Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Mystical Tyrant Schisms part 2: The Cult of Satra Temos

The Cult of Satra Temos

In the age after the Ranathim Empire died, the Ranathim philosopher Satra Temos revitalized and re-imagined the Imperial Cult as a brutally cynical philosophy and stripped it down to its core of mastery over Dark Communion. He cast aside the religious trappings of the Divine Mask and preached a doctrine of secret dominion. He opened his philosophy to all races, bringing the Ranathim together with the other denizens of the Dark Arm, such as the slavers, the Gaunt and even humanity, eventually, and united them all under a banner of Dark Communion. The Cult of Satra Temos could not restore the Ranathim Empire, but it did rule the Dark Arm of the Galaxy in secret, through its puppet conspiracies, for centuries until a shadow war with the Knights of Communion shattered its grip on power.

It may still lurk in shadows today, slowly regathering the reigns to power in the Dark Arm of the Galaxy, or tainting the intelligentsia of the Empire.

The Laws of Satra Temos

Satra Temos borrowed the idea of Communion Oaths to empower his minions, but he allowed only one oath: Vow (Obey all commands from your master) [-15]. Those who take a Communion Oath perk generally take the Destiny (Exposed as Traitor); Mitigator, stay true to the Laws of Satra Temos -65%) disadvantage as their “divine wrath” disadvantage. Those who betray their master or the order tend to see their treacherous nature revealed wherever possible and suffer a traitor’s death unless they kill their master, in which case, their dark destiny ends immediately (but must be bought off by the player).

The Satra Temos Doctrines as Mystic Tyrant Lens; +0 points

The influence of Satra Temos on the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant is so complete that the default version of Mystic Tyranny is virtually identical to the teachings of the Cult of Satra Temos. To most cultists, these two forms are synonymous. As such, if a character does not specialize in a Cult, at the GM’s discretion, they can assume they are using the Satra Temos doctrines.

Nonetheless, the Cult of Satra Temos does offer a few differences from the standard rules. It makes use of Communion Oaths for its minions; while it generally uses these to grant access to Transcendantal Powers, it also has typical Communion Miracles that it teaches as Learned Prayers, either to those with Dark Communion or Communion Oaths. It also excels at hiding its own actions, using tradecraft, and can Zero those who serve it.

Signature Miracles: Dark Charisma, Dark Confidence, Moment of Dark Truth, Psionic Focus, Psychic Nova, Sense Dark Communion, Sense Passion, the Tao of Dark Communion, the Wisdom of Dark Communion

Perks: Communion Oath

Optional Traits: Craftiness, Zeroed

Optional Skills: Filch, Holdout, Observation, Shadowing, Smuggling, Urban Survival

New Traits


Communion Oath: Provided the character has an appropriate disadvantage that is mitigated by following an oath, the character may purchase Learned Prayers directly, at full price, with an additional limitation based on an appropriate vow.

The Masks of Satra Temos

The Black Dragon Brotherhood (Dodreku Ilafthe Hofti)

The Black Dragon Brotherhood is the boogie man of the criminal underworld. The lesser crime-bosses of the Galaxy fear crossing their paths with the black-clad assassins of the brotherhood and quickly back off of territory that bears the black dragon sigil. On the other hand, they believe, correctly, that the brotherhood has a preternatural ability for generating wealth and power and many seek to join in an alliance with it.

In reality, the Black Dragon Brotherhood isn’t a criminal organization so much as a conspiracy within the criminal world. It presents itself as an ancient association from before the destruction of Ranagant that worships some dark power of secrecy, prosperity and power. It recruits the upper lieutenants of criminal organizations, which it uses to spy on and influence criminal organizations, and it recruits talented smugglers, spies and assassins to enforce its will or to ensure its own prosperity. Via the Black Dragon Brotherhood, the Cult of Satra Temos ruled the Dark Arm as a secret criminal empire.

The Black Dragon Brotherhood has its own internal structure, but most of its ranks are courtesy ranks; the primary benefit to initiates (which includes most recruited crime-bosses) is the ability to tap into the wealth of knowledge and influence that the brotherhood has. Its agents, like its assassins and spies, tend to rise up the actual ranks of the organization and earn their way into the Cult itself after a time.

The Shadow Academy (Kamaiko Nadumet)

The Cult of Satra Temos actively recruited members from outside of the Ranathim, and it did this, in part, via the curiosity other races had for the Ranathim culture and occult knowledge. The Shadow Academy exploits that interest by infiltrating mystical circles (especially Zathare practitioners), antiquities dealers and archaeology deparments by offering distinguished members with information on secret places of power, long-lost relics and access to real mystical power.

The Shadow Academy tends to concern itself with collecting occult power, both to further fascinate potential recruits, and to offer that collected knowledge and power to the Cult as a whole. It also acts as a proving ground for skilled psions who have real potential to join the cult. As such, most initiates gain real access Dark Communion and its miracles, and tend to be clued into the existence of the larger Cult of the Mystic Tyrant more readily than other conspiracies.

Symbolism of Satra Temos

Fire: This represents the burning passion of the master, which purges all other desire to create illumination. The cultists of Satra Temos often perform their rites when surrounded by candles, braziers or before a great bonfire, and often plunge their hands into flame when trying to prove their determination

The Labyrinth: The Cult of Satra Temos sees the mind as a maze of twists and turns. Those who stand at its center have mastered their own minds. In addition to using them in initiation rites, they also stand at the center of labyrinths to call upon their miracles of Dark Communion.

The Psi-Sword: The Cult of Satra Temos was the first schism to take up arms to defend themselves, rather than relying on guards to do it for them. The creation of one’s own psi-sword, or the theft and repurposing of another’s psi-sword, is a sacred act for the Cultists of Satra Temos, representing taking command of one’s own fate.

The Cult of Satra Temos in the Galaxy

The Cult of Satra Temos is the default face of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant. They represent the best example of a sinister, conspiratorial organization of Dark Communion-wielding warriors of ill-repute. If the GM uses this default stance, assuming the other Cults still exist, the Cultists of Satra Temos view the Cult of Anthara as reactionaries unwilling to keep up with the times, who have become so attached to ceremony and law that they have lost power. On the other hand, the Cult of Revalis represents a dangerous injection of “slave morality” into their midst, and is a heretic worth hunting down for his deceptions.

Alternate depictions are possible. The Knights of Communion supposedly defeated the Cult of Satra Temos in their shadow war. If this is true, then the old ways of Satra Temos died with them. They no longer exist, except in the form of relics and pretenders who want to take up that mantle. Their demise might explain the general chaos of the Dark Arm of the Galaxy, as their brutal politics might have been the only thing keeping the region together. Their works would be highly valuable to anyone trying to understand how this secretive group achieved the level of mastery that they did!

A weak but still existent Cult of Satra Temos might have lost the war with the Knights of Communion, but managed to hold on. In such a case, they likely represent little more than a broad criminal conspiracy that still lingers in the farthest reaches of the Dark Arm. They might imitate the tactics of the Knights of Communion: going into hiding and allowing their legend to build as they slowly, carefully and precisely rebuild their numbers and then their empire.

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