Sophia's Daughters are the oldest of the Théan secret societies by a long way, back to the time the first Sidhe arrived. They seem to know much, and manipulate people and events to twist fate to their own ends, even whilst claiming to know what the future will bring.
Chapter 1: Birth opens with a brief note on the public face of the society... brief because there pretty much isn't one! Those who are members don't talk, and noone else will know what you are talking about. Pretty impressive for an organisation that has been around as long as this one has. This means that only players of characters who are Sophia's Daughters and GMs will find information that is of use within the game, which does rather limit the audience for this book.
So, the history of the society as known to them is covered from legendary times right up to the present day. It explains how a Sidhe first mated with a human being, and how one of their offspring was the original Sophia. (There was also a boy child who was raised as a Sidhe, his descendants turn up too...). Sophia was an oracle and seer, able to read the future, and had many children also. She died as the First Prophet began his ministry and their fates are linked. Whilst there is still an oracle, the final Fourth Prophet will not appear, it is said. Transmitted by bloodline, the distinctive powers normally manifest in females, the Daughters. Their history, then, is one of amazing women... although of course not every powerful or wise woman in Théah is a Daughter. They work for peace and unity, and to better the lot of women in the world, and the remainder of the chapter traces their influence throughout history - an influence that is by and large unrecognised by those outside the Society. It also covers the current position and how people become members (mostly through birth, but there are some who have discovered their goals and agree with them enough to join. The organisation is a loose web with the Oracle at the centre and a Handmaiden overseeing activities in each nation... and a fascinating band of adjuncts in the Jenny's Guild (the Théan organisation for, ah, ladies of negotiatble affection), which has been infiltrated by the Daughters: not every Jenny is one by any means, but guild leaders quite often are. We also learn of the Sidhe and their ongoing influence, and of a dire plague and its even worse ramifications that echo down the centuries.
Then Chapter 2: Blood presents leading members of the Daughters, beginning with the Handmaidens. There are many fascinating tales accompanying this bevvy of interesting women, and plenty of scope to weave them into your plots. It's not all a feminist fantasy, though, there are male supporters of Sophia's Daughters listed here as well. This is followed by Chapter 3: Barrier, which presents new game mechanics and rules apposite to Sophia's Daughters including advantages, backgrounds, equipment and both a new Swordsman school and a new type of sorcery, Scrying! It starts off, however, with explaining how to join the Daughters which can be done at character creation or - once a player has discussed an interest with the GM - as the focus of an adventure during your campaign.
Finally, Chapter 4: Beyond contains information for players planning a character who is a Daughter and GMs who want to run plotlines built around them. This consists of a series of short essays about things like Predestination and Visionaries (always a bit tricky to handle in a role-playing game). There is also a section purely for GMs which presents some interesting ideas to weave into your plots when there's a Daughter around, and explains what is behind all the machinations in which the Daughters engage. Lastly there are stat blocks and hidden secrets about all the NPCs in Chapter 2 and a few sample characters.
This provides an interesting and novel group but is of necessity of limited appeal due to the very secretive nature of Sophia's Daughters. Most Théans don't even know that they exist, that will include your party. Only if one of your players wants to play one, or you decide that their activities will embroil the party, is this book going to be of much use. That said, for those who love intrigue it poses a lot of fascinating opportunities ripe for creative use.
Return to Sophia's Daughters page.
Reviewed: 13 January 2017