Praetorian Ministry
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Nature: Mage Organization
Faction: Pyramid
Status: Greater Ministry
Patron Exarch: The General
Favored Prelacy: Fury
Arcanum Specialty: Forces
Responsibilities: Military, Police, warfare, terrorism, violence, conflict, ''divide and conquer'', weapons & bombs, fear-mongering, atrocities, genocide, political instability, pogroms & ethnic cleansing
Soundtrack: Masters of War - Bob Dylan

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War is a garden that grows red, nurtured by blood, moistened by a rain of sweat. The Praetorian ministry tends that garden and keeps it from running wild, but it also keeps it healthy, well fed by the world’s violence. Praetorians are soldiers, yes, but they’re so much more: demagogues, executives , politicians and everything else that powers the machinery of violence.

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They don’t carry a banner of honor, though they’ll pretend to when it suits their aims. They aren’t modern knights, samurai or the other honorable warriors that Adamantine Arrows idealize. Violence is not a crucible for character, but an instrument of the Exarchs. It siphons human creativity and destroys good will. It eats productivity and shits devastation.

Divided against itself, humanity can never overthrow the Lie. The Ministry keeps those divisions vigorous and hate-filled, without letting them produce a global catastrophe.

By the reign of Aurelian, the Praetorians wielded considerable influence, but the Roman Empire was dying by inches. Even the Seers couldn’t return it to glory, but that wasn’t necessary any more. The idea of imperial power & eternal war left the cradle of Alexander's Persia, strode through Rome & across the world. From then on, nations would always be restless and prepared to pursue it, given half a chance. That’s what the Praetorian Ministry wanted, and that’s the way the world is today.

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Rote Skills

  • Athletics
  • Larceny
  • Intimidation

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Overview

The General’s cults have always been popular. For every man or woman who wants peace or at least strictly controlled violence, there’s been one who simply wants to win, no matter the cost. These pragmatists are the Exarch’s core followers. Ironically, they learn that controlled violence is the key to power, not its obstacle. War & violence have changed over the ages, however. War materiel isn’t made by villages or even individual nations, but by corporations that span the globe. On the grand scale, violence relies on transnational consensus: coalitions, networks and ideological movements.

The Praetorian Ministry maintains the global machinery of war and simulates ambitions that can only be realized by force. Praetorians infiltrate standing armies, guerilla groups and arms manufacturers. On a smaller scale, they’re provocateurs in police forces, gangs and even protest groups. The Ministry ceaselessly ensures that societies always treat violence as a necessary tool, and keep the arms, people and ideology needed to slaughter their own people and their neighbors.

On the other hand, they don’t want Sleepers to get too warlike. People have the means to destroy themselves, but the Praetorians don’t want them going down that path. Omnipresent, controlled violence is the goal — not genocide. The Ministry considers the rise of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons their failure, but takes credit for global agreements against using them.

Praetorians promote perpetual warfare to sow fear in the Sleeper population. Fearful people take comfort in authority. They don’t trust their neighbors, and direct their thoughts toward practical, materialistic goals. Deep questions about the nature of things fall to the wayside. Violence is also wasteful. It creates scarcity. Billions go to maintaining armies and manufacturing weapons. If the global community forged a lasting peace, it could redirect these resources to solving the perennial problems of poverty, disease and hunger. Once it seriously deals with those, humanity has nowhere to go but up: to the Supernal Realms. A violent world guards the Exarchs from their prisoners.

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Philosophy

Fear is the enemy of enlightenment. The Awakened may show superficial fear, but they possess a transcendent bravery that denies the Lie and crosses the Abyss. It’s the Ministry’s duty to cultivate utter fearlessness, but sow fear in the masses. As long as every Sleeper has at least a subconscious belief that someone could take away everything she holds dear, the unease will be sufficient to stifle Awakening, most of the time. This isn’t an ideal solution, because there are always a few stubborn, desperate souls that are actually propelled into Awakening by fear, but the Ministry believes this is part of the Supernal design. Even Seers of the Throne should have enemies to test their resolve. Otherwise, they’ll go soft. The Ministry despises softness. To the ideal Praetorian, mortal danger, social censure and moral condemnation are nothing.

Doubt is a mark of the Abyss. The Exarchs put it in human souls to keep them Asleep by making them afraid of their own power. Pentacle renegades overcome fear through selfishness. They crave power and erratically steal in from the higher worlds. Praetorians aspire to radical selflessness instead. They are the General’s vessels, duly authorized to channel Supernal force in his name. Paradoxes are stains of doubt in their mission. Praetorians are ashamed when they experience them, because they’re a sign of subconscious disloyalty to the Exarchs’ regime.

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Rituals & Observances

The Praetorian Ministry is a pragmatic group that lets individuals plan their own ritual worship of the Exarchs — with the General at the head of the pantheon, of course. They watch each other to confirm members’ piety and loyalty, but that’s it. Otherwise, the Ministry consistently devotes itself to a few common, practical projects.

Contingencies

Praetorians don’t like hot-headed improvisation. They compile plans for everything, from how to kill a lone Acanthus Adept to battle plans that will take effect if the Abyss sends monstrous soldiers against the world. Areti formulate contingency plans at all levels of the Ministry, and distributes sealed portions of them down the ranks so that when the time comes, key Praetorians will know what to do. Every contingency plan is only as good as the information that was used to make it, so they’re most useful when they concern the author’s specialty.

Armories

The Ministry has its hands deep in the global arms trade, and diverts some of its wares to secret armories around the world. Praetorians augment many of these weapons with magic, providing easy, collective access to enhanced items. A Praetorian in good standing can get her hands on small arms without too much trouble, but for anything heavier she must petition the Severix in charge of the facility.

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View on Sleepers

Soldiers are, were, and ever shall be the favored instruments of Praetorian, but the definition of just what a soldier is has long been a matter of some debate. Revolutionary movements and even prison gangs call its members “soldiers” with as much conviction as to be found in any legitimate national military. Police officer & underworld enforcer, schoolyard bully & globetrotting assassin, petty warlord & asshole in the office who turns it into a powder keg of tensions just to amuse himself; all these are soldiers, & all are loved by the General, enfolded in the Archgenitor’s smoldering embrace

Likewise, those who support conflict may be employed by Praetorian: arms dealers and manufacturers, dirty politicians and slum lords, drug czars and government contractors of all stripes. Anywhere that people profit by the pain of others, Praetorian casts its apprising gaze, looking for Sleepers willing to heed the General’s call to battle, on fields both elusive and overt.

Of course, because these are the Sleepers most likely to be thrown into direct martial conflict with the enemies of the Throne, many Praetorians like to choose those (like children or other innocents) whose appearance will demoralize and cause hesitation in a foe, even in death.

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Ultimate Objectives

The Praetorian Ministry wants an eternal enemy: a hunted, desperate underclass in the Exarchs’ dominion. It might be the most attainable goal of them all and in fact, some Seers believe it’s already been won. Praetorians believe that enemies keep the Seers sharp and skilled. The Atlantean orders would play the same role that helots did for the Spartans. Helots were slaves of the military class, but they were also ritual enemies. The Spartans hunted them as a rite of passage and treated them so harshly that they frequently rebelled. The warrior-nobles said they were the living walls of their city, but in fact, they kept themselves ready for battle not to so much to defend their land from invasion, but protect their privileges from revolts — and they were successful, too. Praetorians would keep the Pentacle strong enough to keep Seers alert, but weak enough to control, should anything get out of hand.

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Praetorian Seers

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