Illuminati—Friend or Enemy—or Both?
Continuing our horror theme from yesterday we come to the Illuminati—a generic name for the shady organization said to be a short step behind the throne in the Capitol and across Castorhage.
The Illuminati are a self-proclaimed group of men, women and things who think they know what is best for Castorhage and everyone in it—and more particularly for themselves. A cult of like-minded, selfish power-hungry people of influence, they pull many of the strings that control events in the Blight, and those strings are long. Their influence extends downwards and upwards through shady contacts, blackmail and henchmen and women who have few morals, or are simply scared. In truth, they also plot and weave against each other, to the point where no one truly knows who to trust.
Theirs is the horror of power, of order, ‘justice’ and envy, influence and of human weakness, and making an enemy of any aspect of them can bring the subtle human or humanoid need for vengeance.
Enter the PCs…
The game of power that exists and seethes within Castorhage gives you as player or GM a number of headaches—but also opportunities. Who to trust? Trust no-one and risk alienation, or play the game yourself and end up as bad as they are. One of the future titles I’d like to bring to your gaming table involves the PCs at the center of such a web for a whole AP as they play this game, I really hope we can bring that one to you in the future some time.
So whether it’s coming up against the terrible might and influence of one of the Crown Justices and entering their iron webs, or upsetting the wrong streetclerk or local guard captain, locals have long memories and daren’t risk their enemies getting away without being taught a lesson—such inaction is seen as a terrible weakness, and weak people wither in Castorhage.
The Illuminati are also the disease that ensures that those who rise too far too quickly soon fall—for power is everything here in the city, and as time goes by, it’s almost impossible to go unnoticed. There are several articles about scrying, spies and detection spells as well as alignment in the Blight to give GM and player alike the local way these things are dealt with and how the powerful try to ensure that they remain that way.
To give you an example, the Blight brings a concept of enemy penalties, which may come and go as you move through this twisted city. Enemy penalties are picked up by certain PC actions as their story grows. Sometimes these enmities are trivial—perhaps the kin of someone the PC's unmasked or killed, sometimes they are much, much worse and can bring about their own APs or horrific consequences for family and friend.
Making the wrong enemy can be the worst horror of all in this place…