Hands of Burden
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The City of 7 Seraphs
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The Hands of Burden

LN preeminent organization
Leader the Keeper
Values strength in bearing burdens, gaining meaning through obligation
Nicknames “Lugs,” “Staggers,” “Whitecoats,” “the Obliged”
Public Goals to manage the tribunal courts of the Parities, to care for the mental well-being of the citizens of the city, to administer the sanitariums and soup kitchens of the City, to sacrifice for the greater needs of the City, to bear the weights no one else can
Private Goals the Hand of Burden wish to maintain the Balance of the Radia and Occlusion at all costs, as such they often discretely participate in massive actions to shift the City’s nature
Allies among fellow organizations, the Church of Coin, the Booksealers, the Everlasting Dawn and the Frozen Graves
Enemies the carefree proceeding of both the Steamstriders and Childen of Dreams lack a long term care for consequence while the Cocoon Pact's willingness to shed any ties prohibiting transformation drives them against the Hands
Membership Requirements trained in Craft (any), Knowledge (nobility), or Profession (any)
Influence Limitations Each time the adventurers wish to reach a new rank, they must fulfill a burden of significant danger or difficulty or endure a hardship for the benefit of the City or the organization significantly more noteworthy than the last. Succeeding at a special task more frequently than described below still gains you 1 favor (2 PP) but does not advance you toward the next rank of influence (or increase your Fame).

Special Tasks

Fulfill Burden (1 Favor/2 Fame) Once every two months, you can increase your Fame score or take a step toward raising your influence with the Hands of Onus by fulfilling a burden under exceptional danger or difficulty. Fulfilling a burden that required overcoming a hazard or guardian with CR higher than your level satisfies this special task.
Endure Hardship (1 Favor/2 Fame) Once every two months, you can increase your Fame score or take a step toward raising your influence with the Hands of Onus by enduring hardship while in the service to a greater burden. This requires a successful saving throw, Heal check or Profession check against DC 10 + twice your level.

Benefits

Passive Benefits (Fame Awards)

“Bearer”—Rank 1 (5 Fame): You carry the weight of the service of the Hands of Burden and people in the community respond. When within 100 miles of the city, you pay half as much as much as normal for inns and lodgings in non-Metropolis settlements.
“Debtor”—Rank 2 (20 Fame): Your Parity’s reputation for thankless service proceeds you. When within 100 miles of the city, you gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
“Servant”—Rank 3 (35 Fame): You are trained in the arts of caring for the minds of others. You can cast restoration once per day at your character level but only to heal mental ability scores and conditions. When you use this ability, the target also receives new saving throws against any long-term effect from a failed Will save.
“Thrall”—Rank 4 (50 Fame): You become an influential leader of the organization and gain a +4 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks against those familiar with the Hands of Burden. In addition, you can retrain without expending money or favors (or PP).

Favors (Prestige Awards)

New benefits are marked with an asterisk (*). All other benefits are described in the Mastering Intrigue chapter of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Intrigue or the campaign setting intrigue guide.
Rank 1 (5 Fame, 1 PP): borrow resources (100 gp), case (+15), gather information, sage (history, local, or nobility +15)
Rank 1 (10 Fame, 2 PP): lend resources* (500 gp), skill specialization (Craft [any], Heal, Sense Motive)
Rank 2 (20, 5 PP): burden’s back*, lend resources * (2,000 gp), borrow resources (1,000 gp), command team (1 1st-level aegis or cleric), put in a good word, retrain (locate trainer)
Rank 3 (35 Fame, 2 PP): debtor’s deepening*
Rank 3 (35 Fame, 5 PP): lend resources* (magic), borrow resources (5,000 gp), command team (1 4th-level cleric, 1d4 3rd-level aegis, or 3d4 1st-level radiants), reciprocal benefits
Rank 3 (35 Fame, 15 PP): retrain (no gp cost)
Rank 4 (50 Fame, 25 PP): borrow resources (15,000 gp), command team (1d4 6th-level aegis or clerics; or 5d4 3rd-level radiants or vitalists)
Rank 4 (50 Fame, 25 PP): borrow resources (15,000 gp), command team (1d4 6th-level aegis or clerics; or 5d4 3rd-level radiants or vitalists), deathless debtor*

New Benefits

Burden’s Back (20 Fame, 5 PP): You may ignore decreases to base speed while encumbered, you still suffer Dexterity bonus limitations and potential run multiplier decreases. If you exceed your heavy load you are limited to dragging weight as usual.

Lend Resources (10, 20, or 35 Fame; 2 PP or 5 PP): The organization grants an ally an item or items from the Hands of Burden stockhouses, provide the Hands of Burden member will accept the price of the item as a debt to the Hands. The PCs can grant the item or items for 1 favor (2 PP). They then incur a debt to Hands of 50% of the item or items standard market price. At Rank 1 (5 Fame), the combined value is 500 gp or less. At Rank 2 (Fame 20), the value of the item increases to 2,000 gp. At Rank 3 (Fame 35), the PCs can provide wondrous items by spending 2 favors (5 PP) and incurring a 110% debt of the value of the item. They may only have one debt from this ability at a time. For the purposes of item availability, the organization counts as a metropolis.

Deathless Debtor (50 Fame, 25 PP): The organization initiates you into the ultimate dedication of burden. As long as you owe a debt of significant value you are preserved to fulfill it. Each morning as long as your owe someone something you are preserved as the spell akashic formOA. Gaining this award again adds to the demiplane as if you had cast the spell again.

Debtor’s Deepening (35 Fame, 2 PP): You gain 1 point of essence, +1 to saving throws, and a +1 to caster or manifester levels whenever you are encumbered or at least 2,000 gp in debt to another creature.

Sage (5 Fame, 1 PP): You consult a sage, who makes one Knowledge check on your behalf.


Hands of Burden Views & Beliefs

Burden is sacred. Burden is strength. Burden is focus. The weight of promises, commitments and sheer physical labor is the path to perfecting the self, so say the Hands of Burden. Arriving in the earliest days of the city’s founding, the Hands simply cited it was their obligation to help and within a few short days were accepted into the forming Council.

Followers of the Hands of Burden can be found in several diverse—and at times, conflicting—professions in the city. The most visible adherents to this philosophy are the city’s ubiquitous porters, hauling goods around the city. These porters are often well-muscled but hunched by years of carrying heavy loads. Many civil servants are Hands as well, particularly attorneys and magistrates in the Tribunals. Carrying on a long tradition of civil service that began when the Hands first came to the city, these imposing figures see themselves carrying the heavy, if invisible, burden of holding up the pillars of a stable society. Several bankers, merchants, and landowners throughout the city are also Hands, seeing the debt they carry in their profession as a sacred obligation.

Traditionally, the Hands believed in a hierarchy of burdens, which they call the Ladder of Weights. At the lowest rung, and therefore providing least enlightenment, are physical weights borne by muscle power alone. The next higher rung is debt, or any obligation that can be repaid with money. Still higher are personal obligations, such as to care for another’s physical well-being or a contract for services to be provided. At the top of the Ladder of Weight is an obligation to support society as a whole, such as that borne by the city’s magistrates or the leaders of the Hands of Burden. This hierarchy is remarkable for being overtly classist, as it puts physical laborers such as porters and builders at the bottom, middle-class professions such as shopkeepers and landholders at the center, and educated professionals such as physicians and politicians at the top. This overt classism has received recent pushback, and the leadership of the Hands of Burden has responded swiftly. In the past few years, the leaders of the Hands of Burden have made pronouncements eschewing the Ladder of Weights and asserting that no one type of weight is superior to another—all burdens are sacred, in any form. Among the Obliged, these leaders insist the Ladder of Weights serves to stratify the Hands rather than unite them, and should be jettisoned for a more egalitarian outlook. Practically speaking, they note, members usually fill many rungs of the Ladder of Weights: a hardworking laborer probably has relatives to support, and may have an obligation to pay rent or a mortgage on his home.

One of the key burdens the Hands support is the management of the city’s mental health. Most doctors at the Great Sanitarium are Hands, dedicating themselves to healing the minds and spirits of others. As the Plane of Shadow tends to have an oppressive effect upon the minds of non-natives, the Hands at the Great Sanitarium are experienced in treating a wide variety of mental illnesses and often overloaded with cases. Often, successfully treated patients leave the Great Sanitarium with a keen sense of their physicians’ burdens, and become Hands themselves. Critics assert that these physicians extract secrets and lore from the mentally ill, hoarding it for the Hands’ use, then recruit influential patients to their cause.

In addition to carrying burdens on their own, the Hands of Burden serve as witnesses to the burdens of others. Hands are, by tradition, present at weddings, significant business deals, and judicial sentencings, to ensure that all parties are aware of the weight of the proceedings. In modern times, having one of the Obliged present is seen more as a formality or an archaic tradition than an actual necessity. The Hands of Burden don’t press themselves into a situation where the participants don’t want them, but they make a clear distinction between promises or obligations that are “supported” or “unsupported,” based on whether one of the Hands was present at its initiation.

Hands of Burden are most easily identified by the white coats they wear. For porters, this coat is short and short-sleeved, to provide for greater freedom of motion. For the healers at the Great Sanitarium, the white coat includes a startlingly clean smock with several pockets for physician’s gear. Magistrates at the Justice Courts wear ornate white cloaks, replete with honors and markings denoting years of service and significant cases they have presided over.

Many Hands privately express their devotion by wearing heavy weights, called karkeroi, under their clothing. Karkeroi are leather neck braces with a series of dangling straps that hang across the shoulders, chest, and back. Hooks at the end of these straps hold weights of various sizes. Many Obliged wear their karkeroi every day, and they are rarely noticeable under cloaks or other bulky clothing even when holding dozens of pounds of weight. Most karkeroi weights are squares of iron and are usually inscribed with runes, numbers, or names representing an obligation (such as the names of family members or the amount of a debt), but stones and rows of coins are also popular. Veryx members often attach them with webbing to the legs or abdomen. When one member of the Hands of Burden makes a debt to another—such as the long-term debts that most of the Obliged have to the organization—they present a karkeroi weight to represent the transaction.


Hands of Burden Game Mechanics

Loadlightener (Cleric Archetype)
Sacred Debtor (Prestige Class)
Sworn Fighter (Fighter Archetype)


City of 7 Seraphs by Lost Spheres Publishing
Classes
Aegis Aethernaut Echo
Eclipse Nexus Radiant
Shadow Weaver Theurge
Races
Ceptu Judow Mirrorkin Rhyzala Shadow Fey Veryx
Xodai
Luminous Organizations
Ashlords Children of Dreams Everlasting Dawn Foreseers House of Prominence Steamstriders
Neutral Organizations
Cocoon Pact Descendants of Thunder
Umbral Organizations
Blackswords Booksealers Church of Coin Frozen Graves Hands of Burden Scarlet Sovereignty
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