Lost Wrights Company
D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
Runner-up in the 2006 Nexus Organizations Contest.
The War of Souls signaled a change to the land of Ansalon following the harsh decades of the early Age of Mortals. The return of the deities and the fall of the Dragon Overlords brought about a sense of renewed hope and promises for a better future. Art and theatre begin to grow in earnest as people resumed pursuits that the harshness of the earlier times discouraged or suppressed in areas. The Lost Wrights Company came to fore expressing interest in the restoration and spread of the lost great works of playwrights of the past who have fallen into obscurity due to the turbulent times of the past centuries.
In the short years following the War of Souls, they have made a number of notable progresses in their goals. A number of the recovered works have been brought forth from some of the sponsors' personal family collections and have received much praise. Others have been uncovered in old ruins and restored allowing others to enjoy their splendors. The works of Eldaho, Vincesca, and Arkhol have begun to be shown across the lands either through sponsored theatres or traveling troupes.
That is the truth of the organization as many who've encountered it have come to know about them. Yet that is only merely one facet of what there is for, much like in acting, the organization has different masks to wear. Amongst the Directors and other members of the organization is a clique covertly direct their ambitions through the pleasing façade of the Lost Wrights Company.
Their ambition ties to the work of one particular playwright of the past, Eldaho. A legend in his time, his work was noted for the expansive use of demons as antagonist that droved his many stories. In the time of Istar, his work was considered blasphemy by the Church for their use of demons and many copies were thrown to the blazes in their attempt to wipe the works from Ansalon. Only a few of the works survived this hunt, scattered and hidden across the land until a few of them were unearthed by founding members of the Lost Wrights Company.
It was during an impromptu reenactment of a scene from Eldaho's play that they uncovered the horrid truth of Eldaho's success. Each of his works was capable of conjuring forth or calling the attention of demonic beings that they featured to Ansalon. In exchange for eternal fame, Eldaho had sold his works to forever be a medium by which Hiddukel could send through his demonic agents to Ansalon providing a medium for corruption and temptation through the guise of a play production.
Using Eldaho's plays to bring about demons to Ansalon to provide services or bargains, several of the Directors have grown in power and hunger for other lost Eldaho's works to expand their power even more. They've only entrusted a few other members with the manner to properly use Eldaho's plays in order to hide their activity from members and nonmembers unaware of their ambitions.
Already, a few settlements have vanished without a trace when their people gathered for a night of theatre and found themselves sacrificed to a summoned swarm of ravenous demons that manifested. Other nobles who came to watch a play have become possessed by incorporeal demons called forth during the performance and are now slaves to their vile will. Slowly the Lost Wrights Company works their vile art beneath the unsuspecting façade they've created as their cover.
The Lost Wrights Company is comprised of a number of sponsors ranging from wealthy merchants, nobles, artisans, and theater owners who are dedicated to the restoration of lost plays from earlier time. Their interest most specifically falls to plays originating from the late Age of Dreams and Age of Might eras. Works like those of Eldaho are increasingly hard to find due to the infamy of the playwright's work involving demons which made them a source of ire for the rising Istaran Empire which burned many copies of it.
Besides their pursuit of these lost works, the Lost Wrights Company has also worked earnestly to sponsor the creation of traveling troupes and theaters to host these works. They often seek to restore abandoned theater halls for use or to build new ones in order to ensure that large communities have ready access. Traveling troupes also help spread these works by traveling to more remote or small settlement regions. Most of them travel specific circuits in regions in order to ensure the maximum spread.
Those who are aware of Eldaho's legacy and form that demonic circle within the Lost Wrights Company has a more direct and focused goal: to find and recover all the remaining works of Eldaho in order to secure even greater power. They've also cunningly begun to use the plays' abilities to call forth demons to lay ruin to distant settlements or garner them more powers from unsuspecting fools. They try to avoid the eye of the forces of good that would fall upon them if the truth was known. Thus they work hard to cultivate their more pleasant image to hide the sinister heart that directs things from the shadow.
A recent fervor that has consumed some of the members is Eldaho's last play, which is rumored to be a work based on his life and promises even greater power than any of his prior works. It has never actually been performed as Eldaho disappeared mysteriously while he was working on it and this mystery has only further intensified the greed of many to find it.
Headquarters/Area of Influence
The Lost Wrights Company has sponsored a number of theatres and has managed to set up a presence for themselves in most major cities. The areas of Solamnia and Abanasinia are areas they've been working hard in to cultivate their presence. Palanthas, the Jewel of Solamnia, is the site of a grand new theatre they've been constructing in hopes of cementing their place in the hearts of the citizens there. In all but the most dangerous of regions like the Desolation or the Plains of Dust they've been paying traveling troupes to travel the land to spread their work.
The Company doesn't have any true headquarters where they gather, but the largest store of their work is found in the city of Haltigoth in Estwilde. It is also serves as a meeting place for many of the Directors when they have pressing matters of concern to discuss. Veraku maintains the manor which they use and serves as the nominal director of activities for the company in that city as well. Most traveling troupes are expected to pass through the city in order to receive new works to perform during their journeys.
The Lost Wrights Company is a loosely organized body with a consortium of directors who communicate and meet with one another to debate on best manners of pursuing their goals. Below them is a vast array of sponsored theaters, traveling troupes, and adventuring bands that operate under a loose authority from any of the presiding directors. Most are typically tied to a specific director who serves as their main liaison with the rest of the organization. Overall there is a fairly large amount of independence provided regarding how members operate to achieve the goals.
The demonologists amongst the Lost Wrights Company allow this to go forth as it allows them maintain a pretty harmless image to the public. Within this circle, authority is purely determined by power and wealth. Each Director has a number of members such as actors or traveling troupes who are in the confidence of the darker ambitions of the organization, but are always certain to keep some clueless ones too as cover. Of course, each one secretly commands absolute authority and scuffling through different agents or proxies have been known to occur.
It is only the iron leadership and fear generated by Kharal that keeps them focused on the goals instead of turning on each other completely. A red dragon of infernal descent, he has taken a particular interest in the use of Eldaho's work, though his full ambitions have remained unsaid. He typically sends an aurak named Veraku as a proxy to the other Directors to keep things in line.
The Lost Wrights Company does not have any direct allies, instead simply enjoying the quiet support of most other groups who are unaware of the darker ambitions lurking behind the façade. The church of Branchala is the most notable supportive group of the Lost Wrights Company's goals and some of the church members even work with them. They are largely unaware of the demonic ties that are subtly manipulating the direction of the organization and would be greatly angered to discover the deception and ruse.
As an organization dedicated to restoring and spreading lost works, there are few who would consider themselves enemies to the Lost Wrights Company. If the truth of certain presiding members of the organization comes to fore, then many good-aligned churches, the Knight of Solamnia, Legion of Steels, and similar spiritual organizations would seek to stem the demonic ties from the organization.
Most members are not burdened with great amounts of responsibility in the organization, simply performing the task that they desire as part of the whole. Actors seek to perform the plays that have been recovered. Rich merchants tend to supply money or work to supply goods for performances. Adventurers delve into old ruins in pursuit of lost manuscripts. Many are simply caught up in the general spirit of their love for this work or simply the fame in working with a growing prestigious organization. Since it is not a secret organization, the members openly show their affiliations with pride.
The demonic faction within the organization, carry themselves in very much the same manner except that they are driven more by greed than love. They are certainly unafraid of the manner by which they achieve these goals. Robbing a collector's home in order to recover some works is perfectly fine if no suspicion falls back upon the organization. Most paramount of concerns is to ensure that nobody outside the circle is allowed to discover the true intentions else the organization may be undone by those who would quickly move to stop it.
Joining the Organization
The Lost Wrights Company is readily accepting of thespians willing to work in performing the lost works that they've restored. They've also sponsored some adventuring bands who actively seek out places to find lost works for them. Anyone interested in joining best seeks out one of the directors of the Lost Wrights Company and impress the desire to work in restoring and spreading the lost works across Ansalon once more. Providing some donation to the cause either in discovered lost works, services, or money certainly goes well in establishing one's dedication.
Costs and Benefits of Membership
Anyone who joins the Lost Wrights Company is expected to dedicate a fair amount of their time and services in the best manner possible to the goals of the organization. It is further emphasized that behaviors that would reflect badly are not condoned. Since those who join are typically amiable to the ideals, there are generally little problems by these strictures. Any members of the Lost Wrights Company can find welcome arms in the company of any other members who are happy to provide aid to a fellow brother of the art.
It is far more costly for anyone who seeks to join the inner circle of the Lost Wrights Company as they view anyone else as a possible rival. Typically, they must prove their loyalty and dedication to one of the directors who allow them to serve under him. Such sponsorship allows them greater access to the darker secrets of the group, but they must be cautious for failure or weakness is unacceptable and more then a few have found themselves sacrificed to demons for their trouble.
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