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Cults of the Past:
The Welfare Society

Hargin of Selna

  The patriarch Storgen Masa founded The Welfare Society on New Year, and the effects were so astounding that the cycle was later named for him.  Before the cycle had ended, this neutral good cleric had mobilized good clerics of every persuasion to the task of the elimination of poverty, and these in

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turn had put their flocks to the task.  Storgen Masa's Panel of Nine allocated funds according to need to particular anti-poverty projects, while in the broader organization fund raising activities reached every man of means and every tradesman or anyone else who might have a few coppers to spare for those less fortunate.

  Success in such a battle is never easy, but The Welfare Society was able, by careful use of resources, to document remarkable advances, thus increasing donations from some quarters.  At the height of its successes, the group is said to have channeled six million gold pieces into various relief projects in a single year.

  Unfortunately, despite his efforts to establish a self-supporting structure, too much of the organization depended on both the name and abilities of Storgen Masa.  Upon his death, there were rumors of mismanagement and a loss of interest in their efforts.  The group faltered.  Several attempts at reorganization were attempted, but gradually the group appears to have dissolved.  Although no documented end has been established, it is generally agreed that this cult passed out of existence sometime within nine years of the ascension of Salius.  However, see especially Mandas Miras, "The Welfare Society", the best of a limited number of scholars who maintain that the cult persists quietly as a strictly neutral good concern; citing the periodic reports of canvassers collecting money in that name, Miras contends that not all of them are charlatans attempting to deceive and profit from the uninformed.

  Modern attempts to create a similar society have generally failed due largely to lack of a man like Masa.  He was capable of focusing lawful and chaotic factions on the common ground they held, and had masterful insight into exactly how much money a particular project could effectively use, avoiding either wasting money by failure to sufficiently support good works which were starving, or drowning a project in such assets as would be wasted.  He further was an excellent judge of economic futures, and (perhaps due to some supernatural assistance) was said more than once to have correctly predicted anticipated annual income to the gold piece.  Not once did he promise aid without delivering it.  He even seems to have anticipated the Great Famine Years, storing funds for half a decade to help alleviate some of the worst situations.  To this day no one has sufficiently explained or reproduced the man's seeming sixth sense for economies.  Without that, The Welfare Society never would have been; mankind today can only be grateful that such a group once was.

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