Order of Illumination
The Order of Illumination
Evil might lie behind any door, and shadow might hide in any heart. The Order of Illumination holds this maxim close as it seeks and destroys evil wherever necessary.
The organization has two main branches, each dedicated to fulfilling one of the order’s two functions. The first is to ferret out evil wherever it hides, and it is the shadowbane stalkers who devote themselves to finding hidden evils and piercing the lies of evildoers. The second task is to confront these evils directly, and it is the shadowbane inquisitors who pick up sword and shield and take the fight to evil creatures.
Although many of its members adventure with their comrades (especially in partnerships between a stalker and an inquisitor) and with independent adventuring groups, the Order of Illumination is not an adventuring oriented organization. The order is far more concerned with finding and combating the evils that hide within civilized communities than it is with finding lost tombs or raiding the lairs of dragons. The comrades are quick to praise such activity when it clearly serves the cause of good, but members are encouraged to look for evil closer to home when possible.
Joining the Order of Illumination
Becoming a member of the Order of Illumination is no easy task. A prospective member must prove his or her dedication, purity, and desire to fight evil by fasting for three days. During this trial period, paladins and clerics belonging to the order visit the candidate to pose difficult moral questions, engage in mock combat trials, and repeatedly use various methods to determine the candidate’s alignment. Membership also requires an offering of 100gp.
A potential member need not meet any specific class or level requirements, but he cannot be evil or chaotic. Although a very small number of unaligned character choose to join, the order’s strict requirements and rules mean that only lawful chracters find it appealing for long. The majority of the membership is lawful good.
The resources of the Order of Illumination are vast, but the organization is careful never to put too many of these resources into the hands of one person, however trustworthy that person may seem to be. Player characters who are members can count on shadowbane stalkers to provide a steady stream of rumors about evil or suspicious activity, and can find a safe place to rest and heal in any city that has a cathedral dedicated to the order. The order’s intolerance of evil means that is is willing to combat any real threat, but it won’t throw lives away needlessly just on the player character’s say-so. If the PCs need help with a particularly evil foe or opposing force, they might be able to appeal for an individual inquisitor, but the DM has the final say on any such activities.
The Order of Illumination greatly covets holy items and will pay 60% of a items value. Likewise, the order prizes the destruction of evil items and will pay 60% of the value of any such item turned in by a member. The order sees procurement of holy items and the destruction of unholy items as among its most important duties.
Those affiliated with the shadowbane stalkers prefer unobtrusive methods of finding evil. The lace their dialogue with subtle questions, use deceit whenever they feel such behavior is warranted by the greater good, and often hide their affiliation with the order in order to better discover the true intentions of those they meet. Shadowbane stalkers are often quiet individuals who carefully watch the effects that their words and actions have on others. They are just as suspicious and reactionary as the inquisitors are, but they are less open and vocal about both of these traits.
Members affiliated with the shadowbane inquisitors, on the other hand, rely on physical power and an unquestioning sense of what’s right to battle evil openly. Unwavering in their devotion to what they define as law and good, the inquisitors are blunt speakers who assume guilt or hidden motives in most individuals. They are highly suspicious of others and seem driven more by zeal than by regard for the facts.
Most members of the order of illumination are low-level clerics and paladins dedicated to a deity of law, good, destruction, or war. The order’s teachings blend these faiths together into a pure quest to rid the world of evil. Most members with more experience multi-class as rogues. Although members of other classes join the order all the time, the group encourages new members to begin training as either a cleric or a paladin. (if they have not already done so).
Lore of the Order
One of the order’s most deadly foes, a blackguard known only by rumor and reputation, supposedly works from within the highest ranks of the organization itself. This villain has reportedly killed or subverted any member who has ever come close to discovering his true identity, yet rumors of his existence persist. The order officially denies the existence of such an individual and strictly forbids its members from discussing such rumors. However, tests of alignment on members are surprisingly frequent and it is extremely unusual for a member to refuse being the subject of such a test.