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The Moritat

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“I never saw the killer fully, though I thank the Saviour-Emperor for her. We’d lost half the squad and Proctor Aeldred had just gone down with his throat bit open. I fired off the last round from my Puritan and had nothing left but my boot knife and a prayer on my lips when this dark shape dropped from the gantry above. The carrionates, well, the rotted things just came apart, black clotted blood and rancid flesh everywhere. The one in front of me went down in five twitching chunks and I swear I didn’t see a single sword stroke fall... a miracle sir. The Emperor’s own bloody work---like a death angel from the old hive tales.”

— Deputy Provost Morcar, Report on the Morningside Incident, Hive Gloriana

The Moritat is an Imperial Death Cult, far older than Calixis itself. Some legends say it was brought to Calixis by adherents secreted among the forces of the Angevin Crusade who carved the sector into being. Others claim it was already seeded in place, waiting for the Imperials when they came. Regardless, the Moritat leans heavily on the Imperial Creed, albeit with a very dark, bloody and mystical interpretation of its dogma. It teaches that only through the merciless application of violence and death can the Imperium be sustained, the weak and corrupt winnowed out and the Emperor’s own great sacrifice honored. The Moritat’s membership view themselves as a sect of assassin-mystics in service ultimately of the God-Emperor Himself, and deem their killings divinely licensed, if not directly ordained.

In the Moritat’s dogma (as it is with many death cults), blood holds a sacred place: it represents both beating life and the shed blood of the countless millions who have been martyred so humanity can continue to exist. Particularly, it embodies the sacrifice of the Emperor Himself. For the Moritat, then, there is no more sacred act than the spilling of blood and for this reason they prefer to do their work with the edge of the blade over any other implement of death. Their secret rituals revolve around blood and, to them, no lesson is truly learned and no truth uncovered without bloodshed to mark its moment.

The existence of the Moritat is something of an open secret in the hierarchy of the Calixian noble houses and the Adepta, although facts about them are scarce in the extreme. The cult’s existence also seems to benefit from some measure of toleration by the Imperium’s higher powers, a fact that leads some to whisper that the Moritat’s true sponsorship lies with the distant and dreaded temples of the Officio Assasinorum itself. In organization, the Moritat is supremely difficult to infiltrate or pin down, operating in independent cells each led by a single master or mistress seeded in recruiting grounds such as underhives, feral world wildernesses and war zones.

The Moritat selects those who have already been “marked” by tragedy and bloodshed to serve the Emperor as a bringer of death to His enemies. They take these individuals from a young age and forge their bitterness and hate into a weapon. Training recruits relentlessly in the arts of destruction, deception and bloodletting, while at the same time indoctrinating them into their own brand of Imperial faith and the mysteries of the cult. Moritat aspirants who survive this education become full members of the cult and are sent out alone into the wider Imperium---a process they call the “travail” to hone their skills as assassins, vigilantes and peerless duelists, believing that only through continuous conflict and bloody experience can they become supreme in their arts and worthy to serve the Emperor.

During this time, the Moritat makes their way through contract killings, often only for a nominal fee or a bizarre or symbolic item of payment, or, just as often, as a murderer who seeks out worthy targets among those skilled enough to prove challenging or who they regard as the Emperor’s foes---heretics, mutants, cultists and witches, although a particular Moritat has his or her own favored targets. Many Moritat find service with the Holy Ordos during this period as the goals of the Inquisition and the Moritat’s chosen victims marry well together. The sanction of Inquisitorial authority often serves to cover up the assassin’s less orthodox habits. The Moritat assassin is watched in secret by members of their own cult throughout the travail and once their superiors deem they have grown sufficiently skilled enough, they are initiated into the cult’s higher mysteries, becoming a thing of whispered legend---a Moritat Reaper.

A Moritat Reaper is a vision of death incarnate with a blade, skilled to an extent that few can match: agile, fanatical and merciless. They are also patient, capable of waiting still for hours in the shadows or stalking their prey for days before choosing the right moment to strike. Once unleashed in combat, they erupt in savage grace, their blades leaping, slashing and severing with seemingly wild abandon, belying the consummate precision with which their bloodletting is driven. Once drenched in the blood of their victims, only then is a Moritat satiated and offers up thanks to the Emperor in silent prayer in his or her own cult’s tongue, laced, it is said, with a million metaphors of death.

The High Reaper of the MoritatEdit

The Moritat are a secretive death cult devoted to a form of the Imperial creed. They are devotees are masters of death with razor, sword, and serrated edge. The internal organization of the Moritat is made up of cells led by individual masters or mistresses. Each Master is part of a complex hierarchy that leads through killers of ever greater skill until it reaches one lone master of death referred to variously as the High Reaper, the Angel of Cut, or one of a profusion of sinister titles. The High Reaper is said to be the only one of the Moritat to know, and have mastered, the two hundred and nineteen sacred cuts. She possesses over ten thousand vials of blood taken from those who have died on the edge of her blades. Unlike the other masters of the Moritat, the High Reaper is said to keep no cell of faithful assassins around her, but instead keeps a single disciple as her personal companion and apprentice.

To this disciple she teaches the most sacred methods of death. From the disciple, however, the High Reaper keeps the single most revered cut: the cut that cannot be taught, but only given by the Emperor’s divine inspiration; the only cut by which the High Reaper herself may be defeated. Once the disciple realizes this truth, he attempts to slay his mistress. If he succeeds, he is gifted the final, most venerated cut as a revelation at the moment that he uses it to kill her. In so doing, he becomes the High Reaper. If, however, the revelation does not come, the disciple dies and another is selected to take his place. Whether this figure exists in truth is a matter much discussed amongst peers of the Calixian Conclave. Some believe that there is no High Reaper, that it is merely a lie created to shield the identity of the Moritat’s creators and patrons within the Holy Ordos. Others think that the High Reaper is all too real and that her master may be closer to them all than anyone suspects.

MembersEdit

Background PackageEdit

Assassin: The Moritat

Home World: Feral World, Imperial World or Hive World

Cost: 300 XP

For a Moritat Assassin, the chance to serve the Inquisition is a blessed thing---dealing death to the God-Emperor’s enemies first hand and also a proving ground where they can test their skills against the most dire and powerful opposition imaginable. Many Inquisitors regard Moritat Assassins as invaluable resources, monsters of their own to fight the many monsters they must challenge.

Effects: Apply all of the following changes to your character:

Characteristics: Reduce Fellowship by –5.

Skills: You begin the game with Climb (S), Secret Tongue (Moritat) (Int), Shadowing (Ag), and Silent Move (Ag).

Talents: You gain the Jaded talent.

Insanity Points: You start the game with 1d5 Insanity Points.

Equipment: Replace your normal starting equipment with the following: mono-sword, six throwing knives, crossbow pistol and twenty bolts, grapnel and line, equipment harness, 3 doses of stimm, and a protective bodyglove (2 points Primitive armor to the Body, Arms and Legs).

The Bloody Edge (Trait): The Moritat disdain many modern weapons as crude and spiritually unfulfilling, preferring instead the sacred edge of the blade. As a result, they must pass a Hard (–20) Willpower Test to use any weapon lacking an “edge” in combat (thrown blades, knives and arrows are fine) unless they obviously have no chance of harming their enemy otherwise. However, such is their deadly artistry at bloodletting, any edged weapon wielded by them counts as having the Tearing quality when used against living targets.

Alternate Career RankEdit

To become a Moritat Reaper, you must have been created with the option of the Moritat Assassin Background Package, and this Career choice is designed to be a culmination of that that Origin and choice. Over the course of your adventures, you must also stay true to the Moritat’s dogma and defeat several of the cult’s favored enemies in single combat with the edge of the blade.

Required Career: Assassin

Required Experience: Rank 6 or higher (5,000 XP)

Other Requirements: You must be a member of the Moritat and remain true to that Death Cult’s code.

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