While bravery and heroic acts have changed the course of history, still more heroes have fallen to the shadowy coils of dark cabals and knives that wait in the dark. Khaas has many organizations, cabals, societies, and groups that work through stealth, extortion, intrigue, or terror. There are hundreds, if not more than this number, of such groups in the world. Some work locally to further ambitions. Others range on a more worldly level, plying their schemes, and working to fulfill their objectives.
The More Famous or Infamous
- Black Lotus Society – Black Lotus Society – This worldwide criminal organization permeates all levels of society from the dregs of the gutters to the highest of noble houses. The Black Lotus Society (BLS) is a pervasive cancer in the fabric of history that is never fully eradicated. Murder, arson, slavery, drugs, stolen goods, bribery, treason, kidnapping, all of these and more are their stock and trade. There is nothing too heinous or rotten for these people. Once inducted into the BLS, a person can never leave, save in death; your life is theirs ever after. Each unit of this society is in a 13 man cell in which each individual knows only those of his cell. Those few plus one other of another cell comprise the whole they will know of BLS members. Thus, each cell has contact with 13 other cells, but no one person can ever betray more than his own cell and one other member. To join the BLS, you must slay a friend, a family member, or a loved one before your cellmates. The leaders in the inner circle are all shadowy figures: evil and twisted criminals all. They rule through fear and murder. Climbing over the dead body of your superior comprises advancement within the Black Lotus Society. This fact inspires no one member to completely trust another, yet in their numbers and their anonymity, they are strong. All this is known or guessed at by the rulers of the nations, who continually strive against the influence of this banned organization. The BLS is run through a series of unknowing puppets, orchestrated by the dread Greater Demon Cimmeries. Yet, unknowing even to Cimmeries, the mad god Aaos (the Lord of Limbo, the Keeper of Chaos) controls him! None of this is known publicly, and the sole goal of this terrible god is the entropic collapse of the entire Multiverse! Thus, the BLS is, in truth (though they know it not), an agent of entropy.
- The Brotherhood of Blood – These are the worshippers of the death and war goddess Lyrra. They constitute the only free willed group amongst her minions and worshipers. All the rest are undead zombie (or worse) types under her direct control. As each of the brotherhood dies, they too become such undead followers of their chosen deity. Anyone who has ‘no good or goodness about them’ may join the group. Yet, those who do soon also become irrevocably evil in their ways due to the nasty, horrific rites and rituals practiced by this faith. Said rites include murder, sentient sacrifice, and orgasmic gatherings of the most depraved and worst sort. This group has been banned and outlawed worldwide. No sane ruler wants to have an evil army within the borders of their nation! Indeed, an army is just what this group is. They live only to bring death and destruction upon the world. Their highest honor is to die in battle to the utterly evil Lyrra, and thence become one of her Immortal Legion (i.e. undead soldier like zombie). Joining this group requires a baptism in blood (usually Human or other sentient being) and a yearly tithe of 10% of their earnings. There are three circles of membership within this organization. The first or outer circle is comprised mainly of barbarians, warriors, and mercenary soldiers. These members are used for all of the grunt labor and as cannon fodder. Those who die will always become undead zombies. The inner circle is the middle management type and military officers who command the outer circle’s rank and file. These are the ones who have somehow managed to survive while serving what is, essentially, a death goddess. They are required to undergo a second Blood Rite to enter the inner ranks. This rite normally means the killing of some family member or close friend, then bathing themselves in their victim’s blood. During this rite, there is always a base 20% chance that the goddess will descend upon them and, literally, eat their soul for being unworthy of the honor! All of those who die automatically become semi free willed Wraiths, and continue to serve the goddess in their former capacity, just non-corporeally! Perhaps 10% of this group will be wielders or users of some sort of magik. The Heart Circle, or innermost command and control group, are few in number (never more than 100), and are the death goddess’s generals and leaders. Most are also users or wielders of one form of potent magik or another. In addition, all are already dead, their souls in thrall to their deity (though they are generally thought to be mostly free willed). Some of them have been in existence 5,000 years and more, and are thus some of the most puissant and powerful mages the world has ever seen. They should be avoided at all costs! Any inner circle member can induct a being into the outer circle whenever they desire. The ceremony takes about an hour, and is performed at dawn for males, and at dusk for females. Any outer member that reneges on their blood oaths to the brotherhood will be immediately slaughtered, if caught. However, if they successfully flee, then they are neither pursued nor persecuted as it is felt that Lyrra didn’t notice the insignificant worm, so it is unworthy of further action. However, should this person later gain the unfavorable attention of the brotherhood, then no effort is spared in attending to their destruction. Once thus targeted, the pursuit and attacks are relentless, ruthless, and never stop until they have been successful (i.e. the poor sucker is killed, and his/her soul given unto Lyrra). Of course, the goddess herself immediately and utterly destroys any inner or heart circle types that try to renege on their commitment to her. She seldom misses much for very long among her upper echelons, and is not known for her sense of humor or forgiveness – just for her devouring, endless hunger. There is a chance that followers of Lyrra may become beloved in her heart through some deed or series of deeds that she will claim them personally. Those thus claimed immediately find themselves in her actual presence (i.e. in her version of heaven) where they are inducted into her Immortal Champions, there to serve as her personal bodyguards forever and ever. These very few lucky folks tend to all be Vampiric, and, in general, powerful warriors all round. The Champions of Lyrra are, perhaps, the most fell warriors in the entire world and of all time.
- Cult of the Crimson Kiss – The organization was first noted about 70 years ago in the Amazonian nation of Vargalla as a minor demon worshipping cult dedicated to Deamonshyra (the demon they worship is now thought to be the old goddess called Sindra, the Dark Dancer). This cult has since spread worldwide and become much more than it originally was. Primarily a female group (99%), it professes to ‘rule the world after abolishing the male gender to history’! In short, they plot to do away with all males, and to rule what’s left. It is worth noting that the few male members of this cult are all castrati that want to be females! Their trademark is a ‘kiss’ of crimson colored female lips somewhere upon their victim’s body. Said victims are primarily male rulers, leaders, and others of important Guild, College, or public positions. Intimidation, blackmail, mayhem, and murder are their stock and trade. They recruit females of all ages, but prefer infants who can be raised and brainwashed from ‘day one’ in their mad, man hating environment. Needless to say, the members of this organization are utterly fanatical in their beliefs, so much so that they routinely commit suicide to avoid capture. They will use all weapons, but prefer to use razor edged, fine steel, crescent moons (very much like shuriken) that they call ‘Moon Talons’. They also use 13 inch stilettos with 3 edge triangular blades called ‘Night Nails’. They make exclusive use of an alkaloid poison called ‘Crimson Death’ (a very potent, plant based poison in which known antidotes only have a 25% chance of neutralizing). Cultists tend to wear bright red costumes, and have either very short hair or even shaved heads. They are always grouped in ‘threes’, and these groups are inseparable from birth to death. They are the primary ‘family unit’ of the cult. These ‘sisters’ are fiercely loyal to one another, putting only the cult ahead of the ‘family unit’. One of their favorite tactics is to either seduce (or capture and then rape) males ‘of the highest genetic content’! Once the female has been impregnated, the hapless male is slaughtered ‘like any other dumb animal’ and eaten, for these women consider males ‘so much walking meat’! The Black Lotus Society has been targeted by the cult. Bloody warfare now rages between the two darkling groups. None can say who may win this no holds barred fight.
- Explorers of Khaas – A respected and ‘above the board’ organization that regards the Great Wurm Road as ‘a tangible place of wonder and awe, a site of endless tunnels and labyrinths, clandestine streams, and strange, unexplainable phenomena’. The Explorers are a loose confederacy of subterranean explorers, first formed in Arduin, but now with members in many of the countries of the world. Viveru Ulerhuant, a Malgoreem born wizard, founded the organization, and still guides it (though he is semi retired). His desire to plumb the depths of the Great Wurm Road started after a 5 day chase through the sprawling mass of tunnels, sewer systems, and natural passages that exist under the city of Talismondé in Arduin. Deep in a side tunnel of the Undercities, he and his group of seven meandered to the edge of the unlit subterranean precipice that leads to the legendary Whisper Dark. The trip claimed the lives of three of his companions (in a very permanent way), but this only whetted the edge of his appetite. His desire to explore the underground has swept up many others. At the age of 42, Viveru Ulerhuant is well regarded as the most knowledgeable on the reaches of the Great Wurm Road. Semi retired and living in Leiberton, he is a sought out source of information. He also guides the organization he spawned from this location.
- Foxfire Confederacy – This organization formed out of a group of traders who have banded together to further power in the land of Viruelandia. Their grip expands into all the neighboring nations and, indeed, across the entire world. Their main means of power seems born in economic pursuits, and they are as likely to use money and influence to ‘buy’ officials and regions that they want. Very little else is known of this group, which is secretive and bound by oaths to prevent even the harshest torture from discerning their goals. Rumors abound, however, that their sights are firmly set on Arduin and controlling the economic power of its nexus.
- The Hands of Hell – This elusive society is a very secretive and deadly group. Perhaps a good analogue to them would be the Brotherhood of Blood. They serve different masters though, and are fanatically devoted to a variety of Greater Demons. Exactly which of the Greater Demons they worship varies regionally. The Hands of Hell are worldwide in scope, and splintered into cells based regions and the aims of their Greater Demon patrons. Once in history, the Greater Demons held a powerful sway across the breadth of what is Khaas and many other worlds and dimensions. They came through the nexus gates, and strode across the world as a terrible force, the hell of their dominion a horror equal to the ravages of the dread Kthoi. A terrible war was fought, one a campaign of darkness and destruction. The heart of this war was to defeat these creatures. The success of this war was their ruin, and the transdimensional gates, which once allowed easy passage to Khaas, have swung closed, barring them (hopefully forever) from the world.
- Midnight Moons Council – The council is an elite order of the best and brightest talented military minds drawn from many nations. They are an unofficial but powerful political block in several countries ranging from Arduin to Zirhaine on Khaora, including numerous island satrapies and nations on the coast of Archaela. Their aims are unknown. They wear ornate armor and helms in their hidden sessions, and always meet at night when Skirin, the blue moon, is ascendant.
- Red Shiva Society – Another religious cult, this one is devoted to the destructive, dark side of Shiva. While worldwide in scope, the primary focus for this cult is set on the continent of Khaora in the horrid vastness of the Green Hell. Their standard fare includes fear, hatred, maiming, torment, strife, and destruction. For hundreds of years, the cult has practiced an organized campaign of assassinations against chosen victims. Strangulation is the preferred method of choice, and cultists (which are called ‘Bloody Hands’) claim hundreds of victims each year. Their favored means of killing is to gain the confidence of wayfarers, and, when a favorable opportunity occurs, to strangle them by throwing a knotted silk noose around their necks. They then plunder and bury the corpse. These cultists are fanatical killers who spread death all over the world by murdering for the cult. They advance the aims of the cult into the heart of society, efficiently eliminating any who speak out against them. They deviously believe that murder is their most sacred mission, a holy and meritorious enterprise undertaken in the service of their god.