Figured I’d share a rough mock-up of something I introduced to my game this week. I was really wanting to get a message across, in secrecy, to one of the player character’s in a method that wasn’t terribly over the top and screamed “WOAH THIS NPC MUST BE A LEVEL BADASS!” Because, really, he’s not. I was kinda shocked by how high level some of the Scrying rituals were, and I figured in order to communicate via any kind of scrying pool or something would probably require a much higher level ritual.
So, to keep things interesting and secretive without going waaayy too powerful, I decided to butcher a concept I always enjoyed and introduce it to my campaign: A Secretive order of Akashic Messengers!
I primarily stole the idea from Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved with his Akashic class, but decided to change the mechanics up a bit mostly because, hey, I’m lazy and don’t feel like re-implementing an entire character class just so I can have some guys with Memory Stones working as secret message couriers exist in my realm.
Instead, I wrote up a basic back lore of “The Akashic Order of Ioun”, and introduced a new Feat and Ritual that anyone with Ritual Casting could tack on. Also wrote up a basic description of the “darker side” of the Akashic practice, which in all honesty credit goes to the movie Strange Days.
I’ve already used it as a plot device in my game:
The Wizard, Tock, wakes up in his room at the inn one night to hear a light knocking on his door. Outside is a messenger, claiming to have been sent by his contact Herrick. When he opens the door, the messenger hands him a stone inscribed in weird runes. After deciphering a bit with a successful Arcana roll, the runes begin to swirl, as does his surroundings, and suddenly he found himself in front of Herrick in his quarters at the University.
Only, he wasn’t really there talking with Herrick; he was interacting with a memory Herrick had sent for him. Herrick explained that the Empiress’s daughter was taking a personal task to visit their town after hearing word of the player’s heroic deeds. She is coming to oversee the status of the town they have been restoring, as well as the status of the refugees from a nearby city fleeing after a dragon attack, and is to report back her findings to the Imperial throne. Herrick, however, reveals he has information that the Cult has an insider in the town still, and has called for an assassin to travel amongst the refugees.
Tock asks a slew of questions, but unfortunately any that start to branch out from the topic of the Assassination attempt or the Daughter’s visit results in a stutter and fog in the memory. He did manage to decipher, however, that the message was a few days old, and that the Daughter would be arriving sometime the next day. He didn’t have long to act…..
He drifted out of the dream like state, handed the stone back to the Messenger and asked how he was supposed to reply back when he had more details. The messenger pulled out a small paper, with a drawing of the symol of Ioun upon it, and told him to just leave it on the Bulletin Board in the Inn downstairs when he’s needed.
Go ahead! Take it!
Feel free to take my document and use it in your campaign! I may expand on the Order a bit more; possibly add a couple Paragon paths related to it. Who knows, we’ll see.