Wednesday, March 27, 2019

OSR: The Brotherhood of Broken Chains: Master and the Pillars

[The following is a compilation of a series of documents transcribed by Interrogator-Lord Marwen of Soliko, agent of His Imperium, the Emperor of Joyous Exultation, Lord Unquaro's prayers be upon him.  The information contained within should be recognized as the opinions and thoughts of a law-breaker and do not in any way reflect the opinions, thoughts or desires of His Imperium or the agents of the Emperor or his loyal subjects.

All subjects detailed below are to be considered a danger to any nation they enter or person they encounter and should be dealt with only while utilizing extreme caution.  If any agent of His Imperium encounters any of the individuals below, they should flee immediately, unless they have sufficient arms to dispose of the law-breakers below.  So says the agent of His Imperium.
]

When Kings disappear into the night, when priceless artifacts go missing without a trace, when Priests are revealed to ordinary men after all, you will know our name.  We are the Brotherhood of Broken Chains, the dark kings of the rotten underworld and the true inheritors of the filthy society you have created.  You sneer down at us from your gilded towers, but your power is built on lies and deception.  You have done nothing to earn your status and simply had it handed down to you. You are unworthy of your positions and thus, you live in fear of the day you will be exposed.  That day, it will come.  On that day, you will be dragged from your beds and killed by those who once served you. 

Until that day, you will have to deal with us.


Master of Chains

Some of my peers have told me that it is hypocritical for a person with my beliefs to lead an organization that has a hierarchy.  I respond by saying they are fools.  De-centralization is good for hiding but useless for other purposes.  How are we to confront a central structure without structures and institutions of our own?  They say I am not consistent.  The truth is though, I am pragmatic.  The world will not be set free by idealists, but by those who have the will to do what is necessary.  That is what I am doing.  If they wish to take this burden from me, let them try.  If I meet another capable of this task, I will offer them my position.  Until proven otherwise, I will continue to move as if I am the only one capable of bringing this task to completion.

If you need further proof of my ability, look to where I came from.  I was born on the Northern frontier of the Empire, in the city of Vateeshi.  Those who know the city will tell you it is a miserable place and they would be right.  It is a sprawling expanse of houses on stilts and covered walkways, constantly smelling of rotting wood and filth.  The fisherman and trading guilds practically ran the city, with the magistrates more concerned with whoring and shaking down wealthy passerbys.  I made my living there as a cut-purse, until I was caught.  Luckily, I was caught by some of the civil magistrates and not a guildsman.  The latter would killed me, but the former settled for using me as an excuse.  Claiming that I was a delinquent, they brought me back to my home and accused my Mother of severe negligence in raising me properly.  When they saw the sight of our home though, as well as the fact that my Mother was raising me and my younger sister by herself, as my Father had died years earlier, they decided to make an example of her for her crimes.  They then proceeded to clap her in irons, confiscate my sister and steal everything of value that we owned.  I was left behind with a few scars, a small mercy.

My Mother was made a comfort woman and my sister was married off, despite being only thirteen at the time.  My Mother later died in captivity from being mistreated and abused by the soldiers she had been assigned to.  My sister died in child-birth. And I?  I met some interesting folk, who taught me some very interesting things.  I spent years honing my skills and nursing my rage.

Then I made them pay.

Weakness:  I have a weakness, I assure you, but it is not that I am stupid enough to write it in this volume, even if I am the only person who will ever read it.

Statblock:

Master of Chains
HD 5  AC 16  Atk(+2) Crownbreaker (enchanted Staff) 1d6+1/1d6+1
Mor 7    Saves 12 or less is a success

Spellcasting: The Master of Chains has 8 spellcasting dice and 8 spells prepared.  His spellcasting dice burn out on a 5 or 6.  The spells he has prepared are Blight, Devil's Own Luck, Meteor Guard, Hailstorm, Adrenaline Rush, Charm Person, Assert Dominance and Scary Mary.

Chaos: If the Master of Chains casts a spell with 2 or more spellcasting dice, he has a 1-in-6 chance of invoking Chaos.  If he does invoke Chaos, roll on the table below.

Chaos of the Master
1d6

1- The Master is struck by lightning and takes 2d6 damage, save for half.  This damage cannot reduce the Master below 1 HP.
2- The next magic spell cast within 50' automatically targets the Master, unless it was cast by the Master on himself.  Then it targets a random person.
3- The Master's next attack misses automatically.
4- One random person within 50' has their electrical synapses suddenly erupt forth, doing 1d6 damage to them.  Additionally, the people near the affected person must save.  On a failure, the electricity arcs from the original person, hitting them and doing 1d6 damage as well.  This electrical charge can arc through as many people as there are nearby, only stopping when the closest person to it passes the saving throw.
5- A cloud forms over the Master, 1d100+10 feet overhead.  This cloud follows the Master for 1d10 days,
each day, roll for the weather the cloud produces.  Today the cloud produces 1d6 (1= Rain; 2= Snow; 3= Hail; 4= Blood; 5= Fish, frogs, or an appropriate small animal; 6= Mildly acidic rain, does 1d2 damage for each minute exposed)
6- For the next 1d10 minutes, the Master can suddenly sense all electromagnetic radiation within 100' and he must save.  On a success, he can see EVERYTHING.  On a failure, he goes mad for the duration.

Tactics:
- Cast Devil's Own Luck on yourself
- Then cast Meteor Guard on yourself
- Use Charm Person on anyone you can
- Then weaken the strongest remaining opponent with Blight
- Use Hailstorm to soften up the opponents for Assert Dominance

Status: Active.  Despite my advanced age, I remain in firm control of the Brotherhood.  I am still at our headquarters, organizing brothers, storing the goods they have acquired, filing mission requests and performing all matter of duties to keep my organization together.  None have dared to challenge my reign, except for a few foolish traitors, who will soon be dealt with.

The Four Pillars

The Four Pillars are among the most prestigious and trusted members of my organization.  They are among the few beings in the world that I know I can count on, when things go poorly, and do not have to force to obey me.  I do not trust them, per say, but we have an understanding.  When I need something done that cannot be entrusted to a lesser Brother, I summon the Pillars.

                                                        (Duvaine Lalatino is his normal form)
Duvaine Lalatino

While he cannot claim to be the Eldest Brother or the historical first member of our organization, Duvaine Lalatino has been with us for a long time.  He is a founding member of the Brotherhood, and currently is in charge of all Northern operations, as well as one of our senior instructors responsible for teaching the Brothers who have the talent or drive Fist Arts.  Or at least, those are his assigned duties.  In practice, Lalatino prefers to let his subordinates handle the administration of his affairs, as well as any task he does not find stimulating enough.  However, I tolerate him, because while Lalatino is often negligent and manic when it comes to filing his reports or showing up for meetings, he is a superb enforcer and one of the deadliest warriors I have had the pleasure of fighting alongside.  The fact that he has a habit of killing off some of the more foolish members of my organization in his wild rages also helps me tolerate him.  Anyone foolish enough to disturb Lalatino even after I have made it so easy to ignore him was probably not cut out for this line of work, anyway.

Duvaine Lalatino is a Handsome Man, born in the wild lands of the North.  He showed a special talent for violence, one that even rivaled the martial prowess of other Handsome Men.  However, this did not earn him the adulation he expected.  The Handsome Men have built a society of equals, with few hierarchies and fewer rewards for climbing them.  Thus, Lalatino struck out on his own, to carve out a kingdom for himself.  His first attempt, he confessed to me, was a total failure, and he was exiled to the Slave Kingdoms (the lands of the non-Handsome Men) and sent South.  This was a mistake on the behalf of his enemies, and one he plans to teach them, when he eventually returns to seek his revenge.  This probably won't be any time soon, however, as Lalatino is easily distractible, and prefers a good fight over any long term planning.  I have also been careful to quietly undermine any preparation that Lalatino does make, so that he will always be behind schedule.  As of now, I need him too much to let him wander off and pursue his own ambitions.  There may come a time in the future when allowing Lalatino to move forward with his plans will benefit me.  If so, I will lend my weight to his cause.  Until that day though, Lalatino will remain at my side, until I permit otherwise.   

Weakness:
Lalatino's own weakness is that he is easily angered.  Any insult, along with disturbing his work or touching his things has the chance of sending him into a rage.  During these rages he is quite dangerous, but also short-sighted, and easier to ambush, distract or trick.

                                                         (Duvaine Lalatino's War Face)
Statblock:

Duvaine Lalatino
HD 5  AC 13  Atk(+2) Petal Dancer (Enchanted Glaive) 1d8+2 or Natural Weapons 1d6+1/1d6+1
Mor 10    Saves 11 or less is a success

Spellcasting: Duvaine Lalatino has 2 spellcasting dice and 2 spells prepared.  His spellcasting dice burn out on a 5 or 6.  The spells he has prepared are Entomb and War Face.

Parry: Duvaine Lalatino can parry up to 1d8+2 damage from one attack a round.  He can also parry damage from ranged attacks.

Double Attack: If two people are standing next to each other, if he is attacking with his Glaive, Lalatino can attack both of them at once.  This requires two attack rolls.

Chaos: If Duvaine Lalatino casts a spell with 2 or more spellcasting dice, he has a 2-in-6 chance of invoking Chaos.  If he does invoke Chaos, roll on the table below.

Chaos of Duvaine Lalatino
1d6

1- There is an explosion of glitter emanating from the Wizard, getting all over everything within 30'.
2- The Wizard loses the ability to speak anything but compliments for 1d10 minutes.
3- The Wizard starts glowing as bright as a torch for 1d10 minutes.
4- The Wizard is surrounded by music as Orchestral Accompaniment for 1d10 minutes.
5- The clothes and armor the Wizard is currently wearing disintegrate, vanishing in a shower of glowing sparks.
6- The Wizard suddenly has 3d6 adorable animals, ex: kittens, appear around them.  These animals start running around, causing trouble, and generally making a nuisance of themselves.  

Tactics:
- Run away, then put on your War Face
- Cast Entomb on any spellcasters
- Use Petal Dancer to hit large groups at once
- Then attack the weakest person

Status: Active.  Lalatino is currently on a mission, investigating rumors that the Horn of the Dragonmaster has been found in Eva's Mountains.  If these rumors are true, he is to retrieve the Horn for the Brotherhood at any cost.


Orvan, Son of [Unintelligible]

[His full name was simply unreadable.  Every servant who read the latter part of his name either couldn't see it, or developed massive headaches and couldn't read any further.  The Wizard I asked to read it started bleeding from the eyes before he fainted.  The Wizard, upon waking up, claimed to not remember anything, though he still studiously avoided me for the next month.]

Orvan is the one person in the entire world that I might consider a friend.  I trust him totally, despite his odd nature.  He is the youngest of the Pillars, but the one who has served me most effectively.  He has never once disobeyed an order.  If it were not for his inflexible nature, I would be grooming him to be a successor.  Tragically though, this is unlikely to happen.  Orvan is a competent administrator and a brilliant enforcer, but he possesses not a drop of charisma.  He would be a poor leader. 

This is mostly due to his nature.  Orvan is partially Human, with the emphasis on partially.  For reference, humans are those strange, hairless creatures from the distant West, with tiny eyes and delicate, symmetrical bodies.  However, Orvan is no ordinary Human.  His eyes are dark as the Void and incite the same fear in those who look upon them without preparing themselves.  He speaks quietly, always reserved, and rarely seems to feel any emotion.  He can feel them, but he generally doesn't.  Additionally, Orvan possesses one final noticeable feature.  He has two wounds, one on his right forearm, the other on his chest, both that look like he was impaled.  The wounds are open to the air, exposing bone and muscle.  They do not bleed or seem to cause him any pain. 

As for the second part of Orvan's nature, he has informed me of it himself.  The rest I have pieced together from my own memory, especially given my part in his "birth".  Once, Orvan was just an ordinary citizen of [unknown city or nation, the text is the same as his Father's name, see above] when [unknown group, enemies?] attacked his people.  He joined the fight, but during the fighting he [Incomprehensible, what does that mean?].  I encountered him soon after and helped him [No no no this cannot be, this must be a lie].  With his help, we [This volume is nonsense, it's just another trick, the Master of Chains is playing you, Marwen.]

In conclusion, I think the experiment was a great success.

Weakness: Orvan has a terrible phobia of wooden stakes.  He cannot stand to be near one and will flee if he sees one, especially if it being wielded against him.  He has told me that he will [I don't understand] for the [that's not a number] time by impalement, and I have elected to believe him.  Orvan's predictions have never been wrong before.

Statblock:

Orvan, Son of [My eyes, my eyes, how they sing to me]
HD 5  AC 12  Atk Weapon 1d8/1d8
Mor 11     Saves 11 or less is a success

Herald of Specific Death: When Orvan wishes to, as a full action, he may cause everyone in 50' to display a specific fatal wound (such as an arrow wound to the chest, a cut throat, a smashed skull, etc).  If that person takes damage in the specific area that matches the wound they display, they take double damage from any successful attack.  Do not count this double damage as part of the Attack roll.  To determine what fatal wound the players will receive and you don't have any ideas, roll on the table below.

How will you die?
1d8

1- Beheading
2- Sliced to ribbons
3- Impaled by a spear
4- Skull crushed
5- Hand cut off, bled to death
6- Burned alive
7- Riddled with arrows or bullets
8- By having your throat cut

It will not Die: Orvan takes half damage from all non-magical sources of damage, except from wooden stakes.

Weakness: Orvan takes double damage from wooden stakes.

Phobia: Orvan is terrified of wooden stakes.  If he sees one, he must immediately check morale or flee.    

Weapon Hoarder: Orvan is armed to the teeth.  He has 1d20 weapons on him at all times.  Change these to suit whatever area he is in.  If he's exploring a cave, for instance, he won't bring a polearm or a longbow, and etc.

Tactics:
- See who has the most serious fatal wound
- Target those who are the most dangerous or the ones with the easiest fatal wound
- Target all spearmen first

Status:
Active.  Orvan is currently assembling a team to go after a foolish group of traitors who dared to defy my will.  He is under order to capture them, or if they prove irritating, to kill them.

Zena Shadow

Every ruler must have a Shadow, a person who perches above them, a ruthless warrior whose job it is to remind them of what is at stake.  The Shadow must watch and wait, and on the day that the ruler fails to do what a ruler must, the Shadow springs, slays the ruler, and takes the ruler's position.  This is to ensure laxness and decadence never affect the ruler, for they can always feel the Shadow's knife against their throat.  The best rulers have little need for a Shadow and the worst are swiftly replaced by theirs.  And since I am a ruler, I have a Shadow of my own.  Her name is Zena.

I know very little about her.  She follows our customs, but she is no Orzane.  I suspect she is a Quarrian, but I am unsure of this fact.  I do know her name is Zena, because she told me.  This is one of the few facts she has ever related to me.  She is a woman of few words, preferring to let her actions speak for her.  She is almost always by my side, at least when I am on the island or in my fortress.  She does not travel with me, but never fails to let me know that she was somehow watching me while I was gone.  Other then that, she sits in the corner of whatever room I am in, occasionally curling up at my feet like a maiden asking for a man's hand.  Those who do not know better might confuse my Shadow for my favorite toy.  They would be sorely mistaken.

I have made several attempts to lure Zena away from her duties as my Shadow, probing her for weaknesses.  Through intermediaries, I have offered her money, power, fame or glory.  She refused all offers.  I even hired a trusted Brother to attempt to seduce her, but she skillfully rebuffed his affections, though she did enjoy his ministrations for several months.  I hoped that she might get pregnant from their liasions, but to no avail.  The woman is careful.  My last attempt to break her was I had an orphan child brought to my fortress and raised as a Ward.  I had hoped that her maternal instincts would kick in and she might start to care for the orphan boy.  Tragically though, it seems Zena doesn't have a maternal bone in her body, so the attempt failed.  Still, I was able to indoctrinate and groom the boy into a worthwhile Brother, so it wasn't a complete waste of effort.  Additionally, these efforts taught me something very important.  Zena is a zealot, a true believer.

I do not want to entrust my organization to a zealot.  A ruler must be flexible, and Zena seems incapable of flexibility.  I must guard myself, as I do not want to entrust my life's work to her, she will destroy it all, in pursuit of her ideals.  I could just kill her myself and appoint a new Shadow, but down that path lies risk.  I do not know the true nature of Zena's abilities, so that is an obvious danger.  Even more than that though, I must be careful.  In battle, the most important factor is a warrior's will.  So on the day I fail to strike ruthlessly at a foe or do what has needed to be done, I will have already lost the edge needed to crush my shadow.

Weakness:
Zena will not allow anyone but her to harm me.  She is single-minded in her pursuit and survelliance of me, as any good Shadow is.  Would she die to defend me?  I am not sure, but I suspect that if were to be seriously endangered, Zena would be the first to come to my defense, unless this was part of some ploy by her to kill me.        

Statblock:

Zena Shadow
HD 4  AC 14  Atk(+3) Sentencer (enchanted longsword) 1d6+3/1d6+3
Mor 12   Saves 12 or less is a success

Monstrous Strength: Zena is incredibly strong, with a STR of 18(+3).

Magic Sword: Zena's sword, Sentencer is enchanted.  Anyone injured by it must save.  On a failure, his or her blood forms chains and manacles, binding the wounded body part to the nearest solid object, whether that be a wall, the person's sword, or the person's body.  These chains can be broken with a successful DC 10 STR check, but doing this reopens the wounds, making that person take 1d6 damage a round until they take an action to staunch the bleeding or take at least 1 point of fire damage to the affected area.

Parry: Zena can parry damage twice per round, reducing damage taken from any non-magical attack that could be fended off by a person with a sword by 1d6+3.

Tactics:
- Lie in wait
- Assault one person at a time
- Focus on the small, clever ones

Status: Active.  She watches me even now.

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