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Mozart in lodge, Vienna

The 18th century was a golden age of secret (and semi-secret) societies. Freemasonry’s central role in both the American and French Revolutions is, of course, well known, but a host of lesser-known groups also competed for members and influence. Counted among that group would be the exclusive gentlemen’s clubs of London, and the various knightly orders that had long ceased to serve any actual military function. Libertine organizations such as the Hellfire Club and The Beggar’s Benison attracted the cream of British society. There were also numerous occult variations of Freemasonry created in the 18th century, such as Cagliostro’s Egyptian Rite. Some 18th century groups (such as the Odd Fellows and the Freemasons themselves) endure to this day. The infamous Bavarian Illuminati, although long extinct, live on in the imaginations of conspiracy theorists.

The following tables will let you quickly generate the rough outlines of a quasi-Masonic or pseudo-chivalric organization of the type common among the members of High Society in the late 18th century. They can also be used to define the fictional Magical Order that initiated a Magician PC, or the fellowship that aids a Demon Hunter.

Organization Name

d12, four times

The…

1

Elect… Brothers (or Sisters) of the Golden… Triangle

2

Mystic… Order… of the Mysterious… Temple

3

Ancient… Confraternity (or Consorority)… of the Eternal… Eye

4

Illuminated… Fraternity (or Sorority)… of the Wondrous… Circle

5

Holy… Seers… of the Holy… Cross

6

Sacred… Companions… of the Praiseworthy… Stone

7

Superlative… Knights (or Dames)… of the Supernal… Dew

8

Accepted… Sodality… of the Most Revered… Grail

9

Christian… Intendants… of the Divine… Sword

10

Blessed… Servants… of the Untarnished… Mountain

11

Royal… Guardians… of the Deathless… Sun

12

Blameless… Watchers… of the Glorious… Column

 

Public Purpose of the Group

d20

The organization claims to be a group dedicated to…

1

improving public morals.

2

supporting widows.

3

improving the lives of the poor.

4

providing free medical care.

5

supporting the King.

6

helping “fallen” women.

7

a specific game or pastime.

8

appreciating wine.

9

appreciating food. (A specific food, or fine food in general.)

10

promoting the arts.

11

building churches.

12

sheltering orphans.

13

visiting the sick and imprisoned.

14

advancing medicine.

15

advancing natural philosophy.

16

antiquarianism.

17

exploration.

18

the mutual aid of its membership.

19

defending the realm.

20

defending Christianity.

 

Actual Purpose of the Group

d20

The organization’s real activity is

1

actually the same thing as their publicly stated goal!

2

vigilantism.

3

international espionage.

4

assassination for hire.

5

instituting a Republic.

6

overthrowing the current Royal House and installing a new one.

7

trading pornography.

8

gambling.

9

indulging in murder (or some other crime) for pleasure.

10

throwing orgies.

11

indulging in elaborate dinners.

12

indulging in flagellation (or another esoteric erotic practice).

13

the destruction of Christianity.

14

the worship of Satan (or another diabolical figure)

15

the worship of Demogorgon (or some other bizarre demon-god).

16

the worship of a pagan god

17

the service of a Fairy Queen (or King)

18

the practice of Magic (or Mad Science)

19

the performance of a vile ritual that keeps their members rich (or young, or beautiful)

20

the destruction of supernatural evil. (They are a society of Demon Hunters.)

 

Tokens of Recognition

d8

Members identify each other through…

1

a secret handshake.

2

a secret password.

3

a catechism.

4

a tattoo or brand.

5

a ring.

6

a perfume.

7

the wearing of a certain flower.

8

an article of clothing.

 

Rituals

d20

The group’s rituals are based on ….

1

Arthurian legend.

2

various incidents in Roman history.

3

Classical mythology.

4

the legends of Charlemagne.

5

the travels of Marco Polo.

6

the Jewish Kabbalah.

7

ancient Gnosticism.

8

Hermeticism.

9

Druidism.

10

ancient Germanic religion.

11

Sacred Geometry.

12

Egyptian myths.

13

the Book of Genesis.

14

an Old Testament story.

15

a New Testament story.

16

the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation.

17

bastardized Tantracism.

18

bastardized Sufism.

19

a bastardized Native American ritual.

20

a bastardized African ritual.

 

Membership Makeup

d20

Membership is limited…

1

to men.

2

to men of high social standing.

3

to men who have attended a certain boarding school,

4

to women.

5

to women of high social standing.

6

to women who have attended a certain boarding school (or convent).

7

the men and women of high social standing.

8

to Catholic (or Orthodox) men.

9

to Catholic (or Orthodox) women.

10

to Catholics (or the Orthodox) of any gender.

11

to Protestant men.

12

to Protestant women.

13

to Protestants of any gender.

14

to people of a certain ethnicity.

15

to those who have already performed a significant act in support of the group’s public (or actual) purpose.

16

to tradesmen.

17

to tradesmen, and their wives.

18

to soldiers.

19

to soldiers, and their wives.

20

in no way – all are free to join.

 

The Initiation Ritual

d100

The most startling thing about the initiation ritual is…

1 – 3

it takes place in a burial ground (or catacombs).

4 – 6

it takes place in a ruined church.

7 – 9

it takes place in a cavern.

10 – 12

it takes place aboard a boat (or ship).

13 – 15

it involves the relics of a saint (or former king).

16 – 18

the whole ritual is performed in a comedic manner.

19 – 21

its simplicity – the candidate is simply blindfolded, and made to take an oath.

22 – 24

the candidate’s body is painted.

25 – 27

the chamber is decorated with images of horror.

28 – 30

it is completely conducted in a strange and unknown language.

31 – 36

the candidate must strip nude.

37 – 40

the elaborate costumes and masks.

41 – 43

the use of sophisticated magic lantern techniques.

44 – 46

the candidate must take a hallucinogenic drug beforehand.

47 – 49

the oath, which threatens horrible punishments if the group’s secrets are revealed.

50 – 52

the prominent role of a human skull (or skeleton).

53 – 55

the candidate must confess their worst sin in front of the group.

56 – 58

the candidate is made to renounce ALL other allegiances.

59 – 61

the candidates must ritually duel each other.

62 – 64

the candidate is ritually slapped by the senior members.

65 – 67

the candidate must sign a book in their own blood.

68 – 70

the candidate is ritually scourged.

71 – 73

the candidate will be unexpectedly abducted and taken to the place of initiation.

74 – 77

the candidate must kiss the bare buttocks of a senior member.

78 – 80

the candidate is positioned before the backside of goat (or other domestic animal), then blindfolded and told they must kiss the animal’s posterior. At the last moment the animal is replaced with a lovely young women (or handsome lad), who kisses the candidate instead.

81 – 83

the candidate is blindfolded and kept immobile for an hour.

84 – 86

the candidate is branded.

87 – 89

the candidate is briefly buried alive (or locked in a coffin).

90 – 92

the candidate is anointed all over their body with scented oils.

93 – 95

the candidate is ritually bathed.

96 – 98

the candidate is tattooed.

99

the actual presence of a supernatural creature.

100

the candidate must have ritual sex with another member.

 

The Hazing of Candidates

d20

Candidates for initiation are often hazed by…

1

being paddled on their buttocks.

2

being made to run a gauntlet of members wielding birch switches.

3

being made to wait on members while dressed as a peasant maid.

4

being tricked into consuming something inedible.

5

having their hands bound, and being made to move objects around the room with their mouths.

6

being woken in their bed by a bucket of cold water.

7

being made to eat something the other members have deposited bodily fluids on.

8

being bound, blindfolded, and tricked into believing that the group is being attacked by the authorities (or its enemies).

9

being made to drink alcohol until they pass out.

10

being smeared with dirt and garbage.

11

having their entire body shaved.

12

being made to run until they drop.

13

being blindfolded, and having eggs thrown at them unexpectedly.

14

being made to bend over and pick up coins from the ground, and then being kicked in the buttocks.

15

being used as a human table for a meal eaten by senior members.

16

being made to wear donkey ears as they are ridiculed by members.

17

being taken on a hunt for a nonexistent animal (or being sent on a quest to find a nonexistent item).

18

being thrown into an iron maiden with retracting, “trick” spikes.

19

having a pistol loaded with a blank shot fired at them.

20

being made to walk through the streets masked, but in a ridiculous costume.

 

Ritual Costume and Regalia

d20, 1d4 times

The ritual costume of members includes

1

a robe. (Disregard if a 20 is also rolled.)

2

anachronistic clothing. (Disregard if a 20 is also rolled.)

3

a mantle or cape.

4

slippers.

5

a sash.

6

a badge (pinned to clothing).

7

a medal (worn on a ribbon).

8

a sword.

9

a cord.

10

a hood.

11

a wand.

12

an apron.

13

gloves.

14

a mask.

15

a dagger.

16

a helmet.

17

a candle or torch.

18

a spear.

19

a tool ordinarily used by craftspeople.

20

being nude, except for the other regalia worn.

 

The Privileges of Membership

d20

A major benefit of membership is…

1

access to the group’s secure safe houses.

2

any member can expect unlimited hospitality at any other member’s home.

3

the safety of the group’s extremely liberal social attitudes.

4

a large number of public officials are members (or the spouses of members).

5

a large number of financiers (or their spouses) are members.

6

access to a network of skilled craftspeople willing to build or make anything without question.

7

a large number of very attractive people are members.

8

access to the rare and forbidden books possessed by the group.

9

access to the group’s network of scholars.

10

access to the group’s intelligence network.

11

members agree to hold their spouses in common.

12

access to the group’s store of powerful Weird Objects.

13

access to the group’s vast armory.

14

access to the group’s store of drugs and poisons.

15

potential access to a powerful magical ritual that confers wealth, health, or youth.

16

a large number of aristocrats are members.

17

a large number of artists are members.

18

the numerous parties and feasts.

19

members are pledged to defend each other with their lives.

20

the aid of supernatural allies.

 

Local Section Designation

d12

Each local section of the group is called a…

1

lodge.

2

chapter.

3

circle.

4

coterie.

5

hall.

6

court.

7

hostelry.

8

temple.

9

coven.

10

commandery.

11

bailiwick.

12

parish.

 

Group Structure

d10, twice

The group is organized into…

1

three… degrees.

2

four… ranks.

3

five… grades.

4

six… tiers.

5

seven… divisions.

6

nine… strata.

7

ten… spheres.

8

twelve… castes.

8

twenty-two… qualities.

9

twenty-six… stages.

10

thirty-two… levels.

 

Titles for New Initiates

d12

A newly joined member is called a…

1

Neophyte.

2

Apprentice.

3

Initiate.

4

Tyro.

5

Squire (or Maid).

6

Student.

7

Associate.

8

Probationer.

9

Aspirant.

10

Novice.

11

Seeker.

12

Novitiate.

 

Titles for Middle-ranked Members

d10, twice

The middle-ranked titles include…

1

Fellow… Journeyman / Journeywoman.

2

Registered… Brother / Sister.

3

Recorded… Knight / Dame.

4

Practicing… Craftsman / Craftswomen. (May also be a specific trade associated with the group’s purpose, such as Carpenter, or Hunter).

5

Errant… Frater / Soror.

6

Ordained… Adept.

7

Uncontested… Scribe.

8

Faithful… Warder.

9

Ordinary… Companion.

10

Instructed… Comrade.

 

Titles for Senior Members

d10, three times

The senior-ranked titles include…

1

Perfect… Master / Mistress… of the Temple.

2

Supreme… Prince / Princess… of the Rule.

3

Absolute… Custodian… of the Law.

4

Anointed… Hierophant… of the Secret.

5

Royal… Guardian… of the Portal.

6

Ineffable… Commander… of the East (or other direction).

7

Sublime… Intendant… of the Holy Mountain.

8

Glorious… Chamberlain / Chatelaine… of the Eagle.

9

Most Holy… Confidante… of the Crown.

10

Sacred… Sovereign… of the Most Holy Grail.

 

Group Governance

d10

The group is governed…

1

as completely independent cells without any kind of higher organization.

2

by local bodies electing representatives to regional bodies, who in turn vote for the overall leader.

3

by the eldest member of a single family, whose word is absolute.

4

by an absolute leader appointed by the previous one.

5

by a leader who is appointed by the previous one, but must also be confirmed by a vote of the membership.

6

by a cabal who appoint their successors.

7

by a Grandmaster appointed by a monarch (and not necessarily the local one).

8

as a true democracy, and all major decisions of the elected officers must also be ratified by the membership.

9

by a hierarchy so complicated that not even its members fully understand how it operates!

10

directly by a supernatural being.

 

Meeting Frequency

d20

The group meets…

1

every Sunday.

2

every Monday.

3

every Tuesday.

4

every Wednesday.

5

every Thursday.

6

every Friday.

7

every Saturday.

8

every fortnight (two weeks).

9

once a month, when the sun enters a new zodiacal sign.

10

on the first of each month.

11

in the middle of each month.

12

at the end of each month.

13

on every full moon.

14

on every new moon.

15

four times a year – on the Equinoxes and Solstices.

16

four times a year – on Candlemas, May Day, First Fruits, and All Saints Day.

17

annually, on Pentecost.

18

annually, on the Spring Equinox.

19

annually, on Walpurgisnacht.

20

annually, on Good Friday.

 

The Group’s Nemesis

d12

The organization that is the group’s nemesis…

1

wants to expose the group’s secrets, and what it believes to be their true activities.

2

is antagonistic only because of a petty personal grudge on the part of its leader.

3

wants to avenge a specific crime the group purposefully committed.

4

wants to avenge a crime the group inadvertently committed.

5

actually originated as a splinter faction, and still even shares the same goals!

6

often makes overtures of reconciliation, but the group always rebuffs them.

7

is significantly weaker, but its current leadership is extremely clever and resourceful.

8

is much stronger/larger, but its current leadership is incompetent.

9

was founded by people denied membership to the group.

10

is comprised of the same kind of members, but has an opposite goal.

11

is completely opposite in both its membership characteristics and its goals.

12

hates the group for some reason nobody can ascertain.
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