Focus- The Black Fang worship the Death Queen, daughter of Balzot, Mistress of the Eternal Fire and Queen of Shadows.
Symbol- Two black fangs, a black chalice overflowing with blood, a single red flame.
Prime Stats- IN/PR
Skills- The priests of the Black Fang get the following skills (note: this is instead of the first level development stage):
MIA: Soft Leather 1
Religion: Balzot 4
Demon Lore 3
Public Speaking 3
Body Dev 2
Divination: Entrails 2
Ritual Magic 2
Power Perception 2
Skill Cost Changes- Torture1/2, Summoning 1/2 Presence Projection 1/3, Demon Lore 1/2
Customary Garb- The Black Fang dress in black clothing, with a dark leather cuirass. Emblazoned on the cuirass is the symbol of the cleric's order. The Black Fang also wear long hooded black robes, which hide their faces. In addition, each priest wears an amulet of the Fanged Lips.
Special Requirements- In order to become a Black Fang, the character must be of evil alignment. Their PR must be greater than 75.
Membership- The Priesthood is almost exclusive to humans (especially the Gaellians) and dark Elves. due to their superior attitude, lesser races, such as Orcs and Arim are usually refused entry. Occasionally Astom or Huani, or even Half-Orcs are permitted into the ranks, but this is rare indeed.
Culture- Two of the three sects of the Black Fang are located solely in Daenor; temples are situated in every village and town, and citizens are forced to go their each nightfall, for the rites. Religion is imposed upon the populace, and any who refuse to attend will be sacrificed at the next Sabbath.
The Black Fang have small temples hidden in other countries too. Usually hidden, unless in Deanor-occupied territories, these temples work in secret, and are often hidden cults. These are usually administered by the third Sect, The Shadow Claws.
Benefits- The Black Fang enjoy a high status amongst the Daenorim, and are virtually untouchable in society. However, it is not unknown for a disgruntled citizen to murder a priest.
Restrictions- Black Fangs must be of evil alignment, and usually a citizen of a Daenorim territory. Members must first have attended the College of The Eternal Flame, and one of its extended programs.
Structure- The Priesthood is led by the High Archon, Kizana, chosen from amongst the ranks by the Shadow-Mage himself. The lesser ranks are as follows (in ascending order):
The High Archon is chosen from the Keepers by the Shadow-mage. Apart from that, promotions in rank are usually determined by the High Archon, and the Council of Keepers. Due to petty jealousy and ambition, it is not unknown for weak and useless Fangs to be promoted before the more-deserving members- the Keepers of the Sacred Flame want to maintain their power, and so promote those who are no threat. This leads to a weaker structure below the Drachon ranks. As a priest can only be promoted when a position is available, assassination is common-place in the priesthood. The current High Archon reputedly assassinated the previous holder of the title. Priests who are distinguished, yet have no where to be promoted to, are usually 'blessed' by the priests. This usually involves putting them face-first into a magically-reduced version of the Eternal Flame; this leaves them with a full facial scar- a dubious honour, but one which all priests respect.
The Priesthood is currently divided into three sects:
The Keepers of the Sacred Flame- As mentioned earlier, this is an exclusive sect, consisting of the Archons of the priesthood. Entry is automatic upon reaching that rank. The Keepers are the high power of the Black Fang (though the High Archon has the overall power), and reside in the High Temple, near Carakum. They are responsible for maintaining the Sacred Flame of Balzot.
The Order of Blood- The Order of Blood are responsible for administration in the Daenorim territories; they usually run the temples and control the rites of the Shadow-Mage's people.
The Shadow Claws- The Shadow Claws are assigned to those territories occupied by enemies of the Daenorim. Acting under-cover, the Shadow Claws set up Cults in the other lands, hoping to convert the general populace. Unlike the Order of Blood, the Claws' main tasks involve acts of subterfuge, including kindling rebellions and murdering local officials.
Before someone can join the priesthood, they must first attend the College of Eternal Flame, in Carakum. Neophytes are usually chosen for their ruthlessness, but it is possible to apply to attend. Neophytes enter the college at the age of 12, and graduate at 16. Within this time, the students are taught demon lore, poison-craft, religious studies, and murder techniques. They are also brain-washed to be fanatical supporters of both the Black Fangs, and the the Shadow-Mage. Upon graduation, the Neophyte must choose his sect; either the Order of Blood or the Shadow Claws. Once this is chosen they spend a further two years at either the Academy of Holy Fire, or the School of Eternal Shadow respectively. Upon completion of these schools, they new Arbiter will be given his assignment.
The Eternal Flame- In the Temple of the Flame, the high Temple, the Eternal Flame burns. The Eternal Flame is believed to have been around since the beginning of creation, when Balzot burnt the Earth with his arrival. According to legend, Calizor, the first Dark Disciple, gathered the flame and kept it burning. It has since been kept alight through the ages by the Keepers. Whether this is true is uncertain, but it is believed that as long as the flame is kept alight Balzot will retain his presence in the world.
Although technically under the jurisdiction of the Keepers of the Eternal Flame, in truth it is maintained by the Three Maidens, virgin girls chosen at birth to constantly rekindle the fire.
The flame burns with a green fire, and is unnaturally hot. In order to kindle it, every day a sacrifice is thrown into the flame by the Three Maidens. The sacrifice is usually one of the Free Peoples, tortured by the maidens before being thrown into the fire. It is believed that a soul vanquished in this way is sent to the void, to writhe forever in eternal torment.
At the Sabbaths, parts of the Flame are carried to all the high temples, to facilitate the sacred rites. If the Drachon in charge of the flame allows the fire to go out, he is killed and fed to the Three Maidens, a dishonourable death.
Regarding the Three Maidens; they are chosen at birth and raised in the High Temple. They have no names, and become inherently evil due to the proximity of the flame. They are also unnaturally beautiful, a gift bestowed on them by the magic of the Flame- they neither sleep, nor venture outside the Sacred Chamber. It is considered a sin to touch one of the Maidens. Indeed, merely coming into contact with their naked flesh results in terrible pain and death as the victims cells are disrupted and disintegrated. The Maidens do not grow old, but if killed a new Maiden will be chosen.
Philosophy/Purpose- The Black Fang follow the teachings of Balzot, lord of Fire and Evil; they believe he is the real creator of the universe, and that evil is the natural way of the world. The Demons themselves were created to be slaves to Mankind, and to be treated as such. They also believe that the Death queen and her off-spring, as direct descendants of Balzot, are to be worshipped. Their job is to create enough evil in the world to enable Balzot to return to the land of Mortals, from the void.
The Black Fang conduct the rites of Balzot, and run the temples dedicated to his cause. Every day, at dusk, The Holy Rite is performed in the streets of the villages and towns. In this, sacrifices are chosen, usually from amongst traitors or criminals, and sacrificed on the black altar. Their blood is collected and stored in the Dark Chalices, and most is saved for the Sabbath of Blood. Small amounts are sent to Carakum and to the high temple, to feed the Shadow-Mage and the Three Maidens. The citizens are forced to watch these rites, and those who do not are usually the victims the day after.
The Black Fang also act as judges and law-enforcement. Anyone they believe is guilty of a crime is arrested and sacrificed. The Fangs' word is final, and very rarely are trials held; only when the accused is important to the Shadowmage is a 'fair' trial arranged, and usually then the Shadowmage has the final word on their fate- the Shadowmage is rarely lenient.
As well as this, the Black Fang act as spies for the Shadowmage and the Council of Keepers. They report possible signs of rebellion, and act accordingly.
On a more mundane level, the Priests also perform births, marriages and funerals. When a child is officially named by the priests, he is washed in blood, and dedicated to Balzot. If the child is recognized as special or magical he is sent to the Shadowmage, or enrolled as a Priest at the correct age. If the priest decides the child is 'inherently' pure and good (usually after he /she has had a bad day), they will order it to be destroyed, in the Eternal Flame, as a sacrifice. Marriages are performed providing the priest thinks the union is acceptable; they will not permit inter-racial marriages, nor will they allow non-Daenorim to marry one of their kind without first being bathed in blood and dedicated. If a priest takes a particular fancy to the bride or groom he/she will first demand to sleep with them to ensure 'they are worthy of marriage.' Funerals are simple, and usually only performed by the priests if they are someone of importance, or another priest. Otherwise, the deceased are just buried by the relatives. It is worth mentioning that the Black Fang demand a high price for all services, and the birth-dedications and marriages HAVE to be overseen by the priests. If the applicants cannot afford the cost, the child is usually given to them, or one of the couple acts as a slave for the priest in question, for a pre-arranged time period. For this reason, people seldom go to the priests for funerals.
The Shadow Claws enjoy even more privileges; the leaders of the foreign cults often enjoy absolute power in their regions, and make the most of it- constant lovers and money, and brain-washed slaves. The Claws' will be used to incite rebellions and treason in the enemy lands, and also to cause what ever trouble they can. Plagues, famines and war are often found to have a source in the Shadow Claws. In addition, many of them act as assassins for the Shadowmage, though important jobs are left to the Bane.
the Black Fang also consort with Demons, who they summon from the Pales to learn secrets. This is risky at best, and many a black Fang has found himself killed or cursed by an angry Demon for over-stepping the mark.
Holy Days- The main holy day of the Black Fangs is October 1st, the Sabbath of Blood. On this day, the priests gather at the major cities and conduct a rite to lure Balzot out of the Void. Thousands of people are sacrificed on this day, hundreds in each city. Enemies, especially Elves and 'good' men, captured in war, will often be held in dungeons especially for this day. Large portions of the Eternal Flame will be brought to the rites. The hundreds of prisoners will be lined up and lay down, and forced to drink the cumulated blood of the daily rites over the year, as well as being nearly drowned in it. Then the Priests, Orcs and anyone else can have their wicked way with the women, whilst the men are tortured....this part of the ritual usually lasts for hours, and is the most entertaining part for the Daenorim. After that, the Drachons and Archons cast a spell which changes the Eternal Flame into Liquid Fire; this is then washed over the victims, whose screams can stretch for miles. The victims are wholly consumed. This tainting of good to evil is supposed to rouse Balzot from his long slumber. It is said that if the killing is large enough, Balzot will eventually return. After this, chanting and preaching end the night, followed by mundane rites, such as births and marriages.
Every month, at the full moon, lesser rituals, known as Sabbaths, are conducted. These are much smaller scale; two or three sacrifices are usually conducted, and their blood gathered and stored. After that the victims are fed to the Eternal Flame. Again, this is a popular time for marriages and dedications.
Fire Law (Mage list)
2 Conjuror lists
All Evil Cleric lists (except Necromancy)
Absolution- The Target is engulfed in the fire and hate of Balzot. For every 5% failure, the victim will take an E-heat critical. If the victim survives, he will be filled with a hatred and bitterness of all things. Absolution Pure is similar, except the target is disintegrated by the green flames.
Phial of Holy Blood (from the sacrificed blood of priests: As Bless Spell when imbided)= 10
Burned by the Eternal Flame= 20
Unholy Dagger= 35
Owed favour by high ranking man/woman= 15
Spell Adder (+2)= 5
Magic Dagger (+5)= 5
Spell Adder (+3)= 10
Magic Dagger (+10)= 10 (Cleric only)
Blessed by Balzot (GM determines)= 25
Gift from Balzot (GM determines)= 20
Holy book (the Tome of Darkness)= 5
Magic Armour (+10)= 5
1D6 Random Poisons= 10