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    Canonfire :: View topic - Scarlet Brotherhood
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    Scarlet Brotherhood
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 38


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    Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:31 pm  
    Scarlet Brotherhood

    I was just reviewing "The Scarlet Brotherhood" accessory for 2nd edition, in my opinion, they are way too powerful and too organized to be stopped as written. Looking at the looser, vaguely feudal state the rest of the world is in, it would be nearly impossible to stop infiltration at any level. Given the personality driven governments of the setting, nearly all lands are one or two key assassinations away from chaos and rapid conquest by the Scarlet Sign. The Brotherhood society as written seems a bit too modern, complete with a very active eugenics program, again, seeming invinceable. The Brotherhood's core lands are nearly impossible to infiltrate or threaten in return, even for characters of pure Suel ancestry. What I'm wondering is how the Brotherhood is played in other people's campaigns, do most people tone them down? Do they ignore the accessory description and run the Brotherhood their own way? Is there an angle other campaigns use to balance out the seeming insurmountable advantages the Brotherhood possesses?
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 05, 2003
    Posts: 33
    From: Aerdy

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    Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:38 pm  

    *nods in sympathy, yet offers no comment due to previously being torched*

    Last edited by Fenreer on Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

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    Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:53 pm  

    Just remember this; regardless of how anything is written, once you decide to use it, its yours to modify as you see fit. If you feel the SB is too powerful, take steps to weaken them. Ignore some of the aspects of either the SB or other lands to weaken them. IMC, the SB is an organization, evil, lawful and dedicated to Seul purity, but they are small, relatively weak and don't even have a "nation" to call their own - the Tilvanot Peninsula is instead home to the Olman nation of Tehncahahue; the SB is a secret society among Seul peoples. Again, it is what you make of it. Maybe the SB should be strong, and finally strike, taking over most of the Flanaess. A campaign like Midnight, but with the SB in charge instead of an evil god.
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    Oerth Journal Staff

    Joined: Aug 16, 2001
    Posts: 46
    From: Milford NH

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    Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:46 pm  

    Actually the SB suffers from one big problem. Not enough people. Basically they have to use jungle barbarians to hold their conquests. Warriors with bone spears don't last long against chain mail and crossbows. Sure they can intimidate folks but they needs soldiers who can take and hold territory. That's why Idee fell to Ahlissa pretty quickly and Onwal is about to fall. The Sea Princes is complete disaster. When the SB is thinking about using the Pomarj for troops they are having manpower issues
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:54 am  

    I think I should probably have re-phrased what I was asking here. Do most DM's play the SB as described in the Scarlet Brotherhood accessory? Do they usually weaken it? Strengthen it? Make it enemy number one of good? Or a minor actor? I think the accessory makes the SB just too strong, too pervasive, and too effective to be stopped. yes they have manpower issues, but in a quasi-medieval setting, government/military leadership is personality based. Kill one king, replace the right general, and whole nations are now defenseless. So, I guess the better question is how do other DM's use the SB in their campaigns?
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
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    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

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    Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:48 am  

    I keep them weak. They don't have enough followers/personnel to effectively take out the "right" people and place their own puppets in power. Where they do have influence, it is minor.
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 20, 2008
    Posts: 594


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    Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:11 am  

    I always use the SB just as the supplement suggests. They are grossly powerful and indomitable. They pervade every court and have some minor degree of influence in every city in the Flanaess. Their shortcoming, however, is that they do not have a large military.

    How I used them in a campaign before was that I turned the Sea Princes conflict with the SB into an indirect method of building up arms against the nations of the Sheldomar Valley. I actually turned the adventure, Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, into an SB plot to gather slaves (instead of weapons) to build an SB navy with which to attack Salinmoore and the other southern areas of the Sheldomar.

    I play the SB as generally spending decades working towards a plot. Once they have total coverage, they assassinate the holy hell out of political leaders, and either use the anarchy to invade, or they try to impose their own into power. The problem with the latter, of course, is that the arrogance of the SB prohibits them from using non pure Suel, and in some nations Suel simply cannot gain positions of power.

    In addition to this, the SB are against every other single source of villainy in the Flanaess. They also lack variety. They are almost all monks and assassins.

    The SB are my favorite villain in GH, but the furthest they ever get is "almost."
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

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    Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:05 pm  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    I always use the SB just as the supplement suggests. They are grossly powerful and indomitable. They pervade every court and have some minor degree of influence in every city in the Flanaess. Their shortcoming, however, is that they do not have a large military.

    How I used them in a campaign before was that I turned the Sea Princes conflict with the SB into an indirect method of building up arms against the nations of the Sheldomar Valley. I actually turned the adventure, Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, into an SB plot to gather slaves (instead of weapons) to build an SB navy with which to attack Salinmoore and the other southern areas of the Sheldomar.

    I play the SB as generally spending decades working towards a plot. Once they have total coverage, they assassinate the holy hell out of political leaders, and either use the anarchy to invade, or they try to impose their own into power. The problem with the latter, of course, is that the arrogance of the SB prohibits them from using non pure Suel, and in some nations Suel simply cannot gain positions of power.

    In addition to this, the SB are against every other single source of villainy in the Flanaess. They also lack variety. They are almost all monks and assassins.

    The SB are my favorite villain in GH, but the furthest they ever get is "almost."


    And that just goes to the differences in different campaigns. I play in chaoticprime's Greyhawk campaigns, and he and I have very different Oerths. His SB is much stronger than mine, and my SB operates in a different region than his. Its all good.
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    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3811
    From: So. Cal

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    Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:16 am  

    They iz all supa-ninjaz! Shocked

    You can't beat the SB!!!

    Laughing
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
    Posts: 1844
    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:04 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    They iz all supa-ninjaz! Shocked

    You can't beat the SB!!!

    Laughing


    Dude, Pirates would like totally kill the Scarlet Brotherhood and not even think twice about it.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 563
    From: brazil

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    Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:20 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Cebrion wrote:
    They iz all supa-ninjaz! Shocked

    You can't beat the SB!!!

    Laughing


    Dude, Pirates would like totally kill the Scarlet Brotherhood and not even think twice about it.


    yeah, 'coz everything is better with pirates and ninjas!
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 13, 2008
    Posts: 184
    From: Houston Texas

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    Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:30 pm  
    Re: Scarlet Brotherhood

    Gman75 wrote:
    I was just reviewing "The Scarlet Brotherhood" accessory for 2nd edition, in my opinion, they are way too powerful and too organized to be stopped as written. Looking at the looser, vaguely feudal state the rest of the world is in, it would be nearly impossible to stop infiltration at any level. Given the personality driven governments of the setting, nearly all lands are one or two key assassinations away from chaos and rapid conquest by the Scarlet Sign.


    I would disagree that they are two powerful considering their small population, isolated nature of its own borders and according to the actual supplement not everything is as hunky dory inside the Brotherhood borders as everyone first believed. There is a good deal of infighting plus numerous groups that launch expeditions into regions that are inhospitable to say the least.

    When I say infighting I don't mean that it is a situation where people are coming to blows with one another, but the SB isn't really the united front that a lot of people think of them as. True, they are not as fractious as most societiers are but they are by no means 100% cohesive either.

    Gman75 wrote:
    The Brotherhood society as written seems a bit too modern, complete with a very active eugenics program, again, seeming invinceable.


    Eugenics programs date back to the Spartans and are by no means modern. If anything it is something that makes their culture seem even more alien, ancient and anachronistic. Furthermore it also serves as a good reason why their numbers are so small. Yes, their peoples physical capabilities are more highly developed but this is more in fact due to strict training regimens detailed in the supplement then it would be to their eugenics programs and while not all children born not fulfilling all the necessary requirements of the Brotherhood breeding restrictions are euthanized, they do still put a significant number to death. This combined with the harsh nature of the terrain that their culture resides in and the deadly aspect of their missions in the outside world puts significant restraint on their capabilities.

    Furthermore, take into account that after the Greyhawk wars revealed the extent of their levels of infiltration you have the beginnings of a very good, very long cold war. I run them, if anything, amped up from the image presented in the Scarlet Brotherhood accessory. IMC I have generally taken them to be Kung-Fu-KGB-Nazi's. They are invisible, everywhere, deadly and fanatically loyal to their own twisted ideology.

    They think that they're right. That makes them pretty much the perfect enemy.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
    Posts: 2782
    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:19 am  

    Richelieu anyone? Confused

    Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal de Richelieu (1585-1642). Advisor to Marie de' Medici, mother of Louis XIII, officially entered the king's employ, as Chief Minister, in 1629. He ruthlessly suppressed the Huguenots (non-Catholic Chrisitians), directed France's forces during the Thirty Years War and created an extensive Secret Service. "The Three Musketeers" anyone? Wink

    Upon Richelieu's death, his creation -- the Secret Service -- had its power greatly reduced. Yep, cut the snake's head off and . . . Happy There was internal strife among his Lieutenants as to who would take his place. In fact, it almost fell apart.

    That's how I use the SB, because that's how it really happened and that's how selfish, power-hungry humans really behave. Cool

    Jesus was self-sacrificing, so was Ghandi and a few others we could name; Possibly (hopefully) even someone now reading this. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us are not that self-sacrificing. Sorry my friends, but, in truth, we look out for "number one" first; be it ourselves, our wives, children, parents, etc. "Strangers" are in second place. Sad (No, the truth is that we trample poor salesman to death at Walmart so that we can get the last of the plasma TV's that are on sale. Shocked ) And yet, none of us are -- or would be -- considered selfish or power-hungry. Shocked

    In official Canon, its almost as though each and every member of the SB is a "Richelieu" and that is just not possible. As presented, the SB are xenophobic, paranoid, power-hungry racist. Their behavior, even towards each other, should reflect this. Meaning?

    There is no way the "man at the top" is going to let anyone else come close to rivaling his power within the organization. He would eliminate any rivals within the Brotherhood early on. (That's why so many books feature this aspect within their "criminal" organizations. That's simply how it really works).

    Upon this person's death, there would be internecine warfare within the SB for ultimate power. This action, in turn, would set back the SB's plans for a generation, maybe longer.

    The SB has great manipulative powers; setting one kingdom against another. But that is their limit. The SB -- itself -- cannot conduct extensive military campaigns, even if the official Canon has them doing so.

    That's just how I play it.
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 923
    From: Computer Desk

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    Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:48 pm  

    Official canon has the SB rife with internal factions; tSb supplement makes it clear the organization is not without dissention. A full chapter exists regarding the many internal factions. The occupation forces were not supported with skilled or adequate reinforcements.

    The conquests were accomplished via targeted assassination and the importation of savage mercenaries during the chaos. Hardly the military machine some attribute to them. Outside the intial successes; the SB and its savages have a dismal record.

    Granted the SB has quality troops within the tilavot but their paranoia keeps them there. The occupation forces soon squabbled amongst themselves. The SB captured or gained access to the fleets of the Lordship, Sea Princes and Onnwal. The SB should have an impressive and powerful fleet.

    Canon; the SB should be a naval power, have a skilled but untested tilavot military, poor occupation forces with a leadership rife with internal conflict and rebellious conquests.

    Exactly how is the SB too powerful?
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

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    Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:58 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    Exactly how is the SB too powerful?


    Its not that the SB is too powerful by itself but in combination with other threats that besiege the "good" lands it seems pretty safe from the forces of good.

    Their navy with its "tame" sea monsters is pretty unstoppable on the seas. It makes ocean trade all but impossible. Its like having all those demons and devils around in the north before the Flight of Fiends... basically its a "you must be this tall to adventure here" sign.
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