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The Ring, a reliquarian Cult in my VEGA$ game. Looking for feedback

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  • The Ring, a reliquarian Cult in my VEGA$ game. Looking for feedback

    Okay, so I run multiple games and while I've had great success with 1958 my VEGA$ game got off to a pretty bad start and we're having to do a hard reset with 3 players just straight up revising or creating new characters. part of the problem is that the players of my first game are younger and have fewer obligations and we have a set schedule, the other is that well, I planned poorly. With 1958 is played once every 3 weeks and I have time to prepare and, knowing I have 3 weeks between games means that I have to take copious notes and write everything down, while VEGA$ was meant to be a weekly game that only took one Saturday off a month. it started a week before 1958 but has as of now only played 3 session to 1958's 5. we get together that rarely. SO, to fix I sat everyone down and we tentatively scheduled out the next few games. to wit, we're meeting biweekly, on the weeks surrounding the 1958 game, and taking the 4th weekend of the month off. this is most advantageous for us as between us there are 8 children and a young relationship that needs time.

    okay, now that I have that off my chest we'll get to the actual point of this topic.

    The Ring

    To the uninitiated the Ring is an urban legend. a hidden Crime Family that protects those who are members.

    Your average member may not even know that they belong to it, a pickpocket comes under the protection of a man with a plan and money gets better because he's working with a crew, the man with the plan shows them better marks, they work together and better their craft. A prostitute finds a pimp or madam that treats her more like a trusted subordinate rather than a commodity, a drug dealer hooks up with a supplier who never falls through and seems to know all the right hands to grease.

    Then one day they get the nod, their handler introduces them to their boss and they're given a task. A test really. The Pickpocket, long upgraded to a cat burglar is told to rob a specific house and find an object. The prostitute is bidden to actively seduce a mark rather than wait for them to come to her, and to take from him more than her fee, a specific trinket. the drug dealer is told take out a specific target, someone who doesn't seem to be connected to their normal racket, they are to take something from the man's briefcase. None of them are told what they're going to take specifically, only that they will "know it when they see it."

    If they succeed, they are inducted into the organization as a Seeker, and given a gold chain that they are to wear at all times. The chain seems normal enough, but it quickly becomes dear to them, for all they had to do to earn it. They spend some time with their handler, who walks them through initiations and expectations and mentors them in how to recruit and run a crew of their own. And that's just what they do.

    Each Seeker builds a crew around themselves, often specializing in the same activity that the Seeker made their own bones in. The pick pocket is now the Man with the Plan and begins grooming his own protégés, though instead of drawing from the streets he chooses to target disaffected children of the local elite. the prostitute, now a Madame herself, sets up an escort service using connections she made through her high-powered johns. the drug dealer is given a territory to run by his old supplier but ops instead to build a crew of informants and hard men to protect him instead of supplying for someone else, he's addicted to the thrill even if he never saw the point of the drugs themselves.

    Each Seeker must prepare for the yearly Accounting, and the subsequent Tithe. The books are never cooked. One Tenth of all profits go to their Bearer, the man who they now report to, often the same man who brought them up, but sometimes their old mentor is now their equal. there is one exception though, should the Seeker ever encounter anything touched by the divine (however that might be understood by them) it gets sent up immediately. A relic, a denizen, a creature, a strange story, it all goes to the bearer. It helps that the gold chain around their neck reacts to the supernatural when in its presence, turning cold enough to feel even through thick clothes.

    When the Seeker's crew has grown to at least 10 associates of worth and their tithe meets the standards of the wider organization they have met all the required criteria for promotion save one. Once one of their own is acknowledged as worthy of initiation theSeeker themselves is put through a second initiation. What this initiation entails is unique to each member but should they survive and prove successful their golden chain is taken from them, along with a draught of their blood and forged into a thick golden ring. The ring is too thick to be worn and is worn around the neck on a steel chain. Though they don't look particularly different from one another each ring is unique, touched by the blood of its Bearer. (in game terms each ring grants access to the Innate Power of one Purview, as well as granting them the Sent of the Divine Knack).

    They keep control of their own crew and mentor the new Seeker in the creation of their own as well. Most members of the Ring never learn that they are capable of achieving the next step, believing that their bosses are the top of the ladder. But each knows that they are able to uplift new initiates to the status as Seekers and those that are so uplifted fall under their purview and must tithe to them, just as they tithe to their own Wielder. Each Bearer is a crime lord in their own right, though they try to keep their presence under wraps. it is rare for more than a handful of Bearers to operate within a given city, and all of them are usually beholden to the same Wielder. Unlike Seekers, it behooves a Bearer to diversify. The Man with the Plan is now a master manipulator, with crews of Thieves, blackmailers, spies and assassins at his beck and call. The Madame too has become a mistress of intrigue, specializing in identity theft, corporate espionage, trafficking and illicit pornography. The Drug Lord rules over gangs of drug traffickers, brute squads and mercenaries, and spies for hire. It is also for Bearers that the tithe begins to work both ways. Though, just as the seekers, they are expected to send up any knowledge of supernatural artifacts and people, at the end of an accounting they receive 1 Relic for every ten so surrendered, it is in this way that many bearers grow powerful armories of magical weapons and tools and they are satisfied being lords of their domains.

    What most Bearers don't know is that their is a way forward. Once a Bearer is able to successfully coordinate 10 full crews through the use of his Seekers, he becomes eligible for promotion... so long as they their accountings prove true. they are tested once again. How does not matter, for it is known that those who have so proven so worthy and wanting of the power of the "priesthood of the ring" would do anything for the privilege of serving their true master. Each Bearer so chosen is told the truth. That theirs is not a criminal organization but a religious one, devoted to the Careful One, the man who wields Andvarinaut, the ancient ring that grants wealth and power to whoever wields it even as it also grants them mastery of themselves and shows them their true nature.

    they are told all truths, and all questions are answered honestly and without hesitation for they shall soon be tested and should they fail they will surely die.

    Those who survive are not as many as one might think, but during the trial their ring and chain and blood are Forged anew and sized to fit their left and ring-finger. These Wielders of the ring are potent sorcerers, masters of the purview that lay hidden within their ring (the same that manifested as an innate power). Each Wielder is bade to gather to themselves a number of Bearers as they did seekers before them and again they are given instruction, though this time not by their once-lords for each Wielder is an enemy to all others. instead they take instruction at the feet of one of the Dragons, the same who tested them and sought, in their wisdom, to raise them up to wield their ring. The once pick-pocket now rules from the shadows, his network of spies and assassins give him access to the most powerful men on three continents, though none of them know his name, he gave it to the ring of Darkness the night he slipped it, still hot, onto his finger all those years ago. The girl who once sold her body for bread is now wields wealth that would put nations to shame, buying and selling entire economies to fit her whim, the ring of Trickery whispering mischief into her ear. The warlord doesn't even think about his time on the streets anymore, he moves armies against one another as simply as pieces on a chess board, the ring of War burning coldly upon his hand.

    From this point forward these disciples of the Careful One must make war upon their fellows, not openly, for their organization is a secret to most and seen by all who do know of them as a unified force, but they must pit their own organization against another if they wish to ascend to be acknowledged as a Hoarder. Most Wielders are too careful with their power, to comfortable, to stayed in their ambition to try to challenge others save when their own interests cross one another, but eventually a war may break out and should hostilities continue eventually one will fall by might or mind. and when they do their ring goes to the victor. But these shadowy masters of their domain know that to be victorious means to also pick up the pieces of their enemies powerbase. to fill the vacuum left by what amounts to an army, an economy, a nation. and few have the time or inclination.

    But some do.

    through out the cult's five-hundred year existence only a handful of wielders has dared to hoard the power of the rings, and of them only three still survive. It is known that to wield even one ring is to live longer and better than the average man, but to wield multiple, might that grant immortality? The Hoarders or Dragons as they are more often called, are so far beyond the Ring Wielders that they are said to be able to challenge the gods themselves. It does not do to just take a ring from one foe to prove oneself to be a Dragon. One must wield 3.

    The Dragons are said to rule truly vast amounts of temporal power, but if its true than it is also esoteric, for their movements across the world are rarely felt, even by those who serve them. it is said, by those who know of them, that these men, though they may technically be mortal, are each masters of a realm where their power is absolute, and that it would take a God or one of the most powerful champions to defeat them. The Spymaster and Warlord both fell to the Broker within the first twenty years of taking up their rings, but she soon fell to another after stretching herself too thin while battling on two fronts. The Dragon that took her, who originally wielded a ring of Fire, had been playing the game for centuries and saw a threat when she knew one, though he was happy to add War, Trickery and Darkness to the four rings he already wielded. The hunger of the Dragon is forever unquenchable.

    As for the Careful One... even the dragons fear him and tithe to him from their vast horde. Is he a god? a titan? it is said that he wields the power of the Ring of Power, but it is said that that heirloom was long ago cursed, that all who wield it are doomed to know their true self. All that is known is that he himself has not inherited it in the lifetime of any who now lives, and that he never counted himself as one of the Dragons, at least not that anyone knows.

    Now, clearly, I don't plan on the players dismantling this organization in the game. indeed, I was thinking that the plot would roll around the machinations of a Seeker hoping to ascend to Bearer (and his boss being unhappy about it). but when I began putting it down on my phone all the rest came spewing out. thoughts?

    Call Me Ray.

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