A Martial Arts group
The brotherhood (a loose translation... the actual word is gender-neutral
even though a bare majority of the members are male) has existed for
millennia, its exact origins lost in antiquity. The most ancient temple
documents do describe 'beings of great enlightenment' teaching the
founders the skills that became the cornerstone of the philosophy and
techniques of the order.
The largest and oldest temple is hidden somewhere in Asia. Some people
say in Tibet, some say deep in China, still others claim it's in a hidden
valley high in the mountains that is eternally spring-like. With modern
satellite techniques and the industrialization of the world, it seems
difficult to believe that they could have remained concealed were it not
for the powers they have developed to mask their presence. This is the
Temple of Light.
The rigorous cycle of meditation and practice make it nearly impossible
for the temple as a whole to have an impact on the world. So they have
representatives spread through the world who report back occasionally and
fight what they perceive as evil.
The variety of members is staggering. They come from all continents, all
races, and all walks of life. The only unifying element is a common
belief in the philosophy of the Temple: improve oneself spiritually and
defeat those who would block enlightenment. Some are born of members
within the temple, but the majority are 'seekers' who have journeyed far
to receive the training that only the temple can give.
The life of a typical seeker has several stages:
Unfortunately, some flawed individuals have learned the teachings of the
Temple and have perverted them. They either use their skills for their
own gain or even found their own Temples to spread their twisted
knowledge. The Brotherhood continually has to ward off attacks by these
ones and has to initiate actions of their own to foil the plans of the
- Journey: Most seekers spend years looking for something that has
eluded them in their mundane life, something to give their life form and
meaning. Many literally seek out the Temple. Those deemed unworthy never
find it and some of those are never found again. Others are lucky enough
to find a teacher nearer to home.
- Acceptance: The seeker has to dedicate himself to the philosophy of
the temple and its strictures. There is usually some symbolic event
involved here, such as accepting a cup of tea, or crossing a threshold.
The free will and knowledge of the seeker is necessary. Then they are
known as disciples.
- Control: What's puzzling to many of the seekers is that the beginning
of the training seems to be sitting around and doing nothing. In fact
these meditative techniques are essential to gain control of the Ki that
exists within all self-aware creatures. (Celestials refer to this energy
as Essence.) Disciples typically have 6 forces. Once a disciple has
mastered himself, he is ready for the next stage.
- Growth: This stage is long and varies the most in length. Some
acolytes never leave this stage their entire lives and are not thought
less highly of for it. Here is where the techniques (otherwise known as
Songs to Celestials) the temple teaches are passed on and practiced.
Acolytes usually have between 6 and 8 Forces.
- Mastery: When an acolyte has passed a certain point in their
spiritual evolution, they become masters. It is different for each person
and the amount of time required varies widely. Almost all describe it as
a 'moment of illumination'. Only Masters and higher can teach techniques,
though even acolytes can teach control. Some masters travel extensively
while others stay in the temple to instruct and guide. These martial
adepts have at least 8 Forces.
- Journey: A master who has reached this stage will realize that it is
time to leave the temple. They once again become seekers and are rarely
heard from again. Usually they find a place of solitude to continue their
spiritual growth. Sometimes they die peacefully in their sleep. Sometimes
they return with new teachings or instructions. Sometimes both.
The philosophy of such 'dark' temples is very similar to that of the
Temple of Light, but with some subtle twists. Self-enlightenment can take
precedence over the enlightenment of others. The unenlightened are lesser
beings and can be discount or used. Mastery over others proves one's
control and so on.
The Brotherhood and the Temple of Light can be worked into a campaign in a
wide variety of ways. Some possibilities are:
The Temple teaches many martial skills as well as many powerful techniques
(i.e. Songs). These are sometimes different from the ones in the book and
have different names, but otherwise all the Song mechanics are observed.
Interesting names are left as an exercise for the interested reader. If
the text allows a practitioner to use either the Ethereal or Celestial
version of the Songs, they cost two times and three times the normal
Essence cost respectively.
- The Temple of Light and its evil counterparts are not directly allied
with either Heaven or Hell and instead are a solely human institution that
sides with whom they wish.
- All temples are aligned with Heaven or Hell and are run by Saints or
the Undead, respectively. Possibly by actual angels, especially for the
larger temples. Soldiers are trained here for the War.
- The Brotherhood is allied with the mysterious Grigori (who, in fact,
were the first teachers of the Brotherhood). Depending on the nature of
the Grigori in your campaign, this can take several tacks!
- The Temple of Light is actually a diabolic front and there is no
'good' temple (or it had been destroyed or subverted years ago). Starting
players might think that they are working for one side and then discover
the horrible truth!
- Or, you can use a mish-mash of these ideas. Some purely human
temples, some heavenly, some diabolical, some Grigori, or even a few
dedicated to the old gods!
- Entropy: Age cannot be reduced, only put off for a time and only for
- Form: Masters can use the Ethereal and Celestial versions.
- Healing: As per the rules, except that it takes several minutes to
several hours per treatment depending on the seriousness of the wound
- Motion: For one essence, and a successful mediation roll, the
practitioner can simply hover in place for a number of hours equal to the
check digit roll. Masters can use the Ethereal and Celestial versions.
- Numious Corpus: These are usually only learned by evil acolytes or
masters. And they modify the appearance of the user permanently. The
modifications are only functional when Essence is spent, though.
- Projection: Masters can use the Ethereal version of this Song.
- Shields: Masters can use the Ethereal version of this Song.
- Tongues: Masters can use the Ethereal and Celestial versions of these
songs but must spend at least 10 minutes per Essence spent for any of the
Each of these cost one Essence and should be treated as Corporeal
- Strength: For a single attack/action, the practitioner can increase
their strength by the level of this technique.
- Kiai: A mighty shout that stuns all creatures within level yards that
fail to make a Will roll.
- Nerve Strike: Paralyze a single opponent for level rounds that fails
to make a strength roll minus the check digit of the strike.
- Judo: This skill covers all martial styles, not just Judo. It works
the same as the Fighting skill, but uses Agility instead of Strength. No
default. Instead of doing damage, a user can decided, before rolling the
dice, to throw a person on the ground. The person on the ground suffers -2
from all attack and dodge rolls AND the check digits for both until they
can get up (takes one round). A successful acrobatics roll (with a penalty
equal to the check digit) will allow a person to stand without using an
- Mediation: Allows the user to clear their mind from distractions and
focus their will. For a number of hours equal to the check digit, the
user only consumes one-quarter the amount of oxygen and has a skill level
bonus on all perception rolls as long as they take no action (the max.
bonus for a Resonance is +1). At higher skill levels (5-6) the
practitioner only use one-quarter the normal amount of oxygen, can stop or
slow all but the most serious bleeding wounds, has a greatly improved
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