Abysslin writes "So, is the Brotherhood content with their current position among the power nations of the Flanaess? Shall they now lie like a sleeping dog in the morning sun, content and well fed? Not hardly; Uncle Pramas, current leader of the Office of Diplomacy has been charged by the Father of Obedience to put the Brotherhood’s eyes and ears in all corners of the flanaess. In every city and town, in every council room, every church, every inn, under every bed, in every closet, in all places that a word is spoken or an action taken, lies the eyes and ears of the Brotherhood. And hence was born Operation Red Steel.
OPERATION RED STEEL: SCARLET AGENTS of the FLANAESS
RENA XIA TOT, Suliose for “Operation Red Steel.”
The Scarlet Brotherhood is not only a nation of purists and enslavers, but also a nation of faith, diplomacy, conquering, infiltration, espionage, assassination, shadows, subterfuge, and silence. Their global motives can only be speculated upon. Their true aims lie only in the minds of a few office leaders. And even then, what some know, others do not.
It has been years since the Greyhawk Wars. The Brotherhood, although not completely successful in all of their war objectives, found the wars quite profitable. They created a free slave labor force from the nearby Hepmonaland and Amedio tribes, ensured the Brotherhood friendlies Turrosh Mak and Frolmar Ingerskatti ascended to rulership of the Pomarj and Lordship of the Isles, diverted northern attention fixed on them from the Iron League towards the former Great Kingdom, Conquered the Sea Princes overnight as well as both Idee and Onnwall by other means, and created an efficient naval blockade of the Sheldomar River and Tilva Strait. Some changes have happened to the installments of the war since then, but most of the Brotherhood’s war interests remain intact.
So, is the Brotherhood content with their current position among the power nations of the Flanaess? Shall they now lie like a sleeping dog in the morning sun, content and well fed? Not hardly; Uncle Pramas, current leader of the Office of Diplomacy has been charged by the Father of Obedience to put the Brotherhood’s eyes and ears in all corners of the flanaess. In every city and town, in every council room, every church, every inn, under every bed, in every closet, in all places that a word is spoken or an action taken, lies the eyes and ears of the Brotherhood. And hence was born Operation Red Steel.
The objective of Operation Red Steel is one of simplicity; economic manipulation of powerful nations fueled by information. How can the objective of Operation Red Steel be attained? Let us direct our attention to the author of this cold war theatre…
Pramas is the head of the Office of Diplomacy which holds dominion over the Brotherhoods information and assassination networks. His eyes and ears not only extend out into the flanaess, but are also seeded in at home among the other powerful offices of the homeland’s governmental networks.
As it relates to the decisions required of his position, no plan is made in haste, and all thought processes are thoroughly explored. His ideas and actions are concrete and precise, yet patient. Just because the Sea Barons fell overnight does not mean the full of the flanaess will bend a knee. His plans are meticulously laid out with long reaching objectives not meant to be accomplished for years and some not for decades.
Not a single entity on Oerth knows the workings that go on within the tall spire that is the Office of Diplomacy, towering high amidst the great city of Hesuel Ilshar.
What some do know, however, is that his office accounts for over 30% of the entire countries expenditure alone. Those stalwart enough to point this fact out are usually found dead within their sleeping chambers on the next morn, and not much is spoke on the subject for some months afterwards.
Pramas, and Pramas alone, is untouchable. Not even the Father of Obedience himself can enjoy the security that Pramas enjoys. His agents are the most conditioned and loyal instruments within the entire nation. His special services unit known as the Scarlet Guard never take an eye off him. It is simply impossible to get close to him without his knowledge.
THE NETWORK of OPERATION RED STEEL
Within the Pramas’ network are a variety of positions. Various mission objectives require a variety of talents. Agents are not all created equal, and nor are they trained identically.
Becoming an agent of diplomacy is not a matter of hard work and determination, nor is it “knowing the right people.” Agents are bred, not born. The Brotherhood’s breeding programs aren’t a topic we will concern ourselves with here, but let it be known the phrase that rolls through Pramas’ head is (that) “It takes an agent to make an agent.” Furthermore, as Pramas’ vision of Operation Red Steel grows or declines, so does the breeding of agents wax and wane.
From infancy the agent is carried off to the lower abbey within the Office of Diplomacy to begin their training and conditioning amongst the military establishment, most of which is under the tutelage of agents not currently on assignment.
The time eventually comes when a disciple receives the call to Pramas’ office and are assigned their first mission, whether it be with a team or as a lone foreign liaison. Their adeptness within the different schools of the espionage arts being the deciding factor.
With that, a general overview of the different positions within the organization is in order…
The leader of the organization known as the Keshkal oversees all operations within the network and is officially recognized as the head of the Office of Diplomacy. As stated earlier, this is Pramas.
Under the Keshkal is his personal detail known as the Scarlet Guard (also "Redguard" to some), currently a team of 5 agents. The Scarlet Guards are hand picked by Pramas and consist of his top performing agents, including the legendary Kain Sharess, the agent that issued the Brotherhood’s ultimatum to the Sea Barons during the Greyhawk Wars and successfully orchestrated the assassination of 27 high ranking officials out of 30, in a single night.
Advisors are agents designed to manipulate the decisions of foreign leaders via diplomacy. Most are intelligent fire elementalists or monks.
When possible, they are given an establishment within a foreign capital which acts as an embassy of sorts. Advisors are currently installed in the Pomarj, Lordship of the Isles, Rel Astra, Ratik, the Bone March, as well as amongst minor lords amongst the Bandit Kingdoms, Horned Lands, the various Suliose barbarian settlements of the northeast, and Rary of the Bright Desert.
In hostile lands they infiltrate under guise of clergymen faithful to one Suliose god or another, or even operate openly to relay the will of the Brotherhood to foreign officials, if Pramas so chooses.
Agents under the assassin designation are generally solo artists. They are used to “quiet” people for the most part, but retiring certain political leaders also lends a hand to the economic manipulation that the operation is aimed at. Their talents hold true to this end and it is rare of an assassin to not have talents bent to this cause.
True assassins are conditioned uniquely in that they are not hard wired into the law of never killing another member of the Brotherhood. They are the most secret of agents, and many can journey through their entire life with their hidden identity even amongst their own people.
Emissaries usually travel in groups to carry out assignments not fit for the solo agent. A team of emmissaries may consist of a variety of talents, much like an adventuring party. They are often used to oversee shipments of slaves, recover artifacts, transverse wilderness objectives not fit for the city slicker styles of the assassin and advisor, or a myriad of other objectives. Those unfortunate enough to be visited by a team of emissaries from the Brotherhood should know that the Brotherhood means business.
The spies of the Brotherhood are the true eyes and ears of Pramas. They are installed in economic strong points abroad. They are bartenders, merchantmen, public officials, librarians, tradesman, and so forth. They’re primary assignment is intelligence gathering.
Retired agents are still members of the organization and only Pramas decides when an agent is eligible for this status. Most are given an amount of money with which to live the rest of their lives as they see fit. Usually in peace amongst the nicer climes of the Spindrifts, or some fancy the rougher life of the Wild Coast. Others still, feel institutionalized in a sense, and stay among the Office of Diplomacy to lend their knowledge to the training of future agents.
Disciples are the agents in training. They live quite militarily and 100% of their time is spent at becoming an agent within the network of diplomacy. Receiving your first mission is of the highest honor. If a disciple does not perform up to expectations, they often times find themselves lowered in social status and cast out to oversee agicultural or breeding operations, for example.
Pramas demands much of the Brotherhood’s finances, and he ofcourse receives it. It is with his near limitless funding that he spares no expense in ensuring his agents receive only the best in quality and craftsmanship that the Brotherhood has to offer.
Agents are issued all of the gear and weapons essential to their talents. Furthermore each is granted a small dwelling within the Office of Diplomacy with which to call their “home.” A team of agents is given a household, sometimes outside the office and perhaps even within other cities of the motherland. If an assignment requires expenditures such as paid travel, it is covered by Pramas at the offset of the mission. Agents are not expected to cross the Azure Sea by way of stow-away. An agent team may even be given funds to buy their own ship and crew.
If an agent needs anything, Pramas has it for them. He refuses to ever allow himself to lax on this point.
THE SCARLET SIGN
Not long before the wars, the Father of Obedience declared that agents of the brotherhood are no longer required to ink their right forearm with the Scarlet Sign, however, Pramas disagrees with this resolution and every agent is inked the sign on the eve of their first mission as is customary. A tradition that Pramas refuses to let go. It is also used as a tool for agents who cross paths abroad to show their true colors to one another should the need arise in an untrustworthy land where one may be in need of a fellow brother. Who else but a member of Pramas’ network would dare ink themselves with the Scarlet Sign and risk, in most places, execution?
Ahhh, and how good is an information network without it’s most crucial tool; communication? Well, just because the Brotherhood is a nation of purists does not mean that every agent in their employ is a Suliose human.
Many Brotherhood spies can be indentified abroad by a most unusual source. (Their AT&T Cellular Phones! Just kidding!) Within their dwelling is the most exquisite cage of clean and well kept doves. These doves are the message bearers of the organization. They work in relay to bear news from the agent site to Pramas back in the motherland. For instance, a spy in the city of Greyhawk may send his dove to a spy in Hardby, then Hardby to Rary’s Keep, each working it’s way south to the final destination.
Margoyles are also widely used as message bearers to agents on the high seas, usually in the Azure. Their semi-intelligence allows for better direction.
Furthermore, agents themselves may work in relay. “Or, if their mission is one of greater secrecy, travel back to the Tilvanot themselves to deliver their reports.
All agents of the Brotherhood involved in Operation Red Steel also use a comprehensive form of unspoken communication via a myriad of hand signals and facial expressions. It is entirely possible for agents to spend months without speaking a single word, yet having communicated effectively the entire while.
To better understand what it is that an agent of the Brotherhood does, let us examine some of the more situated operatives and their current situations.
Talent: Assassin 7
Kelson operates an agent safehouse in the free City of Greyhawk. Agents who have business in the area can find supplies and rest with Kelson, or refuge if needs be.
He is always aware of which operatives are in the area, so it is highly unlikely that any non-brotherhood agents will be given a warm reception. He is personally responsible for a number of bodies that turn up floating down the Selitan.
Talent: Thief 10
Nass is a bartender known as Rainy at the Brass Dragon Inn within the City of Greyhawk. He is also a high ranked member of the city’s Thieve’s Guild. He is a deepcover agent and both he and Kelson are aware of eachother’s operations, but both believe that the other knows nothing about what each of them are doing.
Talent: Thief 4
Location: Niole Dra
Ellinka is a high ranking member of the Thieve’s Guild operating in Niole Dra. She is unaware, but other agents have reported her as possibly going “native,” which may result in her being called back to the motherland soon.
Talent: Assassin 12
Location: Rel Mord
Maxwul is a veteran agent under guise of a merchantman in Rel Mord. His objectives are to report political information on this highly prized area.
Name: Kyle Sifshal
Talent: Thief 7
Kyle used to act as a courier for Maxwul. He went rogue some months back apparently due to his love for a non-suliose woman and has not been heard of. It is certain however, that he is currently somewhere within Nyrond’s borders.
Talent: Monk 6
Rodus explores the Crystalmist ranges and intercepts any items of Suliose decent brought back from adventurers from the Sea of Dust.
Name: The Spider
Talent: Assassin 15
Assignment: Internal Affairs
The mysterious Spider is a somewhat younger gentlement sporting a bald head and stern brow. He moved up the ranks of the organization very quickly and is one of Pramas’ top agents, too good even for use among the Scarlet Guard.
When an agent team is in need the Spider will show his face and offer aid in completing a mission. It is known that if the Spider shows up, you have fell out of favor with Pramas.
He is currently hunting down an agent that went rogue somewhere in Nyrond.
Name: Team Ykz
Team Ykz consists of a Wee Jas worshipping fire elementalist named Domann, a Priest of Pyremius named Shu’Es, a monk named Arumn, a warrior named Ranklin, an Assassin named Krun, and an Olman ranger named Gingwatu.
Their first mission was to set up a slave camp in the Amedio which they did quite successfully, helping line the personal coffers of Pramas.
They are currently off to the Pomarj to route out the Earth Dragon Cult whom has been taking cuts of Brotherhood slave shipments from Turrosh Mak which it is assumed they use for mining.
Talent: Mage 10
Location: Rel Astra
After Lord Drax the Invulnerable of Rel Astra ran a trade ship through the Brotherhood’s blockade of the Tilva Strait, bypassing it entirely, the Brotherhood sent Sydi to open up negotiations with Drax.
In exchange for Drax’s relaxation in trade with the western enemies of the Brotherhood, he is given a percentage of the spoils from the ships forcibly taken in the Azure Sea. A settlement Drax can’t refuse and Pramas can’t afford to break.
Talent: Assassin 9
Stefi was sent to the Suliose barbarian lands to north in an effort to gauge their willingness to aid in Brotherhood interests by using their common heritage as a negotiation tool. Thus far, efforts have been fruitless, but Stefi did uncover information of an ancient Brotherhood member travelling these parts whom later sailed off to Fireland.
She is currently in hopes that Pramas will send her funding and supplies to further investigate this fact.
Talent: Warrior 11
Holsh’s situation is currently unknown as he has lost all lines of communication. Last known is that he was a high ranking general in the Iuzian armies and his mission was to gather intelligence on the Boneheart.
Talent: Monk 8
Lina’s position in Hardby is of great importance to Pramas. She is a commander in the Gynarch’s navy, and thus is able to report all of their activity directly.
Talent: Fire Elementalist 7
Zule travels the Keoish lands spreading polotical propaganda. He is well funded and has a number of lackeys to aid him in his mission.
Talent: Mage 15
Location: the Bright Desert
Hwoarshack is in company of Rary, supposedly acting as some sort of liaison. His true mission is to determine the scope of this "Scorpion Crown" and decipher whether the Brotherhood should also take interest. Unbeknownst to his superiors, Rary actually has Hwoarshak under a variety of charms and geas' spells and Hwoarshak is now under Rary's employ more or less.
TSR11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood Page
TSR9577 The Adventure Begins