Below is my revision of the Unholy Order of the Grave, a faction in Ravenloft that originated in the second-edition version of the setting, and the Ring and Wand Society, a faction of my own creation. If you enjoy this write up, you can get it nicely formatted in issue five of Strahd Loves, Man Kills, my Ravenloft fanzine. There's about five print copies left, so I wouldn't wait too long!
The Unholy Order of the Grave
Hidden within Darkon is Necropolis, a city populated by the undead. Necropolis is ruled by an entity known only as Death. Death is a primordial being—some occultists believe Death is the embodiment of the very concept of the extinction of life. Others believe it is merely an antediluvian undead creature of great power. The Unholy Order of the Grave is a faction of corporeal undead agents who advance Death’s obscure purposes.
Each undead member of the Unholy Order has been infused with a portion of Death’s necrotic essence. This infusion marks the flesh of the Unholy Order’s initiates with a sigil in the shape of an hourglass. Death can telepathically communicate with any member of the Unholy Order of the Grave, no matter the distance between them. When Death speaks to one of his minions, their hourglass sigil drips with beads of black blood.
The Unholy Order of the Grave carries out Death’s behest within Necropolis and abroad. In Necropolis, the agents of the Unholy Order act as Death’s enforcers, keeping the undead inhabiting the city in line. The members of the Unholy Order who are sent into the Mists venture into other domains to pursue a number of missions assigned by Death, but chief among them is to seek the consort who will bear Death’s child—a prophesied bringer of destruction whose unnatural birth will spell the end of all life within the Domains of Dread.
Ring and Wand Society
The Ring and Wand Society is a secretive cabal of human scholars within Ludendorf University who study the fey, hoping to uncover the secret of their magical longevity. The Ring and Wand Society is mostly comprised of faculty from the university, but they do admit the occasional student who shows the right combination of promise, drive, and discretion.
The goal of the Ring and Wand Society’s members is to endow themselves with the longevity of fey creatures. For the researchers, scientists, and scholars of the Ring and Wand Society, stealing the powers of the fey marks the next phase of human evolution. To arrive at this desired result, the Ring and Wand Society pays monster hunters to capture fey creatures for their horrifying experiments. The most callous of the Ring and Wand Society’s members are willing to vivisect and experiment on humanoids, such as elves and goblins, who possess fey ancestry.