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more fluff for outlawstar rpg

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Oct 7th, 2011
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  1. Cult of the Panacea
  2. Though following the tradition of great Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Christian alchemists the all but the most deluded members of the Acid-B have abandoned the search for the legendary philosopher stone as a single elixir that can grant eternal life. Instead this circle of colleagues seeks immortality through other means. Lacking the sacred knowledge rumored to be held by the innermost circles of the Krauss guild they see alchemy combined with conventional science to be superior route to the indefinite extension of life. Through alchemically treated cybernetic enhancements and artificial tissues like those used to construct bio-androids these scholars systematically replace their own flesh with augmentations. Often these come in the form of boxy over-engineered industrial machines, for like any appliance the less rugged the machine is the more difficult and expensive maintenance will be. This approach is not alien to other guilds or humanity in general but among some members of the Acid-B eternal life is a philosophical obsession.
  4. This cult has also narrowed its search for the panacea from the original goal of finding a cure all, they now only search for a chemical mixture that can be easily transmuted within the body of a patient. This would allow them to alter the serum after its introduction into the patient so that it can inhibit or destroy viral or bacterial infections in the same manner as an antibiotic, antibody, or anti-RNA transcriptase as is needed by the situation.
  6. Cult of the Solvent
  7. The Cult of the solvent is lead by some of the oldest members of the Acid-B Guild and is one of the more organized portions of the guild. It rarely acts overtly and instead uses its members positions of seniority to relay information from different factions of the guild to ensure some semblance of cooperation between it’s often mutually antagonistic fleets. The Cult is named after it’s continual search for the Universal Solvent long sought by Alchemists. Though they have not succeeded yet, they have created several very powerful solvents that the members of the cult are known to use as chemical weapons. They also share information and create repositories of different poisons or biological agents for use by guild members in their terrorist activities. When any coordinated action by multiple fleets is takes place it is usually brokered by open or covert agents of the cult. However they have little actual authority and most of leading members of the cult reached their seniority by saying out of the bloody power struggles within the hierarchy of their particular fleet.
  9. On a more humorous note: the name of the Acid-B Guild was derived from the experiments of the Cult of the Solvent, since they were the original core around which the heterogeneous guild accumulated. The cult’s continual failure to produce the Universal Solvent lead to other pirate bands to joke that they were always seeking to create Acid A but could only manage to mix Acid B.
  12. Beastmasters
  13. Though many Ban guildsmen utilize familiars none are as adept at using this sorcerous art in combat as those that earn the title of beastmaster. These individuals are particularly skilled in mind manipulating magic and the binding of familiars to their iron will. Often these chosen few are more shamanistic than even the average Ban practitioner and cover themselves in exotic skins, bones, or other fetishes related to the alien beings they rule over. They are valued above all else for their ability to bolster the Ban’s meager abilities at close and medium range combat and provide a vital defense for other sorcerers whose offensive capabilities are predisposed toward casting at ranges usually reserved for artillery.
  15. The territory of the Ban Guild stretches far beyond the boundaries of the incorporated systems of the Four Empires, and like the Acid-B or the Kei they often come into contact with aliens. Some of these beings are intelligent and exploitable, though more often as slaves than as victims of political or corporate infiltration. Others are merely animals and it is these that the beastmasters seek out. Particularly dangerous alien predators are their favorite thralls to send into battle. Though some have the skill to command vast legions of slathering monsters from miles away most must stay relatively close to the creatures in order to exact the amount of control required to make them of any real tactical value in combat. And as such they often arm themselves with conventional weapons and armor so that they can keep all their full attention on their charges without wasting sorcery on barriers and such. A beastmaster does not merely herd his creatures to the battlefield then turn them loose to rampage as they will. Though that might be somewhat effective against panicked civilians, the creatures would be quickly brought down by any organized foe. Instead he extends his sorcerous influence throughout his familiars, seeing through their sharp eyes, detecting heartbeats and footsteps with their preternatural ears, and scenting his prey by their keener nostrils or seeking tongues. His creatures move forward in precise formations that no other commander could orchestrate for they are nothing more than an extension of his will and he can move them as he would his own hand.
  17. The creatures used include flocks of aerial predators, swarms buzzing insects, serpents, burrowing worms, packs of tireless hound-like beasts, solitary stalkers that blend in perfectly with their environment, and raging behemoths sheathed in natural armor. Many of these creatures may be armored, equipped with cybernetic weaponry, or carry explosives to make them more effect in their roles as living weapons.
  19. For assassinations a beastmaster may utilize a creature with such an alien biochemistry that the beast itself must be fitted with gas mask just to breathe the air of a human environment. Hairs or skin shed by these foul aliens might induce anaphylactic shock if breathed in or ingested by accident, and the target unfortunate to be savaged or envenomated by such creature will surely die in an agony for which there is no treatment or cure.
  21. Though it is not a common practice, beastmasters have been known to bend intelligent aliens to their will. However these are often too uncooperative to be of any real use in battle, where the beastmaster could not focus his full attention on controlling them. Instead they are used as front for Ban operations in alien controlled space, especially when dealing with aliens who are already not fond of humanity. Even then more than one beast master is needed to ensure absolute control over the intelligent familiar. For that reason it is usually easier and cheaper just to pay an alien to act as the public face of Ban Guild operation, but if the issue is important and sensitive enough the beastmasters may be recruited in large numbers to properly disguise the Ban’s activities.
  24. Krauss Necromancers
  25. Just as the flesh of the living can be molded by the Krauss to suit their needs, so the flesh of the dead can be induced to move again assuming enough vitae can be infused into the corpse. Necromancy is a difficult art, even for the Krauss who specialize in the control and alteration of the human body. Rumors regarding the upper echelons of the guild notwithstanding, the most common forms of necromancy attempted are the raising of the dead or the creation of revenants.
  27. With enough vitae and the proper rights almost practitioner can create suitable revenants. These are little more than corpses that require small and irregular reintroductions of vitae in order to keep them functioning. They act more like organic machines than popular conceptions of the undead. When brought back to their simulacrum of life, the revenants often do nothing at all. It is the Krauss sorcerer who molds their brains with biomancy to create crude organic circuit boards, the structure of which will determine the abilities and limitations of the revenant. The revenant’s “programming” and base desires are then introduced by the mind manipulating sorcery the Krauss use upon the living. For combat thralls this programming often includes a desire to feed on vitae extracted from the blood of living or recently dead enemies. For servant and slave thralls this instinct is usually absent, making the revenant far more docile and controllable. All thralls are designed to be unerringly loyal to their creator and his associates, though like any machine a botched design can lead to malfunctions. The minds of these thralls can be as sophisticated as a fully functioning AI or as simple as that of an animal, albeit one the responds to any verbal command given in its pre-programmed language.
  29. The raising of the dead on the other hand is nigh impossible and fraught with error. The dead would have to be very recently dead indeed, perhaps hours old. Even the best Krauss biomancer can only restore organs to a generalized interpretation of how a healthy organ is supposed to be. For a heart or liver this is of no real concern, one heart is as good as the next. But once the structures of the brain have suffered any decay the original neurology is lost since the resurrecting practitioner has no knowledge of how the original brain was constructed. Attempts to revive living beings with their memories and personalities intact almost always fail since they rely on returning the body to a state of biologic life without any sorcerous support for final product.
  31. For these reasons most do not actually attempt to raise the dead to full life but only to a state of undeath were the personality and memories of the raised can be maintained. This is possible because rather than bringing back a living person, this process revives the body and then relies on sorcerous power to recall the shade of the dead and bind it to the resurrected form. These entities require regular infusions of vitae in order to survive, but have the advantage of not requiring their biological processes to remain animated. Though badly broken and non-functional bodies would obviously hamper the undead creature.
  33. For a fresh corpse the healing of mortal wounds and restoration of unlife comes at the cost of perhaps ten human sacrifices and the infusion of their extracted vitae. For those whose remains are far gone into decay the requirements are unknown but are likely so great that only highly valued members of the guild or enemies who in life guarded secrets immensely desired by the Krauss could ever be worth cost.
  36. Krauss Guild Plot Hook
  38. What the Authorities know.
  39. Over the past fifty years a series a wave grave robbing has swept across the inner colonies that lie between the Tenpa Empire and the USSA, rimward of Earth. These ancient colonies are the last remnant of the early colonization the remains independent of the 4 empires, bounded by the territorial holdings of Tenpa, Peter, the USSA. In the heyday of the first waves of colonization these systems were the frontier, a lawless area where the progenitors of the Kei, Ban, and Krauss guilds fought for supremacy before being routed by the naval forces of the original Earth Federation which was latter divided into the four existent empires. The importance of these planets is long past and many are decaying or have been forced to turn to agriculture or low grade manufacturing where they were once important waypoints and trading ports.
  41. It is interesting to note because at one time many pirate bands battled for control of these strategic ports in their effort to gain the power needed to resist the new space navies. Ultimately their efforts were for nothing as the planets were wrested from their control and the pirates had to relocate to the new frontiers of the expanding Tenpa Empire, Peter Empire, and USSA where shipping was plentiful and military forces scarce.
  42. Though the cities and towns suffering mass disinterment of their grave plots report no other unusual crimes, nor do the planets in question report overt pirate activity. The disinterments do however correlate to occasional mass disappearances in nearby systems or the rare interception of large slave shipments to the planets on which the grave robbing took place.
  44. What the Krauss know.
  45. It is believed that for one reason or another that the very long deceased who have rotted to dust can only be reconstituted on the planet on which they were interred. Perhaps the supernatural soul has trouble reconnecting to the physical body and mind if the remains are moved too far. Perhaps the process is in some way influenced by emanations of mana specific to the planet of burial. Or perhaps so much of the essential salts and ashes of the deceased have become part of the world that some connection is made to the very soil of the planet. Either way the process is very expensive and time consuming even considering the Krauss’ vast resources. The raw amount of vitae and sacrifices needed to resurrect even a shade of the dead uses up hundreds of humans and the rituals involved may take up to 18 hours to properly complete.
  47. Verner Stroheim is a sorcerer of the 3rd circle of the Krauss Guild, and is by all accounts an up and comer among the necromancers. He is only 70 years of age, a young man by the standards of the Krauss, and is perhaps overly ambitious. Rather than resurrect servants, warrior thralls, or enemies to that they may be tortured into giving away strategically valuable information he plans on continuing the work of his mentor Ekaterina Shikoski. Ekaterina has retired to the 2nd circle of the guild and is no longer part of a field unit, now working in a more theoretical capacity for the guild. Her current work involves the Assassins but little is else is known outside of the 1st and 2nd circles of the guild. Verner has recently been chastised by the higher ranking necromancers for being too obvious and impatient in his collection of bodies, taking too many corpses to ensure he has the right ones. He has be put under inquisition and been given permission to go to Earth were he believes he can locate the bodies of two individuals whose identities are known only to him and the first circle of the guild. He is on his oath that he will not take any more than these two men from their graves and will wait 5 years between disinterring the corpses.
  49. Letter from Ekaterina to Verner.
  50. Take great care when you tread upon the hallowed and bone ridden grounds of the homeworld. Remember that though we have waxed mighty out among the stars our ways were set and our arts mastered long before the race left its cradle. Though the ignorant may scoff at that exhausted sphere, we learned know what ancient things lie sleeping beneath streets, fields, and floors. You have gone to seek those who have ancient wisdom that even our eldest cannot recall, and to pry those secrets from them. And though you have grown strong I must chide you. Most of Great Ones have been scattered too badly to ever recall even as shades let alone in a tangible form, but take exceptional care where you dig. Not only so as not to waste your time or provisions in raising useless peasants. As your friend and mentor I say to you again, do not call up any whom you cannot put down. That is to say, any against whom your mightiest devices would be rendered impotent or who by their own arts might call up yet others to aid them against you.
  51. May the Blood which binds us all keep you in safety and health until your return to us.
  52. your right hand as you are mine, Ekaterina Shikoski
  54. Notes for GMs:
  55. Verner makes use of extremely cunning, cruel, and intelligent revenants called ghouls. These beings have deformed dog like heads, are whipcord thin with overdeveloped sinuous muscle, and move about on all fours. These Ghouls can use states of lethargy to keep their consumption of vitae very low, to the point that even the very small amount of vitae left in rotting bodies can sustain them.
  56. Verner himself and his living acolytes appear totally normal, so as to not draw suspicion. He takes the guise of a scholarly and aristocratic man and claims to be of a bloodline of low nobility that left for the Peter Empire during the first colonization and is visiting relatives who run a small but profitable trading corporation on Earth.
  57. It is up the GM whether the PCs are to stop Verner from unearthing his desired secrets, aid Verner against an even greater evil he has awoken on Earth, or work with an elder necromancer from the late 19th century Verner accidently resurrected in place of the one he was searching for. This man though ambiguous simply sought knowledge of historical events directly from the source and is not evil. The ancient evil unearthed could be a lich so cruel and hated that he was bound and buried as punishment, a very powerful sorcerer who has now become a revenant and defeated Verner, or something else.
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