Heresies must be met without mercy.
While the Inquisition is long gong, transformed into the more benevolent Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, some forces in the Catholic Church still feel the need for witch-hunters. The Malleus Maleficarum, the Shadow Congregation, still hunts through the night, empowered secretly by the Church. They burn the vampire, the witch and the monster, empowered by faith and dedication.
The institution used to only accept monks or nuns, but as the 20th century took its toll on organised religion this restriction relaxed. Now they even accept lay members, and have high-ranking contacts in many governments and police forces. Even so, their methods haven’t changed much. They live hard, ascetic lifestyles and devote themselves to prayer and meditation. There really isn’t anything else in their lives apart from the hunt, although they make a point of supplementing their ranks with other hunters from other organizations, particularly if these companions are Catholics.
Grim-faced, they set themselves against the horrors of the world, and use the most vicious methods they know of to defeat them. If, now and then, an innocent suffers or dies while a witch-hunter is about his business, it’s regrettable, but the greater good must be served.
Blessed hunters in the Chicago area include:
The Shadow Congregation grants Status to those who have a good track record in destroying monsters, particularly vampires.
• You’ve been initiated into the Shadow Congregation. You have access to the Library of Benedictions, and have the option of spending Merit dots on Benediction rites.
••• You gain respect among Catholics wherever you go, without even saying who you are. You gain one extra dot in Status (the Church).
••••• You have access to the Church’s ample coffers, equivalent to three dots in Resources for hunt-based purchases.
Brotherhoods and Orders
Several unofficial groups exist in the Malleus Maleficarum, with their own methodology and focus.
The Order of St. Longinus was named after the original bearer of the Holy Lance. The Malleus Maleﬁ carum knows perfectly well that some vampires venerate St. Longinus (although the speciﬁcs are something of a mystery), and it’s not an accident that the most dedicated and ruthless vampire hunters in the Malleus name themselves after the old saint.
On the other hand, the Order of St. Ambrose comprises scholars and detectives who work slowly and methodically toward ﬁnding solutions to dangerous problems, which often brings them into conﬂict with witches and sorcerers (who often possess knowledge that could lead to the solutions sought by the order).
The Brotherhood of St. Athanasius, conversely, represents a militant wing favoring swift, violent solutions to problems. The Ambrosians hit the books and sift the evidence. The Athanasans break out the guns and the ﬁrebombs. They need each other, but that doesn’t stop the nigh-constant inﬁghting.