A Secret Society Of Character-Hunters For Your Campaign

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0802

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This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is about Occult Mysteries and Magic. To celebrate that theme, here is a quick and adversarial secret society idea for your campaign.

The Masters of Destiny

These guys hunt adventurers. They believe an ancient evil will soon awake, but the world is doomed because there are no heroes powerful enough to stand up to the near god-like threat.

When heroes, explorers, mercenaries — whatever you call them in your world — gain a little notoriety, The Masters of Destiny send bounty hunters to eliminate the troublemakers.

Their plan is to find and mentor one special group of brave souls who can become strong and smart enough to defeat the ancient enemy.

When candidates or unfit rivals emerge, the cult tracks them down and tests them. When the test fails, the cult eliminates the adventurers so they do not interfere with the cult’s plans.

The cult knows of several ruins and key adventuring sites within the region. Within these old barrows, derelict castles, and dark dungeons legendary treasures await. Should these treasures fall into inept hands, the cause is lost.

As trial by fire, if the wrong heroes explore these places only to perish, the cult believes they lose a critical opportunity to test, harden, and teach the chosen Heroes of Destiny.

The cult is not evil. They do not kill their victims. Instead, they use magic to reduce non-candidates’ intelligences so the ex-adventurers can only effectively function at simple jobs. It’s a blessing, in the cult’s mind. The explorers were likely in for a hard life of violence, fear, and pain anyway. The adventuring path is not for the feint of heart.

Home base is an actual dungeon. The cult uses monstrous minions to mine, raid, and pillage so coffers overflow to pay for agents and spies, bounty hunters, equipment, and other organisation costs.

There’s a secret faction within the cult that actually serves the ancient evil. They delight in eliminating all potential threats to their master. And when the Heroes of Destiny are found, they’re prepared to sabotage the cult’s efforts of training and mentoring these foes.

Here are some What Ifs…

  • When the cult discovers the PCs’ existence, what if the PCs are tested and they fail to qualify?
  • What if the magic used to eliminate rivals is running out? For example, the cult might use a Wand of Feeblemind with only three charges left.
  • What if the PCs stumble upon victims of the cult? What if there’s a way to reverse the magical intelligence damage?
  • What if a counter-cult exists that tries to recruit the PCs? This cult knows nothing about the ancient enemy and only believes the Masters of Destiny are evil dungeon overlords seeking all the legendary treasures in the realm for themselves?
  • What if the ancient evil is the Masters of Destiny leader?

It was fun conjuring up this cult for the carnival. Hopefully, you can find a spot for it in one of your campaigns someday.

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