Guardian of the Nine

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Priests of Mithra hate those of Tiamat. Followers of Asura will put those of Set to the torch if they can. And yet there’s one exception within each of Thule’s organized religions: the Guardians of the Nine. Though no less devoted to their patron gods, guardians cross religious lines to thwart the Thule pantheon’s common threat: the Great Old Ones.

Some of Thule’s faiths call it scripture and to others it’s heresy, but there’s a belief among the Guardians of the Nine that millennia ago, the Great Ones rose and walked the earth, and only by combining forces did the gods defeat them. This diminished the gods as well, which is why deities do not (or cannot) manifest in the world anymore either. The Guardians of the Nine will do anything to ensure that the Great Old Ones, indi- vidually or collectively, never threaten the world again.

In practical terms, this makes you a cult-hunter. You’re part of a sect within your religion that the broader priesthood doesn’t necessarily understand. But when Great Cthulhu stirs, they’ll be glad you have a plan to make sure he remains asleep.

Clerics are obvious choices for the Guardians of the Nine, but it’s a pragmatic organization that’ll take any capable cult-hunter into its ranks. Many druids also belong to this secret society—down through the centu- ries the Guardians have worked hard to forge alliances with followers of the Forest Gods, especially among the friendlier barbarian tribes. Almost all Guardians are spellcasters because they know they’ll be expected to close gates and banish horrors from another world.

Key Identity: Human, clerics, druids.

Guardian Benefits

As you rise through the ranks of the Guardians of the Nine, you’ll pick up some of the investigative skills useful in uncovering cult activity—after all, few cultists self-identify as cultists (until they’ve gone completely mad, anyway). You’ll also learn magic techniques useful for thwarting Great Old One efforts to intrude on the world.

The organization itself is another benefit of sorts. You have common cause with a subset of priests in every major faith and shamans in the most import- ant barbarian tribes, even rival faiths or tribes who would ordinarily shun you (or worse). Walk into a major temple, make the right secret signs, and you can connect with a guardian who’ll help with your current investigation.

Guardians in the World

The Guardians of the Nine have many friends of convenience; the tyrant of many a city-state has showered the organization with riches after they thwarted a cultist uprising that threatened the city. But such appreciation is fleeting as the threat fades into history. The only lasting allies of the Guardians are the organized major faiths and a few of the wiser shaman brotherhoods ... if they can be convinced that a Great Old One threat is truly imminent.

Most of the priesthoods, though, are ambivalent about the Guardians of the Nine. They have more immediate, pressing concerns like “suppressing rival faiths” and “squeezing more offerings out of the merchant class” and “maintaining religious purity within their order.” Because the Guardians consort with those outside of the faith, they’re sometimes ostracized within their own priesthoods.

The biggest enemies of the Guardians of the Nine are the cults of the Great Old Ones of course, but those cultists aren’t all in remote temples, under- ground lairs, or hidden forest clearings. It’s a certain- ty that cultists have infiltrated the hierarchies of all the major religions, and those agents of the Great Old Ones will stop at nothing to hinder the Guardians of the Nine any way they can.

Personalising the Guardian

The key question for a Guardian of the Nine is which patron deity represents your “home” faith. It’s rare but not unheard of for a guardian to change faiths but remain a guardian in good standing. Here are how three religions each deal with the Guardians of the Nine in their midst.


You are more apt to be an investigator; Mithra’s wide-ranging faith has many sages and re- searchers among its ranks, and when they uncover a strange phenomenon that might have a connection to the Great Old Ones, they call upon their sect of the Guardians to examine the matter further. The rest of the church generally sees you as eccentric but occasionally useful. They’re apt to send you off on long journeys to explore a recently discovered monolith or strange ruins uncovered in the jungle.


You are the flame that purifies the corrupt evil of the cults, no matter where the corruption hides. More of an inquisitor than an investigator, you uncover Great Old One plots by uncovering cult- ists and tracking them to their source. The rest of Asura’s priests usually do their best to ignore you, although they’re very touchy about any collabora- tion with evil-aligned Guardians.


An adherent of the war god, you are often the muscle when the Guardians must battle against the forces of the Great Old Ones directly. You often don’t get much advance notice; it’s more like, “Ride to Reglaren and put the village to the torch, or in three days Shub-Niggurath will rise there.” You’re usually outnumbered by the cultists and horrors you face, but that just means more targets for your wrath. Sometimes the other priests of Nergal make noise about whether you’re really serving the forces of evil or just glorying in battle, but they give you a wide berth because they know it’s not your blood on that armor.

Role Benefits

You are part of an order within your faith devoted to stopping the Great Old Ones at any cost. That charge sends you into the world’s dark places with some frequency, and you occasionally find yourself allied with rival clerics from faiths you abhor. The existential threat posed by the world-consuming Great Old Ones takes precedence over lesser rivalries, however.

D&D 5th Edition

Skill Bonuses (1st level): You are trained in Arcana and Investigation. Unraveling the true purpose of a mad cult requires a combination of occult lore and attention to detail.

Mind Clearing (1st level): When you fail a Wisdom or Charisma saving throw, you can use a combat reaction to reroll your saving throw. You must abide by the results of the second save. You can use Mind Clearing once, and then you must rest before you can use it again.

Banisher of Horrors (6th level): You gain a +1 bonus to attacks, defenses, and saving throws when you’re battling creatures with the extraterrene trait.

Elder Scribe (10th level): You gain the ability to inscribe an elder sign. Creating an elder sign requires an 8-hour ritual that must be performed under the correct astrological alignment, and a suitable piece of a rare type of soapstone. You can assume that the proper conditions occur about once per year, although if an elder sign you create is lost or destroyed, you may be able to replace it sooner (GM’s discretion).


Skill Bonuses (1st level): You gain a +2 bonus to Knowledge (planes) and Knowledge (religion) checks, as well as to any skill checks in which knowledge of the Great Old Ones is useful.

Mind Clearing (1st level): You can spend a hero point to reroll a failed Will saving throw, unless the initial roll was a natural 1. You gain a +4 bonus on the reroll.

Hero points you spend to use mind clearing are not permanently expended, and are regained at the end of the day.</strike>

Banisher of Horrors (6th level): You gain a +1 bonus to attacks, defenses, and saving throws when you’re battling creatures with the extraterrene trait.

Chosen of the Nine (10th level): All of the Nine Powers regard you as a steadfast ally. You gain the granted powers of one domain that belongs to one of the Nine. For granted powers that reference or require a cleric level, use half your level instead to determine the effect and usage. At later levels, you can spend a feat slot to add an additional domain in this fashion.