feels like just appraiser and banker.

    Maybe professional thief tools can only be purchased from the order?

    I was thinking that the order would do things like sending assassins after "unlicensed" adventurers. Sort of like the relationship between the tower of high sorcery and renegade mages in the Dragonlance setting.

  5. I see what you mean Brendan ... think that most of that could be expanded under "confidential buying ... of contraband goods."

    In one of my current campaigns a PC is having to go around the town in disguise because an unreliable alchemist finked her out for having a poison potion identified.

  6. Ask not what your country can do for you...

    This positively reeks of ways to get the players involved in political machinations and obligations for previous aid. After all, those supporters have to come from somewhere, and it's hard to refuse when it's a request from the people who helped you get the fabled treasure of Gargomax and raised you from the dead to enjoy it too.
    I love it.

    1. Thanks! You might enjoy my latest post on marking up the map, then.