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Houses of the Vigilantes [Shard/OpenDev/Barnstorming]

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  • Houses of the Vigilantes [Shard/OpenDev/Barnstorming]

    While Hunter is my favorite gameline, I think that in the end each person has different aspects of the game that they love more or less. Some may focus on the more "underdog" angle, where you are a lone monster hunter way over your head who fight in order to keep at least one candle burning against the darkness. The aspects that I prefer to lean towards (which shouldn't surprise anyone who looked through my Hunter homebrew) in the 3rd Tier gameplay, where organizations which are composed out of many disparate lights dare to challenge the night even at the price of compromise with the supernatural. I also like Endowments and how they are tied to each conspiracy, seeing it as secrets provided and guarded by the conspiracies from other hunters and gifted only through a certain "qualifications" and "rites of passage" (something which 2e seems to reinforce). However, one of the things I like to do with large organizations is also to have them frequently interact with each other through a system of alliances and betrayals, adding a layer of inter-conspiracy diplomacy and accords, making cells of mixed conspiracies more common than what is perhaps supported by canon. Sometimes, I even like to add concepts such as a "treaty" or an "unofficial lunch club" where the representatives of the main vigilante orgs gather together and share information while trying to reach certain agreements with each other. Sometimes I like it so much, that I forget that there are actual monsters that needs to be hunted down out there in the world.

    So maybe we should try and forget them.

    I mean, no, the monsters are still there, and the hunters still hunt them. Removing monsters from Hunter: the Vigil would pretty much remove too many of the game's themes- not to mention that I do like hunting monsters (the game is called Hunter after all). But let's reimagine not Hunter as a game, but the universe in which it operates. A lot of time people argue that Hunter should be its own subuniverse- and I say, let's go for it. Let's imagine a world where there are no vast monoliths of monstrous power- no coalitions of vampires, no tribes of shapeshifters and no congregations of witches. There are, at best, small cults and nests of horrors, or lone nightmares which roam the world- that is, Hunter's actual assumption about the world. The change that we add here is that while the monsters are playing a 1st Tier game, the hunters play the 3rd Tier- monsters are still dangerous and powerful, but hunters are the ones which have control in the largest social mechanisms, and are able to monitor threats all across their sphere of influence. Monsters are a threat, which is why hunters exist, but the balance between light and darkness is much more... equal? The Vigil may have not yet won the war, but the monsters are much more disparate and scattered, unable to cooperate together. Victory is still far- but it looks realistic, and can be achieved. Maybe in 50 years. Maybe in 100 years. Maybe in 500 years- heck, maybe it would even take another millennium, but it is not a faint dream, but an actual, promised future, if no would would mess up.

    And who's the one to mess things up if not other hunters?

    It would make sense, when you think about it. Even in the regular game hunters from different organizations are suspicious and wary for cooperate with one another- and while they do have good reasons for such behavior, that is one of the main reasons that the darkness still rules the world- if all conspiracies and all compacts and all cells were to work together, it would be a Game Over for the monsters. However, that would require a level of trust that the people in the CofDverse simply don't have, especially in a paranoid game such as Hunter. Now, in here we assumed that because that monsters have never managed to get along well enough with each other to create social constructs while hunters did, we could say that up to a certain point while hunter orgs have fought against each other, eventually the threat of monsters have kept them focused on the Vigil, either ignoring or even allying with each other. However, there are instances where hunters do fall upon one another- like during the Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem Witch Trials, or basically any time that humans decided it was a good time to kill each other as a means to "purify themselves from unwanted elements". While some organizations may be diminished or even outright collapse due to such struggles, overall the Vigil manages to stand strong against the supernatural.

    But every good thing has its end.

    Let's say there was this huge, vast event- the WW1 equivalent for the Vigil. Too many vigilant organizations have made way too many secret alliances, and what should have been a simple struggle ended with a wreckage no one could have predicted and from which the Vigil is still recovering. In order to stop such wars from happening again, the surviving hunter orgs, lets just call them Houses at this point, have created the Candlelight Treaty- a common agreement where Houses within the Treaty agree to not kill each other. Fast forwarding a bit, and the Treaty eventually creates a UN like council for the Houses, meant to help hunters to cooperate. However, the damage that was caused to the Vigil at this point is severe enough that after centuries where the darkness was suppressed, the monsters became free to do as their please- they are still warry, of course, but every day that the Houses are yet to reinforce their control is a day in which the monsters take another chunk from the now bleeding Vigil.

    So now we have a setting- we have some rough history, the power structure, main players and common threats, as well as a very uneasy system meant to regulate relationship between the Houses in the form of the Treaty and the Council. Heck, let's even throw an Academy into it- a shared learning institute meant to encourage the Houses to actually work together from a young age, mostly inspired by the College arc from Mahotsukai no Yome. Taking all of this into account, this is where the players enter the game- the monsters are a much larger threat than they have been in the last few centuries, the Vigil is in crises, and Houses are forced to work together in order to survive. Could the Houses stand together against the shared danger? Or maybe the darkness will win, extinguishing the light forever? Only time will tell- and the PCs are there to either save the world, or doom it.

    Now, before finishing this post, some information about what an "House" actually means-

    In this setting, an House is a organization of hunters with a reach between 2nd Tier and 3rd Tier, which also have a form of Endowments. They are not, however, just a organization dedicated for the Vigil- they are a family. Members are taught about the Vigil from a young age, and trained accordingly. Adoption is also possible, especially in the case of promising talents, but it is meant to reinforce kinship between hunters of the same family as well as to somewhat allow hunters of different Houses to have a greater interaction, as the House is not your job, it is your family. So like the Lucifuge, but for everyone (minus the infernal bloodline and the search for redemption through the Vigil). As such, Houses are indeed usually more localized than conspiracies, but still have more power, reach and resources than compacts. We are also going to divide the Houses according to their status within the Treaty- an unofficial division (as according to the Treaty "all Houses are equal"), but de facto it is still there. Those divisions are Greater Houses (which are very close to 3rd Tier and are generally very old and respected), Lesser Houses (which are closer to 2d Tier but still powerful in their region), Least Houses (which have lost most of their resources and are practically under the protection of another House, some may also be on the verge of losing their Endowments) and the Rogue Houses, which are Houses that for some reason do not take a part of the Treaty. Of course, you also have Housless Hunters, which are the standard 1st Tier hunters who do not trust the Treaty and its members. I'll make the actual list for the Houses in the near future (I just have to go right now).

    Well, that's it for now- what do you think about this concept?
    Last edited by LostLight; 04-21-2021, 11:11 AM.


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  • #2
    So before I'm going to sleep, here is the list of the would-be Houses depending on their status within the Treaty members. In here I'm including canon groups (of course), some hunter-like groups, as well as Skin & Bones' orgs (because I love them), some of the KingsRaven's, some of my own and perhaps one or two stray ones (basically my personal Hunterverse), as follows-

    Great Houses- Aegis Kai Doru, Ascending Ones, Council of Bones, Cheiron Group, Lucifuge, Malleus Maleficarum, Task Force: VALKYRIE, VASCU

    Lesser Houses- Cainte Heresy, Faithful of Shulpae, Hototogisu, Knights of St Adrian, Knights of St George, Les Mysteres, Merrick Institute, Otodo, Deva Corps, Last Dynasties International, Amalgama Ltd, Pristine Order of the Auric Chalice [Possibly merged with Amalgama], Keepers of the Sources [Merged with the Athenic Church/Aves Minerva], Office of the Lord Stewards, Section 9, Hotel Mascaron, Brotherhood Prizakov (?), MI18, KSI21, Orchestra Fatalibus, Raziel Ltd, Nemontemi

    Least Houses- Ahl al Jbal, Ama San (?), Ashwood Abbey, Azusa Miko, Barret Commission (?), Bear Lodge (?), Habibti Ma, Keepers of the Weave, Loyalists of Thule, Maiden's Blood Sisterhood (?), Scarlet Watch, Soldiers of the Forbidden Sun, Cult of Mitra, Obsidian Brotherhood, Sons of CuCulainn (?), Societie deHades (?), Ebony Fangs, Aki Ten

    Rogue Houses- Divison Six (?), Followers of Mansa (?), Sanguine Priesthood (?), Network Zero, Promethean Brotherhood, Utopia Now, Onchalus, Army of Light, Chosen of Kroll, Regency of Thorns, HaKollel Shel HaMerkava, Dies Irae, Al Rih al Asuad, Church of the Blood Moon, Theater of Tragedies, Nibiru, ZMEI Initiative, Pythian Oracles, Navio de Tolos

    Notice that there will be name changes for those, as we are going to style them as families. Some may be easy, like the Knights of St George will simply be House St George and the Lucifuge will be renamed as House Lucita, while others will be more complicated, such as the AKD being House Alexandrakis Kostis Dimas. Those marked with (?) are ones which I'm still not sure about, for reasons.


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    • #3
      So basically,
      1) restructure IC the hunter groups into Houses,
      2) restructure the Tiers, an OOC concept, into the Treaty, a concept both IC and OOC,
      3) assume the monsters never had big enough organizations but are threatening to have one now, whereas the hunter groups are too paranoid and disparate to cooperate?


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      • #4
        Yep, those are the main reconstructions of the setting. Again, beside the Treaty, those are not dramatic changes, especially if you were to assume Hunter to exist separately from the rest of the CofD, but they do emphasis different aspects of the game, and brings forth a more "political" angle which core Hunter generally lacks (for example, different Houses have their own brand of the Vigil which do not align with others, so when a Cheiron hunter hunts within an AKD territory without permission, it would be considered as "breach of the Treaty"- something that you can't afford to do in a Great House's territory, but you could easily get away with it in a Lesser or Least House's territory, depending on the circumstances).

        So yeah, that's a bit tilted Hunter with some fictional history and social maneuvers being sprinkled on top. The "center" of the shard is planned to be the Academy where younger hunters interact with one another, but it may become just an aspect of it instead of the core setting.


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        • #5
          Well the Academy certainly has me interested. Thanks to being inundated with certain Japanese stuff, I suspect, but it’s all good.


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          • #6
            So let's talk about the Great Houses a bit.

            As I mentioned before, the Houses are not just organizations- they are families. Hunters are generally being born into the family, even though, perhaps, not all family members are hunters. The Houses also employ "external workers" which help the House in the more logistical manners, as well as gathering intelligence and perhaps using them as support warriors to help the House's hunters. Adoption is also a known practice, meant to both add "new blood" into the House and add some promising talents, even though some Houses may use it more than others. In general, if a Houseless Hunter manages to survive for a long enough time, the chances are that at least one of the Houses will try to recruit them as either support members or adoption candidate. Some Houses, like Cheiron, are more prominent towards adoption, while others, like the Lucita, rarely adopt those from outside of the House. Some Houses also have naming conventions for adoptions- for example, House Dimas uses "Kostis" for "core" members of the House, and in the case of adoption (or branch/cadet Houses) have a different middle name for those hunters. Marriages between Houses do happen, even though they are a sometimes messy business, with some Houses reinforcing their alliances through such marriages.

            Now, Great Houses are known for three factors- first, reach. All Houses of this status have a global reach, a number of households (which is how they call their territories), a vast amount of resources and a contributing factor which makes them invaluable for the Treaty- that is, if a Great House would leave the Treaty, the power vacuum is likely to disrupt the work flow of its members, and may even cause it to collapse. Second, Great Houses are widespread enough to have minor Cadet Houses which, are basically smaller Houses which were absorbed into the Great House, sacrificing their independence for protection- even though in such a troubling times, Cadet Houses may become stronger than their patron House. Third, Great Houses need to have a motivation to be active within the Treaty- a House may be old and powerful enough to extract control over the world, yet if they don't wish to actually devote those resources to make themselves a name within the Treaty they will not be treated as such. Generally, you don't want to mess with a Great House- their control over their households is absolute, and even outside of them they are a factor which needs to be taken into account.

            As for the actual members of this list, we are, of course, going to use the "core" conspiracies- which are the six original core, plus VASCU and the CoB which were added to the core book in 2e. The actual Houses would be

            House Alexandrakis Kostis Dimas- a Greek family of Athenian descent which have collected relics for centuries, documenting their properties and archiving them in their secret households which they call "labyrinths". They are a rich family, and both supply the Treaty with intelligence about monsters, have many ties within the occult community through mystery cults and are the ones to both suggest and create the Academy as a secret, extradimensional sanctum. [Aegis Kai Doru]

            House Akhenaten- an House of alchemists which is based in Egypt, with their main household being at Alexandria. Before the Treaty they were a collection of three powerful families which were already associated with one another, which have unified under a single banner as a part of the Treaty. Their members deal with most of the diplomacy related issues within the Treaty, seeing it as "social alchemy", and constantly try to reach agreements due to breaches. [Ascending Ones]

            House Cheiron- technically a modern family of business savvy people, the fact that they are so prone for adoption made it very hard to track down their lineage. Those who know how to connect the threads will notice the presence of a small family of doctors and healers all across the Vigil's history, with House Cheiron being the family's current reincarnation. They both help to fund the Treaty with vast amounts of money and operate the Treaty's medical facilities, where they treat all sorts of injuries, diseases and curses. [Cheiron Group]

            House Cordelia- another family without a linear lineage, the Cordelia are a association of mediums which took form in the Burned Over District during the Great Awakening and the rise of Spiritualism. While the Cordelia are relatively young, it seems that there have always been a similar family somewhere in the Vigil, and they have only recently joined the Treaty due to fearing the other Houses for being corrupted. They supply the Treaty with information they gain from their dead associates, as well as helping in cases of exorcism (as many hunters are haunted by the dead). [Council of Bones]

            House Lucita- one of the catalysts to create the Treaty, House Lucita is being composed of demon blooded which were commonly hunted by other hunters as monsters. An Italian family, the Lucita seek redemption through the Vigil, and commonly push towards coordination between different Houses as a mean to fight the darkness. While a small, the House's main contribution to the Treaty is that they care the most to maintain it, not to mention they expertise at fighting demons and their like. [Lucifuge]

            House Marcellinus- a Catholic family blessed with divine power, they live near the Vatican and are supervised by a different lineage of priests called the Baudolino which serves as their contact with the Pope. Due to their gift, the family is encouraged to serve God through the Vigil, While they do condemn most of the other Treaty members as heretics, they do bring with them all the power that the Catholic Church can provide, turning churches into safe havens and neutral meeting places for hunters. [Malleus Maleficarum]

            House Vasquez- a relatively young House, they are a line of individuals which were identified as carrying latent potential for psychic abilities, and which the American government used as lab rats in order to develop and weaponize their capabilities. Now they exist as a an "advisor" group for police forces meant to help them solve crimes of supernatural nature. As a part of the Treaty, they are invaluable as detectives and interrogators, helping to investigate illegal activity with the Treaty and root out corrupted hunters from other Houses. [VASCU]

            House Von Herjar- while commonly thought about as a young House, this family of German descent was brought to the US as a part of Project: Paperclip after being deemed as a worthy assets. In return, their previous records and potential involvement with other parties was erased. Many members of the House are blessed with high intellect which allows them to recreate strange weapons only they (and those who carry a strange chip carrying their DNA map) can use, and which they make in Area 51. While not very liked within the Treaty, their presence within the Treaty guarantee that the American authorities will not attack the Treaty members by "mistake" for misidentifying them as terrorist organizations. [Task Force: VALKYRIE]

            Those Houses serve as the foundation of the Treaty, but they also bring the first question we need to ask ourselves- with Cadet Houses (which are not limited in number, but I consider presenting three such Houses per Great House as an example) being an option, do you think that the Otodo work better as the Lucifuge's Cadet House or as their own Lesser House? I personally incline towards the first option (which simply means they are getting less word count but still present in the setting), due to how similar they are to the Lucifuge, but I would like to hear other opinions about the subject before making a decision.

            Also, just for your interest, the first draft of this setting (as focused around the Academy) is already being written, and probably will be eventually published as a STV product at some point (hopefully after Hunter 2e will be open for the STV), but I do wish to share some aspects of it to see what other people think about the idea.
            Last edited by LostLight; 04-22-2021, 11:58 AM.


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            • #7
              So let's talk about Lesser Houses.

              As mentioned earlier, Great Houses refers to those families which have a reach, are essential to the Treaty, often have Cadet/Branch/Client Houses and want to be involved in the Treaty. Still, those criteria are somewhat flexible- for example, the Akhenaten are not a actual House as much as they are three Cadet Houses, while the Treaty could probably survive without the Lucita, even if will be less motivated to protect itself. Also, the Treaty was not founded by the Great Houses (in this current draft, the founding families were the Dimas, the Akhenaten, the Lucita, the Marcellinus, the St George and the Harker), so while valuable the Treaty will probably survive if a House or two would get wiped out. In that case, it seems that the actual main criteria to be a Great House is having the reach, and have the motivation to be recognized as such- and most Houses lack the first more than the last.

              As such, a Lesser House would generally be a House that, while powerful in their main household, is either very geographically focused or have their numbers spread thin all across many households- yet within their main dominions, they are still a power to be reckoned with. While a Von Herjar could easily sweep through a European front of House Inoue without much of an issue, in Japan itself things become a bit more tricky, and the Inoue should be considered. Most of the Lesser Houses want to be more integral to the Treaty for protection, but refuse to give up on their independence to become Cadet House. Because of that being a Lesser House is a risky position, but again you would want their cooperation in events which take place in their main territories, and their representatives are very skilled in diplomatic maneuvering simply for their need to survive while surrounded by sharks. Most clashes between Houses are among Lesser Houses, yet as no one wants to get the Great Houses involved the Lesser Houses are generally quick to solve things between themselves, and many times they form temporary alliances and coalitions meant to push against a Great House (or a wannabe Great House) which tries to take advantage of them.

              But as said before, every rule has an exception- some Houses may be powerful, yet just don't want to be a part of a the Treaty, being forced into it against their will. Those Houses, while they can stand against another House as equals, know that they can't withstand the Treaty as a whole, and have way too many enemies within the Treaty to go Rogue. Treating those Houses as "lesser" would not end up well for anyone who tries to mess with their households, and they could potentially even have their own Cadet Houses. Lesser Houses should never be disregarded, and that's true both for monsters and hunters.

              As for the Lesser Houses themselves, here is the list-

              House Capitolium- a very paranoid House which have never trusted the Treaty for fearing it to be corrupted by the supernatural, the family takes a part in the Treaty just to make sure to keep an eye on it. While apparently Roman in origin, no one knows where their household is found or who leads the House, as they prefer to commune through ciphers, messengers and similar methods. Even family members don't know much about each other, with the bloodline being shattered beyond recognition by anyone beside the leaders, yet their blood can be recognized due to a special quality it holds, which allow it to be used for blood magic. [Cainte Heresy]

              House Jean Baptiste- while officially a single House, the Jean Baptiste represent a few powerful families who have gathered under one banner in order to protect themselves from the Treaty. Similar to the Akhenaten in principle, the main family household is found at Haiti, with its members descendent from a long lineage of shamans which goes all the way to Africa. The other families do not have a direct contact with the Treaty, and instead relay on the Jean Baptiste to represent their common interests in the Council. [Les Mysteres]

              House St George- one of the founding families, the St George really do not want to be a part of the Treaty, but were forced to create it after initiating the events which almost destroyed the Vigil. Strongly tied to the Anglican Church, the St George have a worldwide reach, and a great distrust towards other hunters, seeing them as dangerous elements. Their past purges against other Houses due to allegations about witchcraft made them into a House with many enemies, and even now they prefer to keep for themselves, fearing for their secrets. [Knights of St George]

              House Shulpae- a small Middle Eastern family, the Shulpae are far from being trusted within the Treaty. They themselves do not claim to hunt monsters- they worship them! It is just that their way of worship is a bit... cannibalistic. While not welcomed in the Treaty, the House joined mostly to show them there is nothing to afraid from them, and that there is no need to purge them from existence. Most Houses of the Treaty are willing to accept their presence, but not many would shed a tear if they'll fall into ruin. [Faithful of Shulpae]

              House Smith- a strong House of American descent, the Smith is a relatively new family which works mostly through adoption. Being a group of transporters, investigators and headhunters, whatever you want the Smith can get- no matter who or what you are looking for. The House, while not strictly religious, does seem to be devoted to God, and as such get along with other "faithful" Houses. Their main reason to join the Treaty was a combination of idealism and "divine commands", but they are somewhat uncomfortable with certain Houses which shows a demonic influence. [Knight of St Adrian]

              House Merrick- once a House on the path for greatness, in an attempt to gain power quickly the leaders of the family have experimented on the younger generations, something which ended up with a revolt where the children won. After those events, the House lost much of its power, leaving the new leadership to seek its own path. The House is a member in the Treaty only technically, and while some Houses try to gain the favor of the Merrick, the children trust no one, for they do not know who supported the abusive experiments and who didn't. [Merrick Institute]

              House Inoue- a Japanese family of merchants which is dated all the way to the Edo period, the Inoue have more or less conquered Tokyo in the terms of the Vigil, not by killing the monsters- but by absorbing them, binding them with special contract and sealing their powers. As a powerful House in East Asia, they are rapidly growing in the West, and they work none stop to achieve a Great House status. On the other hand, their involvement with monsters makes them untrustworthy within the Treaty, even if their merchandise is very helpful for the Vigil. [Hototogisu]

              Now, that's it for the canon Lesser Houses (minus the Otodo), but the rest also need to be discussed. First, like I said, the Otodo would make much more sense as a Lucita Cadet House than a Lesser House, IMO, probably as a part of the Otodo's attempt to remain free from the Inoue's control over Japan. Deva, LDI, Amalgama, the Onchalus and the Auric Chalice all could work as Lesser Houses, but they may work better as Rogue Houses, being strong orgs which operate outside of the Treaty. Whether the Auric Chalice should be its own group or be a Cadet of Amalgama (or the opposite, or maybe a Cadet of the AO) is another option, while LDI and Amalgama could also potentially work as Cadets of Cheiron. As I'm going to provide Endowments to those Houses which lack them, it will not matter whether they are Rogue or Lesser, but it is important to know if they are Cadets (which basically use the same Endowments).

              As for fanmade Houses- as you may have noticed the Keepers of the Source show up in the lesser list, even though the rest of the compacts are found in the Least tier. The reason is that i think of merging them with the Aves Minerva from Skin & Bones, which are also the Athenic Church of KingsRaven (I was never too fond of them being tied to Minerva/Athena, as we already have conspiracies for that). Still, as Network 0 and the Promethean Brotherhood are Least tier, it may be better to move them to that tier as well- to question is how much a ley line cult of Mother Earth worshipers could work as a rising House or as a established House. The Office of the Lord Stewards, on the other hand, is definitely a Lesser House, and I do plan on providing them a writeup at some point (probably here at the forums as a fanmade expansion for the setting, if/when it would become a STV project).

              Now, for the rest of S&B orgs, Dies Irae and the Obsidian Brotherhood (as both a rising and a dying conspiracies) make the most sense as Least Houses. The Chosen of Kroll, as an open eldritch cult, makes more sense as a Rogue House than as members of the Treaty, and the same is true for the fey cult which is the Regency of Thorns- even though the Regency could work as a Treaty member, so I'm still considering it. The Army of Light would have made sense as a part of the Treaty due to their ideology- if they weren't so secretive, which makes them more likely to operate outside of it. Section 9 I'm still torn about, as from one side I am not sure how good they work as a part of the Treaty, while from the other that's also true for KSI21 and ZMEI, and throwing all Russian orgs into the Rogue sections feel inappropriate. At least one of those should be a Lesser House, but the question is which? ZMEI make them most sense as a Rogue one, IMO, but I'm not sure.

              Hotel Mascaron is another organization which I'm still not sure if they should be Rogue or Lesser, even though they could work as Lesser with the whole split personality thing they have going for them. I'll probably throw away the Brotherhood Prizakov, as I still need to remind myself that they exist and we already have our share of business oriented Houses. MI18 may actually work as a Von Herjar Cadet House- while they may have been there before them, the later eventually grew strong enough to become the dominant one. The Orchestra Fatalibus and Raziel both work as Lesser Houses, IMO, as they have interest in being a part of the Treaty, and the Neomontemi are different enough from the Lucifuge to be their own group, but you may also argue that they should be a Lucita Cadet House (as well as the Rih al Asuad, but again I prefer them to be separated groups). Among the Houses which are currently being slotted as Rogue Houses are also the Nibiru and the Navio, which, while would make sense as a part of the Treaty, could still be argued as potential Treaty members- the Treaty would definetly be something that the Nibiru would support, but they are busy at playing dead so they can't really join the Treaty... unless they are hiding in plain sight or something. The Navio are just less interested in killing monsters than at discovering new aspects of the world, but they knowledge about other realms of existence may be enough to make other Houses to court after them to join the Treaty. Just some random thoughts about it.

              At any case, let me know what you are thinking about those potential members, and which should be Rogue and which should be actual members of the Treaty in your opinion.
              Last edited by LostLight; 04-22-2021, 03:45 AM.


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              • #8
                A minor nitpick - could you note what the Houses are called originally, at the start of their introductory paragraphs? Like: House Vasquez (VASCU). Some are obvious (Cheiron!), but some aren’t, and we need time to ‘tune in’ so to speak.

                Anyways, yeah the Otodo looks more like a ‘cadet’ than a full House.

                No idea (yet) about Lesser/Least Houses - I’m still not familiar with canon Compacts, and nigh blind to homebrewed ones.


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                • #9
                  Added the original org names


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                  • #10
                    Ok, so I've more or less finalized the fanmade Lesser Houses list, as follows-

                    House Steward- a Scottish family which is specialized is bureaucracy and logistics, through the use of a set of agreements between themselves and the land itself they managed to rise prominence by using their skills to turn the territory of monsters against them. During the time of the British Empire they were even considered to be a Great House, yet their reach has diminished with the kingdom they served, yet they are still highly respected for their work as the Treaty's lawyers which help to get hunters out of uneasy situations. [Office of the Lord Stewards, Dream Catchers]

                    House Mandrake- a small House of a American Chinese descent, the family specialize in brewing strange concussions and medicine from plants which grow in alien realities, and use those recipes in order to enhance themselves while fighting the darkness. As they are not overly involved in the Treaty the rest of the Houses generally ignore them- something which could end up as a fatal mistake, for the House is in fact just a Cadet House of a much larger and older Rogue House, which uses them to keep one eye open on the Treaty. [Hotel Mascaron, Revild]

                    House Prizrakov- a family of Russian oligarchs which can date its origin all the way to the Roman Empire, the House deals with all things which are found below earth and the wealth which can be gained from them. They know much about the chthonic powers of the Underworld, and have learned how to forge ectoplasmic residues into metallic substances. While they are very wealthy and have their hands involved in a number of Russian corporations, they rarely get involved in the Treaty, preferring to keep their distance [Brotherhood Prizrakov, Revild]

                    House Afnan- a relatively new addition to the Treaty, this Iranian descendent family was barely known by the other Houses before their application to join the Treaty. Ever after their addition to the Council, the House maintains its secrecy, not revealing the locations of many of their households or the identities of their members. As such, the House is yet to be considered having a full membership, yet they do seem to be loyal to the Vigil- but they are still mostly ignored by the other Houses [Army of Light, Skin & Bones]

                    House Fontaine- a French lineage of singers and performers which rose from the ruins of the French Revolution and the Terror, the House is viewed mostly as one of entertainers for the rest of the Treaty. While they are easy to disregard, the House's focus around expression and social skills also makes them into talented diplomates, and helps them to maintain a information network all across Europe, as well as subtly "inspire" others to take a stand against the darkness. [Orchestra Fatalibus, LostLight]

                    House Rosenthal- a Jewish family known for their involvement in the Israeli military equipment manufacture, which develop strange and new technologies in order to fight the supernatural. While they are a very tech oriented House, their technology does not seem to operate using the common laws of physics, and instead draw power by using strange Kabbalistic formulas and verses. The head of the House rarely joins the Council meetings, unless they discuss matters which are related directly to the House's interests. [Raziel Ltd, LostLight]

                    House Montanez- a Mexican House which tracks their origin to a lineage of Aztec priests which served the demonic spirits of the stars. After the fall of the Aztec Empire, the surviving members of the House converted to Christianity and started to use their abilities to fight the same evil which spawned them. Due to their bloody past, most other Houses are wary of dealing with them, yet they do seem to be loyal, and are a required assistance for those hunters which have interests in Central America. [Nemontemi, LostLight]

                    House De Santiago- a family of Portuguese navigators and explorers, the House reached its peak during the days of the Age of Discovery, as its members used their gifts to travel across worlds to discover and document a variety of supernatural beings. As a mostly none violent House, the De Santiago are not well trusted within the Treaty- yet their strange maps documents paths which only their captains can comprehend, leading them to mythical realms where ancient treasures lay hidden. [Navio de Tolos, LostLight]

                    Well, those are all the Houses which I currently consider as a part of the "Lesser" category. Next will be the Least Houses, but it may take me a while to write them.


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                    • #11
                      After Great and Lesser, let's talk about the Least.

                      In this setting, the Least Houses are just that- Houses which are found on the verge of falling apart. Those Houses are either very new, being established only recently and are yet to cement their power, or very old and near the end of their lifespan unless something dramatic will happen. As such, while those Houses do have Endowments, they are either limited, unstable or both. Still, the main feature of those Houses is that they can't actually fend for themselves- while they can complain about Treaty breaches all they want, they are practically at the mercy of the stronger Houses, not to mention that they still need to protect themselves from the monsters in the dark. Because of that, many Least Houses are eventually being absorbed into one of the stronger Houses as a form of protection, becoming Cadet Houses at best case scenario or losing all status at worst, but it is still better than the alternative- slowly dying out, having their light snuffed and their secrets lost for all eternity.

                      Most of the Houses which were reduced to such a status fell because of the Purge (that is, the temporary name that we give for that "Hunter civil war which ruined everything"), and while they did managed to survive in such as state for some time, as years went by more and more Houses have crumbled. Because of that, other organizations have sought to reclaim their secrets and make them their own, seeing themselves as the "spiritual heirs" of the once great hunters. While some of the older Houses may not like the sight of people digging in the graves of their fallen brethren in search for treasures, once those groups do manage to establish themselves the Treaty have only two options- either to offer them to join the Treaty, or allow them to go Rogue, and as the alternative is much more dangerous the Houses generally prefer to try and motivate them to become a part of the Treaty, where they could at least supervise them. Of course, there is another option- hunting down the would-be House, but the Treaty members are generally unified by the concept of not wanting to kill other hunters any more. There is enough darkness as is, after all.

                      Between centuries old Houses and families which exist only for a couple of decades at best, the Least Houses vary a lot, with their only common feature being their desperate will to survive. Most won't - either falling victims to monsters or the political maneuvers of their rivals - but there is always a chance that somehow, against all odds, they'll be able to rise from their fallen state, igniting a blazing flame which would last for centuries. And isn't winning a fight against all chances what the Vigil is all about?

                      So.. I'm a bit sick right now (just common cold, no COVID symptoms) so I don't have the mental resources to write down the short write-ups for all of the Least Houses (and there are a bunch of those), but you could probably get that the basic premise should be "compact +" category, which means compacts which may have the potential to become a conspiracy, as well as fallen conspiracies which are on the verge of dying. That's, of course, a controversial topic, as what some may define as the potential for a conspiracy is not how others would describe it, not to mention that some people think that Endowments are overestimated as a concept, but that's what we are still going to try and define here.

                      First, there are two groups which are definitely a part of this tier- Network 0 and the Promethean Brotherhood. The reason? Those groups actually have Conspiracy Endowments, as well as claimed to have the potential for a conspiracy status. While Network 0 will be an example for a newly risen House, the Brotherhood would instead represent a new House which scavenged the secrets of a fallen one, putting them in an uneasy place in the Treaty as the old House's former allies would see it as an insult and its former rivals will project their hate towards the new House. Additionally, the Scarlet Watch will also show up in here, as their writeup at Dark Eras have heavily hinted that they are are former conspiracy, and there is something mystical going in this compact.

                      As for other canon groups, I have always viewed the Ashwood Abbey and the Loyalists of Thule as having the strongest potential for a conspiracy even though they lack a motivation (the Abbey enjoys hedonism for its own sake, while the Loyalists fear power), so they make good candidates. The Long Night and the Null Mysteriis may also be claimed to have the potential for Endowments (even if not conspiracy reach), so they'll make more sense as Cadet Houses (of which we'll talk later). As I said before, I am planning on merging the Keepers of the Source together with the Athenic Church, so they'll also show up here. The Ahl al Jabal and the Soldiers of the Forbidden Sun are both very old groups which would make sense as conspiracies, so they'll also gain a Least House presentation, and the same is also true for the Azusa Miko, who were stated to still be around in the Underhill version of Tokyo. While we still don't know if it was intentional or a mistake, Utopia Now were stated to be a conspiracy in Hunter's 2e manuscript, and it's enough for me to write them as having a Least House status.

                      From the other hand, we also have a few groups we can outright rule out- the Bijin are somewhat close to the Abbey and were never really stable in the first place, and the Hunt Club are on the verge of slasherhood and are not really fitting for the Treaty. Nine Stars, while very cool, probably work better as VASCU's Cadet House, and the Reckoning are basically a more culty version of the Long Night. The Heritage House are basically the same organization as the Scarlet Watch, and while I would have liked to see a "conspiracy of 1st Tier community guardians" I'm not going to enter this rabbit hole in this thread, so both the Union and the Night Watch are out of this section.

                      That leaves us with those groups we are still not sure about. Some of those seem to have the potential to develop Endowments- the Illuminated Brotherhood, for example, even though they may be better as the AO's Cadet. The Ama San and their whale whistle are also a material for an interesting Endowment, yet they are a dying tradition and don't make sense for a wide conspiracy, unless we are talking about a widespread "fisher conspiracy" which takes their secrets. The Maiden's Blood Sisterhood are said to work with witches, which gives a supernatural background for an Endowment, but they are still a Sorority and not something wider. The Habibti Ma are hinted to have something supernatural backing them up, and as we also have the Talbot Group and the Yuri's Group as having a similar concept it may make sense to merge them all into a single House. I personally think that the Keepers of the Weave make a great foundation of a Native American conspiracy, and while I initially didn't got SWORN once it occurred to me that they are the reaction for losing the KotW I really started to like them more, and they also seem to hold some elements of the Protectors of Light in terms of ideology and methods, so I would also like to write them here. While Hunter 2e manuscript mentions the Bear Lodge (which are basically a modern version of the Les Voyageurs) being absorbed into the Abbey, I still think they can stand on their own and it feels almost natural to make them some supernatural boon for some reason. While I'm not such a great fan of Division VI, some people did made certain arguments for them becoming a conspiracy or being enhanced by an Abyssal Resonance of some kind. The Barret Commission, while they are found in key positions of the government, are not very supernatural in nature- but they may have "masonic" like Endowments, based around the symbols of government. Finally, the Followers of Mansa feel very localized in both time and space, but I really like their Vigil and they may very well be the "community guardian conspiracy" that I want.

                      So to sum it up, in the "definitely" list we have: Network 0, Promethean Brotherhood, Scarlet Watch, Ashwood Abbey, Loyalists of Thule, Keepers of the Source, Ahl al Jabal, Soldiers of the Forbidden Sun, Azusa Miko, Utopia Now

                      While the "maybe" list has- Ama San, Habibti Ma, Keepers of the Weave, Bear Lodge, Barret Commission, Followers of Mansa

                      As for fanmade orgs, I personally don't like to mess with the organizations of other people, and as I generally more of a conspiracy fan than a compact fan, so I'm not sure which (if any) should I add, but form Skin and Bones we can easily add the Obsidian Brotherhood (who are a dying conspiracy) and the Dies Irae (who are a rising one), as well as my very own Ebony Fangs (again, a dying conspiracy) and the Aki Ten (a rising one). I do consider the Son of CuChulainn, who are very supernatural in nature and have a "center of operation" in the middle of the Hedge, and I also wonder about the Societe deHades, but I think that the Brotherhood Prizrakov and the Navio do Tolos more or less cover that territory. Again, there isn't, like, a HUGE list of those, but that's a good thing as we already have a HUGE list of canon groups to deal with. It's all about balance... and entropy. It's always about entrop[y.

                      Well, that's what I have for now, time to return to my sick state and hopefully tomorrow I'll feel good enough to start write them down.


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                      • #12
                        Ok, so I'm too sick and tired to write down a bunch of coherent short writeups for the Least Houses, but I do want to do something more productive than just lay in bed all day, so let's talk a bit the Rogue Houses.

                        The first thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as "Rogue Houses".

                        First, the "rogue" part- no hunter organization which exist outside of the Treaty will define itself as such. The Treaty, after all, is a social agreement that some Houses established together and then either forced or bribed other groups to join in. The fact that a certain group is defined as "rogue" simply because they have no interest in the Treaty does not mean that the hunters in question are any more vile or corrupted than any of the Houses within the Treaty. The whole Treaty thing is absurd, when you think about it- an attempt to enforce legal concepts into a situation which is illegal by nature. Hunters are vigilantes, after all- what worth is there for the rules of the Treaty for such organizations? Beside, it is not that the Treaty care much about actual morality of abstract concepts such as "justice" or "protecting the innocents"- the alliance simply exists to stop hunters from killing each other, which means that powerful Houses which do horrible things to themselves and others can easily prosper in the Treaty, while ones which truly work to defend the innocents will be condemned simply because they don't want to give up their freedom to uphold their Vigil against those whom they deem as corrupted. So yeah, "rogue" is a biased term, no doubt about that.

                        Second, even the "House" part is misleading. "House" is an in-Treaty term: hunters who are not a part of the Treaty generally do not use it to describe themselves. Oh, sure, the Vigil is still mostly a family thing outside the Treaty, as it was before it (and will be after it), but "House" has certain connotations which are meant to give a false sense of unity, enforced by the older and stronger Houses and which is used to force all members to play by the same rules. Simply by adopting the term the organization loses their own identity and traditions in favor of becoming a part of the system. If the Treaty was indeed a place where all hunters could stand equal, shouldn't it let hunters the freedom to define themselves? The fact that the Treaty uses this term on those who refuse to accept it only shows how biased are its members, and why they shouldn't be trusted.

                        Finally, the thing is that even the Treaty itself does not officially uses the term- technically, "Rogue House" is meant to denote those Houses which are found in violation of the Treaty's rules, and are soon to be removed from the alliance. However, most hunters who do not play by the Treaty's rules are those who are not members of the Treaty, and a distinction between those hunters who are a members of a organization external to the Treaty and a true Houseless Hunters which have no connection to a wider organization was required, and it eventually became a common term to describe those groups. In all official documents, those groups are treated simply as "non Treaty members", yet for most hunters within the alliance those Houses which violated the Treaty and got expunged from it and those groups who never joined it in the first place are all one and the same- dangerous and unreliable elements, which endanger the fragile peace that the Treaty managed to gain.

                        But even that is not true- Rogue Houses is, after all, a wide definition. Many of those organizations are in fact old allies of some Treaty members, and are working with cooperation with them, yet do not fully trust the Treaty as whole, or have issues with some other Treaty members. Such organizations even sometimes send representatives to the Council as "external advisors", work more or less in unison with the Treaty and share both resources and intelligence with them. House Cordelia was for years in such a position, before its allies within the Treaty managed to convince them to join. Others, however, are much more isolated- they just want to practice their Vigil like they did for generations, without dealing with bureaucracy, diplomacy and politics. Just let hunters be hunters, you know? Still, as the world shrinks and hunters become more connected, it becomes harder and harder to maintain such isolation, as larger none Treaty members attack weaker ones, forcing them to choose between dying alone or adapting to the new era. Few Rouge Houses even try to start their own alliances, ones which compete with the Treaty- after all, why should all hunters obey the same set of rules? Shouldn't there be alternatives? There is no such thing as "one Vigil for all"- some hunter organizations get along better with others, and trying to force them all into the same alliance will only cause frictions between them. A different paradigm is perhaps required, a more creative method meant to unify all hunters than the basic, out of control Treaty, which clearly favors the stronger Houses which joined it early over weaker Houses who have only recently been founded.

                        And of course, there are those groups which are indeed corrupted and foul, but hey, it's not like the Treaty lacks any of those.

                        Anyway, so as the three previous sections have more or less covered almost all canon conspiracies and a decent number of compacts, it is pretty clear that the organizations in this section are basically fanmade ones. Originally the Rogue Houses were meant to cover all fanmade orgs as a tool meant to allow including none canon conspiracies, but that definition is valid only for this Shard as a STV product, and as there is still some time up to this point we can in the meanwhile divide the groups according to the actual reasons they may have to either join or refuse to join the Treaty. Of course, there are A LOT of fan made orgs (with me being guilt of making way too many of them), but I do have a list of the ones which I include within my "Hunterverse", and of which we are going to talk now.

                        First, the Skin & Bones orgs- we have already discussed a number of those, with the Obsidian Brotherhood, Aves Minerva and Dies Irae being Least Houses while the Army of Light being a Lesser House, but that still leaves us with the Chosen of Kroll, Regency of Thorn and Section 9. Like I mentioned earlier, Section 9 or KSI21 will likely become a Lesser House eventually, I'm just still not sure which. I actually consider having a heavy revision of Section 9 at some point, but never mind that right now. Basically, the question is which group would make more sense at joining the Treaty and which which makes more sense as an independent. ZMEI, which I wrote based on the Iron Comrades, are definitely Rogue material, but those two are somewhat confusing. Still need some time to think about the subject. The Regency and the Krolli, however, are very Rogue material- the Regency is a Gentry cult, and would be at odds with the Treaty as whole. The Krolli, however, are likely to want to become a part of the Treaty, but the fact that the serve an alien demigod is a bit too much for the Treaty to handle, I think.

                        Now, another person to write his fair share of Hunter homebrew is TheKingsRaven- while we have referenced MI18 as being a Cadet House and the Office of the Lord Stewards are a Lesser House, another of his homebrew which I'm including is the Kollel Shel HaMerkava. That group is likely a Rogue House simply due to their lack of interest in the Treaty and seeking to just keep doing their Vigil the same way they did for ages, as Orthodox, Ultra Orthodox and Hassidic Jewish communities generally do. Without having a reason or will to join the Treaty (and probably suspecting it for being corrupted), the Kollel would just mind their own business, trying to stay outside of the political conflicts of the Vigil and keep their old ways alive as much as possible.

                        As for my very own orgs, the Rih al Asuad should represent a Rogue House which survived for a long time outside of the Treaty until other issues caused its downfall, and now its members have to choose between joining and dying out. The Church of the Blood Moon are xenophobes and isolationists which prefer to avoid making any contact with the Treaty. The Theater of Tragedies are the kind of organization which does some very bad things and are considered "none welcomed" for most Treaty members, and the same is true for the Pythian Oracles- even though the Oracles may in fact belong to a different "subsection" of Rogue Houses which we'll detail in a future post. Finally, the Nibiru are a Rogue House only by technicality, as all Houses simply think that the family is long dead, and the idea that its members are still around will be a shocking revelations for them, with the Nibiru themselves possibly trying to create their own alternative alliance behind the shadows.

                        (if you are asking about my other Hunter orgs, I'm currently revising a bunch of them for the STV, making a final list of 21 conspiracies which I would consider as "LostLight canon". The ones I'm discussing here are those which have already been revised and I more or less know who and what they are, with seven of which will be released once my sister will finish their art *end of shameless promotion*).

                        Now, while I've said that this section should include fanmade orgs, the truth is that there are some canon groups which would make sense here- specifically, the famous "I can't believe they are not Hunter conspiracies" organizations. I am talking, of course, about Deva, LDI, Amalgama and the Onchalus (the more I think about it, the more I'm tending to fold the Auric Chalice into a AO Cadet). Those four are strong groups which basically hunt their respective target, and which have access to strange, supernatural powers. If I may think about other, similar orgs, I may add them to this category as well, yet on the meanwhile I'm including those four as Rogue Houses which are either too extreme to the Treaty's taste, powerful enough to maintain their independence or perhaps even have their own "agreement" as an alternative to the Treaty.

                        So to sum it up, the Rogue Houses currently consist of- Section 9/KSI21, Chosen of Kroll, Regency of Thorns, ZMEI, HaKollel Shel HaMerkava, Al Rih al Asuad, Church of the Blood Moon, Theater of Tragedies, Nibiru, Deva, LDI, Amalgama and Onchalus.

                        Well, that's it for now. I hope I'll feel good enough to start making wirteups next time, otherwise I'll do a similar overview for Cadet Houses.


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                        • #13
                          While I've more or less recovered, I'm still not inspired enough to make a bunch of short write ups, especially as I think that the gist of it is more or less clear- we take a certain organization and present it more as a family than a large association. As such, I currently prefer to move to the next section- so let's talk about Cadet Houses.

                          As we stated a number of times in this thread, Cadet Houses are basically vassals of the larger Houses- either being absorbed into them as former Houses can no longer stand on their own and prefer to give up their independence in exchange for survival or naturally formed as strong adopted lineages and branch families naturally rise from the larger House. As such, while the House itself does give up on some of its traditions and freedom of action and lacks the resources to act globally, it does enjoy a strong alliance with a larger House and the resources that it can provide. That makes them more immune to external threats, such as monsters and the machinations of other Houses, yet also limits their own power and status- as the larger House would not let its Cadets to rise on its expanse.

                          While Cadet Houses have always existed in practice even if not in name, since the Purge have brought many once powerful Houses to the verge of ruin the number of Cadet Houses have increased tremendously. The Treaty even helped with the subject, as the official alliance allowed an easier interactions between its members, and solidified the process to adopt and merge different families. That, however, would only explain the initial increase in their numbers- but even in modern times the number of such Houses keeps on rising. The reason is, once again, the Treaty as a concept- with the creation of the alliance, the power of the larger Houses was more or less cemented, and those who have power generally do not want to lose it. While they could wait for old Treaty members to slowly die out, where new hunter dynasties could have sprung undisturbed and slowly rebuild their power, now the Treaty actively pushes on them to join it, and unless they start out strong they'll discover that the Treaty have more or less divided the world- limiting their resources and potential for growth. In the face of the harsh competition with other, weaker Houses, joining the Great Houses seems like a safe bet- sure, they'll have the share their secrets and lose their identity, but at least something would be left behind, right?

                          In short- the system is rigged. The Great Houses abuse their position (some out of faith it is actually beneficial for the smaller Houses, some out of lust for power) and keep themselves at the top on the expanse of others. No one said that the Treaty is fair, after all- but still, it is better than being left alone in the dark, surrounded by monsters... and other hunters.

                          Even though that becoming a Cadet House is generally being presented as a magical solution to a small House's problems, once entering this territory the now branch family discovers that they replaced one headache with another. Beside of regular obligations and commitments they owe to their parent House, the Cadets also have yet another competition- with each other. Even within the system, Houses fight over being "favored" by the larger House, both in order to gain prestige within the Treaty and in order to get vital resources and support. Oh sure, the House does claim to protect all of its Cadets equally, but everyone within the system knows that those which are more beneficial and useful for the parent House will gain more- on the expanse of others. Some Houses slowly wither within the Cadet system, becoming Houses in name only, either fully assimilated or confined to a single household with no means to protect it, their secrets stolen and exploited. Those which may have thought about becoming a Cadet as a temporary situation find out that getting into the system is much more difficult than getting out, as the first thing that the parent House generally does is sending its own members to overtake their households and resources and adapting their Endowments. Smart Houses may try and keep a potential way out, yet their position within negotiation would rarely allow them to do so.

                          So yeah, becoming a Cadet House may sound nice, but it is because it is meant to sound nice. it has its benefits, but if those who wish to actually maintain their place as such need to work hard, show their worth, and maneuver their position on the expanse of others.

                          And fight monsters. Yes, those guys didn't go anywhere just because you got a shiny new sugar-daddy, after all.

                          Now, the number of Cadet Houses is huge- some are made out of two or three members, while others are large enough to compete with some Lesser Houses. As such, we are going to only cover a few Cadet Houses from each Great House (and some Lesser ones) as examples for the larger and more influential ones. Also, the Dimas Cadet Houses are based around subfactions which I've created for my AKD expansion book, so see those as a spoiler of some sort :P

                          According to House Dimas, at its height it ruled over four vast Labyrinths which contained all human knowledge- and while the House itself is the heir for the guardians of the largest and most important one, other families were tasked with carrying the burden of the other Labyrinths. The Iranian House Iskandar still claims to be the heirs of those who guarded the Labyrinth of the Tomb, and are the self proclaimed founders of the lost Mithraic Mysteries while serving as the Dimas's "Gate to the East". The necromancers of House Ptolemy have dealt with curses and foul sorcery since their time as the keepers of the Labyrinth of Crocodiles, and still maintain most of their parent House's assets in Africa. Finally, House Lawnslot claims heritage to the time distorting Labyrinth of the Marsh, where the treasures of realms which never were lay dormant.

                          Different from most Great Houses, the Akhenaten view themselves as three families which are united under the teaching of the Thrice Great and their duty to the Vigil. House Bennu is the oldest of the three, which discovered the secrets of alchemy and still uses it to produce a variety of substances- including the drugs which help the House to secretly fund itself. House Hermes, on the other hand, have took the principles of alchemy and developed them into a greater system, becoming one of the strongest groups of alchemists in Europe and which makes sure that only the worthy would practice the Art. The youngest of the three, even though it is incredibly old by House standards, House Idris is the most idealistic and religious of the three, combining the secrets of alchemy with the zeal of faith while taking their holy war against the monsters.

                          Well, real life issues came up. I'll continue the list tomorrow


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