Monday, 28 March 2011

[actual play] Fading Suns - Hyperion Dusk - Episode 1 - Diplomatic Immunity #fadingsuns

Fading Suns

Hyperion Dusk

Episode 1 - Diplomatic Immunity




The Jumpgate blazed into life, and the Guild merchant cruiser exited from the chaos of jump space. The angelic and demonic faces of the Ur, fashioned upon the gate, looked down upon the vessel. The near kilometre long ship, 'Hasshin's Hope' glided past the waiting ships in the jump queue. Soon enough a Decados 'Anikrunta' Dreadnought, 'Claw of Terrisa' moved in with a compliment of 'Mantis' class frigates.

All the while a company of Questing Knights of the Phoenix Throne looked on from the mess hall of the cruiser. Idly playing his lute, dressed head to toe in the proper military garb of his house, Estaban of  the Hazat, watch from the view port the menacing Decados ship. He could also see in the distance the Church fleet of ships, many of which bore the emblem of the Avesti. The cold of space chilled his bones, as Estaban was more at home on the front lines of Vera Cruz and Hira against the forces of the Kurga. With Estaban, also watching with keen interest was Estaban's body guard and fellow veteran of the war on Hira, Bhall. He was one of the Ur-Ukar, the warrior race from the caves of Kordeth. He wore the traditional warrior garb of his people, and his face and bare arms bore the ritual scars of his people, cut into his pale skin. Sat with them drinking were two others. The first was Estaban's assigned partner for there mission, Jessica Hapsburg Hawkwood. She was equally well dressed, though more regal than militant. Her hair was tied back and she was dressed in an austere manner, more fitting for her home world of Ravenna. She was also a veteran of war, having faced the Decados during the Emperor wars some 8 years ago. Back then she was still just a squire and had not achieved her Knighthood. She had been pressed by her father to join the new order of Questing Knights as he saw it appropriate that she stayed close to the knew Emperor, Alexius Hawkwood. She sat drinking wine with the unruly looking space jockey, their pilot for their mission, Commander Axel Larsen, captain of the '7th Heaven'. As far as the others could tell he liked a good drink, gambling, and was not one for following orders.

With the checks all cleared the 'Hasshin's Hope' made its way in system. They first passed the icy ball of Shiver where supplies were dropped off with the Engineer Guild outpost. The next week the vessel approached the titanic gas giant of Farcry, and more ships docked and undocked, all part of the ongoing Guild gas extraction enterprise about the gas giant. Another week later the world of Pandemonium and its three moons were visible from the ship, and it was now that the party left the vessel.

The '7th Heaven' dropped from the hangar of the 'Hope' and into the night of space, and powered towards Pandemonium, taking a route about the crater studded moons. Before long another Decados ship approached and over the static of the radio the captain acknowledged the '7th Heaven' and asked for clearance codes.

With the codes all checked Axel followed their assigned route, down over the Oldeppa Sea, towards the Groaning deserts, and to the Hub, the capital of Pandemonium. From their vantage point they could see the rare vehicle scampering over the blasted deserts, and the gothic spires of the near complete cathedral.

There was another radio call as the space port tower guided them into land, and with a shudder the '7th Heaven' was down on the baking tarmac of the space port. Almost all the crew thought the same thing looking out the windows - what a shit hole! 


And just for some fun




Thursday, 24 March 2011

Mage the Awakening Soundtrack

    1. Nine Inch Nails - Right Where It Belongs (5:07)
    2. Nine Inch Nails - 12 Ghosts II (2:17)
    3. Nine Inch Nails - 13 Ghosts II (3:13)
    4. Track02 (2:53)
    5. Linkin Park - Session
    6. Nine Inch Nails - Another Version Of The Truth
    7. Nine Inch Nails - 17 Ghosts II (2:13)
    8. A Perfect Circle - 3 Libras (3:39)
    9. A Perfect Circle - Brena (4:24)
    10. Nine Inch Nails - 19 Ghosts III (2:11)
    11. Hans Zimmer - Half Remembered Dream (1:11)
    12. Hans Zimmer - We Built Our Own World (1:55)
    13. Transformers: The Score - Deciphering the Signal
    14. Hans Zimmer - Waiting For A Train (9:30)
    15. Kirlian Camera - Track 06
    16. Kirlian Camera - Track 02
    17. Arcana - in search of the divine
    18. Nine Inch Nails - 22 Ghosts III (2:31)
    19. Philip Glass Ensemble - Pruit Igoe & Prophecies (8:37)
    20. Arcana - Through the grey horizon [writ (5:34)
    21. Arcana - Wings of Gabriel [written 2003 (4:00)
    22. Transformers: The Score - Frenzy
    23. Transformers: The Score - Decepticons
    24. Nine Inch Nails - 26 Ghosts III (2:25)
    25. Hans Zimmer - Mombasa (4:54)
    26. Nine Inch Nails - 23 Ghosts III (2:43)
    27. Void Construct - Rebirth (5:31)
    28. Pride And Fall - Border (5:06)
    29. Juno Reactor & Don Davis - Mona Lisa Overdrive
    30. Vnv Nation - Distant (Rubicon II)
    31. Vnv Nation - Arclight
    32. Kirlian Camera - Track 13
    33. A Perfect Circle - Imagine (4:48)
    34. Nine Inch Nails - The Great Below
    35. Sephiroth - Helipolis
    36. Sephiroth - Now Night Her Course Began
    37. A Perfect Circle - Judith [Renholder Mix] (4:25)
    38. Nine Inch Nails - The Becoming
    39. Nine Inch Nails - 28 Ghosts IV (5:21)
    40. Kirlian Camera - Track 11
    41. Hans Zimmer - 528491 (2:23)
    42. Track06 (5:18)
    43. Arcana - Prophecy of the inevitable [al (2:43)
    44. Hans Zimmer - Old Souls (7:43)
    45. Zimmer, Hans - Aggressive Expansion
    46. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard - Like A Dog Chasing Cars (5:03)
    47. Kirlian Camera - Track 10
    48. :Wumpscut: - Eclipse (Kaelte Container Remix)
    49. Void Construct - Surface Tension (5:54)
    50. Hans Zimmer - Dream Is Collapsing (2:23)
    51. Hans Zimmer - Radical Notion (3:42)
    52. Hans Zimmer - One Simple Idea (2:28)
    53. Hans Zimmer - Dream Within A Dream (5:04)
    54. VNV Nation - Saviour [Vox] (6:59)
    55. VNV Nation - Legion (Anachron) (3:16)
    56. Track07 (6:15)
    57. Hans Zimmer - Time (4:35)
    58. Hans Zimmer - Paradox (3:25)
    59. Vnv Nation - Endless Skies
    60. Arcana - Closure (11:49)
    61. Nine Inch Nails - Right Where It Belongs [Alternate Version 2]
    62. Hans Zimmer - 528491 (2:23)

    Thursday, 10 March 2011

    Attacks from hyper-evolved vampires are on the rise in Mexico

    Annalee NewitzAttacks from hyper-evolved vampires are on the rise in Mexico It's just like something out of Guillermo Del Toro's Blade II, where the vampires use genetic engineering to create hyper-evolved super vampires with giant jaws. Over the past several weeks in Mexico, sheep have been brutally attacked and drained of blood by a large, unrecognizable animal . . . who leaves huge bite marks behind.

    UFO site Inexplicata reports:

    The first incident was recorded in the early hours of 16 February with 12 dead sheep and others with severe wounds.

    The affected party stated that his animals were in a pen with a two meter tall fence, which natural predators are unable to penetrate. Even so, the strange animal entered and attacked the sheep without eating them, relieving them of their blood and leaving marks suggesting a jaw that can open up to 20 centimeters. There were also scratches and puncture marks from long fangs in evidence. Lambs had their heads crushed.

    The second attack occurred during the first hours of Monday, 21 February on the property of Mr. Roberto Villalobos, with 20 dead sheep.

    The third attack took place again on Mr. Villalobos's property.

    "The custodian saw what was happening and unleashed a Great Dane to fight the animal, which he was able to see in the shadows. But the dog fled after receiving a push from the assailant," said a startled Roberto Villalobos.

    Local residents are fearful of going out in the evening, saying that for a week now they have been victimized by attacks from an unknown animal whose prints they are unable to recognize.

    The place where the events occurred is EstaciĆ³n de Terrazas, a rural areal located 40 km from Chihuahua's state capital.


    Wednesday, 16 February – 12 dead sheep, 10 wounded
    Monday, 21 February – 20 dead sheep, 25 injured
    Friday, 25 February – 15 dead sheep

    Read more at Inexplicata

    [Mage: the Awakening & Vampire the Requiem] What do you want to see in the chronicle - and open discussion

    So far for myself, I am about half way through statting up my Changeling setting, and it is of course coming to it's end. Exalted will be started and I will do the odd story of vampire.


    But to help with ideas for plots,


    What do you guys want to see in a Vampire game and Mage? Already I think we have a sort of theme for Vampire, but I would like some suggestions from you guys, or at least what the political aims of the coterie is.


    As for mage what sort of stuff do you want to get out of it? I plan for a game based around magical revolution in the face of ancient mysteries. So there are elements from the Matrix, Pi, the Books of Magic, the Invisibles, Dark City, Neverwhere and I am also now looking at how to incorporate ideas from Inception.

    Wednesday, 9 March 2011

    [actual play] Changeling: the Lost #changelingthelost #whitewolf #changeling #worldofdarkness





    Changeling: the Lost

    Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

    Episode 4 - Skin - part 3


    Sonata, Else and Clio watched the strange, alabaster, insect. It strained against the bars of the gate in the public toilets, as Sonata jabbed at it to stop it escaping. Freki was still hurriedly running to the House of Autumn at the Teatro Fenice. Arriving there and using the correct knock to open the door into the Hedge, and into the House of Autumn.

                    Sat in the hollow, in the library, were a number of changelings, discussing the events of the Carnival ball. Looking up from his glass of wine, Chira, a bat faced member of Mad Dog’s motley, asked why Freki was in such  as rush. She explained what had happened. Chira, and at his request, Byron – the poetic Cyclops Ogre – followed, offering his brute strength.

                    Back at the public toilets near St Mark’s square, the motley awaited Freki’s return. Else could hear footsteps and someone one approaching. She went to investigate, and found that it was two police officers. She quickly wove them a tale of a body being found, and that it was the work of the Rib Killer. She invoked her contracts and the police officers retreated to get backup.

                    Finally Freki, along with Byron and Chira, returned to the motley. They found that the creature had turned into a piece of masonry, and that this had happened when Else had tried to take a picture of it. Confused Byron and Chira helped the motley move the creature to a safer location.


    Elsewhere, Stitches was trying to determine where he was and how he had got there. He was in a cage for an animal, and as his eyes adjusted, he realised that he was in a large, gloomy, warehouse, and that the warehouse opened out onto a body of water. Overhead he could see that the sky was stormy and lighting arced through the clouds.

    Then there was movement in the water. Stitches watched a figure rise out of the water. Its shadow had spurs jutting out of its arms, and he watched as its gills flattened down on its neck. Stitches could smell the waters of the Venetian lagoon, oil, and mud.  The creature pulled along with it a small boat, and lifted out a person. It opened a cage and placed the person inside. It then plodded off.

    Stitches tried to reach over, but as he did so another creature descended out of the rafters of the warehouse. Stitches looked up to see two clawed feet gripping the cage. The creature was a crone like woman. She had tattered wings and cruel eyes and teeth. She screeched, and lashed out. Stitches noted the stone like skin that it had.

    It then flapped away as a light began to glow nearby. In the cage the new arrival awoke. She introduced herself as Lady Midnight, of the Winter Court. She mentioned that she was at the Carnival ball, and that she had seen his motley. It was clear that she was a changeling, one of the Fairest, a Bright One, and her body radiated light. Above them they could see that were a dozen or so of these creatures. Harpies and strange insects. It was then that they spotted that there was another cage with another occupant.


    The motley was taken to the Arsenale, the old ship yards of Venice. Here they entered the House of Summer, and Chira took them to Blackhand. Blackhand was a dwarf black smith. He skin was muscled and bronzed. His beard was made of gold and silver strands. Blackhand looked at the stone and explained that a strange magic flowed through it. Something primal and chaotic. After some experiments none could rouse it, but Blackhand revealed that it was similar essence he had seen when a man of stitches had passed through the area, and had been driven out.

    Noting that Stitches was still missing the motley, led by Freki, went to find him. At his pharmacy they found his trail, his scent, and while following it Freki found that he was followed by something with the same scent as the stone creature. Following further they found that the trail ended near the train station at the edge of the Grand Canal.


    In the warehouse the creature returned with three cups and a bowl of some dubious broth. It poured it into the mouth of the unconscious person, with them sputtering, vomiting and passing out once more. Lady Midnight and Stitches then watched as the creature, a man, with muddy and cracked skin, sat before them. It leered at them and explained that they should reach a good price. It made fun of them and the fact their soul is a ragged remnant of a humans. It laughed at their efforts to be human, and that in them a cancerous thing was growing. Stitches then could see the strange energy that animated this being, and that it had spread and caused the area to be devoid of life.

    Then the monster took out the scalpel it had taken from Stitches, and lifting up its trouser leg, hacked off a pound of flesh.  It took up the bloody flesh and gnawed at it too break it up into smaller chunks, which it then cast off to feed the harpies and insectoids.

    Having fed the pack, the monster was then called to by a voice from within the warehouse. It was a woman, and she asked for him to bring the woman in the cage. He then grabbed Lady Midnight from her cage, and wit out much effort immobilized her and carried him away.


    Outside of the train station the motley looked out to the mainland and could see the storm clouds over the industrial centre of Marghera. A humming sound grew, and Freki bristled and could smell ozone. Electricity arced around them, and forming a ball or crackling lightning, until forming a flame haired young boy.

    The boy spoke, as if with the voice of an entire choir. He spoke that chaos was rampant and that they can act. He reached out and electricity arced out and struck the motley.

    Each saw a vision. They saw a door with a number upon it,
    then a view from above the industrial complex of Marghera, and then the ticking of a clock made of bone, and then finally the Verdant Duke, Ayther, leader of the House of Spring, and his neck being slit.

    The motley came too and found that the being was gone.  And so they went to get Else’s boat and make their way to the mainland.


    Fearing the worst, Stitches used his contracts to open the locks to his cage and then the other, finding within the unconscious Tybalt, from Malvolio’s motley. Stitches attended to him, and after getting his bearings Tybalt opened a gate into the Hedge through the cage door.

    Stitches and Tybalt fled into the Hedge, and they spent almost 2 hours in the hedge to find a door out, eventually returning back to the real world, through a door back to the industrial chemical refinery. It was then that Tybalt fled, rather than help Stitches recover Lady Midnight.


    While the motley made their way to the mainland, Clio had gone to speak to Malvolio. She eventually found him and she told him she knew where the key was for. He told her he could not go with him as he is not liked by the House of Winter. Clio wanted a guarantee that Malvolio would not be screwing her over. So they made a pledge, made in the name of their keepers, and in return for a gift of stealth, Clio would bring the Book of Names to him and he would find the name within to help her.

    Clio arrived at the hotel Danieli and used her contract of Vainglory to appear as a guest. She was eventually given a key. She walked to the room she was looking for, opened the door, and found that she was in the Hedge. The hollow was covered in snow, and was like the hotel.


    Sonata used his contracts to summon the fog, and he, Else and Freki were able to sneak into the refinery. It was as they got closer to the warehouse in the abandoned part of the complex, and through the fog they could see three figures approaching. The monster with bone spurs, a lithe small woman, and some bird like man which screeched and called like a raptor. It was one of the Gentry.



    Thursday, 3 March 2011

    Fadings Suns - Intro Game

    Fading Suns: Hyperion Dusk

    Intro Game




    I plan on running an intro game session that is the first episode of a series. Basically there are a number of pre generated characters I have made (nobles, priests, guildsman, aliens) and if need be it would be easy to make more on the fly. It will be run a weekend sometime soon.


    The action is set in a future medieval-analogue empire built on the remains of a previous, more sophisticated human galaxy-spanning civilization made possible by ancient "Jumpgates". The Jumpgates are relics left over from an ancient civilization or civilizations, the mysterious Anunnaki, who seems to have influenced the evolution of the lesser species (such as humans) for their own end, and waged a devastating war many millennia ago using the lesser species as tools of war. The atmosphere is strongly reminiscent of Frank Herbert's Duneand of the Hyperion stories by Dan Simmons, but borrows from many other Science Fiction books and movies as well. Power is administered by noble houses, guilds and by the monolithic Holy Church. Psionic powers exist but psionicists are often hunted down and killed by the Church (or led back to orthodoxy and enrolled in the Church's ranks). The Church is also capable of producing miracles through Theurgic rites, a kind of divine sorcery.

    While most roleplaying situations arise from the strict codes regulating the everyday life of the empire's citizens, the imperial age is rife with opportunities for adventure: following the fall of the old regime and the following centuries of darkness and warfare, many worlds have slipped back to a pre-civilized state, and a number of alien threats lurk in the shadows.

    Players take the roles of members of the aristocracy, of the various merchant guilds or of a number of religious sects, and alien characters are also available.

    A large library of supplements provides description of locales (planets, space stations, whole sections of space), alien societies, minor houses, guilds and sects, monsters and secret conspiracies, thus expanding the thematic possibilities offered by the setting. The products have been increasingly hard to find in recent years. After several years with very few additions to the line, RedBrick Limited, a New Zealand company, has been granted a license to continue development of Fading Suns products.

    The setting is mainly focused on running Arthurian like adventures in space, with grand epics, operas, and dramas in space. This is termed the Passion Play and means a story in the game can in fact be part of a morality play meaning the character actions can be used to emphasize this over just simply ‘following the plot’. The Sci-Fi is just the background, not the driving force (for example few of the characters understand ‘science’). 



    It is the dawn of the sixth millennium and the skies are darkening, for the suns themselves are fading. Humans reached the stars long ago, building a Republic of high technology and universal emancipation—and then squandered it, fought over it, and finally lost it.

    A New Dark Age has descended upon humanity, for the greatest of civilizations has fallen and now even the stars are dying. Feudal lords rule the Known Worlds, vying for power with fanatic priests and scheming guilds.



    A Hawkwood Noble - Veteran of the Emperor War - Now a Questing Knight of the Phoenix Throne

    Prideful yet honourable, the Hawkwoods have seen one of their own take the Emperor's throne. The Emperor however is at this point choosing to distance himself from his own house to practice a more egalitarian rule. Some of them are thus disgruntled with the new Imperial regime and others support it completely.

    While Alexius Hawkwood (Hawkwood, Emperor Alexius) has since distanced himself from his family to appear more impartial, the Hawkwoods take such political setbacks with stoicism - the same fierce perseverance with which they beat back the barbarian raiders to their worlds. A Hawkwood does not give up. House Hawkwood is more beloved by its vassals than any other house. The Hawkwoods generally treat their subjects fairly and with justice.

    House Hawkwood history has risen and fallen so often as to incite the phrase "The rise of House Hawkwood is like a prostitute in zero-G". It prides itself on its pedigree and its commitment to noblisse oblige. They are indoctrinated with protecting their serfs and have many difficult expectations to live up to. More than any other House, House Hawkwood dedicates itself to the care of its serfs and the preservation of their lands. House Hawkwood shares a border with the Vuldrok barbarians, who bear an enmity that is only outmatched by their hatred of House Decados.

    From the moment they are born Hawkwoods are taught of their destiny to lead. They never learn to doubt their abilities or their right to rule, those who don't weren't really Hawkwoods anyway.

    A Hazat Noble - Courtier and Expert Fencer - Now a Questing Knight of the Phoenix Throne

    The Hazat (not House Hazat-- the Hazat long ago adopted this once-pejorative styling, and now prefer it) are deeply passionate and compelled. They pursue dangerous sports and seek testing duels. Hot-blooded and intense, the martial Hazat know how to field an army but are also no strangers to intruige. When they can calm the vicious infighting from family to family, they can present a formidable front against rivals from other houses.

    The Hazat's largest concern is that of territory, caught between Byzantium Secundus, Holy Terra and Leagueheim, the Hazat find there is no room for expansion. A sore point considering they lost planets during the time ofVladimir. The Hazat are now in contention over the planet Hira with the Kurgan Caliphate. Left with less land after the wars than they began with, they now pursue a campaign against the barbarian Kurga Caliphate, seeking new lands outside of the Empire.

    The Hazat lead the finest militias of the known universe. Trained from the age of five to hold a sword and lead an army. An army that grows excessive their conquests. Originally the Hazat were the military of House Chaukiwhom they overthrew in a military coup proclaiming their House's hidden noble heritage. Hazat vassals are loyal, for they know that sacrifices for their lords are often rewarded.

     An al-Malik Noble - Courtier and Ambassador

    The exotic and inscrutable al-Malik are often accused of being mere merchants, for their ties to the League
    are well known. With close ties to the Merchant League and a deviate love of technology, House al-Malik is certainly the wealthiest of all the noble houses. Although they carry an egalitarian attitude towards their serfs, they are often far removed from the troubles of them. Surrounding themselves with opulence of wealth and technology.

    However, they have proven their noble legerdemain many times, through the acquisition of land and a unique understanding of human nature and politics. Highly academic and exceedingly well-educated, it is hard to pull one over an al-Malik, but it is likewise hard for them to resist the lure of a good adventure or challenge.

    The al-Malik's modern attitudes make them suspect of harbouring Republican leanings. Such as evidenced by their almost democratic attitude towards their serfs. This combination of republican leanings and technological device has brought the attentions of the Inquisition more than a few times. Vassals of this family are well-treated and return the respect with solid service.

    Their culture is one of the most sophisticated of all houses. Al-Malik nobles speak to each other in coded metaphor, known as the Graceful Tongue and nearly all al-Malik nobles dedicated themselves to arts, culture or scholastic interests

     A Eskatonic Order Priest and Astrologer/Archaeologist

    Originally a heretical collection of occultist religions, the Eskatonic Order was admitted into the arms of the Celestial Church after proving their use against the Symbiot invasion with strange theurgies.

    Married as they are to the ideal of Sacred Wisdom the Eskatonic order seeks out strange and new mysteries ofthe Pancreator and are often labelled as doomsayers for their vision of the Eskaton, the end of the Universe. Eskatonics are known for being wizards, soothsayers, mystics, madmen and doomsayers.

    The Order's mission is to seek out occult information so that it may be used for the church. This sacred trust is given to the Eskatonics that men of lesser minds may be protected from the terrors that lie hidden in their arcane secrets. In seeking the Pancreator in the mystical writings of the heavens and the inner mind their journey into the occult is often fraught with supernatural dangers and temptations of forbidden lore. As such they receive regular scourings by both their internal security apparatus (the Sanhedrin) and the Inquisition.

    The Eskatonic Order is only a hundred years old officially, as they were granted recognition after their theurgy proved useful against the Symbiot invasion. At times theological debates will flare up between the Order and the Orthodoxy and the Inquisition longs for the day when they are given a freehand to deal with them as they wish.

    The Eskatonic Order becaame an official Universal Church sect in 4955 in the Pentateuch Concordat, decades after Eskatonic theurgy proved itself in fending off Symbiots on the planet Stigmata. Prior to that, the eskatonics were persecuted by the Church.

    These mystics often congregate in their own monasteries. An eskatonic canon is called a provost, an eskatonic deacon an illuminatus, and a prie
    st a philosophus. The Eskatonics have two subranks of bishop: magister and presbuteos. The magisters represent the lower rank, while the presbuteos represent the governing council of the Eskatonic Order. One Presbuteos, called the Magus, serves as head of the eskatonic Order and as Church archbishop of
     Pentateuch. Other eskatonic bishops-usually presbuteos-also serve as archbishops of certain planets.

    The Eskatonics, like other Church sects, accept the Omega Gospels as the supreme truth of the Pancreator and the Prophet, but they also consider alleged teachings of St. Horace, disciple of the Prophet, gathered in the Digammon Aprogrypha as holy scriptures. They also consider the terraforming works of Doramos.

     An Urth Orthodox Priest and Inquisitor

    Urth Orthodox is the Mirror of Faith. They are the core of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, seeking to hold people to the sanctified truths of the Prophet Zebulon. As the largest sect, it is the Orthodoxy that most people associate with the Church. Its priests can be found on all worlds from the ostentatious bishops of the capital cities to the more humble parish priests in the most poverty-stricken fiefs.

    Established by Palamedes Alecto after the Prophet's Martyrdom the Church was able to rally Humanity against the Ukar in the Human-Ukar war. This established the powerbased that continued through the Second Republic, where at the verge of its collapse was declared the official religion of the Second Republic in an attempt to stave off collapse. This gave extreme political power to the Church as it now meant all other religions were illegal. Since then it has grudgingly shared its power with other groups, ceding them spiritual authority in areas they had little interest or resources.

    While the Orthodoxy has gained a reputation for its cunning political manoeuvres, most priests know little of such things, being entirely too busy protecting the souls of the simple faithful. Of all churches the Orthodoxy is the most in touch with the populace as they share in their every day lives and their complaints. With their political prestige they are often one of the only groups who protect the interests of serfs from the nobility and league. While many may spurn the Orthodoxy for its martial role in the Emperor Wars, when tragedy strikes, it is the Orthodoxy to which they turn to.

    The Urth Orthodox has always been the regular hierarchy of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, and Church Patriarchs, except for the rare Amalthean, have always been Orthodox.

    The Orthodox clergy is divided into Red and White prieshoods, with the Red clerics under an oath of celibacy, while White clerics can marry. Most Orthodox clerics above the rank of priest are from the Red priesthood.

    The Orthodoxy is also divided into Hinayana (conservative/right-wing) and Mahayana (middle-of-the-road to liberal/left-wing) philosophical wings.

    Most Church bishops and archbishops are Urth Orthodox, as well as most of the Universal Church's rank-and-file clergy (novitiates, canons, deacons, and priests.

    The Mahayana wing of the Urth Orthodoxy actually is partially descended from liberal, non-Orthodox sects of the Universal Church from the Diaspora and Second republic eras. After the fall of the Republic (4000), the more conservative and fundamentalist Church leaders among the Orthodoxy, Inquisition, and Temple Avesti persecuted the liberal Church sects for heresy and their clergy absorbed into the Orthodoxy or forced to join Hesychast Monasteries.

    A Charioteer Pilot and the troupe pilot of their ship

    The Charioteers are probably the most respected guild (if not beloved) since they control space travel. Although other groups may have trained space pilots (limited, basic pilot training can be commissioned from the guild, carefully leaving out most of the tricks initiated pilots know) the Charioteers maintain a ruthless monopoly on the production of Jumpkeys, which are essential for interstellar travel.

    Charioteers form the face of the Merchant League, they are congenial and extremely extrovert. The division between the face they put on as a performance to sell their goods and their own personalities are often blurred at best. They are the primary traders of goods (and sometimes information) of the Known Worlds and almost every merchant who trades is either a subsidiary or pays a commission to the Guild.

    The Charioteers are also the masters of the transport industry, whether it is Beastcraft, Landcraft or Aircraft the Charioteers Guild can ride, drive or fly it. Most importantly the Charioteers own a monopoly on spacetravel. Not only are they the best starship pilots but they own the production of jumpengines (shared with the Supreme Order of Engineers) and jumpkeys and charge all factions for jumping between systems.

    Charioteers run a dichotomistic life of merchant and star pilot. They trade, they jest, they are outrageous show-offs to a man, they are often seen as b
    izarre travelling shows whenever they come to town. Of course this is merely their way of attracting potential customers.

    The guild is dominated by merchant families called hongs, with the Galbraiths, Cartashes, and DeVatha the most powerful of the families.

    A Reeve Guild Spy and Economist

    It was once said that the Reeves were paying a penance for being stuck with two of the most hated jobs in history, Lawyers and Bankers. These guildsmen are the minds behind the commerce and economy of the Known Worlds. Their history reputedly tells them as pirates who but after crafting strong agreements with both Church and noble factions they ensured a monopoly of money-lending. The Reeves are both bankers and moneylenders and have on occasion been levelled an accusation of usury.

    However these accusations are often for naught as the Reeves possess the finest lawyers and advocates that money can buy. Their legal representation is highly sought after and extremely expensive. Individuals in the guild are normally conservative and austere, for which reason they are called Grey Faces (usually out of earshot), lest the person be sued for defamation.

    As experts in jurisprudence, scholarship, and economics, the majority of Leaguemeisters have come from the Reeves for their business and economic acumen. The Reeves also own a large fleet (which is allegedly a remnant from the days they were a band of rogue pirates). They mobilise this fleet to collect payments from any who default on their loans. It's disputed wether most of this fleet was sold off for start-up cash, or if there is still a large Reeve starfleet hidden somewhere.

    An Ur-Obun Ambassador

    The Ur-Obun are one of the races know as the Children of the Ur. Having a close connection with the Anunnakithey called the "Venkalli" or Lightbringers whom they revered as gods. They have developed a pacifist and philosophical society. One of the only humanoid races ever discovered they suffer the least prejudice of all alien races.

    Ur-Obun are recognisable as being very similar to humanity but have dark pupiless eyes.

    Their home planet Velsimil is controlled by House Hawkwood.

    An Ascorbite Alien Bodyguard and Assassin/Hunter brought up off it’s homeworld

    These insectoid sentients are one of the most persecuted of all aliens. They are fearsome to look upon and unnerving to behold, they are blood-drinkers and will often look down upon humanity as dominating flesh-bags. They have mythologies that hold towards dark beings now dissapeared.

    The Mission:

    The troupe is journeying to the world of Pandemonium:

    Once called Grange, this world was the breadbasket of the Second Republic. It was terraformed by Gilgar, the only apprentice to Doramos - it was once a desert world before being made into an agricultural paradise. During the Fall, terrorists damaged the jumpgate and many of its routes were lost in the ensuing chaos.

    One hundred years ago, the Vau gave a jumpkey to the world to Count Vano Juandaastas. It was discovered that the world was still a green world with an agricultural surplus and a great deal of political stability, though technology had slowly regressed. A small family of House al-Malik had endured over the centuries, causing a war between Houses al-Malik and Juandaas
    tas for ownership of the planet. By 4951, the al-Malik had driven the Juandaastas off-world, claiming the world for themselves.

    Baron Afil al-Malik spent his entire fortune searching for "something important", but never found it. Eventually he sold the world to the Decados to pay his debts. Some rumor that the Decados gave up any rights to the world of Yathrib (when it is eventually found) in exchange for ownership of Pandemonium. In 4981, Count Enis Sharn took control of the world.

    The Charioteers were the first to discover the second (incomplete and non-functional) jumpgate beyond the fringe of the solar system. The Decados claim the second gate since they own the system, but the League claims that because it is outside the system, it belongs to the finder (the Charioteers). As of 4999, Alexius has not ruled on the matter either way, despite repeated petitions.

    Also around 4981, the terraforming engines began to fail, causing world wide cataclysms on a regular basis. Many people fled to the Hub, since the only surviving terraforming engine protects it from the world's storms. The Hub is basically lawless due to overcrowding and an inadequate police force. Slavery abounds, along with gambling, prostitution and every other type of vice.

    In the so-called "Badlands", those areas outside the Hub, there are many rumors of lost Ur artifacts. A great Orthodox cathedral is under construction in the Badlands, which seems to avoid damage despite the chaos surrounding it.

    The troupe is to investigate the rumours of a Lost World that is beyond the Pandemonium Jump Gate, called Iver.

    The troupe has keys to allow for jump gate travel from Byzantium Secundus (Throne World of the Empire) - Critcorum - Grail - Rampart - Pandemonium.