The Known World – The Scourge of Saint Benedict

 

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Saint Benedict

Hundreds of years ago, after the Iron Scale fell but before the Denebre Empire rose, a small monastery dedicated to Tor provided light and hope to many an isolated mountain village. In the depths of winter a darkness settled across the region and innocent people started to die. At first it was mutilated bodies found far from their homes. Then came the plagues of weakness and death. Eventually folk that had vanished started to return only to reveal that they were now corrupted undead things as they devoured their loved ones.

The monastery suffered losses as both brothers and sisters vanished never to be seen again. All seemed lost until a brother named Benedict, with a scarred face and haunted gaze, swore that he would put an end to the land’s suffering. He threw off his holy robes and armed himself with hunting weapons from a time before his holy vows.

He walked alone into the night and was never seen again. For three weeks the common folk huddled in their meager homes. Each evening they hear monstrous calls, hellish screams, and the moans of things dying beyond the fire light. When the screaming stopped the villagers came out of their homes. Eventually they grew brave enough to venture into the forests and what they found horrified them. Since that time the region has become a safe haven for those who flee from darkness and evil. No monsters roam the woods, no unholy abominations venture from open graves, and no demons dare flit through shadows.

The holy order of Saint Benedict continues to honor the monk’s sacrifice. They have spread across the Known World hunting down monsters and evil creatures wherever they threaten innocent blood. The thorn wrapped fist of Saint Benedict continues to be a powerful symbol against evil.

The Scourge

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Members of the Order of Saint Benedict come from all walks of life but it is the Scourge who are the most well known. These sanctified warriors wield terrifying otherworldly powers taken directly from the monsters they fight. They are touched by darkness and but, through the blessings of Saint Benedict, they are not consumed by it/

The path to becoming a Scourge is one of loss and pain. Some have lost loved ones, others were victimized themselves, and a handful were even monsters before they were cleansed of evil. How the Order is able to purge the darkness from innocent hearts is a closely guarded secret but given the physical and mental scares all Scourge carry it is not something undertaken lightly.

Game Stuff

Anyone can be inducted into the Order of Saint Benedict. This is treated like an additional background Feature and grants role playing benefits as the common folk recognize what a character is. Scourge, on the other hand, are their own class modeled on the Blood Hunter created by Mathew Mercer (support this awesome creator by visiting the link). Most Scourge also have the Haunted One background introduced in Curse of Strahd to reflect how they have been touched by darkness. Other backgrounds are totally fine as long as there’s some brush with evil in their back story.

Scourge are treated exactly like Blood Hunters but the Order of the Mutant is instead called the Order of the Marked and revolves around powerful inscriptions on mortal flesh instead of potions. Replaces proficiency with Alchemists supplies with Calligrapher’s supplies when a Scourge joins the Order of the Marked at third level. This is primarily for flavor to reflect that Scourge are sanctioned by a deity and marked by their experiences.

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