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About Praetor

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  1. The Grudgeborn Company MAGIC / SORCERY: The Gilded Hall. BRIEF DESCRIPTION / HISTORY: The Ancient History Long is the memory of dwarves, longer still is the memory of the Grudgeborn. They remember their ancient lore, and the tales that have faded now to little more than whispers in the halls of history. Hehodir was the first of their clan, the Gem Giver, the Rune Maker. He wrought their first Clan Runes, built their first weapons of mithril and magic. His father’s was an ancient line and though its name now lies forgotten, it is said that it could be traced back to the times of the ancient empires. From those dregs of glory secrets still leaked, and the Grudgeborn treasured them. For centuries they preserved what scraps they could of the old ways, the old traditions. Only one true secret remains now, the Extreme Sanctification of Steel. All clans can make a claim to fame. Some find pride in the excellence of their gold, others in the quality of their craft. The Grudgeborn, who have served the Crown faithfully for a thousand years, were known for the startling purity of their Mithril, and the excellence of their records. Every Grudge meticulously scribed, every year carefully woven into the tomes of history. And it is for historians to feel the bitterest pain when all that they know of the past begins to crumble, and the greed and weakness of dwarves dooms the work of their ancestors to ruin. It must be restored, by their hand or another, the ancient glories of the dwarves will be brought back to light and every grudge struck from the book. The Great Kin Grudge “It was with my blood that the name of my father was written in the Book of Grudges. The Argat Kron.” -Hehodir II The Regency Council was weak, corrupt, riddled with the greed for gold. They were killing our Empire with their every breath, and their beards were as short as a goblin’s prick! Upon the ancestors, hear my voice now, brothers! My father took it upon himself to change this. He spoke to the Clans, the Axebreaths, the Bloodbeards - He spoke to Garstram Bloodbeard, the son in law of our own Khograz’s brother! -, he spoke to the Goldsniffers and the Gemfondlers… He built an alliance to change things, to give us a future! But the Gemfondlers, ever avaricious, betrayed him. They named his a Kin Killer, an Oathbreaker! They fed him to the Regency for a sliver of mithril an an inch of beard!" -The Clan roars in anger and bangs their ale flagons against the table. Though they have all heard this tale a thousand times, their blood boils at every recounting. The unfortunate human Innkeeper has long ago gone to hide in the backroom.- “Traitors!” “Beardless!” “Take their gold!” -Hehodir II raises his hands and the crowd quiets down.- “Now, upon my ancestors, I speak the truth. For I was there that night… When they came for him, the Wardens marched into our home and gave no ember to the hearth, they did not remove their boots at the door, nor smoke at the family pipe. They took him, and in the dark streets, they cut his throat like that of a gold thief in the royal treasury!” -A renewed howl of outrage is heard, and a flagon flies through the tavern. The rest of the story is lost as it upsets another dwarf’s ale. In short order, the tavern is wrecked, the dwarves are merrily engaged in a brawl of apocalyptic proportions, and Hehogrim is too busy beating his good friend senseless to finish the tale.- But it does not end well. With Hehograz dead, Hehogrim and his clan are exiled, forced to flee, and the young dwarf must handle the crippling responsibilities of Patriarch of Clan Grudgeborn. Left with no choice, he marches south, and swears his blood and life to Ralek’s Empire, as it is known among the clan. But within him burns, as in the heart of every good dwarf, a love for the works of their ancestors, a crippling grief at their desecration by the goblin tides, and a burning hatred for the Regency that has brought his people so low. LEADER / NOTABLE CHARACTERS: Hehogrim II Grudgeborn - The Son of Hehograz Grudgeborn, the murdered prince of the Dwarven Empire. He dotes upon his young and sickly daughter, and mourns his brother’s death, slain by goblins as they fled the Regency. His main occupations and brawling, drinking and hating Goblins. Runelord Khograz - An ancient Dwarf of uncertain age, he is Hehogrim II’s great-grandfather. Part senile, he remains able to write runes of power with the skill of a young dwarf of 100. His views are… old-fashioned, but his hatred of Goblins burns bright. He considers Hehogrim II entirely unable to assume the office of Runelord upon his own death, and fears that the secrets of their Clan may die with him if no one else is found. Fulminthor Bastardborn - Khograz’s nephew, Fulminthor is an affable old dwarf who enjoys drinking, eating, smoking and sleeping. It is likely he would have stayed in the Regency instead of fleeing during the Great Kin Grudge, but he holds a deep loyalty for Khograz, who took him in when his mother died of the Black Lung, many many years ago. Enormously fat, some say he was left as the Grudgeborn’s envoy to Ralek because the Company did not have enough dwarves to carry him all the way back to the Underway. MAP LOCATION (ONLY WITHIN OR NEAR TO ANDUVIA): NATIONAL IDEA: The Extreme Sanctification of Steel: Transform ten units of metal into one unit of Mithril. Able to decipher ancient dwarven secrets better than others. UNIQUE UNIT: The Grudge Bolters The Grudgebolters wield mighty Repeater Crossbows infused with runes of power that grant them the ability to rapidly fire bolts of pure steel with great power, capable of piercing even the thick hide of trolls and giants, or the heaviest of armor. They carry great tower shields from behind which they have been known to unleash withering barrages of fire capable of devastating a hungry goblin horde. Beyond that, these sturdy dwarves, trusted with the power of the sacred runes, are also excellent builders, capable of building defenses and other minor feats of engineering with alacrity and skill, even when their resources are strained. POINT OF INTEREST: The Arkangaraz The Arkangaraz is a clear jewel of all surpassing beauty which seems to glow with a deep inner light, as if it were only a window into a deep sea of stars. Long is its history, passed down from father to son through the Grudgeborn clan since the times of the ancient dwarven Empire, who’s memory is but long extinguished embers in the minds of all dwarves. But its powers remain as vibrant as the day that it was crafted by one of the long forgotten folk, so many thousands of years before. Mithril runes have been inscribed into it with exquisite care, such that they seem to be constellations within its enchanting skies. An ancient spell has been seeded into its very being, grown over thousands of years as the gem was tended to with loving care, and finally extracted from its berth and finely crafted. Legends say that when the Clan has claimed a hold of its own, the Gem’s power will grow even further, and for the first time in thousands of years, a new spell may take seed within its crystalline depths.
  2. The Dominate of Ayan Rus They were standing on the second floor of the Tserkov Palace, the ancient ruins which the Patriarch was very proud of. Nothing stood above them but Saint Vladimir here. The sun was bright, and the mists below seemed to glow in its blessed light. “I don’t like it, I don’t like it at all.” The Patriarch heaved a sigh, his ample chest rising with a great struggle under his many furs and fineries. Even in high summer, he always felt a chill in his chest, as if Saint Vladimir were judging him from the heavens above. He shivered. “Enouv to make trip to Vorkuta?” grunted the Foreigner in his thick accent. He wore plain robes, and his face was hidden by bandages. “Good God, no!” The Patriarch laughed easily and patted his huge belly. “Me, take that miserable rocky road to see a pile of rubble?” He leaned over and slapped the Foreigner on the shoulder heartily. “No, my good friend, I leave that to you.” “This is surprise,” muttered his closest advisor, shrugging off his hand with a barely discernible scowl. “Think of the good old times, when the Tarnished Order was whole, and all you had to do was sit next to me and make the others jealous of all the attention I gave you.” The Patriarch mopped his brow with a huge, stained handkerchief. He had only eaten seven eggs, three rashers of bacon, six spiced sausages, four potatoes slathered in butter and herbs and eighteen tomatoes stuffed with goats cheese this morning and instead of his customary three pints of morning brew, he had only had two! “Well, if we make it through all this, maybe we’ll be able to live like that again, hmm?” For lunch, it would have to be a roast hog- No, venison. Yes, Venison stuffed with leeks and garlic accompanied by a fine wine -only five cups, he would have to ration the Serran wine until this awful situation was resolved- with a roast chicken or two and perhaps some of those fine vegetable pies his cook was so gifted at making… Would it be excessive to wrap that up with sweet pies soaked in honey….? Well, perhaps he would only have three of them. Saint Vladimir did denounce any excess, after all… “... do not trust Myukor. Is mad dog.” The Foreign’s bandages parted as he opened his mouth and spat a gobbet of bloody phlegm onto the dirt. “Cursed malbchuck.” The Patriarch’s dreamy smile fell as his thoughts of lunch collapsed. “Yes. Well. Do keep an eye on him, will you? I wouldn’t trust him anymore than I would eat him, and you know that’s saying something when it comes to me!” He chuckled, but his eyes were as glacial as a winter blizzard. “We need him. We need the Tarnished. Make sure the next ones are as loyal as my dear Grandaughter. We need them to be willing to kill him when he becomes redundant.” [Actions] -One Workshop is built in Novosibirsk. What a marvelous, wonderfully mundane creation! -150 Light Archers are trained up from the peasantry to defend the island. -250 Spearman are also trained. -MOD- -The Dominate men, freshly liberated by the noble savages on the coast will try to nab some of the paralytic poison from the amazonian corpses on their way out. After all, why should anyone mind, the w*men are dead! -The reality of their situation has set in. The Bak’Nari have them surrounded, and will not let them pass. These dire days of summer pass slowly, and the nights are fraught with concern. In an emergency meeting with his Councilors, the Patriarch decrees that the soldiers will spread out across the island in groups of one or two dozen, and build small watchtowers around which they will camp. Horn-bearing archers will stand guard atop them, ready to warn the island of any incoming raids, and The Foreigner is sent to assess the status of Vorkuta Fortress, which stands upon a high hill at the western tip of the island, watching over the river split like a silent, crouching giant. [1 B, 500C spent on watch towers, signal fires and horns.] -Kalina & Myukor continue their missions… [Discord]
  3. The Dominate of Ayan Rus _______________________________________ The valley was deep here, and tall green pines grew on either side, their boughs to thickly intertwined that Myukor could barely see the night sky above. Shredded clouds hid the stars, and beneath the trees it was dark and quiet. The mists muted every noise and gave the dirt path and its surroundings a dreamlike quality. “This is a waste of our talents,” he said. “I would be better off making my way to Adonia.” “You’d be better off doing what you’re told,” said a high voice. And out of the mist materialized a dark shape, short and thin, her features as pale as bone, her eyes milky and ever moving in the shadows. “Your grandfather must be so proud of you, Kalina,” sneered Myukor. She stiffened and glared at him, her hand hovering over her dagger. “Watch your mouth. The Patriarch’s orders are law, krysa.” She tossed her head, her dark ponytail dancing behind her. “Anyway, you have it easy. I need to track down one of these Bak’Nari pizdy and get my hands dirty.” “Whatever,” he grumbled. On any other day, he might have complained more, but these days… They continued on in silence for a good while, and their long and easy strides brought them to the end of the forest, where the trees withered and died. Here, they could no longer water themselves from the poisonous waters of the Strygoi, and turned into dust and sand, stretching out for what seemed like forever in a long, narrow, pass. A single path branched off to the right, leading up into the hills. It was barely visible, as if it were rarely taken by men, but to his trained eyes it stood out like a campfire in the night. Tell her, whispered the voice. “We should use the Fire to destroy the Fire,” said Myukor suddenly. “Restore balance. Use the Great Satan’s unholy flames against him!” His eyes shone with fervor and he stepped up to her. She would understand, they would work together, hand in hand- her gleaming knife was an inch from his throat. “You-” she shook her head and shoved him away. “Keep your idiotic thoughts to yourself, Myukor. Nobody else needs to hear that one of us is cracked in the head.” Her face darkened. “We’re the only ones left, after what happened… We have to restore faith in our Order.” She turned away and began to trudge up the hill, leaving Myukor standing alone in the sand until she disappeared into the darkness. “Which is why we need to start making a real change…” But only the sad wailing of the wind answered him. _______________________________________ Actions _______________________________________ -500 Light Spearmen and 150 Archers are swiftly trained up to protect the home island, as news of the Bak’Nari incursions reaches the Patriarch. [MOD] -Kalina, the Tarnished, is sent to deal with the Bak’Nari intruders. All lands touched by the Strygoi Mist belong to the Ayan Rus, and soon, it will be the Bak’Nari’s turn to learn this lesson… [Discord] -Myukor, the second Tarnished, is sent to the Town at the far mouth of the Strygoi River. His mission is simple, and though he is reluctant to carry out the will of the Fat Patriarch, he does as he is told… [Discord] -The Ayan Rus send a missive to the Adonian Order, the letter sealed with wax and sent through the informal systems of trade ships and caravans. Each man gets paid by the next for the letter, and so on and so forth until it reaches Adonia. Once they break the seal and open the cylinder, the Adonians would find an old, dry piece of feces inside. -A small expedition of men, with about 50 spearmen and 10 archers, is sent north to explore the surrounding badlands for possible plants or animals of a toxic nature, from which they might extract useful poisons...
  4. The Dominate of Ayan Rus Nation Government/Leader Rank: Autocracy / The Dominus: The Dominus rules from the Tserkov, the ruins of an ancient Cathedral upon the heights of the island, where the mists are the thin and the sun is strong. The Dominus has always been the Patriarch of the Faith and rules without constraints, seeking council only if it pleases him to do so. Description of National/Provincial History & Culture: The Dominate of Ayan Rus built itself up around the ruins of an older time. Their creation myths recount a long pilgrimage through the evil lands to the north, where man died of diseases hitherto unknown to man, and children were born as twisted, vile abominations. Away from the blasphemers fled the first Ayan Rus, away from those who would spread the black and evil tale of Adon of Illian, the False God, the Tyrant of man, whose so-called ‘tenants’ were but a cage for those blind enough to follow the word of the Priests and their Machiavellian world order. Here on the island of Vozrozhdeniye, the Ayan Rus found rebirth. They lived amongst the ruins of a far ancient time, scrabbling for a living as they explored this humid land, lush in dark forests and perpetually smothered in a thick cloying mist. The Ayan Rus broke away from the Adonian Order, and follow their own vision of the world. Adon of Illian is nothing other than the Great Satan to them. They follow the teachings of the Pretendent Vladimir (May his sacrifice forever be remembered), whom they believe challenged Adon’s tyrannical and apocalyptic order, and died for his bravery. The mists of their lands and the stars above them lead their religion, and the Patriarch reads them for his flock. The memory of the Great Satan, and all of his evil creations must be eradicated, if humanity is to be cleansed of his sins. Now, with Satan’s Comet lighting the skies above with the fires of hell, the Dominate must act, lest mankind collapse back into the apocalypse once again. Architecture: The Ayan Rus’ common folk live in mean, tarred log cabins, gathered in small farming and hunting communities around the island. Most of them live under the eaves of thick pine forests and in the perpetual gloom of the Styksoi mists, their days lit only by lamp and torch. As you climb higher up the hills and the sun becomes visible, you may notice that ancient ruins made of crumbling stone have been refurbished into households for wealthier citizens and foreign envoys, who live on tall rocky hills above trees and mist. Higher still, upon the central island peak is the Tserkov, a great ruined Cathedral where the Patriarch has his court. Though the ruins are crumbling, they still hold an ancient glory to them, and in some places, careful work has been done to prevent further degradation. Around the Tserkov are the most luxurious of homes, build of stone and heavy, dark logs, these houses hold the greatest families of the Ayan Rus, who live all under one roof, with the Lord and Lady of the family the only ones privileged enough to have a private room while his sons and daughters, and their own children share a communal living space around a great firepit. Notable Characters: Patriarch Bogumir II the Great, the Dominus, 67, [8] The Patriarch Bogumir looks like a man who used to be handsome, and allowed himself to collapse into unprecedented decadence. His feasts are legendary for their orgy-like qualities, in which man feasts on wine and foods as rich and fine as peasants have never seen. The finest dates from the coasts and the finest boars from the forests. Bogumir was born into his position, as the son of the Patriarch Bogumir I. His title of ‘the Great’ is due less to his acts and more to his girth. Enormously fat, he often uses a palanquin to move around, and though he indulges in the worst sorts of decadence, it would be wrong to underestimate him. His mind is still as quick as a glass dagger through flesh. Many are those who have plotted against him, forgetting this crucial fact, and many were submerged into the Styksoi, and left to die in suspended cages as its poisons consumed them. The Foreigner, ??, [1] Nothing is known of the Foreigner, not even his looks. The only thing that the Court can agree upon is that he is from a distant land, for his accent, though subtle, lacks the qualities of native speech. Clad in a white cloak, his hands and face are entirely bandaged, leaving only two blue and bloodshot eyes peeking from underneath his hood. He is always at Bogumir’s side, and the Patriarch forever seeks his council last, before a decision is taken. Many would kill to have the ear of the Patriarch. Many have tried. But the Foreigner has survived every attempt, no matter the odds. Smirenka Poloisky, the Lady in Waiting [4] The face of the Ayan Rus in foreign lands, Smirenka is short and assuming. Plain to the point of ugliness, she could don peasant robes and not look out of place. But her family, the Poloisky, is one of the richest of the Ayan Rus, and control all steel production on the island. She is the daughter to the Lord Piotr Poloisky, and seems to enjoy being as far away from the Island of Vozrozhdeniye as much as possible, hence her appointment. A life of luxury is all she aspires for, and she always travels with a caravan of servants and luxuries, often paying for the most expensive accommodations (for herself, the servants sleep in the stables), the most expensive food (her servants can have gruel) and the most luxurious of pleasures. It would be wise to give her a gift, if one wishes to have her lend her ear to a problem. Musor, the Cockroach [10] Musor thinks that the Pretendent Vladimir speaks to him from heaven. How unfortunate that psychologists do not exist, for he is little more than a mad schizophrenic. He was once upon a time a strong believer of the Faith, so dedicated to its work that he trained in the Shkola to become a Tarnished. But the waters of the Styksoi burned away his sanity, leaving behind a gibbering, dangerously unstable mess that follows its own creed, and believes that the Will of the Pretendent is whatever the voices in his head tell him it is. If the Patriarch will not listen to him, to the Prophet that speaks through him, then perhaps it is time to make him listen. Unique Military Units (One): The Tarnished: These are the fel ghosts that carry out the Patriarch’s will. Adept at stalking their prey, they are expert spies and assassins, agile and skilled in the deadly arts as much as they are intelligent and adaptable, able to speak the many languages of the world with ease. With a knife in hand, they are a terrifying force, gifted with great skill and regenerative capacities, passed from generation to generation of tarnished. National Idea (nothing strictly mechanical): The Ayan Rus have always felt out of place outside of their island. Different, uncertain of their place in the world. They have coped with this by assimilating into other cultures easily, adopting their languages and their customs with such ease that they can often be unrecognizable from their native neighbors after a few short years. Player POI: The River Styksoi Dark and glassy are the waters of the Styksoi. Tall is the island of Vozrozhdeniye that stands there, hemmed on in both sides by the twin flows of the River Stix, from which exudes a heavy mist. To foreigners, its emissions are poisonous, and though they may spend a short stay within the Ayan Rus, they must inevitably leave, or risk developing a bloody cough that can lead only to death. Often, merchants are seen wearing cloth masks to protect themselves as they come and peddle their goods among the people of Vozrozhdeniye. The most important of foreign envoys and ambassadors are given ancient contraptions which cover their faces and clean the air for them, so that they may travel safely through the mists and up to their luxurious residences far above the poisonous mists on the high hills of Vozrozhdeniye. Only one great bridge of stone spans the river, and wood inevitably dissolves itself in these waters, for a great poison lurks in them, and all who enter them must inevitably die, succumbing to an ill that eats them from the inside and covers them in tumors. Few and secret are its hidden fords, known only to the privileged few, through which may cross its secret missionaries. The Tarnished are known to be a rare selection of men and women who have survived such an illness and return from the waters of the Syksoi, reborn.
  5. The Life Guard Unique Cannons 25kC 6m 15NP 4x (100.000 C, 24M, 60NP) Freighters 2500C, 2NP, 1M 10 x (25000 C, 20NP, 10M) 11 x Regular Infantry 15000C 3AP 4M >The Life Guard swears Allegiance to Altaire. Glory to Altaire. >Great celebrations are had at the discovery of a psychic, Mara, amongst the common people! This young girl shall surely do great things. >15 I into counter intel.
  6. The Kaitiaki Ora ______________________ -Four Destroyers are built. -15 Influence is used in counter-intelligence. -5 is used to establish a level 1 spy operation in Rata. -A single stealth ship continues its journey. -The fleet prepares. -[Redacted Actions]
  7. The Kaitiaki Ora Another unit of His Majesty’s Life Guard readies itself for bloody conflict. (50.000C, 8M, 2A, 2T) Three more Light Cruisers are built. (90.000C, 60NP, 18M.) Actions Redacted! The Stealth Ship in USSC space continues its careful path towards the old Imperial Mine, to gather what intelligence it may about the system and the planets defenses.
  8. The Hekeati >Two new regiments of Life Guard, under the tutelage of their ancients, emerge from the great fortress-camps of Temeria Tertius. (50.000C, 8m, 2a, 2t) >Two new Light Cruisers are produced. >Influence and time is spent sending agents to infiltrate the U.S.S.C. (15 I for T2 network) Actions >For lack of psychics, the Life Guard send a message filtering back through the Galactic Network. The loyalty of His Majesty’s Life Guard awaits, all that Lord Taera must do is present himself on Temeria Tertius, and face the Sample, deep within the guts of the Red Temple. There, his lineage will be tested. Should he pass the secret trials, the Life Guard will soak the galaxy in blood to ensure his Return. >[Redacted] >A delegation is sent to Lord Rata, requesting the establishment of an embassy in his land. The main ask is simple: to ensure cordial relations between elements that both once served loyally under the Emperor. >Another envoy is sent to the ERTC, requesting estimates of capital ship production prices in their Driveyard. >A singular stealth ship is jumped into the first USSC system neighboring the Hekeati, to begin a careful scouting of the system, the occupied planet, and any signs of an enemy fleet.
  9. The Hekeati Kaitiaki Ora - His Majesty’s Life Guard Capital World - Tiakina Capital - Manatu "We fought for Kaumai while it fell to ruin around us. We fought until our gunbarrels burned cherry red and our swords shattered. We fought in the inner chambers where the marble was splashed red. Whatever might make you think that we ever stopped fighting?" -Toasûl Kiris Aloiki. Cultural Composition A cultural anthropologist might be interested in the finer points of the Hekeati’s meaning-making in a Post-Imperial landscape. But when people speak of the Hekeati, they speak of that distorted shadow that it casts, the jagged edges behind the roundness, the gun-metal grey under a dusting of gold. When you say Hekeati, I think Kaitiaki Ora. The Hekeati are a collection of refugees, imperial planets and noble families that gravitate around a force far more important than them. His Majesty’s Imperial Lifeguard, the Kaitiaki Ora, stand behind the Hekeati and their Three Houses, whose authority is subject to the tacit approval of the Toasul, the Commander of the Life Guard. Some might question the purpose of a Life Guard with no living Emperor. But who are they to question ten-thousand years of genetically perfected loyalty? The Bloodline cannot fail. Somewhere, drifting within the galaxy, an heir stirs. Their blood is thick with royalty, and the Life Guard shall find them. And when they find them - and find them they shall - the Guard shall return them to the throne, and shatter every opponent in their path. On Governance The Hekeati operate as many a nation do, with the Three Houses administering to most of the tasks of governance, while the Kaitiaki Ora focus on most military issues. Their people are a collection of refugees from many an imperial world, and form the bedrock of their new society, a mass of serfs and workers who serve the nobility of the 3 Houses and the many Houses Minor. Much like the Empire, the Hekeati operate a senate, though it lacks many of the powers of the Imperial Senate, and much of the authority lies in the hands of the Regent who is not so secretly subject to the authority of the Toasûl himself. In many ways, this ‘Small Senate’ as it is often called, acts only to rubber stamp bills created by the Three Houses and the current elected Regent. (More on Hekeati Election Customs on p.33-44) The Retimana Sangu These are those who lead the religious worship of the Emperor, his Bloodline and the search for a worthy heir, which sends their seekers out into the stars, their minds trained and bent into such a manner that they can detect even the slightest genetic similarity in the inflection of a voice, the gentle trace of a cheekbone, or the signature look of superiority of Imperial Blood. Those who fit are spirited away, if they may be, or approached directly, if they may not. The Legitimacy of the Sample is held as faultless by the Kaitiaki Ora, but the tests for those who would wish to claim descent from the Bloodline are dangerous, and death or the shattering of a mind is not an uncommon byproduct of those of weak blood. What those tests are, remains a mystery to all but the highest echelons of the Kaitiaki Ora and the Retimana Sangu, who hide it deep within the bowels of the Red Temple on Manatu Minoris, the Capital’s only moon. It is said that even the Kaitaki Ora may bow before the authority of the Retimana Sangu, who instills the worship of the Divine Emperor in their souls, and blesses them before battle. Excerpt from the Anthropological Works: Three Imperial Houses rule the Hekeatii, it is a static system with no mobility. The Houses will never change, as long as the interregnum endures, so will the Houses. While one House rules, the others advise, and when one ruler dies, the Houses nominate a new Regent. But when they have chosen a new Regent, the leaders of the three houses leave the opulent and gilded Regency Palace, and march down the broad Ara Ngakau, the grand avenue that cuts the Capital, Manatu, in half. In a grand procession, their subservience is witnessed by every citizen who stands along its sides and within the glittering spires that line it, they march to the Maotatoa, the Citadel. Its steps of white marble, worn by the endless marching of metal-booted feet, climb up to a dominating construct of ugly black metal and gold, like an eagle propped atop a mount of bleached bones. There stands the Toasûl, the Commander of the Life Guard, the Kaitiaki Ora, flanked by those who stood at the Emperor’s side for a thousand years, their loyalty never questioned. It is a symbolic gesture now. The House Candidate cuts his hand, and lifts it up, palm up, pooling the blood. The Toasûl must either cut his own palm, and clasp hands, not a drop of precious Imperial blood spilled, or reach out, and turn the Candidate’s hand over, spilling his blood onto the steps below, rejecting his worth. Such a process is repeated until the Toasûl selects a worthy Regent, and nobody may ever forget who is truly in control. -Customs of the Hekeati Historical Context Guards of the very palace within which the final stand on Kaumai took place, the Life Guard fought with their brethren until their guns ran dry, their bayonets shattered and their fists were bruised and broken, shedding their blood in one last hopeless venture to protect their Lord. “The Emperor is dead. The Palace-Moon burns. I this final hour, I send this message to all who may receive it. The Imperial Guard will follow the path of the Emperor with dignity and honor, until the stars go dark. Glory to the Empire!” -Unknown Officer of the Imperial Guard, on open channels, following the Sack of Kaumai, as recorded by the Life Guard. Yet in the final hour, when all seemed lost, and the Irik slicked the palace halls with blood, the Emperor turned to his most loyal, and spoke to them one final time, filling their lives with divine purpose as his physician took a final vial of blood from an arm weakened by the duel with Erasmis. “Take this blood of mine, that those who have watched over my line will watch over it again. Now flee this place and save the legacy of the Empire. Return with an heir at your head, or never return again.” -The final words of the Emperor to the Life Guard, as recorded by the Kaitiaki Ora. These remnants of a once proud Legion, reduced so horrifically in numbers that they seemed more a regiment than a legion, fought their way through the hordes and captured an Irik ship, escaping the blockade only through the skill of a loyalist pilot, who has been immortalized in their halls, a certain Howard H. Parr Jr. Thus the Hekeati now exist, biding their time and waiting for an heir who’s blood is strong, so that they may seat him once more upon the Throne, and watch as Erasmis is cast into ruin, and the Empire restored. Characters of Note Kiris Aloiki He was but a young Lieutenant in the Life Guard during the fall of Kaumai, but by the time he and his men escaped, he was the highest ranking officer left. Thus was the burden of leadership thrust into his hands, and he has found himself well suited for it. Beloved and trusted beyond death by his men, he rules the Hekeati with a first of iron and shadow. He makes no secret of the Life Guard's dominion over the Three Families, but nor does he rule overtly. A careful man, Kiris Aloiki remembers the last Emperor, and the duty of every man woman and child in his lands has always, and always will be turned towards the reconstruction of the fallen Empire. Slow to anger yet quick to act, he is decisive and believes that any reaction is better than none. With decades of experience fighting in the chaos of the new order, he has little to no mercy for lawbreakers and pirates, and even less for anti-loyalist dogs. Pehak / Pierre Teniert The Life Guard recruits from Orphans and rejects, the scraps found in the streets and the unwanted donations of old families, discreetly deposited at their metaphorical doorstep. Others find their way there by themselves, pulled to the ranks by something that they may not even comprehend. Pierre Teniert is such a product. Born of the union of an rebellious young Teniert who left his home in the search of adventure, and a barmaid, he knows the blood that flows in his veins, and his growth amongst the ranks of the Life Guard have led him to despise his father, and his abandonment both his family and the Empire. A man can never fully escape his past, nor those to whom he is bound by blood. But Pehak likes to believe that the blood that binds him more tightly than any other is the blood he and his brothers spilled fighting in the name of the Emperor. Maalea Sangunis One of the chief priestesses of the Red Temple as a member of the Deep Sangus, she is a mysterious figure that is rarely seen amongst the people of the Hekeati, or even the Life Guard for that matter. Some say an aura of discomfort follows her like a thick cloud, and that instead of eyes, her empty sockets are soaked are slashed and scarred. What little is known is that within the Retimana Sangus, she is feared and respected in equal measure and resides deep within the temple. Her role in the Sample Trials, and in the broader religion are little known, but none who has seen her has doubted her importance. Unique Units His Imperial Life Guard -Heavy Infantry- Psychics may approach many foes with confidence, but it is not so with His Majesty’s Life Guard. Imperial Conditioning, two words that strike fear into any assassin or manipulator of minds, for Life Guards have been trained in the Deep Secrets. No Psycher has ever shattered a Life Guard’s mind. To the Psychic Eye, the Life Guards are simply not there, their minds like vapor, afterimages that cannot be pinned. But in the flesh, they are no less formidable. A grand array of cybernetic and biological augmentations affect a plethora of abilities from speed, strength and memory. Above it all, they done the Kila-VI Armor, a slimmed down suit of power armor that compromises neither grace, nor agility. A relic of bygone golden age. Their brutal training has taught them expertise in all forms of combat. But what quells a discontented noble’s rebellious thoughts at night is that singular fear of steel, held in the hand of one who’s loyalty cannot be bought. Though the Empire has fallen, its custodians remain, waiting for the day when their Emperor returns. TLDR Points: Atreides-XVII Defense System -Land/Space Artillery- An highly expensive and powerful artillery piece capable of firing at extreme ranges with a degree of precision high enough to reliably hit Heavy Cruisers and above with devastating Gauss-powered projectiles. A traditional piece of the Imperial Guard's armory, they are both deployable on planets, and in space as immobile weapon's platforms. (4 may be transported per freighter) Fires once every other turn. Only able to Hit HC+. HP: 10 Speed: 0 Range: 15 Damage: TBA (18xD4-1) National Idea: The Empire MUST Survive: All military worlds start with Ground To Orbit defenses, an LSRB and are heavily fortified. Can apply same bonuses to any newly acquired (Non Military) system with a 5 turn cooldown. Military worlds do not consume build slots, non-military ones do. A Letter: S for Sigma
  10. The Crusader State of Jena So fell the beast, a lord of the sky. Did we judge it too harshly, strike too eagerly? Was the light of the Hieoromar clouded by greed and a lust for battle? Perhaps. The drakers acquited themselves bravely, and faced the danger without fear, even as their own fell from the sky. And we fought with equal valor. Yet, even as I stand observing its shattered remains, I cannot help but feel that this valour has been diminished by the calamity of such a death. It was not our place to strike down such a beast, a creation of our God. Yet we took it upon ourselves to do so, and I fear that we may pay the price only once we are dead. -Extract from General Klauzewitz's diary, 1890. Actions -Construction of 10 Material Industry. -1 new city is founded within the great wastes, surrounding a large oasis. California. -The Retia Illia is brusquely sent back to these new lands. This time it takes with it a team of naturalists led by a certain Jolta Heezerstein, along with a group of Spiritus Sanctus Machina. It shall fly farther and deeper, alone, to explore these new and mysterious lands. It has 5000 Books of Horatius in its hold, for distribution amongst the poor natives of this land! They are to discover more of this land, and not return until they have a comprehensive report to present. Research -Vitriol Judge Armor [Cont'd] -Ancient Slot: Research into gauging the technological level of the ancient orbital defense systems. Are these cannons of a familiar design, are they beyond the comprehension of the Spiritus Sanctus Machina? It's priests wander this desolate installation, muttering litanies, burning oil in incense burners and filling the air with the fumes of gasoline as their inspect these behemoths. Just how advanced are they? Trade Power 16
  11. The Pact of Jena 1890 _____________________________ The Acadian Consulate, the Crusader State of Jena and the Koninkrijk Aadrensveld-Rhynsland hereby agree to the following terms, now outlined under the name ‘The Pact of Jena’: To offer unflinching support in times of aggression against one of the signatories. Offering either fleet or armies to protect their sovereignty and self-determination. To face no obligation to aid in wars of aggression against other parties, unless such war has been proven beyond any doubt to be preventative war, such that no other option exists, other than to further delay and face an inevitable, and better prepared enemies. Such aid must be unified, and sent forth by both non-aggressed signatories. To face no obligation to aid in colonial wars of aggression. To face only obligation to aid in attacks against a signatories continental (Old World) borders. To commit to favorable trade agreements between parties, trading goods at fair and competitive prices without suspicion or economically exploitative tactics. To face obligation to reject trade agreements with those with whom a signatory is in open war with. To face obligation to reject trade with those who have engaged in piracy against a signatory. To allow for the inclusion of further nations into the Pact if a majority vote has been achieved. Failure to achieve a majority dictates the reconvening of a council the following year. To elect a representative to the Pact, seated on a rotating basis in each signatories capital, changing at the end of the third year. Signed by, Lord Commander Solomon Horatio of Jena Eden Roucayrol, First Consul of Acadia His Grace, Johann Friederick van Alfrenz, Duke of Jannenveld, Chancellor of Aadrensveld-Rhynsland, in the name of His Majesty, Bartholomeus van Aadrensveld, the Third of his Name, and by the grace of Hierormar, King of Aadrensveld-Rhynsland, Prince of Rhynsland, and Duke of Coenstaad
  12. The Crusader State of Jena “I must find my anger, I must saturate my flesh in its fire, And when all has been burned away, I will be free.” -Book of Horatio, 2:45 ----------------------------------- The Play - A Tragedy of Four Chapters ----------------------------------- The Protagonist - Imicus Dune, the bastard son of a high-ranking Jena noble. Ejected from his home only three years ago at the birth of the Duke’s legitimate son, his only consolation was a lowly spot as a lieutenant on the Babylon. ----------------------------------- The Plot - Solum Tempus Narrabo. ----------------------------------- Scene One - Bastardus Et Dominus ----------------------------------- Imicus Dune, young Lieutenant to the Babylon leaned on the railing and looked out over the wastelands. It was quiet still, this early in the morning. A thin mist had rallied against the ground and skittered along the rock-riddled sand and here, high-above, the air was cold and sharp, like a draught of liquor. The mountains that had so jaggedly limited Jena ambitions for centuries glowered down at him dowerly, promising much pain to the man fool enough to send an army across them by any other way but the distant gap, where, if he squinted just right, he could see the first beams of sunlight glint against the white walls of Arce Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Fortress. “Brandy for the bastard?” A muscle twitched in Imicus' jaw and he repressed a glare. A man in the white and gold uniform of naval lieutenants leaned against the railing beside him, all smiles, his hair tousled, his face young and bright, barely burnt by the wastelands carelessly cruel winds. He held a small flask, the aromatic smell of southern brandy wafting from its open top. “Really, this early, Zutzën?” But Imicus took it nonetheless, and savored the rare treat. “It’s never too early to get drunk on this pile of scheiss,” said the Zutzën. He hawked and spat over the edge. The gobbet of moisture dwindled away into the early dawn light. Imicus judged that it might just make a lucky wasterats day. “I don’t know. I like it well enough,” he replied after a pregnant pause. Somewhere, a call went forth, and a small bell clanged. Once, twice. A change of course. He held onto the railing as the ship began to shift, metal groaning and engine chugging out black contrails of smoke as it turned into the rising sun, and Imicus lifted his hand up to ward off the rays. Somewhere ahead of them now, lost amidst a sea of sand, the city of Jena was rising. Bakers were pooling their meagre resources to feed the growing bread lines, butchers slashing throats and beggars begging for gold and scraps. Above it all, the Church Bells would be summoning the people to mass. His father would be there somewhere, praying, or pretending to. The words practiced enough to slip past pale lips as his mind considered business, blood and gold. Would he think of the bastard son he had thrown away so easily? Not likely. Maybe his own half-brother would be crying now, demanding- “Hey.” A hand on his shoulder, and he stiffened, shaking it off and shrugging. “You had that look again, like you wanted to put a stake through a heathen’s heart.” “Just one heathen,” muttered Imicus. He took a longer gulp from the Reismark brandy and wiped his mouth roughly with the back of his white glove. A bell was clanging dolefully now, and below, he heard its echo from a small village, its houses clustered around an oasis amidst the blasted wastes. All over Jena, the bells would ring, over hot sand and stone, beneath the growing rays of Sun. All were called to worship. All were called to pray. But Imicus had only one prayer, and he doubted the Infinite Hieoromar would be very partial to it. Actions -By decree of King Solomon Horatio, so-called ‘pre-Emptive’ Draker activity has been permanently suspended in Jena. Drakers must apply for a Permit from the local government, and may only do their work on a regulated number of already deceased draken, once they have been moved from their resting place at the Drakers own expense. The Crucifier class LC August Maller will be enforcing these regulations. For The Book of Horatius, 1:4 decrees that “For the worship of the Infinite Hieoromar must therefore be extended to his every creation.” -A single Light Cruiser, the Retia Illia, is sent to explore rumors of shores to the east, whispers of a new world. -Construction of Material Industry [10] Research -Vitriol Judge Armor: Research goes into vitriol infused armor capable of being highly resistant and also offering Judges the opportunity to control their mass, allowing for extremely long jumps, or controlled deceleration during a descent. -Ancient Tech Slot: Priests of the Spiritus Santcus Machina begin to research the predictive possibilities of the Weather Installation, in the hopes of being able to emulate it, and gain the ability to know weather patterns in advance... And perhaps, one day, control them.
  13. The Crusader State of Jena Focuses Nation Trait: Advanced Logistics Economy: Trade Hub Society/Government/Other: Isolationist Resource Deficiency: Grain Army Doctrine: Massed Warfare Naval Doctrine: Capital Ships Economic Focus: Heavy Industry ___________________________________________________________________________________ National Idea Spiritus Sanctus ___________________________________________________________________________________ Culture Church of Hieromar - The people of Jena believe in the Holy Spirit of the Original Hieromar in much the same way as most. They hold a particularly strong belief in the Spiritus Sanctus, or the Holy Spirit of Hieromar the Originator, and put less of a focus on the Sanctity of his disciples, preferring instead to worship their supposed Father and Saint, Horatius, who’s bloodline they claim still runs strong in their ruling family. "What makes a Crusader State? Must it be forged in blood, as Jena was? Must it be led by Knights of Hieromar, as Jena is? Must it be devoted to the Sanctity of the Hieromar, as Jena is? The blood of the 42nd House of Horatius flows strong in our veins, his words resonate through his holy scriptures, they remind of the mission for which we were chosen. Nostra terra sancta est, et nostra numquam corrumpetur. We carved this land with our swords, we broke the heathen’s grasp with our maces. Let not that which is now holy be corrupted. Monasteries await those who doubt, and death awaits those who betray. Sons of Jena, when the Bishop stands before you, swear your oath of sanctity. When bullets fly by you, remember your oath of sanctity. When death claims you, and the golden gates open before you, hold onto your oath of sanctity. For it is the key to heaven." -Horatio Horatius, speaking at the Gala organized by Petrus Malachite, 1778. [The people of Jena are a multicultural assembly, as one might expect in a Crusader state founded by a variety of groups from across the Hieromatic world.] ___________________________________________________________________________________ History Sons of Jena, hear me well, For I have this tale to tell, A tale of Horatius good, And of how well he stood To keep these holy lands From cruel barbarian hands! T’was early in the age, He was but a sage, Yet our Holy Hieromar, He saw his future far He named him forty second, And then he rightly reckoned That this here poorly sage Would wield sword without rage, Would conquer but not plunder, Oh how the skies did thunder! When Horatius kept the pass Against evil Amarnass! And when this land was ours And we smiled at the stars, Then Horatius spoke a speech, That we today still preach: “What we have built today, Has here been built to stay, Founded on zeal, Founded on steel, Barbarian’s bane, Believer’s gain, Holy god given land, Here we forever stand. My sons I say today, That we are here to stay, Until the world burns ‘Till Hieromar returns.” The Lay of Good Horatius, 1677. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Point of Interest The Spire of Saint Horatius “Long past are the ages of Greed, the ages of the Covetous, of the liars and of the thieves. What remains of those ancient times are but relics of hell, temptation for the depraved and the weak of mind. Reject them, burn them. Cleanse your lands of that which once was. Begin anew under the ever watchful gaze of the Hieromar.” Saint Horatius, circa year 50. Upon a spire of rock stands not the gilded cathedrals of Jena, the glittering chapels of an aristocrats estate. Here, in the middle of the desert, fifty leagues from the nearest village, is but a humble spire of rock, like the crooked finger of a long dead giant, it reaches up into the stars, grasping at that which can never be held again. Here sat Horatius, the father of the 42nd Family, whose bloodline we lay a claim to. And he looked into the stars and spoke to the Hieromar for seven days and seven nights. And on the eight day’s dawn, the ash cleared from the sky and the Sun shone down upon the world once more. We do not build an altar to our God in this Sanctum. Climb the jagged steps, molded by the Hieromar’s touch. Touch the stone, warmed by the Hieromar’s golden gaze. Stand upon it’s crest, and feel his presence. Sit within the circle of stone, feast upon your life. Contemplate that which was, is, and will be. Be one with God. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Unique Units The Babylon Class Dreadnought [2/5/6] “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Ancient is the tradition of melee combat within the Crusader State of Jesa, and the Babylon encompasses it in all its glory. Ill suited for long range engagements, the Babylon is a hulking, painfully slow mass of guns and armor so thick that it can shrug off the worst of blows. It carries a host of guns of all sizes, allowing it to deal with even the smallest of ships with terrifying efficiency at close range. It struggles at longer ranges, and its engineers have overcome such troubles by giving it the powerful System Overload, allowing it to reach extreme amounts of speed for short amounts of time and close the gap. In brawling range, it’s plethora of cannons can unleash the fury of god upon all ship classes. Each model sports a ram at the front, capable of cracking even the toughest of hulls with a proper blow. The Crucifier Class Light Cruiser [5/3/3] “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” The Crucifier is the nail in the coffin of every fighter pilots dreams of glory. The flyswatter which crushes the buzzing gnat. Fitted to bursting point with Anti-Air guns and secondary armament capable of devastating destroyers and fighters, it’s angular shadow is enough to strike fear into the bravest of granship pilots. Most fearsome is its terrifying 88mm cannon, capable of mounting armor-piercing or flak rounds, and firing them with devastating speed in combination with its plethora of machine gun fittings. The Crucifier is slightly smaller than a typical cruiser, and is designed to be able to protect the Babylon's during a brawl by maintaining speed and avoiding enemy main guns while warding off smaller threats. The Judges [Infantry] “Man is sin, and sin is in man. But in death can one find absolution. Deviants, liars, cheats! Solace is upon you, for Judgement has been suspended until death, and God will look at your deeds and smile, for you have been redeemed.” The wayward sons of the Jena Aristocracy are brought to the Monasteries to find salvation. Plain food, cold stone barracks, grueling training under the most unforgiving of taskmasters. Upon leaving the Monastery, the Children of Judgement are some of the most hardened fighters in the world. They wear steel, vitriol-infused armor which gives them both great resistance to enemy weapons, and the ability to dramatically slow-down any descent. It is a fine tool for leaping from ships onto land, and gives them great potential as shock troops, as well as short range boarding parties, with the armor allowing them to make gravity defying leaps. Each wields a great two-handed sword (Or Sword & Shield for boarding) aswell as a compact water-cooled machine gun and a wrist-connected flamethrower capable of short-range bursts of flame. Characters of Note: -Solomon Horatius, King of Jena King of Jena and son of the Horatian bloodline. -Admiral Achilles von Klauzewitz Commander in Chief of the Jena Air Navy. -General Tullius Schlieffen Command in Chief of the Jena Army. -Sergeant William Moltke of the Sons of Judgement A young officer in the Sons of Judgement, entered into it by his father for his constant drunken debauchery in the capital of Jena. -Lieutenant Paulus Moltke of Abraham's Gavel. Elder brother to William Moltke and a respectable product of the Moltke family, now serving as a junior officer abord the Abraham's Gavel, the pride dreadnought of Jena.
  14. Vrena -With the arrival of the Concordant on their border, the Vrena Principality constructs a Fortress in the mountain pass seperating them from the badlands. A wise idea even without this new looming shadow before them. They try to position in a dominating position overlooking the pass, upon a good hill with a source of uncorrupted water and an overlook of the main paths leading between the two. Men are sent to garrison it. (4M, 5000C) Research -With the mass implementation of waterproof clothing and cartridge boxes for the army, researchers begin to look into the industrialization of hydrogen isolation. A well known process for many decades or more, the idea is to find a way to do it as a mass scale, so that it may be used to create bigger, more effective blimps. (Slot 1)
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