The Edge of Night
The “Penitent Orders” serve an important function of both spiritual and civil atonement within the Empire. Depending on the specific order, members are either those who have voluntarily sworn obedience, or else convicts who have been sentenced to service rather than alternative punishments. Penitent Orders usually perform dangerous or undesirable services, but for those seeking to atone, or else avoid penalties, imprisonment, or execution, service to a Penitent Order can provide not only absolution but a level of respectability and security that might have otherwise been unattainable.
Authority and Organization
Penitent Orders are frequently attached to another religious order, either Sybilline or Heraldic, with whom lies ultimate authority over its members and mission. However, within a Penitent Order, those who serve honorably and effectively may rise to a position of prominence.
Most who complete a length of service in a Penitent Order are able to return to their former lives having earned a degree of respect and notoriety. However, many also choose to remain voluntarily in their Order, making a lifelong commitment to service and atonement. Unfortunately, there are also many who die or flee, who become outcasts and truly vile individuals.
Rank and file members are simply known as “penitents”. Those who are recognized as loyal, sincere, and capable are promoted to the position of “confessor”, charged with managing their fellows and overseeing their spiritual growth and path toward atonement. The best among the confessors rise to the rank of “inquisitor”, and are charged with determining who may be admitted to the Penitent Orders as well as rooting out those who are failing to live up to the Order’s standards, charting the course of the Order’s mission, and interacting with any other religious authorities the Order may answer to. An Order may have a single “grand inquisitor”, who simply acts as the final authority within the Penitent Order.
Members of a Penitent Order are marked with a tattoo or scar known as the “delictum”. The specific marking varies between orders and the nature of the crime, but the mark is always prominently visible and clearly defined.
Some examples of possible aspects and stunts related to Penitent Orders. These are suitable for characters who are members or former members of Penitent Orders.
Delictum of Severance: The character is marked with a symbol of lifelong membership in a Penitent Order, signifying that they have forever abandoned all attachments to their former homes, families, and history. The character is met with distrust by commoners who suspect them of all sorts of heinous atrocities, but is accorded special respect by religious folk, Magoi, and others who recognize the depth of their commitment. They may be influenced by memories of their past life, but the delictum is a physical reminder of their new commitment.
Murderer’s Conscience: Whether accidental or intentional, the character bears the weight of having violently taken innocent life. The character is not normally bothered by violence or bloodshed, but may be motivated or crippled by remorse when reminded of their victim or victims.
Reformed Heretic: The character was once a member of a heretical sect, such as the cult of Fortuna or of the Old Gods. The character knows the beliefs and traditions of those who follow related heretical practices, but their own beliefs and loyalties are subject to error and suspicion.
Martyr’s Perseverance: Gain a +2 bonues to Endurance rolls when acting to aid or protect another.
Martyr’s Resolve: Gain a +2 bonues to Will rolls when acting to aid or protect another.