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    Canonfire :: View topic - Secret Societies of Ket
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    Secret Societies of Ket
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2010
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    Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:23 pm  
    Secret Societies of Ket

    Heya everyone, here's the first draft of one of the societies I'm working on, let me know what you think of it.

    -Michael-

    Ket: Secret Societies and Hidden Cabals.


    The nation of Ket sets at the crossroads of the Baklunish West, Eastern Flanness and the upper Sheldomar Valley and as such the mix of cultures has left an indelible mark on this nation. The hustle and bustle of trade which is the nation’s lifeblood often masks its ancient roots with a veneer of new brought in by each caravan. The past is lost to the onslaught of the new and forgotten by those that most needed to learn the lessons therein. Ancient cabals from the times before the cataclysms linger rebelling against the very decay that saw to the end of empire. Lost gods reach out from oblivion’s maw towards the last glimmering embers of their faithful in hope to rise anew. Men and women of fell intent gather in the ossuaries of this ancient land and whisper of ways to take the wealth of its noble families. Ket is a hotbed for many such groups each with their own agendas yet each has the same need for secrecy. To be discovered means the blade of the Mullahs will fall with swift and righteous fury but like all things secret in Ket, deep roots are not so easily excised from such fertile ground.


    The Pall of Drathi

    ‘Drathi take you.’ Is curse often heard in the marketplaces of Lopolla and Thornward used by Ketite merchants in the midst of haggling with others. Most who use it have no real knowledge of its origins other than to have heard their fathers and their grandfathers utter it. Even scholars and sages of ancient lore would be hard pressed to put an actual definition to what or who ‘Drathi’ might be and where they might ‘take you’. If any did know they would never let it pass their lips again for to invoke such darkness would surely damn their soul to the same fate.

    Long ago before the great Baklunish Empire sprawled across the land, the wandering folk who would build that empire had gods like any other people, gods of fertility, of duty, of fate but they also had darker gods, the blackest of which was Drathi, the mother of murder. It is unknown if she was a former name for the god Nerull or if she had any connection to the Reaper at all but in those early days to speak of her drew her murderous eye and the curse ‘Drathi take you’ was the most reviled curse ever spoken.

    While the Priestesses of Drathi were feared even these daughters were miniscule compared to her murderous monks, known as the Pall of Drathi. These assassins came from the shadows were relentless and without mercy. Once set loose nothing could stay their hand save the word of the Mother of Murder herself. For an age Drathi and her followers ruled the tribes of the Bakluni with fear alone. Emirs, Pashas and Caliphs sent tribute trains of gold and jewels through the steppes to her hidden city in hopes of keeping her gaze from them and their people.

    The price became too high for the Grand Caliph on the day Som Al’Aswad grandmaster of the Pall of Drathi stood in his grand court and demanded the Caliph’s ten daughters whose beauty was unrivaled. The Caliph rejected the demand and would have been slain there had Istus not set the strands of destiny in motion. Four knights of legendary skill were at court that day on separate matters and they leapt to defend the Caliph. Ancient songs speak of the battle lasting days but in the end the grandmaster lay dead at the foot of the throne and the knights swore an oath to all the gods of the Bakluni that Drathi’s temple would fall. The identity of the four knights has been lost in time but it is believed this was the final quest of the mortal man who became Al’Akbar.

    Thousands rallied to the knights and war began. Slowly the black roots of Drathi were burned from the lands of the Bakluni with each temple being burnt and the ruins scattered. No follower of the mother of murder escaped the blades of the knights. In the end the Pall fell to the knights on the steps of Drathi’s hidden city. Rather than letting their armies sack the city the knights ordered everything burned, leaving the treasure behind rather than risk any of Drathi’s tainted ‘blood gold’ getting out. As they left the mountain redoubt the knights ordered their armies to dismantle bridges and destroy the roads leading to the place, doing their best to erase the location off the face of Oerth.

    The Faith of the Mother of Murder ended at the edge of the knights’ swords. Had they carried their fight into the outer planes and destroyed the goddess herself none knew but this act ended her stranglehold. The purge of all things Drathi continued for years, books burned, mosaics destroyed even the very warding tokens made by the terrified Bakluni fell into disfavor. What could not be excised however was that fear. It lingered in the hearts and minds of the Backlunish people and though it became nameless that dread remained. Where there is fear however nameless there is memory and in this collective memory the last seed of Drathi lurked in the form of Ruhl Al’Thaan.

    Some say he was Drathi’s first born male child, others say he was the first to call her name in the act of murder, some even whispered he predated in the Mother herself but to the priestesses and monks of Drathi he was a legend. He was the warden of her prison where the shackled souls of those killed in her name remained eternally tortured and stripped of all vestiges of humanity until they could be forged into the blades of her faithful. The knights slew all but him for he was beyond even their reach sequestered deep in the heart of the negative material plane in a penitentiary built of black iron. When all had forgotten the Mother of Murder he remembered. He sustained the fear in the hearts of the Baklunish. He was the boogey man that frightened their children. He was there at the end of their days to remind their spirits how lucky they’d been to die by another’s hand. He was the dread of death, the gloom that oblivion could not wipe away.

    Long after Drathi had become nothing more than a merchant’s curse Ruhl left his prison and entered the world of the living once more. On the day of the Colorless Fire he walked the killing fields wrought by the twin cataclysms and culled from the dying seven cowards who begged any who would answer for a way to escape the coming death. Into the souls of these seven Ruhl whispered one of Drathi’s Glooms, the precepts of her ideology and commanded them to pen this down in secret. Each died upon completion of this task. Ruhl collected these seven tomes and saw they reached the hands of men and women of proper nature who would learn the ways of Drathi once more, thus the Pall of Drathi was reborn.

    Through these seven books the ways of the Mother of Murder live on and while the Pall has been destroyed to a man many times the books manage to slip away to be found again allowing the deadly hand of Drathi to add to the inmates of the final prison.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:44 pm  

    Fantastic work, Michael! This makes me hungry for more, indeed!!! :D

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    Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:00 pm  
    Ketite and baklunish cultture stuff

    O ... M ... G.
    You just filled a niche in my current home campaign that is about to start. In addition to the main theme of the campaign, there is a secondary one that is basically a gazetteer of the Flanaess, since many of .. er, well, none of my players have ever really experienced GH.
    Episode #2 is about the Baklunish peoples, and how they all differ. See also, my recent post on the Wolf and Tiger nomads in another thread. The episode is Ket and Zeif, and Wolf nomads, and Rovers ... and hey, if you haven't ever checked out some of the old Living Greyhawk material on the Baklunish nations ... you ought to try to dredge some of it up.
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:26 pm  

    Glad to help, Icarus. :)

    I have been looking through some of the Living Greyhawk stuff on Ket, the four feet of the dragon (Honor, Family, Generosity and Faith) I really liked, hence the four knights who destroyed Drathi's religion.

    I didn't so much like the jumping of Al'akbar to the end all and be all of the True Faith. I would see the 'True Faith' being more a group of gods that exemplify the aspects of the Four feet of the Dragon, plus Istus as Fate is the 'big dog' in Baklunish lore.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:33 am  

    You should have submitted this as a front page article. Wink
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:27 am  

    I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how! Besides I really don't consider it 'done' yet, I'm waffling over Crunchy game mechanics and whether I should add them in with this main article or later in one large clump with all the other crunchy bits.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:30 am  

    Wow yet another group for me to add into the power struggle in The Thornward Campaign I have started. My players are going to hate me. hehe
    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:15 pm  

    That's a very well thought out piece, SC-Kerilin. I think it will work nicely as a small addition to my campaign as well. Smile

    SirXaris
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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:05 pm  

    Thank you SirXaris I'm glad you liked it. I've five more societies I'm working on for Ket.


    Vonbek: Funny enough I'm starting my campaign in Thornward. The adventure even has a name 'That Sinking Feeling'. It involves a war between Mites and Sewer Goblins, a Decanter of endless Water that got accidentally merged with a diluted dose of Ultimate Solvent, Ancient Dwarven Kiva strongholds and lots and lots of rain.

    For those who are interested I made a map of Ket for my campaign

    http://i52.tinypic.com/15s37mc.jpg

    I added the cities of Shaderis and Brivik so there's no canonical sources for them other than my own fevered brain, the rest came from smaller maps I found whilst looking for a Ket Map. They were all too small so I made this one.

    -Michael-
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    Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:48 am  

    Yeah I am keeping the city divided so it is still the Cold War Berlin of the Flanesse. Although the Ambassador of Ket is one of the bad guys.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:51 pm  

    I don't think this needs any more work. Great article! But I really like the idea of posting the article to the forums for feedback before publishing. I wish I had done that with some of mine, and if I ever write another (hopefully) I'll follow suit. Brilliant!
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:01 pm  

    Very nice Smile

    Personally, I approve of the cassablanca feel of thornward with its crossroads of cultures.
    GreySage

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    Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:09 am  

    Michael, what can I say?

    Totally, completely, utterly . . . AWESOME Exclamation

    Way to go! Happy

    Like the map too! Wink
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:59 am  

    I am doing some work on Ket at the moment myself but so far I am looking at lifting the Paizo Pathfinder APs largely wholesale and placing them in the country. Am going to use the Curse of the Crimson Throne in Lopolla and points west while Legacy of Fire is going into Molvar and the Yatils to the north and west.

    Personally I find the Paizo stuff mostly too good to pass up but I don't want to leave my beloved Greyhawk.

    Good work on the map and the secret society though. I think the Pall of Drathi will likely find a home in my Ket as well. Thanks Smile
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:22 pm  

    Two Kettites on board? That's great. Hmm with my Thornward game running right now maybe we need to start a Fals Gap Project. LOL
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:05 pm  

    Thanks MS, I was just last night wondering if you'd seen it.


    Flint: I've heard a consistent rumor that the Legacy of Fire AP was going to be the follow up AP after Savage Tides in the Dungeon Magazine had WotC not pulled the License and reading through it it can easily be adapted to the Baklunish West without major issue. Putting Curse of the Crimson Throne in Lopolla is a great idea, Definitely keep me up to date on how that goes.

    Vonbek: Lots of potential in that area (As if there's not potential in every square foot of Greyhawk but that's beside the point). Was reading last night that the kingdom of Vecna reached that far north. I wonder if I could actually use the Head of Vecna on my players? Hehe that'd be evil of me.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:25 pm  

    Michael are you aware your posting with your Spine Castle login?

    Any how Cebrion is right you should of submitted this as an article. Not sure how to submit no worries.

    You can click on the feedback feature on CF and leave a message for the admins or ask us during greytalk.

    While I am not sure if the the submit article feature has ever been fixed you can save the title and them email the admins at CF with your article in word format makes it easier for them.
    Forum Moderator

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    Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:57 pm  

    Yeah submit an article as a title and category(this creates a placeholder for your article) and then email the article content (teaser and body) to editorsATcanonfire.com
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:14 pm  

    Yeah, as usual I've forgotten my other username/password combo, I oughta just make one as Michael so I don't forget.

    Thanks Mort, I'll do that once I have the entire article done.
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