A Sneak Peek at HARP Beyond the Veil

Copyright Jonathan Cassie and Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd © 2019

Edited by Kristen Mork for The Guild Companion

"Divinity is a myth, meant to enslave the minds of all humans. It corrodes the will of the weak and gives untold power to the strong."

Crusade of Pure Reason

Two generations ago, elections in the Southern Republic brought to power a political force that ran on the platform of suppressing the power of all of the organized religions (numbering more than 50) that had for centuries influenced or directly controlled life throughout the country. While earning only the barest of majorities in the Axiom (the Parliament of the Republic), the Party of Reason undertook a comprehensive plan to reorganize society. When the churches and temples fought back two years later, the government declared a state of emergency and using both the law and orgiastic violence, violently suppressed the churches and those who professed belief in those churches. With their control of the military, the government and the civil society, the Party of Reason initiated and then sustained a radical transformation of the Southern Republic. And with their work complete at home, the Axiom (now the rubber-stamp assembly for the Party of Reason’s party leadership) has authorized the creation of a new force in society - the Crusade of Pure Reason. The Crusade’s mission is simply stated and straightforward: extirpate religion in all of its forms throughout the Southern Republic and then in all of the lands of the human race.

To the Crusade of Pure Reason, there is no divine in the world. Divinity is a myth, meant to enslave the minds of all humans. It corrodes the will of the weak and gives untold power to the strong. It damages the fabric of society by creating divisions that are false. Over the intervening generations since the Party of Reason came to power, their education of the young, suppression of religious texts and ideas and continuous propaganda have ensured that the majority of people in the Southern Republic claim to be aligned to the Party of Reason’s goals. They likewise support the Crusade, given that tens of thousands of regular citizens have signed up to become members of the Crusade. Given that the Crusade of Pure Reason is stridently anti-religious, there is a lot about it that feels and functions like religion. They have a number of texts that they deem essential to understanding their philosophy. They call these Tractates 1-5. Corollaries 1-3 interpret the tractates for each succeeding generation. Citizens of the Southern Republic are required to study these texts for at least an hour each day under the direction of a teacher appointed for each local study cell by the Thoughtspeakers of the Party of Reason. Members of the Crusade of Pure Reason have to study these texts more frequently and pass rigorous examinations to ensure that their thought is pure and devoid of unreasoned thinking. They reject all supernatural interpretations for worldly events, reject any notion of the afterlife or end times and hold that human reason, above all, is to be trusted in the conduct of life. Their attitudes towards the other races are complex and generally dismissive. They regard elves as being beyond the capacity for reason and as such have to be contained. Dwarves, by and large the same. They believe the gnomes could be brought around to their perspective. Indeed, there are a few gnomes who have already joined the Crusade. They have mixed opinions about halflings, believing them to be capable of reason but unwilling to submit to the discipline required to achieve it. Of all the races, they save their particular hatred for the Gryx. The Crusade believes that the Gryx are by temperament incapable of pure reason and by virtue of their organization and social norms, could actually pose a threat to the Republic. For this reason, Gryx living in the Southern Republic have been placed in ghettos or expelled from the country.

The present goals of the Crusade are clear. Infiltrate human societies and undermine religion while also undermining Gryx society wherever and whenever possible. They begin their work in the two neighboring human societies this year.

Gamemastering the Crusade

The Crusade is a potentially very problematic organization to get control of as a gamemaster. The way that they structure themselves is either directly totalitarian or verges on it. But if one were to compare it to a church working at the height of its powers, there’s a broad similarity between the Crusade’s goals and the goals of such a church. Power from the divine realm is still accessed by the Crusade’s “Clerics,” though they would call it something else. Nevertheless, it is divine-sphere magic because it originates from the fervently held beliefs of the members of the Crusade.

Playing the Crusade

The Crusade is like any other organization bent on bringing about a reorientation of the world. They are single-minded, focused, confident in their perspective and willing to do just about anything to accomplish their goal. They are organized and disciplined and have a clear philosophical framework for what they’re doing. They do not have much room in their practice for doubt. In a mixed party, they are going to be scornful of anyone who holds a religious perspective.