The Order of St. Athanasius

By Moe Lane


Named for a famous Christian Saint from the 4th Century AD, this Episcopalian religious order was formed in Florida a few years ago and has enjoyed moderate growth since then. The Order uses a variant of the old Benedictine Rule to provide its members (mostly women) with some sort of stability and religious focus. Not all members take a full triple vow of poverty, chastity and obedience, but they are expected to order their lives in compliance with the Book of Common Prayer: many Sisters are cloistered. There's nothing particularly abstruse or hidden about this Order: certainly no one would ever expect it to be a front for Laurence...

That's wise, because it isn't.

No, it isn't a front for Diabolical activity, either. Try not to be insulting, OK? The Order of St. Athanasius is exactly as advertised: a minor Episcopalian religious Order with no secret links to the War at all (just like most religious Orders, churches, mosques, synagogues, stone circles or even flat rocks). Yes, it may seem like you can't throw a rock in an organized religious group without crippling three angels, a Soldier rapid response team and a secret demonic infiltrator, but that's just... over-enthusiasm on the part of many GMs. It's perfectly possible to run a faith without direct angelic (or demonic) supervision: most do, in fact.

However, judging from most of the IN literature out there (not excluding the author, of course), such a happenstance is so unnatural that it should be causing disturbance. That's fine: in fact, it gives nasty GMs a fun plot hook. Simply have a Superior send the PCs to investigate a report that the Other Side has infiltrated the Order. If your party has female PCs, well, it's time for an undercover operation: for best results, use the one closest to being a Kung Fu CB Mama on Wheels / Motorcycle Aztec Wrestling Nun, or any Malakite of War Faction (pretty much the same thing, really). The rest of them ... well, Superior X can spring for some female vessels and letters of introduction, right? Bad idea to let the party split up, anyway.

Or so goes the conventional wisdom, at least. I personally find it fun to watch.

Anyway, watching the PCs try to fit in (and if Superior X is Laurence, they had better know the Benedictine Rule backwards and forwards) with a group of generally nice, quietly pious (almost forgot: the Order has a Rule of Silence after Compline) Sisters. Let them look and sneak around and investigate: the most heinous thing that they're likely to find is the Mother Superior's secret chocolate stash (only one per day, even if that one is a nougat). Or maybe one of the Sisters reads the occasional romance novel. With any luck, the PCs should be going nuts in short order.

Now, if they happen to be demons (or just angels with inappropriate senses of humor / Poor Impulse Control), this should be time to toss in the infiltration squad from the Other Side. Why are they there, now? Because the PCs are, of course: this spy/counterspy thing's been going on for millennia. They'll be as ignorant about the utter lack of celestial interference (although by now that's not strictly true, is it?) as the PCs, which means that you'll have two groups of celestials sneaking around. Of course, both groups will be certain that the presence of the Other Side means that something is going on after all...

If this is done right, there'll be angels digging up the basement for nonexistent secret bases, demons hypnotizing hapless Sisters to reveal imaginary Tethers, Gamester/Inquisitor investigations of everyone who walks within half a mile of the Order House, and every other damfool idea that the players come up with. All done quietly, of course, in order to make sure that the Other Side doesn't catch on. Try not to culminate with the Order House burning to the ground, though: this Order actually exists in our universe, and they seem to be pretty nice people...


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