The King is Dead
Freethinkers and cabalists
“Magnus ab integro seclorum nascitur ordo – a mighty order of ages is born anew. A new order shall emerge and mankind shall not bow to darkness.” – Vulkan (pseudonym of Franklin Arrowet), Declaration of the Rights of Man.
The Illuminated are a society of philosophers and occult scholars dedicated not only to the overthrow of the vampires, but also the reformation of society. They preach the values of freedom, equality, and brotherhood (but what exactly those values mean is a topic of debate in the society). Membership is theoretically open to anyone of any race or gender who accepts their ideals, but the majority of Illuminated are middle-class Mallean men. They have members amongst the planters of the Colonies and gentry of the Pale, the merchants and professionals of the towns and cities, and the adventurers of Hammerstadt.
The Illuminated are skeptics, challenging the accepted wisdom of nearly two millennia of tradition. The Illuminated are scholars, unearthing and researching the science and learning of the ancient Remulan Empire and other humanist societies. The Illuminated are occultists, dabbling in the Ars Mercurius in order to better understand the world.
They oppose the Panoptic Church and the divine right of vampires, but they also reject prejudice against race, sex, and social class. In a time of outrageous disparity between rulers and their subjects, the Illuminated believe in the equality of all humankind. Unfortunately, many elder statesmen of the society believe in gradually reforming society once the vampires are defeated. Their refusal to demand immediate equal rights for women or immediately end slavery estranges the Illuminated from their natural allies among the Sorority of Belquis and the Bloodstained Blade. There are female and non-Mallean members of the Illuminated, but they are rarer than they should be.
No member of the Illuminated would be so foolish as to deny the very practical, real effects of the supernatural in the world, but they do believe that Sathaniel and his vampire minions are merely the victors of a war – not the favored children of the Creator. They point to the centuries-long reign of the Remulans and the continuing power of the Ostermann Empire as proof of this philosophy. They argue that magic – the control of supernatural forces through the mind and will – provides humankind with the tools to take back the world from the vampires.
Charming adventurer, cunning statesman, hermetic magician, occult scholar, political philosopher, daring rabble-rouser
The Illuminated are inspired by the progressive ideals of the lluminati and the occult mystery of the Freemasons. Many influential thinkers of the Enlightenment and heroes of the century’s revolutions belonged to one or the other order. While modern conspiracy theorists paint them as the villains of a New World Order, it should be remembered that the new order they wanted to create was one of freedom and equality.
Casanova (2005 film and TV series): Giacomo Casanova
Jack of All Trades: Jack Stiles
Sleepy Hollow (2013 TV series): Ichabod Crane, George Washington
Twins of Evil: Anton Hoffer
Benefits of Membership
Membership in the Illuminated provides access to a loose network of lodges that stretches across Malleus, Lochland, and the Colonies (but with few locations in Clavus). Members communicate through coded letters; all members are taught the ciphers and may successfully code a message with a Common Knowledge roll. Many members also publish pseudonymous pamphlets and tracts that are read and debated throughout society. Illuminated receive the following bonuses skills and Edge:
+1d4 Knowledge (Occult)
Connections (Illuminated) Edge. Since most members are members of the prosperous middle class, a successful Connections roll may provide the player character with access to a ritual sanctum, an irreproachable false alibi, or other financial or legal aid befitting the help of a pillar of the community.
Occult Scholar (Novice)
This scholar of the classical world has studied the battles of Remula and the mysticism of ancient Tsion.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6.
Skills: Fighting d4, Investigation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d8, Knowledge (Occult) d8, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Riding d4, Spellcasting d8, Stealth d4.
Charisma: 1 to Spellcasting rolls for summon ally only), half-finished treatise, rapier (Str+1d4, +1 Parry).
Power Points: 10.
Powers: bolt (eldritch energies), detect/conceal arcana (reveal/hide auras), summon ally (demonic or elemental beings)
Charming Adventurer (Novice)
“Adventurer” is a name for those who seek to better their social standing through their wits and charm.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6.
Skills: Fighting d4, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Occult) d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d8, Shooting d4, Riding d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6.
Charisma: 1d4, RoF 1), formal clothing, leather greatcoat (Armor d4, Parry 1 to Common Knowledge rolls for gambling when cheating), 15 reichsmarks in assorted coin.
Novice Secret Society
The majority of the Illuminated are gentlemen and professionals. (Since all titled nobility of Malleus are irredeemably evil vampires, the Noble Edge is replaced by Gentry, an Edge that functions similarly but maintains the difference between wealthy commoner landholders and the true aristocracy.) This gives the Illuminated deep pockets, but also aligns them against radical socioeconomic change. They may seek to set up a republic by humans and for humans, but they’re very cautious about universal suffrage, ending the slave trade, and certain other causes held dear by the other secret societies. The authority the Illuminated feel entitled to from their wealth and power makes them unfortunately arrogant and stubborn when dealing with their fellow revolutionaries.
The starting statistics for the Illuminated emphasize their access to the libraries of its members and their wealth, but players are free to take the society along different paths as the campaign progresses. Spending Advances on increasing Persuasion, Stealth, and Taunt could represent the society becoming more populist rabble-rousers, while purchasing the Army Edge and Knowledge (Battle) could represent the Illuminated recruiting the Mallean equivalent of George Washington or Napoleon.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Law) d8, Knowledge (Occult) d8, Notice d4, Persuasion d6, Resources d6, Stealth d6, Taunt d4
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Arrogant OR Dark Secret, Cautious, Stubborn
Edges: Gentry, Scholar (and Filthy Rich if Dark Secret is chosen)
If the player of an Illuminated character chooses to take Dark Secret Hindrance, the GM may select any of the following to be the secret:
• The inner council of the Illuminated is under suspicion from the Secret Police. The player may engage in a proxy chase against the Secret Police to keep the society alive; the identities of all Illuminated members are exposed if the player loses. The Illuminated are destroyed and the hero gains the Wanted [Major] Hindrance if not already possessed.
• The inner council has been suborned by Prince Wilhelm the Red, who is using the society to stage a coup against his father and siblings. The player may engage in a proxy combat against Prince Wilhelm to keep the society alive; the GM assumes control of the society if the player loses and the player gains the Enemy [Major; Illuminated] Hindrance.
• The inner council has accepted an offer from the vampires. A House of Commoners will be added to Parliament, empowering the gentry at the cost of abandoning the fight for freedom. The player may engage in a social conflict to save the society from itself. If the player loses, the GM assumes control of the society and the hero gains the Enemy [Minor; Illuminated] Hindrance.
• The inner council of the Illuminated has been corrupted by Azazel, a demon competing with the vampires’ demonic patron Sathaniel for control of the world. The player may engage in a proxy dramatic task as the occultists of the society try to drive out the demon’s influence. If the player loses, the GM assumes control of the society, adding a second front to the war to save Malleus.