The Golden Army
Group Name: The Golden Army
Created By: Jay P. Hailey
Number of Members: Unknown, more than 10,000, less than 1 million
Nature of Members: Sentients who seek order and belonging in a well defined heirarchy
Organization: Military. Members of the Golden Army have ranks and positions. They have org charts for everything. Children are referred to as "Child, grade X" based on their level of training in the lore and methods of the Golden Army.
Game Role: An earnest cult of true believers, unaware that their god is Lawful, but not Good.
World Role: One of several religions in the FRPG setting, but also an opposition force.
Relative Influence: Moderate - when they concentrate their force, they can get scary, currently most of the large players armies could whomp them in a straight up fight. They're aiming to set up a new HQ and begin building numbers and influence
Public or Secret?: Public. The status of their God as an Evil Diety is not widely known and his followers, largely wouldn't believe it.
Publicly Stated Goal: To spread order and the word of the Golden King.
Relative Wealth: Compared to other religions, weak to moderate. Compared to individuals or small groups, large. Compared to competing armies, low to moderate.
This religion is still trying to set up it's own theocratic state. until then, teams are sent forth to loot old ruins and recover wealth to fund the army, as well as more mundane mercenary and security work.
Group advantages: Excellent unit cohesion and loyalty. Very well organized and once set to a task they excell.
Special Abilities: Their leader, The Golden King is a God and can lend clerics spells
Group disadvantages: Their obvious structure and ritual marks them for friend and foe alike.
Some "Units" are covert and so only use Military style greeting and status in private. But many are "Overt" so they wear rank and position markers and act military.
Special Disadvantages: Their God is not actually a nice guy, even though most Cult members think he is.
Those who favor them: People who think they can use the Golden Army for their own ends. People in dangerous and chaotic
Those opposed to them: Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Evil (Especially Chaotic Evil) people
Area of Operation: Toril, Cormanthyr, Forgotten Realms
Headquarters Location: Golden Army Command Temple, Cormyr.
Public Face: Stern but fair bringers of order.
The punchline - The Golden King is a God of military order, but Military order cut loose from the proper context. The Golden King wants more followers and more worshippers. He wants more power. He's out to bring all of Toril under his sway, and domination.
The Golden King is the God of "The Ends Justify the Means"; and stacking up power for it's own sake.
The Golden King portrays himself as a stern but fair C/O who will look out for his followers. He portrays himself this way because this creates the best morale among his followers and keeps them fighting for the day when his benevolent reign brings order.
Followers of The Golden King fall into three categories.
Cult Members: People isolated, miserable, down on their luck. The Golden Army gives them a place to belong and something to do and to be.
Cultural: People raised in the Cult who are just used to thinking this way.
Military: A good number of the best Soldiers and NCOs are former military people who find they miss the military life and structure.
Bases: The Golden Army has a number of Bases on various sizes, in various places, the larger ones act as towns and support the training of youth and and activities to support soldiers in the field.
Most Soldiers in the Golden Army take up the Fighter or Warrior class.
If a soldier in the Golden Army is found to have aptitude, they will be trained in other classes,
Wizards and Bards are not all that plentiful in the Golden Army, as the sorts of people who become Wizards and Bards don't wind up in the cult.
Oddly they have some rogues, mainly trained by old burn outs and mercenaries hired for that role.
They have no Rangers as true rangers don't cope well with the structure.
They have a class called "Scouts" who are people trained in woodscraft, fighting, hunting and getting along in the wilderness. Golden Army Scouts have been trained by mercenary and allied Rangers, but the Scouts lack the magical abilities that rangers pick up.
The Upper eschelons of the Golden Army (O-6, Colonel and above) are so bought into "The Mission" that they either never had or have lost track of their moral compass. These guys will destroy a village to save it, and calculate how many dead civilians can be tolerated for the greater long term good.
This is by definition, someone who isn't willing to go to these lengths is never promoted past O-5.
The cult demands conformity and obedience to the orders of superiors, although usually this is couched in terms of Military discipline and being necessary "On the battlefield"
Conscription: Sometimes the Golden King or High Command will deem a non-cult member to be vital for "The Mission" is possible such a person is hired or bribed.
If these means prove inadequate, others will be found. Taking family members hostage against the cooperation of the "Vital Asset" is not unheard of.
Things like this are where the Golden Army begins to show it's true colors.
The "Team Colors" of the Golden Army are gold and black.
They have a system of ranks and rank markings which are detailed and specific.
For convenience, I substitute US Army ranks and markings.
But it needs a rewrite.
Bane is most often pictured as a golden man, dressed in the finest clothes and armor. His crown is made of eight stars.
In his right hand, he wields the sword of justice which can penetrate any armor and kill any foe.
On his left hand he wears a black bejeweled gauntlet. This signifies the dark deeds he must to to preserve and extend order. But the dark glove is always on the King's hand. He is always in control.
Bane is a fierce opponent of all who oppose him, but oddly, seems to hate the chaotic evil deities and their followers worst.
His rituals include the sacrifice of murderers. The more disturbing and profane the murder(s) the better Bane likes the sacrifice and he will reward followers commensurately. This ritual can also be done with opponents of Bane - the stronger an opponent they are, the happier Bane is when they're sacrificed.
Among the faithful, resistance to the Golden King means, by definition that you must be chaotic. if you kill a follower of the Golden King, you must be evil therefore you must be fit for sacrifice to the Eight Starred Crown (Time and circumstances permitting)
The followers of Bane have two modes. Open mode and Covert Mode. Covert followers use deception, misdirection and concealment to advance The Mission. their ranks and relative status in the cult is concealed by all means practical and necessary.
they hold secret meetings when circumstances allow where they chant their oaths of allegiance reassure themselves of the favor of their Master, and show off their ranks and awards to each other.
In Open Mode, the Followers of the Golden King have uniforms and ranks. Areas of life are organized along paramilitary lines. Even civilians are assigned to Civilian Units and hold Administrative,civilian rank, Usually between rank 0 (child) and Rank 2 (Senior adult of the Family Unit)
Their Holy Mission is to gain converts, gain political power and take over places, until the glorious day of "The Victory" when the Golden King and his Followers will rule all, and chaos will be banished.
In some places practicality demands that followers of Bane tolerate followers of other, lesser Gods. But in any areas where they gain sufficient power, other religions are discouraged, marginalized and then finally outlawed.
Followers of Bane are notable for their unit cohesion, loyalty to each other and willingness to do *anything* to advance The Mission (Or their particular assignment within the greater mission.)
Rank and Awards are awarded by a command structure of high ranking clerics and followers of Bane. These are tied to capability and success in advancing The Mission, and so often follow character level.
Almost any class or species may be followers of Bane. He rewards his followers with wealth and power. Bane does not care the character class, race or origin of a follower. He only cares that they adhere to the Code and advance The Mission.
Except in conditions of utmost secrecy, followers of Bane treat each other preferentially in business and politics, so becoming an adherent of Bane can be quite lucrative. But Bane is tough. Followers must adhere to his strict code. Those that fall may atone, but this severely damages their possibility of being promoted within the cult.
Extreme transgressions, like breaking military discipline, cowardice, openly doubting the mission or harming innocents when it's not in direct service to The Mission will earn sanctions ranging from being expelled from the cult and shunned, being executed or even being sacrificed to Bane.
Followers of the Cult of Bane are expected to subsume themselves to the community, and above all The Mission. Self sacrifice to advance The Mission is rewarded in the afterlife. The lives of outsiders only matter, to the degree that killing them is chaotic, which is against The Mission. If it advances The Mission, then burning orphanages and slaughtering nuns and other heinous acts are rewarded. The Mission is everything.
Holding a man's loved ones hostage to ensure his compliance is perfectly fine if it advances the mission. Killing them if he fails is perfectly acceptable.
The Mission is all and any act that advances The Mission is acceptable.
Placing bounties on the heads of powerful chaotic beings, or those who resist The Mission, so the targeted people are killed by Murder Hobos looking to score a payday is perfectly acceptable - using chaos against itself is perfectly okay.
Since the Mission is the elimination of Chaos, and the assertion of the rule of the Golden King, this can result in Cultists working hard to give peaceful chaotic folks hell. This is fine, but Bane really prefers the chaotic evil die first, for his glory. Murder, rape, torture and insanity are disorderly - the essence of chaos. Dead victims can not work to advance The Mission.
But in any given area if the chaotic evil have been killed or driven away, then it's time to Assert the Rule of the Eight Starred Crown. And those who do not like it can flee or die.
Mortal Ranks top out at four star general, admiral or noble. The ranks between 5 and 7 stars are reserved for demigods and the divinley favored of Bane.
There is only one 4 star in any category at a time. There may be any number of Lesser Ranks , as converts come aboard and the demands of The Mission require.
Besides Commerce, trade and political favors, any member of the cult who advances the mission by helping to fund it is rewarded.
The command authority of the cult often sends scouts ranging far and wide to gather information - if they hear of treasure or loot to be had, a strike team of the Faithful may be assembled to go and retrieve this wealth, after a small, but fair cut for themselves this wealth goes into the coffers of the Cult to advance The Mission
followers of the cult may freelance and even work with outsiders if their efforts benefit the cult either in terms of gaining wealth or gaining followers.
A strike team of the Faithful may supplement their numbers with outside adventurers to acquire a great haul of loot
Treating outsider team mates fairly may advance the mission by making these adventurers more inclined to cooperate with missions that Advance The Mission later.
Killing them so that only the cult gets the wealth, well, if you don't get caught, that advances the Mission as well.
If there's a case where the faithful have the numbers to overwhelm a rival group, kill them and take their wealth, that's just part of the mission, but cult leaders have learned to go easy on this and to try and only do such things using deniable assets.
Having the name of the Temple of Bane besmirched by a massacre that wasn't thorough enough does not advance The Mission