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A.S.T.R.A.L [Witchfinders, Project O-X, III]

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  • A.S.T.R.A.L [Witchfinders, Project O-X, III]

    Order of the Exorcists

    [a human-like figure cloaked with four angelic wings]

    "Don't ask questions"

    Everybody knows how cats get killed.

    Something looks interesting. Something draws their attention. Suddenly, they can't focus on what they are doing- and before they know it: bang. It's over. Sure, cats may have 9 lives, but they are not the only curious beings in the world. People are just as interested in things they don't understand, in mysteries they can't solve, and that only draws them toward their own demise- and they take others with them. Knowledge is a dangerous thing, and in the wrong hands everything may get out of control- especially in a world were such mysteries hide in every corner, waiting to snitch the unsuspecting person from her regular life and devour her whole. Mysteries like to stay hidden, and by trying to uncover them you simply doom yourself, your friends and family. Sometimes, you should accept what the higher ups tell you and stop searching the shadows. Sometimes, people don't listen, and then bad things start to happen. Limiting knowledge from people, however, is practically impossible now days- the boundaries are all open, mysteries are everywhere and everyone live a free life. And even if one had such control over the world, it is impossible to stop the cat from being curious.

    But you can take those things of interest away.

    A.S.T.R.A.L was founded years ago, following the principle that not all knowledge was meant to be known- at least, not for everyone. According to the official history of the group, it was originally founded during the Dark Ages, but a group of priests who discovered just how powerful and dangerous can a witch be. It is not just the witch herself who could have caused harm, but the knowledge she left behind was as destructive- if not even more. Fighting witches and other monsters of the night one by one would be an impossible task- but destroy the heretic information which was left behind, and you destroy that danger for all eternity. No one would follow that witch's footsteps, no friend of that witch would develop heresy. Doing so would save countless lives and souls, as the would be witch won't have the chance to do so.

    Of course, some claim the group's history goes even further- The Etrusca Disciplina was destroyed with all the ancient tradition of its people. The prophesies of the Sibylline Books were sent to the fire. Rome burned Manichean books while it was still pagan. Jewish books, Greek books, Chinese books. Alexandria's great library turned into ash. Ashurbanipal turned into dust. Knowledge was burned in the name of dogma countless times- and some say that this legacy eventually took form as the Order of the Exorcists.

    While the group has operated all on its on for many years, things has changed when the Pope has secretly decided to establish a new order meant to protect the children of God from the spawn of Satan- the Malleus Maleficarum. Being absorbed into the new conspiracy, the Order of the Exorcists has operated silently for many years as the group's specialists against magic and witchcraft. No one has known as much as they did about magic, and they practiced secret techniques unknown to the rest of the Shadow Congregation. For that reason, they were more independent than most of the other minor orders- and eventually, it looked like it paid of. For many years, they were chasing the monsters in the dark. Suddenly, they were chased by their fellow members.

    You can't say that it wasn't justified- after all, they planned on betraying their own conspiracy.

    It has all started with a discussion about the true nature of the holy miracles granted to the Malleus- Benedictions. Unlike the rest of the orders, they never practiced the delicate theurgic secrets, preferring to use the same old methods they used during the Dark Ages as they chased witches and consumed knowledge using raw divinity. While they were willing to accept the claim of the Benedictions' divine origin a offered by the leaders of the group in exchange for semi-independents, eventually they couldn't ignore that hypocrisy. They planned on infiltrating the libraries of Rome and burn the books, targeting every "holy scripture" given by the order and absorb it their their collective soul. At first, the other order may be angry- but eventually, they would understand the truth- that any power which comes from books and ceremonies is just another form of magic, and researching that knowledge would eventually lead them to heresy. Even during that time some people has started to wonder if God was truly the power behind those rituals, or that perhaps it was the Saints all on their own, or even if it was Satan, or just a different form of ritual magic- making them no different from witches. It may temporary hurt the Order- but in the end, it would protect their future. You can't have true faith if you ask too many questions, after all.

    Yet, the Shadow Congregation was the one to strike first.

    Perhaps they were betrayed by their very on. Perhaps they were never truly trusted. Perhaps it was just a weird coincidence- but one day, the Hammer of Witches decided it has enough of the protests of that small order. Declaring them as heretics for refusing to use the conspiracy's holy blessings, they were banished from the group and were hunted down. While some cells has tried to fight back, most just went away without a fight. It took less then three months to erase the group from the face of earth, and up to this day the "Order of the Exorcists" is claimed to be an example among the conspiracy for dangers which lurk within the group..

    Only that they weren't truly destroyed.

    When the first attack against the Order was preformed, it took them by surprise- but it eventually was seen as an opportunity. The problem with benedictions was that too many people were questioning its nature- and if by faking their own destruction they could make the rest of the conspiracy to unite behind them, it would be a much easier path then fighting through Rome's defenses. So, they went underground, returning to their old practices as nomad exorcists who search for cursed books and forsaken knowledge.

    That is, until A.S.T.R.A.L (or the Adamant Security of Thresholds by Authoritarian Limitations) was established.

    Knowledge, by its nature, is a changing entity- the secrets of today are the common knowledge of tomorrow, while what was known to all in the past became the privilege of few in the present. Being able to absorb that knowledge, the group changed with it, turning away from lonely priests into a small company, which officially specialize at data analyzing, leaving their religious aesthetics behind. Of course, most of that data wasn't exactly acquired legally- but since when does the law stops hunters from doing their job? Using their enormous database, the group was able to supervise and discover all kinds of "anomalies" all around the world- mysteries which could be caused by witches, or draw witches, or create witches. By striking those phenomena before the witch ever has a chance to get in touch with it.

    While destroying those mysteries is the major aspect for the group's activities, there is another, more subtle face for their new direction- as a database company, people come to them seeking for information. People don't want to search for answers- they want them to be handed over, analyzed and well trusted. They offer that information not only for companies, but for other hunters too- for a price, of course. They became quit known in certain circles, as both mortal and supernatural people come for them for certain data. Mysteries are addicting, curiosity would get you killed- instead, there is much easier path: turning to A.S.T.R.A.L for answers. Everything is already known, there is no reason to make research by yourself.

    There is no reason to ask questions.

    Status:
    0- you have just joined A.S.T.R.A.L and have been infused with their secret formula for knowledge-absorbance. You may buy dots in the D.I.V.I.N.E endowment.
    000- you have dealt with all kinds of weirdness and lent your help for other hunters while fighting those mysteries and witchcraft. You get Contact for 3 dots among another hunter group for your choice.
    00000- you have been touched by the mysteries and learned how to find them so they won't cause harm. You get the Unseen Senses merit for free, which targets any supernatural phenomena.

    Endowment: D.I.V.I.N.E (0-00000, special)
    The Data Infusing Variant Implantation and Evolutions is an old technique known to the exorcists of A.S.T.R.A.L since the days they roamed the land by foot searching for hidden and dangerous knowledge, just with a new and shiny name for it. In the past, it was claimed to be the light of God taking form in mortal flesh. Now days, it is said to be a technological development meant to devour magic whole. Whatever the true cause of it may be, one thing is for certain- the D.I.V.I.N.E is a powerful tool, especially when dealing with dangerous magicians.

    D.I.V.I.N.E is, in fact, divided into 10 different merits, each represents one of the ten Arcana of mages. Each time the hunter comes in contact with a spell coming from that Arcana, the hunter may roll [D.I.V.I.N.E] + [Stamina] in order to devour the spell. In a case of a Dramatic Failure, the hunter suffers from one level of Bashing damage per dot in the spell. In case of Success the hunter have devoured the spell, and so its activation is stopped. In case of Exceptional Success the hunter all gets a Willpower point from the warm feeling of the satisfied D.I.V.I.N.E. You may not try to devour a spell with dot rating higher than your dots in the appropriate D.I.V.I.N.E. While devouring a spell, the hunter's body twists and change as the Flesh of God reacts with the powers of magic.

    Once a spell was devoured, the hunter may cast it for a number of times equal to 1+ [D.I.V.I.N.E (Arcana)] - [Spell's rating]. By using experience, the hunter may buy any spell he once devoured as a Merit with equal rating. The hunter may not use Mana or Reach to enhance the spells, and must spend a number of Willpower points equal to the spell's rating to cast it. While casting a spell, that magic takes a divine form, as blessed by god- a symbolic being is manifested above the hunter, which represent the D.I.V.I.N.E and the magic it has eaten. Those beings correspond to the Arcana in question- Prime, for example, take the form of an angel, while Life would be manifested as a totemic beast. In order to suppress those effects, the hunter must also deal herself one level of Lethal damage.

    Other than devouring existing spells, D.I.V.I.N.E has too more effects- devouring knowledge and Source. For those effects, treat your highest D.I.V.I.N.E as the trait to measure the effects. In order to devour Source, the hunter must be in a place which radiates that energy (Hallow for example) and roll [D.I.V.I.N.E] + [Strength]. Dramatic Failure gives one level of Bashing damage, while Success gives you a number of Willpower / heals levels of Bashing Damage equal to the number of Successes. That effect also requires the transformation of the hunter's body during the process.

    For devouring information, the hunter must target a written scripture which contains that information. In order to activate the power, the hunter must spend a Willpower point and roll [D.I.V.I.N.E] + [Strength]. Dramatic Failure is the same, while Exceptional Success gives you that Willpower back. In case of a Failure, the hunter may not try to devour that same knowledge again. In a case of Success, the scripture is destroyed and the hunter automatically knows what was written in it, even if he does not know the language in which it was written. That power also activate the hunter's transforming body.

    Knowledge devouring has another, more interesting effect- after all, many spells also have a written form, and that mean they can also be eaten in that fashion. In order to do so, roll the regular information-devouring roll, but reduce the Gnosis of the mage who made the grimoire from the Dicepool. In a case of success, the hunter automatically gain a number of spells equals to his dots in the D.I.V.I.N.E as if she bought them as merits, as long as she has the proper Endowment. The hunter still does not gain access to any spell which has an Arcana rating higher than her dots in the appropriate D.I.V.I.N.E. Such knowledge simply goes to waste as the D.I.V.I.N.E feast upon it (the ST may give you a Willpower point instead).

    In case the ST feels it appropriate, the player may also buy D.I.V.I.N.Es made for other ritualistic forms of magic- like Blood Magic, Rites, Ceremonies and even other Endowments. Each such D.I.V.I.N.E has to be bought separately, and in case of variants of the same system (like Curac and Theban Sorcery, or Castigations and Benedictions) each such Variant has to be bought as a different Endowment.
    Last edited by LostLight; 03-24-2016, 02:49 PM.


    My Homebrew Signature

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here

  • #2
    ...Okay, wow, all of these Project O-X hunter groups have rubbed me the wrong way entirely, but this one has to be hands down the absolute creepiest one yet. I know it's probably not what you intended with these guys, but for my games, they have great potential as antagonists - again, all of the Project O-Xers, but these guys in particular. Thumbs up, 10/10, would kill it with fire.

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    • #3
      oh- they are meant to be creepy. Being the worst of humanity and using it to hunt is a big part of the project. Using them as antagonists is more than a legitimate way to play them. When I'll finish the project, I believe things would be a lot more clear.


      My Homebrew Signature

      "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

      I now blog in here

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      • #4
        how moch xp for the spell

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        • #5
          They're Abyssal, aren't they? Copying and devouring and spells is "impossible" - reeks of the Abyss.


          Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
          Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ameraaaaaa View Post
            how moch xp for the spell
            they are bought as merits with equal rating


            My Homebrew Signature

            "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

            I now blog in here

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
              They're Abyssal, aren't they? Copying and devouring and spells is "impossible" - reeks of the Abyss.
              hey- haven't you read the title? Don't ask questions! (laughing, laughing.. not laughing. The Exarchs would have your head! :P )

              Now seriously, as being part of the Heirs of the Lie, they have a patron Exarch- the Father, the master of Prime and lord of dogma. The only rule for the Endowments and organization is that they represent the Lie that specific Exarch tells (which is, in their case, "don't ask questions") and that they use the setting material of the splat they hunt for (which is, in this case, Mages). The exact details are open for interpretation- be it their ability to control Prime or stolen powers from the Abyss (although, considering that one of their inspiration source are the Third Exorcists from D.Gray Man, having part of abyssal creatures in their body does makes sense).

              of course, the vast majority of the conspiracy know nothing about the nature of their own Endowments, and if they think about it too much it won't be long before they'll find themselves in an uneasy situation. This is the motto of the conspiracy, after all.


              My Homebrew Signature

              "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

              I now blog in here

              Comment

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