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Maldin's Greyhawk

The Sons of Marchanter

by Denis Tetreault
Version 1.1

An Insiders View

Since no one outside of the Sons has any knowledge of the cult's internal workings, this background is written from the viewpoint of a former member. Someone who joined the cult, had misgivings, and escaped the cult's grasp. Of course they must now live a life on the run, a life of constantly changing disguises and aliases. The Sons, with their very efficient intelligence network, has been supremely successful in insuring that any outsiders with knowledge of their organization are quickly and quietly eliminated. All the information presented here is top secret and would never be discussed with a non-member (some not even with other members). There are many governments and numerous large, powerful groups who wish to exterminate the Sons for various reasons. Admitting to being a Son of Marchanter or having been one in the past is an instant death sentence. Discussing any of the information below is the same as admitting you were an insider - same death sentence. Because members must be able to identify themselves without even admitting their existence, the best kept secret that carries the heaviest penalty within the organization is the special ring (see below).

The Sons of Marchanter has its headquarters within the abandoned Temple of Heironeous at the heart of the Dark City, and is actually much larger than the public believes with a population of well over 200 (only the leaders know for sure).  Many of the members claim to be direct descendants of Marchanter though none have bothered to prove this to any others. The leaders of the Sons actually claim to be Marchanter's real sons and daughters by raped female slaves and thus have taken the Melkotia name. While all members will swear that this is true (even under torture), many if not most secretly do not believe it, but greatly fear their very real power. Some of the rank and file members, however, really are the children of people who once worked in the castle (castle guards, cooks, maids, servants, lab assistants and apprentices, etc.). A few of these original castle occupants are even still alive, though most had never even laid eyes on Marchanter during their stay in the castle (they always say they knew him personally of course).

All members of the Sons above 1st level are double-classed in one of two combinations: fighter-mage or thief-mage (either side can be the primary class). All must meet appropriate minimums in their important ability scores to reach certain levels, thus every member is quite skilled. The Sons recognize that although Marchanter may have been a very powerful archmage, he is not a god (at least, to their knowledge, not yet). Thus there are no priests (though they mislead the public into believing so) and the word "cult" is never used by the membership. All members must be human or mostly human.

Every member wears a special ring as an identifying emblem. The rings are supposedly a copy of a ring of great power created and worn by Marchanter himself. The original was rumored to be composed of a strange metal not found on the Prime Material Plane and was set with a single red gem also not of this plane. Its powers are unknown. The faceted gem has Marchanter's emblem somehow carved into it. Sons of less than 6th level have silver rings set with a garnet. Sons of 6th and higher have gold rings set with high quality garnets. The leaders have gold-platinum alloy rings set with rubies. All the stones have Marchanter's emblem carved into it. The rings look quite ordinary to the uninitiated unless closely examined with a magnifier, but members are trained to identify them from a range of 6 feet. The punishment for revealing this information to a non-member is well known to every member who receives a ring: what is left of your soul when the Sons' leaders finish with your body will be sold to a lower planar creature (baatezu, yugoloth or tanar'ri) in return for information useful to the Sons.

Major Aims of the Sons

1. The quest for magical knowledge.

2. Research into the workings (structure and politics) of the multiverse - particularly the aims and actions of the Powers (gods, archfiends, etc.). As a result, the Sons do not follow the teachings of any one particular god, though individual members may. A handful of gods have the leaders' "seal of  approval".

3. Investigations into the disappearance and present whereabouts of Marchanter, what he was working on, how to bring him back.

4. Take control of Melkotia Castle (sometimes referred to as the "Nexus" by the leaders, perhaps because of its importance to their plans), particularly to reach the Library (believed to be the largest in the world), Marchanter's quarters, his various labs, etc. to get a hold of the powerful magic items and spells that are rumored to be there, and to follow the previously stated aims.

5. To expand their sphere of influence and knowledge over as large a geographic area as possible.

Because of this obsessive quest for knowledge, the Sons have more detailed knowledge about Lord Marchanter Melkotia and Melkotia Castle than most any other sources. They also have a much clearer, less biased view of the aims and relationships of the Powers than any other organization, and their spy network have uncovered much of the inner activity of most western Flanaess governments, churches, cults and other organizations. Rumor is that even the Scarlet Brotherhood, an organization the personifies deception and duplicity, has been infiltrated. It has been confirmed that the Sons have even managed to penetrate the impenetrable Tower of the Silent Ones, although to what degree is unknown. The single known infiltrator was killed upon capture (Living Greyhawk Journal #4, pg 16), and caused even the Wyrd to sit up and take notice of a group that they had paid no previous attention.

You may ask "what is wrong with any of those ambitions?" They all seem quite harmless... well, with the exception of bringing back one of the most dangerous tyrants to ever walk the Oerth. In their case, the end always justifies the means. The Sons are willing to do anything that moves them towards their goals. While members may be any neutral or evil alignment, their leaders are as evil as they come. And what do most insiders believe will happen if the above is even partially accomplished (though it is never discussed)? - The power they will have once they have all this information and magic will enable them to take control of and rule a large area of the continent, crushing any opposition. The creation of a new Empire, in Marchanter's name. In preparation for this, the Sons have spies placed in many governments and most large wizards guilds in the Flanaess.

The Leaders of the Sons

All are double-classed (primary class is listed here), high-leveled, and have special familiars (therefore they all have magic resistance and regenerate).

Marak Melkotia - human male; high level wizard; Supreme Leader of the Sons; very imposing, quiet, brooding personality; extremely      intelligent; brilliant planner; obsessed with the secrets of Melkotia Castle; the intellectual force behind the Sons.

Kerene Melkotia - human (¼ elven) female; high level wizard; 2nd-in-command; very intelligent, expert diplomat; more outgoing      personality, pretty face hides her ruthlessness; supervises wizard training; deals with internal problems.

Jarath Melkotia - human male; high level thief; very intelligent; spymaster for the Sons; quiet, average-looking; very little is known about him.

Jorak Melkotia - human male; high level warrior; Leader of the Black Guard; 6'6", very muscular, pitch black full plate armor - a very imposing figure who strikes fear in everyone who sees him; death and evil seems to radiate from him, kills quickly and viciously with very little provocation - failure means death, no excuses; corridors clear when he strides by.

 History of the Sons

When Lord Marchanter Melkotia disappeared in 6063, Melkotia Castle was abandoned in a single day. Many never did make it out, and it is a widely held belief among members of the Sons that no one made it out of the twin towers. In 6073, on the tenth anniversary of this event, the "Sons of Marchanter" was formed as a harmless (and very secret) gathering of a handful of former apprentices and castle workers sharing memories.

In 6081 the "Purging " occurred when several "Sons" were assassinated. Shortly thereafter (6082) the Sons became a fanatical cult, beginning to recruit and train followers. Forays were attempted into Melkotia Castle, but were all turned back or destroyed. The Castle had become thoroughly overrun by strange and deadly creatures. With a large contingent of cult members, the Sons managed to take and hold the New Guard Tower (the closest, smallest part of the Castle that serves as the only entrance). On the 30th anniversary of Marchanter's disappearance (6093) the Sons took control of the Old Guard Tower and Barracks (the next building) after much loss of life. The true number being known only to the higher level members, a rumor among junior cult members is that fully half of the cult gave their lives in that assault. In 6096 (the 70th anniversary of the start of the Years of Dark Terror) a party of high level cult members attempted to reach the Laboratory building. They were never heard from again.

Possible reasons for joining the cult in the first place:

To citizens of neutral alignment, particularly those living in the thieves quarter, the aims of the Sons doesn't seem to be that bad (the quest for magical knowledge, research into the workings of the multiverse - particularly the aims and actions of the Powers, investigations into the unknown history of the City of Melkot), and besides, the presence of the Sons provides the only law within the Dark City, containing that evil within and theoretically protecting the rest of the city as a result. Evil citizens have no qualms whatsoever about the tactics of the Sons (as long as they're not working against them).

The single most important reason - free training of the highest possible quality amongst a brotherhood of people with similar interests and similar background (generally loners with no families or homes). Other members become their only family.

Your reasons for quitting:

As your apprenticeship progressed, you've become disenchanted with the Sons' secret agenda as you found out more about them since first joining. Having started out in your chosen class, you have now been ordered to begin training in another class that you don't want to train in. This next level of training always involves a recruit's first assignment to the Castle. Alarmingly, a friend who started his training just before you heard a rumor that 60% of all recruits sent to the Castle to gain experience and hold the ground gained so far never return. More than a little concerned about this, your friend told you he was quitting and going to try to leave. He disappeared the next day, leaving all his stuff behind in his locker although you know he was definitely going to bring some things with him. There has been no sign of him ever since. The final straw... you've recently been having terrifying nightmares about Jorak. He scares the hell out of you. He scares the hell out of everybody.

Your Escape:

After what happened to your friend, you did not discuss your apprehensions or intentions with anyone. By sheer luck, you were sent out into the Dark City on an errand and in a dark alley discovered the body of a murdered man about your size and general appearance. You immediately seized the opportunity. You swapped clothes and personal effects, bludgeoned his face, and crushed the normal silver ring he wore so it could be mistaken for your special ring. You hid out in an abandoned building for several days for things to quiet down, then made your way to the home of an elderly sage you had befriended during your apprenticeship. He smuggled you out of the city. Accompanying a caravan to the first port, you got on a ship and eventually made your way to your present location. You still have your ID ring and a small traveling spellbook containing all your spells, but very little else.

Your new life has begun.

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This page last modified on December 18, 2018