The Illuminated

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The Illuminated (The Secret Masters)Copyright © 2000 by Lord Tuerny

Sect PhilosophyThe Illuminated: the few and the powerful, the possessors of hidden knowledge. All this and more, a member of the Illuminated would claim if questioned (and if he did not immediately commit suicide or get executed first).

You see, the Illuminated are among the most secretive sects on the planes and are often willing to kill themselves, and others in their sect, in order to keep their goals and existence secret. In fact, most other sects and factions believe that the Illuminated are nothing more than a group of Prime mercenaries based in Plague-Mort who are under the command of some wizardly cutter known as the Green Marvent. Those who know better are usually already under the control of the Illuminated and can't do a thing about it.

The Illuminated believe that they are destined to be the "Hidden Masters," those who control the multiverse from behind the scenes, through knowledge that is unknown to or hidden from others. According to them, only a true berk should openly hold great power. Doing that is just an open invitation for some rebel or enemy of the basher to rise up and overthrow him. A true blood holds power in secret, hidden from others, while letting the berks who openly hold power take the brunt of revolutionaries and political rivals.

The Illuminated employ a variety of methods to gain the power to control an organization from behind the throne. These methods have included gathering and keeping evidence from the eyes of the masses, blackmailing important figures, and numerous discrete plots to infiltrate existing power structures (see the Eternal Boundary adventure for one such example). All of the agents involved in these plots are required to maintain a strict veil of secrecy. If at any time they have evidence that they have been detected, they are required either to eliminate the threat to their secrecy, or, if the elimination would further compromise their mission, to immediately abort their mission. In all cases secrecy is more important than success.

Primary Plane of InfluenceCurrently the Illuminated have the most influence in the Outlands, though they have started to place agents within the Abyss and the Ethereal Plane.

Allies and EnemiesThe Illuminated have no true allies, being mostly hidden from the view of other factions and sects at this point, but if they did reveal themselves, most factions would become their enemies. The Anarchists would especially dislike them, because despite their similar operating methods the Illuminated support keeping the existing power structures intact. The Mercykillers, Harmonium, and Fraternity of Order would oppose them because they favor corrupting the existing power structure. Others would just dislike the fact that they are trying to control them.

EligibilityThis sect does not accept people who seek to join the sect. It only accepts those who they specifically recruit. Those who are contacted but refuse entry are killed. Usually only those who show a skill in manipulation and a desire to learn and control secret knowledge are accepted into the Illuminated. Neutral Evil and Chaotic Evil people are the most common members of the Illuminated, but they are willing to accept an occasional Lawful Evil or Chaotic Neutral member. Class and race are not an issue but the Illuminated generally try to keep the total numbers of each class within the faction balanced.

Currently there is a large amount of Fighters within the sect because of its roots as a mercenary company, but this is primarily among the namers, the Initiates of Understanding. The sectotums, or the Enlightened Novices, are primarily field agents and are frequently rogues and wizards. The sectors, or the Illuminated Masters, are equally divided between the various classes and act as coordinators for the various Illuminated operations. The Sectol, or the Illuminati is currently the Green Marvent (Pl/male Taladan Minotaur/Mage 12/Illuminated/Chaotic Evil), a minotaur wizard who is almost always posing as a human prime wizard.

HeadquartersThe Illuminated are currently operating out of the Bell and Whistle Tavern and the surrounding block within the Gate-Town of Plague-Mort. From this location the Green Marvent advertises the group as being a mercenary company for hire, though they are seldom hired for anything more than caravan work. The Green Marvent views this as nothing more than a temporary base and is searching through the demiplanes of the Ethereal for a more permanent fortress. Most recently he has started to hear rumors of the location of the Isle of Black Trees being found and is looking to explore it....

BenefitsThe Illuminated sect has a web of connections throughout the Outlands and Sigil, which is spreading to the rest of the multiverse. Sectarians are able to take advantage of this network to gain audience with powerful figures inaccessible to most. Also, as sectarians advance in rank within the Illuminated, they gain more and more access to the hidden knowledge that the Green Marvent has began to accumulate. This knowledge translates into a chance to get out of any situation that is potentially lethal (i.e. if it happens it would lower the subject to lower than 0 hit points). Those of Enlightened Novice level have a percentage chance equal to 1% a level to be able to avoid any fate that would cause their death. This percentage chance increases to 2% a level for Illuminated Masters and 3% a level for the Illuminati. This appears as a sudden recollection and the successful use of previously accumulated knowledge in the Illuminated's mind, such as a certain maneuver that would allow them to deflect an incoming missile or that there is a nearby shifting portal that can be used to escape an attacking horde of Tanar'ri. This knowledge is generally usable only at that exact moment, and cannot be successfully used after that moment.

RestrictionsThe Illuminated are playing a dangerous game. Those thought to be a danger to the organization or to be accidentally or intentionally leaking information out are summarily executed. Observers usually think such executions are suicides, even close eyewitnesses. When applicable, the execution of sect members is used to blackmail those the Illuminated want in their power.



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