Exalted: Hope for a Shining Tomorrow
Rank: Theomachracy, Backing (Lectors) 1+, Class 3+
Duty: Take care of the mental and spiritual health of the Nation
Requirements: Must have Performance, Presence, and Lore equal to their Backing. Craft and Linguistics equal to (Backing -2).
Description: The face of the Theomachracy, the Lectors are the people the Populat think of when religion is discussed. They serve as entertainers, moral boosters, councilors, therapists, and more. They tend to develop a keen insight into how people think and behave, which helps them in their main role as motivators and propagandists. It is their job to ensure that everyone works hard at their jobs, lest they be be classified as parasites and eaten by the Great Maker.
To this end, the Lectors do weekly sermons which they strive to make as entertaining as possible. As such, they generally include jokes, rousing anecdotes, local news and gossip (often veiled and directed at getting people on the road to self-improvement), in addition to religious parables and commentary. During holy days and religious festivals, they put on impressive shows that range from stirring historical adventures of both the original Eight Heroes and the ones who came later, ribald comedies that underscore the dangers of sloth, religious parables from the Tome of the Great Maker, and overblown melodramas full of romance, heroism, and dastardly anarchists.
The Lectors of Nurad, due to the current situation, are starting to explore more non-traditional forms of theater that don’t rely as much on the complex sets and clockwork effects of old. Some are experimenting with more stylized and minimalist costumes while others are trying out effects based around light and shadow. The most experimental ones are working on something called “Poetry” and other written forms of entertainment.
The Lectors are generally located with one or two per block of people, and, in addition to the aforementioned duties, they’re also expected to serve as helpers and councilors to those people in their care. Anyone who has a crisis of Faith, trouble with their coworkers, or just need to talk for awhile, can come see their local Lector to be assured of a sympathetic ear and good advice. Lower ranking Lectors usually serve Populat dormitories, while the higher ranking ones tend to choose to work with Tripartiate apartment complexes, if they haven’t gone into one of the more specialized areas.
Higher ranking Lectors are responsible for inventing and controlling propaganda. While the Tripartiate Council and the Clerics are responsible for deciding the general goals and Policy of the national propaganda and religious doctrine, it is the playwrights and “poets” amongst the Lectors who translate these vague goals into a message that the people can understand and sympathize with. Many of them work closely with the Lectors who specialize in prop design and set building, trying to find new ways of communicating with fewer resources at their disposal.
The traditional Lector uniform was a set of leather robes adorned with many gear pins and patches, often designed to affect a buffoonish air. Now, they’ve had to cut back the robes to a simple leather sash and one or two gear pins or a gear necklace. To make up for this, many have started affecting exaggerated movements and overblown personas in public to ensure that they remain memorable.
Rank: Theomachracy, Backing (Preceptors) 1+, Class 3+
Duty: Root out heresy, wherever it may hide.
Requirements: Must have Investigation, Larceny, and Presence equal to their Backing. Linguistics and Stealth equal to (Backing -2).
The security arm of the Theomachracy, the Preceptors combat the root of crime, acting as the negative authority to the Lector’s good friend. Unlike the Regulators, who generally only act when they have evidence that someone has been planning to commit/has already committed a crime, the Preceptors delve deep into society, trying to find those who are thinking of committing crimes and preventing them from becoming true criminals.
Their main method is undercover work. All Preceptors are skilled in acting, disguises, information warfare, and other …less social skills. Nearly every Preceptor has one or two personas amongst the Populat, where they generally pretend to be …less than perfectly orthodox, generally stopping just short of heresy. Some prefer to act as outrageous as they can get away with, enjoying the brief freedom they have in being someone else, and acting as a distraction so the real heretics will think that the regulators will be focused elsewhere. While this usually suffices, in some cases a more targeted approach is needed, in which case a Preceptor will be given a custom persona and transferred in to the heretic’s work group.
While custom prohibits Preceptors from using soulgem caps designed to mimic non-Populat castes, they do have ways around that. One in five of the Populat workers in every Tripartiate serving force is actually an undercover Preceptor, a fact which gives the other members of the Tripartiate some occasional worry. And, as far as breaking custom is concerned, no such instances of non-Alchemical agents infiltrating other branches of the Tripartiate exist in the records of Nurad.
They are assisted in their duties by the Lectors, who point them at people who may be in need of correction, and the Regulators, who share information (mostly) freely, as long as the Preceptors return the favor. The Liaison office between the Regulators and Preceptors is composed of members of both groups who have undergone some cross training in both fields and tend to get along well together (mostly).
Upon finding a confirmed heretic, they have several options. In most cases simply informing the target’s local Lector to chat with them suffices, especially when backed by a midnight visit from a masked Preceptor warning them about the dangers of heresy. When this doesn’t suffice, social warfare is employed, turning the target’s friends against them and socially isolating them until they recant. However, if the heretic has attempted to spread their wrongful ideas or the heresy is otherwise too firmly rooted or dangerous, they simply inform the Regulators who come in and clean up.
Most of them prefer to use a softer touch and reform a heretic before they reach the point of no return, but they are well aware of the fact that they cannot reach everyone and a full blown heresy outbreak, like a void cult or an egalitarian revolution, could easily destroy a city. They do what is necessary to safeguard the lives of everyone, even if it means using heavy handed tactics.
When not undercover, a Preceptor wears a crisp, spotlessly white Populat uniform and tends to act stiff, humorless, and overly rigid, the better to distance themselves from their clandestine personas. They are quite skilled with make-up, often preferring to disguise their features when not undercover, so that they can use their real faces in their undercover personas.
Rank: Theomachracy, Backing (Clerics) 1+, Class 3+
Duty: Keep the Theomachracy running to serve the spiritual needs of all.
Requirements: Must have Bureaucracy, Linguistics, and Lore equal to their Backing. Socialize and Presence equal to (Backing -2).
Clerics are the scholars and sages of Nurad. Unlike the rest of the Tripartiate, they are uniformly, 100% literate. They handle all of the administrative duties of the Theomachracy, from ensuring that everyone has the proper equipment to ensuring that every area has the correct number of Lectors and Preceptors, from verifying efficiency of Themachracy members to investigating complaints against them, from planning ceremonies to dealing with the other branches of the government. They’re also responsible for deciding which areas of the Book of the Great Maker to focus on to define current doctrine and deciding what Heresy is, though they commonly discuss such matters with the Plutarchs and, of course, serve the will of the Assemblies and Autochthon. As part of this job, they work with the Lectors in determining what subjects their sermons should cover and the Preceptors to define what Heresy is and how to explain that to the populace.
Generally speaking, doctrine undergoes only minor changes over time, unless a great crisis occurs or something completely new happens, either of which can necessitate a radical shift, almost over night. Still, even in these cases, the Clerics try to work to minimize the impact and slide the transition through as easily as possible, often with the help of Alchemical social charms. Should Nurad ever decide to contact Creation, one of these major shifts in doctrine would surely follow.
A sub-group of the Clerics, known as Cleric-Savants or Machine-Speakers, handle all negotiations with the various spirits that live in Autochthonia. Learned in the various branches of spirit related Thaumaturgy, these people serve a similar function to that of Creation’s shamen, negotiating with spirits to either prevent problems or ensure benefits. They’re the ones sent in first when a Machine Spirit acts up or an elemental refuses to work any more, though they commonly have Regulator or Alchemical backup standing by just in case problems occur.
The uniform of the Clerics is a less severely cut version of the white outfits worn by the Preceptors, with an embroidered interlocking gear design over the left breast in various colors of thread and an armband on the right arm. The color of the embroidery and armband indicates their area of expertise and study, with gold indicating that the wearer is a Machine-Speaker.