Sacrifice

Ultra Modern 5E

D&D 5E


Game Details

  • Game Schedule: Saturdays 18:00-22:00 CST
  • Game Master: CharybdisGD
  • System: D&D 5e/UM5
  • Required Books:
    • 5E Players Handbook
    • Ultramodern 5
  • Required Apps:
    • Discord & D20PRO
  • Required Equipment:
    • Headset

Rule One

By joining Sacrifice, you agree to accept the following conditions: I am the GM. I am not a god, but I DO tell the gods what to do. Therefore: Trust me. I may well be acting on information you don't have. I can and will handle certain events for game flow and flavor over rules. Deal with it. Save all rules lawyering for after the game session. Always. Without exception. Arguing ticks me off and is likely to end the game session early. You have been warned

The Concept

Sacrifice is a Ultramodern 5e system game set in a custom modern world with fantasy aspects.

The Sacrifice RPG takes place on a formerly Sundered world. No one really knows how the world was Sundered, though many theories exist. The only aspect that all agree upon is that The Sundering involved magic – for only magic could possibly allow life to survive the splintering of the world. And only magic could have held the Shards of the world together after the Sundering. Most assume that the magic with torn the world apart was Fey in nature, which is one of the reasons both Fey and arcane magic are held with wariness and scorn.

The world was Reunited by the eminent Gerent Hethrull who had the wisdom and foresight to send forth an elite group of His Gerentia Magna Guard to find all of the Keystones. Using some bizarre, rare Fey as a tool, Gerent Hethrull performed the Rite of Reunification, sacrificed His life, and Reunited the world. Gerent Jantzen, who Ascended to the Mantle immediately upon Gerent Hethrull rose to join His Ancestors, named the newly Reunited world “Sacrifice” to honor Gerent Hethrull's sacrifice.

In the centuries immediately following the Reunification, Gerent Jantzen sent forth both the Gerent's Army and His Gerentia Magna Guard to subjugate the various Fey races. While Gerent Jantzen did not live to see all of the Fey completely tamed under chain and lash, the majority of the Fey shards fell under His Reverence's dominion. Near the end of His life, shortly before Gerent Jantzen rose to join His Ancestors, He elevated each of the surviving Gerentia Magna Guard who had assisted Gerent Hethrull in finding the Keystones to the rank of caliph, gave them lands and property to suit their new station, and made them the first governors of the former shards.

Over the course of nearly a millennium and three Gerents, the last of the Fey uprisings were put down. All Fey were properly enslaved and made the property of worthy Humans. All Fey casters were either put to death or made chatte. For the last two thousand years, Sacrifice has lived in peace and prosperity under the benevolent rule of the Gerents.

In the long peace since the final rebellions were broken, the Gerentia Magna Guard has seen a relative decline. With so few real enemies, the position of Gerentia Magna Guard has, in many ways, become ceremonial. And proving oneself worthy to the Gerent is far easier if your family has served as Gerentia Magna Guards for generations. An elder family member in the Guard can say, “Look, my younger relation did ” rather than His Reverence having to have seen you take great risks on His behalf. Diehards true to the old ways still rise before fourth bell to do calisthenics and weapons training before dawn, sweating blood in the eternal snow at Mt. Gerentum, but others rise more sensibly at nine bells to have breakfast served for them in bed before sitting before their computers to watch vigilantly for someone trying to hack His Reverence's personal email.

The newest Gerent to Ascend to the Mantle did so just over six months ago. In his declining years, Gerent Callum was slow to name His Heir Apparent. His twin sons, Azariah and Abednego both felt they deserved to assume the Mantle, and Gerent Callum did nothing to promote or discourage either of them. Few would ever have dared to ask why, but His most trusted advisers know that His Reverence felt the competition would strengthen both of His sons. The highest ranks of the Devout, likewise, knew that the Premogerents had yet to imbue Gerent Callum with the knowledge of which boy bore the seeds of godhood within him.

As Gerent Callum moved closer and closer to joining His Ancestors, speculation ran rampant. Who would His Reverence choose? In general, the Devout favored Azariah. Azariah is the older son, if only by a few hours. Azariah is the more bookish of the two sons, preferring study, rhetoric, and theology to weapons practice. However, Azariah bore (and continues to bear) a liberal outlook which many found disconcerting, especially in a potential Gerent. The military, on the other hand, favored Abednego. Though Abednego was a few hours younger than Azariah, Abednego was a man's man. He excels at sports, tactics, and weaponry. Even better, Abednego holds a more traditional view of the world. The Gerentia Magna Guard did their best to remain neutral, knowing they would continue to serve whichever son Ascended.

Gerent Callum only revealed His successor minutes before He died, with the twins as the only witness. There could be no doubt who the true Heir was. The Mantle firmly fell upon Azariah's shoulders, and Abednego was the first to bow to his brother. In fact, so moved was Abednego by his brother's Ascension, that he not only bowed, but in fact lay prostrate at his brother's almost divine feet before the new Gerent Azariah urged him to stand and assume a place at His left shoulder.

While Abednego's actions should have quelled any dissent, some fools insist on arguing that the wrong brother became Gerent, claiming that they have yet to see signs for Azariah's nearly divine nature. Some rebels even claim that Abednego should slay his brother and assume the Mantle himself. The least of these rumors is abhorrent to Abednego, who has proved his loyalty to His Reverence thrice already by brutally slaying rebels himself and presenting their head to his brother as Ascension gifts.

Still, even though the Ascension is clear, loyalty was clearly divided among the Gerentia Magna Guard as somewhere between thirty to forty percent of Gerent Callum's Guard dropped dead the instant Gerent Azariah Ascended. Consequentially, the ranks of Gerentia Magna Guard are currently fairly thin. Many loyal Guardsmen have recently been promoted upon the death of their former superiors. And Gerent Azariah is accepting more new Guards into the Gerentia Magna Guard faster than many find seemly. All of the player characters are among those who survived the passing of the Mantle. No matter what their misgivings, all have proven their loyalty to young Gerent Azariah. All will officially be members of the Gerentia Magna Guard; at a minimum all PCs will adopt the Gerentia Magna Template.

The PCs will become involved in an epic quest to save Sacrifice from a series of new and bizarre threats – both from within and without.

Character Creation

Players should design third level characters using the Ultramodern 5e and D&D 5e Player's Handbook. You should look out our Wiki on the The Dungeon Vortex. All characters must be Human. While Fey races exist on Sacrifice, they would never be permitted to enter the distinguished service of the Gerentia Magna Guard. Each character will have three levels in any single core character class from Ultramodern 5e or a casting class from the D&D 5e Player's Handbook. Please note that I will allow only one arcane caster in the party, and I will only allow that arcane caster if another player is willing to play the divine caster who watches over the arcane caster. I will permit no multiclass characters at the start of the game. However, I am open to allowing multiclassing once the character levels advance. You may, therefore, want to keep other classes in mind for future advancement.

Please use the point buy method from the D&D 5e Player's Handbook. To make it easier, you may use the Point-Buy Calculator on The Dungeon Vortex. You have 32 points to spend to raise your points above the starting 8's, with the following two restrictions: First, you may not have any stat higher than 18 plus your Human racial bonus. Second, you may not have any stat lower than 8. Your hit points will be the maximum for your character class plus any Constitution bonus for each of your first three levels. Hit points for the level you gain in play will be rolled normally.

Divine spellcasters will all be faithful members of the Devout. No idolater proclaiming to gain power from false gods would ever be admitted to the Gerentia Magna. Only the worship of the Premogerents and obedience to Their mortal voice, the Gerent, brings the ability to cast divine spells on Sacrifice. The Premogerents are Lawful Neutral, and their clerics must be within one step of that alignment. The portfolio of the Premogerents includes law and order, judges, bounty hunters, militia, strategists, soldiers, chastisers, and executioners. Their domains are Grave, Protection, and War. Their symbol is a closed fist holding a red-tipped, silver cat-o-nine-tails on a blue-black field. Their favored weapon is the Painted Cat. Clerics and paladins are the only playable classes of divine casters. Paladins may choose from the following Sacred Oaths: Oath of Conquest, Oath of Devotion, or Oath of Vengeance.

Arcane spell casters will all be, by definition, Wizards within the Gerentia Magna. With acceptance into the Gerentia Magna, the laws about leaving Mt. Gerentum are relaxed somewhat. You will, of course, never travel alone without your fellow Guards, at least those with whom you Serve will regard you with respect. And the loathing and superstition of the common folk will at least be tempered by the awe and honor shown to all of the Gerentia Magna. They may fear you, but they will likely fear your companions no less. The majority (if such a term can apply to such a rare group withing an already elite organization) of Wizards are actually wizards rather than sorcerers or warlocks. Being the child of at least two generations of arcane casters in service to the Gerent, you are more likely to have learned your magic from tomes or your elders than from just tuning yourself to innate magic. Should you choose to be an arcane caster, please try to convince another player to be your Devout watchdog. If you can't do so, an NPC will be sent with the party to assume that role. Sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards are the only playable classes of arcane casters.

Spells from the school of necromancy are forbidden on Sacrifice. Keeping a people from dying a natural death is abhorrent in the Dictates of the Premogerents. Unlife keeps one from being properly reincarnated to a lower or higher social class to learn the lessons needed to eventually being worthy to Serve the Premogerents in death. The Gerent's killing and resurrecting those who join the Gerentia Magna Guards is a rare exception as it virtually guarantees the Guards will Serve the Premogerents in death even as they do His Reverence in life. Wizards, therefore, may not choose the School of Necromancy as their Arcane Tradition. Likewise, warlocks may not choose an eldritch invocation which replicates the ability of a necromancy spell. No casters may choose any spells from the necromancy school at the start of the game. Learning necromancy spells in game will come with very real consequences – starting with severe penance and ranging up to immediate execution should your necromantic knowledge be discovered.

With most Fey magicians dead, few sorcerers have survived. The rare Human sorcerers whom the Gerents have graciously allowed to Serve him (so they might live) have garnered their Fey magic from either Wild Magic or a Favored Soul. Any player wishing to play a sorcerer within His Reverence's Wizards must choose one of those two sorcerous origin.

Warlock, those who make an unholy pack to foul Fey, Demons from other planes, or bizarre creatures falsely claiming to be other “gods” have been purged even more harshly than sorcerers. Pledging one's loyalty to a evil power rather than properly swearing loyalty of both body and soul to the Premogerents is blasphemy in the grossest sense. Even Human warlocks have been given no quarter if they glean vile Fey magic from such unholy sources. The only Human warlocks who have ever been allowed to plea to Serve Him have received their magic from the Premogerents Themselves or from a sentient weapon created by His Reverence's own mages.

No PCs will ever at any point in the campaign be able to create magic items. Magic itself is extremely rare on Sacrifice – and magic items even more so. Any person with the ability to imbue items with magic, especially those of an enduring or permanent nature, would be too valuable to risk on a mission outside of Mt. Gerentum. Such artists live in the lap of luxury under the constant, vigilant protection of the Gerentia Magna.

Other than that, there are two role-playing/character depth requirements that I have for your characters. First, choose one hobby for your characters. Hobbies are activities that your characters like to do in their spare time. In other words, what do they do when they are not acting in the service of the Gerent? These must be real hobbies (stamp collecting, painting, beekeeping) – no combat skills. If in doubt, ask the GM. You will gain Proficiency in that hobby.

The second bit of character depth information that I need from you is the way in which your character came to the notice, and later the service, of Gerent Callum. All Guards have served the Gerent in another capacity and proven not only their skill but also their worth, obedience, and devotion. Please take the time to detail the way in which you earned your honored place.

Moreover, every member of the Gerentia Magna has survived the Ascension of Gerent Azariah, proving unwavering loyalty to the new young Gerent. That does not mean, however, that you completely agree with every odd thought that Gerent Azariah has expressed or that you are completely comfortable with your new role under Him. While you would never betray Gerent Azariah nor disobey His commands, you may wish He would a least slow down in His drastic agenda. Please take the time to consider how you feel about the new focus of your undying loyalty.

Equipment

For all characters who are using a class out of Ultramodern 5, you will take your starting gear from your background and class. Treat all dollar values as the price in marks. The currency on Sacrifice is done on a decimal system. Standard units are as follows:

  • kilomark = 1000 marks (KM)
  • hectomark = 100 marks (HM)
  • decamark = 10 marks (DM)
  • mark (M) = base unit
  • 10 decimarks (dM)= 1 mark (M)
  • 100 centimarks = I mark (cM)

Most transactions are done by electronic transfer which can easily use these denominations. However, for those who still use physical currency, paper bills are issued in addition to the denominations listed above, units of 5 M, 25 M, 5 DM, 25 DM, 5 HM, 25 HM, and 5 KM.

Sacrifice is set in Tech Level 2, so all starting equipment must come from TL 2 or lower. Also remember, that you may only choose weapons and armor from the list of Starting Weapons and Starting Armor.

For casters who are taking their class from the Player's Handbook, I will provide an updated equipment list for the spellcasting classes.

In addition to the starting equipment you receive from your class and background, you will receive a few special items as a result of being members of the Gerentia Magna Guard.

Day to Day Items

At the start of the game, as members of the Gerentia Magna, each character will receive the following equipment which they will usually carry on their person:

High quality weapons or armor:

PCs may choose a single weapon, armor, or shield with which they are proficient. That item will be a +1 item. For arcane casters, the “armor” may be a ring, amulet, or cloak of protection that meets the same standards.

Clothing and jewelry:

At character creation, the PCs may choose a week's worth of clothing (9 outfits) worth no more than 100 marks each from p. 106 of Ultramodern 5.

The PCs will all receive a silver symbol of the Premogerents as a necklace. For divine casters, this serves as their holy symbol. For others, it is merely a sign of respect for the Premogerents and Their mortal Voice, the Gerent. (Weight: 1 lbs.)

The PCs, as noted in the Gerentia Magna Guard page, are issued a signet ring which identifies them as members of the Gerentia Magna. This ring will allow you to use your Gerent's Favor ability. (Weight: negligible)

Miscellaneous Equipment:

The PCs will each be issued a Gerentia Magna debit card which draws on an account from the Quartermaster of the Gerentia Magna Guard. Each of you will have a spending limit commensurate with your rank within the Gerentia Magna Guard. The spending limit may be raised for a specific mission. It may also be temporarily raised by contacting the Quartermaster by phone, text, or email and presenting him with a good reason for the increase. In truly dire circumstances, an increase might also potentially be granted by contacting Gerent Azariah via your Gerent's Ear ability and convincing His Reverence of your need.

Spellcasters will also receive a component pouch which holds all the necessary components for any spell they can cast at the start of the game. (Weight: 2 lbs)

All Gerentia Magna Guard also receive an encrypted cell phone with unlimited data and an encrypted tablet with biometric security.

Personal Apartment

Each member of the Gerentia Magna Guard has a personal apartment at Mt. Gerentum. This acts as their home when they are on rotation to physically act as bodyguards for His Reverence. It also serves as quarters when they are engaged in training. These quarters are of upper class quality. While these apartments may not be as lavish as nobles' estates, they are quite comfortable. They come equipped with free utilities including cable, highly encrypted cell phone service, and encrypted high speed wi-fi. Food and other necessary sundries can be requisitioned from the castellan at no cost.

House Slave

As a member of the Gerentia Magna, each PC will have a personal house slave who has been assigned to you from the castle stable. That slave essentially comes with your apartment and is responsible for maintaining your quarters in the way you wish them to be kept. That slave will cook, clean, do laundry, light the fires, and perform other menial tasks which are beneath your dignity as a Gerentia Magna Guard. You may choose a slave of a race, gender, and so forth which appeals to your PC. Most slaves, even at Mt. Gerentum, are Fey with a slightly smaller margin of Elder Men, but you can specify a Human slave if you prefer. You may detail the specifics of that slave's usual routines to suit your PC. This slave technically belongs to the Gerent, but will obey your PC to the exclusion of all others save for His Reverence Himself.

Additional personal slaves may be purchased on your own. Slave markets are common in most large cities. They may also be purchased on-line, but that can be a risky process.

Personal Savings

As a testament to the high quality of life with which the Gerentia Magna Guard live, PCs will each have a personal savings of 1000 marks + (100 marks times your Wisdom bonus). Yes, this means that if you have the minimum Wis of 8, you subtract 100 marks, for a savings of only 900 marks. This is personal money saved over your career with the Gerent.

Other Equipment or Funds

If you truly think that you need additional equipment or monies, you will have to handle this in-game, in-character. Once you hear the particulars of a mission, you are welcome to discuss the matter with the Quartermaster, the Castellan, or the Gerent Himself.

House Rules

GreyDragon House Rules

Krilion and I have made several house rules to D&D 5e and Ultramodern 5. You can see those rules on the Fantasy 5E SRD and the Modern 5E SRD. I will be using the optional Variant Encumbrance rules listed on page 176 of the Player's Handbook, but only if you make me. We have altered a lot of the explosive weapons from Ultramodern 5, so you may wish to look at the Grenades and Explosives section of the SRD before choosing any of those items.

New Tool Proficiency:

Video Games – This covers proficiency with console, tablet, phone, and computer games.

New Background:

Gerentia Magna Legacy – Thanks to your family's prior service in the Gerentia Magna Guard, people are inclined to think the best of you. You are welcome in high society, and people assume you have the right to be wherever you are. The common folk make every effort to accommodate you and avoid your family's displeasure, and other people of high birth treat you as a member of the same social sphere. You can secure an audience with a local noble if necessary.

  • Skill Proficiencies: History, Intimidation
  • Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set or video games
  • Languages: True Gerentish and your choice of Old Gerentish or Ancient Gerentish, Gain literacy.
  • Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a signet ring bearing your family crest intertwined with the symbol of the Gerent, a scroll of pedigree, and a wallet containing 25 marks

New Feat:

Handler – You've devoted time in learning the lost art of handling chattel. As chattel are little more than animals, you can readily bend their will to yours and know what they are thinking almost before they do. This time and training has served to add to your reputation amongst slaves in general, and they quake at your passing. You have been trained to supervise and dictate actions performed by chattel. This includes the use of chatte rings to administer pleasure or pain to a chatte.

Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

You may use Charisma (Handle Animal) when training chatte.

Charisma (Handle Animal) may be substituted for Wisdom (Insight) checks when dealing with chatte.

You have Advantage with all Charisma skill checks when dealing with slaves due to your reputation as a Handler.

New Weapons:

Painted Cat – Special Weapon

A painted cat, the favored weapon of the Premogerents, is a heavy whip made of three braided leather thongs about 6 feet in length. Studs of metal are beaded near the tips of the thongs to increase the acceleration of the whips, thus inflicting a great deal of pain without doing serious permanent damage. Therefore, the painted cat is generally used as a instrument of punishment by overseers, handlers, Chastisers, and torturers.

A painted cat deals no damage to any creature wearing armor. Therefore, it is rarely used in combat. However, the design of the painted cat allows it to cause far more pain than actual damage, making it an ideal weapon for penance.

Weapon Features: The painted cat is a Martial Melee Weapon. It has the finesse and reach properties. It's damage is only 1d2 slashing; however the pain it causes leaves effects lasting far more than the actual hit points lost.

For every 3 lashes with the painted cat, the victim gains a -1 penalty to all attack rolls and ability checks (minimum -1, even if fewer than 3 lashes are given); these penalties are cumulative. These penalties are healed at a rate of +1 per 24 hours. The maximum penalty for a lashing is -5. However, if the accumulated penalties would go above -5, at the end of five days, the victim suffers Disadvantage on all Attacks for the remainder of the duration. Furthermore, being lashed with the painted cat puts a victim at Disadvantage to Charisma (Intimidation) checks due to the severe pain which lasts until the physical penalties have completely disappeared.

A victim who reaches 0 HP due to a lashing from the painted cat always falls unconscious and automatically stabilizes. An unconscious victim will awaken in 1d4 hours with half hit points, though the residual pain makes the remaining welts seem far worse. Using rest hit die will restore the actual hit points, but not the penalties from the lashing. Those only subside over time. Even magical healing cannot seem to alleviate the lingering effects; the Devout say this is the Will of the Premogerents.

Bloodied Cat – Special Weapon

A bloodied cat, a harsher variant of the painted cat, is a heavy whip made of three braided leather thongs about 6 feet in length. In addition, razor sharp blades, fangs, or shards of glass are braided into the thongs to add extra cutting power. While the painted cat serves primarily as an instrument of punishment, the bloodied cat is intended as a weapon of war. For particularly vile penitents, however, a Chastiser may choose to use this harsher weapon instead.

Weapon Features: The bloodied cat is a Martial Melee Weapon. It has the finesse and reach properties. It's damage is 1d6; like the painted cat, the pain it causes leaves effects lasting far more than the actual hit points lost.

Unlike the painted cat, the bloodied cat deals lethal damage, even to creatures with armor bonuses. A victim who reaches 0 hit points from the painted cat is dying and suffers death saves as normal. Even if the saves are made and the victim regains consciousness, the residual pain makes the remaining welts seem far worse. Using rest hit die will restore the actual hit points, but not the penalties from the lashing. Those only subside over time. Even magical healing cannot seem to alleviate the lingering effects; the Devout say this is the Will of the Premogerents.

For every 3 lashes with the painted cat, the victim gains a -1 penalty to all attacks, damage rolls, and ability checks (minimum -1, even if fewer than 3 lashes are given); these penalties are cumulative. These penalties are healed at a rate of +1 per 24 hours. The maximum penalty for a lashing is -5. However, if the accumulated penalties would go above -5, at the end of five days, the victim suffers Disadvantage on all Attacks for the remainder of the duration. Furthermore, being lashed with the bloodied cat puts a victim at Disadvantage to Charisma (Intimidation) checks due to the severe pain which lasts until the physical penalties have completely disappeared.

Languages and Literacy:

Languages

True Gerentish (commonly known as Gerentish) is the official language of Sacrifice. By the Dictates of the Premogerents, no other languages may be spoken. The Gerents write the Dictates of the Premogerents in Gerentish. Translating the holy writ might introduce errors, misunderstanding, or confusion; therefore, the Gerents permit no one to do so.

Before the Great Purge, the Elder Men (colloquially known as barbarians) reportedly spoke their own language, which was closely related to Gerentish. The barbarian tongue was supposedly so similar that if those fluent in Old Gerentish paid close attention to speakers of the Elder Men's language, they were rumored to pretty much “get the gist,” rather like the way speakers of Spanish can almost understand Portuguese. Luckily, since the Gerent tamed and chained the Elder Men, they can now speak a civilized language rather than confusing the faithful with their primitive words.

Speaking a Fey tongue may introduce unnatural concepts, evil ideas, or heretical thoughts; therefore, for the safety of Their people's souls, the Premogerents forbid the faithful to speak such heathen languages. Since the reign of Gerent Hethrull, every Gerent except Azariah has ordered the Devout courts to strongly enforce the laws of language.

During the time after the Reunification and until the end of the Great Purge, a few Fey words were absorbed by the Middle Gerentish language. Species of animals, names of Fey races, and terminology of Fey magics were the most typical of the words adopted, as they did clearly deal with Fey concepts. A few other commonly used Fey words, most often dealing with food or insults, also tarnished the Middle Gerentish language. However, some 200 years after the Great Purge, Gerent Linfred become concerned with the evil Fey concepts that had drifted into the Gerentish language. Therefore, He instituted the Purification Edict, which forbade – on pain of a grand triad with the painted cat for any Human and on the pain of death by flogging with the bloodied cat for any Fey – the use of any Fey words within Gerentish. The new, purified language became True Gerentish, the language all speak today.

Since True Gerentish is the only language currently spoken on Sacrifice, only older forms of Gerentish are available as Language Proficiencies at the start of the game. The most common are Old Gerentish and Ancient Gerentish. Records in Middle Gerentish can still be found, but are usually taboo for all but the Gerent's most trusted. To read works including such dangerous Fey words is a responsibility few can handle without contamination, and severe penance is usually required after each reading.

Heretical rumors spread by Fey rights fanatics claim that some of the Gerent's highest echelon of scholars and arcane casters have been taught some of the ancient, forbidden Fey languages as a route to deeper mystical powers. This, of course, is absurd. And the Devout Chastisers act swiftly and brutally to deal with any fools spreading such vile lies.

Literacy

Few people on Sacrifice have the ability to read and write. Writing is a dangerous skill. It allows people to use words that no Truthsayer can be certain are true. Only those who are loyal enough to write only the truth and wise enough to determine if the written word is true are taught this powerful skill.

Teaching Fey, slaves, or chattel to read or write is strictly forbidden. Sentences vary, but execution is the common result for Fey, slaves, and chattel found to posses either of these skills. An in depth investigation including the local Chastiser and Truthsayer is usually conducted in order to find the traitor who taught these untrustworthy sort such dangerous skills. Penance is severe for such teachers. Rarely, criminals who are sentenced to slavery may have already been literate before sentence was carried out. The courts determine the best way to handle such slaves. Most are warned to forget such skills under threat of losing hands, eyes, and tongue.

Lower class citizens are almost universally illiterate. They may know a few symbols necessary for menial jobs, but even that is rare. Middle class citizens rarely know more than a few written words. They usually are trained in icons, symbols, and emojis commonly found in day to day business. Most only have a small stable of high frequency words if necessary for their careers.

Many of the Devout are taught to read and write so that they can directly read the Dictates of the Premogerents. Some, but by no means all, of the nobles are literate. This is more common among the grand nobles than the lessor nobles. Most candidates for public office have a fair to middling written vocabulary. Almost no one outside these privileged groups can read the printed word. Upon acceptance to the Gerentia Magna, however, Guards are taught to read and write if they cannot already do so. Education is just one of the benefits of your loyalty to the Gerent.

Gerentia Magna Guard

An Overview

On Sacrifice, the Gerent is the ultimate authority. All law, all order, all custom is shaped by the Gerent, whose divine nature has raised Him above all others. The Gerent rules with a iron fist, but most agree the world has prospered since the first Gerent assumed The Mantle, Reunited the Shattered shards, chained the savage barbarian tribes, slaughtered the treacherous Fey, and brought civilization to the previously lethal wilds.

All on Sacrifice owe fealty to the Gerent, either through the fealty they own to their lesser lord, or in the case of the grand nobles, directly to His Reverence. Most willingly give their loyalty either by following His laws, paying His tithes, obeying their liege lords, or serving in His Army. Besides the Grand Council, however, few serve the Gerent directly. The Gerentia Magna, however, are among the anointed few.

The Gerentia Magna, the Gerent's elite guard, first and foremost, serve as the the tyrant's personal bodyguards. Six of the Gerentia Magna stand in attendance upon Him any time He leaves the Gerent's Keep at Mt. Gerentum, and no fewer than four are within a door's distance of Him even there. It is common knowledge that to a man, the Gerentia Magna would die in the Gerent's place did the situation arise, and in the hundred and fifty-two years when the prior Gerent – Callum – bore the Mantle, seven Guards did so. So far, in the six scant month since the latest Gerent – Azariah – Ascended, none have yet had the privilege of giving up their lives for His Reverence, all have sworn to do so if needed.

Those not in direct attendance upon the Gerent serve Him in a myriad of other ways. The Gerentia Magna, responsible to only the Gerent Himself, can be found doing activities as obvious as quelling a slaves' riot in the caliphate of Felu, as covert as assassinating a dynast who publicly denounced a policy of the Gerent, or as esoteric as collecting the prized silver needles of the shivering pine. The only trait which binds the Gerentia Magna together is unwavering loyalty to the Gerent.

Each member of the Gerentia Magna undergoes a special rite, Rite of Gerentia, which binds his life to that of the Gerent. In this rite, the potential new Guard is slain and then brought back to life by the Gerent's power. Any person who harbors any disloyalty, no matter how deeply hidden, even from himself, cannot be reborn. Thus the absolute loyalty to the Gerent is assured. As part of this rite, each new member of the Gerentia Magna is given a magical tattoo which not only marks his new status, but also serves as a link between the Guard and the Gerent.

Adventures

Gerentia Magna Guard adds respectability to any party. He has the right to draw on resources from any lord or freeman to aid in his divine task for the Gerent. He can command anyone on Sacrifice and expect to be obeyed – swiftly and well. A member of the Gerentia Magna can be found anywhere within on Sacrifice performing a service of some sort of the Gerent. And the nature of that service varies widely according to the strengths of the Guardsman and the needs of the Gerent.

Characteristics

The Gerentia Magna Guard must have unwavering loyalty to the Gerent. He must also excel in the skills he possesses before he comes to the attention of the Gerent. The Guard usually has mastered one specialty rather than dabbling in several. Excellence is the hallmark of the Gerentia Magna, and many a young boy dreams of being worth of being chosen for the Guard when he comes of age.

Alignment

Most of the Gerentia Magna are either Lawful Evil or Lawful Neutral as they willingly and fanatically serve the Lawful Evil Gerent. Playing a Guard of a Good or Chaotic alignment requires both strong role-playing reasons and permission of the gamemaster.

Religion

Gerentia Magna Guards all believe in the only acknowledged religion of Sacrifice, which worships the current Gerent as a larval god and his His Ancestors as divine.

Background

Every member of the Gerentia Magna has demonstrated unwavering loyalty to the current Gerent. He has served the Gerent in another capacity and proven not only his skill but also his worth, obedience, and devotion. Any Guard character must account for this loyalty in his history.

Race

Human. All Gerentia Magna Guards are Human. No Fey creatures have ever been admitted to their ranks, not even the closely related Elder Men.

Role

A Gerentia Magna Guard can often be the reason for an adventuring party to form. The Gerent has a task that He needs fulfilled, and who else would He send than His most loyal Guards? If the Guard is the only one of the Gerentia Magna sent on a mission, then he is most likely the unquestioned leader. If the entire party is made up of Gerentia Magna, the Gerent must have dire need for the mission to succeed.

Game Rule Information

Gerentia Magna Guards have the following game statistics:

Requirements

3 or more levels in any single class. Guard characters may NOT multiclass before joining the Gerentia Magna; they may, however, do so after they are already members of the Gerentia Magna Guard. Undergo the Rite of Gerentia, which binds the Guard's life to the Gerent's.

Gerentia Magna Guard Options

In the long peace since the final rebellions were broken, the Gerentia Magna Guard has seen a relative decline. With so few real enemies, the position of Gerentia Magna Guard has, in many ways, become ceremonial. Therefore, rather than being a specific class, there are several game mechanics by which a PC may honestly claim membership in the Gerentia Magna. The ways in which PCs can consider themselves Gerentia Magna Guards are as follows: Gerentia Magna Template, Gerentia Magna Background, Gerentia Magna Ladder, and Gerentia Magna Archetype.

Gerentia Magna Template

The most limited form of membership is by adopting the Gerentia Magna template. PCs who choose only the Gerentia Magna Template without the Gerentia Magna Background, Gerentia Magna Ladder, or Gerentia Magna Archetype will serve in the most minimal of fashions. They are what many denizens believe the Guard to now be – essentially ceremonial members, who have status and the cool armor, and little else. Hard-core Gerentia Magna Guard who have invested in all four Gerentia Magna routes to service likely consider these PCs “weekend warriors.”

Despite the largely ceremonial nature of the Gerentia Magna Template, it nevertheless grants the PC very real prestige.

Starting at first level, those adopting the Gerentia Magna Template gain the following:

Weapons: Ancient Melee Weapons, Painted Cat, Bloody Cat

Armor: Ancient Armor (of any type with which the PC is proficient)

Equipment:

a Signet Ring which bears the symbol of the Gerentia Magna (which grants the Gerent's Favor ability)

a set of ceremonial armor of the heaviest type in which the PC is proficient. All ceremonial armors have the same statistics are listed in the Player's Handbook, except they are at -1 AC). Casters not proficient with armor will instead receive a set of ceremonial robes (which weigh 6 lbs).

  • Light (Studded Leather)
  • Medium (Scale Mail)
  • Heavy (Plate Mail)
  • a ceremonial weapon according to the PCs weapon proficiencies:

  • Simple (Spear)

  • Martial (Longsword)
  • Casters (Quarterstaff)
  • Special: Gerentia Magna magical tattoo (which grants the Gerent's Ear ability)

Gerent's Ear

It is in the Gerent's best interest to be able to reach His most loyal servants. Therefore, upon being initiated into the Gerentia Magna, each Guard receives a magical tattoo which allows the Gerent to reach him when He desires to do so. In addition, once per day per a Gerentia Magna Guard's character level, the Guard may speak directly to the Gerent. The Gerent may or may not choose to respond to the Guard's report, but the Guard may be assured that He has heard what was reported.

Gerent's Favor

The Gerentia Magna Guard is assumed to speak with the Gerent's authority. After surviving the Rite of Gerentia, each Guard is given a signet ring which identifies him as one of the Gerentia Magna. Once per day, a Guard may show his signet to any person loyal to the Gerent, to ask a favor of that person, and expect to have that favor granted. The highest rank of the person from whom the Guard may expect such a favor to be granted increases as he gains rank in the Gerentia Magna Guard. Regardless of rank, the favor asked must be within the abilities and the authority of the person asked. An hotel manager could reasonably be asked to give the Guard the penthouse suite, for example, but he could not pardon a thief from losing his hand. The local sheriff, on the other hand, might be asked free said thief, but not to heal an injured man.

At first level, a Gerentia Magna Guard has little real authority. He may expect to command a serf, a servant, or another man's slave. Any chatte, of course, had better do anything one of His Reverence's Guard says without question unless it has specific orders otherwise.

The rank of those who must obey the Gerentia Magna Guard increases as follows:

  • 2nd Level – Freeman
  • 5th Level – Don
  • 6th Level – Comte
  • 9th Level – Jarl
  • 10th Level – March
  • 13th Level – Dynast
  • 14th Level – Potentate
  • 17th Level – Caliph
  • 20th Level – Any member of the Grand Council except for His Reverence Himself

Gerentia Magna Background

Adding slightly more legitimacy to your tenure in the Gerentia Magna Guard is to take the Gerentia Magna Legacy background. Having family ties to other Guards generally garners more respect than the basic membership that the template grants.

Gerentia Magna Legacy – Thanks to your family's prior service in the Gerentia Magna Guard, people are inclined to think the best of you. You are welcome in high society, and people assume you have the right to be wherever you are. The common folk make every effort to accommodate you and avoid your family's displeasure, and other people of high birth treat you as a member of the same social sphere. You can secure an audience with a local noble if necessary.

  • Skill Proficiencies: History, Intimidation
  • Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set or video games
  • Languages: True Gerentish and your choice of Old Gerentish or Ancient Gerentish, Gain literacy.
  • Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a signet ring bearing your family crest intertwined with the symbol of the Gerent, a scroll of pedigree, and a wallet containing 25 marks

Gerentia Magna Ladder

Taking the Gerentia Magna ladder grants a lot more real power than either the template or the background. Now you not only talk the talk, but you also walk the walk. Serving His Reverence is no longer a accident of birth or coming to the Gerent's notice through some fluke of fate. Being a Guard is in your very soul.

Since as long as you can remember, you have had absolute faith in The Gerent. You have always known it was your duty to serve and protect Him. You have also known yourself to be better than your so-called peers. While their purpose is weak, yours endures eternal. You knew from your first memories you were destined to wield power beyond your station – if only to be sure you could further His Reverence's aims. When other children wanted to play video games or text pointless messages to their friends, you went through mental exercises, thinking of ways to gain the Gerent Callum's attention. You didn't have to be the strongest or the fastest. You just knew that your steadfast will and force of personality would one day lead you to be precisely where you are – at His Reverence's side. Though the transition to serving Gerent Azariah has been rocky with many of your fellow Guards dropping dead due to their lack of loyalty, your devotion has never wavered. You stand ready to lend the entirety of your being to His purpose.

Key Abilities: Charisma, Wisdom

Acumen and Grace

Beginning when you choose this ladder at 1st level, you can use Wisdom in place of Strength for attack and damage rolls with melee weapons. You can also choose to use Charisma instead of Dexterity for the Sleight of Hand and Stealth skills. You may also choose to use Wisdom instead of Constitution for Death Saving Throws. You can also use Charisma or Wisdom as your spellcasting ability (if you cast spells). Select either Charisma or Wisdom as your primary Gerentia Magna ability.

Respect the Ring

At 4th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 1. You can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature except for your primary Gerentia Magna ability, which has a maximum value of 22.

Additionally, when openly acting in your capacity as Gerentia Magna Guard, you can show your Signet Ring and gain double your Proficiency Bonus on any Charisma based Skills. If the roll involves directly using your Gerent's Favor ability, you also roll with Advantage.

Faith in Adversity

At 8th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 1. You can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature except for your primary Gerentia Magna ability, which has a maximum value of 22.

Additionally, you can reroll any failed Constitution save and make either a Charisma or Wisdom save (whichever is your primary Gerentia Magna ability at the same DC instead. Once you have rerolled a failed Constitution save once, you may not do so again until you have finished a short or long rest.

Rest for the Wicked

At 12th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. You can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature except for your primary Gerentia Magna ability, which has a maximum value of 22.

Additionally, you can reduce one level of Exhaustion with a Wisdom Saving Throw DC (12 + level of Exhaustion). Once you have reduced a level of Exhaustion in this way, you cannot do so again until you have finished a long rest.

Shock or Awe

At 16th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. You can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature except for your primary Gerentia Magna ability, which has a maximum value of 22.

Additionally, you automatically pass Charisma (Persuasion) or Charisma (Intimidation) [choose one] checks with a DC of 20 or less unless you have disadvantage on the check.

On a Mission

At 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. You can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature except for your primary Gerentia Magna ability, which has a maximum value of 22.

Additionally, you are able to take a moment to focus your will wholly on your mission and persevere no matter how grueling it seems. Use an Action, and you gain the benefit of a short rest. This takes no time other than the Action on your turn. You may use this this ability a number of times per day equal to ½ your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). After than, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.

Ladder Gains

The Gerentia Magna gains the following additional benefits at 5th, 11th, and 17th level:

  • 5th Level: You gain a +2 bonus to any Charisma or Wisdom skill of your choice.
  • 11th Level: You are immune to being Incapacitated.
  • 17th Level: You are immune to being Stunned.

Gerentia Magna Archetype

For non-spellcasting characters, selecting the Gerentia Magna Archetype grants power clearly derived from His Reverence's divine connection to His Ancestors, the Premogerents. While not necessarily members of the Devout, Gerentia Magna Guards choosing the archetype clearly channel some measure of divine gift.

You are strong in faith. You know the Premogerents chose you to serve His Reverence in life and Them in death. You know that following Their wishes can be a hard road, but you endeavor to make it harder for rebels, Fey, heretics, and traitors (if any difference can be found between them). You stand ready to uplift the Premogerents' faithful and even more ready to crush His Reverence's enemies.

Synergy

This archetype works with any Ultramodern 5 class. Spellcasting classes from the Player's Handbook may not take any archetype as all of the core classes in the Player's Handbook already have the archetype built into the class.

Proficiencies

You have proficiency with the painted cat and the bloody cat. You also gain proficiency with Charisma (Intimidation) and Intelligence (Religion).

Gerent's Bane

Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, through his link to the Gerent, a Gerentia Magna Guard gains the ability to demoralize the Gerent's enemies, as if casting a Bane spell. You may choose either Charisma or Wisdom as your spellcasting ability. Once you have used Gerent's Bane, you cannot use it again before taking a long rest.

You gain an additional use at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 18th level before needing to take a long rest.

Gerent's Wrath

Starting at 7th level, through his link to the Gerent, a Gerentia Magna Guard gains the ability to fill the Gerent's allies with a fury which allows the allies to visit wrath against the Gerent's enemies. Each ally within 30' of the Guard and that he can see, gains a bonus on all damage rolls equal to the Guard's proficiency bonus for as long as the Guard concentrates up 1 round per character level. This bonus may apply to any spell that requires an attack roll, but not to one that requires a saving throw. Once you have used Gerent's Wrath, you may not use it again until you take a long rest.

An ally may only benefit from one Gerent's Wrath effect at a time; if any ally is affected by Gerent's Wrath from multiple Guards, use only the highest proficiency bonus.

Misfortune

Through the Rite of Gerentia, the Gerentia Magna Guard has linked his life directly to the Gerent. At times, the Gerent's divine power intervenes to stymie His enemies in ways which appear to be bad luck. Starting at 11th level, the Guard may draw power from his link to force an enemy to automatically fail a successful attack roll, skill roll, or save. Once you have used Gerent's Wrath, you may not use it again until you take a short or long rest.

Blood Sacrifice

In the Rite of Gerentia, the Gerentia Magna Guard sacrifices his life to the Gerent. Their bond is sealed by blood. By wounding himself, the Guard may draw on the Gerent's power in his blood to empower his weapon to visit vengeance against the Gerent's enemies. Starting at 15th level, the Guard may inflict 1d4 damage to himself in order to gain bonus damage of 1d8 against the Gerent's enemies. This effect lasts a number of rounds equal to the Guard's character level. While this effect is active, the Guard continues to take 1 hp/round. If the Guard's wound is healed, the effect on his weapon immediately stops.

Starting at 18th level, the Guard may inflict 1d6 damage to himself in order to gain bonus damage of 1d12 hp against the Gerent's enemies. While this stronger effect is active, the Guard continues to take 2 hp/round.

Gerent's Curse

Starting at 18th level, a Gerentia Magna Guard gains the ability to place a curse on the Gerent's enemies, as if casting a Bestow Curse spell. You may choose either Charisma or Wisdom as your spellcasting ability. You may use Gerent's Curse a number of times up to his chosen spellcasting ability before needing a long rest to use it again.

Command Structure in the Gerentia Magna Guard

In many ways, the command structure of the Gerentia Magna Guard parallels that of the Gerent's Army. However, since even the lowest member of the Gerentia Magna Guard has to have impress the Gerent in some way, the enlisted ranks have fewer categories reflecting the fact that there are no conscripted or commoner ranks in the Guard. In addition, no social rank is required for any Gerentia Magna Guard rank. All Gerentia Magna Guard ranks are earned from the ground up. Each rank listed technically has three grades. While the ranks are listed as grade 3, 2, and 1 respectively (with grade 3 being the highest), they are usually called “junior rank,” “rank,” and “senior rank.” So a sergeant, grade 1 is called a “junior sergeant.”

In addition, the Gerentia Magna Guard holds three positions which are not truly earned rank. They are the highest administrative positions the Guard has to offer. And while these three individuals technically have authority over even the Gerentia Magna Marshal, they do not precisely outrank him either. These three individuals, from highest authority to lowest, are the Gerentia Magna Director, the Gerentia Magna Demi-Director, and the Gerentia Magna Commissioner. These three positions are appointed by the Gerent Himself, and while these positions has traditionally been chosen from the ranks of the Gerentia Magna Guard, this has not always been the case. These appointees do, however, undergo the Rite of Gerentia before taking office. Most Gerentia Magna Guard consider these positions honorary, especially if the men who hold them were not Gerentia Magna Guards before being appointed. In private settings like the Gerentia Magna Guard barracks, rank and file guardsmen often call them “arm chair warriors” or “paper guardsmen.”

At present, these three offices are vacant as the previous appointees from Gerent Callum died at young Gerent Azariah's Ascension. His Reverence is still interviewing candidates to fill these posts and seeking guidance from the Grand Council. Two potential candidates has died attempting the Rites of Gerentia. Several high officers are currently lobbying to have these appointed positions abolished or to at least require the Gerent to choose appointees from the ranks of Gerentia Magna upper officers.

The highest official rank in the Gerentia Magna Guard is that of Gerentia Magna Marshal (GMM). The GMM must have risen through the ranks of the Gerentia Magna Guard. In all Gerentia Magna Guard operations, the GMM has the final word unless the Gerent overturns his decision. The current Gerentia Magna Marshal, Tyland Overshard, has only held the position for six months. He was promoted upon the death of his successor, Randheld Temhota, who did not survive the transition to serving Gerent Azariah. As many other high ranking Gerentia Magna Guard also failed to survive, Tyland Overshard never actually served as a marshal; rather, he was promoted directly to GMM from the rank of two cat general. At age 51, Overshard is the youngest Gerentia Magna Marshal to ever be promoted to the rank.

Below the Gerentia Magna Marshal, stand the officers ranks which include the high officers, the low officers, and the middle officers. The high officer ranks from highest to lowest are marshal, general, and brigadier. Instead of being given grades as are other ranks, high officers are granted “cats.” They are entitled to wear one cat insignia on their lapels for each level of their rank. Instead of being named as a “junior general,” the lowest ranked general is called a “one cat general.” The cats for brigadier's are bronze, for generals are silver, and for marshals are gold.

Below the high officers rank the middle officers. The middle officer ranks from highest to low guardsman est are colonel, commandant, and captain. Low officers stand below the middle officers. The low officer ranks are lieutenant, demi-lieutenant, and cadet.

The enlisted ranks sit below the officer ranks. Despite the fact that more officer ranks exist than guardsman ranks, the Gerentia Magna Guard far more rank and file Guards exist than officers. There are only two tiers of guardsman ranks in the Gerentia Magna Guard – the upper enlisted ranks and the lower enlisted ranks. The upper guardsman ranks are filled with veteran guardsman. These are men who have sweated and bleed in service to His Reverence and lived to rise in rank. From high to low, the upper guardsman ranks are sergeant, section leader, and squad leader.

The lower guardsmen ranks hold the largest number of men. From high to low, the lower guardsman ranks are master guardsman, guardsman, and guard recruit. All whom the Gerent deem worthy to join the ranks of the Gerentia Magna Guard and who survive the Rite of Gerentia are installed at the rank of guard recruit, grade 3 (junior guard recruit).

Former Gerentia Magna Guards

There are no former Gerentia Magna Guards. It is impossible for one of the Gerentia Magna to break faith with the Gerent. Such a traitor immediately dies once his link with the Gerent is broken, as was proven by the large number of Gerent Callum's Guards who died when Gerent Azariah Ascended.

A Gerentia Magna Guard who disobeys the Gerent but truly believes he is acting in the best interest of the Gerent loses the ability to use any Gerentia Magna Guard features other than proficiencies and skills until he reports to the Gerent in person to explain his actions and submit himself to His judgment.

Magic

An Overview

Magic is very rare on Sacrifice, especially when compared to most typical fantasy games. Most denizens on Sacrifice have never seen any actual magic though most have heard tales from a friend of a friend who knew someone who “actually saw” some “real” magic that happened “on one of the former Fey Shards.” And, of course, rumors are occasionally whispered in the dark that some Fey or Elder Men witches have sent some “ill wind” or “evil curse” to plague some small town or other that may have strayed too far from the safe tenets of the Gerent and thus lost His protection. In the wake of such a rumor, solemn re-dedication to the Devout usually sees results. If not, a sweep by the Gerent's Army usually turns up the hedge witch, and sentencing the Fey or Elder Men hag to the torch settles the matter permanently.

Divine Magic

Most of Sacrifice's limited magic is safely in the hand of the Devout, the clergy who oversee the worship of the Premogerents, the divine Ancestors of the living Gerent. The Premogerents are the root of the only acknowledged divine magic on Sacrifice. Those who hear the Call of the Premogerents are usually found at a very young age. Members of the Listeners, a special sect of the Devout who have the Gift of being able to sense those who hear the Call, travel to each town annually to seek out any children who have heard the Call. Children who are already walking are taken immediately into the service of the Devout. Infants under two are left with their parents until they are weaned and have reached their toddling year, though their locations are noted and the local Devout keep a close eye on these special children until they can safely join the Devout. Having a child chosen for the Devout is an honor, and any loyal family is filled with pride to learn their child has heard the Call. A few malcontents may try to hide their child's Calling to selfishly keep their child at home, but it is a rare case when when a blessed child may have to be taken into the Devout after their traitorous parents burn for such heresy. Most who have heard the Call are taken into the Devout before their fifth summer, though in some very rare instances, the Premogerents may not Call to a child until puberty.

Dark tales of divine magic from the foul gods of the ancient Elder Men shard crop up from time to time, but few denizens of Sacrifice place any real credence to them. Perhaps in ancient times, before the Reunification and before Gerent Jantzen began the Great Purge, those lesser gods may have held some power. But surely today, under Gerent Azariah's guidance and the Premogerents' protection, such foul blasphemies no longer remain. The rumors that remain are usually the drivel of slaves' tales. A sound flogging is usually enough to end such vile lies, and removing of such blasphemers' tongues works even better. Surely the Premogerents have slain the Elder Men's weaker gods by now, else their craven worshipers would not be tamed under lash and chain.

Arcane Magic

As rarely as the Premogerents grant divine power to the Devout, this small well of power is a raging river in comparison to the slightest trickle of arcane power. Most denizens of Sacrifice view those few practitioners of arcane magic with a wary eye at best. Most are leery of such “unnatural” magic and regard such spellcasters with a mixture of fear, loathing, and hatred. Most arcane magic is assumed to be routed in the malicious and malignant magic of the Fey creatures from the former Fey shards. The teachings of the Premogerents blame The Sundering of the world on wicked magics of the Fey races. As the Devout tell the legend, only the strong magic of the Gerent, gifted to Him from the Premogerents He will one day join, allowed Sacrifice to survive the Sundering. To protect Sacrifice from another Sundering after the Reunification, the benevolent Gerent Jantzen began the Great Purge which systematically executed all known Fey casters. In the years that have followed, the continued practice of slaying any newly discovered Fey practitioners of magic has resulted in a near extinction of Fey magic. The Devout rarely speak about arcane magic, preferring to dismiss its existence and power as superstitious mutterings of ignorant peasant tales. The rarity of such magics makes that this dismissive stance a near truism.

In such isolated cases where some basis of truth may actually exist, members of the Gerentia Magna will investigate and take appropriate action. If, as is usually the case, someone has completely fabricated such tales, the culprit will be turned over to the local Devout for appropriate punishment. If the magician turns out to be some illusionist or sleight-of-hand entertainer, the Guard will determine whether the stage magician has deliberately made claim to have some Fey magic or is it is merely the superstitious rabble who have blown matters out of proportion and take appropriate action. Often this may only be a reminder to such performers to be honest as to the nature of their “magics,” a public apology including an explanation of the methods of the alleged “magic”, and an injunction not to perform for a set period of time. Of course, should the performers' deception be deliberate, they will be surrendered to the Devout for more severe punishment.

On the other hand, should the rumors of arcane magic prove true, the Gerentia Magna Guards will immediately take the practitioner into custody. This true mage will be delivered, in chains, to Inquisitors within the Gerentia Magna itself. The magician will be interrogated, often forcefully, as to the nature and source of such magics. If the mage is Fey, death by slow torture is assured. The only reason such abominations are not slain outright, is that they may have knowledge of others. The torture, in conjunction with magical interrogation, ensures that fewer and fewer Fey mages exist on Sacrifice with each passing generation. Human magicians may, possibly, hope to fair better than their Fey counterparts. Their interrogation will still be rigorous, but should their loyalty to the Gerent be proven, they may be fortunate enough to enter the Gerent's service.

Such arcane spellcasters will be monitored quite closely by the Devout and the Gerentia Magna, as well as Gerent Azariah Himself. Even within the halls of Mt. Gerentum, arcane casters are viewed with suspicion and fear. They are forbidden to leave Mt. Gerentum unless they are given special dispensation from the Gerent Himself. In all such cases, they will be accompanied by a party of Gerentia Magna, one of whom must be a Devout caster.

Any family of a newly discovered mage will be rounded up and tested for talent. Those without the talent will be sent back to their home and carefully monitored by the Devout to be certain they exhibit no signs later – and to be certain the magician's loyalty to the Gerent is sincere and that no ties to the Fey can be found. Those with arcane abilities will be interrogated and treated as any other newly discovered mage. The Gerent discourages His magicians from having children unless the other parent is also an arcane caster in His service. Sexual relations are permitted, of course; it is only the weakening of the magical line that concerns the Gerent. His Reverence must have the very best arcane casters to fight any threats from Fey magic. The children of known arcane casters who are born to the mage while in service to the Gerent are watched very carefully from birth. Should they be found to have the talent, they will be trained once they are weaned and toddling about. Those without arcane talent will be sent to live with the non-magical parent or to the family of the higher ranking magician should both be casters.

Despite the constant vigilance and suspicion that is the hallmark of a magician's life at Mt. Gerentia, being a mage in the Gerent's service is not all bad. With loyal service, mages can hope to earn respect and prestige. The Gerent prizes talented magicians and rewards them well. Their world is a prison, but it is a comfortable one, laden with luxury and wealth. And for the very, very few to completely earn His trust, a mage can aspire to be a Wizard, the special title for a magician who is accepted into the Gerentia Magna. To date, all of the handful of Wizards have been at least third generation mages in the service of the Gerent.

Updated Proficiency's and Gear for Player's Handbook Spellcasters

Cleric

Proficiencies:

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, and shields Weapons: All simple weapons,one-handed small arms, painted cat, and bloodied cat Tools: Healer's Kit Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma Skills: Choose two from History, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion, and Sciences. Equipment:

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background: a simple melee weapon 300 marks or less a one-handed small arm 300 marks or less a set of armor with which you are proficient 300 marks or less forced defense shield 300 marks in additional non-military gear (no weapons, weapon-accessories, bullets, or armor) a holy symbol

Paladin

Proficiencies:

Armor: All armor and shields Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons, one-handed small arms, two-handed small arms, painted cat, and bloodied cat Tools: Light ground vehicles Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma Skills: Choose two from Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion Equipment:

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background: two martial weapons 300 marks or less each a simple melee weapon 300 marks or less a set of armor with which you are proficient 300 marks or less forced defense shield a holy symbol 100 marks in additional gear

Sorcerer

Proficiencies:

Armor:None Weapons: Daggers, collapsible batons, capsaicin spray, pocket pistols, and revolvers Tools: Video games Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, Religion, and Sciences Equipment:

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

(a) a pocket pistol or (b) any simple weapon (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus two daggers 100 marks in additional gear

Warlock

Proficiencies:

Armor: Light armor Weapons: Simple weapons, one-handed small arms Tools: Vehicle Proficiency (Bikes) Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma Skills: Choose two skills from Arcana, Deception, Engineering, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

a simple melee weapon $300 or less a one-handed small arm $300 or less two daggers (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus (a) leather / textile armor or (b) ballistics armor 100 marks in additional gear

Wizard

Proficiencies:

Armor: None Weapons: Daggers, collapsible batons, capsaicin spray, pocket pistols, and revolvers Tools: Dragonchess set Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Sciences Equipment:

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

(a) collapsible baton or (b) a dagger (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus a spellbook 100 marks in additional gear Premogerent Patron for Warlocks

As mention in the base FAQ, Warlocks only have two choices of Otherworldly Patron – a Hexblade crafted by the Gerent's own mages (this will replace the weapon created by the Raven Queen) or one of the Premogerents Themselves.

Premogerent Patron

Your patron is one of the Premogerents, the only deities acknowledged on Sacrifice. Normally the Premogerents act in concert as a collective consciousness. However, every so often, one of the Premogerents – usually one of the former Gerents rather than one of the original deities that created Sacrifice – becomes aware of a need or a problem in the world. To that end, that Premogerent seeks out a worthy Human to to act on His behalf.

Often the issue that draws the singular attention of one of the Premogerents has to deal with chaotic Fey magic, the abominations of Undead creatures which cheat the natural order of life and death, or other unnatural taints which threaten Sacrifice. In such cases, despite His natural loathing for arcane magics, the Premogerent finds it necessary to fight fire with fire. The Premogerent will choose to imbue a mortal with arcane power and help guide that Human to greater mysteries and powers to further the Premogerent's ends. Warlocks sworn to one of the Premogerents hear a Whisper, not wholly unlike the Call of the Devout, passively in their dreams or through visions or by actively seeking them out through meditation. These Whispers let the warlocks understand the Premogerent's desires which may warn them of tragedy or danger on the horizon or send them forth on a crusade to further the Premogerent's agenda.

Expanded Spell List

A Premogerent patron lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Premogerent's Expanded Spells

Spell Level Spells

1st heroism, sanctuary 2nd silence, spiritual weapon 3rd crusader's mantle, revivify 4th death ward, aura of life 5th commune, hallow Watchmen Pseudodragon

Starting at 1st level, you gain the service of pseudodragon sent by the Premogerent to watch over you. Unlike most pseudodragon's, this one appears to be a tiny version of a black dragon wyrmling, a miniature echo of their larger cousins which serve His Reverence. While this pseudodragon is naturally playful and able to act independently, it is predisposed to follow your commands, which you can give telepathically while it is within 100 feet of you. This pseudodragon will not put up with ill treatment, and it may abandon a manipulative or abusive warlock without warning.

While the pseudodragon is perched on your shoulder, you gain darkvision with a range of 30 feet, blindsight with a range of 10 feet, and Advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks. You can see through the pseudodragon’s eyes and hear what it hears while it is within 100 feet of you. In combat, you roll initiative for the pseudodragon and may use a Bonus Action to give it commands. If it is slain by a creature, you gain Advantage on all attack rolls against the killer for the next 24 hours. This divinely acquired pseudodragon doesn’t require sleep. While it is within 100 feet of you, it can awaken you from sleep as a Bonus Action. The pseudodragon vanishes when it dies or if you die.

At the end of a long rest, you can pray to your Premogerent patron to provide you with another pseudodragon. However, your patron will likely be annoyed at your carelessness at letting the pseudodragon die and may require penance, an act of devotion, or completion of a quest before providing you with another pseudodragon.

Soul of the Pseudodragon

At 6th level, you gain the ability to send your consciousness into your pseudodragon. As a Bonus Action when your pseudodragon is perched on your shoulder, your body disappears into the realms of the Premogerents while your soul enters your pseudodragon's form. While merged, you become Tiny, you replace your speed with the pseudodragon's, and you can use your Action only to Dash, Disengage, Dodge, Help, Hide, or Search. During this time, you gain the benefits of your pseudodragon being perched on your shoulder. As an Action, you and the pseudodragon return to normal.

Premogerent's Aegis

At 10th level, the your Premogerent patron grants you a protective blessing. You gain Advantage on death saving throws, immunity to the frightened condition, and resistance to necrotic damage.

Premogerent’s Voice

Starting at 14th level, you can channel the Premogerent patron's power to wreak vengeance on His enemies . You can cast divine word. After you cast the spell with this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Faith and Religion

An Overview

The only sanctioned religion on Sacrifice is the worship of the Premogerents and Their Voice, the Gerent. The clergy which formalizes this religion is known simply as the Devout. Their doctrine strictly lines out the responsibilities of the faithful, which mainly involve respecting the Gerent and obeying His laws which are divinely inspired from His Ancestors, Whom He will join upon His death. Most towns, even the smallest, have at least one building dedicated to the Devout. From that House of Devout, the Devout offer advice, preside over weddings and funerals, give solace, hear confession, mete out chastisement, and collect the Gerent's Tithes.

The Devout not only provide religious instruction and worship, they also officiate over most local courts and advise most nobles, from the lowest comte to the most worthy caliph. While most nobles hold their own courts, as does the Gerent's Army, and the Gerent Himself, the Devout often handle legal matters thought to be too trivial for the local noble. Minor arguments or disputes between commoners or peasants are arbitrated by the Devout, rather than wasting the noble's precious time. In addition, any party in a dispute can request to be tried under the judgment of the Devout, rather than local justice, unless the matter is of the Gerent's Army or the Gerent Himself. This mostly occurs in civil cases where one party or the other feels that the local noble is biased. This rarely happens in criminal cases as punishment meted out by the Devout is quite often more harsh than that of the local lord. The Devout are known to adhere quite strictly to the Gerent's divine law (which like the ancient Hammurabi's Code and modern Shi'ite Law are quite brutal) while the local noble might be more inclined towards leniency – at least in the courts of the lesser nobles.

Most of the Devout are average people. They are called to a life of service to the Premogerents. At the lowest levels, the Devout may be little more than lay clergy, some even working at other jobs save on Worship days. As the Devout rise in rank of authority and responsibility, they are rewarded with privileges, education, and freedom from mundane affairs. The Devout, like the Gerent's Army, is a place where a commoner can earn respect, if not true rank. The Devout rise through wisdom, dedication, and equanimity. The ability to justly and accurately judge the Gerent's laws, to regularly and unflinchingly gather the Gerent's Tithes, and to keep order and obedience alive within his House of Worship allow the Devout to rise in the ranks.

The Premogerents grant sacred Gifts to a small percentage of the Devout. Some not only have a calling, but also hear the Call. These few are, by the tenets of the Devout, the only casters of divine magic on Sacrifice. These divinely blessed casters usually advance quickly in the Devout. And it is these whom most denizens of Sacrifice think of when anyone says the word “magic.”

The Dogma of the Premogerents

The Premogerents are the sole acknowledged deities on Sacrifice. In the space before time, the Premogerents created the world and all life upon it. Their final and greatest creation was Humanity, whom they charged with serving them and protecting the natural order of the world. Time passed and chaos whipped in, changing the natural order of being. The creatures of the world forgot their purpose and their place. The collective consciousness of the Premogerents roared in Their Wrath and drew together to destroy what They had wrought.

A lone voice, tiny and distant sensed the Ire of the Premogerents and cried out, “But you don't understand what life is like today, here, on the world You created! And we can barely understand You. We don't know what You want! Please! Help us Serve You better!” And in Their collective wisdom, the Premogerents knew this to be true. They planted a seed, just a grain of divinity into Nikhil, the Human who had promised to Serve Them, making Him the first Gerent, and bearing Him up to join Them once He had Died. In this way, the Premogerents could know everything, including what it was like not to be omniscient. And They could convey Their wishes to Their Descendant, the Gerent who could make Their wishes known to the world.

The Premogerents have a strong love of the natural order of things. They prefer consistency and order, preferring change to made slowly, with deliberation and with care – if at all. Chaos and carelessness earn the Premogerents' Ire. Necromancy and all things undead are anathema to Them. The Premogerents are Lawful Neutral, and their clerics must be within one step of that alignment. The portfolio of the Premogerents includes law and order, judges, bounty hunters, militia, strategists, soldiers, chastisers, and executioners. Their domains are Grave, Protection, and War. Their symbol is a closed fist holding a red-tipped, silver cat-o-nine-tails on a blue-black field. Their favored weapon is the Painted Cat.

The social order on Sacrifice embodies the natural order. Everything and everyone has a purpose and a place. Disturbing that order threatens the Wrath of the Premogerents and must be brought back into place through harsh chastisement and penance. While sentences have grown somewhat more lax in the civil courts, particularly when they apply to the grand nobles and the aristocracy, Devout courts still regularly mete out heavy chastisement rather than community service or fines.

And all, from the highest grand noble, to the lowliest chatte, are expected to submit themselves to the Devout on Penance Day, the third ninthday of each month, to confess their transgressions to the Chastiser and to receive chastisement to purify themselves.

The ultimate aim of every Human on Sacrifice is to better their spirit in this lifetime, so that they may be born to a higher social position and then finally to be worthy to Serve the Premogerents Themselves.

According to the Tenets of the Premogerents, Fey creatures have no souls and thus no motivation to better themselves. This is why all Fey must be tamed with chain and cat – lest they sow the chaos from which they spawned. For surely were the Fey to win free, they would inevitably bring down the Ire of the Premogerents and the destruction of Sacrifice and everyone on it.

The Hierarchy of the Devout

Obviously, as the mortal Son of the divine Premogerents, the Gerent heads the Devout. He alone can understand the will of His Ancestors. He alone is their Voice. He alone hands down the Tenets of the Premogerents for the Devout to implement, spread, and enforce.

However, despite His connection to His divine Ancestors, His Reverence cannot handle all of the day-to-day matters of the Devout. He does, after all, have an entire world to run. To help Him with the more mundane matters of faith, the Gerent wisely delegates certain matters to the Devout.

Directly below the Gerent sits the Council of Patriarchs. This Council consists of nine patriarchs. One patriarch is chosen from grand nobles from each of the former six shards. One of the additional members come from the Adumbrate Lees, the seat of the Devout. Another comes from Mt. Gerentum, the home of the Gerent and the House of the Devout where His Reverence worships. The final, ninth seat is a wild-card seat and may come from anywhere on Sacrifice. Within each caliphate, they oversee the activities of the Devout and keep His Reverence informed about any religious matters within that area. These Councilors are addressed as either “Patriarch” or “Somber” followed by their given name. All of the Devout surrender their family name when they give themselves into the Premogerents' service, metaphorically becoming the extended family of the Gerent and through Him to the Premogerents Themselves.

Below the Patriarchs, stand the Archbishops, one for each potentate. These Archbishops guide the people who owe fealty to each potentate. Archbishops are addressed as either “Archbishop” or “Venerable” followed by their their given names.

Below the Archbishops, stand the Bishops, one for each dynast. These Bishops guide the people who owe fealty to each dynast. Bishops are addressed as either “Bishop” or “Illustrious” followed by their their given names.

At the local levels, the ranks of the Devout are less formalized. A House of Worship exists in every location that has a fair number of people. The head of any local temple is known simply as “Grandfather.” The Grandfather keeps an eye on his flock to be sure they stay safely within the Tenets of the Premogerents. Under the guidance of the Grandfather, a number of ordained Devout, known as “Fathers” assist in spiritual duties. The number of Fathers in any House of Worship varies widely depending on the size of the community they serve.

Often times small towns may not support a full time Grandfather or even a full time Father. Lay clergy known as “Brothers” will often serve in such small communities. Brothers are trained by the Devout, but are not fully ordained clergy. The Grandfathers in nearby communities visit all Brothers regularly to be sure the Brother clearly understands the Tenets of the Premogerents and to be sure correct moral guidance and tithes are being maintained.

All formally ordained members of the Devout wear the symbol of the Premogerents. The exact material and design of the symbol is appropriate to the rank and station of the individual Devout. When a member of the Devout first meets a superior, he offers obeisance by kissing his superior's holy symbol and bowing his head in respect. As even the highest Patriarch is but a mortal serving the Gerent, no greater obeisance is needed. Lay clergy, on the other hand, go to their knees before a fully ordained member of the Devout. The Devout will approach to allow the Brother to kiss his holy symbol, then gesture for the Brother to rise. The honor, of course, is truly to the Premogerents, not the Devout himself.

Two special classes of Devout do not fit the normal hierarchy of the Devout. The first are the Truthsayers. The Premogerents have gifted these individuals with the ability to hear the difference between truth and falsehood. Upon hearing a supplicant speak a statement, the Truthsayer knows with absolute and divine certainty whether the statement is the truth or a lie. Truthsayers usually live an itinerant life, going from town to town to arbitrate disputes or offer divine insight in cases tried on Devout courts where the interpretation of the truth can be of benefit to the people. In an unusual departure from the normally patriarchal structure of most institutions on Sacrifice, all Truthsayers are female. No one knows for certain why this is, however, no men have ever inherited this talent. The Truthsayers are one of the few ways in which a woman can independently earn status on Sacrifice. Truthsayers are addressed as “Veritable” and are highly respected.

The second of special class of Devout are the Chastisers. These stern men are tasked with administering penance to those who have broken the tenets of the Premogerents. Many believe that the Chastisers are chosen solely for the strength of their arm (most rival blacksmiths for upper body strength), but that is not entirely true. Chastisers hold a variation of the Truthsayer's vision. They can read the sense of guilt in a penitent. This allows them to know when a penitent has truly “suffered enough” to expunge the guilt in their soul. This allows the Chastiser to cleanse a sinner of guilt and set the penitent back on the righteous path laid out in the Tenets of the Devout. Most Gerent-fearing people believe that Chastisers have no mercy, but most Chastisers argue that they offer infinite mercy. By flaying guilt from the penitent’s skin, they argue, they purge it from the sinner's soul and set their charge back on the path of the righteous. Like the Truthsayers, many Chastisers are itinerant, traveling from town to town to offer their purification on Penance days. Others are assigned to larger towns or to a specific Devout court.

Chastisers are formally addressed as “Sober Chastiser,” but most penitents just call them, “Sur.” Chastisers never use a name when administering penance, and few wish to speak to them otherwise. There is no formal protocol or obeisance made to a Chastiser, save to follow his orders exactly. Rank plays no role in dealing with a Chastiser. He will peel the flesh as fervently from the back of a grand noble as he will from a dirty peasant. Most believe that the Master Chastiser at Mt. Gerentum the fiercest of the lot. And some whisper that he administers penance to the Gerent Himself, though most think that heresy of the vilest sort. Chastisers are feared more than respected.

Save for those who hear The Call, all of the Devout are male. Even so, most of those who hear the Call (nearly 80 percent) are male. Of the 20 or so percent who are female, most than half of those are Truthsayers. To date, there have never been any female Chastisers. No woman in the Devout has ever earned rank higher than Bishop, and there have only been two of those.

Children's Bedtime Prayer

As I shut my eyes to go to sleep, on Your path help my soul to keep. Help me follow Your Tenets as I should. Send me good dreams when I've been good. Yet if from Your faith I should stray, send me terrors between night and day. Send witches to curse me if I sin. Send bugganes to strip the flesh from my skin. If chastisement I should reap, Let my dreams make me wail and weep. All night long send me terror and pain, So I can find the right path again. I'm a good child who tries to do right. So Gerent, please guide me through the deep, dark night.

Politics and Society

An Overview

The planet of Sacrifice is a Representative Theocracy. The Gerent openly rules as the supreme leader of the word. Local rulers are elected from among the traditional nobles after having been nominated by ranking members of the Devout. All citizens must vote; the Devout harshly chastise citizens who fail in this civic responsibility without first seeking and receiving special permission.

The Gerent

The young Gerent Azariah rules Sacrifice with a velvet glove atop an iron fist. While most of His predecessors were tyrants, pure and simple, Gerent Azariah seems to be drawing a slightly softer line. Despite Gerent Azariah seemingly gentle nature, Sacrifice is His, and all on it must obey His edicts. "Gerent" is a title, not Azariah's given name. After Azariah Ascended to the Mantle of Gerent, His family name has been formally erased by the Devout in order to demonstrate that the Gerent is above all, not having any ties even to His own family. Though Gerent Azariah only Ascended six months ago, no one with any sense would dare to speak it.

The title of "Gerent" does not have a direct synonym in English. It is close to God-kin / Emperor. The closest English word might be "Pharaoh". The difference is that while an Egyptian Pharaoh was considered a living god, a Sacrificial Gerent is considered something of a larval god. Once the nearly-divine Gerent dies, then His soul will rise to the heavens to join His ancestors and become a god. This will then ensure that the Premogerents will keep current knowledge of what it is to be mortal.

Civilian Society

Below the Gerent stand the grand nobles, the highest mortals on Sacrifice. Noble titles are essentially hereditary; however, the Gerent can grant or strip those titles if He feels changes in the aristocracy are needed. Nearly all of the grand nobility are military leaders having either earned their titles in battle or holding said titles after their military forebears had thus won them. Many of the current nobles arose from the lineage of the Gerentia Magna Guards who assisted the Gerent Hethrull during the Reunification. Several titles rest in the category grand nobles. From highest to lowest they are "caliph," "potentate." and "dynast." It is from these nobles that the candidates for highest office are chosen by the Devout.

The highest level of civilian office is the Grand Council. One member is chosen from grand nobles from each of the former six shards. One of the additional members come from the Adumbrate Lees, the capital of Sacrifice. Another comes from Mt. Gerentum, the home of the Gerent and the base for His Gerentia Magna Guards. The final, ninth seat is a wild-card seat and may come from anywhere on Sacrifice. Most nobles chosen as candidates come from the caliphs; however, extraordinary nobles have been nominated from the ranks of the potentates or dynasts.

Collectively, the Grand Council both advises and take guidance from the Gerent. It is also from the ranks of the grand nobles that a new Gerent is raised upon the death of a Gerent. Most often, the old Gerent names a family member to Ascend upon His death. If not, the Gerent chooses an heir from among the Grand Council, usually one from the rank of caliph, though occasionally a strong potentate might be raised, and thrice a mere dynast has been elevated to near-godhood.

In addition, the Devout nominate the candidates to lead each shard from the ranks of the grand nobles. This includes the civilian governor of each shard, and the civilian director of each of the shards' nine provinces. Most civilian judges are nominated from the among the grand nobles as well. For the most part, positions of the more powerful leadership roles and the higher courts come from potentates and while those of lower offices and courts come from the dynasts, though this is not an absolute certainty.

Whether or not they are elected to office, all of the grand nobles own extensive lands and properties. Unless grand nobles' actions in some way conflict with the Gerent's interests or the rulings of the Devout, they have nearly absolute authority over their own holdings. Their power includes complete control over the serfs who work their fields, the servants who work in their homes, and any lower class citizens who accept a contract to work in their businesses. Most grand nobles also have a large compliment of indentured servants and a vast stable of slaves over whom the noble literally holds the power of life and death.

Below the grand nobles stand the aristocracy (sometimes called the lesser nobles). The aristocracy, according to tradition, have no chance of reaching godhood. They are worthy mortals, to be sure, but they may never rise to the rank of Gerent. From the highest to the lowest, these titles are as follows: "march," "jarl," and "comte." The Devout choose most regional and local candidates from among the aristocracy. Most often the civilian city mayors and local magistrates are nominated from the ranks of the marches while school board members, urban planning committees, and the like are nominated from the jarls and comtes.

Most of the aristocracy hold a fair bit of land and other properties. While their holding are no where near as extensive as those of the grand nobles, members of the aristocracy own enough to live in comfort and style. They are clearly upper class citizens who lead lavish lifestyles. Their power includes complete control over the several serfs who work their fields, a few servants who work in their homes, and a couple of lower class citizens who accept a contract to work in their businesses. Most aristocrats also have a moderate compliment of indentured servants and and a fair stable of slaves over whom the noble literally holds the power of life and death.

The next caste of the Gerent's subjects are the "dons" or the "worthy freemen". These are those subjects whom the Gerent feels deserve to be elevated from the common stock. Generally, this means that the don has performed a great service for the Gerent. In most cases, this title is granted for excellence in battle which greatly pleases the Mantle of state. However, there are other ways to please the Gerent and be risen. Unlike the ranks of the nobles, a don does not necessarily own extensive land. However they are usually granted a small bit of property. They usually run large businesses or manage small, but profitable bits of land. The dons are upper middle class citizens who live comfortably, but rarely ostentatiously. A financial mishap might cause them to lose their wealth if not their property. Most dons own a few slaves or control a few indentured servants. They may also hire freeman to work in their businesses. While dons have complete control over their slaves, the rulings of the nobles might supersede the dons' power over indentured servants who might owe time to the dons betters. Likewise, the dons' power over the freemen is limited to hiring or firing employees or reporting breaches of contract to the local magistrates or Devout courts.

Below the dons stand the freemen who own no lands nor titles but who are at least free work for themselves and in their own right. These are essentially lower class to middle class citizens. The freemen often join unions to standardize trade practices and to train new craftsmen. They are the backbone of construction, plumbing, electrical, and other hands-on trades. Freeman work in offices, in transportation, in small businesses. They are teachers, accountants, and white collar workers. In recent years, as urbanization has grown, the ranks of the middle classes are growing, even while the number of serfs and servants is diminishing.

Below the freemen are the serfs and servants – people whose labor belongs to one of the nobility. The work of their bodies goes to either the aristocracy or the grand nobles. In rural areas, serfs work on the lands of the nobles. They are permitted to keep small portions of their crops to feed themselves and their families. They are also permitted to build small buildings, such as huts in which to live, but they may own no lands of their own. In towns or in keeps, servants live in homes of the nobles, cooking, cleaning, or performing other tasks that the nobles need done and which are below the dignity of the freemen. They live in small rooms or cottages on the nobles' estates and, like the serfs, may not own land. Sometimes a freeman might lose his free status and become a servant or serf. Usually this is due to defaulting on a debt or falling into the bad graces of a noble. Usually a freemen who has fallen like this can regain his freedom by repaying his debt or regaining the favor of a noble. In such cases, the freemen become indentured servants until their debt has been paid. In the case of those whose indenture comes as a result of committing some crime, the indentured servant may also owe time to the state to cover court costs of prosecuting the case and overseeing the sentence. Freeman is the highest rank that any Fey may reach.

Below the serfs and servants are the slaves. These people may own nothing, not even their own bodies. They are owned body and soul by a noble or a freeman. Serfs and servants are not permitted to own slaves, though many might have slaves serving under them if their nobles feel that slaves might make a servant or serf more productive. Slaves have no rights and can be mistreated by nearly anyone. The children of slaves are also slaves, to be kept, killed, or sold at their masters' whim. It is possible, though very difficult, for a slave to win his freedom. Even in these very rare instances, slaves are generally raised no higher than serf or – in reward for great loyalty or service – freeman. In these modern times, most slaves are Fey, and most Fey are slaves. In rare instances, a Human who has committed some vile crime or earned the disfavor of His Reverence, a grand noble, or one of the Devout may be enslaved as a consequence. More often, though, the worst a Human has to fear is indentured servitude.

Below the slaves, at the bottom of the bottom, come the chattel. While slaves are property, owned by their masters, they are at least considered people, if not valued ones. Chattel don't even have that much dignity. Chattel are not considered people at all. A lucky chatte (the singular for chattel), might be seen as a trained animal, but most are seen as less even than that. Chattel can never improve their lot. They cannot earn their freedom or even be granted a dubious promotion to slave. The children of chattel are considered slaves or chattel, depending upon the whim of their owners and the rulings of the caliph in whose territory the chatte's get is born. Unless born into chattel status, the only way to become chattel is to earn the wrath of the Gerent. Only He has the authority to "kill" a person and "create" chattel. Technically, all chattel belong to the Gerent. He may choose to lend His chattel to anyone He wishes, but any chatte may be recalled at any time.

Military Society

In addition to the civilian classes of people, a second hierarchy exists in the Adumbrate Lees – that of the military. The Gerent's Army is a force in its own right. The Army owes its loyalty directly to the Gerent, not to any of the nobles. In the Army, rank is earned by service, so it is one of the few ways lower class people can improve their lot. Chattel and slaves are forbidden to join the Army, so they are denied even this slim hope of advancement. Normally, serfs and servants are denied the right to enlist in the Army. However, they may do so if their liege lord permits them to do so. This is rare, as most nobles want to hold on to their serfs and servants to improve their own lives.

Still, the son of a valued servant or serf may be given leave to join military service as a reward for his parents' good work. In addition, the Gerent or the higher lord to whom a lesser owes fealty might demand a levy of set number of men that a lesser noble might have to provide.

Sometimes, in those cases, the taxed noble may wish to send servants or serfs rather than more valuable men. In addition, sometimes a serf or a servant may flee his liege lord and join the Army. If he is discovered before he has earned a rank over newly enlisted footman, the serf or servant will be returned to his liege lord to face whatever punishment his lord decrees. However, if the serf or servant has earned rank, proving himself to be an asset to the Army, then the Gerent's Army will not release him, and the soldier becomes a freeman, who might rise higher in the ranks if his military career is impressive enough.

The highest rank within the Gerent's Army is that of Sacrifice marshal. The Sacrifice marshal ranks just below the Gerent Himself. In all matters military, the Sacrifice marshal has the final word unless the Gerent overturns his decision. The current Sacrifice marshal, Sacrifice marshal Khiden Hethkin, has held the position for twenty-eight years. In that time, Gerent Callum – the previous Gerent, now one with His Ancestors – only overturned the Sacrifice marshal's decision twice. And one of those times, Gerent Callum later confessed that He should have “paid more attention to Hethkin's words.” However, Gerent Azariah, who has only borne the Mantle for six months, has already overturned Hethkin's decisions four times. Rumors run rampant that Gerent Azariah is seeking a new candidate for the job.

Below the Sacrifice marshal, stand the high officers. The high officer ranks from highest to lowest are marshal, general, and brigadier. To enter these ranks directly, a soldier must have grand noble blood. Frequently, the younger sons of grand nobles enlist to make a name for themselves since their older brothers will inherit their families' titles.

Below the high officers rank the middle officers. The middle officer ranks from highest to lowest are colonel, major, and captain. To enter these ranks upon enlisting, a soldier must have aristocratic blood. As with the high officers, the younger sons of the lesser nobles often enlist as a way to earn status since their older brother will inherit their fathers' titles.

Low officers stand below the middle officers. The low officer ranks are lieutenant, demi-lieutenant, and cadet. A soldier must be a don or the son of a don or donna to enlist at these ranks.

The enlisted ranks sit below the officer ranks. Despite the fact that more officer ranks exist than enlisted ranks, the Gerent's Army holds far more rank and file soldiers exist than officers. The upper enlisted ranks are filled with veteran enlisted men. These are men who have sweated and bleed on the field and lived to rise in rank. No one can enlist at these ranks; they can only be earned through service. From high to low, the upper enlisted ranks are sergeant, corporal, and lancer.

The lower enlisted ranks hold the largest number of men. From high to low, the lower enlisted ranks are footman, plebe, and conscript. Freemen who voluntarily enlist begin service as footmen. Men who are drafted begin at conscript rank. Conscripts who serve honorably can be promoted to plebe and then up through the ranks.

Despite the fact that enlisting as an officer can only be done by nobles, those of lower blood can earn their way into officer ranks through excellent service.

Military protocol is, in many ways simpler than civilian etiquette. To those within the Gerent's Army, a lower ranking soldier will always salute a higher ranking one. This salute is returned by the higher ranking soldier. “Sur” or a superior's rank serves as title. To civilians, all officer's are “Sur” and all enlisted men are “Mister.” Gerent's Army soldiers are not expected to make obeisance to anyone other than His Reverence Gerent Azariah Himself – a fact which rankles some nobles.

All grand nobles field their own personal armies. Most aristocrats also field small armies of their own. The military hierarchy of these private armies usually parallels that of the Gerent's Army, but some variations exist. Soldiers in these personal troops are not exempted from the obeisance required by the tenets of the Premogerents.

Compared to the Gerent's Army, these personal armies are small and limited. If any noble's army seems likely to become a threat, His Reverence is likely to levy a tithe of soldiers. Likewise, the Gerent frequently recruits strong officers from these personal armies. Offering better pay, exceptional equipment, and greater opportunity for advancement, Gerent Azariah feels little threat from the noble armies.

Titles, Etiquette, and Customs

An Overview

As in most cultures with a strict hierarchy, titles, and methods of address carry a heavy weight. They not only serve to establish one's caste, value, and authority, but also to reinforce the importance of the social hierarchy itself. Failing to address someone appropriately may have severe consequences, depending on the degree of error, the rank of the one incorrectly titled, the difference between the rank of the blunderer and the misidentified, and who else overheard the slip.

Failing to address one's betters appropriately and respectfully can lead to severe chastisement, especially if the sleight to a high ranking personage comes from an offender of low rank and doubly so if those of high rank and station bear witness to the insult. A don who forgets to make his obedience to a noble can hope for nothing less than Penance day chastisement. A freeman who does the same can reasonably expect a public flogging if the noble feels merciful; if not, not said freeman might lose his tongue, his freedom, or both. And may the Gerent save a serf or servant so foolish as to forget his lowly place, for surely no one else will.

In most cases, overestimating another's rank proves a far safer mistake. A deep bow and a “milord” to an unknown stranger goes a long way towards keeping a servant's hide intact. Better a small loss of dignity than a heavy dose of the painted cat.

The Gerent

The Gerent holds a caste to Himself. He alone is a fledgling deity, the mortal Son of His divine Ancestors. No excuse exists for not giving Him His rightful honor. Every child old enough to talk knows the Gerent's visage. All have seen drawings of His raiment. All have seen Him on the nightly news. All know how His benevolent rule protects them from Fey and Elder Men alike. All adore the Premogerents' Son, and all know the precise manner of obeisance they must show to Him.

The correct title for the Gerent is “Reverence" or "Reverent.” When given leave to speak to the Gerent, any petitioner should call Him either “Reverent Gerent” or “Your Reverence.” When speaking of Him, “His Reverence,” “Reverent Gerent,” or “Reverent Gerent Azariah,” should be used.

The Gerent's raiment, the Mantle, is considered His badge of office. Some may speak of the Mantle of State when they discuss the office or the position of the Gerent. Some call His Reverence's burden of responsibility the “Weight of the Mantle.”

All who enter into the Presence of the Gerent (within 20 feet of His Reverence) are required to offer obeisance – even the grand nobles. All nobles are required to bow deeply to the Reverent Gerent. The specific depth of the bow is quite precise and dependent upon the rank of the petitioner. Dons and freemen are expected to kneel before the Premogerents' Voice; serfs and servants must kneel likewise and bow over their knees. Slaves and chattel are required to prostrate themselves fully before His Reverence.

Low ranking Devout and lay clergy are expected to make a full prostration when they enter The Gerent's Presence. Mid-level Devout need only bow over their knees as serfs and servants do. High ranking members of the Devout are merely required to kneel upon entering His Reverence's Presence. Despite the latitude granted to upper level Devout, as a sign of humility, many of the clergy choose to prostrate themselves fully when entering the Presence of the Premogerents' Son. Regardless of the obeisance required, once given permission to rise, all Devout approach His Reverence and bow their head to kiss the hem of His Mantle.

Members of the Gerent's Army salute smartly and then drop to one knee with their right hand on their weapon and their head bowed in respect. The right to bear arms in His Presence is an honor and a privilege. Lower ranking Army officers have been known to forget themselves and fall fully to the obeisance they would have offered in civilian life and others to openly weep at the honor. The Reverent Gerent generally forgives those small slips in protocol, knowing that the common man can find it difficult to handle the awe of standing in the Presence of the Premogerents' Voice.

In a similar fashion, the Gerentia Magna Guard also salute the Gerent before making their obeisance. They, however, bow deeply at the waist as nobles do. The precise depth of their bow depends on their rank within the Guard.

All of those offering obeisance in His Presence are required to hold that position until the Gerent gives them permission to rise, with one exception – The Gerentia Magna. As the Guard are to be on alert at all times, when off-duty, they have special leave to rise as soon as they have made their proper bow. After doing so, they remain at parade rest until the Gerent makes His will known. When on-duty, the Gerentia Magna do not bow at all, they simply salute and move to their post.

Upon leaving the Gerent's Presence, all are expected to bow deeply three times before turning on their heels to leave. Again, the exact depth of the bow depends on rank. Again, the Gerentia Magna remain the only exception. Off-duty Guards need bow only once before saluting and leaving. Those on-duty merely salute before returning to their duty.

The Grand Nobles

Among the ranks of the mortal, the highest of the high are the grand nobles. These worthy mortals are the pool from which a new Gerent can Ascend upon the raising of the Gerent to join His divine Ancestors. As such, all the grand nobles are afforded great respect.

All grand nobles are male. Their wives are addressed by reflected rank, but no woman in the Adumbrate Lees holds a noble title of her own. The daughter of a grand noble holds no title, not even the shadow of one. Out of courtesy to her father's rank, however, a grand noble's daughter is addressed as “Lady” followed by her first name.

The sons of grand nobles, on the other hand, hold titles in their own right and stand to inherit their father's titles as well. The eldest living son of a grand noble, as the heir-apparent, is always addressed as “Young” followed by the title his father currently holds. The second living son of a grand noble is addressed as “Lord” followed by their family name. Any further younger sons of a noble are addressed by “Lord” followed by their first name.

When grand nobles enter one another's presence (within 10 feet of one another), they exchange bows. The depth of the bows each gives depends upon their respective ranks, with the lower ranking grand nobles bowing more deeply than the higher ranking noble. Bows among equals are usually equal in depth, though that may change slightly between specific individuals. A younger noble might bow more deeply to an older one, for example. Female grand nobles exchange curtsies instead, though the same rules for the depth of a curtsy apply to women as well as men. A woman, however, will always curtsy more deeply to a man of equal rank than he would to her.

When a lesser noble enters the presence of a grand noble, the aristocrat will either bow or curtsy to the grand noble. The precise depth of the obeisance depends upon the exact difference in rank between the lesser noble and his superior. Sleight differences in depth also reflect whether or not the lesser noble owes fealty to the grand noble in question or to a different one. This bow will not be reciprocated by the grand noble, though a respectful nod of the head is common if not required.

Dons and freemen are expected to drop to one knee before a grand noble and to bow their heads to a degree dependent on the exact rank of the grand noble. Many commoners are not quite certain as to the correct depth, so most tend to bow more deeply than required. Likewise, many kneel on both knees, just to be on the safe side.

Serfs and servants are required to kneel on both knees before grand nobles and to bow their heads. Here again, the depth of the bow depends on the specific rank of the nobles. Sometimes this obeisance is limited by the specific orders given to the serf or servant.

Slaves and chattel are required to kneel and bow fully over their knees unless their owner has given them other instructions.

Often serfs, servants, slaves, and chattel are ordered to offer obeisance only the first time they enter a noble's presence. After that, slaves and serfs may scurry around the nobles without kneeling to perform menial tasks like taking cloaks or serving food without stopping every few feet to offer obeisance.

Caliph

The highest rank among the grand nobles is that of caliph. Only nine caliphs rule on the whole of Sacrifice. The correct title for a caliph is “Exalted.” When speaking to a caliph, any petitioner should address him as “Exalted” followed by his family name. When speaking of a caliph, one should say, “the Exalted” followed by his family name or “Exalted Caliph,” followed by his family name.

The wife of a caliph is a “calipha.” A calipha should be addressed as a a caliph, except for the gender changes – “his” to “her” or “caliph” to “calipha.” The calipha uses her husband's family name, rather than her own. The title of calipha honors her husband, not the woman herself.

Potentate

The rank below caliph is potentate. Potentates are addressed as “Eminent.” When speaking to a potentate, any petitioner should address him as “Eminent” followed by his family name. When speaking of a potentate, one should say, “the Eminent” followed by his family name or “Eminent Potentate,” followed by his family name.

The wife of a potentate is a “potentina.” A potentina should be addressed as a potentate, except for the gender changes – “his” to “her” or “potentate” to “potentina .” The potentina uses her husband's family name, rather than her own. The title of potentina honors her husband, not the woman herself.

Dynast

Below the potentates, stand the dynasts. Dynasts are addressed as “August.” When speaking to a dynast, any petitioner should address him as “August” followed by his family name. When speaking of a dynasts, one should say, “the August” followed by his family name or “August Dynast,” followed by his family name.

The wife of a dynast is a “dynastina.” A dynastina should be addressed as a dynast, except for the gender changes – “his” to “her” or “dynast” to “dynastina.” The dynastina uses her husband's family name, rather than her own. The title of dynastina honors her husband, not the woman herself

The Aristocracy

The aristocrats, or so called lesser nobles, stand below the grand nobles and owe fealty their betters. While still powerful, those of the aristocracy can never be raised to the rank of Gerent. Still, to the average denizen on Sacrifice, these lesser nobles are still persons of high station and must be treated as such.

As with the grand nobles, all of the aristocracy are male. Like the grand nobles, the wives of the lesser nobles are addressed by reflected rank, but none holds a noble title of her own. Unlike the daughters of the grand nobles, girls born of lesser nobles are not addressed as “Lady.” Instead they are called “Serra” followed by their first name.

Only the eldest son of lesser nobles hold titles in their own right and stand to inherit their father's titles. The eldest living son of an aristocrat, as the heir-apparent, is always addressed as “Young” followed by the title his father currently holds. The second living son of a grand noble is addressed as “Serr” followed by their family name. Any further younger sons of a noble are addressed by “Serr” followed by their first name.

When lesser nobles enter one another's presence (within 5 feet of one another), they exchange bows. The depth of the bows each gives depends upon their respective ranks, with the lower ranking grand nobles bowing more deeply than the higher ranking noble. Bows among equals are usually equal in depth, though that may change slightly between specific individuals. A younger noble might bow more deeply to an older one, for example. Female aristocrats exchange curtsies instead, though the same rules for the depth of a curtsy apply to women as well as men. A woman, however, will always curtsy more deeply to a man of equal rank than he would to her.

When a don or freeman enters the presence of a lesser noble, the commoner will either bow or curtsy to the lesser noble. The precise depth of the obeisance depends upon the exact rank of the lesser noble. Sleight differences in depth also reflect whether or not the commoner owes fealty to the aristocrat in question or to a different one – though commoners rarely have occasion to interact with a noble who is not his liege lord. Many commoners may not know the correct depth to bow, so they usually bow more deeply than needed to be sure they offer no offense. This bow will not be reciprocated by the aristocrat. Rarely a gracious aristocrat may incline his head in acknowledgment of the obeisance, though this is more likely to be offered to a don than a freeman.

Serfs and servants are expected to drop to one knee before an aristocrat and to bow their heads to a degree dependent on the exact rank of the lesser noble. Few serfs or servants know the correct depth to bow. Valuing intact hides, most bow more deeply than required. Likewise, many kneel on both knees, just to be on the safe side.

Serfs and servants are required to kneel on both knees before aristocrats. Sometimes this obeisance is limited by the specific orders given to the serf or servant.

Slaves and chattel are required to kneel and bow their head unless their owner has given them other instructions.

Often serfs, servants, slaves, and chattel are ordered to offer obeisance only the first time they enter a noble's presence. After that, slaves and serfs may scurry around the nobles without kneeling to perform menial tasks like taking cloaks or serving food without stopping every few feet to offer obeisance.

March

The highest rank of aristocracy is that of march. The correct title for a march is “Distinguished.” When speaking to a march, any petitioner should address him as “Distinguished” followed by his family name. When speaking of a march, one should say, “the Distinguished” followed by his family name or “Distinguished March,” followed by his family name.

The wife of a march is a “marchisse.” A marchisse should be addressed as a march, except for the gender changes – “his” to “her” or “march” to “marchisse.” The marchisse uses her husband's family name, rather than her own. The title of marchisse honors her husband, not the woman herself.

Jarl

The rank below march is jarl. The correct title for a jarl is “Worthy.” When speaking to a jarl, any petitioner should address him as “Worthy” followed by his family name. When speaking of a jarl, one should say, “the Worthy” followed by his family name or “Worthy Jarl,” followed by his family name.

The wife of a jarl is a “jarlessa.” A jarlessa should be addressed as a jarl except for the gender changes – “his” to “her” or “jarl” to “jarlessa.” The jarlessa uses her husband's family name, rather than her own. The title of jarlessa honors her husband, not the woman herself.

Comte

Below the jarls stand the comtes. The correct title for a comte is “Serr.” When speaking to a comte, any petitioner should address him as “Serr” followed by his family name. When speaking of a comte, one should say, “Serr” followed by his family name or “Serr Comte,” followed by his family name.

The wife of a comte is a “comtessa.” A comtessa should be addressed as a comte except for the gender changes – “his” to “her” or “comte” to “comtessa.” The comtessa uses her husband's family name, rather than her own. The title of comtessa honors her husband, not the woman herself.

Commoners

By far, the commoners make up the largest portion of the population of Sacrifice. These are the laborers, the farmers, tradesmen upon whose back rests the foundation for the shard. The dons, freemen, serfs, and servants make up the denizens of this caste. It is their lot to do the work and bidding of their betters. Little respect or ceremony surrounds these common folk.

Dons are the only exception. They are deemed by the Gerent to be “worthy” freemen. They are elevated just slightly from the common folk. No real benefits spring from this rank save for the right to be called “Don” or “Donna” by the lesser peasants. The title of “Don” or “Donna” is not hereditary. Likewise, the title does not project from husband to wife. The only way to earn it is by the direct grace of the Gerent.

The rank of Donna is unique on Sacrifice in that a woman who has managed to impress the Gerent may hold the title in her own right rather than taking on the title of her husband. The rare woman who does earn the title of Donna, however, does project it to her husband. Surely a married woman owes part of her achievement to the efforts and guidance of her husband. Furthermore, it would be unnatural for a woman to hold higher rank than her spouse. To ensure the value of the rank of Don, an unmarried Donna may not marry without the consent of the Gerent. This ensures that her spouse is worthy to hold the title of Don.

Normal freemen hold no title. Most address one another as mister, mistress, or miss.

None save property owe obeisance to dons or freemen. Servants or serfs may be ordered by their liege lords to offer a slight bow or curtsy to commoners, but that is an individual choice by the noble in question, not part of the Tenets of the Premogerents.

By the Tenets of the Premogerents, slaves and chattel must go to one knee before dons and bow deeply to freemen. In reality, this obeisance is rarely offered except in formal circumstances. Most of the time, slave owners would rather their property go about their chores than waste time kneeling and bowing. Of course, a slave or chatte that fails to offer obeisance at the wrong time may end up wearing stripes, despite his master's orders. But that's just daily life for property.

Property

Below the commoners are the slaves and chattel. They are the lowest of the low. They own nothing, not even their own bodies. They have no rights, let alone titles. Slaves and chattel may or may not be named, at their owners' whim. For property, being sold might result in being renamed as well.

Though not an official “title,” it is frequent practice for freemen to address male slaves as “buck” and female slaves as “sow,” especially when the slave's name is not known. “Boy” or “girl” is also a common address for slaves.

Likewise, chattel are often addressed as “it” when the beasts' name are unknown. Alternately, a particular chatte may be addressed by the names of tools which identifies its function (“hoe,” “ax,” or “plow”) or by the names of animals who do the same sort of work (“ox,” “mule,” or “yak”).

No one at all offers obeisance to property. Not even chattel are required to bend knee to slaves. Bowing, kneeling, grovelling, and kissing the floor are the lot of slaves and chattel. Wise property knows when to skip obeisance and get the job done, when to prostrate himself and how deeply to bow to whom. For on Sacrifice, that lesson is taught harshly with whip and painted cat.

Fey Races

An Overview

On Sacrifice, the term “Fey” incorporates members of any race of sentient beings that originally came to the Adumbrate Lees, the shard of the world from which the Gerent originated, from across The Divide without regard to whether the creature itself has crossed recently or its ancestors did generations ago. The word “Fey” includes all races that are not Human except for the Elder Men.

The teachings of the Premogerents clearly state that all Fey creatures are mischievous, immoral, dangerous, and most often evil. The Devout point to the fact that the Fey magics shattered the world as the ultimate warning to beware of these treacherous, wicked creatures. Other moral tales speak of otherwise good, hard-working, obedient denizens of Sacrifice being led into mischief, sin, treason, or even heresy after being taken in by a charismatic, seemingly harmless Fey. Goodly people, therefore, should do their best to avoid the Fey as much as possible or to see that the Devout are able to safely control the evil creatures if such contact is unavoidable.

In their benevolent wisdom, the Premogerents have ensured that while some sick Humans may try to mate with Fey creatures, Fey and Humans cannot breed without the intervention of foul Fey magics. And even when such vile magics allow for such an unnatural union to produce spawn, the abomination born of such a warped mating ritual are thankfully always born sterile.

Modern Humans believe they are somewhat less superstitious than those who lived only in the Adumbrate Lees during the time in which the world was Shattered. In the times after the Reunification, the Gerent's Army marched forth into all of the former Fey shards and conquered them. During the Great Purge, nearly all Fey capable of spellcasting were slaughtered. So most Fey today are considered tamed if not harmless. Nearly all Humans in the modern age know many Fey, most of which are, of course, slaves. Most Human denizens of Sacrifice feel safe enough around the majority of Fey – so long as they are safely chained, at least.

Life for any Fey living on Sacrifice is harsh at best. Most Fey are slaves, seen as safe only as long as Humans contain their wickedness by chain and lash. Since the majority of slaves these days are Fey, they are no longer limited only to the dirtiest or most menial slave jobs. Some now can aspire to be house slaves, tutors, or the like. But still, Fey lives are almost guaranteed to be spent in subjugation, with barely an infinitesimal chance of improving their lot. Even the serf or servant classes hold few Fey members. Fey of the freeman class nearly unheard of. Every once in a great while, a free Fey may be found in one of the more sophisticated capital cities of each former shard, but you can be certain they are watched quite closely by the city watch, the local lord's forces, the Gerent's Army garrison, and the Devout. Freeman or not, any Fey not in chains must expect to be challenged repeatedly throughout the land. Honest denizens are likely to run to the guards or the Devout to report such a dangerous “runaway.”

Gerent Azariah Himself has quite a few Fey on His staff at His Keep at Mt. Gerentum. Rumors say, some of them actually serve His Reverence as Freemen. Others dare to speculate that some might even be Fey casters. Many, especially in the small country towns, discount such rumors as heretical or at least “fake news”. The Devout assure any who ask that the Gerent does so to fight fire with fire, as it were. And they assure the faithful that the Gerent Himself monitors His Fey closely. His divine power allows Him to use such free Fey instruments safely, immune to their vile but alluring magics.

Known Races of Fey:

Behemoths:

The Behemoths are a collection of large Fey races which primary inhabit the ancient underground shard of Ceardai. Most Behemoths stand about 10 feet tall and weighs about 2,000 pounds. Their hides usually range in color from mottled green or gray to deep, charcoal black. Their faces often appear craggy or rocky. Some Behemoths have two heads, while others have a Human-seeming one. Strong and resilient, Behemoths serve their masters in a wide-variety of capacities of manual labor.

Despite their imposing size, most Behemoths are admirably servile. They were one of the first races brought to heel during the Great Purge. Even before the Reunification, the Behemoths lived in a fairly well-ordered society under the direction of a two-headed Behemoth known as Ceardaí the Craftsman. Gerent Hethrull's now famous Gerentia Magna Guard team, under the guidance of Jude Securis and Devout Dealenthor quickly made Ceardaí the Craftsman see the superiority of the Premogerents to the Behemoths weaker pretenders to godhood. The rest of the Behemoths soon fell in line.

In fact, the Behemoths, who still tend to remain in the subterranean lands ruled by the Caliph Dealenthor, number among the greatest population of freemen Fey as their obedience, industriousness, and diligence have earned them their freedom far more often their their usually chaotic Fey cousins.

Buggane:

The Buggane (the term is collective, signifying both singular and plural) may well be the most terrifying of all the Fey, at least of those known to the average denizen of Sacrifice. Though few have ever seen a Buggane in person, all know that at least a few do serve the Gerent. Buggane, as the Devout tell it, devour fear and pain the way Humans indulge in chocolate. They revel in terror, guilt, and anguish. To that end, Gerent Callum, under the Premogerents' divine guidance, employed the Buggane as inquisitors, torturers, chastisers, and executioners. Petty thieves and mischief-makers need not fear punishment at the hands of a Buggane, but infidels and heretics, traitors and apostates, the most vile and heinous rapists or murderers tremble should their confession, castigation, or execution be placed in the eager hands of a Buggane. Rumors say that the young Gerent Azariah is considering abandoning the practice of utilizing Buggane in this way, but as of yet, not official announcement to that effect has been made.

Thick-boned and heavily-muscled, the average Buggane stands 7 feet tall from platter-sized feet under trunk-like legs to wicked, barbed horns spiking over feline-shaped ears. Coarse, black fur covers the Buggane from head to tail, giving the foul Fey a bestial appearance. Its massive arms widen rather abruptly into four-fingered hands – three thick fingers and a powerful, double-jointed thumb – ending in poison-tipped, curved talons. On the face of a typical Buggane, yellow slitted eyes peer out from beneath the dark, thick fur. Wide, flat, flared nostrils seem to appear from nowhere as the slight protuberance of a Buggane snout hides beneath the rough, thick wool. Blood-red lips barely cover jagged, razor-sharp teeth. A forked tongue will dart out occasionally, testing the air, especially when the Buggane drinks in the essences of its victim's torment.

Buggane rarely wear clothing. Their thick fur leaves them comfortable even in the frozen wastes surrounding Mt. Gerentum or even the arctic deadlands at the remnants of the Stillbirth. The same fur also covers Buggane genitalia to a point which meets the standards of morality on Sacrifice. Most Buggane “on business” wear a wide leather belt to hold the tools of the trade – a heavy whip, a bloodied cat, heavy manacles, assorted knives and saws, and other instruments of butchery and torture. In addition, when performing their duties in public, Buggane will wear a blood-red sash of office bearing the symbol of the Premogerents. This later proclaims that the Buggane does the Premogerents' will as it performs its brutal task.

Cadaverine:

Cadaverine (again, the term is both singular and plural) aren't a Fey race per se, but few denizens on Sacrifice would make the distinction. Cadaverine did not originate on a non-Human Shard, nor did their ancestors come from across The Divide. Instead, Cadaver's are semi-sentient corpses that have been magically been granted a facsimile of life. Having about as much intelligence as a well-heeled dog, Cadaverine may be directed by specially trained Wizards or Devout to handle simple tasks, like charging into battle as front-line infantry.

Common wisdom says that Cadaverine, or at least those who raise them, are evil. The natural process of life is that at its end, souls return to their forebears and their bodies return to the lee. For the body to instead walk in a mockery of life is the result of the most vile of Fey magics. In the distant past, the dictates of the Premogerents say Fey traitors invaded the Adumbrate Lees and turned their vile walking dead against the honest denizens of the shard. Common folk and soldiers alike recoiled to find themselves fighting former loved ones and friends. Fortunately, the Gerent Thorndal learned the secret of the vile Fey magic and used His Ancestors' power to return the tormented Cadaverine to their proper peaceful rest.

Elder Men:

Elder Men (again, the term is both singular and plural) aren't a Fey race per se. While the Elder Men technically originated on a Shard other than the Adumbrate Lees, their ancestors came to the Adumbrate Lees before the Shattering of the world. In addition, unlike all Fey races, the Elder Men are able to breed with Humans without the use of Fey magics, and the two races can have offspring which are not sterile.

In the ancient history of the Adumbrate Lees, Humans were nearly wiped out by those they called “Barbarians” who ravaged the northern shard using the foul Fey necromancy to raise Cadaverine. (Scholars now know they were Elder Men, close cousins of Humans who came from another shard using some sort of magic portal to cross The Divide between shards.) These Elder Men stirred up uprisings of the Southern barbarians (who apparently were actually the offspring of Elder Men who had come to the Adumbrate Lees before the Sundering and bred with the native Humans from the shard). It is said Gerent Hethrull asked His divine Ancestors for guidance as to how to defeat these Southern barbarians once and for all. Their answer included raising barbarians corpses to fight against their savage kinsmen as Cadaverine. Though the idea repulsed Him, Hethrull had to think of the safety of His beloved people. He forced down the gorge which wanted to rise in His throat and did the necessary. Once the war was over, of course, the benevolent Gerent Hethrull freed their tortured souls and sent the Cadaverine to rest with their ancestors as they should.

From time to time, rumors of the walking dead reach the ears of the Devout. Most of the time, such gossip is only slave-talk. However, should the tales prove true, the Devout take such horrors seriously, hunting down such abominations with expedience and vigor. According to the dictates of the Premogerents, such Cadaverine are people who committed treason or heresy in life. Their blackened souls cannot rest, cannot find their way to their ancestors, leaving them to wander in horrific isolation as a nomadic spirit. For some, this banishment leads them to finally seek redemption. Their new understanding of the evil the perpetrated in defying the Premogerents and Their mortal son, the Gerent, leads them to rise up of their own accord to serve the Gerent in death to make up for their lack of obedient service in life.

Eldarine:

Technically, “Eldarine” is the word for the race, “Eldar” is the term for a single member of the race, and “Eldars” is the word for a group of Eldar. In reality, only scholars and nobles recognize the distinction. Most common people use “Eldarine” for all three instances.

Though the teachings of the Premogerents specify no one race of Fey as the perpetrators of the world's shattering, the proverbial teachings of the lay Devout often suggest the Eldarine bear that guilt. The oldest of the Fey races, the Eldarine wield powerful magics, reputedly the strongest of all infernal sorcery. Eldarine lifetimes surpass human ones nearly ten times over, leaving many to believe them immortal. Many wonder what wisdom, what knowledge, what threat might the Eldars hold if they should even break free of their chains.

In many ways, the Eldarine appear human, perhaps more so than any other race of Fey. Their pale, pastel eyes angle upwards and outwards just slightly, giving them the appearance of searching for something the rest of us cannot see. Their fine, high cheekbones and delicate pointed ears seem fine, even aristocratic. An Eldar's fair or tawny hair remains silky and fine, even with little tending. Often the Eldarine seem to have a strong presence, one which can be disconcerting in a heavily chained slave. Such an Eldar may be seen has hiding unworldly knowledge or holding unspoken secrets from the rest of humanity. Overall, Eldarine faces are deceptively attractive to the average person. That, the Devout claim, makes the Eldars the most dangerous Fey of all as their unnatural beauty and sinister charisma can easily lead the weak astray.

Physically, however, Eldars cannot match humans for strength or stamina. In general, the Eldarine are smaller than their human counterparts. A tall Eldar male usually rarely tops 5'5”; a lanky female Eldar might stand 3 inches shorter than that, at best. And Eldarine averages are 2 to 3 inches shorter yet. To human eyes, Eldars are sleight in build even for their modest height. At their best, the Eldarine have approximately 80-85% the body mass of a human of similar height. In slavery, of course, few Eldars reach their ideal weight, so to the common eye, Eldarine slaves seem quite slim indeed.

Rather frail, by human standards, the Eldarine are ill-suited to heavy labor. Their bodies are wasted in the mines, for example, where they remain unproductive under even the harshest overseer's lash. Likewise, they are nearly useless in the loading and unloading of trucks, rail cars, or planes, the task taking quite a bit longer than humans on the same chain, no matter the strength of their master's whip arm. On the other hand, Eldars tend to have a knack with plants and animals, so Eldarine slaves are often found laboring in agricultural fields, tending estate gardens, feeding and watering livestock, or herding grazing animals. Now that the Fey races are safely subjugated, many modern slave-masters ignore old-time superstitions and impressed by Eldars' Fey beauty and may often bring especially attractive Eldarine slaves into homes, estate buildings, offices, and stores to do household chores, kitchen drudgery, janitorial tasks, wait tables, or perform other menial tasks. Some even go so far as to let such slaves mind children, ignoring the risk that, even in chains, the Eldars may bewitch their innocent charges.

Eldarine suffer a strong allergy to iron; it's touch blisters the skin and leaves open sores. To that end, smiths typically make shackles intended to chain Eldarine slaves from steel. While such chains remain uncomfortable for Eldarine slaves, leaving a burning, itching rash, most believe that the iron within the steel blunts an Eldar's ability to use magic. Most masters feel a constant rash where steel meets flesh a small price to pay to leash potentially dangerous sorcery. Most masters take the additional precaution of buying an iron charm the Devout to be smithed into an Eldar's fetters, thus chaining foul arcane magics with the strength of the Premogerents Themselves. Some masters see the discomfort that steel causes to their Eldarine property makes the slaves less effective. Therefore, some have taken to using aluminum or titanium alloys rather than steel.

Some Fey rights activists have started, with limited success among progressive masters or local aristocracy, lobbying to require the use of nonferrous metals in Eldarine shackles.

Nahume

The Nahume race, while vaguely humanoid, could never blend in well enough to pass for Human. These petite Fey people share just enough features with Humans to make their appearance startling when contrasted with Humanity. Somehow, their nearly Human features give them a disturbingly alien appearance. For most, a Nahume's vivid coloration first draws the eye. Nahumes complexions and hair colors fall well outside Human norms. Nahume skin-tone usually falls into a pastel version of a rainbow color – pink, flax, apricot, mint, powder blue, periwinkle, lilac. The hair color, always the base color of the skin pigmentation, is usually vividly bright. In some ways, Nahume coloration seems as bright as bird plumage. In general, females have coloration that falls on the warm side of the color spectrum while males tend to cooler colors. Nahumes are small; adult members of both genders average between 3'6” and 4'0'. Despite their small stature, Nahume have a wiry strength and a strong constitution. Nahumes rarely fall ill, and their wounds generally heal cleanly and well with little scarring. This makes them fine candidates for tasks which would be hazardous to other slaves.

Once the bright coloration and small size have drawn the eye, though, Human observers notice several more disturbing Fey features. While Nahume mass sits close to Human averages, something about Nahume bone structure seems oddly angular. To Human eyes, Nahume joints appear either just slightly out of place or angled strangely. Nahume legs seem especially wrong, as their knees bend the “wrong way” like those of herons, storks or other marsh birds. Their hands, too, remind many of birds. While these appendages have the right number of fingers, they are thinner and more bony than those of Human people. They resemble, somewhat, the tough, featherless talons of raptors. Most frightening, however are a Nahume's two extended canines which remind the superstitious of vampire legends. Even in these modern, progressive times, the sight of these fang-like teeth strike fear into many a righteous person.

Nahumes as a species have a love of shiny objects. Whether mere iron pyrite or flawless diamonds, Nahumes find it hard to resist studying and handling items that gleam. The brighter and more garish, the better. Like magpies, the Nahume collect such treasures habitually, instinctually, sometimes without even seeming to realize that they have picked up a glittering piece. The Devout use this bit of selective kleptomania as proof of Nahumes' thieving Fey nature. On most Penance Day mornings, the air is rife with the high pitched wails of Nahume slaves suffering routine chastisement for their thieving fingers.

Miners, however, find the Nahumes' penchant for sparkling trinkets useful. Many a mining foreman has a Nahume slave to lead the first speculative ventures into a new cave. Between their small size, their hardy constitution, and their innate sense of shiny valuables, Nahumes make great tunnel-rats in gem, crystal, silver, and gold mines. Jewelers, too, may purchase Nahume slaves to work with precious jewels and metals. While such slaves must be watched constantly to insure their greedy hands don't steal their owners' valuable goods, their strange, bird-like talons are stronger than the average human's hands yet are surprisingly versatile, nimble, and sensitive. These combined traits make them fine jewelry-makers.

Seakin

Though they are plentiful in number, Seakin are rarely seen by the average denizens of Sacrifice. They are live only in the former all-water shard which since the Reunification now is the sole ocean on Sacrifice, the inland Hethrull Sea. Of all the subjugated Fey races, the Seakin remain the least tightly controlled. The combination of the high levels of magic or advanced technology required to explore the ocean depths makes monitoring the Seakin a real challenge. While Sacrifice law requires all Seakin to be tagged, reality differs greatly. No one, not even the Caliph Ozmondun Merivic, who holds title to the entire Hethrull Sea and the surrounding coast has possession of an accurate census of these strange aquatic Fey. The Seakin tend to retaliate against forcible efforts to tag and properly enslave them. Sea vessels and coastal resorts often fall prey to Seakin terrorism, and neither Exalted Merivic nor the Gerent's Army Naval Division seem to be able to do much about it.

To Human eyes, Seakin seem to be some strange mutant combination of Eldarine and fish. The Seakin usually sport the head and torso of a Fey and the lower body of a fish. Though rumors of other variations abound. All Seakin are covered in scales and breath through gills. These means that they cannot survive on the surface without being contained in sea water unless specific magics are employed or expensive assistive technology are used. Most feel it is simply easier to leave the Seakin alone in the depth of the sea.

Seakin rarely wear clothing. What little decoration they use for modesty usually comes from shells or odd sea grasses. Scholars know little of Seakin society. Most are presumed to herd fish or grow bioplankton or the like. Those that are properly tagged and in service of a Human master often serve such functions or act as guides for sea research or underwater mining ventures, particularly in the search for Divide metal which is sometimes found near sea vents.

Thrice Fey

From the teachings of the Devout, the Thrice Fey are not a race in and of themselves, but rather a sub-race of the Eldarine. In the records from the reign of Gerent Hethrull, other Eldarine called the Thrice Fey "Fairy, fairy, fey" or "more Fey than Fey." After the Purification Edict, the old Eldarine word was abolished in favor of the True Gerentish term, “Thrice Fey.”

In all cases, the Thrice Fey are mentioned as being exceedingly rare being. Even before the Sundering, it was said the Thrice Fey rarely cropped up more than once per generation, one being having been born only once or twice in a millennium. The Eldarine themselves, according to history, believe that the Old Blood runs stronger in the Thrice Fey than is common for other Eldarine. According to the Devout, no Thrice Fey has been born since Hethrull used one as a tool to perform the Rite of Reunification. Given that the Rite of Reunification killed the Reverent Gerent Hethrull, it is presumed that the Thrice Fey chatte was destroyed in the Rite as well.

According to the Devout accounts of the Reunification, being Sylsylesti carries with it a unique appearance which was remarkable even among the former noble Fey of the now destroyed Seelie Court, the former capital of Tír na nÓg (the former Eldarine shard, now ruled by the Freebourne family.) Like the ancestors of Old, the Thrice Fey are shorter in stature and slighter in build than other Sidhe (a broad category of Fey related closely to the Eldarine who also inhabited Tír na nÓg).

To the ancient Fey, all Thrice Fey appeared delicate and frail. In addition to the matter of stature, the Thrice Fey were more fair in skin than other Sidhe. Their complexions were reported to be a pale white – not the sickly white that Human albinos show, but a glowing, healthy white like alabaster or mother-of-pearl. Their eyes, too, were described as distinctive. They bore the same almond or cat's shape as other Fey; however, the color was supposed to be unique to their kind. The "whites" of Thrice Fey eyes were said to be a milky pink that was almost opalescent. They had no pupils, at least not as Humanity thought of them. Instead, the centers of their eyes sported a vivid star-burst of color which was reminiscent of a properly faceted fire opal.

So rare and distinctive were those with Thrice Fey blood, that in the very few cases where they were not born of noble, Seelie-court blood, they were accorded noble status upon achieving adulthood.

Being Thrice Fey was not all pleasant, however. In addition to the fact that Thrice Fey blood conferred a smaller frame, it also meant that those with the trait tired more quickly than the typical Fey. In addition, they were hurt more easily. Also, because the protective magics of the Human world were originally designed by the Devout to ward off those with Fey blood, the Thrice Fey were more susceptible to the influences of the Premogerents' divine power than their more modern kin. Since none has been born in more than three thousand years, one knows if this holds as true today as it was in the Gerent Hethrull's day.