Boy, here's an old one- over a year old, in fact. Someone on the /tg/ board had been reviewing the preview material for Assassin's Creed (which at the time was just a handful of tantalizing hints and preview media, including a nicely staged CG trailer) and wanted suggestions on anything along the lines of what we'd seen so far that would make for a memorable encounter/campaign/whatever in a roleplaying game. After giving http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashshashin a good read-through I had a list of elements that I found interesting and worth holding onto:
-A cult-like organization whose workings are shrouded in mystery.
-Kills not for money, but in pursuit of zealous religious ideals.
-Uses skills to avoid innocent casualties and collateral damage.
-Intentionally builds fearsome reputation, allowing for the use of intimidation and threats instead of additional killings; primarily accomplishes this through public demonstrations of power.
-Fanatical devotees that seek martyrdom and follow orders with absolute, unquestioning devotion.
Basically, this gave me an idea for an organization that the players could fight off, seek to overthrow or even be a part of: The Ghost Blades, a secretive order of assassins that worships the Silver Flame.This post will describe public knowledge of this organization in areas where it is active; metagame info can wait for another update.
Potential targets of the Ghost Blade's wrath include clerics and prominent worshippers of the Blood of Vol or any other religion that happens to be increasing in popularity, corrupt officials of the Silver Flame, fiendish beings and lycanthropes of all types, government officials who oppose the spread of the Silver Flame's faith, etc. The organization's level of involvement with the church is unknown and the subject of much speculation; most members of the church would likely denounce the organizations activities if not for the fact that doing so would almost surely cause the Ghost Blades to identify them as a "corrupting influence".
The organization is VERY good at sending clear messages to the public at large. Their signature weapon (a dagger made entirely of flametouched iron) is common knowledge, as is the implications of finding one in your household- say, on your pillow when you awake. It is a warning, and if you don't want to be found dead in a week's time with that very dagger lodged between your ribs (so the legends say) then you must "change your ways", as well as placing the blade in a prominent location so that any visitor to your household will notice it.
The daggers of the Ghost Blades bear a unique version of the Everburning Flame enchantment, one that burns bright silver even in magical darkness. It is said that activating or deactivating the enchantment requires a secret code word that only the order's members know; there is no manner of remote activation, if a dagger is alight it means that a member of the order was there in person. If the dagger in your household is alight, then the warning is beyond serious- the ONLY reason you are alive is that if you reverse your ways and take action now it will be beneficial to the cause of the Silver Flame.
And when the warning is ignored, or the dagger hidden or sold or thrown away, or the subject is simply seen as not worth warning. . .the kill will surely be done in a way that strikes fear in the heart of all who bear witness.