The Church of Enlightenment
The groundwork that would lead to the founding of the Church of Enlightenment began in the late 80s when Dr Carterius was a research scientist with Metatech San Francisco. She became convinced that all humans, metahumans and paranormals are inextricably linked by a bond she called the Enlightened Principle. This Principle also represented a reservoir of unimaginable inner power that could be tapped by those who knew how. However Carterius could provide no tangible proof of this Principle and was soon dismissed from her job. Carterius disappeared for several years only to suddenly reappear in 1985 as the head of a new religious organisation. The Church of Enlightenment.
The central philosophy put forth by the Church was that all humans, metahumans and paranormals are truly bonded together in a way that transcends culture, race and geography. Ever member's goal is to gain total control of his actions and motivation for the betterment of all.
There was much opposition to the Church and its methods from civic politicians and other entrenched interests in the early days, and members were often beaten and jailed for their activities in the streets of cities and towns. Despite this, there was eventual acceptance of the movement as it began opening and successfully running centres for the homeless, women's shelters, orphanages and prison outservices across the country. Then in 1990 Congress recognizing all that the Church had done socially for the poor and helpless in America passed an Act giving the organization legal standing. Today the Church is widely respected for all its charity work.
In reality the Church is actually a front for a number of daemonic insect spirits preparing to unleash hell on earth.
Prospective members attend a discovery meeting, a psychological sales job that plays on the candidates desire to belong to society. Once the candidate has been initiated, the next major step is the transition to the inner circle.
|Initiate||1st level; Includes only Church apprentices or mundane worshippers. Most of the Church's allies in politics and corporations fall into this category.|
|Acolyte||2nd-3rd level; Anyone who has proven themselves a blindly loyal follower graduates to this section.|
|Disciple||4th-9th level; Those who have proven their loyalty and worth. The higher their level the more duties they are allowed. However there is one other requirement. To reach this level the follower must either have the meta gene or be somehow mystically touched. Normal humans are no good as hosts. As the demon mind begins to touch the follower the first insanity is gained at Minor level.|
|Minister||10th-12th level; A true daemonic priest and head of the local chapter house. They are always appointed by the regional High Minister. Each is also a host (see Operations). The next insanity is gained at Severe level.|
|High Minister||13th-14th level; Each of these control all the chapter houses in their region. They are selected by the Matriarch. Each is also a host. The next insanity is gained at Extreme level.|
|Matriarch||15th level; Head of the entire Church, specifically chosen by the daemon hive queen as her human host. At the moment this is Carterius. If she is killed one of the female High Ministers will be elevated to her position.|
The public face of the Church of
On the surface the church appears to be a loose confederation of autonomous chapter houses. Each is led by a High Minister and his or her Ministers. They are solely responsible for the day to day operations of the chapter. The Matriarch directly controls all nationwide membership drives, public relations, advertising and establishment of new chapters. The church enjoys the tax free status awarded to religious institutions. Most chapter houses include a hostel, a soup kitchen and a free clinic as part of their day to day operations.
Since 1980 the Church has been a leader in correctional services. Still busy in the traditional environments of prison cell and courtroom, the Army now provides facilities for adult and young offenders, attendance and community resource centres, drug and alcohol facilities and undertakes supervision of offenders in the community program. Its vast experience and wide resources, coupled with its ability to change and be innovative, set the Army apart as uniquely equipped to fulfil this challenging and demanding work within the community.
On most days of the week in any city the Church's mobile home reaches out to young street people. Trained staff maintain contact with them offering some food, warmth, or just a place to hang for a while. Blankets, clothing, food, dental supplies and soap meet immediate needs, and make life a bit easier, as does the offer of transportation to shelters. Volunteers are often on hand to assist, freeing up the Disciples to devote their time to building relationships with young people, counselling them and providing care and information about other services and programs.
Whenever disaster strikes, the Church is quick to appear. Often assigned a specific role by Emergency Preparedness authorities, such as counselling, registration and identification, transportation, emergency housing, feeding or clothing. Like no other civilian body, it can mobilise personnel, resources, volunteers and financial support from the public at large, and bring them to bear where the need is greatest.
The true face of the Church of Enlightenment:
Insect totems are powerful patrons, unfortunately however their thought processes and goals are totally alien. Prolonged exposure to these bizarre thought patterns has a profound effect on the recipient. It starts with a growing paranoia, the recipient becoming progressively more a pawn in the intricate and inscrutable plans of his insect totem, until he becomes a near mindless puppet dancing to his totem's tune. To exist in the material world totem spirits need a human host. The host however must be a metahuman or paranormal who is strong, healthy and willing to act as a host, though more likely it will be an unknowing victim under the mental command of the shaman. Possessed hosts undergo physical changes such as dermal bone disposition, skeletal and muscular rearrangement, alteration of the nervous system, growth of fangs or dermal spines and massive modification of the gastrointestinal tract. As the shaman slips further into the madness brought on by the insect totem, he or she is eventually coerced into summoning a queen. This queen is a powerful spirit of the same insect type as the totem. The host for her must be a powerful metahuman or paranormal female. Most insect hives will have a caste system consisting of a queen, drones, workers and warriors.
The potency of an Insect Shaman's magic increases as they accomplish goals that allow them to expand their hive. Insect shamans reserve awe and desire for these spirits, whom they view as the living embodiment of their totems. Should an insect shaman's Queen be destroyed, the magician will forever lose all of their magical power, even if they had previously been a normal shaman.
The Enlightened Principle is simply a mystical means of determining who has the necessary requirements for becoming a host.
Insect Follower Types
|Insects are some of the oldest, and most alien creatures on earth. Their daemonic equivalents are also ancient and alien, but they are also powerful and plentiful. They are seen as dangerous and malevolent because of their role in carrying disease, or blighting the plants that people also depended on for food.|
|Ant followers believe in the
massive numbers of the hive society. A single ant is nothing, but the
hive overall is a force to be reckoned with. They are steadfast and
Summoned Abilities: Can stick to surfaces and burrow swiftly
through the earth by at normal walking rate.
Flea followers are pack minded, always acting in groups of at least six. They do not build hives, although they do congregate around areas with large numbers of Metahumans.
Summoned Abilities: Can stick to surfaces and
leap x2 normal
|Fly followers are sneaky and
duplicitous, always looking for the loophole, or just an opportunity to
backstab an ally for personal advantage. Fly's way is the way of
subterfuge, deceit, stealth, evasion, and escape.
Summoned Abilities: Fly at
2kph per STR. Vision x2 normal range, can also see small objects clearer.
Locusts have a voracious appetite and are mindlessly destructive in their swarms. Locust followers believe in pure destruction.
Summoned Abilities: Can stick to surfaces
and eat almost anything, including what would be indigestible to normal
Among the insects, the Mantis are something of an aberration. The powerful female Mantis consume other insect spirits in order to propagate. Mantis is both the wisest and the most deadly of the insect totems. Mantis followers are infinitely patient and utterly merciless.
Summoned Abilities: Can stick to surfaces
and leap x2 normal.
|Wasps are fearsome and fanatical
warriors. They are fearless and will risk their lives to defend their
Summoned Abilities: Can stick to surfaces and
2kph per STR.