The World Born Dead
Order of Hestavar
Inspired by the example of the Bright City of Hestavar that floats adrift in the Astral Sea. The order has devoted itself to fighting creatures made of concentrated immortal evil made flesh such as demons and devils that prey on the flaws of mortals and sow corruption and discord. The order takes patronage from Pelor, Erathis and Ioun. The three gods that founded the triple domain of the Bright City. Members of the order are known as exalted brothers (even if they are female), and are often usually either clerics, crusaders (see the Tome of Battle: the book of nine swords for details), healers, or monks. The order counts a great many paladins among its ranks as well. The holy order believes that by combating fiends and cleansing the undead plague they will free mortal civilization of fiendish influence and it will flourish into a beatific heavenly utopia for all the good and the pure.
Lately, the murder of Lord Anjat Brightstar, the grandmaster of the order at the hands of a tiefling hellknight of House Zolfura has caused the order to begin to target those who traffic with fiends such as fiendbinders, hellknights, and warlocks even though traditionally they were viewed as merely branches from the tree of Evil, unworthy of the order’s attention. This has become known as the Bright Crusade and has led to controversial debates within the order, breaking the hierarchic chain of command into three factions: one that argues against the crusade, one that supports it and purses Lord Brightstar’s killer relentlessly, and a smaller faction that is attempting to mediate the concerns of the other two factions. All three factions support different claim to the position of grandmaster.
Entry Requirements: Any non-evil. Base Attack bonus of +2. Must worship either Pelor, Erathis and Ioun, adopt the code of Light, take the sacred vow, and vow of Chasity feats,
- Suffer not the fiends, nor the undead. Never negotiate or parlay with them under any circumstance. Do not listen to their lies, destroy them.
- Other evildoers have made their choice and they will suffer from it in due time. Do not hasten their journey to the Outer Planes unless they use lethal force against you first.
- Respect beauty, civilization, and knowledge and never harm it needlessly.
- Never lie. You can withhold the truth if its telling will cause great harm but never knowingly spread falsehoods.
- Do not marry or indulge in sexual intercourse, for all men are your brothers and all women your sisters. Temptation is the tool of the fiends, never submit to it.
- When innocents are imperiled, rescue them before slaying fiends and the undead unless a delay will put even more lives at risk.
- Hack at the root of Evil, and not its branches. Better to crush the seed and sow the earth with salt.
Associated classes: cleric, crusader, monk, and the paladin prestige class.
Associated skills: craft (any artistic), concentration, heal, knowledge: (religion), knowledge: (the planes), perform (any), and sense motive.
Benefits of the Order: All members of the holy order of Hestavar receive a divine blessing from Pelor, even if they do not worship Pelor. The blessing will last for five levels or until the character commits an evil act. The Sun Blessing of Pelor grants you the ability to emit bright light in a 25-foot radius and dim light for an additional 25-feet beyond that as a swift action. This is the equivalent of a 3rd level light spell and will counter darkness spells of equal or lower level.
As long as you bear the blessing, you receive a +2 circumstance bonus to checks made to interact with the faithful of Pelor. Members of the order who perform heroic deeds in the name of the patron deities of the order may receive sign of favor from the gods, rarely they may even receive divine boons from the heavens as reward for their deeds.
Economics: The Order relies on its members to equip themselves, however at any fortress controlled by the order, characters on official business can borrow fresh warhorses and mundane weapons simply by asking, the items must be returned at the conclusion of the mission and if lost, the characters are expected to reimburse the owner of the fortress where they borrowed them. Additionally, the order has collected more weapons with either a bane against evil outsiders or the undead, than they know what to do with. Given a week, such a weapon can be delivered from one of the orders storehouses in the Astral plane to a brother if the need is great.
For missions on behalf of the order, brothers of good reputation can sometimes entrusted with great wealth from the vast pockets of the holy order usually no more than 8,000 to 15,000 gp (1d8+7×1,000 gp) to take care of incidental expenditures with a successful diplomacy check DC 15, the brother is given 100 gp per point that the check exceeds the DC. However the money is expected to be repaid or the items purchased donated to the order when the mission is completed, and the brother is denied further requests of funding until the first loan is settled.
Services: The order has access to many brothers that have been invested with divine power which allows members to receive donated curative magic on short notice (such as various cure spells, remove blindness, remove curse, remove disease, and restoration), if the wounds were taken in the struggle against demons, devils, infernalists (those beholden to devils), or the undead.
Powerful members of the organization (i.e. 10th level or higher) are gifted with fortresses of their own. The heart of such place is constructed by clerics of the order with multiple move earth, stone shape, and wall of stone spells over the course of a month. The heart is usually considered to be a tower or a handful of underground chambers connected together, an outer wall is also installed for out of the generosity of the order. From there, the order expects the member so gifted to improve the defenses, install a stable and buy warhorses and other mundane goods and allow other members to make use them as needed. A successful diplomacy check DC 20 can delay the acceptance of such a gift for a month, but the leaders of the order are persistent and often have the patience of angels. Once finished these fortresses are often small keeps with underground vaults protected against scrying by thick walls.
Most order of Hestavar fortresses contain dozens cells for the use of visiting brothers and the occasional prisoner. These cells are maintained in the most humble of accommodations (poor lifestyle) befitting a true hearted holy warrior of the order, although traditionally the lord of the fortress hosts a simple feast at the end of the week to supplement the daily meals of bread and soup. It has become a mark of status among brothers preach asceticism and at least act in public as though you do not enjoy the finer things in life as that is the ideal for the soldiers of the faith.
Symbol: The insignia of the order is a golden tree with three stars above it, and a black reflection of the tree beneath it symbolizing the roots of evil on a white field. Brothers of the order are given white tabards that bear the insignia of the Holy Order. It is a sign of disrespect to wear a dirty or soiled tabard, and brothers who do often suffer a -2 circumstance penalty to Charisma based checks with other members whenever they wear a dirty tabard.