|The Social Organizations: The Order of the Rain|
Another organization founded after the Age of Silence, the Order of the Rain finds its home in the mountains of southern Ashur with holds near the cities Tal Atal and Izul. After witnessing the magics unleashed by the Age of Silence, the Order of the Rain quests to keep the realm from a future cataclysm.
Begun by an ascetic and white mistic named Lazuri, the Order prides itself on its simple, spartan life. The inhospitable Yellow Wastes of Ashur and the sparse peaks of the mountains have instilled a quiet severity, a solemn austerity in the members of the Order. Because rare little or no rain falls on the desert, the Order is named for the long wait between precipitations--a wait that represents the Order's patience, modesty, and quiet workings. The Order of the Rain teaches survival, fortitude of body, peace of mind, and wholeness of spirit. The Order adheres to the following adage: "The Body must be One/The Mind an equal Second/The Spirit over All and Only."
Primarily peaceful and pacifistic, the Order sends its members into the realm to seek out objects and relics of magic deemed too powerful to be in the hands of humanity. The Order believes that magic, in and of itself, is not inherently dangerous. The magic used by a mage is controlled, researched, and most importantly studied to prevent disaster. However, an item of magic has been removed from responsibility; the untrained, the unknowing, and the uncaring can release an item's power without conscience or consequence. Therefore, the Order gathers such objects and forever secrets them out of harm's way.
Ideally, the Order seeks to discover relics of magic before they are found by others. In fact, many items lost to legend and lore have been recovered by the Order to the chagrin of magic users and the Academy. If an item is the possession of another, the Order attempts to make an exchange using the resources, such as gold, found in their mountain home to barter for the object. If the item's owner is unwilling, the Order will not forcibly take or steal from another but will patiently wait for a just and open opportunity to acquire the item. The only time a member of the Order will take to a fight is as a last resort and in defense of self, of the Order, or of the Path of Light; he or she would never make the first strike.
The members of the Order of the Rain shun all weapons, all shields, all armor, and all spellcasting. Furthermore, the Order of the Rain maintains a vow of poverty and members may keep only what is necessary to subsist. Though they can use magic items, keeping an item would go against their vow of poverty and most magic items, even the most innocent of power, are sent to the holds of the Order.
To become a member of the Order of the Rain, the character must meet the following (calculated for Rule of Skill):
The members of the Order of the Rain gain the mental ability to Detect Magic and Identify the nature of magic. The member must be able to touch the item to determine if it is magical and what properties it possesses.
The Hand of the Only is a weaponless martial art developed by the Order of the Rain primarily as physical, mental, and meditative exercise. However, when used with skill and agility, the Hand can be formidable and is used to defend the interests of the Order.
The Hand of the Only is a two-fold ability. First, the martial art allows the character to inflict damage with his or her hands. To represent strikes with the hand, the player must make two non-piercing 12" swords (similar to the Animal spell Claws) covered in yellow fabric. Remember, the swords represent the character's hands and are not considered actual weapons; therefore, the "hands" cannot be taken, be used by others, or be destroyed. When striking, the player must call the damage type done. The player's "hands" inflict non-magical damage. The "hands" may be used to block weapons including normal missile weapons. The player must be careful when striking away missiles (especially easily-damaged arrows). If the player unsuccessfully blocks an attack that still hits him or her, then the character suffers damage normally. The "hands" cannot be used to deflect giant missiles and missile made of magic (e.g. a spellball).
Second, the martial art strengthens and toughens the character's body versus damage. As the character progresses in training, he or she gains points of Physical Defense. The points of Physical Defense earned as a member of the Order do count toward the total Physical Defense the character can have. Remember that a character can only have a maximum of three levels of Physical Defense.
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