The material on the page is the property of Jared Rascher and is used here at Candlekeep with permission.
The Cult of the Broken Prophesy
By Jared Rascher
Ulren made sure that his sword was secured at his side, and that his cloak was properly draped across his shoulder. While his fellows rarely stood on ceremony, he still had enough respect for the protocols he had been taught to make sure that he did not give any offense to those in authority. After checking his appearance, Ulren moved past the thick curtains that separated the Enlightened One's planning room from his normal audience chamber.
“My Lord Enlightened One, I have word from some of our agents operating near Sembia. They say that they have tracked down some of the survivors from the meeting that was raided outside of Selgaunt, and that they should be pliable enough to yield some useful information soon.”
“This is good. Now that the sign has been given, and now that the False Prophet has fallen, it is a sign that the Quickening is upon us. We must act quickly, and decisively. Already you have seen what has happened in your homelands, and we must not let other nations fall to the the words of a serpent's tounge,” the Enlightened One said, his words muffled by his white skull mask.
Ulren didn't know what expression the Enlightened One wore, nor had anyone within the Order of the Broken Prophesy seen him without his red robes and skull mask. Despite this, Ulren knew the man was right, because he had seen firsthand how the Cult of the Platinum Serpent had insinuated itself into his homeland in Damara, and also how the followers of the False Prophet had brought the destruction of the raging dragons down up his home as well.
Ulren shook his head when he thought of his fellows in the Order of the Golden Cup. They refused to see what was right in front of them, and they had been led astray. They didn't see that they had a holy calling to follow. He had heard the Enlightened One's words, and he knew now that the prophesy that the False Prophet had spread wasn't a promise, it was a warning, a call to action.
Ulren would help the Order of the Broken Prophesy purge Faerun of dragons . . . all dragons. And he knew Ilmater was with him, would help him to end the suffering, because he never left him, even when he had to kill his former friends in their sleep because they had converted to the Platinum Serpent.
The Cult of the Broken Prophesy is an organization little know in Faerun. It was born fairly recently, and it works very carefully through various cells across Faerun, and in many cases, its aims appear completely laudable, and as such their deeper motives are often not scrutinized. Many of its higher level agents are simply seen as wealthy members of society or retired adventurers that are funding expeditions to slay particularly troublesome dragons.
History of the Cult of the Broken Prophesy
The Cult was founded by the Enlightened One, and very few know anything about the leadership of the Cult. Those few that do know about the leader of their cause know that the Enlightened One is an admitted former Wearer of Purple. To those that he has confided in, he has explained that he was a true believer in the doctrines of the Cult of the Dragon, and was ready to take his place as an acolyte to the Dead Dragons ruling the world.
The cell that the Enlightened One was a part of had been assigned to a particularly cruel red dragon that the Cult of the Dragon was courting for conversion to unlife, and exalted status as a Sacred One. Not only did this dragon demand sacrifices, live victims from the surrounding lands, and constant treasure and worship, but the dragon grew increasingly abusive of the Cult members, even the Wearers of Purple. It truly believed that it was to be a god, and treated others accordingly.
Taking this into account, the Enlightened One retired to his quarters to study Sammaster's prophesies, looking for some assurance that the Wearers of Purple would be rewarded for their worship and service to the Sacred Ones. He found no such assurance, was was beginning to wonder if the Sacred Ones would keep any “lesser” species around for any purpose other than as cattle.
While he was studying the text, the prospective dragon went berserk and killed nearly every member of the cell, in part because even the most powerful sorcerers in the cell were loathe to act against a future Sacred One, and it slew them nearly without effort. It is possible that this creature went berserk because of the Flight of Dragons that erupted in 1356 DR, but the reasons matter little. The Enlightened One had an epiphany. The prophesy was true . . . undead dragons would rule the world entire . . . if no one stopped them. The prophesy wasn't a call to worship, but rather a call to action.
The Enlightened One sifted through the remains of the cell's collected treasures and texts, and found an ancient Netherese text that gave him some hope toward his ultimate goal of destroying all dragons in Faerun. This text told of a staff created after Karsus' Folly that would allow him to control one of the most destructive forces known to Faerun. In a chamber in the Desertsmouth Mountains, the Enlightened One found both the staff and the force he sought, the Tarrasque. In 1358 DR he used the staff to awaken the Tarrasque, and directed it to attack and kill any dragon, good or evil, that in would encounter.
Eventually a bronze dragon managed to find adventurers in Shadowdale, the crew of the Halruaan ship the Realmsmaster, to aid it in an assault on the Tarrasque and its new master. The Enlightened One and the Tarrasque had slain many dragons during this assault, but eventually the paladin Priam Agrivar managed to get close enough to the Enlightened One to damage the staff, sending the Tarrasque back to its slumber. (It should be noted that the Enlightened One assumed that the Staff of Impending Doom was destroyed due to Agrivar's attack, but the staff is actually on broken in half. The Enlightened one has one half of the staff, but has never been able to learn anything from it. The other half still lies somewhere in the Desertsmouth Mountains, near the site where the confrontation between the dragons and the Tarrasque occurred, and thus is marked by the bones of the dragons slain).
The Enlightened One took the head of the broken Staff of Impending Doom, and began to try to begin to find some new way to destroy what he saw as the impending draconic overlords. He began to research extensively the ancient elven text detailing early days of Faerun, and the defeat of the dragons.
Eventually the Enlightened One began to summon various elementals and outsiders to search Faerun and to bring him news of Dragons. He learned of the cult of Tiamat in the Old Empires, and the growing Church of Bahamut in Damara, and he sought to gain agents in both of these regions.
The Enlightened One recruited the (fallen) paladin Ulren Bladesedge, a zealot that was a fugitive from the Order of the Golden Cup for slaying several paladins of that Order that had converted to the faith of Bahamut. In the south, in Unther, the Enlightened One recruited Crodal of the Hard Eyes, a former cleric of Gilgeam that violently resented the Cult of Tiamat and its sponsorship of rebels assaulting the once great empire.
The Current State of the Cult of the Broken Prophesy
The Enlightened One carefully sought out disgruntled and displaced members of the Cult of the Dragon, recruited adventurers that have had run ins with various dragons, and even sought out young dwarven warriors bent on proving the power of the returning strength of the dwarven realms by calling a Dragonmoot. He has expended the gold and magic that he collected from his original cell to create portals to Damara and Unther, as well as one that leads to Waterdeep, and another that leads to a location in the Nether Mountains.
The main stronghold of the Cult of the Broken Prophesy is a compound built in Thunder Peaks, near the Hullack Forest. To date, the Cult has done little to act overtly, but he has sponsored an order of thieves to raid dragon's hordes, has sent his agents to recruit adventurers to slay various dragons, and they have raided several Cult of the Dragon cells. The Cult of the Broken Prophesy considers the Cult of the Dragon, the Cult of Tiamat, and the Church of Bahamut all equally worthy of disdain and opposition, and will not rest until they slay every dragon, of all types, from Faerun.
Organization within the Cult
The Cult of the Broken Prophesy is broken up into various smaller organizations. Many of these smaller groups have no idea what the larger organization is like, or would even recognize a name such as the “Cult of the Broken Prophesy.” There are many virtuous, well meaning adventurers that aid the Cult, knowing only their part of the overall plan.
Agents of the Counter-Prophesy
This is the name that the Enlightened One has given his network of spies, but many of them have no idea what is going on in the grand scheme of things. The Agents of the Counter-Prophesy answer directly to the Enlightened One, though he has recruited these spies in many different guises. He has agents in Damara, in both the political ranks and the religious orders present there. He also has agents in various rebel cells in Unther, as well as the cult of Tiamat. Some of his most trusted advisors have even heard rumors that he has managed to insinuate an agent as an apprentice to Maaril in Waterdeep.
Through these agents the Enlightened One has heard of many things that occurred during the Year of Rogue Dragons, including some rumors about the destruction of Sammaster and the Dracorage Mythal (see goals of the Cult section).
Strong Arm of the Counter-Prophesy
This section of the cult focuses on recruiting and training adventurers to attack and kill dragons. Led by Ulren Bladesedge, this branch trains many adventurers that already have a disdain for dragons so as to specialize their skills for killing them (adventurers that come into contact with the Strong Arm of the Counter-Prophesy can find training for the Dragonslayer and Dragonstalker prestige classes found in the Draconomicon, as well as for the various dragon fighting feats in that book).
This branch of the cult does not present itself as anything more than a band of former adventurers and dragonslayers that want to train the young blades that might end up following in their footsteps, and they use a variety of different names in various regions of Faerun, such as the Fellowship of the Scalebrakers, the Dragonsword Alliance, and Wyrm Hunters.
The wizards that present themselves as part of this group of retired adventurers often times train aspiring wizards with anti-dragon spells, and teach them how to create magic items suited to destroying dragons. At times, these wizards may even provide dragon slaying magic items for little more than the cost of their creation, depending on how badly the overall organization wants a given dragon killed, or a given group of adventurers recruited for future plans.
Shadows of the Counter-Prophesy
This group serves the dual purpose of garnering gold and income for the organization, and providing services as assassins that dispatch those persons in Faerun that might aid dragons, or promote their goals among the people of Faerun.
The leader of the Shadows, Elger Willowind, is an expert at stealing treasure from dragons (a hordestealer from Draconomicon), and has trained other rogues in his skills. He has also led several raids on Cult of the Dragon cells, the Church of Bahamut, and the Cult of Tiamat.
Personalities in the Cult of the Broken Prophesy
The following are those individuals that have the most influence and knowledge of the aims and goals of the Cult as a whole, and serve as its leaders.
The Enlightened One, CE human male (region unknown), Wiz 9/Wearer of Purple 9
While many that hear his declaration that the Cult of the Dragon is right, that dead dragons shall rule the world entire, unless good folk are moved to act against dragons, and decide that his goal, if single minded, is laudable, have not seen the depths of depravity in his thinking. The Enlightened One will sacrifice anyone that he needs to to achieve his goals, and he takes a perverse glee in the deaths of dragons. While he states that his quest is holy, much of his drive comes from a backlash from his feelings of helplessness and rage from serving dragons for years. Despite this, he can put on a calm, reassuring facade when he needs to, especially in small doses.
Ulren Bladesedge, CE Damaran male, Pal 5/Dragonslayer 10/Blackguard 3 (Veil of Cyric Feat)
Ulren Bladesedge believes that he still serves Ilmater, and that all of his actions will ultimately relieve suffering in the world. Ulren believes that he is serving a holy purpose that Ilmater has called him to pursue this course of action. At times he views the Enlightened Ones only as a means to an end, as he has issues with various ways that the Enlightened One has moved the Cult in the past, but he believes that Ilmater has led him to the Cult to use it to aid in his holy quest.
Ulren hates all dragons, no matter what kind they are, and he also view anyone that worships draconic deities as traitors to their kind. He believes he is completely justified in killing those that have converted from Ilmater to Bahamut, and that all dragons, eventually, will seek to dominate and use the races that they might view as lesser beings.
Ulren views the Enlightened One as brilliant but flawed, perhaps as a throwback to the training he had as a Wearer of Purple. He hates Crodal as a servant of an evil god that is only seeking to gain power for his own fading faith, and he disdains Elger as greedy short sighted creature that is not to be trusted.
Crodal of the Hard Eyes, NE (Gilgeam) Mulan male, Cleric 16 (Servant of the Fallen Feat)
Crodal is a cruel, harsh man with a regal bearing. As Ulren surmises, he does only wish to use the Cult as a tool to advance his own religion. He views the remaining, powerless clerics in Unther as failures that deserved to be destroyed. His grand view is to rebuild the priesthood of Gilgeam from the ground up, and believes that if the servants of Tiamat are all slain, it might provide the impetus for the return of Gilgeam to life.
Crodal has contacts among the fallen clerics of Gilgeam, and while he hates them with a burning passion, he has no problem manipulating them, especially to work agains the cult of Tiamat. He also has a few spies among the various rebel bands in Unther. Crodal himself sees all of Unther's trials as a response to their lack of faith in Gilgeam, and honestly doesn't care if the nation falls, because he believes that Unther will eventually rise again when Gilgeam is restored to power.
Elger Willowind, CN lightfoot halfling male, Rogue 6/Hoardstealer 10
Elger has no personal issue with dragons, other than that dragons manage to accumulate insane amounts of treasure. He likes taking risks, and he likes treasure, so stealing from dragons seems to be a logical career choice.
Elger sees the Enlightened One as a fanatic with really useful contacts, and views most of his agents the same way. Ironically, the Enlightened One sees Elger as one of his most trusted advisor because he has so few hidden agendas. Elger doesn't always like sharing his knowledge of hoardstealing, but at times it provides him with extra gold will fewer risks, and even an adventurous halfling wants to take a break from life or death situations from time to time.
Although Elger personally trains many of the Cults rogues and assasins, he rarely worries about the ramifications of his actions, and really just wants to ply his trade. This is why the Enlightened One trusts the halfling, because Elger is so focused on adventure and wealth that he isn't likely to be an agent of the Cult of the Dragon or the Cult of Tiamat.
Current Goals and Concerns of the Cult
The Enlightened One is currently very interested in learning more about the ancient elven assaults on dragons, and the recent rumors that he has heard about the Dracorage Mythal via his spies have him nearly fixated on how to recreate the effect, but in a much stronger manner. This power is beyond him at this time, but should he become more powerful, he wishes to know how to enact this power. As a side project, he has begun to make inquiries into recruiting elves that might be interested in restoring the Mythal.
The Enlightened Ones agents are also very involved in finding out secret locations of Cult of the Dragon strongholds, and are close to finding out about the Well of Dragons and the Cult cell there, and may be willing to pass this information on to adventurers so that the adventurers might be willing to try the strength of the fortress so that the Cult of the Broken Prophesy can gather information.
The Enlightened One is also very interested in the knowledge gained by the wizard Maaril of Waterdeep, and while he has not actually been successful, the wizard Ailaera Thrantus (NE human female wiz 10) has caught his eye as a promising student, but Maaril is wary of her fawning ways, and is taking great precautions to properly investigate her history and motives.
The Staff of Impending Doom (Major Artifact)
This staff, which is made of blackened wood and topped by what looks like a small representation of the Tarrasque's skull, was created in the years after the chaos that was the wake of Karus' Folly. A former apprentice of Karsus', one Ulavraen, created the staff utilizing materials that he found while traveling the planes. According to the notes that the Enlightened One found when searching out the staff, the materials that Ulavraen used are not known even to the most learned planar travelers, making his research nearly impossible to duplicate.
Ulavraen was responsible for much of the research into the properties of the Tarrasque that Karsus required to properly do the research for his own Avatar spell. Ulavraen was away on one of his planar trips when Karsus cast his Avatar spell, and when he returned to Toril he decided to finish up the research that he had planned for the Tarrasque himself. Eventually his research resulted in the Staff of Impending Doom, which also managed to be his own undoing.
Ulavraen created a chamber to house the Tarrasque so that he could perform his own tests on the staff and its link to the legendary creature. He not only managed to command the creature, but to imbue the staff with several properties that stem from its connection to the staff.
The staff itself functions as a +5 quarterstaff, but it has a property that would normally seem impossible. The quarterstaff is equivalent to a vorpal weapon, as it is constantly sheathed in a field of barely perceived, shimmering force. Five times per day, the staff can project this vorpal field up to 120 feet away from the wielder of the staff, and it can be used as a ranged touch attack, making this particular attack very dangerous.
In addition to this martial use of the staff, it has the power to command the Tarrasque. The power to command the Tarrasque begins as a DC 50 will save the creature, and for each day that the Tarrasque is actively controlled, the DC falls by one point. If the Tarrasque is commanded to enter a torpor, the DC goes back up to 50. If the staff is damaged, but not destroyed, the staff automatically gives the Tarrasque the order to return to the chamber to rest, a function that Ulavraen built into the staff to give him time to repair the staff and command the creature again. For each day that the creature is not actively commanded it gets a new save to resist its last command, which means if the staff is broken far away from the Desertsmouth cave where Ulavraen bound the Tarrasque, it is possible for the creature to break away. Ulvraen himself was destroyed by the Tarrasque when the creature managed to steel its will after only a few days of research by Ulvraen. The creature had no particular inclination to damage the staff, and as such simply went to sleep in the cave after killing the Netherese wizard.
The Staff of Impending Doom is made of a strange wood not found on any planes known in the Realms cosmology. It has the same characteristics of any wooden staff, but all one needs to do to repair the staff is to hold the pieces together and then will them to become whole. While the staff cannot be destroyed in this manner, its fairly easy to dismember the staff and then scatter its parts. The only substance that the staff is truly vulnerable to is the digestive fluids of the Tarrasque, which will disintegrate the staff if it is immersed in the fluid.
Affiliations (Dragon Magic)
Adventurers that are affiliated with the adventuring groups that Ulren sponsors in various regions, in campaigns that use affiliations and the rules for them, can treat such organizations as equivalent to the Harrowers organization presented in Dragon Magic on page 143-144.
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