Queen's Gambit
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Throughout the ages it held true in many societies and cultures that while men could aspire to power and rulership, the most ambitious women could hope to achieve was to become the wives or mistresses of powerful men. The Queen's Gambit is a secret society of female Argannon worshipers who decided to embrace that role and become the true power behind the throne, keeping men as mere figureheads. They arrange marriages so that cult members as well as their daughters are in position to marry or influence powerful men - ideally heirs with exploitable weaknesses, or up-and-comers who might be susceptible to female charms. Most members of the Queen's Gambit do not flaunt their power over outsiders, especially men - they prefer the substance of power over the mere appearance of it, and the best tools are those who never realize that they have been manipulated. They are content to let the men delude themselves that their agendas are the only ones that matter, while a whispered word or two from one of the cultists can make or break alliances, raise a family to prominence or cast it down, and change the fate of cities. It is they who tend to determine which daughter marries into which family, and if a man of importance is married to someone outside of the cult than they attempt to plant a cult member mistress into his bed.

However, the Queen's Gambit is not isolated from the social changes sweeping through the Flannish Cities, as more and more women demand equal treatment before the law and by society. Many traditionalists within the Queen's Gambit fear such changes, as they feel this would erode their traditional power base. Others, however, suggests that it does not matter where power comes from - only that one is willing to take it. Already old alliances between family lines are fraying under this conflict, and eventually the cult may split into two.

The cult derives its name from a unique variant of chess which is played exclusively by its members. The rules changes are:

  • Pawns can be exchanged for kings, in addition to other figures.
  • If a king is captured, the game is not over as long as the queen and at least one pawn which can be exchanged for a king are in place.
  • If one's queen is captured, the game is lost.
  • A player cannot win as long as long as she doesn't have both a king and a queen in place. Thus, it is possible to reach a draw if both queens but no pawns are in the game.

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