The Alterist's Rite
his convocation of alchemists, sorcerers, and sages are collected in secret, working in seclusion, and attempting, through Alterism, to create the perfect race of beings to challenge the rule of Gods over mortalkind. The Alterist’s Rite believe that they have, through sheer intellect, discovered their role in forging the future of their world. Their genius, their cunning, and their unfathomable skills in the mystical arts are, to the Alterist’s mind, a form of license to change the way this world works, to improve upon it as a sculptor would clay. The Alterist’s Rite feel that their substantial knowledge and power, combined with one another, grant them sanction to usurp the power of the Gods themselves.
embers of the Alterist’s Rite mask their identities from the public eye. Some sequester themselves permanently within the cult’s sanctum, the Sepulcher, a hidden alchemical laboratory complex erected underground, connected to the surface world via a series of mystical portals. Others maintain a public façade, insinuating themselves into every nation, into all walks of life, only to return to the Sepulcher at irregular intervals to serve up the knowledge they have amassed to the central source of the Alterist’s power, a massive alchemical construct known to the Alterist’s Rite as ””the Braintrust.””:http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/the-fantastinomicon/items/braintrust
lterists adhere to a strict code of conduct, especially concerning the data they collect, the test subjects they gather, and the location of the Sepulcher. At the core of this code of conduct is their religion, Alterism, a form of mystical dogma based around the principle that, through magic, mortalkind is destined to shape it’s own evolutionary destiny. The head of the Alterist’s Rite, the Yazhar, oversees the sect’s operations via a network of cells. Alterist cells exist in almost every nation and organization in the world, though their tenets dictate they keep themselves hidden beneath a visage of a normal life. It is said that when you look into the eyes of an Alterist, ten pairs of their eyes are looking back at you.
he Alterist’s Rite is organized into four main subsects, each devoted to a primary societal group throughout the world. The subsects, known as Phaetris, are comprised of hundreds of smaller Alterist cells, nestled within different elements of society. For example, the Phaetris Dastaro handles all Alterist cells covertly operating within any military institution, regardless of nation or state. For the Alterist’s Rite, such concepts as political boundaries or sovereignty are inconsequential. The Dastaro Alterist does not take a side during war, but will, to maintain his or her cover, fight alongside whatever military group they have insinuated themselves within, even if this means having to fight other Dastaro’s embedded within different military groups.
imilar arrangements are mirrored within the Phaetris Avalaar, a subsect largely comprised of statesmen, royalty, and aristocrats. For Avalaar Alterists, there is a saying: First for the Rite, then for the Royalty. Like the Dastaro, Avalaar do not operate openly among their bureaucratic peers. Instead, they bump elbows and sip fine wine, all while surreptitiously hunting down potential test subjects, performing alchemical or otherwise mystical experiments upon them, and forwarding all their findings to the Braintrust. Like all Alterists, the Avalaar have taken a vow of suicide before surrender. No knowledge of the Alterist’s Rite, the Sepulcher, or the Braintrust must be allowed to slip into public knowledge, even unto the Alterist’s own, self-perpetuated demise.
ulrich Alterists are perhaps the most devious of all members of this clandestine sect. They are neighbors, farmers, and schoolmoms. They are the faceless in the crowd; those who pass unnoticed because they seem so innocuous, so unimportant. They are also the most numerous and successful of the subsects of the Alterist’s Rite. Oulrich Alterists have the easiest time hiding their true identities and covering their tracks. They provide the most numerous and most varied test subjects for the Sepulcher’s experimentation. In the past, when a member of royalty (sometimes an Avalaar) declared all citizens subject to draft, Oulrich Alterists were forced to convert to the Dastaro subsect. One such Alterist, however, Ragnas Halbrooke, resisted the draft and became a famous folk-hero to the citizens of one part of the country. His newfound fame, and decision to leave the sect, made him a target for assassination by the Alterist’s Rite.
Duskreign’s note: I am planning to write an adventure module about the draft dodging former Alterist Ragnas Halbrooke and the brave adventurers hired by a mysterious benefactor to protect him from his would-be assassins.
auvato Alterists are hidden within the many merchants that flood the cities and venture over the dusty roads between villages. They are mostly peddlers, though some pose as gamblers, drunks, or minstrels sharing the road with a merchant’s caravan. The very nature of a merchant’s daily life makes for an ideal situation to observe a wide variety of people from many different races and cultures. The opportunistic Sauvato scouts his or her prey, witnesses the actions and reactions of their potential victim, and decides based on certain preordained criteria whether the person merits further study. Sauvato Alterists have gained a bit of a reputation in some parts of the world, which has led many a town or village to bar any merchants from entering at all, forcing them to do business outside the town’s limits, or to simply peddle their wares elsewhere.