The Order of St. Ossus is an organization I designed for use in my Apocalypticon one-shot called The Reliquary of St. Ossus.  The Order is a Catholic brotherhood, but I am not Catholic and make no claims that this group is remotely accurate in terms of structure and realism.  There are a few stats presented here, using the Savage Worlds game system.  Feel free to use and modify this content to your heart’s desire, but remember that it must remain free, attributed, and and under the same license.

The Order of St. Ossus is a brotherhood of Catholic monks centered in Rome, Italy.  While not officially housed within Vatican City, they are close enough to be considered a part of it.  The Monastery of St. Ossus is large and ornate, with marble and gilt in abundance.  At the center of the Monastery is the Reliquary of St. Ossus, the most important religious artifact for the Brothers and, for that matter, their entire reason for existence.  The Brothers are the guardians of the Reliquary, which their lore speaks of with great reverence.

The Reliquary is supposed to hold great spiritual power, drawn from St. Ossus himself.  According to the brothers, St. Ossus had achieved a unique and powerful connection to God, that he used to cleanse the world of heathens and perform great miracles.  When St. Ossus died, his mortal remains were interred beneath the building that is now the Monastery of St. Ossus.  His crucifix, however, was put into a reliquary and kept above ground for pilgrims and the faithful to visit.  Today, the monks protect the Reliquary with their lives.  The crucifix may no longer be intact, but the Reliquary remains unopened and the brothers’ faith is strong.

Now, here’s the thing.  The Brotherhood of St. Ossus is not mentioned in any of the historical texts obtained by the Organization, nor do their contacts in the Vatican have any knowledge of the Monks or the Reliquary.  For that matter, St. Ossus himself does not appear in any records or text.  The Organization has decided to retrieve the Reliquary in order to determine when and where it initiated.  The monks’ records should also be obtained, if possible, for the same reason.

As a possible side effect of the unusual origins of the brothers of St. Ossus, all the monks are completely insane.  They are incredibly protective of the Reliquary and their monastery.  They are far from non-violent and will use whatever force they deem necessary to protect the Reliquary.  Visitors are never allowed to see it and are politely asked to leave.  Persistence yields a slightly less polite response, and any show of force prompts machine guns to materialize immediately.

The Order of St. Ossus may be used anywhere, in any reasonably modern campaign or setting.  It was originally intended to be part of my Apocalypticon one-shot, so here are some relevant notes and Savage Worlds stats.

The party is fresh off their last assignment in Marseilles.  They are contacted by Capt. Simon Donovan (that should mean something to you West Wing fans!) from the west coast of Canada about their next mission – retrieving the Reliquary of St. Ossus.  He gives them the rundown on what the Organization knows of the brothers and the Reliquary.  They must find their way from Marseilles to Rome by one of two options – boat or charter plane.  As with all inter-regional transportation in the Apocalypticon setting, both are outrageously expensive (though the Organization probably covers this) and prone to mishaps.

If they take a boat they are boarded by pirates and a water elemental.  The pirates are armed with a hodgepodge of swords and black powder weapons, as well as a bit of magic.  The water elemental is nominally under the control of a caster with Arcane Background (Magic), but it is possible to break the bond or simply slay the caster.

If they choose the plane they are forced down in Genoa, and from there they must steal a vehicle or find passage on a train.  To do so, they must deal with the local militia who are on the watch for Swiss aggressors or spies from the other Italian city-states.  The guards are armed with medieval weaponry, though a few have revolvers or the equivalent of Winchester rifles.  They use little magic, if any.  It’s possible that they have a single miracle caster, though.

Once the party arrives in Rome they must battle their way to the Vatican.  The city is split between the Imperialists and the Republicans, both using a combination of cannibalized modern weaponry and ancient Roman arms and armor.  Cavalry is fairly common, but there are rail lines and automobiles.  Each faction controls a district here and a district there, and it is very likely that characters wandering through the city will happen on a patrol or be caught in the crossfire.  There is a cumulative 10% every hour that the party will encounter some kind of opposition, though which faction depends on location and just plain luck.  All outcomes are equally likely.

The Vatican is locked down tight by the Swiss Guard.  The Pope still spreads his message to the world from the Holy See through carrier pigeons, cell phones, and the linknet.  Because his legitimacy has been challenged by at least two other “Popes” in Italy alone, however, the Church is taking no chances with saboteurs and assassins.  The blocks closest to the Vatican are occasionally patrolled by the Swiss Guard, and they have a steady watch on the city’s walls.

Luckily for the party, they need not actually enter the Vatican itself.  They may choose to do so anyway, especially if they have a contact within the Vatican who can lend them supplies, aid, or shelter.  It would be convenient to put a member of the Vatican in one random encounter elsewhere in Rome, giving the party the chance to rescue him/her and ingratiate themselves into the Church’s good graces.  The Roman Catholic Church can be a powerful ally, and an even more powerful foe.

The Monastery of St. Ossus is relatively easy to locate.  It is well-adorned and quite visible, especially the marble facade.  The monks have barricaded the building and keep a constant watch on the front gates.  The back is (stereotypically) somewhat less well-guarded, as is the roof.  Either way offers a chance to get inside, but it nonetheless requires stealth and care.  Alternatively, the party can use the simple expedient of blowing open the gates or driving a vehicle through them.  The brothers will try to pick off any suspicious figures nearby, though, so there is a good chance of a speedy death in either of these strategies.

Inside, the brothers have also placed barricades in the passages leading to the center of the building.  The barracks and supplies are stored in the basement vault, while the upstairs is used largely for training and weapons platforms.  It is important to note that the brothers are not (and were not) warriors.  They should each have a d6 in one combat skill and a d4 in one other.  There are, however, many of them and they have many, many weapons.

Several brothers can also use magic.  Every other encounter should include either a psionicist (driven mad) or a miracle worker (possibly also totally bananas).  The Abbott himself is a powerful priest and has several powers at his command.  Most brothers use Smite and a defensive power, while the Abbott has those and more at his command.  Feel free to play with his stats as much as you like.  If he will be a recurring character then more thought and planning is required, but otherwise you can just choose four or so powers, give him 15-20 power points, and put a gun in his hands.  Not all the brothers use guns, but they seem to have a pretty endless supply of Uzis and ammunition.  There are a few mounted guns and snipers in the upper floors, but not more than a half dozen in total.

The Reliquary is at the center of the Monastery’s ground floor.  It sits on a glass-encased pedestal at the center of a grand marble gallery, with several balconies overlooking it.  The glass is alarmed so the moving or breaking it will sound a silent alarm in the armory and barracks in the basement, and the Abbott’s study upstairs.  Several miracle casters quickly appear when the alarm sounds, followed swiftly by Uzi-wielding monks.  The gallery goes all the way to the glass ceiling on the roof, leaving ample space for a dramatic exit by the party.  Then they just have to make it through the urban faction warfare to the docks on the Tiber where Capt. Donovan has a boat ready to depart at a moment’s notice.

And that’s all, folks!  I hope that you enjoy the Order of St. Ossus and find it useful in your gaming lives.  Please feel free to offer input and feedback.  I also realize that some of the references here may make little sense, and the lack of maps may be a problem for those not so cartographically inclined.  As I develop and post more of the Apocalypticon setting I shall edit this post to include links to relevant posts and files.  Continue to check back for updates, though I hope to offer some more easily accessible way to receive them soon.  The maps, at least, will be up as soon as I have access to a scanner.

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