New Descriptors: Secular Monks

Published February 4, 2014 by in For Players


These new Descriptors can be seen as career-based rather than characteristic-based, however they function in the same manner as Core Book Descriptors in that they provide guidance for a character’s motivation, thought process, and modus operandi, in addition to providing appropriate bonuses, skills, abilities, and inabilities. Inspiration thanks to D.M. Cornish, Neal Stephenson, Gene Wolfe, and Monte Cook (of course).

These monastic orders were founded within the past 500 or so years. Their founders, now venerated as saints, were members of the Order of Truth participating in a movement to connect more directly with the present world’s inhabitants. The orders currently operate independently from, though often in concert with, the Aeon Priests. Just as it is with the founding Order, these monks follow a religion of science.

Each order focuses its efforts in a particular direction to give non-political aid to the general population of The Steadfast, with the specific goal of advancing civilization and scientific thinking on local levels. This can occasionally take martial means. Their purview does not typically extend to The Beyond.

The Cenobites are a cloistered order, living in a multitude of village-sized claves. They spend much of their time theorizing on math and physics questions and advancing scientific knowledge including the study of numenera, although their focus is often theoretical. They offer schools of learning and houses of healing at no charge to whomever visits their clave. Property is communally owned; donations they receive or proceeds they collect from sold goods are used for the upkeep of the clave, with any profits being donated to needy communities, travelers, or other claves. Often young, uninheriting siblings from noble or wealthy families will join the Cenobite ranks, accompanied by an appropriate donation. Property is owned by the clave itself; individuals do not own property. Claves may have both male and female members and some allow intermarrying. Children are usually sent to be raised at some other clave or adopted to relatives in the outside world. Cenobites will leave the clave in special circumstances and those that like life on the road may take new vows. Their patron is Saint Erasmus, and their religion is thought.

The Eremites are an order of wandering monks, serving the communities they travel thru and to as messengers, healers, protectors, and miniature mobile charities. These monks are usually equipped practically for life on the road, ready to aid and defend the needy. Any wealth or valuable items are donated to the next needful person or group encountered, and numenera are typically handed over to Aeon Priests for further study, unless the item’s use is apparent and the need immediate. Anyone pledged to live a life of poverty and altruistic travel may join this order; no donation is required. Eremite ranks are composed of common class citizens, disgraced nobility, disillusioned Cenobite monks, or others seeking to regain some measure of dignity. Vows may be witnessed by any Eremite on the road or at their traveling holy place. Initiates are usually marked with distinctive blue tattoos. By custom, Eremites do not marry or have children. Eremites are viewed as a little lower in status than their cloistered brethren. Their patron is Saint Ankress, and their religion is experience.

The Horologists are also known as the Clockworkers’ Guild. Their mission extends to the construction and repair of mechanical devices, especially clocks, and a common motto of the order is “a clock in every town.” The Horologists are not an austere order and do charge for their services. They view the clock as an ideal and one of the building blocks of civilization; its symbolic ticking the marching of the forces of science against those of the wild and chaotic. The Horologists keep fortified houses in 6 major cities, and their annual conferences, at which monks declare their deeds and collect rewards, rotate through these cities on a seven year cycle. The seventh year, called “Wind-Up” has no such formal meeting. Augur-Kala and The Clock are seen as a mecca, and once the highest rank in the guild is achieved, the clockworker may make a pilgrimage along the Clockmarked Path. The Horologists are seen as somewhat obsolete by many nanos and Aeon Priests due to their focus less on numenera and more on more basic mechanical technology; they have a professional rivalry with the electricians’ guild. Their patron is Saint Claagaan, and their religion is the clock.

The Vulgurines are an order devoted to electricity and are commonly referred to as the Electricians’ Guild. Their mission involves the maintenance and repair of electrical devices and the energizing of those devices for the betterment of the people. They provide these services for free, accepting only room and board for the duration of the job. Vulgurines also practice the defense of civilization thru the destruction of monsters, abhumans, and other enemies; these frequently more dangerous tasks are usually conducted on the basis of monied compensation. Members may report once a year to one of the three headquarters in Charmonde, Qi, or Luigolamis to prove their work and receive a stipend. The Electricians have been banned from Malevich. Vulgurines are passionate about finding and testing numenera. Their patron is Saint Vitus, and their religion is electricity.

View the Individual Monk Descriptors

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