The society solicits funds inside the Empire by holding meetings where the squalid conditions of Sartar, Prax, or the Redlands are related by Missionaries. These talks are illustrated by Magic-lantern shows of the filth and squalor that the natives of these lands live in, their laughable attempts at “Culture” (including bare-breasted women, where such will titillate and shock the audience), and pictures of starving children.
The society is not a religious organization, though it has close ties with Denomination of Pinugia the Protectoress. They were founded by, and follow the precepts of, Idomenia the Childless Mother, a heroine of Pinugia. The Mission is divided into two parts: Fund Raising and Missionary work. A Fundraising team normally consists of several speakers (often a “Missionary recently returned from the Sartar/Pent wilderness”; an “Orphan who has made good” – almost always a soldier in the army; and one or more Society Women of the city where the talk is taking place), plus attendants and helpers who collect the money and hand out leaflets about the ills of the world outside the Empire and How Your Donations Help Save Children. The Mission has a small office in Mirin’s Cross that oversees the missions in the Provinces, and another in Palbar in Oraya, for those in the Redlands. The headquarters of the organization is in Raibanth.
Public and Private FacesOn the surface, the Sweet Sisters are a benevolent society, selflessly dedicated to making the world a better place for those less fortunate than themselves. This was goal of the Mission that Idomenia started 100 years ago.
Moneys raised by the efforts of these Sweet Sisters are funneled through the organization and dispersed to the Mission-Orphanages. There it is used to build suitable buildings, buy food, clothing and other necessities for the children, and to provide a living for the Mission staff.
Under the surface, though, lurks a slimy morass of self-interest and personal aggrandizement.
The majority of the Sweet Sisters are in the Fundraising office of the Mission and are, indeed, selfless workers that believe the public face of the cult. They are used primarily for fund-raising inside the empire, and are almost never allowed to leave the security of the Empire to visit the orphanages they support.
The administrators of the Mission, starting with Lucendilla RedWine and wending down to the actual mission workers, are in it strictly for the money. In all, only about 3% of the funds raised are actually used for the children.. The rest is siphoned off at various parts of the process.
AdministrationThe head of the Mission is Lucendilla RedWine. She runs the offices of the Mission with an iron hand, and skims off the majority of the funds directly to her own treasury. She is married to Debendorthus Scaler, a mid-level bureaucrat (Dispenser of Fish) in the city government of Raibanth.
Beneath Lucindella are the heads of the regional branches: Aggapinugia Oversight who runs the Mirin’s Cross offices and leads the Provincial branch, and Aristis the Eunuch in Palbar. Below these two worthies are the heads of the various missions, who actually run the Mission-Orphanages and oversee the staff and children.
The Goals of the MissionWhile the missions are intended to provide the teachings of the Goddess to the children, their primary function is to raise soldiers for the Lunar Army, particularly those regiments which are sponsored by the League: the Raibanth Cuirassiers, the Argent Archers, and the Spear-threes of Raibanth.
Children are accepted into a mission at any age until age 10. Children older than 10 are considered to be untrainable. Since many children, especially the younger ones, don’t know how old they are, they are assigned an age by the Mission staff. All children are considered one year older at the end of Sacred time.
From the time they enter the Orphanage until their “14th birthday”, the children are expected to attend Mission class every day, in addition to any chores they may be assigned. A Mission-Preceptor is assigned to each Mission, to lead the weekly Holy Services and teach the children of the Light of the Moon and Their Place In The World – which is to do what they are told.
On “graduation” from the Mission, most boys and some girls are inducted into one of the three regiments listed above. A few may have shown aptitude for another path, and will be sold as a slave to a household in the empire as an administrator, gladiator, or sex toy.
Fitting the Mission Into Your CampaignThe Sweet Sisters are part of the Heavenly Sister Outreach, which is part of the same League that sponsors your Campaign Villain (if Non-Lunar) or your heroes (if Lunar).
It is intended to be both a source of pity (for the actual orphans), and outrage (the greed which drives the administration of the Mission). A typical orphanage should remind players of the early scenes from “Oliver Twist”.
A Typical Mission – The Runegate Mission-OrphanageThe Mission-Orphanage of Runegate is a three-building compound about a mile from the Sartarite “city” of Runegate, which was visited by the Crimson Bat during the Pacification of Sartar in 1602. The Mission-Orphanage was founded one year after the Bat. It took in the children of the warriors of the surrounding tribes who had been killed at Runegate. Since then, the supply of orphans has been somewhat slow, though during the Great Winter of 1621-22 the rate climbed back up.
The Mission is surrounded by a tamped-dirt wall (not the best choice of building materiel in Sartar, but it is cheap). The buildings are made of local stone and timber, built in the Sairdite style. The roofs are not thatched, but covered in rough-hewn planks and covered with dirt and grass.
The Dormitory is simply one large room, with one small chamber next to the door for Pardikol. The beds for the children were made long ago, cheaply, and have since treated roughly by several generations of orphans. There is a small fire pit at one end of the hall, where the children burn their cow-dung patties for heat. In the winter, it is usual for all the children to sleep in a huddle around the fire, with all the (thin) blankets over them. Pardikol has a brazier in his room, and burns coal for warmth.
The Chapel doubles as the schoolroom, where the Light of the Goddess is brought into the minds of the children. It is also where Eloina sleeps, and where the janitorial supplies are kept.
The “main House” is where Flower and Geltath live, and houses the main kitchen, the offices, and (under a floorboard) Geltath’s hoard of around 50 Lunars.
Flower-of –the-Moon, HeadmistressA graduate of the Mission, She was brought up in the Filichet Mission in Holay. Flower runs the orphanage like a Victorian work-house. Children are forced to perform hard and demanding tasks, such as unwinding old rope and re-winding it into new rope to sell, collecting and plucking Red Thistles for their down to be exported and the meat for the children to eat, and collecting and shaping cow dung for their only fire in the winter.
Pressure PointsFlower of the Moon has aspirations of rising up the Society’s ladder to head of the Provincial office of the Sweet Sisters. To do so, she will have to remove Aggapinugia Oversight from that post. She is collecting evidence of his crimes and peccadilloes. She has a journal listing what, in her eyes, are reasons Aggapinugia should be replaced and She put in his place.
Flower and Geltath’s marriage is hardly a happy one, and each is seeking to end it. Flower is planning on killing her husband. She is training up a small group of two boys and a particularly nasty girl to do the deed. She will, of course, blame the crime on their pre-orphanage upbringing. At the current time, the fulfillment of her plan is at least half a year away.
Flower detests children. She is also mean and petty. She works her children hard, hours are long, and there is only one meal – of thin, boiled thistle soup – a day. Punishments vary from a simple ear-twisting or hair-pulling, to burial in “the Pit” – a typical Sartarite storage pit, covered with a wicker lid, over which is shoveled enough dirt that the child will not be able to dig its way out.
Flower is sure that Eloina’s cheerfulness is a cover for something more nefarious. It’s just that she has never been able to catch the Preceptor in anything other than a cheerful and upbeat mood. Ever.
Geltath FernikosA former orphan of the Mission (the Vul Mission-Orphanage in Tarsh), Geltath is thin to the point of emaciation, his face that of a death-mask surrounded by matted grey-blond hair. His clothes were once sumptuous, but now are so soiled with grease and filth that even a beggar would turn up his nose at them.
Geltath is Flower’s Husband, and is ostensibly in charge of procurement for the Mission. As such, he is provided with 10 Lunars every 2 (Lunar) months by the Society.
Pressure PointsRather than spend the bi-monthly stipend on the children, Geltath tends to drink at least half of it, and squirrels away as much as he can before Flower can take it from him.
Geltath is planning on using his funds to travel – anywhere, as long as it is away from Flower. He has heard that the East Isles are a paradise-on-Glorantha for a man of intelligence and distinction – which he considers himself to be, against all evidence (and Flower’s shrill chastising) to the contrary.
Geltath detests children, almost as much as he resents his wife. He casually kicks or slaps any child he finds himself with “to maintain discipline”.
Pardikol One-eyePardikol is yet another graduate of the Mission (the first “graduate” from the Talfort Mission). He served several years in the Argent Archers before losing his eye in a tavern brawl. He was “retired” from the unit, and went back to the only home he knew, the Mission. He is responsible for the security of the Orphanage, which usually means keeping the kids from escaping, and tracking down and returning those that do.
Pardikol pities the children in the mission, but truly believes that the Mission is better than what these children will face in the “outside”. He tries to augment their meager dinner with hunting, but his handicap means that he is not nearly as proficient with a bow as he once was, and what kills he does bring in are more often served to the Mission Staff rather than the children.
Pressure PointsThe way to Pardikol’s heart is through the children. He will do (almost) anything for them. He wil even give his own dinner to a particularly pitiful waif.
Pardikol trains the children in basic combat techniques. If the children ever get rebellious, they can be a more formidable force than would outwardly sem.
Sister Eloina, PreceptorSister Eloina is a bright-eyed naïf, who sees “potential in these beautiful children” and “bright futures for all my darlings”. She literally does not see the squalid conditions of the orphanage. This condition is caused by a failed Illumination, which has caused her to see only the good around her, and never the bad. She always has a big smile and a hug for “her little ones”, and they love her in return. She is the only bright spot in their otherwise dreary lives.
Eloina’s training was in the streets of Kevrinth. She is a self-taught, enthusiastic holy-person, but cannot read the Rufus Scripts, and those parts which she has memorized are sometimes rather strangely scrambled. Yet she is a preceptor, able to provide a conduit between Sedenya and her flock.
Due to “budgetary concerns” (and her fortuitous handicap), Eloina is also the maid-of-all-work at the Mission, and is rather harshly used by Flower. She is responsible for all cleaning and cooking in the Staff buildings, and organizes the children in cleaning the Dormitory.
Pressure PointsNone, really. She is cheerful, obedient and totally unable to see the bad in people. What is there to pressure?
Using the Runegate Orphanage in your Campaign If your heroes are Sartarites, the Orphanage serves as another example of the Lunar lack of compassion. Even without knowing the background of the order and how it operates, the Orphanage serves to take perfectly good Sartarite children and turn them into soldiers who will be used to fight their own kind.
If your heroes are Lunar, the Mission serves an example of the “Bad within the Good” – the flotsam on the edge where the Lunar Ideals meet un-enlightened human greed.
The orphanage is a “soft target” – not even worth rolling dice to see if the heroes eliminate it in combat – they do, period (unless they are a band of starving trollkin, of course). Pardikol isn’t even a worthy combat opponent for a Sartarite farmer, let alone a band of hardened warriors.