Saturday, 30 March 2013

Al-Malik Fiefs

The Al-Malik of FS3 differ little from previous editions. But then they are a House of subtle schemes, strange philosophies, and many contradictions. There are hints that they have had a hand in the recent run of poor luck experienced by House Decados. The attentons of the House have also been directed towards the Hargard and the barbarian House Ramakrishna which they claim as part of their own.



Al-Malik Fiefs
House al-Malik holds four worlds for themselves, although they share ownership of Kordeth with the Merchant League, and the worlds they possess are rich in culture, mystery, and resources.  Every al-Malik family insists they are the ‘true’ and original al-Malik, and of all the Royal Houses al-Malik is the most prone to internal conflicts. This is why House al-Malik is not ruled by a ‘Prince’, for should any al-Malik Duke claim that title it would likely spark a rebellion of his peers. Instead, the al-Malik planetary Dukes elect one among themselves as ‘Duke of Dukes’, who then leads the house till he dies.

Aylon
Star: Genesis (yellow star)
System: Pecos (0.69AU), Aylon (0.99AU; Diana), Ottawa (4.96AU; Ashilatan), Bunyon (10.24AU; 13 moons), Cronos (17.56AU; 4 moons), Uldra (32.02AU; Koroba), Jumpgate (72.0AU)
Jumps: De Moley, Istakhr, Kordeth, Leminkainen
Capital: Sunval
Resources: minerals, ores, precious metals, forestry
Exports: weapons tech, consumer tech, precious metals, vehicles, spacecraft

Important People
Dutchess Nudara al-Malik (born 4964): Nudara is the governor of Aylon, a confident and independent ruler. She is a skilled economist and administrator, and under the Ukari Rebellion (4998-92) proved herself a great strategist as well, defeating the rebel clans with very limited manpower and resources as the bulk of Aylon’s military was engaged in the Emperor Wars. Rumors state that Nudara is a Third Republican who is secretly creating a private army to back her goals.
Matriarch Bash’ir Vordwed (born 4970): Matriarch Bash’ir is the head of the largest traditional Ukari clan on Aylon (Vordwed) and leader of independent but pro-al-Malik Aylon Allied Clans, having held the post since 5009 when her predecessor, was arrested for consorting with rebellious clans. She lives and rules in the Mwerrid Mokta reservation (Aylon’s largest), with representatives in every Ukari city and major reservation. Matriarch Bash’ir struggles to keep the rebel clans down and she has forged strong ties to Dutchess Nudara and is a vocal supporter for Emperor Alexius I.

Overview:
Aylon is roughly Urth-sized, with a single moon, Diana, and four oceans dividing the super-continent landmass into regions. Over 70% of the surface is land, and a hot climate gives rise to several great deserts and large areas of tropical vegetation where the weather patterns bring regular rains.
Aylon was colonized by Ukari settlers in 2360 who named it Sada (“Water”). The Ukari colonies initially thrived, but when civil war struck Ukari space in 2478, colonization and colonial support was halted. Aylon was largely abandoned when most settlers returned to other Ukari worlds to fight. At some point in the 2500s, Humans settled on Aylon, calling it El Dorado. Some contact between the two sentient populations occurred, yet so rarely each civilization believed the other a myth. Aylon was where the Prophet first set foot after his vision of the Holy Flame on the now-lost world of Yathrib in 2845, and here he gained his first large following. When the Ukar armada attacked Criticorum in 2855, instigating the Human-Ukari War, an attack on Aylon, supported by the local Ukari population soon followed. The human settlements where attacked from space and on the ground simultaneously, and were forced to surrender. It took humanity over 50 years to recapture Aylon, partly because resources and a will to fight had dwindled by the time Kordeth, Istakhr, Ustar, and Criticorum were won, and partly because the Aylon Ukari fought harder and were more organized than anywhere else. When Aylon was finally liberated, large Ukari reservations were established with many off-world Ukari moved in. House Torenson established themselves on the planet and when the Second Republic fell seized control of the world. A bloody pro-Republican (mostly Ukari) uprising followed from 4077-4116, convincing the Torensons to give Aylon to House Keddah in 4119 (who renamed it Aylon) in return for a military defense alliance. When the Torensons, under House Masseri pressure, declared war on the al-Malik in 4487, the Keddah, bound by alliance, joined. The following year Aylon was conquered by House al-Malik, marking the definitive end of Keddah as a Major House. When the Green Death swept the Known Worlds between 4616-23, Aylon was among the first struck, losing 1/3 of the population. The same century saw a blooming in Husk attacks on Aylon, resulting in the Church backed Husk Crusade of 4677-81. The following centuries saw Aylon stabilize and thriving until the planet was again struck by internal war during the Ukari Rebellion of 4988-92. 
Aylon is well run and thriving, and here even serfs reach comfortable living conditions. Serfs are accorded much greater freedom on Aylon than is the norm of the Phoenix Empire, including the right to bear (registered) arms in Aylon’s dangerous wildernes. Aylon is also unusual for its stance against slavery; in fact, local laws do not recognize the status of slaves instead regarding them as ‘unclaimed’ serfs or even freemen. Legal scholars believe that this anti-slavery tradition is one of the few legacies of House Keddah’s rule. The wide range of trophy beasts attracts big game hunters from all over the Phoenix Empire.
The world has a large population of Ukari over 54 million (roughly 1/10 the number of Humans) living primarily in great reservations. Unlike on Kordeth, the majority of Ukari on Aylon live above ground and regard themselves as “purer” Ukari for dwelling under the stars. There are some tensions between Humans and Ukari, but rarely outside the Ukari reservations. Many, Aylonians share a kinship and respect for the native Ukari. Aylon is a family, and once accepted, you are in, otherwise you are forever agnabee, “outsider”. The local al-Malik has forsaken the Graceful Tongue and regards themselves as more spartan and virtuous than their off-world cousins, whom they consider soft and decadent.

Criticorum
Star: Apollo
System: Budh (0.37AU), Aristotle (0.7AU), Criticorum (1.0AU; Spacestation: Port Karavail, Ardella), Mehmet (1.57AU; Czar, Sultan), Khlebnikov (2.98AU; Chiop), Ellylon (6.11AU; 7 moons), Bhuta (32.37AU), Jumpgate (55.03AU) 
Jumps: Byzantium Secundus, Cadavus, Gwynneth, Kish, Kordeth, Pyre, Shaprut
Capital: Acheon
Resources: ores, forestry, fossil fuels, agriculture
Exports: refined ore, weapons tech, entertainments, industrial chemicals, industrial tech, vehicles, textiles, medical tech, fine arts, politics

Important People
Duke Yusef abn Rahim al-Malik (born 4953): Duke Yusef is the Istakhr-appointed governor of Criticorum, himself an Istakhr branch al-Malik. He is a moderate, preferring to carefully weight all issues, which means he struggles to please either Istakhr or Criticorum. Duke Yusef, being an old friend of Duke Hakim was appointed governor against his own advice, and he would prefer the governor be from the Criticorum branch.

Overview:
Criticorum is a diverse world, slightly larger than holy Terra, and with a year of 348 days. 64% of its surface is covered in water and the land is dominated by Salamandra, the “mother of continents”, stretching from pole to pole, encompassing regions of conifer forest, deserts, plains, equatorial jungles and mountain chains.
Religious and political groups marginalized by the old Urth power structure established the first colonies on Criticorum. A thousand factions made a new start here from 2521 onwards, and the planet swiftly became a liberal democratic haven for freethinkers, dissidents, and libertines. The people elected representatives, but the Poe’s Rebellion (2708) against unpopular tax increased drove the last governor off-world, and power was seized by the large communications and munitions conglomerate – the Bashshar Corporation. In 2855 humanity made first official contact with the Ur-Ukar as Criticorum was invaded and seized by the aliens. Patriarch Palamedes rallied humanity against the Ukari and when Kordeth was beaten in 2892, the Criticorum Ukari surrendered. Wasting no time the Bashshar Corporation, which by now included the ancestor families of the al-Malik, reasserted itself. When the nobles seized Byzantium Secundus in 4000, much of the Republican government and fleet fled to Criticorum, which remained pro-Republican. For two centuries Republican law and institutions survived, but collapsing economic infrastructure hurled the Criticorum into a planet-wide depression in 4226. Starvation, unknown for a thousand years, caused centuries of wars and political upheaval, and Criticorum was at various times conquered by the Decados, the Li Halan, and the Hawkwoods, before falling back into the hands of squabbling al-Malik masters. In 4827 a semblance of order was restored as an exile from the Istakhr branch, Claudia al-Abbasah al-Malik, arrived from Aragon with house exiles and Hazat mercenaries, and deposed the Criticorum branch rulers. When the Symbiot Wars began in 4900, refugees from the ravaged worlds sought shelter on Criticorum nearly destabilizing and bankrupting the world. When Duke Hakim al-Malik supported Alexius’ bid for power in 4991, Countess Carmetha Decados landed her Stigmata Garrison on Criticorum to seize the politically unstable world, and was welcomed by several nobles of the deposed Criticorum branch. Duke Hakim sent in is army of loyal Ur-Ukar, the Fifth Dark Legion, and for a second time Criticorum fell to the terror of the Ukari, although the Decados commanded Stigmata Garrison was defeated by the aliens in the Battle of Rudaki (4991). 
Criticorum sits within a nexus of Jumproads making it a major commercial hub. Maritime resources and other wildlife are plentiful in the great game reserves in the south and large plankton farms harvest the oceans wealth. In addition, great mineral resources, technological sophistication, and many Merchant League high-tech vehicle and munitions factories makes this one of the most progressive worlds in the Phoenix Empire. Hence, Criticorum is a cosmopolitan center and the capital of Acheon is known by many names, including, Den of Plots, Mother of Veils, and City of Schemes, and it is said that more intrigues hatch here than in the rest of the Empire combined. Criticorum is also home to one of the Yintrai, one of the Cities of Refuge, struck with a plague bomb during the Emperor Wars the city is now quarantined and said to be home to hideous mutants.
Criticorum is the most populous (2.6 billion humans and over 10 million Ukari) and the most unruly of the al-Malik worlds. Here, coin is king and there is no privilege that cannot be acquired or lost by the passing of money (Criticorum churches are rich with the sale of Indulgence). Slavery is legal with the payment of fees and corruption is an established part of society.  Indeed, to be from Criticorum implies a certain political maturity and sophistication, and is home to some of the greatest art and high-culture in the Phoenix Empire.

Istakhr
Star: Shams
System: Hareera (0.24AU), Metarrab (0.47AU; Yehway, Asura), Orroba (0.68AU; Kala), Istakhr (0.98AU; Waha), Dahab (5.31AU; Darma, asteroid debris ring), Harb (9.5AU; 7 moons), Malik (15.11AU; 13 moons), Sifr (32.89AU), Jumpgate (44.0AU)
Jumps: Aylon, Malignatius, Stigmata
Capital: Samarkand
Resources: minerals, precious metals, fossil fuels, agriculture
Exports: minerals, foods, weapons tech, high tech (robotics), spacecraft

Important People
Duke Hakim al-Malik – Eagle of Istakhr (born 4918): Duke Hakim came to power in 4940 and is regarded as a wise ruler, although in politics he is practical rather than visionary. A tolerant man, Hakim accepts most faiths, reaping tax gains from grateful believers that he uses to keep the Universal Church at bay. Hakim was one of the earliest supporters of Alexius’ claim to the Phoenix Throne, despite forces within House al-Malik pushing to make Hakim emperor. Relations soured when Alexius I did not take Sister Theafana al-Malik as his Empress. 
Na-Duke Amir al-Malik (born 4971): Amir is the Duke Hakim’s eldest son, the heir-apparent (“na-Duke”) of the Istakhr throne. He has been given the agricultural fief of Najran to govern, as a way to school the not-so-young dukeling in the art of statecraft. Amir, however, is quite content with delegating his responsibilities and spends his time practicing sports, martial arts, and game hunting, as well as the “mother of hunts” – chasing women. 
Duchess Yusara al-Malik (born 4933): Duchess Yusara rules by her Duke’s side as a loyal extension of his will, overseeing the culture and heritage of the house. She is a great patroness of the arts, sponsoring artists, exhibitions, and performances throughout the al-Malik domain. At the dawn of the Third Kurgan Jihad (4987-94), Duchess Yusara famously declared that, “through the study of an outsider’s artistry, dominance can most efficiently be obtained – and only through the study of one’s domestic esthetics can one ever hope to achieve mastery of the self.”
Archbishop Taraleng – Metropolitan of the Criticorum Metropilae (born 4946): Archbishop Taraleng began life as a serf’s daughter, but rose through the Church hierarchy. As Metropolitan (since 4996) of the Critcorum Metropilae, she oversees Aylon, Criticorum, Istakhr, Shaprut, and Kordeth. Taraleng rules from her homeworld of Istakhr, rather than from the traditional Metropilae seat at Criticorum, but frequently tours her See. She is displeased with Duke Hakim’s liberal attitude in matters of faith. She is a candidate to replace Patriarch Hezekiah, her charisma having won her many allies.

Overview:
Istakhr is primarily a desert world, with 19% open water and arable land in temperate zones around the poles. The planet is dominated by a very wide equatorial belt of deserts stretching almost to the polar regions. The central Gamid Desert is the largest feature on the surface. 
The history of Istakhr is steeped in the myths of the desert populations – the only constant throughout its turbulent history. First colonized by the Ur-Ukar in 2405, Istakhr was nearly abandoned when the Ukari civil war began in 2478. Humans came to Istakhr in the first half of the 28th century, settler groups heralding from various cultures of the Middle-East and African zones of Urth, who competed for control of the world although none dominated it for long. Trade has always been the queen of Istakhr, and the fabled Istakhr Market dates to early in the 29th century. When the Ur-Ukar returned in 2855 they swiftly conquered the fertile regions of the world, leaving the free men of the desert alone. The Ukari brought in the Bashshar Corporation from conquered Criticorum to develop communications and transportation networks, and when the alien invaders were finally defeated, Istakhr became an economic colony of Criticorum. When the Bashshar Corporation became dominated by House al-Malik, Istakhr gradually became a noble fief. In 4460, Istakhr was conquered by Rahimat al-Malik – Lion of Shaprut, who established the Istakhr branch of House al-Malik. His grandson, Asim al-Malik – Sword of Istakhr, rose with the wealth of the Istakhr Market, making House al-Malik the wealthiest of the Royal Houses. He conquered Aylon from House Keddah in 4488, but perished in 4490 in a failed attempt to conquer Byzantium Secundus and restore the Second Republic. In 4827, the Istakhr branch re-conquered Istakhr as Claudia al-Abassah al-Malik invaded with forces from Aragon. It is her great-grandson, Duke Hakim, who today rules House al-Malik, as Duke of Dukes. 
Politics on Istakhr revolves around one thing – trade. Although the glittering capitol of Samarkand is the heart of Istakhr, the great Istakhr Market surrounding the city is its veins and lungs, the money flowing through it being its heart-blood. Great diamond and gold mines bring further wealth, especially the mines deep in the vast Gamid Desert where water can be obtained only from deep wells. Attacks by desert raiders and outlaws on the caravan traffic moving from waterhole to waterhole, is frequent. Although much farming is done in the north and south, Istakhr is not self-sufficient with food, importing much of what it needs from Shaprut and Aylon. 
On Istakhr, everyone is a merchant, giving its people a reputation as cunning and welcoming. About 225 million humans live here, with the Ukari reservations and ghettoes counting some 4 million. The fantastic wealth of this world has attracted all sorts of people, from the most ambitious to the most unscrupulous. As with the other al-Malik worlds, serfs have greater freedom here than elsewhere, and as on Shaprut, slaves are guaranteed legal representation for free.

Shaprut
Star: Surya
System: Vivasvat (0.4AU), Busiatra (0.85AU), Shaprut (1.23AU; Candra, Rahu), Kanya Kumari Asteroid Belt (3.0-3.21AU), Spacestation: Taket Mar (3.25AU), Prajapati (5.02AU), Kali (13.31AU; 3 moons), Cakra (28.23AU), Fenris (44.23AU), Jumpgate (66.33AU)
Jumps: Criticorum, Kordeth, Stigmata
Capital: Tabriz
Resources: forestry, agriculture, fossil fuels
Exports: textiles, think-machine tech, entertainments, foods, industrial chemicals

Important People
Count Kaldun al-Malik (born 4945): Count Kaldun is the governor of the planet capital – Tabriz, which in effect makes him the planetary governor as well (there is no Duke of Shaprut). However, many local al-Malik nobles rules their fiefs autonomously, Kaldun is a soft-spoken, blind man with a penchant philosophy and higher learning. His daughter, Meriel, acts as his eyes, and he fights a tireless one-man crusade against slavery and under-education. 
Archbishop Saladin (born 4963): The head of the Church on Shaprut, quite powerful in Tabriz, is Archbishop Saladin. It is said he possesses one of the greatest intellects of the Phoenix Empire and he is an expert in botany, music, theology, and geology. Saladin is a strong advocate for space exploration and dreams of converting lost worlds to the Universal Faith.

Overview:
Shaprut is a world of grassland prairies and rolling steppes punctuated by low mountain ranges. The landmass, covering 60% of the surface, is a single super-continent cut through by three great oceans and smaller seas. Shaprut is tectonically very stable, and the temperature range well in-between the extremes of Urth.
Prior to the coming of man, Shaprut was the playground of the native ungulate Shantor. They practiced their cultures and fought their wars, waiting (according to Church theology) to be uplifted by the reflective teachings of mankind. The date and circumstances of humanity’s discovery of Shaprut has been lost, but human colonization of “Pasupati” was underway in the latter half of the 26th century. For well over a century, the Shantor were regarded as tool-wielding animals, and the effective date for humanity’s first contact with another sentient species is 2700, when scientists discovered that the Shantor windspeech was intelligent. Realizing their labor potential, Humans put Shantor to work in human owned mines. The republic government of Shaprut was overthrown by the Pandava dynasty in 2742. When the Human-Ukari War came to Shaprut (2855) the Shantor were telepathically gauging into rebellion, becoming war-puppets for the Ur-Ukar. The ruling Pandava family rose to defend the world, but the rivaling Ramakrishna family chose this moment to overthrow the preoccupied Pandava dynasty. Balahadra Ramakrishna crowning himself King and astonishingly managing to drive back the Ukari armada in the Miracle of Shaprut (2856) and defeating the Shantor uprising the following year. When the Bashshar Corporation began building its power on Shaprut early in the 35th century, House Ramakrishna opposed them on every step. But, around 3495, the princess Sakuntala Ramakrishna and prince Tahir al-Malik of Criticorum began an illicit affair which resulted in their marriage (3502), and House Ramakrishna’s absorption into House al-Malik. During the Second Republic the al-Malik moved their seat of power to Shaprut, but after the Fall their hold began to diminish. This changed when Rahimat al-Malik – Lion of Shaprut (4332-4465), burst upon the scene in the early 4430s. Rahimat was a charismatic mystic and visionary who won the loyalty of many, including the palace guard of Duke Sorhab al-Malik (4369-4436). With a hired army and his loyal followers, Rahimat usurped the Shaprut throne and declared himself Duke in 4434. He began crushing the other noble houses here (notably House Keddah), chased the Scravers Guild (who controlled the planet’s economy) off-world, and in 4460 re-conquering Istakhr. In 4907, Symbiots made a surprise landing on Shaprut, and although the defense forces with managed to fend off the attack, the fear of Symbiots took deep root. In particular, the human population feared the unruly Shantor population would be infected with Symbiotism. 
Shaprut is the most refined of the al-Malik worlds with fashions held up as a virtue, and with scholarly debates and musical contests the most popular form of entertainment. But the beauty of Shaprut thrives on blood-soaked soil and slaves, and fear of the Shantor cast a shadow of concerns, for the Shantor were here before the humans and some say they will be here after. The resent rediscovery of a sovereign House Ramakrishna on the Vuldrok world of Hargard is also worrying the al-Malik.
350 million humans call Shaprut home, sharing the world with 63 million Shantor and 160,000 other aliens (mostly Obun). Freemen (usually city dwelling scholars and technicians) and slaves are guaranteed all protected free legal representation by surviving Second Republic codes. The Shantor have suffered enslavement and mistreated throughout history, and the majority of the species are restricted to reservations. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Risen of Grave

I'm letting this one go as a birthday special... I'm 40! today.

I originally wrote up Draxius for the Prisoners & Exiles book, but I revisited and updated the setting for FS3. I really like the idea of a zombie world, and the possibility that their might be someone / something with a claim to the Phoenix Throne on that world. Would people follow such a creature if it was ever revealed?



The Risen of Grave
The Merchant League rediscovered the lost world of Draxius in 5008. Prior to the Fall, Draxius was a world with a massive urbanized population making a living from the ore extraction operations. It was also host to one of the five cities of refuge where anyone could find sanctuary from their past. When its jumpgate closed Draxius had no means to feed its vast population and billions starved to death, those who survived, did so largely by turning to cannibalism. But even this was not the lowest point in Draxius’ descent, for husk plagues scourged the world and the dead rose up to feast upon the living before their inevitable physical decay would claim them.
But there were those amongst the undead who could anticipate their end and they drew plans against the eventual ravages of decay, seeking to preserve their bodies and minds using the embalmers arts. Around these first risen, formed necromantic cults, each husk seeking to extend their un-natural lives beyond the ravages of decay.
Great works were undertaken and a new society formed around their Risen Lords. They built great embalming pools with which to anoint their followers and build great armies of the dead. A hundred billion souls were lost on Draxius but only a few million dammed themselves for all eternity.
Then the Merchant League rediscovered Draxius they were completely unprepared for what they were about to discover. And a foolish few sold their companions in return for eternal life. A few of the ancient risen still remembered the days prior to the Fall and those new converts had the knowledge to fly the starships they had brought with them or that could be salvaged from the ruins of the space docks.
Risen Salvagers now patrol the Grave system seeking ancient starships left abandoned in forgotten orbits and haul them back to Grave to be refitted as best they can. A few have now crossed the threshold of the jumpgate to raid shipping in the Leagueheim system.

Killing the Risen
The Risen are basically husks that have been preserved by a process of alchemical embalming. As such they are actually walking dead. They do not feel pain from injuries (ignore penalties from Vitality lose), they cannot be knocked out or loose consciousness. They don’t even breathe, so they can “survive” in the void of space without a space suit, though the extreme cold will freeze them solid.
To “kill” one of the Risen requires a bit more effort than simply slicing it up. The body must be completely destroyed or the Risen will be able to be repaired (stitched back together). The usual method advocated by the Universal Church is the application of fire to incinerate the corpse, but dissolving them in an acid bath will work just as well. An alternative is to have a theurgist perform the Immortalize rite, or the Cleansing rite together with the Sacrament of Cleansing the Shell (last rites) over the corpse, something usually quite difficult when the recipient is still able to move.

Grave
Star: Cephis (giant orange star), trinity system with Chill (blue dwarf star) and Farlight (dull yellow star)
System: Mote (0.5AU), Grave (2.1AU, Anster), Glimmer Band (4.5-5.3AU), Soveran (7.3AU, 12 moons), Chill (18.5 AU; 7 moons), Orttak (23.7AU), Dipper (50.0AU; 17 moons), Jumpgate (72.1AU), Lost (91.1AU), Far Light (2400AU)
Jumps: Leagueheim
Capital: Marsden (Risen), Lowell (Free Peoples Union)
Resources: ores, ancient ruins
Exports: Heretical books

Important People:
Tarant Keen: The refuge city of Lowell still survives on one of the isolated island chains. Ruled until recently by an oppressive syndicate of criminal families. Popular revolution ignited when a League starship touched down close by and reestablished contact. As one of the instigators of the rebellion that included no small amount of assistance from the Merchant League, Lowell now flourishes as an island of Republic an ideals, oblivious to the problems that surround it.

Overview:
Formally known as Draxis, Grave used to house one of the cities of refuge. While the world remained open during the Fall it’s Jumpgate eventually began to fail, becoming intermittent and requiring particularly long reset times. When the Jumpgate finally closed down, the people of Draxis starved, and its predominantly urban population succumbed to cannibalism in order to survive. Husk plagues ravaged the planet and some have found away to preserve themselves, retarding the decomposition process that normally drives them to mindless slaughter.
Grave is a desolate necropolis covered in the ruins of the great urban centers erected during the early Second Republic to house the billions of workers needed for the mineral extraction operations. Over the last few centuries the planet’s ecology has recovered from the wholesale rape of its resources, great algae blooms have cleaned the polluted seas and the remnants of the world’s ruined ecosphere have diversified and prospered retaking the many of the urban centers.

Risen Sinners & Saints
Jaimus Alecto
A scion of the once great and powerful House Alecto, Jaimus was a wealthy landowner on Daxius before the Jumpgate closed. He survived a little longer than most when starvation gripped the population as his estate had brimming stores that sustained him alive for almost a year before being forced to leave his sanctuary in search of food. 
What he discovered when venturing into the cities shocked Jaimus to his core. The bones in the streets were piled ankle deep and feral packs of emaciated survivors hunted anything and anyone they could find; other survivors and even undead husks. He fled for his life, running through the twisted alleyways of the city dodging his pursuers at every turn, until the predators finally gave chase no further. He laughed at them, taunted them from the gantry upon which he stood high over vat in a disused chemical works.
Then the husks came from behind and Jaimus was trapped between husks and cannibals. He tried to climb a metal strut that held the gantry in place but a thrown spear pierced his shoulder and he fell. He drowned in the chemical effluents in the vat below, brackish embalming chemicals used by the risen to preserve their bodies. When he awoke and struggled from the vat he was already one of them.
Down the long years Jaimus had almost forgotten what it was like before his death. He would spend his years leading the risen hunting parties, and studying his condition, building up his collection of books that line the walls of his sanctuary. Then from above came a sound he had not heard before with undead ears, the whine of a starship as it came in to land. Now was his chance to escape this cursed world.
The new arrivals fell quickly to greed, and two embraced immortality while the others made worthy sacrifices. But the starship was the real prize, and if one had made it to Draxius there would be soon be others.
Quote: “I have lived a very long time.”
Description: A tall thin man, his hair is lank and hangs limply around his shoulders. His eyes never blink and appear shot red with tiredness and his teeth are badly stained. There are bloodstains about his mouth and chin.
Dex: 6 Vig: 8 Vitality 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Wit: 4 Wil: 6 Fatigue 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Int: 6 Pre: 3 Reputation 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Faith: 3
Skills: Athletics 7, Command 4, Culture (Alecto) 4, Culture (Grave) 5, Culture (Risen) 7, Culture (Second Republic) 3, Deception 2, Dodge 5, Fight 6, Gunnery 2, Influence 4, Lore (Second Republic) 4, Observe 4, Shoot 3, Sneak 2, Think Machine 3, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Breathless, Hideous, Lost Worlder (Risen of Grave), Noble Rank (Baron), Oblivious to Pain (suffer no Vitality penalty and cannot be tortured), Regeneration (always recover Vitality, unless completely destroyed, and can heal severed limbs if re-attached), Unholy Stigma (Embalmed Husk), Wealth (Rich)
Gear: War Sword (Premium Quality: Goal +2), elegant Stiffsynth suit, Energy Shield (standard), a collection of Think Machines (none work any longer and only a very few could be cannibalized for usable parts), vast library of Second Republic literature

Hungry Risen – Man Hunters (generics)
Dex: 4 Vig: 7 Vitality 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Wit: 2 Wil: 5 Fatigue 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Int: 2 Pre: 5 Reputation 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0
Faith: 1
Skills: Athletics 5, Culture (Grave) 3, Culture (Risen) 4, Culture (Second Republic) 2, Dodge 2, Fight 7, Influence 2, Observe 4, Shoot 2, Sneak 5, Survival 5, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Breathless, Hideous, Lost Worlder (Risen of Grave), Oblivious to Pain (suffer no Vitality penalty and cannot be tortured), Regeneration (always recover Vitality, unless completely destroyed, and can heal severed limbs if re-attached), Unholy Stigma (Embalmed Husk), Wealth (Poor)
Gear: Mace or axe, Dagger, Heavy Cloth armor. Jaimus Alecto’s henchmen instead have War Sword & Body Shield, Synthilk sports-suits, and Plasteel Chain Mail

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Keddah Fiefs

By request of Livingstone, I have looked out all the information I have on Rimpoche. I have published it below combined with the Grail information that intended to form the Keddah Fiefs section of the FS3 Game Masters Guide, Worlds of the Empire chapter.

If anyone has specific requests for information I'll be happy to look out my notes.



Keddah is the only independent minor House in the Empire, and their newfound freedom has brought many political possibilities. Their recent recognition by the Emperor has brought with it considerable scrutiny from the other noble houses, but has also awarded them a brand new world. 

Grail
(For additional information, beyond this summary, Grail Chapter)
Star: Taliessin (yellow star)
System: Ember (0.2AU), Solem (0.7AU, 2 moons), Grail (1.1AU, 2 moons), Merwin (5.7AU, 5 moons), Mabs (6.4AU, 2 moons), Kleam (17.42AU, 17 moons), Jumpgate (77.54AU)
Jumps: Pyre, Rampart, Rimpoche
Capital: Sangreal
Resources: forestry, stone, minerals
Exports: baryana hardwood, keddite, marble, minerals

Important People
Duke “Sheikh” Haroun Keddah (born 4930): The head of House Keddah is both an underdog and a scales-tipper in interstellar politics, a mighty man planning on the field of giants. Sheikh Haroun is a conservative man, concerned with honor, pride, and house reputation, and the underhand politics that granted him peace with the al-Malik was quite uncharacteristic. Still, he is a formidable politician and even his closest allies marveled when he got Emperor Alexius I to return the possession of Rimpoche to the care of House Keddah.
Master Doctor Asa Kelson (born 4951): Master Doctor (deacon) Kelson is the head of the St. Amalthea monastery at the foot of Mount Siddik, the heart of the Sanctuary Aeon on Grail. In addition to running the pilgrim tourism business, operating several clinics, and training physicks both clerical and secular, Kelson is heavily involved in the politics of Grail. Not only is he married to Lady Kalila, the daughter of Sheikh Haroun Keddah, he is also courting houses Li Halan and al-Malik for support, and was instrumental in brokering the peace between Keddah and al-Malik in 5008.
Don Diego de Huelva (born 4968): Don Diego is a Hira veteran who established the veterans’ relief community founded in 5004, in a poorly disguised attempt to gain control with the Sanctuary Aeon on Grail. The Amaltheans want nothing to do with this, and have barred Don Diego’s troops from their lands unless in dire medical need. House Keddah has so far not involved themselves much, possibly in fear of Hazat reprisals. 
Ketcharcha “Little Ketcharch” Sarai (born 4962): As spiritual leader of the Grail Amaltheans, Ketcharcha Sarai is responsible for theology, teaching, and ceremony while the administration is handed by Master Doctor Kelson. The “Little Ketcharch” of Grail is appointed by the Artemis Ketcharch, but is commonly allowed to work independently. Sarai is no different, and although she maintains good relations with Ketcharch Tzu Tzan of Artemis, she conducts her business with little interference.

Overview:
Grail is a large blue-green world of high mountain ranges and vast forested plains, and water covers some 50% of the globe. A single continent (Habari) dominates the northern hemisphere while three smaller continents (Harak, Ko’Aka, Kaval) are spread across the southern. Great archipelagoes of thousands of islands span the shallow seas in the equatorial region. The planet’s slight axial tilt makes seasonal variations mild, with temperatures only slightly cooler than on Holy Terra.
The history of the native Etyri is not awarded much interest in the 51st century, and for all intents and purposes the history of Grail begins with human colonization. Still, the pre-human history is rich with stories of fighting, heroism, and tragedy, as Etyri battled the six-legged Zhuil’hishtu sentient carnivore reptiles. When Human colonists first came to Byblos (Grail) in 2519, the Zhuil’hishtu dominated the planet, slowly driving the Etyri to extinction. By 2600 the allied Keddah setters and Etryi had exterminated the Zhuil’hishtu. A flock of Etyri served as sentries and bodyguards to St. Amalthea when she arrived on Grail in 2837 and healed the Prophet Zebulon, an incident that gave the planet its current name. Human-Etyri relations remained mostly peaceful, although when Second Republic logging industries threatened Etyri nesting regions, a period of terrorist rebellion followed (3660s-3689). Eventually, House Juandaastas diplomats and Sanctuary Aeon clergy brokered a peace, persuading the Etyri to stop their guerrilla fight and Keddah lords to respect Etyri needs and replanting exhausted lumbering fields. Grail was only mildly affected by the Fall due to close Humans and ‘bird-men’ cooperation. House Keddah maintained enough power and wealth to acquire two planets from House Torenson, Aylon (4119) and Shaprut (4299), in return for pledging to a defense alliance with House Torenson. This was not to last, and in 4434, Rahimat al-Malik conquered Shaprut. Keddah forces were moved to protect Grail and in 4438 the house was divided in civil war as the Grail Keddah rebelled against Sheikh Sahar Keddah of Aylon (4402-4465). Sheikh Sahar allied with Rahimat al-Malik, his former enemy, and his power on Aylon was restored while Grail was taken over by his cousin, Sheikh Habiru Keddah (4408-4489). A coalition of minor houses Torenson, Masseri, and (Grail) Keddah declared war on House al-Malik and Sheikh Sahar in 4487, conquering Istakhr. But victory was short lived, as Duke Asim al-Malik – the Sword of Istakhr – retaliated the following year by conquered both Istakhr and Aylon, isolating the once Major House Keddah on Grail. In the late 4580s Sheikh Yacob Keddah (4553-4603) got his hands on Jumpkey production technology and set up a manufacturing facility, challenging the Charioteer monopoly. With House Decados backing, production began in 4591, but Charioteers’ Guild Killroy agents destroyed the factory within a week. With the investments gone and huge debts owed to the Mantis, House Keddah slid into near-vassalage to House Decados. In 4889, the heretical prophetess Zegai and her mystic warriors waged war upon the planetary government. Following a three-year reign of destruction, an Avestite, Brother Battle, and Keddah coalition finally managed defeat the martial mystics in the Battle of Madness Mountain (4891). A group of 23 former Penitent psychics loyal to Zegai, fled to Hazat space and became the nucleus of the Hazat Dervish legions. During the Emperor Wars, Grail was bound by defense alliance and House Decados manipulated to war with House al-Malik, and hostilities continued even after Alexius’ peace. With the House Masseri peace treaty of 5007, the centuries of war came to an end, and Grail is now experiencing an economic and social renaissance.
Grail currently occupies the center stage in Imperial politics. House Keddah, free of the ties to House Decados and bestowed with the Emperor’s blessing, is a rising power threatening to disrupt the Empire’s delicate political balance, and is quickly becoming a cosmopolitan center. The largest non-Keddah landowner on Grail is the Sanctuary Aeon, who controls the majority the sub-continent of Tapal where the St. Amalthea Monastery sits at the foot of Mount Siddik. The Sect claim lands throughout Grail, but relations between House Keddah and the Amaltheans are very close.
The culture of Grail remains rustic and serene, its people hospitable and tolerant, and Grail ranks amongst the most liberal planets in the Phoenix Empire. Aliens and outsiders, and even serfs, are free to move and do businesses as they please, as long as they observe local laws and pay taxes, and most Etyri hold the status of freemen while on Grail. Slavery is strictly forbidden in Grail space, and local law immediately recognizes any slave who enters the star system as a freeman. The Human population of Grail counts 2 billion, the Etyri around 2 million. 

Rimpoche
Star: Psylat (dwarf red star)
System: Dust (0.1AU), Rest (0.5AU, Challen), Rimpoche (1.0AU), Asteroid Belt (5.10-7.82AU), Granhavel (14.2AU, 17 moons), Poten (27.1AU, 3 moons), Jumpgate (57.34AU)
Jumps: Grail
Capital: Base Camp
Resources: Ur artifacts, ancient ruins, minerals
Exports: none

Important People
Countess Jasmina Keddah (born 4978): Jasmina is unsure whether being Countess of Rimpoche is a boon or a punishment, for although she lives in a modest manor with a household staff and some guards, she has virtually no subjects and is cut off from her house by a rarely travelled jumproute. She is the daughter of a rural Grail Baron, but was elevated to Countess for the sole purpose of ruling this desolate planet. Her position is highly symbolic, at least until major settlement can begin, and Countess Jasmina spends her time grooming her manor and hosting dinners for the few scientists and the occasional Keddah or al-Malik noble who find their way to Rimpoche.

Overview:
With its thin atmosphere, cold temperature, and lack of open water, Rimpoche is an inhospitable place. The planet is dead beyond a small terraformed bubble produced by Second Republic machinery, requiring rebreathers and survival suits to venturing outside that area. In the center of the bubble stands the ‘Rimpoche Sphinx’, an Ur Gargoyle to rival the Howler of Nowhere. The landscape comprises of low hills, boulders and debris, crevices and deep ravines, and dust is everywhere. Rimpoche has a heavy gravity (1.37 G), a short day (21 Urth hours), and a long year (equal to 2.7 Urth years), with seasonal storms and frozen poles. 
Discovered in 3994, Cueball, promised to yield much mineral resources, but the world itself was quite inhospitable. The first hardy settlers set up mining operations, but when they happened upon a huge Anunnaki Gargoyle towering over a barren rocky plain, they abandoned the work and each went on a soul-searching quest across the Known Worlds. When the mining conglomerate arrested and interrogated several miners, they all told similar stories of visions and ecstasy similar to the hated Sathra Effect. The Rimpoche Gargoyle was kept a secret to prevent a tsunami of religious fervor, and when the Fall unraveled the Second Republic the planet Cueball was forgotten. Almost on the millennial anniversary of its discovery, Charioteer explorers rediscovered Cueball (4994) and he found a strange pocket of life on an otherwise barren world. The planet was renamed Rimpoche, supposedly because the Gargoyle had instructed the first explorer (who is rumored to have gone mad) that this was the world’s name, and the Charioteers Guild began investigating the world in secret. Their agents, Third Republicans, soon brought in Engineer specialists and an al-Malik baron – all Republican sympathizers. For some years this small conspiracy explored Rimpoche and the Gargoyle in utmost secrecy, dreaming of establishing a Third Republic, but eventually House Keddah discovered the secret and wasted no time conquering Rimpoche from Grail (5007). The exact nature of how the conspiracy was discovered and the planet captured by House Keddah is classified, but in 5008 the existence of Rimpoche was revealed and surrendered to the Phoenix Throne. In a surprising move, the Emperor claimed only a small fief for himself, the area covered by the terraforming bubble, and formally awarded rulership of the planet to House Keddah. House al-Malik was also granted some land on the planet, possibly as reward for their role in uncovering the Republican conspiracy. 
Rimpoche is proving a major boon for House Keddah, although commercial exploitation has yet to begin. The Second Republic tech and Ur ruins have generated much interest from the Merchant League, but with the Emperor seizing these sites hopes of gaining access are waning. The Church has dispatched emissaries and church knights to search for the dark entity they believe exists on this world, the demon who gave the Prophet his soul wound in 2837, although some speculate this is only an excuse to establish a presence on Rimpoche.
The settling of Rimpoche has not yet begun in earnest as specialists and explorers are still busy mapping the world. Less then 100 people permanently resides here, although a small Keddah military base has been hastily constructed on the (mineral rich) outer planet of Poten. Only five Jumpkeys are known to exist for this world, one held by the Phoenix Throne, another by House Keddah, and the last three owned by the Charioteers’ Guild. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Fading Suns 3 Jumpmap Revised

Fading Suns 3, Known Worlds Jumpmap (Revised and Corrected)
All because Livingstone asked me very nicely to correct the errors in the original jumpmap that I posted. Hopefully that is now correct, but if anyone else finds any more errors or has further requests then please post a comment below and I'll attend to it as soon as I am able to do so.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Devil Beliah

This is the revised version of Beliah Black intended for inclusion in Prisoners and Exiles. The original write up on this character was published in Sinners and Saints.



The Devil Beliah
“Surprise matey, I be saying that this ship an’ all in it, be mine. I beg ye disagree.”
-The Devil Beliah, hijacking of the Cornets Fire by base deception, 5005, Twilight

“I had long hoped that this monster had crawled into some dark pit, never to return. But since he has seen fit to show his head again, I shall dedicate my life to ending his menace. I give you my oath that I shall cut his devil from his face and give it to the cleansing flame.”
-Sir Yang Chi Li Halan, renowned Pirate Hunter, 5006, Icon

The myth of Beliah Black claims that he was born aboard a pirate ship and raised amongst cutthroats and thieves. It is said that they adopted the boy as a mascot and taught him all he would ever need to know. How much of this tale is true and how much is simply fiction is hard to say, the legend continues, and recounts how it was not until his 13th birthday that the boy first laid foot upon a planet’s dirt. Breathing air untainted by the metallic tang of a recycler, some whisper that the devil looked up at the sky and it was then for the first time that he knew fear. He fled back to the void that had spawned him. 
If some myths are to be believed than Beliah is not human, or only part human, conceived to a slave woman who was forced in to a union with a horror from between the stars.  Others, that he was born whole, already full-grown from some dark womb among the stars. Folk tales and superstitions, these tales serve only to make is black reputation all the darker.
Beliah has lived all his life aboard one starship or another, taking up arms against any who cross his path. It is said that he first killed a man at age five and earned a much-deserved reputation for cruelty by the time he reached his majority. By then he was the master of his own ship with a crew of merciless cutthroats at his back. His first command was a small shuttle he took from a murdered prospector. Repainted, it was christened the Devil’s Revenge. With it, he established a reputation for daring, skill, and outright insanity by taking on much larger ships. Over the years he has had many other vessels, but each has taken that same name. His own nickname ‘the Devil Beliah’ was first given to him at this time.
Born not long after the start of the Emperor Wars, his career has spanned most of them, taking advantage of the chaos and strife to sow his own seeds of suffering and line his own pocket with plundered treasures. Though he took many prizes his most noteworthy achievement was the ‘Ransom of Icon’. The Devil’s Revenge and two other pirate ships crippled the only Li Halan destroyer sent against them and blockaded the world, while the Li Halan fleet was engaged elsewhere. He took off with a fortune in gold, medicines and ammunition before the fleet returned and has been at the top of the Li Halan’s most wanted list ever since. 
The final act in the making of his devilish reputation was to come in his 22nd year, though some historians dispute this, as the dates don’t seem to align properly. The Devil’s Revenge was in the Bannockburn system, evading a League patrol, when it encountered a derelict starship bearing the emblem of House Masseri. An examination of the vessel revealed little of value, except a sealed stasis box. Breaking the seal on the box in the privacy of his own quarters, Beliah discovered an organic octopus-like creature. What actual communication occurred between the pair is unknown. When he emerged from his private chambers, ‘his devil’ had firmly attached itself to his face. Over the years since, the creature has never left its resting place, though it has changed position and periodically moved about his head and face. 
Amongst his crew there were some reservations about the new devil in their midst, but plots of mutiny were quickly silenced when Beliah displayed an uncanny knack of knowing who was going behind his back. It is whispered that the devil knows every black thought that crosses your mind and whispers them to Beliah during the dark of the night. 
The Devil Beliah has one of the longest running and most successful careers in piracy in the Known Worlds. During the Emperor Wars, rumors whisper that he was made offers by more than one House to align himself with them, but these clumsy attempts at alliance never interested him. Instead he would make an example of the messenger that was sent to him with honeyed words. Sending back their corpses to their masters as a sign of his contempt.  Other times they were never found again, force to take a Chauki stride or marooned on a distant asteroid, or worse. If spacer’s tales are to be believed one such unfortunate was the Baron Ikan al-Malik who survived 12 years in an oxygen tent on the Delan asteroid. Subsisting on recycled water and mold, until finally discovered by a prospector. 
It is said that Beliah’s appetites were horrific and that he would often make use of prisoners captured on raids for his own gratification. Often violent, he would take a personal interest in some captive soul, taking him or her under his wing, slowly crushing their moral sensibilities through forced participation in pirate raids or inflicting torture upon fellow prisoners. He took a particular pleasure in watching the soul mirror of another dim through the acts he would force them to perpetrate.  Some of these unfortunates would be corrupted into his service, joining his crew, others would be discarded once they had served their purpose and no longer of interested him. 
In the last days of the Emperor Wars, another pirate, Sister Tracina Isterot finally eclipsed his reputation. Not for the number of cargos plundered, firebirds stolen, or space travelers murdered, but for her peculiar sermons and religious ideology. 
At first enraged that another could surpass his dark reputation, he began to seek out rumors and information about her. Over the years his rage gave way to obsession and admiration of the woman heretic. In the beginning he would simply listen to the tales told by prisoners he had taken, often offering a chance at survival for any who could tell him something he did not already know about her. He passed up the opportunity to take several rich cargos, instead pursuing his search. His crew became discontent and whispered that his judgment was not what it had been. They were not so foolish as to actually plot against him though.
Then finally he found her in the Bannockburn system; his search was over. He hailed her ship to make the heretical sister an offer she could not refuse. But much to Beliah’s surprise and considerable rage, she not only refused him, but also rebuffed him as though he were some upstart. In haste, he ordered his crew to attack and board. The fighting was brief, the fanatics fell back easily, too easily, but he did not notice. He forced his way onto the bridge of her ship and sought to take the woman for his own. She uttered prayers as he bore down upon her. His devil cried out and made a gelatinous scramble to the back of his head to be as far from the witch as it could be. Its pain and distress echoed in his own mind and he stumbled and fell back. The fanatics came again from all sides and he was separated from his crew and his ship; forced to retreat into a small life pod and make his escape. She mocked him again as the pod launched and fury and panic in equal measures flooded his mind.
He slunk away to lick his wounds and consider the only real defeat he had ever suffered. Revenge simmered in his black heart, his reputation in tatters and folklore telling tales of his demise. He captured a small craft that responded to the life pod’s transponder and made good his escape from the system. 
Over the next few months he recruited a new crew of cutthroats and raided Hawkwood shipping in Gwynneth and Ravenna, before making his escape to the Twilight system while being pressured by Hawkwood naval forces. The Emperor Wars were over, the good times and easy pickings would be drying up, there is no place for pirates in an ordered and lawful society.
In Twilight, Beliah and his Devil have remained in a state of self-imposed isolation, on occasion returning to strike at easy targets in the Ravenna or Twilight systems. He ruminated and ploted revenge, not only against Tracina Isterot but also the Empire itself. The end of the war and the rise of the Phoenix standard over Byzantium Secundus have stripped away the freedoms he exploited and took for granted. He dreams of making a glorious return that all would again remember who he is and cower down in terror.
Beliah is however not the man he once was, past his prime, he is an old pirate who is feeling his age and seeking after the glory days of his youth. He is more cautious now than he was, but intent on again confronting Tracina Isterot. First though he has another task, in his dreams his devil has told him many dark secrets, whispered many unpleasant truths, He seeks a dark artifact with which to resist her heretical powers. His devil’s visions have shown him a terrible vault, located deep under water, but it is not yet clear to him on which world this dark treasure may yet be found. Then all will fall before him, unable to resist this power.

Crimes: Antimony, Murder, Piracy, Kidnapping, Hijacking, Theft, Rape

Entourage: The Devil is slowly building up a pirate fleet with which to sweep into the Known Worlds and light the very worlds on fire that he will be remembered for all time. He has returned quietly to long lost stashes of treasure to finance his ‘Black Fleet’. His flagship is the latest in a long line of ships called ‘Devil’s Revenge’ and this time he means to take his ‘revenge’. Word of his return has begun to circulate and lesser pirates have been drawn to his banner, pledging themselves and their ships to him in return for a share of the spoils. 

Race: Human

Quote: “Do ye not want to look upon me pretty face?”

Description: A large man with broad shoulders and brooding eyes that burn with malice and insanity. His dark skin is covered in many scars, a reddish pink octopus-like creature hugs the underside of his chin like a beard of prehensile tentacles. Now in his advancing years, his once dark dreadlocks have turned to grey, and his face is lined and tired.

Body: Strength 7, Dexterity 7, Endurance 8
Mind: Wits 7, Perception 8, Tech 7
Spirit: Extrovert 9, Introvert 1, Passion 7, Calm 2, Faith 2, Ego 6
Natural Skills: Charm 4, Dodge 8, Fight 9, Impress 11, Melee 10, Observe 7, Shoot 8, Sneak 5, Vigor 7
Learned Skills: Drive (spacecraft) 9, Gambling 6, Inquiry 6, Knavery 8, Search 6, Lore (space) 9, Social (leadership) 9, Stoic Body 6, Stoic Mind 7, Streetwise 8, Think Machine 5, Warfare (gunnery) 7, Warfare (ship tactics) 6, High-Tech Redemption 4, Mech Redemption 6, Volt Redemption 3, Spacesuit, Speak Urthish, Speak Urthtech, Read Urthtech
Wyrd: 7
Combat Actions: Parry, Thrust, Slash, Draw & Strike, Double Strike, Quick Draw
Weapons: Blaster Pistol, Wireblade
Armor: Armored Spacesuit
Vitality: -10/-8/-6/-4/-2/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0

Beliah’s Devil
The creature attached to Beliah’s face is a marvel or organic parasitech, though who created it and why remains a mystery even to the creature itself. Most of the time the creature hugs Beliah’s chin and it gently ripples and pulsates, its tentacles only becoming animated when Beliah becomes excited. Over the many years Beliah and his devil have become as one, a true symbiotic relationship. The creature derives its sustenance from Beliah and he in return is protected from psychic powers. No psychic power can directly affect Beliah or his devil. The creature’s tentacles can reach out in combat and grab at anyone in combat with Beliah, inflicting two Strength 12 attacks with a base goal number of 14. If the attack penetrates the opponent’s armor, it injects a paralyzing poison, which reduces the victim’s Dexterity by 1 each round until he can make an Endurance + Vigor goal roll.

Devil’s Revenge, modified Hornet Class Frigate
Size Rating: 6 (60m long, 20m wide, 15m high)
Grade: Atmosphere
Engines: Fast
Shields:
Speed Left / Right
Full thrust 0 / 0
3/4 thrust 1 / 1
Half thrust 2 / 2
1/4 thrust 3 / 3
Full stop 4 / 4
Armament: Grappling Gun, 12x Light Lasers (6 port, 6 starboard)
Sensors: Laser Radar 5
Crew: 19 (captain, bridge crew x3, engineer x3, gunner x13)
Passengers: 13 (Pirates)
Cargo: 100 metric tons
Jumps: 2
Supplies: 3 months
Vitality: 60
Cost: 110,750 firebirds

Description: The Devil’s Revenge appears to be a standard Hornet Class Frigate with the dorsal turret removed, following the typical rocket-like design favored by Hawkwood engineers. The paintwork has been reworked into a gaudy nose art depicting a large devil, brandishing a pitchfork. The gun decks on the port and starboard sides have been expanded to carry additional weapons packing a powerful punch into this small ship.

History: Once named the Cornet’s Fire, this ship served as an ambassadorial vessel to the factions of Twilight carrying diplomats and honor guards to the fractured powers of that war torn realm. It was on one such diplomatic mission that the ship encountered a trap set by Beliah and was taken as his new prize and flagship. The ambassador was later ransomed back to the Hawkwood for a small fortune. In so doing Beliah announced his return to piracy in the Known Worlds after many years maintaining a low profile. This ship has since seen action in Twilight, Antioch and Ravenna.