The Mother of Entropy
Your nation is dying every day. The blighted regions of the Great Maker have begun their encroachment on Nurad and the statistical projections of the Plutarchs and Sodalities forecast nothing short of total desruction in less than a decade. The people are afraid. Even the Tripartite is riddled with doubt and dissent. The sub-gods are becoming more distant and reserved as Autochthon prepares to cannibalize your entire world in a futile effort at self-preservation.
Something has to be done.
What deeds will your heroic commemorative murals depict?
Background: The Nation of Nurad
Julask is the ailing capital of an ailing nation. It is a tired city, its factories creaking with strain for lack of fuel and lubricant, its people hungry thanks to shortage and overwork. The Populat is sullen and afraid, the Lumpen are angry and afraid, and the high-ranking members of the Tripartite are increasingly desperate. Every aspect of life, nowadays, is tinged with this edge of desperation and paranoia, tainting the spirits of all those who labor for the Maker's health. Joy is scarce and work is plentiful, exhausting, and thoroughly necessary. The air has a deadly feel, and the scent of change blows in from the Reaches. It is not something that the people appreciate, for the scent does not carry progress. It carries stagnation, famine, and death.
Julask himself is a Jade caste Alchemical who has long ago reached his ultimate enlightenment and evolution. His gigantic, impassive face dominates the center of the city, towering above all else, his soulgem a point of blindingly white light between his great eyes. His shoulders slope down into long planes that terminate at the two most potent and industrious factories in the whole of Nurad. The Assembly-house of the Tripartite is located at the top of a delicate mansion situated below Julask’s navel. When he occasionally pulls himself from rapturous communion with his god, the great patropolis expresses his concern for the state of the nation by implementing sweeping changes that maximize efficiency for months. But entropy sets in every time, faster and faster as Autochthon sickens ever more.
The Tripartite =
Grand Autocrat: Wiss. The Grand Autocrat of Nurad is an imposing old woman, all authority and power and a burning need to see her nation prosper. She is tall, her face weathered by long hours spent in the factories as a younger woman, with eyes the color of clean oil. Her hands are long and thin, highly dexterous and pale, like great spiders. She is never seen out of her Plutarch robes, the voluminous violet synth-leather enclosing her relatively frail form in comforting warmth. Politically, she is conservative, though not so much as her subordinates. You see, she is one of the rare few who have worked their way up the Autochthonian meritocracy from Populat to Tripartite. Therefore, she remains guardedly open to change and is often willing to listen to even the most radical of the Sodalts, even if only for mere moments. With the worsening of Nurad’s situation, she is becoming desperate and is beginning to entertain ever more drastic contingency plans, should the Maker’s veins finally run dry. She has taken on a haunted and harried air in recent months.
Plutarchs: Unlike their leader, Wiss, the Plutarchs of Julask have responded to the oncoming crisis by becoming even more conservative and unwilling to listen to talk of reform. A certain faction, led by Grond, a violet robe who has just recently earned his gold hems, are going so far as to suggest that Nurad’s evacuation should begin as soon as possible. They are opposed by Talak, Wiss’ senior by several years, whose faction urges perseverance in the face of all hardships. The majority of the Plutarchs, however, avoid this factionalism, instead throwing themselves into their immediate work, trying to make ends meet for just a few more months.
Regulators: The Regulators are perhaps the most changed of the branches of the Olgatory in recent years. They are preparing for full-scale warfare against gremlins and whatever other blighted monsters are soon to be thrown against the city. As a result, they have become increasingly militant and brutal in their handling of crime, causing the number of Lumpen to soar. Vatch, the most senior of Julask’s police force, is perhaps the best-connected man in the Nation, and uses these connections to feed information to his Investigators, though perhaps also to improve his own lifestyle as well, if the rumors are to be believed. Mira, the Investigator of Sabotage and Treason for Julask, is one of Vatch’s prime protégés and a hard-nosed officer of the law. She is being worked overtime and has become cynical and confrontational due to her long hours.
Adjudicators: For the Adjudicators, life proceeds as usual, if perhaps a little more hectic. They are also dealing with more brutality claims against Regulators, and more claims of incompetence against Plutarchs, but nothing truly out of the ordinary. All in all, the Adjudicators are simply taking up the slack and remaining calm. Morud, the nominal leader of his branch in Julask, is a stiff and formal man utterly dedicated to retaining impartiality in all his public matters. The twins Falre and Felre are somewhat less scrupulous and these men are often sent into the Reaches on missions from Wiss herself. The current rumor is that they are working for void cultists, but Wiss seems to keep her trust in them.
High Celebrant: Nalk. The High Celebrant of Julask is a flighty, nervous man of middling age, recently elected to his position following the death of the Cleric, Tormud. He is a high-ranking member of the Lectors and a surpassingly captivating orator, with a handsome face and shining blue eyes filled with fervor when he speaks. Outside of these public appearances, however, he loses much of his confidence. He delegates large amounts of his authority to subordinates, never enough to appear to be shirking his own duty, but more than enough to cause comment. His hands, which are slightly clumsy, with short fingers, are constantly moving, fiddling with his gear pendants and the folds of his toga. When talking to Alchemicals or the other members of the Tripartite Council, his lip trembles and his face goes pale.
Lectors: The Lectors are, outwardly, the strongest branch of the Theomachracy in Julask. They have upped their efforts to inspire and console the populace, especially the newly exiled Lumpen who are sometimes victims of Regulator over-enthusiasm. The religious plays and theatrical productions may not be as magnificent as they were in years past, thanks to the lack of raw materials and necessity of prudence in these dark times, but they are happening more often and there is a new level of zeal in their actors. But there are signs that even the Lectors are weakening. Some of the younger members are turning to despair, despite the speeches and words of their superiors, and the Populat can detect a sense of desperation and terror in their new gusto for performance. Harn, the ancient Master of Archives, is perhaps the wisest man in Julask. Unfortunately, he is also thoroughly hidebound and stands on tradition. Trae, a junior Lector just recently assigned to one of the poorest quarters of the city, is a brilliant young woman, full of passion and joy even in bad times. Already, the members of her district love her.
Preceptors: The Preceptors are working overtime in these dark days, as the members of the Populat and Lumpen, jaded with the state of affairs and fearing for their lives, turn ever more towards the path of heterodoxy. They are finding increasingly, however, that their Lector brothers are doing less and less about what heresy the Preceptors do uncover. It seems that the popular branch of the Theomachracy has decided that to punish the people too severely will be harmful to morale, even when it might be necessary. Wold, the most senior member of the Preceptors, is outraged. He is a fiery individual, utterly dedicated to the path of orthodoxy. Meanwhile, Merg, a more junior Preceptor, has been treated with particular fear by his charges, though it is unclear why.
Clerics: The Clerics of Julask are a quiet voice of reason and encouragement, in contrast to the Lector’s boisterous exhortations. They plod along, performing their thankless and necessary tasks, seemingly unaware of the coming apocalypse. But to those with connections to the Theomachracy, the truth is far different. The Clerics are working their hardest, their savants propitiating more and more gods in an effort to somehow save the nation. Inara is one of these, a special agent who is often sent into the Reaches with strange missions and odd materials. Gaup, the most senior Cleric, is a wizened old woman who personally reviews all changes in doctrine and vetoes nearly all of them; she is blatantly misoneistic.
National Sodality Council</b>: Julask's National Sodality Council is a strange, fractious entity. Kalon, the Luminor's representative, is a blatant stereotype, all pompous pride and overweening arrogance for the importance of his duty. He is also the weakest member and easily swayed. Yuvun, the queitly intense Conductor, is the nominal leader of the Council, a small woman with lofty goals and a shrewd political mind. Rogas is an eccentric character and one of the most skilled nutrient-preparators in Autochthonia, though he is not the most tactful of politicians. Hekk, a Scholar, cares very little about the Tripartite Assembly, preferring to oversee his vast personal lab where he attempts to invent something to prevent disaster. Finally, the youngest member of the Council and the most controversial, is a merciless young Surgeon named Veel. She has been questioned before on her level of orthodoxy, but has so far managed to retain a spotless reputation. Much to their chagrin, even these most senior members of the Sodalities are unable to adorn their uniforms with any of the Five Magical Materials, due to the crippling shortages.
<b>Luminors: The Luminors, like their Council representative, are the weakest Sodality in Julask. They also are the loudest in professing their superiority. The Populat is growing very tired of their pride, however, thanks in part to the blackouts that have afflicted even the capital in recent days. Though they last mere moments, the utter darkness that is the natural state of the Maker's innards is thoroughly terrifying. Met, a middle-level member, is a serious young woman attempting to put an end to her brethren's boisterousness. Gef, on the other hand, is Kalon's personal protégé and is, if anything, more unbearable than his pompous mentor.
Conductors: The Conductors, on the other hand, are the most dutiful of the Sodalities in Julask, and their numbers are suffering because of it. Their frequent mining operations are becoming more and more deadly, and the fatality rate is steadily climbing. Nearly a full half of the members of this Sodality bear the implants of overzealous Custodians or Essence-driven mutations, thanks to their time in the Reaches. Nettar is a cynical old woman, difficult to deal with and unfriendly, but with a knowledge of the space outside the cities that borders on encyclopedic. Vin is a new member who has already distinguished himself for bravery in the Reaches, but who has been speaking with the Lectors a little too often it seems.
Character creation is as per Exalted: The Autochthonians, with the following changes:
- Alchemicals may raise abilities above 3 without the need to spend bonus points (be aware that I don't usually condone 5's in abilities at the start of the game)
- Homebrewed CharmsOhJames/et cetera may be submitted to me for approval; I reserve final veto over this type of thing.
- Blatant power-gaming really isn't cool.
- A written backstory is required! Suggested format is as follows: 2/3rds of a page dedicated to character history (must also work in what the character's soul did that was so heroic, back in the day), a paragraph or two on personality quirks and general disposition, and a paragraph or two on physical description. Remember, the more hooks the better.
- That's about it. I'm looking for around five characters or so, and a Perfect Assembly would be bomb. Should more people want to play after the Alchemical slots are filled, I will make available Autochthonian mortals to serve as supporting characters and such.
- I can be contacted at manticore _ imaginary @ yahoo . com.