Cults of the Past
Hargin of Selna
Many years ago--before the arcana and oriental materials were published--I created a collection of "secret societies" to use as dressing in my Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Of course, it made little sense for these secret societies to be known commonly, and therefore little sense for them to be
known to the player characters. However, it was equally useless for these to be completely unknown to anyone. Therefore, I created a fictitious author--Hargin of Selna--and a fictitious scholarly work which he had written, eons before. From time to time, characters might become aware of a very valuable and ancient copy of this even more ancient work; some whose background suggested that they would know of its existence sought it eagerly.
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Hargin was a sage, not an adventurer. His work was based on the writings of others, and on interviews with nobles and peasants, adventurers and businessmen. He believed that by and large these societies had passed out of existence, or that some of them had no existence beyond mere rumor, and was recording the stories as he saw them, with his assessment of which cults had actually existed, which ones might still exist--and all the opinion of a sage in the distant past.
This meant that the player characters who got hold of this work could read about societies which might have existed, and might still exist. Characters often aspired to membership in one or another of these organizations--and often dedicated themselves to discovering and destroying others.
Thus I offer to you what I gave them: the accounts of Hargin of Selna, brief descriptions of Cults of the Past. Print those you'd like to use, let your players read his accounts, and decide whether they are or are not true accounts, and whether or not the cults described still exist. I've also included a few secondary linked pages with my own notes on them, concerning how the sects were set up, so the DM may be able to reconstruct them to his own liking but will have the original ideas from which to work.
One other thing: Hargin makes reference to a large number of source papers, other scholars whom he quotes, cites, and references. I have little notion of these papers beyond what Hargin claims for them. However, if anyone cares to become one of these scholars, I welcome the opportunity to read the papers they may have written, and to link to them from these pages in exchange for your link here. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preface to the Work--Where Hargin of Selna explains his objectives.
The Border Guard--Founded by Rangers, this organization is alleged to have protected the civilized world from evil beyond the boundaries.
The Brotherhood of Death--Connected to the worship of the demon Orcus, the rumors of the activities of this group are not for the faint-hearted.
The Chance Meeting--Perhaps best described as a disorganization, this bastion of chaos is devoid of structure, and seeks to show that the entire world is as well.
The Elfin Legal Defense--One of the alleged defenders of the world, this group of lawful good elves has its own hierarchical structure. I'm also offering a few notes on this one.
The Freedom Fighters--This chaotic group took a militant turn, overthrowing oppressive authorities throughout the world.
The Iron Hand--A militant lawful group headed by lawful clerics, they were known for supporting governments everywhere.
The Lawmen--This lawful sect was dedicated strictly to scholarly pursuits, discussing and defending law in all forms in study and arguments.
Libra Facta--An ancient sect founded and headed by druids, its techniques set it apart.
Libra Ficta--This lawful evil offshoot of Libra Facta adapted those methods to its own purposes.
Magice Vincit Omnia--Headed by lawful evil wizards, this group maintained that the world should be reorganized under the leadership of learned men who had studied the supernatural and dark arts.
Might--Another lawful evil group, this seeks to put fighters in control of all things.
The Mithril Chain--Good fighters and cavaliers have been reported members of this very small group, helping others around the world and demonstrating extraordinary abilities. This one also has a few notes on it.
Moradin's Army--A lawful good dwarf group alleged to exist to defend the world in time of need.
The Ring of Blood--A small group of chaotic assassins were purportedly connected to each other in an effort to achieve greatness.
The Welfare Society--The principles of good reached grand expression in this organization which fed the poor and helped the sick and afflicted throughout the world.
Bibliography--Throughout this work, reference is made to other works by other authors. Those references are collected here. And incidentally, if any of you wish to write any of these imagined works, let me know--I'd be happy to link to them.
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