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 Post subject: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests in
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 3:30 am 
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Location: Temple of the Pantheon, First City
I've noticed in a number of modules (The latest being Blessed Are the Heretics HP 2-8) that things that should give Orthodoxy members fame (and DO give fame to Emerald Society or Azure Way) don't do so.

Specifically, In HP2-8 I and another Orthodoxy member turned over the scrolls and mosaic piece to the Orthodoxy (we also tried to give them the Jade Box, but they told us to give it to the Coryani Empire)... they were artifacts from a temple from the days of the First Imperium - that very sort of thing that the Orthodoxy is all about recovering in order to restore the original worship of the Pantheon... and yet the Orthodoxy was apathetic about them even though the secular Followers of the Azure Way give fame for the same things (which I thought was strange, to be honest - they were religious artifacts rather than anything else). Beyond that, we told them all about the heretical cult we wiped out, and even though another goal of the Orthodoxy is the elimination of heretical worship (something they need information on in order to know what to look for), the module likewise did not mention.

Also, in HP2-2 and HP2-3, the Orthodoxy did not grant anything for reporting information regarding the Avatar of Tzizhet / Devourer of Cities, its binding underneath a First Imperium structure by someone whom was called "the Holy Priest Almachos the Pious," the Myrantian's heretical enslavement of Voei with ancient starfish corrupted by Tzizhet, etc etc... nor did they care that the Avatar of Tzizhet was destroyed. I found this very odd... that is a lot of info / actions that seem to be up the Orthodoxy's alley given their stance on wanting to wipe out heretical worship (not to mention the knowledge that ruins exist that are associated with a First Imperium Priest whom trapped/bound the heretical creature).

While on the subject of HP2-2 and HP2-3, fame/infamy is rewarded for Milandir regarding the tomb of the val'Tensen. Why does the nation of Almeric - the val'Tesen nation which encompasses all of what was once the Milandisian val'Tensen lands - not grant fame/infamy for this? To be frank, I'm a bit confused why Milandir cares when they are no longer affiliated with the val'Tensen.

Edit: These are the obvious one's I've seen so far. I have not yet played Hp2-1, Hp2-5, Hp2-9, or Hardpoints 10 through 13... but I'd wager that there is probably more in those. Honestly, I imagine that given the similarity between the Orthodoxy and the Azure Way combined with the First City/Blessed Land's highlighting of the Azure Way & Emerald Society means that its easy to overlook/forget the Orthodoxy when writing/editing these things.

Edit 2: Just a random FYI - back as early as Temptations of the Flesh - HP1-2 of the d20 campaign, it was generally established that the Orthodoxy, the Azure Way, and the Emerald Society were usually competing for the same things (in that module, they all wanted a lost key to the throne of Man, funnily enough). More recent write-ups (particularly in the Codex of Heroes) imply that the Orthodoxy and Azure Way are more likely to work together these days than to compete... but even if that is the case and giving it to one means they will share it with the other, they most likely would still be giving fame for many of the same things I would think.

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Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 7:24 am 

Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 12:31 pm
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I played 2-8 with Jacqualine/Ser Heidi, and while not a member of her "club" I fully supported the decision to give the box to the Church. I also found it strange they didn't seem interested in recovering a lost relic of the church...

I mean, the temple of Anshar/val'Inares have a monopoly on gate travel, and here's something that supposedly lets anyone use them, and they don't want to obtain possession of it!?


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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 8:46 am 

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Location: Michigan
Speaking only to "blessed are the heretics" I can say there has always been problems with fame related to that module. You are hired by the emerald society (or at least we were) but there was no fame associated with it at the end of the module at the premier for emerald society members. Questions about that at the premier got the module revised at publication to add some fame, but at the time didn't actually specify how much. So fame was obviously very much a tertiary consideration with that module.

I believe the box was given to the ES at the end, but then in a later event it was seen in someone elses hands. It really seems that the ES has had some serious management issue recently.

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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 12:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:24 am
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Having run that mod, I think you are missing a key point.

In the box text it specifically says that the scrolls and books are waterlogged, thus indicating that they are NOT First Imperium relics, but rather more recent documents from those who have taken up residence there.

The mosaic piece is of a heretical group (albeit a more ancient one), and was not part of the orthodoxy of the First Imperium.

That being the case, I think that while the Orthodoxy would find some value in those artifacts (worthy of the GP value for selling the artifacts, which I gave the table I ran), they would not be valuable enough for fame.

Secret societies and mods have always been an interesting balance. Fame is a bigger deal in Arcanis than it is in other campaigns like Pathfinder. Just 2 fame points starts giving you minor benefits every single adventure. Compare this to a campaign like Pathfinder where the cost is higher, and requires a permanent expenditure of points rather than a refreshing pool.

I'd love to see more secret society missions in mods. But in the case of this mod, there just wasn't a lot to do with the actual plot that the Orthodoxy would be interested in. Any mission they had would have had to be a side-quest.

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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 3:03 pm 

Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 12:31 pm
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Jeff, I think you did a great job running the mod, and we all had a lot of fun. I don't think anything said by anyone should be construed as a negative against you in any way.

But, I gotta disagree with you here.

EvilWriter wrote:
But in the case of this mod, there just wasn't a lot to do with the actual plot that the Orthodoxy would be interested in.



The Orthodoxy wrote:
Goals: The reintegration of the 12 priesthoods of all nations back into a true Pantheistic Church and the elimination of all heretical worship.


So the primary mission to investigate an ancient Ansharan temple, retrieve an ancient Ansharan relic (that lets anyone control Her holy gates!!), destroying a heretical cult and capturing information (about the original temple or the more recent cult) doesn't seem like something the Orthodoxy would be interested in?

Yeah, I just don't see how that is possible.


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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 5:41 pm 
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As with pretty much everything in Arcanis, you are correct. . . and not. ;)

Yes, the Orthodoxy would be interested in this magical item, but not for themselves. The magical box in no way brings the Twelve back together in the way the Orthodoxy wants, but it does expand on what they know. Who it mostly helps is the MOTHER CHURCH OF CORYAN (and to a lesser extent the Milandric Orthodox Church).

In terms of the Ansharan temple, the fact that it isn't pantheonistic is a strike against it in the minds of the Orthodoxy, and they'd most likely leave that detail to the Emerald Society (or the Azure Way), both of which are reasonably friendly with the Orthodoxy as their goals are generally aligned (though there is competition between the three for individual items).

In terms of the 'heretical cult,' was it heretical? The word heresy is a value-laden term, and it is actually possible the Orthodoxy may be interested in it as a relic of the First Imperium. After all, these Ansharans obviously represent SOME form of offshoot of the First Imperium Church. In this case, the Orthodoxy may in fact be interested in studying them than 'eliminating the heresy.' The whole "eliminating a heretical cult" angle would appeal to the Kalindruhl, Mother Church, and Milandric Othodox Church (and probably other religious factions as well), but not necessarily the Orthodoxy.

Basically, yes, the Orthodoxy would be interested, but not directly involved. Had you brought back Ansharan texts, they'd be interested. Had you recruited new members of the Orthodoxy, they'd be interested. They'd also be interested in obtaining the box, but so would any other Secret Society where a val'Inares could join so there is nothing unique there. In fact, that would be more of a nationalistic issue to control as gates aren't exactly stealthy, so it is of little use for a secret society who already has major control over these portals due to their Ansharan members. Better to give it to the Coryani Empire/Mother Church, and they can use them all the same.

The political aims of a lot of these groups is never entirely cut and dried. There are always countervailing arguments to be made, and strategic choices based on politics.

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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 9:18 pm 
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Location: Temple of the Pantheon, First City
This in inconsistent; other modules - such as A Thousand Words - give fame for things regarding heretical worship or just religion in general. But ok... however for all the same reasons you say Orthodoxy wouldn't be interested, one could say that Azure Way would also be uninterested (after all, this ansharan temple and cult have nothing to do withreuniting the Imperium by the same logic) - but the module grants them fame for the scrolls. I would think that Either that fame shoild be removed or Orthodoxy fame added for consistency's sake. However, that is just my opinion.

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- Jacqualine Alicia C.

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Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:14 am 
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I agree that secret societies do not get always get fair or even consistent attention. The Orthodoxy in particular has seemed odd to me. Its stated goal is to reconcile wings of the worship of the Pantheon of Man. But in practice ALL the secret orders I have seen from them promote the more conservative wing of the Mother Church...which would be fine if that was spelled out to players who want to join the organization, but seems a little like bait and switch to me given what is written elsewhere.

But in a world of limited resources i am not sure how much energy I want diverted to the issue. As you probably know, writing a mod is a pile of work. And the secret society stuff is almost by definition an add on to the main plot. So authors may not be thinking about them as they write especially if they are approaching deadlines. For example, many of Henry's mods are written under the deadline of Origins and primarily serve to drive the plot line(s) he wants to advance. I have no idea if Henry ever scrambles to get mods done in time, but if he ever left out a SS mission because of deadlines, I forgive him.

While I would like to see more secret society stuff I worry about any trade offs. We get less than 12 mods a year on average. If the trade off was 1 less mod for more secret society stuff (or more consistent secret society stuff) I think that would be a bad trade.

And for consistency, add in multiple writers with their own spin on what a secret society *really* stands for ... yada yada yada

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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:51 am 
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Most society things have been based on the PC reporting at the end rather than orders - so generally one line in a table in the rewards section and easy to add... but that is based solely on the 5e mods I have played.

If you are right about the missions, it was likely in modules that are not 5e and I therefore have had no opportunity to play (not for lack of trying, but could never get it off the ground locally in spite of several years trying and failing to get a single table to make - and now that 5e is taking off, I don't really want to split my time/investment and have to do replays since for me knowing the story beforehand removes the enjoyment - not to mention that my KS investment wouldn't transfer and I sadly missed the ARG KS... not complaining, just explaining why I am unaware of this information)

The Orthodoxy was not as has been described in this thread (and was closer to what I and CoryaniRebel described and interpreted from the texts available) back in the d20 days, but a lot has been retconned from those days and much declared non-canon. It is starting to sound like the Azure Way has been expanded to encompass what in d20 fell under Orthodoxy, and Orthodoxy refocused to a more specific subset. Not a problem if that is the case, but it would mean that I unfortunately made irreversible choices based on no-longer-canon information. If it is currently as val Holryn describes, then it may not be a good fit for the character (and in fact may be contrary) in the current incarnation of the setting. I'm glad to have been informed.

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5e character:
Ser Heidi val'Tensen, AKA Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia


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 Post subject: Re: S. Societies overlooked in modules they'd have interests
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:14 am 
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In the Crusade arc my PC was Eisener Val Holryn, a Nierite hoping to bring Milandir back into the fold and reverse the "tragic mistake" of Sabinius aka "the fat Coryani." He was Orthodoxy but the only missions he ever received were to stir up trouble with arcane casters and libertine Sensates of Savona. I refused a couple of offered mission while playing him.

My personal suspicion IC and OOC is that the Orthodoxy has been captured by Elandre Val Asante and has become a tool in her pursuit of a more conservative Coryani society.

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AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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