Pathfinder - Carrion Crown
The Whispering Way
The heroes have learned the following information during their travels:
One of Golarion’s most ancient factions, the Whispering Way predates its greatest champion, Tar-Baphon, by centuries. Its adherents revere undeath as a means of transcendence. Agents of the Whispering Way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead.
In undeath, they see no pain or suffering to dilute or dull the pursuit of absolute power. Neither does the fear of fleeting time plague them, for they possess the luxury of eternity. The faction looks upon living creatures as maggots, pitifully growing and consuming resources for the pointless goal of survival. Those steeped in the secrets of the Whispering Way can never turn from it, for its corruptions are so absolute that those who stray or renounce its influence turn to dust.
The Whispering Way itself is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers – the philosophies are never written or spoken of loudly, making the exact goals and nature of the secretive philosophy difficult for outsiders to learn much about. The tenets of the Whispering Way proclaim that only through undeath can one attain the truest form of existence; thus, its disciples seek nothing short of the death of all life. To attain their goal, they spread the pestilence of their whispered secrets throughout the world, for within their strength lies their lure.
Their agents infiltrate magical academies, churches, and other centers of knowledge, drawing out talented individuals and corrupting them to their cause with promises of immortality and power. Others within the faction endeavor to release the Whispering Way’s greatest champion, the lich-king Tar-Baphon, by unearthing and destroying the seals that bind him beneath Gallowspire in Ustalav.
Despite their appearance of pursuing a common goal, the disciples of the Whispering Way are selfish individualists largely acting independently to increase their own personal power. By all counts, the Whispering Way is blasphemous even to other evil factions and religions.
Disciples of the Way frequently turn upon each other, slaying or dominating subordinates to fulfill their own interpretations of their grim philosophy. To faction members, life holds no value, so they think nothing of extinguishing it. A disciple never places others’ needs before his own, for the Whispering Way reveals itself to those strong enough to embrace it, not the weak-willed who readily step aside.
Exact details on the society are difficult to discern, but chief among the Whispering Way’s goals are discovering formulae for creating liches and engineering the release of the Whispering Tyrant. Agents often travel to remote sites or areas plagued by notorious haunts or undead menaces to perform field research or even to capture unique monsters. Their symbol is a gagged skull, and those who learn too many of the Way’s secrets are often murdered, and their mouths mutilated to prevent their bodies from divulging secrets via speak with dead.
Places of Worship
The Whispering Way maintains little in the way of an organized base of operations, though Tar-Baphon’s legacy and prison – the tower of Gallowspire – remains the faction’s spiritual center. Powerful faction members still claim Virlych as sovereign from Ustalav and occupy small domains within its boundaries. Despite the illegitimacy of their allegations, few bother to contest them, as these stricken territories hold little appeal to outsiders.
Regardless, all faction members make pilgrimages to Gallowspire, and while there, hold ritual gatherings at these small keeps. Ghasterhall is becoming an increasingly frequent stop for pilgrims.
Believers and Followers
In the much the same way as diabolists extol the virtues of law and the order of Hell, members of the Whispering Way exalt undeath as the ultimate state of being. This individualistic oral tradition reveres no deities or founders; instead, its members dream of a dead world where they rule as the lords of the living dead. Many members quest after lichdom or another form of undeath, which they see not as a curse, but rather as a way of transcending their mortal limitations. Although the group has no patron, they idolize Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, as their fallen king and wish to release him as a means of beginning the final end of the living world. Followers of the Whispering Way are chillingly efficient, and are always interested in finding one more secret they can use as leverage against undead rivals or the living creatures they know will one day be massacred and reanimated. They are most often necromancers or sorcerers with the undead bloodline, excellently equipped to explore the marvels of undeath, although a few are vampires or other intelligent undead of any class.
Special Items and Devices