The Black Robes
To fight the Evil, you must learn of The Evil, master its skills, know its techniques, and be able to use its tools. Only then can you train others to fight The Evil.
—Ilvantus of the Black Robes to the general floor at the Creedos Convocation 1137 DO
Hidden away among the various orders and monastic groups are The Black Robes. They are a smaller order of one of the obscure orders that deals with Outsiders/ Demons/ and other things of that ilk. To fight the forces of Darkness, one has to learn about the forces of Darkness and how to control it. The Black Robes are masters in the art of summoning and controlling such dread forces, for the good of the Church. The Church does not deny that they exist, just down plays it to such an extent that few know of its existance.
When certain senior church officials needed to remove certain people, for the Good of the Church, they found the Church lacking in the art of disposal (and rightfully so). They wished they had access to the forces of Evil, like their opposition did. Someone, the record is not clear who, cleared his throat and mentioned the Black Robes, they all smiled.
The certain people were dispatched by the Forces of Evil. Those certain people were discredited, 'the demons turned on their masters' it was said. Things went well. More people who were deemed, 'threats to the church' were removed and discredited. Eventually a Council of Removal was set up. While listed as a prayer group in the rosters of the Church, it was designed to hold the reigns of The Black Robes.
When a certain crowned figure needed help in removing someone, he asked his local high priest for assistance. He said, for a small gift to the church, he would pray in certain circles for him. He did. The target was found worthy by the Council. The Black Robe's pets removed the target.
Soon other nobles (and some new rich) were donating to the church and asking for prayers of assistance. It became quite a boon to the Church, as donations and favors poured in. Though the Council loosened the criteria for removal, many targets were rejected.
The Black Robes and their Parent Order The Occurum Shields of the Faith began to a more visible and active role in church and public affairs. With their new found patronage, they began many programs to strengthen the church, the orders, and remove 'threats to the Church.' Black Robes may now wear their robes openly, as most people do not know what they do.
When the Council gives agreement, a message imp is sent to the nearest Black Robe cell. That night (or as soon as possible) a circle is scribed, candles lit, and the ritual is performed. A living, flying, shadow is eventually unleashed... with orders to destroy the target... usually in a public place.
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? Responses (10)-10
Excellent. This could transmute the perception of the god in to one of darkness - a vengeful god who sends demons to destroy his enemies. What would the god think of this I wonder? Also, what happens when the Black Robes gain enough power that the church is all but dependent on them? There are many possibilities with this. How widespread (within the church) is knowledge of the Black Robes? If it was discovered it could cause a major schism.
How knowledgable was the average person of The Jesuits in their day, or Opus Dei before DaVinci Code? People might know of their existance, and a little about their function (in this case, they are the primary researchers about Evil and their primary fighters, which is their primary purpose), but little more.
Schism, you betcha. Of course, those who might reveal the secret will find themselves attacked by Demons. Only if they are victorious in the end, will anyone know that it was The Black Robes.
They could get ever more powerful to the point where they want to be the true rulers of the church.
Why rule the church directly, when you can actually run things behind the scenes? I mean pontiffs and factions come and go, but the church bureaucracy and the councils running it have the real power.
On the edge of greatness! Yes indeed! Very good MoonHunter
Very good. I like it, a lot.
Good stuff this, Moon!
Using the black arts for good . . .ah that old hat box.
Looking at this old post, makes me think that one could link posts on troupes or themes not just content. I think this post is the simplest form of a classic idea of morality explored with very little detail or packaging. Let say you want to put a message in you campaign about the corrupting influence of evil no matter the context, well this group of 'Black Robes' could the carrier of the cliche. I am sure their are other items and society with similarly common and often used messages; the dangers of being a presumptive messiah, the dangers of being taken by the glory of success, the cost of trying to play angles rather than trusting people and so on.
An interesting concept, but I have a problem with this.
This really only works with Impotent, incompetent, or Not Really Good gods. If you have a setting where the good gods are actually good, they would oppose this directly unless they were weak. And if they are weak, than evil should also be weak and a poor tool, or else evil would be the dominant force.
But for low magic/evil ascendant worlds, this could work.