"Fear the night, for we rule the dark".
Type of Organization
Type of Members
|Thieves, Mercenaries, Thugs, Bandits, Fences, Sorcerer Priests|
|Number of Members||107|
|Demographics||Human 60%, Dwarven 15%, Grum 10%, Orcish 10%, Other 5%|
|Special - see below|
|Year Founded||2692 CY|
The Scourge is a small, but growing underworld organization that prowls the capital city of Orrojek in Kalimura. This brotherhood blurs the line between a crime cartel and a dark cult. The guild has 107 members currently and recruits a new member every few weeks. Most of the group consists of common street thugs, petty thieves and mercenary soldiers turned brigand. The common rabble is, however, ruled over by a cabal of dark sorcerer priests.
This organization has become an increasing threat to the safety and security of Orrojek. Officials believe that the Scourge may be responsible for a number of recent murders and thefts. They operate exclusively at night. It is because of this group that Orrojek city guard has had to increase night time patrols. The back alleys of the huge city are becoming dangerous.
The Scourge operates out of a network of subterranean tunnels that connect to the city's sewer system. These chambers are deep, hidden and well protected against intruders. There are only two entrances and these are well guarded.
The city of Orrojek has several different criminal organizations. Most a small and loosely organized brotherhoods of common criminals. There was one group however that was different. This group consisted of a handful of renegade wizards and priests who lurked in the shadows, fighting the government and its ban on magic. The most gifted member of these renegade wizards was a human named Vidion.
Three years ago, the wizard Vidion managed to summon a demon named Arxkula. However, Vidion badly underestimated the dangers of such a summoning ritual. Arxkula broke free of the binding spells and slew Vidion. Although a powerful demon with considerable magical ability, Arxkula found himself trapped on this plane with no way of returning to the dark corner of the netherverse from which he was summoned. Through the use of powerful charm spells and the promise of power, he quickly took control of the group of renegade wizards. His control was subtle at first, but quickly grew. Within a year, he had complete control over all the wizards and slowly turned them into a sort of sorcerer priest hybrid. He has boosted their magical abilities and granted them spells, but also tightly controls them and their magic. Soon, after, Arxkula took control of a thieves group known as the Blades. He has merged these two groups into a new order under his control. They now call themselves "the Scourge".
Since being taken over by this demon, the authorities have noticed a change in the underworld. The thieves group known to the authorities as the Blades, once known as only a loose brotherhood of petty crooks, has became more organized and more vicious. Their members now carry better blades and armor. They have begun making more daring robberies and commiting blatant murder. The thieves now carry with them small magic items and have manage to elude authorities on several occasions with the help of magic. Elements of dark sorcery have been found at several crime scenes.
The sorcerer priests of this group wield what they call “blood magic”. Blood and the sacrifice of living things are two important components of their spells. The demon Arxkula teaches them this "blood magic" and gives them new spells. He also grants them a great deal of magical ability directly. (If Arxkula were to be slain, the sorcerer priests would lose a significant amount of their magical power). This blood magic has been seen to strengthen one person or weaken another. Pain and death are bound to it. Light and shadow, fire and smoke have been summoned and manipulated by this magic. The authorities, having no wizards, have no idea what the limits of this group and their magic are.
Anyone skilled in magic studying the trace evidence left behind at crime scenes can to deduce that there is some unusual and dark sorcery at work here. They might be able to deduce that it is based on blood and sacrifices and is based on demonic magic. However, the authorities of Orrojek have no skill in magic and no wizards in their employ. Thus far, the only thing known to the authorities is that this thieves guild is using magic of some type. They have seen its effects, but know nothing of its true nature.
Members of this group are given a bloodmark. This is a special type of magical glyph which is branded onto the skin in a ritual conducted by the priests. This bloodmark can be made to appear and disappear by the scourge priests by means of a spell only they know. Arxkula can also use the bloodmark to cause pain in the member or outright death. This can be an effective form of punishment for failure and a way to ensure loyalty to the group. The scourge priests can also scry upon those who bear the bloodmark. In this way, they can watch the faithful. Any member of the Scourge who is captured can be killed with this bloodmark before they are able to give away any information about the group.
Arxkula rules over the sorcerer priests and the priests, in turn, rule over the more common members of the group (thieves, brigands, thugs and so forth). Most of the common members have never even see Arxkula, who hides away in deep chambers, served by his priests. The thieves have, however, seen evidence of his existence. They have seen his magic work, they have seen the remains of his meals and so forth.
Rumors of some dark and terrible power circulate throughout the underworld of Orrojek. Other criminal groups are smaller, weaker and less organized by comparison. They know that the Scourge has some dark source of power, though they know not what. In hopes of sharing in wealth and power, many a young thief has attempted to join the Scourge, but the priests of the Scourge are very selective and do not take everyone. It is difficult to get an audience with a priest. The applicant must bring an offering... something of great value. If the candidate possesses useful skills and is deemed worthy, the priests will accept the offering. Those who have no skills or bring a meager offering (or both) are often killed outright or brought to Arxkula as a meal. If the offering is accepted, then the young criminal must kill an innocent victim and bring the body to the priests... a test of their commitment to the dark path they are about to tread.
Upon successfully passing that gruesome initiation, the hopeful is accepted into the ranks of the Scourge and given their bloodmark.
No one outside of this group knows its terrible secret... that its members swear loyalty to a living, breathing demon who dwells in the catacombs and sewers beneath the streets. The demon’s full name and title, as he is spoken of by the priests, is Arxkula the Mighty, a lesser lord of Pharunis, one of the 12 Blood Demons of Zalmora, Master of the Bone Gate, Holder of the Kulath Sceptre, Faithful servant of the Abyssal Lords.
The demon Arxkula is very secretive and paranoid. He allows only his priests to see him. He sometimes demands that they bring him a fresh, living human victim so that he may feast. More often than not, they bring him beef or mutton. He has been known to devour a follower that greatly failed him. Arxkula is careful that he and his group to do not slay too often. Too many missing people from the city above would greatly alarm the authorities and might bring too much attention to the group.
Arxkula is making long term plans for his group. The fact that the city above has no magic has made things much easier for him. He wants to eventually conquer all other criminal groups and obtain total control over the underworld of Orrjek and all of Kalimura. He hopes to one day rest control of the capital city and conquer Kalimura and take it as his own. He would, most likely, have to rule discreetly from the shadows, for some time before casting off the veil of secrecy and sitting a throne. This is, however, a very long term plan. It will take Arxkula many years before he can put such dreams into action. At the current time, his group is small and vastly outnumbered. Arxkula is ageless, however, and patient. His day will come.
Physically, Arxkula appears as a tall humanoid creature with red skin, small downward curving black horns, black fangs, black eyes and large black bat-like wings. His legs end in cloven hooves. His head is bald and his monstrous face appears as red flesh pulled taught over a bestial skull. He can fly though though there is little room to in his underground chambers. Only on rare occasions does he go to the surface and then only at night. He does this to hunt and feed, though usually he just has his priests bring him a victim to feed on. He spends most of his time sleeping, in mediation, teaching magic to his priests, feeding or making plans with his priests as they plot against the city above.
This page last updated January 19, 2014. Copyright 1990-2011 David M. Roomes.