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The Scarlet Guide To Conquest For Fun And Profit

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Adept Greytalker

Joined: Apr 26, 2002
Posts: 336
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:39 pm    Post subject: The Scarlet Guide To Conquest For Fun And Profit Reply with quote

Something I've tried to determine over the years of writing at Canonfire is how exactly the Scarlet Brotherhood operates. I never liked the implications of the "Office of Purity" that the Brotherhood would enslave anyone and everyone who wasn't Suel, which would consume a huge amount of manpower and economic resources in newly conquered lands. Unfortunately, I've kind of played into it with my earlier articles by mentioning how commonly known the Scarlet Sign was among some realms. That's why I had to rethink exactly how the Brotherhood should work in practice.

However, I think I've come up with a final idea of how the Brotherhood works, one that plays to its strengths of intrigue and deception while still allowing for relative PC movement even in conquered Brotherhood realms.

Read on, then, for the true account of how the Scarlet Sign became a cancer, slowly spreading throughout the Flanaess as subtly and insidiously as its namesake...

Step One: Subversion

The Brotherhood are masters at winning fellow Suel over with honeyed words, convincing them of the glories of their race, and identifying those in a realm most likely to fall to their charms. First, the Brotherhood identify Suel in a given realm's power structure who might be most likely to work with them. Then, the Brotherhood works to get those people into the appropriate positions of power for the next step of the process...

Step Two: The Fodder

The Fodder are those jungle savages (many of whom are themselves Suel), humanoids such as hobgoblins and norkers, and monsters who the Brotherhood uses to invade realms it seeks to conquer. The Fodder are not meant to actually win battles, and the Brotherhood expects them to be slaughtered. The Fodder's role is to create chaos and distraction allowing the Brotherhood's assassins to maneuver those Suel they won over in the first phase into positions of power. The Greyhawk Wars was an ideal time for this, as the Thillonrian Peninsula barbarians were fighting Stonehold, and the Iron League was in a desperate struggle against the Great Kingdom.

Step Three: Conversion

Once the Suel leadership are in positions of power, they will begin subtly shifting the realm to align with the Scarlet Brotherhood. The basic governing structure of a realm often stays in place-Nyrond is a fully centralized monarchy, the Lordship of the Isles has a spider web-shaped hierarchy, etc.-but the laws and social mores are shaped to favor the Suel. Demihumans and non-Suel humans are slowly, ever so slowly, stripped of the rights and protections they might otherwise enjoy.

Step Four: Support

The realm's Suel leadership will also begin using the realm for the goals that the Scarlet Brotherhood has decided for it. The Lordship of the Isles and the Hold of the Sea Princes were intended to generate coin for the Brotherhood with their rich maritime trade. The Lordship continues to play that role, but the Sea Princes the Brotherhood left in charge of their realm were largely thrown off by the slave revolts that came in the aftermath of the third phase of the plan.

The Brotherhood is nothing if not flexible, though, and what was once meant to be a maritime trading nation would eventually became a perpetual source of the Fodder. A few of the leaders of the Suel slaves that established their own new state in the wake of the Sea Princes' deposition have pledged themselves to the Brotherhood, selling their own kinfolk in exchange for wealth and prestige from the Brotherhood. (Think like real-life Haiti, except that some of the slave leaders merely threw in with a different imperial master rather than being truly free.)

The Brotherhood's plans for the Thillonrian barbarians are similar, making them another type of Fodder, albeit one that is much more skilled, and thus useful for many more purposes, than the original Fodder.

Much like the British Empire, the Brotherhood's internal dominions actually have considerable self-rule and ability to deal independently with other nations. The benefit of this is that it adds to the Brotherhood's secrecy and subtlety. However, the rulers of subordinate realms must always obey the Brotherhood's commands, and direct their resources towards expansion of the empire as directed by the Scarlet Sign.

And the process continues, nation by nation, as the Brotherhood's poison continues to spread, oh so silently, oh so subtly.

Such is the Sueloise Imperium reborn in modern times. Such is Korenth Zan, sole survivor of the Rain Of Colorless Fire, the last living inhabitant of the Suel Imperium, and the crown prince of the Royal Imperial House of the Suel, the ultimate puppetmaster, pulling the strings that make his victims dance ultimately for his own benefit, and his own power.

To The Memory Of The Lost Imperium.
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Journeyman Greytalker

Joined: May 31, 2008
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this, I have used the Scarlet Brotherhood in my campaign, one facet I use of them is to experimentally breed monsters and demihumans to make new beasts for war and better servants.
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Master Greytalker

Joined: Nov 01, 2007
Posts: 620
Location: NOW IN Cape May, NJ! Loving the new digs!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Operations of the SB Reply with quote

So, one of the things I often wonder about - is how the world would change with the passing of time.

And though a lot of people would say that there should be some big conflict where the Scarlet Brotherhood is defeated, I disagree.
I think operations just like what you've outlined here describes exactly the kind of thing that will keep them around and in business for a long time.

Now, granted, the "good guys" are always going to keep stopping them, but, I think the SB is going to keep right on trying, and doing just fine in their goals.

So, even in 608CY, they would still be up to their old tricks!
Of course, if you ask the Silent Ones, they'd tell you that the SB were kicked out of the Imperium, so, maybe they're not so great after all! Shocked

Thanks for this good read about how they do the things they do!
Gallery of Artwork - take a look at my published illustrations. 
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