The Cagebreaker Brotherhood
Alignment: Any chaotic.
Symbol: It is sometimes joked that the Cagebreakers have as many symbols as they do members. However, a common theme in Cagebreaker heraldry is a broken cage, a shattered castle, or another form of binding or imprisonment that has been shattered, scattered, or broken.
Disciplines: Elemental Flux.
Oath: The Cagebreaker Brotherhood’s oaths are as informal as their organization is, and can vary in wording and administration. They remain supernaturally binding in a sense, however, and Rumor is aware of when a new member of her faithful has joined.
“Contracts are for suckers and governments, and this ain’t a contract, but it is a promise. I’m here for the people, to protect ‘em from tyranny even when they don’t realize they need protecting. I go my own way and if that way is shared by the law, hey, no skin off of my back—but no man, law, or god will ever tell me that I’m not a free man without hearing me tell them to stick it. Rumor had my back once, and now I’ve got hers, until we go our separate ways or I die fightin’.”
Allegiance Benefit: A Cagebreaker can channel part of Rumor’s unbridled chaotic spirit into a rebel yell once per encounter. As a swift action, he lets loose a wild cry, and all allies within 60 feet (including the Cagebreaker himself) can make a second saving throw against a mind- affecting effect that allows a saving throw affecting them. This saving throw has the same DC as the original save. If an ally succeeds, the effect in question ends. The ally does not suffer any additional effects for failing the save, if the effect would normally have any. A creature cannot be granted more than one additional save against a given effect with by the Cagebreakers’ allegiance benefit; even if they multiple Cagebreakers use this ability.
Although it’s difficult to do so, a Cagebreaker who manages to violate his oath loses access to his rebel yell ability until he atones by striking a public blow against law (such as by starting a riot) or by spending seven days meditating on the nature of freedom and chaos. A Cagebreaker who ceases to be chaotic may not atone and loses access to the Elemental Flux discipline until he regains his chaotic alignment. A Cagebreaker is always free to leave the organization.
Description: It is difficult to talk about the Cagebreaker Brotherhood as a cohesive whole, largely because it is not a cohesive whole. The Cagebreakers are spread all over the planes, on various Prime Material worlds, within demiplanes and even in some cases at odd shifts in the time stream where might-have-been worlds exist as something more than a dream but less than reality.
What the Cagebreakers have in common is a fierce and devoted love of freedom. Nominally lead by a strange, glorious, and alien outsider calling herself Rumor, the Cagebreaker Brotherhood stands against law and lawful powers at every turn. They foment rebellion, write seditious pamphlets, spark riots, join (or found) underground movements, free slaves, raid supply caravans, and more besides. Their ethics range from benevolent robber-princes who protect an area and guide the people within it to barely-sane reavers that sweep across the land in a tide of fire and screams, but all of them know each other as Brothers.
Admittedly the Cagebreakers are not organized and civil strife is common amongst the order, especially when Rumor isn’t present on a particular world. Generally the Cagebreakers are founded on a given world or plane by an act of great heroism, often perpetrated by Rumor herself; the matron of the Cagebreakers appears with her soldiers to liberate cities from oppression, end the march of lawful armies, or turn back infernal hordes. She leaves behind a few Cagebreaker volunteers who quickly recruit others, giving them the tools they need to defend themselves and fight oppression, and then moves on as quickly as she came. Sometimes, for reasons that perhaps she herself does not understand, Rumor lingers for longer times upon a world or returns to one she has already visited, but inevitably she moves on.
Things hold together for a few years, but the Cagebreakers embrace freedom, as a general rule, with all of the zeal and nuance of children. Eventually someone starts committing atrocities and the others bite their lips, wondering if they have the moral right to stop their Brother from doing as he wishes. The more mature ones realize that, yes, they have the freedom to do what they want and then go stop the madmen, but mature Cagebreakers tend to be few and far between—the Brothers die young and violently. Things are complicated further by Rumor’s unpredictable behavior, and while as a general rule she comes across as a good person— certainly her writings seem in line with many ideals held by the Upper Planes—there are worlds that she has visited as a very different sort of person, where the paths of her travels bear names like the Scar, the Ten Mile Lichyard, or simply the Sorrows, and the Cagebreakers that arise in her wake have more in common with demon cultists than with heroes.
That the Cagebreakers are capable of great change is not in doubt, but their order see-saws between good and evil in a maniacal and unpredictable fashion, and the tension threatens to tear them apart or see them annihilated by Rumor’s many enemies. Soon, something has to give—and the wisest of the Cagebreakers follow in their leader’s footsteps, searching desperately for some clue as to what has unhinged her mind and how they might fix her.
Common Tasks: As one might imagine, the Cagebreakers don’t really give orders, ever. However, respected or well-loved Cagebreakers do sometimes send out calls for volunteers, usually for some rebellion or crusade or another. A strong favor-trading culture exists amongst the Brothers, who lend a hand in the reasonable expectation that they’ll get help themselves down the road.
Things are sometimes different when Rumor is nearby or paying particular attention to a world; her perspective sometimes lets her see things that lesser Cagebreakers miss, and she issues requests that aren’t precisely orders but only because to date no one has really wanted to push the issue. Thankfully Rumor’s got a solid reputation for rewarding those she assigns these tasks, and the Cagebreakers revere and respect her enough to let a little power-mongering slide.
Available Services: On the one hand, the Cagebreakers don’t really give a lot of services. The name gets respect in some places but not nearly enough to count as a potential perk for prospective members, given the order’s reputation for instability. Cagebreakers travel as lone warriors, in small packs of heroes or reavers, or sometimes in great hordes but don’t really organize much, and many members are bad with money (sometimes to the point of permanently sleeping under their cloaks).
On the other hand, almost no one hoards strange, eclectic crap the way the Cagebreakers do, and they keep vaults, stashes, and buried weapons’ dumps all over the multiverse that members might be able to access. One could find nearly anything bundled up in such locations, from mundane considerations (extra bullets, armor, disguise kits) to artifacts thought long-lost that were thrown into a chest by a Cagebreaker with no idea of what he was holding onto. Because they do so much work to benefit the poor, downtrodden, and destitute, the Cagebreakers have lots of friends in low places who can scrounge up almost-good-as-new goods on the cheap and provide access to under-the-table favors, labor, and sometimes criminal connections.
Path of War – Expanded, © 2016, Dreamscarred Press.