Thursday, January 1, 2009

Candle Jakk's Mercenary Adventuring Company

Candle Jakk's Mercenary Adventuring Company (CJMAC for short; also known as the Candle Corps) is an organization of do-gooders established by my Living Forgotten Realms character, Candle Jakk.

They began as a meta-organization designed to make fun of the administrative quirks of playing a Living campaign in the RPGA. At the beginning of modules, PCs are typically given their objectives and an offer of treasure/payment as an incentive. LFR modules always offer the same amount of gold, so no matter where Candle Jakk might be in Faerun and no matter what his task, he can always count on getting 75gp for his troubles at levels 1-4. The running joke, then, was that 75gp was the standard rate for hiring that region's branch of Candle Jakk's Mercenary Adventuring Company (which, in turn, always consisted of Candle Jakk and the other characters at his table).

In time, however, the joke grew on myself and the other players at our RPGA meetings. I sat down to tables with players I had never played with before and they would recognize Candle Jakk (having heard stories from other players who had shared a table with me). With a bit of popular recognition, and dare I say support, I decided to make CJMAC official. The RPGA allows for players to create meta-organizations. The rules have not yet been released for these organizations but the clues so far point to them granting a minor benefit (such as a bonus to a skill) when two or more characters at the table are members of the organization. With several months of established presence, I think CJMAC could gain a substantial foothold in our RPGA group simply because you will likely always sit down with someone who is also a member.

Before I found out about granting actual in-game benefits, I worked a little on the group's founding and purpose. In keeping with the metagaming joke that is its origin, Candle Jakk described each member of CJMAC as "a point of light in a world of darkness" (a play off of 4e's default points-of-light setting). Candle Jakk does not expect to solve all the world's problems with CJMAC. He recognizes the need for more localized groups like, presumably, the other meta-orgs will be. However, he also recognizes that a multitude of local organizations just leads back to points of light. The Purple Dragon Knights may patrol Cormyr and the Flaming Fists may patrol Baldur's Gate but who patrols the area in-between?

So Candle Jakk's grand scheme is an entirely de-localized organization. Each Candle (as members are called) of CJMAC is responsible for himself and his immediate area. All Candles are encouraged to wander across Faerun, heading to areas of trouble like moths to a flame (but with less dying). Candles thus form diverse, dispersed points of light that banish the darkness in between the local groups. Where the Purple Dragon Knights do not go, CJMAC will light the way.

Now for some disconnected facts:

1- Each region of Faerun has its own "chapter" of CJMAC. Any member in that region is a member of that chapter until he passes into a different region. No Candle is tied to one place.

2- Candlekeepers are the internal affairs officers of CJMAC. They are senior members who, in addition to doing good deeds and fighting against evil and injustice, investigate the actions of other Candles. Those who claim membership in CJMAC are held to a loose but definite code of conduct - they must work towards the common good, refuse to directly aid evil, and uphold the good name of CJMAC. It is these last two points that Candlekeepers investigate. Rumors of a Candle besmirching the reputation of CJMAC through bad behavior or aiding evil invites a visit from a Candlekeeper. They determine if the flame needs guidance and protection or if it should be snuffed out.

3- An individual member is a Candle; Candles join with other adventuring companions to do good deeds and light up the dark areas of Faerun where men fear to tread. A group of members is a Torch; Torches come together when several Candles get the bright idea that a group of like-minded individuals is better focused that a single Candle amongst others. A group of Torches is a Bonfire/Brazier; these groups are exceedingly rare and typically come together to accomplish some great task, often at the behest of Candlekeeper or Candle Jakk himself. A full gathering of the entire CJMAC is called a Conflagration. It is rumored that Candle Jakk with convene a Conflagration when the company's reputation has spread to each corner of Faerun and its numbers swell beyond counting. They will then sweep across the earth like a wildfire and consume the darkness whole cloth. This is the belief of the young, the idealistic, and the sensational.

4- "No man or woman has ever served under my command. I do not lead by order, be decree, by intimidation, or by right. I try to lead by example. And I proudly choose to stand beside any man or woman who wishes to serve the people of Faerun by ridding the world of evil, as I hope they will stand by me."

5- Candle Jakk plans to construct several regional towers to act as waystations and garrisons for CJMAC. The home fortress will be Candle Keep in Akanul.

Right now, before the official release of the rules for meta-orgs and, thus, CJMAC, the candlekeepers are solely my own characters:

Candle Jakk, founder, proprietor, and chief warlord
Wick (Paelias Melianome)
Qhaeless, son of Morath
Unnamed Tiefling

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