Priory of Chaos
The Priory of Chaos has survived long centuries—their alien masters, known as the Ruinous Powers, are fickle, never really choosing a side and watching with mild amusement as mortals vie for their favor. Those who follow the Priory of Chaos view themselves as chosen hosts, guided by nightmares and visions, stray thoughts of the aberrant divine, and things beyond rational explanation. These cultists live secret lives, drawn by voices of the void to seek out others of their kind.
Goal: Fuel the Chaos
Disciples of the Priory seek to spread Chaos across the world—to ready Kygreum for the day the Ruinous Powers feast upon every soul on the planet and to curry favor from these entities so that when the world is devoured, they might be granted places of favor in the new order. To attain these goals, many Priory Cultists quest for knowledge—lost magic (particularly magic associated with summoning chaos creatures and entities from the void) and knowledge of the Great Invasion and of the powerful seals used to hold back the encroachment of Chaos these primordials wield. Others seek to bring about the horrid fate they believe humanity deserves; their primary goals include “awakening” mortals to madness through brutal savagery and using them as breeders for the spawn of creatures of Chaos. That the Ruinous Powers would likely destroy their own cultists without a moment’s thought when the world is wiped clean escapes the attention of most of the Priory of Chaos.
At their core, the Priory of Chaos serves primordial entities whose morality lies beyond mortal comprehension. Still, the behavior of their mad cultists is consistently destructive and violent, with little structure or purpose beyond conquest and domination of the unworthy. To cultists, all who fail to hearken to the call of the Ruinous Powers are fodder or tools to be enslaved or manipulated, and they believe the spread of chaos is unstoppable. Cultists bear a profound sense of entitlement that extends even toward other faction members. Regardless of their original alignment, most members become increasingly erratic and immoral in pursuit of the faction’s goals.
A collection of distinct and largely unrelated cults, the Priory of Chaos maintain no formal, organized structure or unified hierarchy, and thus no single faction leader exists. Each cult operates under the autonomous control of its own leader, typically the individual who first slipped into Chaos and drew the other members of the cult.
Good Class Choices
Bard, Cleric, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard
Challenging Class Choices
Druid, Monk, Paladin
The secret meeting places of the countless Priory of Chaos cults are dispersed throughout Kygreum. The most prominent, in Callimhros, are those scattered through the lands of the Ithyrians (particularly in the cities of Blackburrow, Magnimar, and Storm’s End), strange ruins lost in the Spires of Eternity, small coastal towns all along the shores of the Theysius Sea, and certain remote enclaves along the fringes of the Ordos Desert.
As a secret society that worships things from the realm of Chaos, that would snuff all life in the world as casually as a man crushes an ant, the Priory of Chaos is very careful with their recruiting lest their activities draw the attention of the law or good religions. Most recruitment occurs within families, though several decadent circles of nobles are known to dabble in the rituals of the Ruinous Powers. Scholars of magic who ask about forbidden works may attract the attention of the Priory and precipitate a meeting.
Anything that advances chaos and increases the influence of the Ruinous Powers earns prestige with the Priory of Chaos. Different cells have different agendas. Some want slaves, sacrifices, or new people to subjugate to the cult’s teachings. Others want mortal women for unearthly horrors to breed with. Still others try to find lost fragments of magical writing pertaining to the Great Invasion.
Despite their diversity, each sect of the Priory possesses similar resources. Though geographical barriers have kept many of these cults isolated for centuries, cultists readily acknowledge those who share their beliefs and remain devoted to like causes. Faction members gain access to ancient knowledge, lore, and artifacts associated with the Ruinous Powers, as well as materials and information crucial to sowing the spread of Chaos. The most fervent receive gifts in the form of dark mutations that transform their bodies with the taint of Chaos.
5 TPA, 2 CPA: Learn Aklo, a strange language commonly used by creatures associated with the Priory and related to the alien tongues of creatures beyond the void of Chaos. This benefit does not require the character to spend any skill ranks on the Linguistics skill.
10 TPA, 1 CPA: Borrow a rare spellbook or other magical document for the purposes of learning or researching one spell. This benefit does not require a Spellcraft check or any additional transcribing costs. Typical spells owned by the Priory of Chaos involve conjuring or banishing strange creatures (banishment, gate, planar ally, planar binding, summon monster), physical and mental projection (astral spell, dream, ethereal jaunt, etherealness, magic jar, nightmare), and revealing the unseen (commune, confusion, contact other plane, insanity, invisibility purge, nightmare, see invisibility, true seeing). Some of these writings contain versions of the spells that are 1–3 levels lower than the normal version of the spell (such as a level 3 version of contact other plane) or arcane versions of divine spells (or vice versa). Such versions are damaging to the mind, however, inflicting permanent Wisdom drain upon the reader, though some believe this is a small price to pay for the knowledge.
10 CPA: Undergo an 8 hour ritual wherein you face the judgment of Chaos. Should you survive you are granted a gift from the Ruinous Ones. This gift may take on a variety of forms such as chitinous or scaly skin, the ability to transform ones arm into a black tentacle or into the shape of long blades or axes. (The form is limited only on the GM’s level of creativity.) Often warriors of the Priory undergo this ritual multiple times seeking further favor with Chaos.
15 TPA, 1 CPA: Experience a prophetic dream. The cult arranges a mental link with an ancient, Chaos force, which implants the character’s mind with insane dreams that unlock a vision. The vision is entirely symbolic, but its purpose becomes clear at the moment the character most needs it. The character may add a +10 insight bonus to any single d20 roll; the character must use this ability before he knows whether the roll is a success or failure. Using this ability expends the power of the vision and inflicts 1 point of Wisdom drain. A character can only retain the power of one such vision at a time.
20 TPA, 1 CPA: Arrange a conjuring of a creature associated with the Priory of Chaos as if using planar binding. However, in most cases these rituals are flawed and the creature arrives unbound and ambivalent to the desires of its mortal conjurer; unless controlled with additional magic, the creature acts upon its own whims and desires— typically feeding upon or breeding with the first available target, often times the conjurer, unless a suitable sacrifice is offered. In many cases, the called creature may linger in the area for years or even centuries and becomes the stuff of local legend. Other conjured creatures are more tractable and are willing to bargain for their services.
20 TPA, 8 CPA: Open a portal. At the character’s request, this portal may act as a teleportation circle that sends him to an isolated, near-mythical, or lost magical location on Kygreum (or even another planet), or as a gate to a nightmarish, otherworldly realm like Leng. The cultists’ control over such things depends on stellar conjunctions and the accuracy of their source spells; safety or even a return trip are never guaranteed.