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A song from the sixties
(5/15/03 6:42 am)
Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
I would really like to add another factor/faction to this module. The Scarlet Brotherhood would be an interesting third party faction interested in the goings-on of the cultists and their attempt to realease Tharizdun.

Has anyone used the Scarlet Brotherhood in your plot developments or do you have any good ideas on what you might do?

Right now one of my characters is a Crimson Blade, which came from the Psionics Issue in Dragon Mag over a year ago.

That group is a secret society that tries to foil Scarlet Brotherhood plans. I just want something for him to discover and foil as a sideline plot.


The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(5/15/03 6:55 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
here's some intel on the brotherhood... if you think the read is too long and might not be worth it, check the last few words!!!!!




Like Sunndi to the north, the lands of the Scarlet Brotherhood enjoy a great deal of natural protection from would-be invaders. At the beginning of the Tilvanot Peninsula, where the land juts upwards from the southernmost arm of the Vast Swamp, the Spine Ridge reaches for the sky. These uplands continue many leagues to the south, where they form a great plateau. The ridge is said to be teeming with humanoids, and it is not known whether the agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood have made any attempt to tame this wild area. To the east, the lands of the Brotherhood are largely protected by the shark-infested Tilva Strait and the frequent storms along the coast of the Densac Gulf make sea travel an oftentimes treacherous proposition.


In the summer of 573 CY, few save the vigilant elves of Sunndi had insight to the peoples who populated the Tilvanot Peninsula, south of the Vast Swamp. On that year, seafaring merchants from the Lordship of the Isles first reported signs of civilization there. These newly discovered individuals, apparently a sophisticated order of militaristic monks, called themselves the “Scarlet Brotherhood,” and they did not appreciate the Lord’s ships alighting their coast. These reports brought a great deal of interest to the peninsula, and several agents were sent, on behalf of neighboring governments, to determine the nature of this newfound monastic order. None of these agents returned. When further information had been gathered, the curious rulers still had little information with which to content themselves.

It was known that the residents of this land possessed largely Suel ancestry and that their society was carefully monitored by silent men in red robes. These men seemed to act as both police force, religious advisors and government, though the exact forms of these, such as which religion these priests adhered to, remained a mystery. The Scarlet Brotherhood, as a nation, was fiercely distrustful of non-natives and conducted little, if any, trade with outside nations.

In time, it was learned that their society, at least around the coasts, was strictly agrarian, with single plantations farming several hundred acres of arable land. These people seemed to be a simple folk, sheepherders and raisers of livestock. Many advisors to the courts of Idee, Sunndi and others suggested leaving these simple folk as an enigma. After all, they offered, the bulwark of the Vast Swamp provided ample protection from invasion. Logic, however, eventually won the day.

Judging by the amount of crops grown in the fields below the Tilvanot Plateau, these plantations existed solely to provide for a much larger population than evident on the nation’s coast. In time, secretive explorers discovered the closed city of Kro Terlep but, yet again, their activities seldom escaped the notice of those of the Scarlet Sign. Eventually, it was determined that the men in red robes called themselves the Scarlet Brotherhood, an organization that traced its roots to before the Rain of Colorless Fire destroyed the Suel Imperium. Months later, in the closing days of 573 CY, delegates from the Scarlet Brotherhood presented themselves in the courts of Irongate. They, like any other foreign agents, were given quarters in the city and called upon when needed. Whatever information they gave to the wily Cobb Darg, however, remained within the stone walls of Irongate.

Information gathering in the lands of the Scarlet Brotherhood (as the nation itself began to be called, though a considerable amount of information suggests that they themselves refer to the nation as the “Land of Purity”) was a case study in frustration. For instance, spies were able to detect that the Brotherhood itself was led by an enigmatic man known as the “Father of Obedience,” but his exact identity remained shielded from prying eyes. Likewise, infiltrators learned that the culture of the Scarlet Brotherhood had been rigidly formed, with the religious militarists, or “Brothers,” being superior, followed by a smaller group of men and women trained in the art of murder, known as “Cousins” and, finally, a group of thieves known as “Uncles,”—but little of the actual ideology of these largely separate bodies was revealed. Perhaps most frustrating of all, spies in Kro Terlep discovered that the city was not, in fact, the capitol and governmental seat of the Scarlet Brotherhood at all. That distinction was saved for Hesuel Ilshar, the so-called “Breedhome of the Suloise,” a hidden monastery that, despite the diligent effort of many, many spies, remains shrouded in mystery to this day.

The Brotherhood preached a doctrine of Suel superiority, a message the populace took up with pride. It was suggested by many that the Brotherhood (which sanctioned only strictly arranged marriages and births) had initiated extensive breeding programs in Hesuel Ilshar, with the intent of purifying the racial strain of the Brotherhood lands. Rumors flowed of the Father of Obedience’s wishes of an Oerth-wide conquest in which all but the most pale of skin would be eradicated.

Again, this settled poorly with the rulers of the surrounding lands, and many suggested bringing arms against their southern neighbors. Latmac Ranold, in fact, advocated a plan of raid and pillage, suggesting several methods by which the strain of the Brotherhood might become “impure.” In all instances, however, cool-headed advisors restrained their leaders from action. “Without a navy,” they opined, “the Brotherhood is no threat to us.”

It took several years for the Scarlet Brotherhood to prove those advisors wrong. It is not known how the Brotherhood managed to get a party of men to the Pomarj, but their existence there was revealed in the last days of Flocktime, 580 CY. After a siege that had lasted nearly two months, the forces of Prince Olinstaad Corond of Ulek sacked Strandkeep Castle, in the Drachensgrabs. The key to any effective invasion of the Pomarj on the western front, Corond thought to encounter legions of euroz and jebli and was surprised to be met by human spellcasters, ogres and trolls.

When the invaders finally gained entry to the citadel, they learned much of its inhabitants. Somehow, agents of the Scarlet Sign had managed to gain control of Strandkeep Castle from the humanoids that had claimed it since the close of the Hateful Wars. The exact details of what these agents revealed to Prince Olinstaad’s generals remains a secret, as each of the prisoners was quickly put to the sword. The Prince had planned the Strandkeep siege to be but the first in an extended campaign to regain land long lost by Ulek. With the Duke of Elredd’s private army harrying Highport, it seemed the perfect time to continue the fledgling war. Mysteriously, however, Ulek’s army was unable, or unwilling, to take advantage of these fortuitous events, and the campaign was largely abandoned. Corond retained a small standing force at Strandkeep Castle and went home. Years later, events would hammer home the tragedy of this mistake.

During the Greyhawk Wars, the Scarlet Brotherhood established itself as a major victor. In a matter of months, entire nations fell to that order’s assassins. It was revealed that the advisors of many of the royal courts of the Flanaess had been Brotherhood agents, giving their leaders poisoned advice from the beginning. Some nations, such as Sunndi, the Sea Barons and most notably, Irongate, discovered this ruse in time to save their governments. Others did not.

Where guile and deception failed to win the day, the monks of the Scarlet Sign employed brute force. The Hold of the Sea Princes, already weakened by the murder of 27 of its nobles in a single night, saw hordes of “savages” from the Amedio Jungle unloaded into their lands by ships bearing sails of Scarlet. At one point, captured Sea Princes ships were made to attack the Keoish port of Gradsul, though Uleki assistance rebuffed the effort.

In the captured lands—Idee, Onnwall, the Lordship of the Isles and the Hold of the Sea Princes—Scarlet Brotherhood agents now hold nearly every position of power. Amedio and Hepmonaland natives roam these lands in packs, obediently following the beck and call of the Scarlet monks. Worse yet, foul half-breed creatures, likely created in the halls of Hesuel Ilshar itself, are now used to instill fear in the occupied lands. he exact numbers of Brothers and Sisters in the taken lands is not known at this time. What is known is that existence there is hellish, and many of those who cannot escape commit suicide by the day.


Unfortunately, little is known regarding the political structure of the Scarlet Brotherhood or the lands it has recently come to dominate. What is known is that the entire organization is in theory controlled by an individual, the Father of Obedience. This man is said to be a monastic religious militarist and a brilliant strategist. There are likely a number of intermediaries, but the next known step in the Brotherhood’s hierarchy is that of the Brothers and Sisters themselves.

Like the Father of Obedience, the Brothers and Sisters of the Scarlet Brotherhood are often, though not always, trained in a bizarre form of unarmed combat. Because of this, these individuals abstain the use of weapons under any circumstance. Often found wearing scarlet, deep-hooded robes, these individuals command a near-frightening amount of respect from their subordinates. To fail in the eyes of a Brother or Sister of the Scarlet sign is to invite death. Strangely, the monks seldom have to dirty their own hands. With a single order, the disfavored are often expected to end their own lives. It is a testament to the place the monks hold in their society that such an order is seldom challenged.

Below the Brothers and Sisters are the assassins of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Called “Uncles,” it was these individuals who brought the order its greatest successes during the Greyhawk Wars. Because of this, many Uncles (the term is used for both men and women) have been given important stations in the Hold of the Sea Princes, where their efforts were most successful. Many more of their number have returned to the field, and are now thought to be in place in nearly every uncontrolled nation in the Flanaess.

Finally, the “Cousins” make up the day to day members of the Brotherhood’s hierarchy. These men and women are often field agents; a spy for the Brotherhood planted in a foreign land is most often a Cousin. Because of this, the Cousins are often adept at those skills necessary to avoid detection. Seldom can be found the Cousin who cannot blend easily into darkness or climb the sheerest of surfaces. Still, however, such individuals do exist. Because the Scarlet Brotherhood is a multi-faceted organization, the Cousins are the most diverse of the three groups that define its upper echelons. Members of this faction occasionally dabble in the arcane arts or devote much of their time to physical perfection.

Below the Brothers, Sisters, Uncles and Cousins, life in the Scarlet Brotherhood isn’t particularly enjoyable. The Vitiates, or “flawed,” are the closest analog to a merchant class evident in the lands of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Their numbers are comprised of those for some reason unfit for membership in the upper levels of the Brotherhood and are not technically members of the organization. They are, however, fully subordinate to even the lowest of Cousins and are subject to the orders of any superior. The Vitiates are the landowners and merchants of the Brotherhood, and are accorded a very small amount of respect from the higher ranks. On a very rare occasion, Suel-blooded nobility of conquered lands have been awarded with this status, particularly if they aided in the invasion of their homeland.

Below the Vitiates are the Suculum; the “soiled.” This category of citizenry includes any of a not-strictly Suel heritage, and it’s numbers make up the menial workforce of the Brotherhood. Those showing clear evidence of Baklunish ancestry are not given Suculum status, but are often killed upon their discovery. Nearly every resident of foreign lands fall into this category. Their place in the coming Suel society is clearly delineated, and there is no hope for social advancement.

At the lowest mark of Brotherhood society are the slaves. These individuals are beyond contempt in the eyes of the government, and are often used as mere agricultural machines. In the occupied lands, where the supply of slaves is nearly limitless, agents of the Brotherhood often work these men and women until their deaths. Clearly, the health and well being of this caste is not an issue in the eyes of the greater hierarchy.


Curiously, though the monks of the Scarlet Sign have been rigidly straightforward about imposing their society upon the fallen lands, they have on no occasion exported their religion. The churches and temples that stood before the ships of scarlet arrived have in nearly every instance been torn to the ground, but nothing has been erected on their sites. Indeed, it seems as if these men and women follow no power but that of Suel supremacy. However, it is known that priests of some sort walk the closed streets of Hesuel Ilshar, and they can occasionally be seen at Kro Terlep or beyond. These priests almost invariably command a great deal of fear and respect, though they seldom speak in public. Perhaps because of their enigmatic and secretive nature, many have postulated upon the religion of the Scarlet Brotherhood, and many have spoken the same, dire name: Tharizdun.

A song from the sixties
(5/15/03 7:20 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
Perhaps because of their enigmatic and secretive nature, many have postulated upon the religion of the Scarlet Brotherhood, and many have spoken the same, dire name: Tharizdun.

So how would you tie this in? I'm thinking that the Scarlet Brotherhood would at least have an agent in Verbobonc. Maybe the party tries to sell a relic from the moathouse and the agent becomes interested and goes to check out the moathouse. Perhaps they even try to infiltrate the party as an NPC, to see what the party is up to.

Any ideas are welcome.


A song from the sixties
(5/15/03 10:59 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
It would not be unreasonable to have one or more notable Clerics of the Scarlet Brotherhood as a few named NPC clerics. This works especially well with NPCs who are more likely associated with instead of directly integral to, the Outter Fane. It would even be advisable to have a few Scarlet Brotherhood Task Masters working some of the Mines with slaves or show some forms of Suel transformations on some of the slaves to make them more workable with their tasks.

A song from the sixties
(5/15/03 4:47 pm)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
I would think that a lot depends on what you're going to do about the origins and aims of the Scarlet Brotherhood in your campaign world. The Guy from Belgium gives the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer text for them, which is good, but that only highlights the mystery of who they are.

If they ARE dedicated to reviving their ancient and cruel Suel empire, they could very well be Tharizdun worshippers - in the excellent timeline of Greyhawk history in the early Oerth Journals (don't have a link at hand - sorry), there's mention how one of the early leaders of the Suel, Tilarop, was drawn to the worship of Tharizdun and became the first known lich. Although he was overthrown, the Empire was established and it's entirely feasible that the emperors continued to worship Tharizdun in secrecy.

It would also explain why the Scarlet Brotherhood have a monkish tradition rather than a clerical one - Tharizdun IS imprisoned after all, and such deities normally can't grant spells to their followers except when they're in a place of power. I'd say the Inner Fane and Outer Fanes certainly qualify as such, as would the obelisk under the Moathouse. It might be stretching it to extend this to Crater Ridge Mines, but they're mostly clerics of the Elder Elemental Eye - in fact, maybe that was one of the whole points in establishing the EEE as a separate religion, so a portion of Tharizdun's power - even imprisoned as he is - could grant spells to worshipping clerics.

Under this scenario, I don't think the Scarlet Brotherhood would work very well with the DoomDreamers - they seem like relative newcomers, whereas the Scarlet Brotherhood has ancient and deep connections to Tharizdun. I'd also say that the Scarlet Brotherhood aren't interested in releasing him from imprisonment - they seem more intent on conquering the world and reviving the Empire.

However, maybe that's only because they don't know HOW to release Tharizdun - maybe this is a secret plan that the Father of Obedience have always been working towards, but lower levels in the organisation don't know about - after all, worship of Tharizdun would have been limited to very inner most circle of the Emperor. So maybe the DoomDreamers have been able to get the very top level of the Scarlet Brotherhood on side, but not the rank and file - maybe that's the source of the schism that happened in the ranks of the Scarlet Brotherhood in the Hold of the Sea Princes, where they started killing each other - maybe a lost temple of Tharizdun was discovered, and contact with the DoomDreamers established. Maybe the Black Brothers have rebelled against this intrusion of impure infidels, and are seeking a Suel ascendancy without the Tharizdun worshipping aspects of the old Emperors.

Or it could be the other way around - the Black Brothers have discovered the DoomDreamers and embraced their nihilistic worship completely, and turned against the corrupt and worldy thing that the Scarlet Brotherhood has become, and are now actively working with the DoomDreamers to find the Champion of Elemental Evil.

Either configuration could lead to Brotherhood agents in Hommlet supporting Dunrat - you could replace Toridan or Grune with a low level Brotherhood agent (Black or Scarlet). Maybe the Doppelganger posing as Jaroo works for the Scarlet Brotherhood - it would be an excellent spy, even if it's not Suel, and that sort of thing is right in line the Brotherhood's modus operandi. Maybe there's a plot to replace the other key figures in Hommlet with Brotherhood agents, although this would be tough given the levels and number of the individuals involved (Y'Dey, Elmo, Burne, Rufus, even Spugnoir are all pretty heavy hitters). Maybe instead there's a mysterious person in red robes living at the Inn, making himself as helpful as he can, working his way into Elmo's good graces and playing on his antipathy towards Y'Dey. Maybe change Nierethi from gnome to human, make him part of the Brotherhood, and tie in his search for Lareth with the wider Brotherhood / DoomDreamer relationship.

I'd love to know what you decide on. Personally, I wish I knew more about what the Scarlet Brotherhood were meant to be all about. Were they Gary Gygax's creation, or someone else's?

A cup of coffee
(5/15/03 6:49 pm)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
IMC, I am following Greyhawk canon which states that the Scarlet Brotherhood kidnapped Thrommel, except I am using the Black Brotherhood sect, who are the ones who worship Tharizdun. All the assassins, even Chatrilon, will be members. While I'm at it, I guess Tac the monk should also be a member. The rumour in Verbobonc is that Thrommel was recently confirmed dead after a 14 year disappearance. A funeral was held and his body was cremated by the royal family of Furyondy, who are the only ones who know that the ceremony was faked to bring closure to the legend.

One of the PC's comes from Sunndi, which has had a recent rash of vampire sightings. It turns out the PC's father, a military leader, was also kidnapped and now roams the Vast Swamp as a vampire looking for his son. The PC became a cleric and fled to the Gnarley forest. Now he is 4th level and in Hommlet looking for adventure.

After Ukemil and the lions are defeated, I plan to have Hedrack appeal to the Black Brotherhood to find out who the PC's are. When it is revealed that they are running from a vampire, they will make efforts to transport him over to Rastor to scare the PC's off with one last assassination attempt. The vampire will be shacking up with Thrommel, and will let it slip while he is trying to dominate his son. The fact that Prince Thrommel is not dead, but a vampire waiting for them in the OF should scare them even more!

A song from the sixties
(5/16/03 9:40 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
I didn't know that the canon suggested (or outright said) that Thrommel was captured by the Scarlet Brotherhood...

How did he end up in the first ToEE dungeons?

Anyway, my plan is not to link the Doomdreamers to anyone. They're essentially nuts. I was looking to have the Scarlet Brotherhood act as a third party interested in the Clerics of the EEE and their obsession with the Artifacts of Tharizdun. I would assume that the Scarlet Brothers would send a group in to secure these artifacts.

My assumption is that the Scarlet Brotherhood still has sleeper agents nearly everywhere on Oearth. They seek out tidbits of info about this and that to use to gain ultimate Suel power. Reminds me of the Nazis. Anyway, I see them as using agents to uncover some of the plot and to try to foil the Doomdreamers plans. If the party just happens to get in the way....

I will probably develop a party of SB agents that are lurking in the wake of the PC's destruction in the CRM ring. My guys entered the South Door and are working their way clockwise.

The brotherhood is cleaning up on everything they leave behind without having to directly confront the group. Well at least not yet.

On another side note, what is the deal with Iuz... I think I'll start a second thread for his interests....


The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(5/16/03 9:48 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
one thing i'd like to point out

RttToEE is a full campaign, there isn't much room (in my thoughts) to pull in any significant non-related issues

the scarlet brotherhood can reveal itself in an attempt to steal the artifacts

Iuz may have some interest in either helping or waylaying the doomdreamers (knowingly or not)

but those are side-plots at best, and i personally wouldn't pick up on any of these too heavily since they'll confuse the party and draw their focus away from the issues at hand

your call though...

A song from the sixties
(5/16/03 10:19 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
I see what you are saying...

RttToEE is a full campaign, there isn't much room (in my thoughts) to pull in any significant non-related issues...


I am using this adventure as a full campaign. That means that there is more going on in the world then just the adventure that takes PCs from 4 to 14.

I love this story, but I've already deviated from the module by just having 7 players! My guys are killing machines. They take no prisoners. The significance of the plotline is not lost to them, but they are complicated people with complicated characters. I've used the advanced encounters almost from the start. My guys are likely to be levels 14 to 17 by the time this adventure ends.

I think that you have to remember to use the module as a base and add twists and turns based on your style. What about the villains that got away from levels 1 through 4, certainly they want a piece of the PC's hides. Why are they left at a static level 3 when the PC's get to advance so fast.

Adding different elements to the campaign is what makes it fun. Yes, Monte has written a beautiful module here. But it isn't a boxed set with all of the handouts done for you. We as a community had to do that. We fleshed out the alternate encounters and the various plot suggestions. We as a group have fleshed this module out a great, great deal.

This is a dynamic universe/world with many factions participating in a relatively small space. When gods are involved everyone wants a piece of the pie. St. Cuthbert was one of the original backers against Iuz in the first module. Working from that history might produce some interesting elements around the revived temple. Another war could spring up. They just might have summoned two or all of the elemental princes. The forces of evil might open up portals to the elemental planes and a host of elementals might pour out on the countryside.

Anyway, you were right in one thing, this is a campaign, and campaigns are epic is scope and challenge. My players will overcome because they are the heroes in my world. It's just a question of how much they will overcome.


The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(5/16/03 10:43 am)
Re: Scarlet Brotherhood Plotlines Help
true and i know what you're saying

but the way i see it (personal view in other words) is that when you buy and play a module like this one, you have little chance to go off-track as i call it

therefor, this will be the last mega-module i'll ever run due to the constraints it offers...

after RttToEE, in about 5 or 6 sessions, i'll be hosting an open world where i'll link smaller modules and have the romm and time to let my players explore whatever and wherever they want on their own tempo...

but with the return... there is somethig of a time aspect, which will become clearer towards the end, where i am now... the champion has been found, the prince is going to be liberated... etc... there is an urgency here

but hey, i'm ranting, and even off-topic, so i'm sorry...

you can tie in whatever you like and make the world as dynamic as possible, but here on these boards, very few people have gone very deep into it...

if you decide to go forth with it, the best of luck, but you micht also opt for a more open world with a follow-up of smaller modules next time in stead of buying a lvl4-14 module...

just my 2$98c :evil

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