1 Degenesis: Primal Punk: Cover and Jackal's Prophecy
2 DEGENESIS: REBIRTH: PRIMAL PUNK: PRIMAL PUNK
3 Degenesis: Rebirth Primal Punk Chapter 1: Forward
4 Chapter 1 Continues: The Final Battle And The Final Battlers
5 The Longest Chapter 1 In the History of Man Continues: The Actual Final Battlers of the Final Battle
6 Marauders
7 Cultures
8 Cultures pt.2: More Borca
9 Cultures: Borca, pt. 3
10 Cultures: Franka
11 Cultures: Franka, pt. 2
12 Cultures: Franka, pt. 3
13 Cultures: Franka, pt. 4
14 Cultures: Franka, pt. 5
15 Cultures: Pollen
16 Cultures: Pollen, pt. 2
17 Cultures: Pollen, pt. 3
18 Cultures: Pollen, pt. 4
19 Cultures: Balkhan
20 Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 2
21 Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 3
22 Balkhan, pt. 4
23 Cultures: Hybrispania
24 Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 2
25 Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 3
26 Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 4
27 Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 5
28 Cultures: Purgare
29 Cultures: Purgare
30 Cultures: Purgare, pt. 4
31 Cultures: Purgare, pt. 4
32 Cultures: Africa
33 Cultures: Africa
34 Cultures: Africa, pt. 3
35 Cultures: Africa, pt. 4
36 Cultures: Africa, pt. 5
37 Cults: Spitalians
38 Cults: Spitalians, pt. 2
39 Cults: Spitalians, pt. 3
40 Cults: Spitalians, pt. 4
41 Cults: Spitalians, pt. 5
42 Cults: Spitalians, pt. 6
43 Cults: Chroniclers
44 Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 2
45 Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 3
46 Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 4
47 Cults: Hellvetics
48 Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 2
49 Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 3
50 Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 4
51 Cults: Judges
52 Cults: Judges, pt. 2
53 Cults: Judges, pt. 3
54 Cults: Judges, pt. 4
55 Cults: Clanners
56 Cults: Clanners, pt. 2
57 Cults: Clanners, pt. 3
58 Cults: Clanners, pt. 4
59 Cults: Scrappers
60 Cults: Scrappers, pt. 2
61 Cults: Scrappers, pt. 3
62 Cults: Scrappers, pt. 4
63 Cults: Neolibyans
64 Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 2
65 Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 3
66 Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 4
67 Cults: Scourgers
68 Cults: Scourgers, pt. 2
69 Cults: Scourgers, pt. 3
70 Cults: Scourgers, pt. 4
71 Cults: Anubians
72 Cults: Anubians, pt. 2
73 Cults: Anubians, pt. 3
74 Cults: Anubians, pt. 4
75 Cults: Anubians, pt. 5
76 Cults: Jehammedans
77 Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 2
78 Cults: Jehammedans, pt.3
79 Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 4
80 Cults: Jehammedans, pt.5
81 Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 6
82 Cults: Apocalyptics
83 Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.2
84 Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.3
85 Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.4
86 Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.5
87 Cults: Anabaptists
88 Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 2
89 Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 3
90 Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 4
91 Cults: Palers
92 Cults: Palers, pt. 2
93 Cults: Palers, pt. 3
94 Cults: Palers, pt. 4
95 History
96 History, pt. 2
97 Post Mortem
98 Game Mechanics
99 Game Mechanics, pt. 2
100 Game Mechanics, pt. 3
101 Character Creation
102 Character Creation, pt. 2
103 Character Creation, pt. 3
104 Character Creation, pt. 4
105 Character Creation, pt. 5
106 Character Creation Bonus Content

Degenesis: Primal Punk: Cover and Jackal's Prophecy

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Some time ago on /tg/ (4chan's board dedicated to traditional games), people were talking about Degenesis, a European made RPG system that had... half naked monsters? I dunno, /tg/ has its fair share on neckbeards who think that Europe is Atheist Freefuck Land of Lower Age of Consent or something, so everything that we produce is better than your shitty puritan stuff.

Degenesis: Rebirth is a post-apocalyptic RPG by by SIXMOREVODKA, an apparently successful design studio from Germany, which explains the quality of the pdf and their super clean website.

Recently(2015), Degenesis had an English release. Since the game is now available in an approximation of Queen’s Own English, I can finally read through the material! I will never play it (can’t into GM, and our community is small enough that building up hype would be a chore), but posting about the game in this thread helps me justify reading it instead of any historical stuff that I have laying around.

Onwards into the dark and dank world of DEGENESIS: REBIRTH



Degenesis: Primal Punk: Cover and Jackal's Prophecy

I'm starting with Degensis: Primal Punk, the fluff book of the setting. If I can get through this, I'll follow up with Degenesis: Katharsys, which is the rule book.

Anyhow...

The book starts with a quote:



If you have a quote in the book, it's gonna be formatted like that. Every damn time!

The quote is on the second cover of the book, and we get the names of the authors - Christian Gunther and Marko Djurdjevic - underneath.

This is followed up by a two page spread of the map of the world of Degenesis. Recently, they posted a WIP of a bigger version of the map on Facebook, so I'm going to link it, since it's a huuuge bitch: LINK.
Africa is not in it, but it's a small loss since all you need to know is that Subsaharan part is alien murder jungle.

The map is followed up by what I'll call credits. You can see that Marko had a huge influence on the way the art was handled (and one illustrator is Lithuanian, lol), and if there's anything wrong with the text, translator Oliver Hoffman and editor Joe LeFavi are to blame.

Also, there's a disclaimer:

'Disclaiming posted:

Degenesis advocates tolerance and international understanding. The game world of Degenesis has evolved from ours and distorts it into an imaginary future. Conflicts within the game world are, of course, not real – and we do not wish for them to be, either. They only exist for excitement’s sake. Although we know this kind of conflict from flms, we urge you to use them with caution. None of the seven Cultures mentioned in Degenesis is better than any of the others. All of those Cultureshave an equal right to exist in the game world of Degenesis.

We have actively avoided the term “race” common to RPGs as we deem it discriminatory. We strictly oppose violence and racism. Illustrations of combat action are not meant to promote violence, but to depict a cruel world we should strive to overcome. Culture and civilization are the major goals in Degenesis, accompanied by hope. We still recommend Degenesis for people 16+ as we cannot be sure whether our message and our appeal to humanity will be understood.

Ah, those naiive fools, thinking that people over 16 are more sophisticated!

What follows is the Jackal's Prophecy. I'm not going to recreate it in full. Remember what I said about the formatting of the quotes? Imagine the same applied to a prophecy that goes for eight pages, interspersed with copious amounts of art. The whole thing could be condensed in one page, really, but that wouldn’t be foreboding and spooky. Anyways, I'll give you the skinny.

It's all about numbers, and the first number is four: the sides of the world, the elements that make up man, "the original number, the number of the kin" (father, mother, daughter, son - is this some early Christian heresy?), and the solar cross is also four-fold.

The page after the exaltation of number four speaks about mankind's hubris and how Earth/God fucked us up for it.

quote:

EINSTEIN HAS FALLEN, NEWTON HAS BEEN BENT;
FALSE GODS TO STRAP UNTO BEASTS OF BURDEN;
IN THE CITIES, TORN AND DESECRATED

This may or may not start making sense once we get deeper into the book! The prophecy also speaks of someone building a city to save us all.

The next number is 8 and if you think you're seeing a pattern emerge, you get a spore-laden cookie. Number 8 is about a primordial space god, Shelob, the meteorites or all of them at once.

12 is the number of tribes, months, the zodiac and it contains the names of both CREATORS. God and antiGod, maybe? In retrospect, the prophecy of number 8 is split in two pages; one speaks about a he, who descends from above with a name that not been known since the dawn of the world, and a she who comes from the dark below.

16 is where it all goes wild. 16 is the number of the stranger (but not the Outside), his heralds and whatever. 16 is also 8 and 8, the "two infinities" (because if you turn an 8 on the side...) of the creators, consuming eternity in their conflict: instinct versus intellect, flesh versus spirit, chaos vs. order. We reach full time cube when 16 becomes 1 and 6, which is the number of plagues, peoples fighting for a crown, etc etc... I can say that it's basically about 7 human/good guy factions, 7 enemy factions, and so on. I know this because I have read more of the book.

We eventually reach "4 Times 4" which completes the solar cross, time folds on itself and ends. That’s some heavy stuff right there!

Well, this was weird! Tune in next time for the PRIMAL PUNK chapter!

DEGENESIS: REBIRTH: PRIMAL PUNK: PRIMAL PUNK

posted by JcDent Original SA post



DEGENESIS: REBIRTH: PRIMAL PUNK: PRIMAL PUNK

For a book that pretty, it sure isn't that well indexed.

Following some art (which I'll post once it gets relevant instead of just being weird), we have our first fluff piece, which, again, makes more sense in the hindsight. Called "Rebirth", it's about two guys exploring a massive crater near Massif Central, somewhere around Varriere, around the place where Boujoulais originated. The first person narrator says that the drink didn't have enough foam in it for him to like it, which means he's probably German!

Hey, how fucked is the general area?

quote:

There is a blackened mountain range ahead of us, enameled and cracked by heat and sheer pressure. Hard and warped like effused lava, the ground is still warm to the touch. Its gnarled surface is covered with solidifed bursts, their sharp edges jutting out like briar patches. We have to be careful. Lomark has already punched a hole in his boot sole.

Kinda fucked, just like Lomark here, which you would notice if you had ever read a sci-fi short for once in your life (sci-fi shorts always end either in absurd or in tragedy, which makes them kinda predictable).

More descriptions of how fucked the place is follow, and Lomark starts seeing wasps, not sleeping and being a warning sign in general.

They eventually get into the crater, the going is hard, there might shapes too organized to be in the center of an impact waaay in the distance, yadda yadda. The narrator dismisses the idea that he's actually seeing mandalas in the dust before Lomark steps on them. In the crater, he eventually sees black smoke, which dissipates as he waves his gloved hand through it. He digs up a black rock from the ashes, and it dissipates in his arm, producing more black smoke... and a wasp.

And because our character is a complete idiot/this fluff piece is likely set right after the impact, he does this:

quote:

I remove my glove. I want to feel the black stone. Again,I trail my hand through the smoke and again, it disappears.
I look down at my hand, inspecting it from all angles. There’s a trace of black on my fingers, but it seems to dissipate… no, sink in. I anxiously rub my hand, shake it, make a fist. Adrenaline buzzes in my veins now. My heart races. My breath quickens. There is a moment of panic, and I quickly put the glove back on.

R.I.P. narrator, we barely knew ye

He tells Lomark to take pictures, captures some of the black essence in a vial and they head back home. They get quarantined for a day, but they don't find anything. Just in case, Dr. Roussevile tells our noble canary narrator to keep a journal.

quote:

My lungs rattle, probably from too much ash. My sputum is foamy. There are some red splotches on my chest now. Itchy. I write that down.
I keep thinking about the mandalas that I saw in the crater. When the red splotches on my body begin forming a similar pattern, I should be surprised. But I am not.

Somehow, he's not vivisected on the spot, and continues his observations. There are now ants in his tent, he can sense smells from the other end of the camp, recognize friends from their body smell, and generally starts seeing scents in the air.

Some time passes and this happens:

quote:

Dr. Rousseville and the other smelly apes tried to hold me down. I got so agitated that the glands on my neck burst open.

Narrator is kinda taking a transformation into a Pheromancer. What a pheromancer is will be explained, but I can tell you to expect a lot of gland mentions whenever they're around. The narrator runs out into the forest, molds up and dies. Or, in the book's own words:

quote:

I fall to my knees finally, digging in the dirt with my hands. Yes, birth. My heart sits within my chest, leaden and fiery, pumping and stomping. The mandalas now burn upon my skin, a hotbed of white flakes. I feel skin and flesh tug and tear along the lines. Something within me wants out. I break down. Breathe flakes and see them rise. Feel my body mold up. Sink into the ground.
Deep within my skull, something stirs. Something human, ancient. It is fear. Screaming.
Rebirth.

Title drop!

The next two pages are dedicated to explaining what is Degenesis, what is a role playing games is (just so that some American wouldn't mistake this book for a travel guide to Europe), a T. S. Eliot quote that takes up half the page due to formatting, and an explanation of what to expect from your purchase. Let's take this all from the top.

Eschaton (The world during the posthistoric era of God's overt (apocalyptic) reign, immediately preceding the end of the world. - wictionary :science101:) was when fire fell from the heavens and everyone got wrecked, around 2070. Since we're reading a book made in 2014 rather than 1984, said fire is not canned sunshine and no nukes go off. Civilization was ruined to the max, and humanity spent the next 500 years rebuilding. We'll spend the book trying to find out what any of these words mean:

quote:

The year is now 2595. Europe is divided into several warring Cultures. The people of Borca cling to the Bygone’s relics. Frankers thrash around in the Aberrants’ pheromone net. Purgare is a land of half burnt and half fertile plains, but all together shattered by feuds against the Psychokinetics. The Pollen people wander from oasis to Fractal Forest before even the last green area is devoured by the Sepsis and the biokinetic plague. Hybrispania suffers from a decades-long struggle for liberation and a growing
time anomaly. And beyond the Mediterranean, Africa shines in Gold and Lapis Lazuli struggles for its existence against a strange, aggressive vegetation.

The game is about hope and struggle, both between human factions and such capitalized threats as Sepsis, Aberrants and so on. The explanation of a role playing game... well, nobody cares and it's unlikely that someone bought this book (or these two books) without knowing what they're getting into, especially when you consider the price.

The guide to the books states what we already know: Primal Punk is the fluff book, while Katharsys is split into the rules, the Almanac (gear and stuff) and Forbidden Zone, which is their cutesy way of saying "no players past this point" - this be the GM section.

Next time: We delve into Chapter 1: Forward.

Degenesis: Rebirth Primal Punk Chapter 1: Forward

posted by JcDent Original SA post



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 1: Forward

Chapter 1 begins with a fairly boring one page story about the guy who swats a fly just as the meteors hit. At least that’s what I think happens. It’s supposed to set the tone, but I’ve read this “people go wild/stay very human” thing many times and in many other places before. It does tell us that people knew what was going to happen – they had sattelite and space feeds broadcasting Armageddon pay-per-view. Somehow, nobody tried to stop the rock.

But enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff.

ESHATON

2073: the entire Earth got wrecked by meteors asteroids.

quote:

As the Earth’s crust fractured, cracks burst across the planet’s surface. Giant clods the size of cities shot skyward. Great waves of magma rose to consume the earth, turning entire cities into lifeless wastelands. More were flattened by the stone hail, tsunamis, and earthquakes that followed.

They take pains to mention that it’s not only Europe and Africa – the area the setting is most interested – got shit pushed in via space rock. Asia, the Americas, Australia – all of them get some asteroid love.

More great writing follows:

quote:

That day, society as it was known crumbled. 10.000 years of civilization vaporized in a day. That day was given many names by the few survivors: apocalypse, global conflagration, Armageddon. Worn-out phrases to help them accept the finality of it all. A last bottle of wine, cold metal against the temple, a crooked finger. And that was it.

Literally the next paragraph states that wait, “all the eschatological doctrine of the world” foretells doom as a precursor to the good times, so you only need to sit and wait. I guess the suicidal guy in the previous paragraph was an atheist.

ICE AGE

A.K.A. Non-nuclear nuclear winter. Clouds covered the sky, there was ashen rain… and then the snows came. Winter was there to stay: polar icecaps remembered what it feels like to expand, Northern Europe got snowed upon, Finland didn’t notice the difference and people took shelter underground, only resurfacing for combustible material (and food – I doubt that /innawoods/ became a big enough thing by 2073 for survivor enclaves with MREs for 500 years as well as a single roll of toiler paper to emerge).

Africa, however, caught a break for the first time in recorded history. The Southern Africa got covered in ice (thus making “nice South African” an even more obscure of a myth), the Equatorial winds swept dust storms to the north and to the south, and it started raining in Sahara. Northern and Central Africa apparently now has Mediterranean climate all over (even thousands of kilometers from any sea?) and Sahara is blooming. :science101:

RESURRECTION

So eventually all the ash fell to the ground, summer came to melt the snow, grass grew for cows to shit in, and life in general returning to post apocalyptic normal. Human survivors traveled around looking for food, combustibles and shelter. However, some emphasized the hunter part of “hunter-gatherer”

quote:

The trails tore and drifted across the plains, forever altering more than a few who valued human life less than a full belly. Mankind was still infected by infamy and greed, with a cure yet to be found even in these times. Clans united and fought bloody battles over scarce resources against settlements and city states alike. So few people remained after the Eshaton, and still they only aimed at cracking each others’ skulls.

Literally the next paragraph states that the cities lived and thrived, and even built themselves up! Take that, dirty clanner rats! As you can expect, the “clans” are the barbarians of the setting, with all that it implies.

In the 500 years of Eshaton, thirteen new cults and seven cultures arose in Europe and Africa. The players are likely to belong to one or two of them. Civilization is doing quite well, even if you need to put down clanners now and then.

But “other humans” might not be the biggest problem of them all!

INFECTED

Asteroid crashing straight into your civilization centers? Bad. Asteroids also bringing alien life them? Worse. Alien life being some sort of genetics-level John Carpenter’s The Thing? The worst!

quote:

The Primer. A mysterious substance that leaked from the craters years after impact. It rose as a
black mist, embedding microscopic spores into organic matter. The spores unraveled and coiled in fractal loops around the very DNA of its host. Adding nothing, but instead rebooting its genetic code and opening alternative pathways to corrupt.
The Primer infected, rejected and optimized a new species.
It was the birth of Homo Degenesis.

Remember idiot narrator from the first fluff piece? Put his hand right into Primer, the idiot.

Supposedly the new humans are better adapted (to what? The environment that Primer spawned just as it did them? I don’t think that counts) and more powerful (no argument there). However, humanity fought back. How?

SEPSIS

You won’t find that out in this paragraph!

To summarize this section, the Primer is also a mushroom. A circular field of mushroom covers the center of the crater, digs deep, leeches nutrients, builds an outer wall full of spore sacks and eventually collapses, spreading the seeds outward. Repeat until you have a problem that will require PC interference, and now many parts of Europe are thus covered. I hope you like the word “mycelum!”

MOTHER SPORE FIELDS

Sepsis is going to be a Capitalized Word Of Importance, and Mother Spore Fields will be annoying, too. Mother Spore Field is a mushroom circle that has grown beig enough that magnetic anomalies start appearing in the center. How and why? I don’t know.

BURN

Besides being attractive to people who like throwing nuts and bolts in front of themselves as they walk, MSFs produce “purple cusps” (whatever the fuck a cusp is supposed to be in plantlife) that are full of

quote:

Those who inhale or ingest the mother spores are hurtled onto a journey beyond human comprehension. They traverse spheres of cascading color, and find themselves orbiting a resplendent sun made of the basest and purest emotion. Cold suddenly becomes bearable. Hunger is just a dying star within the brain’s neuron galaxy.

Fortunately, Burn isn’t vital to space travel. Unfortunately, Burn can be found on Earth rather than Arrakis and serves a very devious purpose.

PHENOTYPE

The paragraph starts with “Burn burns” as the first sentence. What they mean is that Burn gets into the blood stream, and eventually tiny veins start surfacing and breaking the skin. Each junkie is thus branded. And not only that, each of the seven regions have their own markings. Why? The last paragraph of this section gives us the answer:


dunno lol


HOMO DEGENESIS

THE SEED

Seriously, it’s hard to determine what is section and a subsection in this book. Anyways, the Seed. The Burn spores remain in the body long after use and some poor fuckers end being Typhoid Mary’s.

quote:

The blossoms of decay tickle the back of the infected’s throat. Fungus spreads around their mouth.



They spread Seed with their spit, with their breath… and just kinda being around. Sepsis spreads from them and eventually becomes airborne to infect others. They are called Leperos (get it?) and fire is the only way to deal with them. *40K players in the audience suddenly get a lot more interested*

EPIGENESIS

So any adult that contracts Sepsis is fucked, because their cells are “fully formed.” If you’re infected, you’re ‘shroom food, just like our idiot narrator from the first fluff piece.

Unborn babies, however…

quote:

Babies born close to Mother Spore Fields are different. Their eyes are cold as a starry sky. They don’t recognize their mothers, but they smell the milk, follow it like a bee follows the scent of nectar. They climb and claw their way up and onto the waiting breasts, suckling until there’s nothing left but blood and they are violently torn from the trough. They flail with their little arms and legs and cry out in a way that makes the Clanmen quick prayers.

They’re called Soulless Ones, Aberrants or Psychonauts (remember that for the future). They elicit fear in people. Smarter folks just kill them (bashing against a rock is mentioned). The really God-damn stupid ones regard them as a curse from a vengeful lowercase-g god and keep the baby around because to throw him out would be to betray the circle of life what the fuck

In case you’re an extremely stupid tribal who didn’t prescribe the kid some rock to the head, the kid grows older, and bugs start getting friendly with him/her/xer, drawing mandalas in the sand around them, climbing their legs and hiding in their hair. And no, this isn’t just dirty barbarians getting lice (though that would be funny). Think more “get it off getitoff GETITOFF” kinda bugs.

The kids are emotionless and mute; they demand sustenance and escape clothing. So you now you have prepubescent nudist emos that make bugs exited, great. I guess if you were stupid enough not to run away from a spore field, you’re stupid enough to keep one of those around.

Then they start developing mutations and super powers! Just like Burn junkie signs, those are region exclusive. For example, Pheromancers are Franca’s problem. I wonder if it’s some joke about perfume?

PORTENTS AND WONDERS

The phenomenon/powers end suddenly; earth burns up around the child, and a sign briefly appears in the dust before collapsing like one of those metal shawing drawings when you turn the magnet off (that’s the book’s idea). Those symbols are kinda different.

quote:

The Spitalians know it only too well. These symbols are diff;erent from those that blossom on Burners’ bodies. Ancient and identified, recorded, they have been handed down and taught by humans for thousands of years and derided by modern scientists as nonsense.

Kanji?

quote:


If the Spitalians could check one of these children’s body now, they’d find that feverish heat radiates into the organism, emanating from one focal point on the body axis. Its position and the symbol exactly correspond to one of the energy nodes described by the ancient people – a Chakra.

And now we know that hippies are up to no good! The mushroom tea, the unwashed clothing and hair that attracts bugs, the talks of Chakras! It all makes sense! It must have started in Tunguska! Cleanse and purge! :blam:

Actually, the book says that according to Chakra theory, all of the chakras need to be balanced for a person to be a person rather than some nudist bug beacon goon. However, in the Psychonauts, only one of those points is active, leading to them embodying the freakishness of min-maxing your char into a single Chakra. The book won’t develop this idea further for at least a hundred pages, maybe at all, but be prepared to be reading more about Earth Chakra as we move along!

THE FINAL BATTLE

I’ll just quote this in full. Tl;dr shit’s fucked.

quote:

Mother spore fields are bursting to the surface everywhere. They transform the land after their fashion. In their troughs nestle the Psychonauts, a seething mass of primordial, highly adapted creatures. Their number is growing, and wherever their domain intersects with Mankind’s, more Aberrant crawl from pregnant women’s wombs. They take control, reaching for the crown of creation.
Humankind stands at a crossroads. No less than its soul is at stake. The Eshaton was only the prelude. The final battle has begun.

Primordial and highly adapted?

Next time: Chapter 1 continues: the final battlers of the final battle

Chapter 1 Continues: The Final Battle And The Final Battlers

posted by JcDent Original SA post



DEGENESIS: REBIRTH
PRIMAL PUNK

Chapter 1 Continues: The Final Battle And The Final Battlers

Onwards with our wonderful show!

FIVE RAPTURES

It’s the heading for the entire page, but just to be sure, they have a paragraph explaining that there a five kinds of Psychonauts (each of them for a different Chakra point) and that they have different freaky powers. Let’s get to the meat of it!

POLLEN: BIOKINESIS


I think this might be one of them. On the other hand, a real one wouldn't have bandages...

Pollen is… Poland. It took me longer that I am comfortable to admit to get that. Can Pollen into space? No, but it can into biokinetic horrors that are in total control of their own body. They can change it at will, usually transforming into something beefy and hard to take down – they can even regrow organs – and they guard the spore fields. They carry spiders, scorpions and centipedes in their skin folds.



FRANKA: PHEROMANCY

France has troubles with these fuckers that demonstrate their swollen glands and control people with pheromones. Unlike the Horned Ones, they don’t use that for sex – instead they establish sham peaceful communities – and they are loved by ants, wasps and termites.

Oh, and there’s this:

quote:

Their skin is stretched tight across the pheromone glands. At the neck, sores bulge, big as nuts or children’s fists, oozing puss in which insects feed and fester.

Suddenly, I feel the need to pop a zit.

BALKHAN: DUSHAN

Can you guess what region we are talking about? Yep, it’s the European mystery and tragedy, the Balkhans. And since they’re mysterious Slavs, they are beset by Psychonauts that are all reckless taxi driv- wait, no, that would be dushmans. The dushani are basically mountain sirens and they can control people with their songs, but as far as I got into the book, it never seemed that problematic.

Dushani like to stroll mountain streams and collect kraken (?), crawfish and jellyfish (of the mountain kind) as buddies.

HYBRISPANIA: PREGNOCTICISM


Definitely one of these, I'm 100% sure. Check out her jewelry

In normal Euro lands, we’re back to sciency names for mushroom X-men powers. The Hibrispaniards have to deal with Psychonauts that can predict pregnancies!

quote:

The Pregnoctics exist in the past and future simultaneously. They are one soul in a thousand bodies.

All this flowery speech means that they can see the future. This is super handy for the Hibris fighting the Africans (more on that a lot later). So they have to engage with the Pregnoctics to have actionable intel.

Meanwhile, the weirdo mutants like to be “close to their plagues: shells, starfish, urchins, ammonites and trilobites.” I guess they mean “plagues” in the Biblical “plague of locusts” way, but I don’t think starfish are that scary for someone living in the interior of Spain.

PURGARE: PSYCHOKINESIS

Purgare is the hardcore name for Italy. Maybe people of the future really like Dante?

quote:

Psychokinetics are parasites. They cling to villages, feeding on the inhabitants through plagues of leeches, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and tapeworms.
As the Psychokinetics feed, energies build up in their solar plexus, making their chests glow with heat. When they finally release this anima, it consumes his environment and burns him from the inside out. The light bends around this type of Abberant and gets entangled in force fields. Stones rise into the air, accelerate in ever tightening circles and finally race towards the enemy in a glittering cloud.

Are Psychokinetics one-use-only? Do they regenerate from the explosion? Eh, who knows! But they’re some spicy meatballs, amirite?

But enough about these X-mehs, let’s read about some motherfuckin’ craters.

THE EARTH CHAKRAS

Another title for another page! Basically, all the freaky developments come from five great craters that spread the corruption via MSFs. They are somehow linked and working towards one goal, so it seems, and if you want to end it all, you’ll have to climb the crater walls. I don’t know why rediscovering nukes and making Davy Crockett II isn’t an option.

POLLEN: PANDORA



Poland’s crater is the biggest – and full of mutation, kinda befitting for the place that birthed biokinectics.

quote:

Primordial monsters swim in the crater lake, fighting each other, sinking to the ground dead or mating and mutating. Ammonites several feet in diameter have been seen. Some of these creatures get washed to shore through countless drains and streams.
Many die in the hostile atmosphere, but others burrow into the ground and flourish.

See, that’s why artillery exists

Poland’s crater is fertile with spores that all drift east. That’s why the east is suuuuperfucked. Nobody has been through the Spore Wall… kinda.

FRANKA: SOUFFRANCE



Underfrance? France’s crater might not be such a hotbed of mutation as Pandora, but it has it’s own fair share of creepiness.

quote:

Here, Homo Degenesis and Homo Sapiens live close together. Unlike anywhere else, man is on the same level as a swarms of insects.
In Souffrance, he has devolved to a drone.

Pheromancers are really into control for control’s sake. In Black Tokyo or Cthulhu tech, they’d be using their natural roofies to fuck teen girls left and right.

BALKHAN: USUD



I think it’s here that they start explicitly referring to craters as [region’s] Earth Chakras, which leads me to be even more confused about the whole chakra-Psychonaut connection.

Usud is creates song and vibration, and it basically rewrites those who come near.

HYBRISPANIA: MIRAR



quote:

Surrounded by and hidden within a time lapse lies Mirar, the Pregnoctics’ Earth Chakra.

I see we’re ramping up STALKER around these parts. The description makes Mirar sound like a hivemind of souls that sees all, including through time. Getting through the time lapse is probably gonna be difficult, and then you’ll have to deal with the whole omniscience shit.

Maybe it’s easier in Purgare.

PURGARE: NOX



quote:

Force fields demolish space like a broken mirror and capture the fragments within the finest of gravitational mesh. The fields above Nox are sealed, capturing the light and never letting go. Eternal night grows in crystalline thorns from the Psychokinetics’ Earth Chakra, infecting the area, creeping onwards.
Lol nope
Actually, one man, Nuntius the Baptist had gone into Nox. He was crazy stuff like intersecting light pillars and beasts hung in gravitational lifts, and survived to tell the tale. Afterward, he was called Nuntius the Mad because he started demanding the breaking of the Rift (no idea what is) around Nox to release the divine Pneuma (again, no idea).

I can see why people might think Degenesis would have something to do with Divine Cybermancy, as the writing is as impenetrable in some places. Might just be European nerds employing translators that are less than top-of-the-line. If you think my stuff is hard to read now...

Those of you who are reading carefully – or reading this at all – will notice that there are only five kinds of Psychonauts and five chakras mentioned when there are seven regions. Of the European ones, only Borca (Germany) is missing, which implies [insert racial purity/Turkish immigration joke here].

As for Africa, they have other shit to deal with.

PSYCHOVORES



One stray asteroid aaalmost hit Africa. However, even a near miss wasn’t fun.

quote:

But Africa wasn’t spared. The projectile cooked the surrounding air to more than 54,032° Fahrenheit, painting a long, flaming tail across the sky. With several thousand atmospheric tons of pressure, a tsunami struck the African continent. At an unstoppable 4 miles per second, the wave ate through the earth and devoured humans, animals, vegetation, even entire cities and mountains along with it. It gouged a scar more than 1,245 miles long and easily 185 miles wide: the Dhoruba.

It rained trees, rocks, moss, and spores all along the Dhoruba. Black fragments of the asteroid melted into the ground. The area saw rapid regrowth and all was covered by giant vegetation, all of it infected. Leaves were all strictly hexagons or octagons. There were thorns on every branch. Trees grew glassy fruits that burst when they fell. This is the danger that Africa faces: Psychovores (and no, they didn’t explain the name).

DISCORDANCE

Sepsis and Psychovores do not play with each other, despite being variations of Primer. Spore fields end, plants rot. However, some strange thing happen, too.

quote:

Those who step on the plants’ neural points fall into feeding sacs, get entangled in thorny gills and drown in the influx of digestive fluids. Within days, the dissolved victims pumped into a womb sac.
There, bizarre figures grow in gelatinous bubbles. Finally, membrane riddled creatures rise up into the air, but rot within hours and fall to the ground, a stinking mass. Evolution breathes old and rejected things back to life. It is out of control.

It’s implied that this is what happens in Discordance, and it’s not just regular Psychovore behavior. As to what Psychovores do aside from breeding strange fruit – eh, who knows?
Next time: Degenesis – Seven Cultures, Thirteen Cults!

The Longest Chapter 1 In the History of Man Continues: The Actual Final Battlers of the Final Battle

posted by JcDent Original SA post



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk

The Longest Chapter 1 In the History of Man Continues: The Actual Final Battlers of the Final Battle

Finally, some human-on-human action!

The Crow and the Lion

OK, so the Europeans are crows: they circle the corpses of their old dead nations, picking up loot and doing other crow-sy stuff. They’re basically scavengers.

Meanwhile, Africans were too poor before the Echaton to leave loot think that “the past lives on in their ancestors and their hearts, not in ruins, laws or thinking that’s irrelevant now.” Culture and tradition do not live in your heart, but ancestors do. They think that lions are cool: they stalk the savannah (I guess there’s some in the Northern Africa now), fuck bitches and roar fiercely. The Lion fights the Crow, because Eurotrash have hurt them in the past.

On to the actual cultures!



Pride ov ze Vaterland

I’m sorry, I’m really into Company of Heroes.

Germany is a pretty urbanized country these days, which means that 500 years into the future it’s going to be full of interesting ruins to explore (as if any modern day buildings would survive that long). There’s dust and sediment to dig through, which would explain why they can still find loot after 500 years of lawlessness. Take that, Bethesda's Fallout, and your mysteriously unlooted stores!

Ze Borkans aren’t all about loot, however. They’re an energetic people who build new cities, likely on top of the old ones. Cults flourish in this environment of civilization and order, since most of them are devoted to benevolent goals anyways. Life’s good and getting better.

Unless you’re some dirty Clanner fuck.

quote:

But not everyone bends the knee. Some want to keep living as free folk in their ancestors’ ruins. They get no choice. Those who do not take the hand offered to them must flee underground or die in a hail of lead.
For decades, those that fled drank water from puddles, scraped lichens from walls and cracked cockroaches. They got rid of the last scraps of civilization, their hearts and minds poisoned by hatred. Now they step from the shadows. Teeth fled, spiked clubs and stone knifes in hand.
They will reclaim what was once theirs.

Anarcho-primitivists are still shitty people. “Why do I have to build a house? This ruin of an Eastern European flesh trade brothel has three walls and there’s some shelter in the corner. Who needs toilet paper and plumbing when you have a puddle outside your shack and your own palm? Fucking civilized people, they really grind my flint axe”



Franka is beset by Pheromancers the natural evolution of popular far-right movements. They sit on their Ziggurats (explained later), farting out pheromones and pulling people into their webs. Those that do not fall under their spell escape the bugs by taking to the rivers, where they can watch their formerly prosperous land turned to fuck ant vents (you’d think it would be termites). Yet the spirit of the Resistance lives on.

quote:

But now, the Frankers fight. The rivers carry them deep into enemy territory, where they fire pesticide bombs, smoke out breeding colonies and assassinate. A whole people rises.

An adventure in Franka will very much indulge in your exterminator friend’s magical realm.



The most unlucky nation in history continues to suffer! City ruins rise and fall out of spore fields or spider nests. It’s unclear how that happens and how they remain intact (you can suspect the effect to be similar to what comic book Mole people do when they steal buildings). At any rate, the Pollen-ish are always on the move. Rift centipedes are mentioned for the first time, too. I guess it will be a long time before we find out what makes them special, but essentially they’re one of the custom critters that spore fields breed. This is the result of not investing in Eastern Poland.

Pollen is also the land that is very near the glaciers, and, well, weird shit is happening.

quote:

The permafrost thaws in circular areas, giving birth to a steaming paradise of translucent plants. The surrounding spore fields rot, their rings collapse. But they try to resist. Waves of spiders strangle the strange vegetation in their webs. Streams of Rift Centipedes dive into the feverish ground, surrounded by root membranes and skewered by quickly growing thorns. They bite themselves, poison the soil, and tear themselves free. A subterranean battle rages until the Rift Centipedes finally push through and the oasis above crumbles.

Those plants are not Psychovores, I think, and the book will expand on them later on.

Now, the Polleners live between those oases and the spore fields. Whenever an oasis crops up, their defend it to the bitter end. When an oasis inevitably collapses, they pack their shit and hit the road again.

I guess they have yet to rediscover the ancient rite of “Emigrate to England.”



Balkhan is basically a localized deathworld, with climate that’s arctic cold in winter, searing hot in summer, and generally unpleasant in between.

The Balkhanis are described in two paragraphs that basically repeat the trope “people who will fight each other at the drop of the hat, unite against a common threat, then fight each other again once it passes”.

The Dushmani are best known for awkward writing.

quote:

Above all this, the deep, resonating song of the Dushani rises. Nature is their music box. He can tune and shape his song to create the perfect harmony, extinguishing any dissonances as if his life depended on it. His melody infiltrates the heart and captures the mind, making changes there. Pain or comfort. Gives and takes.



It’s basically “Reconquista meets Mad Max,” so let me just post it in full

quote:

Africans roam the Alhambra’s gardens, sitting in the shadows of awnings and drinking tea with native Hybrispanians. In the midday heat, they retreat to libraries and shadowed halls of ancient peoples. They have grown fond of the land. Sevilla to them is a second Tripoli.
It seems as if the Neolibyan consuls tightly controlled ancient Al-Andalus in southern Hybrispania. But the borders were drawn with the blood of Hybrispanian resistance fighters and Scourgers. The pinpricks of the Guerreros deplete Cordoba; the Scourgers follow up by driving the Hybrispaniards into the jungles, shooting them from their buggies and cutting down men, women and children alike.
Fear and hatred take over. The Hybrispaniards are in no way inferior to them, planting sting and explosive traps and quietly enter the Africans’ homes at night. Acts of mercy are punished – if not by the enemy, then by other Guerreros.
Every Hybrispaniard is instilled with the idea of freedom and reconquest at birth. All around him, friends, brothers, sisters and companions rise to heroes in battle, then fall in a hail of bullets the very next moment. These martyrs form the foundation of Hybrispanian culture: battle paintings adorn houses, songs prepare for death, texts teach the use of weapons and survival in the jungle. Life falls by the wayside.
The Scourgers are superior in number and weaponry. The resistance would have died long ago if the Guerreros hadn’t received help from the enigmatic Pregnoctics. These strangers delve into past and future and offer snippets of the future to the daring: the outcome of skirmishes and attack routes.
Of course, the price can be one’s soul.

Fear not, many of the proper nouns will be explained soon!



It states that Italians always wanted to be lead by a god, so it was an easy land for Anabaptists to take over. The country is divided in two by mountains. The east side has all the grapes, olives and caring for one’s genealogy one can find in “American book of stereotypes about the Old Country.” The west is fucked by the Reaper (a volcano? A crater?): there are fields of ash and lava flows into the Med.

They also have the Psychokinectics, which basically turn the land into Zone. Cheeki breeki, that’s a-spice meatball!



I guess they ran out of steam while writing about Africa – or they naturally care less about the region where the game is unlikely to be marketed in – so all of the North Africa is one ‘culture.’

The Africans don’t forget that they have suffered from the white man before. However, they are now super prosperous. The place is described in a way an ancient traveler would describe Arabian Nights: the place is rich, the markets are vibrant, shit’s a lot better than it is Europe. To them, Europeans are mostly strange barbarians, especially the Hibrispanians and Balkhanis.

On the other hand, psychovores!

quote:

It [rain] will fall on the jungle, too. Where once a sandy desert glowed in the sun, rivers now meander through the land. Mangroves sink their roots into the water, as the jungle steams in the heat. But in this jungle, something strange is growing: plants with pentagonal to octagonal leaves, prickly and tangled like a nightmare. The Psychovores. One scratch and a human’s skin starts to blister, boils searing and blackening within seconds.
Replacing the old vegetation, Psychovores have transformed the land and its peoples. Everyone around
the Psychovores find themselves abandoning their native languages, relapsing into a primordial tongue that only those nearby can understand. Under the influence of Psychovores, all language barriers have fallen and Africa has united, but the diversity of their tribes and cultures diluted as well.



Scourgers and Anubites are super important for the military and spiritual sides of things.

Now we get to the thirteen cults. They are less geographically oriented, and they will likely determine your character class.

THIRTEEN CULTS



The Spitalians are kickass doctors who believe in amputating and cauterizing the problem – and the biggest problem in their view is anything space mushroom-y. Further into the book we’ll find out that whenever someone recovers some old tech, a Spitalians first thought is “but can I kill Sepsis with it?”

When not shaking fists at a spore field and unleashing barely understood nanotech, they provide medicine service in the cities. Anything related to Burn (spore drug) is prosecuted and Burners are burned (exact phrasing used in the book). It’s implied that Franka’s fucked up state is the result of their leniency, which is why they’re more aggressive these days.

That naked butt guy in the intro I linked in one of the posts is a Spitalian. That fleshy twitching thing on the spear? Spore infested muscle that helps them detect the tainted.

And Spitalians hate the tainted



What if Techpriests of Mars wanted to resurrect the internet? The Stream was the super internet of 2070s and something (likely an AI) stirred in its deep. Some Streamers believed in it (?) and they eventually became the Chroniclers. This lot is desperately trying to find surviving servers while incidentally also becoming the guys most well versed in the old tech.

quote:

One day, they will reactivate the Stream and lead Humankind back to the light. Until then, they must be strong and resist the unruly clans and cults. They are not fighters, but with voice-amplifying Vocoders, cascades of light, and shock gloves, they are considered cruel gods in the wasteland. People in the cities consider them strange. Their language is riddled with archaic technical expressions, and they prefer the companionship of machines over humans.

Vocoders let you debate the enemy to death and use their logic against them! The only reason they can’t be hikkikimori is that there aren't enough basements left.



The Swiss military expected the Echaton and dug deep. When the Reaper’s blow landed (wait, that’s the long crater bisecting Borca and probably one of the big impact sites), they got fucked up. However, with the best Dwarf Fortress players in the world at their lead, they effectively seal entrances, rerouted lava and eventually emerged as the most military competent culture. They expanded their fortresses, build bridges, dug tunnels and are now demanding money for passage.

They’re also consummate badasses and great shots, but that might not be enough to cut it these days:

quote:

But the world around them is changing. Psychonautic phenomenons crystallize to razor sharp Filaments in the tunnels. Grotesquely misshapen creatures hurry through the Balkhan section and open high security gates with a gesture. The cantons resist the military government and rise up. The Hellvetics must march out into the world. They must watch, learn and fight.



This imaginatively-named faction is the Law. If Judge Dredd was basically a musket and hammer wielding WHFB priest, he’d be a Judge. They value order and law over freedom, they have built the great city of Justitian (I wonder what’s it named after) and they have crushed clans time and time again.

But the clans are resurgent (Golum has really undersold “drinking from puddles and eating fish” as a viable way to expand society) and the Judges have to learn “the law of the jungle,” whatever the fuck that means in the context of dudes who started out as a very militant society.



Clanners range from stone-age savages to those that “clung to traditional knowledge, indulging in morality, manners and rapid-fire rifles.”

You are invited to Lady Copperbottom’s tea party. Bring your AK-74

Most clanners are nomads. And that’s it! Barely a paragraph for the most loose of all groups.



OK, here’s another fairly loose grouping, because Degenesis regards loot whores to be a cult. Scrappers are basically stalkers: they know the ruins really well, they dig for tech, they sell it to techpriests Chroniclers, have some fun in the city, and then go back out to dig up some more lostech dildos.



The first of the two (three?) African factions! They’re basically rogue traders. They deal in regular trade, they take giant tracked fortresses (they'll be called 'Surge Tanks' later on) to Europe to sell guns to savages, they explore both the icy north and the Psychovore south (only Spitalians are interested in Spore east, because they want to kill every last spore there is). They also like going on hunting trips to shoot Psychonauts.

quote:

Neolibyans take a no for a yes. For them, there are no problems, only options – and in the best cases, an adventure.

Rogue traders.



Having one faction named “Scrappers” and the other “Scourgers” is great idea, you guys.

Scourgers are a warrior culture which is the embodiment of all racist /k/ (4chan’s TFR) poster's “chimpout” fears:

quote:

In the land of the Crow, they are considered harbingers of death. They hide their faces behind ancestral masks and carry shield, spear and rifle. The Damu assess the enemy, anticipating their movement and recognizing every weakness. Then the Chaga charge, leading the pack into battle. The Simba are entitled to the strongest of all opponents. Theirs is the greatest feat on a day of blood. Conquered enemies are enslaved and handed over to the Neolibyans. On vast plantations, they will work off the white man’s collective debt.

Bold part aside, look the the words I italicized. One of the book’s failings is the fact that cults are separated into (likely gameplay) classes and these pages describing the cults don’t always mention or explain them. The Scourgers are the first ones that have their classes mentioned, but you’ll eventually be reading about proper noun dudes doing stuff and you’ll be confused as to what they are supposed to be.



This is the page that goes after the Scourger part. Might be a Spitalier, tho.



Anubians are not leaping dog-head soldiers from Age of Mythology. Anubians are poorly explained weird:

quote:

The Anubians consider themselves chosen ones. The seven Circles tattooed onto their skin represent the seven transformations they must endure to make their body a perfect vessel of Ka. They guide their people from life until death, perform ceremonies and placate their ancestral spirits in their grudge against everything that lives.
With every Anubis canopy they empty, one skin Circle vanishes, and they begin to realize that believing in spirits, rites and traditions is a peculiar matter. They continue evolving, walking the world with eyes wide and a sharp mind. Some recognize the healer in themselves and learn to catalyze highly poisonous Psychovore seeds in their bodies into potent drugs. Others take the sickle and leave the land
of the Crow, cutting the lifelines of Psychonauts and thus obliterate a disturbance of the wave.
They always end up in Cairo. When the third Circle vanishes, the Anubians prepare to advance into the city that is overgrown by Psychovores, already feeling the pull of the pyramids. Soon, the last mysteries will be revealed to them.

What is an Anubis canopy? What wave are the Psychonauts disturbing? If they are the spiritual heart of Africa, how can they “leave the land of Crow” to hunt Psychonauts, who only exist in Europe? Did the editor sleep through this?



Jehammedans are… erzatc Muslims? Fuck, I don’t know. They follow the teachings of the last prophet Jehammed. Their lives are determined from their birth – most are likely Ismaelis, who do menial jobs. However, if they pass some test, they might become a Sword of Jehammed, and fight Anabaptists and other dudes. They may also find a Hagari wife (is wife a class now?).

quote:

Yet there is a third path. This boy may one day heed the call of Aries, the ram-headed one, and learn more about the unknown truth of the Jehammedans than he ever desired.

So they’re Greek restorationists now?



Apocalyptics are vice gypsies.

quote:

Apocalyptics live a pure and unbridled life. They appear in flocks, swooping into gambling dens and nesting in bordellos. Their distillates are stronger, their Burn more potent, their whores more beautiful. Any vice finds a welcome home with them. They live in the present. All emotions are sacred to them and equally celebrated as if they were the last.

They gather in flocks. The fighters are called Stormcrows, the whores and thieves are Magpies, the Woodpeckers are smugglers and shebeen (A shebeen (Irish: síbín) was originally an illicit bar or club where excisable alcoholic beverages were sold without a license. - wiki) runners, and the leader is the Raven. He uses the Apocalyptic Tarot deck as an “arbitrary tool” to give flair to his decisions.

Judges are mentioned as their natural enemies, though I’d think Spitaliers would be angry with Burn smugglers, too.



Original anabaptists were some cooky and super militant folk that sprung out of the Radical Reformation. These guys are following neognostic teachings, which makes their Christianity-derived name a bizarre choice.

The Anabaptists are here to cleanse and burn.

quote:

The Anabaptists have made this purge their goal in life. Their Ascetics heal and till the tortured soil, sow wheat and baptize it with the purest water. They produce oils and blend them to create essences that lend strength and heal pain. The Orgiastics are the Anabaptist fighters: full of elysian oils, they confront the Psychonauts with swords and flame throwers. The flan battle for Humanity is being
fought here and now, and the Anabaptists carry the torch.

Ascetics are a crafting class, while ORGIASTICS are natural allies to Spitalians because fire is still the best answer to all sorts of unsavory stuff.



Palers are Morlock vault dwellers, a people of Golums that are lead by what I assume are holograms and guys that can speak really well.

quote:

Centuries in eternal darkness have transformed them into pale, squat creatures with heightened senses, but without any moral regards for the surface dwellers. Dulcet voices are very important to them.
Their demagogues are masters of mental manipulation. One word from them, correctly annunciated with the proper tone and posture, can conjure emotions like fear, desire or pure blinding pain.

Some Vampire player is working in the bolded part into his character description as we speak.

The palers have a plan to open 44 other bunkers and something big is supposed to happen then. I guess it’s one of the plot hooks that the book doles out generously.

Boy, I sure am tired of writing about these cults that aren’t even cult-like. Tune in next time when we’ll cap off Chapter 1 with mad cyborgs.

Next time: Chapter 1: Cyborg Assholes

Marauders

posted by JcDent Original SA post

DEGENESIS: REBIRTH

PRIMAL PUNK



Chapter 1: Marauders

The ride continues! So, what are the Marauders? To put it shortly, they are monstrous lostech cyborgs that are wandering the Earth and working towards mysteeerious goals. The cops aren’t looking and they’re filled with tech that’s nearly magical, so who’s gonna stop them?

quote:

Ignorant people consider them gods like Mother Sun and Brother Moon, to be appeased with animal sacrifices. It is said that artifacts of Bygone eras come alive in their hands, machines talk to them and impossible portals into the mountain depths swing open before them. Some describe them as dead husks, kept in shape by bandages and kept alive by malice. Others see them as a twist of fate. Through them, Aries destroyed the Anabaptist attack force in the Jehammedans’ hour of reckoning.

They’re like that cyborg dude from the Mortal Machines books.

Nobody really knows what the Marauders want, but people will try and contact them. Of course, some people are better suited for it than others. Techpriests Chroniclers are those people!

quote:

The Chroniclers’ Cult has been watching the Marauders’ tracks since the beginning. Their Streamers traverse the land, questioning the natives and listening to old campfire stories about gods from the shadows of time. The details of every sighting are new pieces in the puzzle of their digital nexus, The Cluster. One day, this information will reach critical mass and everything will fall into place. Finally they will discern the Marauders’ plan.

If you ever wanted to understand how strange the world of Degenesis is, take note that Streamers are people who go outside to talk to people they don’t know.

CORE DATA: ASPERA

Then we a get a story piece that takes up nearly two of the four pages dedicated to Marauders. The first one, Core Data: Aspera, is about Chroniclers trying to contact marauder Aspera in Borca, 2359. Besides the Narrator, we have Streamer Monitor and Mediator Delete. Chroniclers are a bunch of nerds.

These guys caught a signal coming from the Alps and having “enough score to know what the signal meant and what we were getting ourselves into” set out for the journey. Naturally, there’s snow. At one point, Narrator tries to have a chat.

quote:

I communicated with Delete. It got personal. He told me about a sister, Fregga. He had collected bugs with her in the Black Lung, he said. He also said the snow was bringing back some old memories. I asked how he’d felt that day. He did not understand, at least not at first. He even got angry. Said it should damn well be possible to have a normal conversation without returning to the default communication codes for intensifying contact with savages. I said I was sorry.

Neeeerds.

Delete cries in his sleep and scratches the barcode tattoo on his forehead. Narrator thinks about asking him if he ever regrets that his parents gave him over to the Chroniclers.

They also meet some real savages, which they chase away with their Vocoders, which I assume is a weapon that amplifies their voices. Traitor Emperor’s Children players in the audience start sketching their character sheets.

The group gets closer to the signal location. Monitor reveals an artifact he’s carrying: a large needle with an ergonomic grip and a lot of duct tape – definitely a survival game weapon crafting product. He doesn’t comment on the object. Then, they see Aspera.

quote:

Then I saw her. Standing there. Just like in the descriptions. Two braids jutted out at both sides of her
head, the meter-long hair joined on her back. Her face was small. Youthful. Her gaze inscrutable. She moved towards Monitor. Her mechanical leg had nothing at all in common with human anatomy, but still it was a hydraulic masterpiece. Softly, the metal slid over guide rails, articulated joints swiveled and racks interlocked with gears. Lithe as a predator.

The writing gets really messy at this point. Monitor starts acting strange and begins communicating with Aspera in some unknown language. Narrator is freaking out. There’s a lot of shouting, and milky discharge starts coming from Monitor’s mouth and eyes. Aspera knows something we don’t, so she interrogates Monitor while lifting him up by the neck before taking the artifact, connecting one of her tubes to it, and planting the needle in Monitor’s neck. Then she starts sucking him dry via the artifact-pump.

Delete tries to intervene, but Narrator screams him down.

quote:

She broke off the spigot and looked at me again. Stared at me. I wasn’t sure whether she had fallen asleep or was caught in a state unknown to mere mortals. Again I saw the movement beneath her skin and knew that she was going to speak. “This man was a fake.” Her eyes looked this way and that as if she was thinking. She nodded. “No Chronicler.”

She leaves and the story ends.

LINKED CORE DATA: AMBROSIA

Linked Core Data: Ambrosia is about white ceramic cylinders that contain some sort of nanotech medicine. The piece doesn’t say that outright; we are first lead through a hard-to-parse description of what happens when cylinders activate. The nerds have them, know that Marauders are interested in them, but they still can’t contact the mysterious ‘borgs nor find out what the cylinders do. They are marked with RG, for Recombination Group, a terribly named pre-Echaton pharma company.

quote:

The last efforts to contact Aspera were useless to unpleasant. Our Shutters have not reported back from
Chernobog’s domain either. And the Ice Breaker is visiting the hospital at Danzig only once per year. Thus far, we’ve missed him. We are following other leads now. For example, those that hint at an Ancient called Gusev. The Marauders are aware that we have the Ambrosia cartridges, and we know that the Marauders want them. Maybe we will come to an agreement for them, but maybe… we have
sealed our own fate.

You bet your ass those cylinders will be used with disastrous results!

CHERNOBOG

The other two pages are dedicated to Chernobog, an asshole cyborg named after a Slavic pagan deity that lives in Eastern Borca.

quote:

Those who dared to approach him saw the giant. His conical body, the empty eye sockets, the browsed nose. They saw the bleached cables sticking out from its skull, cascading like a waterfall over a black cape. Some cables pierced through his skin. Other ended in riveted-on rat skulls and glittering artifacts. The giant moved his skull back and forth as if he was sniffing.



Like some sort of Chaos Space Marine groundhog, he would awaken periodically to wander through the woods and displace savages. Then, he started waking up sooner and sooner, as well as demolishing villages (because even if you reject civilization, you still want to live in clumps of people – Clanners are great fans of the Benedict option) or chasing people down until he beat them to pulp.

However, the dirty dirty savages eventually had some luck.

quote:

One day, a fist-sized artifact lay amidst a destroyed village. It was black and shapeless. Barbs rose from it. The village Shaman conjured the friendly forest spirits, sprinkled ancestral ashes on the artifact and reached for it. It awoke at once. A voice sank through the octaves down to a vibrating bass. Calling itself “The Corresponder”, the artifact shared the secrets of the Black God with the Shaman. After that, Chernobog spoke to the Shamans through the Corresponder. As more Corresponders were bestowed, temples were erected around them, rites were devised, and chosen ones were named. The Shamans knew now how to appease their god. They offered him willow bark brew, lowered baskets full of datura, belladonna and black henbane down into his domicile. They set traps. Nothing should disturb his rest

If anyone understands the significance of the herbs offered to Chernobog, please enlighten the thread (and me).

Anyways, Chernobog was back to sleep… until 2593, when a faint signal from Purgare and Balkhan was detected. It activated the Corresponders, and Chernobog awakened to set on the warpath. He gathered the clans and set out to do what every Ottoman youth always wanted to do: destroy Prague (called Praha in game). Previously, the minefields and machineguns had been enough to deter assault. Now, Chernobog used 1337 hax and the city fell within days.

This made clans extremely fuckin’ uppity. Borcan tribes thing they can reclaim burial grounds from Judges and Spitalians. Balkhans tell Jehemedans to fuck off.

An unwashed threat rises!


An anarcho-primitivist fends off polio vaccination.

And that’s how Chapter 1 ends. Chapter 2, Cultures, is going to be super long, as it will cover cultural regions in more depth, talking about cities and major plot hooks in the areas. Stay tuned!

Next time: Chapter 2: Borca Borca

Cultures

posted by JcDent Original SA post

I have been a very lazy goon as of late. Let’s see if we can get some of this show back on the road.



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures

Welcome to “adventure hooks the chapter” if memory serves! It will basically describe the cultural areas (Borca and such) and stuff that’s happening in them. So, you know, adventure hooks. But first,

STARDUST

It’s a short fluff piece about a Preservist (a Spitalian) and an Anabaptist (flame thrower dude) going to negotiate with a Pheromancer. This fluff piece is as close as the book gets to anything lewd for quite some time (I actually don’t know if it’s gets lewder somewhere waaay down the line, tho).

quote:

The Preservist stopped and raised his head. A bloated, pale body was nestled in a nest of shimmering mud. Several naked women pressed against it, sheltering the Pheromancer from the rain. They shivered; their hair was plastered to their heads. Their hands stroked the pale flesh, caressing glands or inserting fingers into them. They did not notice the Preservist.

I hope you fucking love glands, because they are mentioned every time pheromancers are around, boy howdy. By the away, do any of you nerds know if there are any species around that explode their glands to spread pheromones?

Anyways, the Spitalians struck a deal with the odorous sack of fat: we retreat our troops, you give us a vial that contains… something.

quote:

One of the women slid down and crawled through the mud towards the Preservist. Her hair was matted, the body emaciated, eyes hollow. The Preservist saw every rib, recognized the pricks in the groin. He breathed heavily, closed his fists. The woman held out something to him. He took it, touched her hand and searched for her gaze, looked for a spark of resistance or even a plea for help.
Nothing.
The woman scurried back. A small, stoppered vial was in his hand.

The vial contains black swirling vortexes, so I guess it’s the black meteorite stuff. Anyways, the ‘mancer wants to know why they need it (‘WHAT FOR’ he asks, since pheromancers speak in short, clipped sentences of all caps) and tries to phero-manipulate the Spitalian. He manages to get some effect on him, but he actually draws in the hiding Anabaptist, who loses his flamethrower (called a Spitfire) on the way.

However, the Anabaptist kinda shakes it off and gets into a melee with the fatty and his bugs. Meanwhile, the Spitalian breaches the flamer backpack with his sword, runs out of the room and fires flares inside to make it all go BOOM.
He ends up admiring the stuff in the vial, calling it ‘stardust’ (dat title drop), which basically confirms that this is meteor stuff.



BORCA
Legacy of the Ancients



A Borcan, probably

Crater Ash

Borca is probably most characterized by city ruins; I guess German cities kept merging and merging and merging. There’s also red dust that covers a lot of stuff, possibly rust of the Ruhr region?

quote:

Borca is a wilderness of stone and dust full of giant buildings, endless stone labyrinths, overgrown craters and wide plains. Eroded signs, surrounded by gossamer and lichen, point to sunken cities.
Under the centuries’ varnish, baked into ash and earth, technical wonders wait for the spade that unearths them. The people in this area are tough and stubborn like plain grass that grows in spite of the dust. They don’t see the decay; they see opportunities. The ruins and the rich artifact fields aretheir legacy, but they aren’t their future by far. Piece by piece, they build a new world, erecting metropolises like Justitian, Cathedral City or Osman from the ruins, dividing the land into parcels to claim and fortify.

The ruins are also full of savages and clanners, driven underground by people who like having toilets that flush and whatever. So if you play in Borca, expect to be going hunting for archeotech and fighting a lot of savages.

Please, don’t tell me about the chances of remains of modern human cities surviving 500 years into the future.

One Body Split In Two

This mostly says that Reaper’s Blow is a huge, cataclysmic gash, a sort of uninhabitable Mordor hellscape, that splits Borca in two, going from the icy North, through the Alps and reaching Africa.

quote:

Borca was cut in two by the Reaper’s Blow – like twins, both parts share the same memories of the Bygones, their beliefs and cultural roots. But the people west of the Reaper’s Blow differ from those of the east, for the twins had to spend their youth separated from each other.

Berlin Wall pt. 2: This Time, It’s Space Rocks.

West Borca

West Borca has rock’n’roll, jeans and a strange obsession with David Hasselhoff. Wait, no, that’s not it.

The north is where the sea dried up; while there’s water that comes from glaciers melting, it can’t wash the salt out the earth, making that part shitty. However, the more to the south you go, the better things get. You can see steppes and wild animals (such as Gendo dogs?) and, most importantly, ruins of the cities.

Red dust comes and goes, and getting stuck in the storm means you’ll choke and die. It my come from the Wupper Crater (fucking really? Was Borca impacted by a Burger Kind La Grange station or something?), it might just be metal dust, it’s not clear. What’s clear is that your character will look like a proper post apocalyptic nomad, all gasmasks and stuff.

The ruins get bigger the further south you get, and the Germans Borcans make a killing looting it… for scrap metal.

quote:

Metal is everywhere, and it’s cheap. Bridges are built from it. Doors and walls are bound by it. Pathways are paved with it. Rust creaks under boot soles. Wind chimes made from scrap adorn the buildings. Soup is eaten from tin bowls. Wood, on the other hand, is rare and must be imported from afar. Close to the settlements, all that remain are swamps and the forests that have eluded the
axe far off the routes.

They tried making metal toilet paper, but that didn’t catch on

Justitian



Justitian, probably

If the name didn’t key you in, this city is THE LAW.

It’s fed by the providers (or the Providers, if the book feels like), who grow food, which is then checked for Sepsis before being allowed for consumption. The providers are oppressed by capitalism or something, as they only get water from Spitalians by paying in metal chips issued by Chroniclers. They are pissed off and announce the formation of the Providers’ Collective, which turn into the the communist revolution that will overrun Justitian.

Downtown is where everyone gets together. Anabaptists sit in their Cross Quarter and give Jehemedans in the creatively named Jehemedan Quater the stink eye, Apocalyptics peddle sin, and street kids have the Stukov Quarter to themselves. Metal walkways are patrolled by Judges who “smoke weed” (what, literally cannabis?) and maintain order, while Chronicler loudspeaker rise above all to provide that Big Brother PA system vibe.

quote:

Amidst a maze of corrugated iron sheets, gangways, walls made of coaches and machines, and tarpaulin covered dens, a truncated monolith has risen. Broken down, its facade splits off, more mountain than ruin: the Tech Central. Thousands of Scrappers nest within like cockroaches; digging into it, expanding tunnels and reinforcing halls, shaping it. Here, those that like solitude unite. Dust gray Lone Wolves drag sacks full of artifacts, coughing ceaselessly; Cave Bears look for a bride, among humans for the first time for many winters; Mice scuttle around the Badgers, doing tricks to market their agility. The Manufacturers in the Tech Central are known beyond Borca’s borders. From their workshops, they produce not only weapons or highly complex locks and traps, butlegendary mechanical wonders, aimless constructs that can only be a testimony to their creators’ mad genius.
Another stone colossus seems to guard the Uptown Plateau: the Steel Monolith. The Steel Masters’ hammer blows ring down, providing the city with a beat. The forge fires blaze.
Here, barrels are made, stocks are carved, fittings are chiseled and refined by a “Fiat Lux”. Every Judge’s musket has passed through the Steel Masters’ hands.


What are the people called by the names I bolded? Player classes? Cultural sub-classes? Organizations? Who knows, and the book is in no hurry to explain.

The uptown is reserved for Judges and Chroniclers, and their Central Cluster looks fittingly out of place in this technologically less advanced time.

Protectorate

Justitian was established in a region called Black Lung (now that’s a nice, inviting name) via the combined efforts of Judges and Chroniclers. The former like law and order, the later like running electricity, so it makes perfect sense to form a city. The Judges were strong back then, and they cleaned the place up from savages, shooting and beating them dead.

Judges, being Judges, established a Codex of law, that tied everyone together. Providers had their food checked for Sepsis by Spitaliers, and all that. People who didn’t like the law could go take a hike in the wasteland. People who broke the law could go to work camps.

Apparently, the law is too restricting, but in the absence of descriptions other than “the food must be checked for traces of deadly alien infection,” that might just be some libertarians grumbling (maybe the author is one?), since I’m sure those roaches would survive the end of the world.

In the end, the Protectorate was born, taking in cities like Ferropol and Mobilis. Judgment halls were established in towns, judgment stones engraved with hammers erected in their squares.

quote:

But that was yesterday.

Next Time: Borca, part 2 – savages and Ossies (but I repeat myself)

Cultures pt.2: More Borca

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures pt.2: More Borca



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Waystones

I forgot to mention this small insert when I was doing this many moons ago,. It talks about stacked piles of stones marking the routes between settlements. Outside of those marked bounds lurk the savages, some shadowing you in the grass, other stalking you through the broken windows of pre-apocalypse buildings (insert rant about the likelihood of modern architecture surviving 500 years of neglect). Sometimes, traders leave offerings (jewelry) at the stones to try and please the kind of people who think that drinking stale water from a puddle is better than living in a real city.

Right, back to the good stuff.

Old Grudges

And by the good stuff, I mean more savages! They have been fighting the forces of civilization for the longest time. However, when the Corroded (Chernobog) and his forces took Prague, the Clans felt a new wind blowing. Prague was impenetrable, even to Spitalians – I guess future Czechs stopped believing in medicine as well as God – but it still fell.

You know what other city is impenetrable to moon-worshiping savages? Justitian.

The savages are now attacking supply convoys and small settlements, killing Judges and displaying their corpses in a very Fallout raider fashion. It’s becoming apparent that they’re not just fighting for resources or sacred burial grounds (of children who died from preventable diseases). They want Justitian.

It’s becoming apparent to the cults, too, and they’re uniting in the defense of the city. Judges, Spitalians, Anabaptists, Chroniclers, Jehemedans – everyone (except for the ~~~drug Romani~~~ I guess). Hellvetics provide defense for the convoys, Scrapers scout the territory, people are preparing for war!

The Last Battle

The city of Wetzlar marks the southern border of Justitian’s realm and that’s where High Judge Rubeau is going to make a stand. He or she is accompanied with a lot of older judges who feel too old for political plays in the capital – but not too old to swing hammers and smash heads.

The Festering

But it’s not all savages in Borca! Where Menden used to be spawned a Mother Spore Field “more than a thousand paces in diameter” (762 meters?). It had a 15 pace/12 meter high outer wall.

What they’re saying is that the field became big enough for random wandering Spitalians to notice.

And for some reason that would only be understandable to Numenaran murderhobos, they detonated some pre-Eschaton ceramic cylinders (full of nanites) in it. The effect was somewhat unexpected:

quote:

Coralline carbon structures grew skywards, crystalline plant residues lifted their glass blades and leaves into the wind and refracted the light in a weird way. The blackness kept expanding with a crackle, ate into the spore field, infected the ruins and turned rats and insects into pure carbon structures.

What was spore field is now called The Festering and it’s slooowly expanding, generating symbols that are close – but not identical – to the Psychonaut Earth Chakra. Oooh, spooky!

The Spital

The naming convention that brought us The Ton hotel in Deus Ex and the Pitt DLC for Fallout 3 presents the Spitalier HQ, located near the Black Lung. It’s made up of several parts:

*The Appendix is where the sick people are examined, sent into sick quarters according to their pathogen and treated.

*Corpus is the inner circle, where warehouses and laboratories reside. It has no plans of expanding into space to have a love/hate relationship with space ninja and degenerate clone empires.

*The Spital is a concrete block surrounded by Bygone (pre-Eschaton) buildings and is the center of Spitalian activities.

But that’s not all! Arnsberg is a spooky place where rats and birbs rot on the street, and trees are just stumps. It’s apparently *tainted*. Arnberg is also the HQ of Spitalian Preservists, the warrior class caste of the organization. There’s also Newcrest farm nearby, where they grow horses.

Ferropol

Ferropol is not the secret Russian city where Stalin ran a secret cyborg program. Is actually the former capital of Steel Masters – whoever they are – who abandoned it for Justitian. Judges used this place as a Pitt-type prison, where they sent people and forgot them. Apocalyptic (drug Romani) named Apoc (that’s a top notch faction/name combo there) used to help Justinians run the place - now he installed himself as a ruler.

Ferropol now is a place where everything can be bought and sold - the scum and villainy manufacturing center of the region.

It also has Ferriters, palm-sized bugs () that eat iron to strengthen their carapace. Considering that Borca is 100% metal in the literal sense, Spitalians are worried.

Also, there are dunes that cover up blocks at a time or whatever.

Rain

I think this is their smart, post-apocalyptic way of renaming the Rhine. It’s a dried up river that still has water closer to the Alps, what with the melting glaciers, but it’s mostly dried out. The description makes it sound like the river level in Half-Life 2, but with wheat instead of sludge.

There is a lot of growth along the shores, with fields of wheat reaching Cathedral City. The wheat also covers the surrounding area “billabong by billabong” - I learned a new word today! And no, I don’t know why the wheat love the dried-out river bed so much.

You know who also likes the riverbed? Traders and travelers. However, with savages on the loose, trade routes are either closed or controlled by said Clans.

“Famous ruined city of Noret” is mentioned, but it’s not a city on Wikipedia, so it’s probably an adventure hook.

Cathedral City

Unlike the last time Anabaptists held sway over a German city, the Anabaptist capital isn’t an enclosed small-“a“ apocalyptic orgy. It’s actually full of aqueducts big and small. The bigger ones are supported by hollow pillars that house barracks and what not; the smaller are supported by tin beams, because metal is cheap in Borca.

quote:

If you approach via the old Rain riverbed, you’ll first see the Twin Towers’ silhouette in the haze. They are blackened with age, their stonework makes them look like scarred stakes. From up close, one can see gargoyles and statues in the facade, portals and towers, arched stained glass windows, everything rising skywards. This statuesque backdrop makes people seem small.
The city is surrounded by a wall with jutting release pillars and roofed battlements. Masonry at its foot shows larger-than-life Psychonauts and Anabaptists, engaged in deadly battle. In several places, heaps of debris or earthfilled ruins break the wall. Birches grow there with moss polishes their craggy sides’.

You enter Cathedral city through a guarded tunnel, but everyone (who isn’t an obvious Psychonaut or a Catholic, I guess) is welcome. The city is separated into blocks and is really tidy, as well as full of aqueducts. One part of the Great Aqueduct leads to the cathedral where pipes might link it to the choir, where eight Baptists and Council of Emanations (or Emanations Council, there’s a typo in the book) sit.

Exalt

Exalt used to be big… before it got owned in City Wars. Then, it was forgotten, in a very 40K way. When the Judges rediscovered it (a few months ago), it looked kinda… odd.

quote:

Vaulted roofs hang from twenty foot high pylons cover acre upon acre. Yellow light filters through the lichen-covered glass panes, increasing the feeling of another world and reality. Parts of the city are still covered in dust, but the Exalters soldier on with spade in hand, making room for those who return.
They uncover antechambers of a giant complex, each one large enough to hold Justitian’s Tech Central. The headhigh letters “RG” in a brilliant blue are freed of dust.

It seems they have uncovered some German VaulTec bunker! I can assume only good things and exploding nanobots will follow.

Liqua

When Exalt got owned super hard in the City Wars, some of the refugees settled around a reservoir to lick their wounds before moving on. Except the reservoir refused to run out of water, making it a pretty bitchin place to live. The refugees started a city there and called it Liqua.

The city is ruled by four waterlords, who sell water to the Protectorate and Cathedral city. Through some practical application of Crusader Kings II FAQs, the Anabaptists made it so that two of the waterlords would be of their kind.

When Exalt was rediscovered (“a few months ago” the book said in its the description), Liqua made diplomatic overtures that confused Cathedral City. When Exalters marched into Liqua to the cheering of the crowds, they understood what happened. However, Anabaptists had to retreat as they wanted to protect “the sources” (I think it’s a translation error – in Lithuanian, “spring” and “source” translate into the same word, and there might be something similar in German).

Noret

Barely a page later, we learn what Noret is! It’s an adventure hook. The city has been untouched for 500 years and there’s lush vegetation everywhere. It’s untouched because mysterious cowled robots patrol it and nobody who enters leaves!

Next time: yet more Borca

Cultures: Borca, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Borca, pt. 3



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Ramein

Not the instant noodle capital of Europe! However, it used to be capital of the region before a “star” fell on it 20 years ago. A sect of priests called Mechans and a sect of warriors called Pneumancers came into power. Are those classes of Chroniclers? Are they savages? I don’t know and the book isn’t telling us yet.

Those two groups played the local Clans (savages) against one another, until Phosphorite Clan had enough and attacked Nullpellia, the new capital. The Pneumancers used their steam weapons (Pneumo Hammers are name-dropped) in the defense – and won. However, Nullpellia was destroyed in the fighting. That’s where the writing totally shits itself:

quote:

The alliance between the Mechans and the Pneumancers had frayed as well and finally broke. The Mechans had established a devious trap across the Pneumancers’ track, fooling them just like everyone else.
The Pneumancers had enough. The priests fled underground and established a base there, starting to regain control over Nullpellia, but this time covertly. At the same time, many clans left their devastated homes and stumbled into forbidden territory. Hungry and broken, they were treated with hostility. Feuds arose.
Since then, all of Ramein has been burning.

Did the Mechans lead Pneumancers into an ambush? Was it a more metaphorical trap? Did the Pneumancers win anyway, driving the priests (Mechans) underground? What the fuck?

Hellvetica

Previously the land of the coo-coo clock and the purple cow, Switzerland is now Hellvetica. Alpine fortresses guard passages between game regions: East and West Borca, Purgare, Pollen. Their brutalist bunkers rise out the mountains, bristling with guns and being a successful Dwarf Fortress in general.
Hellvetics also collect tolls from people who want to go through their tunnels. Don’t like that? Why don you try and cross the Alps via crossings too hostile for Hellvetics to fortify?

quote:

but those who dare to do so will need to hide from sharpshooters in the deep snow, dodge slabs of falling snow and ice, even face savage mountain tribes.

Does this mean that Hellvetics have snipers shooting random people in the mountains? Do they have a free fire policy where anyone who runs is a savage, and anyone who stands is a disciplined savage? Kinda skimping on the details here, book.


Love the giant concrete Swiss cross there.

East Borca

West Borca is a technological wonderland, where Scrappers can loot some Bygone tech, bring it to one of the many Chronicler traders and get paid a small percentage of its real worth. However, that’s not the case in East Borca.

Chroniclers have never established themselves there and East Borcans live a more primitive life just like in real life. They are nomads, following their herds, or people who form tiny villages in the woods. They don’t have much metal, but there’s plenty of wood.

For some reason, they have left the cities untouched, which was all that the vegetation needed to overgrow them and hide any lovely loot under roots and shit. So if your Scrapper party of PCs is tired of playing Lawrence of Arabia in the rust and dust of West Borca, it can go play urban jungle explorers in East Borca.

Provided they can pay the Hellvetics for passage.

Osman

Jehammedan town! It’s the Justitian of East Borca, and it has all of that mysterious Arabian niiiights! vibe you want (but can’t have, since Africans hold Istanbul)… but in East Germany. Currently, they’re really afraid of savage Clans that took down Praha. I guess, they are more properly afraid of Chernobog and his invulnerability hax, but the description makes it feel like Jehammedans actually concentrate on the Clans.

For their part, the Clans are acting all spooky, raiding cattle, setting traps for patrols and just sending out dudes in spooky antlered headpieces to roam around. Oh, and this:

quote:

On a misty summer’s day in 2595, Osman’s inhabitants heard a drawn-out howl. It started softly but became increasingly loud within seconds. They looked skywards, pointing to two stripes of clouds approaching them in a wide arc. Where Osmanis laughed and debated, traded colorful fabrics and spices, an instant later, there is only a blinding freball.
The shockwave from the blast tears through the city, pushing fire and dust. People are swept along and thrown against walls like rag dolls. Pieces of debris fly for hundreds of meters, crashing into buildings, tearing swathes of destruction. The thunderclap that follows makes glass break and buildings shake. An ocher cloud towers over Osman. It has begun.

Did they just nuke Osman? We don’t know, because the next description takes us to

Praha Republika
So, Pragueha was fortified as all fuck, with tanks, outposts, barbed wire – the works. The only passage in an out was on the Elbe, and even then, they didn’t allow any of the Cults in. However, the Prahans were generous, even establishing a library in Osman.

Then the Corroded (Chernobog) came, gave the the fortifications the stink eye (probably a laser) and messed up the minefields. The rest was done by the Clans… which begs the question whether the Prahans were actually ready for defense if they got owned so easily. Anyways, the Clans looted everything, including caches of weapons.

The Bogeyman

So, apparently the Africans are after archeotech as much as Chroniclers and Scrappers are – and now they’re gunning for Borca.

In order to keep the Neolybians at bay, Chroniclers spread lies about child eating, blood sacrifice, the usual. However, Neolybians come, throw some trinkets around, and all the villagers are happy to see them anyways.

Chroniclers are thinking of doing something more forceful about that…

And now, the two smaller inserts, a la Waystones.

Purity

Sepsis is bad, and spore fields are everywhere, except in Borca – the Festering doesn’t count, apparently. Spitalians are to thank for that – they clean infestation with flame and fungicide. They also don’t shy away from killing Burn addicts and carriers of Seed of Sepsis.

quote:

Insects are under general suspicion.

Apparently, the Pheromancers of Franka are sending spore-carrying bugs to Borca to conquer Alsace-Lorraine again to infect the populace. Spitaliers answer by getting everyone to light bug lamps. It’s implied that Spitalians would destroy a village found to have spore bug infestation.

Needle Towers

Chroniclers sent out sixteen Fragments – these might be leader classes of the Cult, or murderhobo parties – across the Reaper’s Blow (so, to East Borca?) to take over radio towers and establish communication with Justitian. So, a bridgehead in East Borca.

Eight Fragments survived, though I question the need to go straight across the Blow if you can use Hellvetic passages. Anyway, those Fragments drove away savages, established themselves… and quickly started gathering whores, mercenaries and adventurers to create their own dens of scum and villainy. “Surely their Needle Towers are places of danger, submission, adventure and trade,” says the game, not even hiding the reason for bringing these up.

Only two of the leaders are known – Chromium and Iridium. The other six Fragments/Fragment leaders are of an uncertain fate. Maybe the players can find out, whooo!



And that’s the end quote! Our journey through Borca was certainly… confusing, wasn’t it? Some of it is the fault of the translator, but the editor should have caught some of stuff even before it came to translating.

Next time: Franka

Cultures: Franka

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Franka



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Franka

Franka is the land named after Frank, the only person to live there



On a more serious note, it's just France. The troubles in the land of smelly cheese and legendary perfume are, coincidentally, smell based!

Breathless

This short bit desecribes Franka in broad strokes. You can see dead bugs everywhere. Pheromones are carried by the wind - aphrodisiac to some, cause of fear and revulsion to others. The only universal constant is that the 'mones becalm everyone.

Descent

One asteroid hit the Central Massif and Paris was instantly fucked. There was also a crash in the sea, which messed things up even more. Ground was churning, rocks were falling, it was worse than Modern Warfare 3. Agriculture died – the wheat either burned or failed under the heavy cloud cover, trees shed their leaves, even turnips and potatoes (R.I.P French fries) failed.

Yet there were worse things to come.

Descent posted:

Above the Central Massif, white gossamer rose in streaks like ink spilled from a well; the largest, whirling streak penetrated the clouds straight into the stratosphere. For months, it hung in the sky until the west wind dissipated the vortex and carried it away.

Where it came down, it sank into the earth and ate through the soil. The ground above heaved. Tenuous little hairs emerged in perfect circles. Fruiting bodies burst and released spores that carried on their seed. It infected insects and gummed up human lungs. The Sepsis had conquered fallen France.

The Plague

“The continental shelf creaked and sighed,” says the book, probably somewhat overstating the impact of an asteroid. You'd think something powerful enough to trouble the continental shelf would end humanity outright, but here we are. Or there the French were, caught in the cataclysm.

Land was wracked by geological ruin, which is annoying all by itself. However, then the bugs came, eating provisions... and doing worse stuff.

The Plague posted:

Strange bugs, attracted by sweat, poured into people’s homes to crawl under armpits or into groins and fly away with a drop of blood.



Naturally, the people of France had had enough of this bullshit, so they retreated to the rivers. Living on houseboats and caking themselves with mud (to keep the groin locusts away), they made expeditions to the shore ashore to destroy bug collonies and poison the swamp that Ile-de-Paris region had become.

Pheromancers

Out the Central Massif came these weird dudes (and dudettes, I guess). They didn't like clothing that much – “at most covering their private parts or wearing boots” - and they looked sickly. The words the book uses are “tubercular lumps,” but I've never heard of tuberculosis causing lumps, so who knows.

What they did was entering the villages (of the populace that wasn't cool enough for houseboats) and “saving” them from all the insects, attracting the little buggers to themselves. At first, the villagers mistrusted them. Then, they started loving the strangers, as pheromones worked their charms on both bug and Frenchman alike.

Enter the Pheromancers, the Frankan breed of Psychonauts.

Raid

So while the French (the Frankch?) were busy either huffing the 'mones or building sandcastles in their pubic areas, the Africans came. North Africa, not hit by any errant asteroids, had maintained a better technology level, so they sailed in with huge metal ships, ready for a proper invasion.

Or for a propper looting.

Raid posted:

They looted the coastal cities, dismantled harbor installations and brought everything to Tripol and Bedain. The Frankans did not try to stop them. What was the old trash to them? The Africans came via Montpellier and devoured city by city. In Surge Tanks as tall as a house, they carried machines from industrial estates in Lyon and Grenoble away, only to reassemble them in Qabis and Tunis.

I think this scale of industrial looting kinda stretches the definition of a “raid.” Maybe it sounded better in German.

Incidentally, I dunno when will we get the description of what a Surge Tank actually is. From what I gather, it's like some Red Alert-sized expeditionary vehicle, an unholy union of an RV and a tank.

Learning from the colonial past, the Africans and Neolybians hired Frankans as guides to the good stuff and as guards against the other Frenchmen. They paid them with spices, fabrics and even African rifles, some of which the game claims can still be found among the older tribes.

This sounds to me like an adventure hook for people who want an African rifle, which I presume is considered to be a good piece of loot in Degenesis.

Anyways, the Frankans didn't care about the looting, and once the Pheromances and termite mounds came in the wake of retreating Africans, they started caring even less. Frankans don't give a shit about the past anymore; they only look to the future and the defense against potential enemies (read: player characters out an about to kill their Pheromancer sugar daddies). Pheromones are a hell of a drug.

Next time: Don't phero-shame!


This is the illustration that starts the chapter. I don't think the crossbow is a good weapon against BUGS!

Cultures: Franka, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Franka, pt. 2



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Souffrance

This is the name of the French crater. The description makes it sound like it is a massively messed up bunch of broken mountains, frozen lava streams other such stuff. Apparently, even the spore carrying wind can hardly escape the valleys.

There's a Pheromancer and human city there, but the paragraph just after it's mentioned is spent explaining that the crater is unstable and that termites have eaten through the rock, and blah blah blah, it's a bad place.

Souffrance posted:

People and waves of shimmering chitin buttons press through the canyons of mud buildings. Huts cuddle with the vents, encircling them up into heady heights. Some have crumbled and been deserted; dusty grass mats fly in the wind. Others are dark with wet building materials, from their roof openings, trails of smoke rise.
On plazas, above head height, stone monuments rise. They are covered with hollows that resemble honeycombs. In the recesses, amber-colored drops glisten – the
Pheromancers’ stringy glandual discharge. Humans and insects follow the same pheromone trail from monument to monument.

If the human-Pheromancer interactions seem a lot more mundane and organized than one would expect from freaky space mushroom invader mutants, that's because they are. People don't stay in the crater for long. Many see this time as a spiritual experience, and they return to the villages to spread the wisdom of the Pheromancers (“mon ami, ze bugs are totally cool, oui?”). The others, well...

'Souffrance posted:

Pheromancers mark their property with pheromone markers, enabling their emissaries to safely climb the crater wall and pass the insect barriers unchecked. Once they reach the crest, they worm into the cusps where the Pheromancer queens breed.
Visitors to Souffrance see this as an honor. The Spitalians only smile wanly.

I guess the implication there is that Pheromancer queens – likely fat to the point of immobility – snack on the humans after they bed them. Femme fatales that take after Black Widows and mantises to keep up with the bug theme, I guess.

On the other hand...

Untouchable
This is a first person narration section. I'm glad they slapped in there in the main text and not in some side bar. Makes this book feel a lot more coherent

A guy is pushing himself through a tunnel in the rock, with only the scent and termites to guide him. I had never associated termites with France, but Franka is apparently lousy with them. The guy hates getting into the hole - presumably it was not made for him - but he has a reason to be there.

Untouchable posted:

There’s a whiff of honey-scented musk in my nose. She is very close. A pale body, surrounded by blackness; my prize, my treasure, my reward. She called, and I obey.

The guy is here for some bug sex and chill!

The next part might be a little icky for some people, so it's totally OK for you to not read any of the quotes from the "Untouchable" section.

Untouchable posted:

I wiggle closer, slap against soft matter and caress her. Her body is aglow, as if feverish. I tremble, but she does not mind. I can smell her smile when she pushes me towards her and guides my
hands across her body to the hard cusps leaking stringy honey (so sweet!).

The bolded part makes this sound very much like some freaky hentai story.

Untouchable posted:

I lick my lips. She likes that. Her fingers tousle my hair as I brush aside her ants. Very slowly, not wanting to hurt her, my lips caress her body, then my tongue pushes into festering pores, rummaging through sticky manna. My queen is satisfied, cuddles against me. She smells wonderful. For a moment I am her lover, not her slave. Then she falls asleep, and I leave her. I rejoin the ranks of children so willingly serving her.

For a section called “Untouchable,” it sure involves a lot of touching!

Anyways, I don't know what the “Spitaliers smile vainly” part was about in the previous section if the queens don't eat their consorts. Maybe Spitaliers just hate sex-havers (as one should).

Geology

This section gets a sidebar. Or a footnote. Whatever, I don't know what it's called.

There's a great swamp in the heart of Franka and with no Macron The Sun King to drain it, the people live on rafts or on stilt houses.

Is... is Franka inspired by Louisiana? Swamps, rafts, stilt houses, French-speakers. Will you be playing Caijuns vs. Pheromancers?

Anyways, the ruins of the cities jut out of the water, so France is a good place for Last of Us-type urban sailing and exploration.

The lands to the west are a deciduous forest, with mild climate and fertile soil – all things that aren't interesting to PCs.

Back to the regular stuff!

Marduk Oil

So, this is confusing. The first paragraph implies that there are capital-u Untouchables that aren't affected by the Pheromones. Some pretend to be drones (regular, 'mone fiend people) because they want to stay with their families. Others join the resistance.

The resistance Untouchables get into the phero-queen dens of iniquity with one goal: to collect mare juice the extract of their “bulging, sebum-clogged glands.” The Untouchable massages the gland til it bursts, fills a goat-skin bladder with the extract, and makes a beeline to the coast. The Africans pay a pretty penny for this stuff. Why?

Because it's a date-rape drug.

Marduk Oil posted:

The Neolibyans pay well and sell it on the scented oil market in Tripol for an inflated price. “One drop only, and a crone turns into a love goddess.”, the Africans laugh. None of them can afford Pheromancer oil. Some see it as an investment. Many a Neolibyan have woken up after his bridal night with an aching head and a dry mouth and looked at the naked body next to him in consternation. By then, the papers had been signed and brought to the Bank of Commerce’s vaults. The knot was tied.

So outside of being the dream drug of all baraccudas out there, is there any other use for extract? Yes: the awesomely-named Anubites distil Marduk Oil from it. Paradoxically enough, rubbing the oil on your skin makes you more resistant to the pheromones. This is important both for young Neolibyans in Franka, and the resistance.

Resistance

People get annoyed with Pheromancers stealing their friends and loved ones, as well as the wasp storms, and bugs eating their fields. So, they fight.

They slather themselves in Marduk Oil and go looking for servants of the Pheromancers. They glue live bugs to the end sticks and track the location of the Psychonauts via their movements. When they find one, well...

Resistance posted:

Side by side with the Spitalians, Frankans storm the mud cusps, throw phosphor grenades into ant tunnels and beat the bloated, pale bodies discharged from them to a bloody pulp.

This is reaching somewhat 40K-levels of action. Then again, Pheromancers are like non-lethal Genestealers, so this might be apropos.

Some time ago, they achieved a major victory. They threw an incendiary bomb into one of the main pherovents/termite towers and caused a chain reaction where an entire side of a spore field exploded. This unveiled a huge network of vents and ant trails (presumably in the field itself? The text doesn't make it clear whether it was something that was underground or not), which horrified the Frankans and scored the resistance a major recruitment victory.

Next time: The city of a thousand torchbugs!

Cultures: Franka, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Franka, pt. 3



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Parasite

It's Paris. “Parasite” is just a cutesy, bug-related name for Paris (just like "Souffrance" is French for "suffering") . Like much of central Franka, it was fucked over by flooding. People still tried clinging to the city, laying down stepping stones in the water and building bridges when those weren't enough.

However, this is now bug country, with some buildings transformed into multi-species hives. Inexplicably, some faded posters and even cups remain on tables, presumably undisturbed in the 500 hundred years since the Eschaton. Or maybe the city was abandoned a little more recently?

Anyways, the Eifel Tower is at the centre of it all, with Clanners and Spitalians both sending expeditions to root out the secrets of the city. Close to the Tower, firebugs act like sentries, marking intruders with oily discharge before flying away.



Under Water

The Seine is big and strong, fed by the melting snow in the Alps (probably not the glaciers, though – those hardily could have survived the impact of the asteroids). Clanners use the Seine to sail into the heart of Paris/Parasite. They drop the anchor, swim ashore, run through the marker bugs and throw pesticide bombs, killing wasps in their millions. The surviving bugs pursue them to the shore where the the Clanners shake off the pheromone trail via the ingenious tactic of “just dive into the water, lol.”

I don't know what these attacks are meant to accomplish, aside from making the pesticide-industrial complex richer.

Spiders

This is a side section about Spitalian-bread Echein (Greek for "posessor") spiders that are immune to spores. Spitaliars use those to keep their Spitals free of bugs. They also export these bugs to the resistance, which uses them to kill bugs near Parasite. However, once marker bugs get stuck in the net, the spider gets turbo-fucked by wasps.

You'd think the whole "we bred an animal immune to Sepsis" thing would be a much bigger deal, but eh.

Ziggurats

The first Ziggurat was found by Spitalians and Anabaptists near Bassham. A six-step pyramid more than fifty feet high (feet? In my Euro game!?), it was covered in Sepsis and bugs. This was the control center of Bassham. A goony Pheromancer Markurant only left his throne when the winds scattered his male musk 'mones away from the city.

Anabaptists threw him into a fire, making some 16th century ancestors really proud.

Soon, they started discovering more of the Ziggurats, build in swamps, on the sides of mountains and other places where no sane man would build a thing. However, there's a method to this madness: mapped out, the Ziggurats mark the corners of a giant Chakra symbol. Bugs stream between them along the imaginary lines of the symbol, eating plant life and transporting it to Eifel Tower.

Ziggurat posted:

Could it be they see the tower as ... a Ziggurat too?

Naw, I'm sure it's nothing



This ziggy seems a little more high fantasy than the description would imply.

Routing Hubs

Once people finish building a Ziggurat for their goony, musky overlord, their start building a city around it. Much like an Age of Empires base, buildings and farms rise around Ziggurats. The people tend to their fatso lord, giving him food and making him clothing. In return, this shit happens:

Routing Hubs posted:

They offer him fruit and vegetables, weave wreaths of swamp reed for him, and implore him to call them to him to the Ziggurat’s top. They want to feel his body, softly crack his glands with their teeth, and feel the fragrant discharge on their tongue.

That sound you hear is every pimple-popper fetishist you know tripping on their boner while rushing to ask you to run a Degenesis campaign in Franka.

Anyways, the goonmancer directs the vermin away from the fields, and those farms flourish, as apparently bugs are the only thing that can impact harvest. But if someone or something displeases the Pheromancer, he unleashes a wave bugs that simply overwhelms any resisting settlement and eats anything organic.

According to Spitalian intel, Ziggurats are hubs and Pheromancers the switchmen in a huge network of bug traffic, splitting and merging swarms whenever needed.

Routing hubs posted:

The flood has already destroyed independent Frankan settlements, Spitalian camps, and Anabaptist deployment points.

Each culture has a different name for a base, because it more game-like that way.

Swarm Attack

The free Frankans have developed ways to fight the bug hordes! Kids know to count termites to see if their activity is unusual. The farmer can tell termites from ants and know dozens of other species. Couriers take sighting information to special outposts.

The resistance goes to work once they triangulate that swarms are approaching a certain region. A very confused paragraph tells us that farmers are supplied with pheromone infused rags. These buoys (beacons would be a more natural word here) are usually kept isolated and under water. But when the bugs come, they're taken out, unwrapped and placed in strategic spots to divide the swarm. Spitalians jump into action with insecticide while Anbaptists cleanse and purge with fire. People even set forests abalaze and flood valleys, because they're hardcore like that.

The bugs are still stupid critters controlled by pheromones and not a psionic swarm, so they get confused by these tricks and defeated in detail. In the end, what stragglers remain are beaten to death with wet rags.

Next time: one weird trick to make your swarm immune to pheromone buoys - the Spitaliers hate it!

Cultures: Franka, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Franka, pt. 4



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




This was in on the page describing Ziggurats and Swarm Attack. Jehamed Prime has a very French name for a not!Muslim

The Passage North

Parasite is the breeding ground for swarms, that much we (and the NPCs) know. They usually build up during the summer and go out in autumn. But the city stayed silent for several seasons, which made Spitalians suspicious. They sent people into Parasite and demanded intel from free Clans.

All for nothing, because “six months ago” (...before the start of canonical game time?), Paris barfed out a huge swarm of bugs. It was heading towards the Passage North to Briton (not Britain). The usual preparations were taken: buoys were placed, valleys were flooded, picknic baskets were left unattened, etc.

The bugs simply rushed over them.

'The Passage North posted:

Something was different this time. Pale bodies swam along in the stream of chitin, dove and came up again somewhere else.

I guess the Sepsis/Pheromancers/alien shrooms developed Sinapse Creatures to control the swarm en route and not just at the Ziggurat relays.

Borderpost North was overrun, devoured, and with it, the Passage North was lost.

Borderpost South

You can't get into France over the Ardennes. Take one step and the fear pheromones will send all the loyal serfs/drones into 28 Days Later-mode. The Passage South is all that remains.

Somewhere Northwest of Basel, a Helvetic bastion, the Spitalians built an outpost. Considering Franka's problems with body odor pheromones and bugs, the outpost is made up of windowless bunkers connected by foil tunnels “taller than a man.” There's a huge-ass tarp covered plaza that supposedly fits thousands of merchants - the Helvetic Sappers built it. In the even of emergency, the outpost can be sealed for days.

By the way, do you remember that staff with a tank that contained a molusk like creature from the Spitalian trailer?

Borderpost South posted:

Every day, hundreds of people come through here, padding through the disinfection showers, then through a lane of spears rammed into the ground, the so-called Splayers. At the end of their shafts, there are glass cartridges full of nutrient liquid that each contain a tract of flesh called Mollusk by the Spitalians. The passersby watch them nervously. Their life depends on them. When the Mollusks twitch, the life expectancy of the people in the disinfection pool can only be measured in seconds.

Only Pscyhonauts/spore mutants/abberants and those spore junkies excite the Mollusk, so the Spitalians react with spear and flame, which is quite reasonable when you consider the stakes.

The Bordepost also serves as a place that collates intel on termite mounds, gathers expeditions and gives caravans a place to rest.

The Passage South

The Passage South goes from Borderpost South to Dijon before turning to Lyon. There are house-height TV screens lining the road, which show an eye followinh the travellers. If you get close, the masked face of the Oracle appears.

The Passage South posted:

It names the locations of ancient artifacts that can be exchanged for drafts at the nearest Chronicler Cluster.

It's just a quest hook dispenser!

The trade line then goes south, crosses the Mediterranean and reaches Montpellier. Neolybians trade there, selling stuff like stuffed elephants and gazzelles, as well as Machine Men (what?) straight out of their Surge Tanks. I wonder why the people of Europe, pressed as they are for resources, would want such exotic vanity goods when they probably need better guns and medicine, but what do I know.

The walls of the city are guarded by Spitaliers who monitor the termite mountds/vents that can be seen in the distance. “Yes, they are coming closer,” says the book in one of the more annoying displays of conversational tone.

The route then goes towards Toulouse, the heart of free Franka. There, they clean up books that have spent probably hundreds of years in Parasite to readable condition, to remind people that there's a past other than just permanent pest control duty.

The people there are not blind to the PUAmancer threat. Spitalian activity is visible and the citizens themselves toil to make fire ditches and douse the ground with oil. I don't know if just spraying oil on the ground is enough to make a firepatch that will stay flamable for more than a day or two, but I'm not a siege engineer.

Aquitaine

It's called “the next station on the Passage South,” which just raises more question over what exactly is a Passage and what area does it cover.

Actually, I made a map!



The green line is the "passage South," which... doesn't look like a passage? Also, I marked the location of the destroyed Borderpost North with a blue X.

Anyways, it's a breadbasket country and also commentary on Church feodalism or whatever.

Aquitaine posted:

On the fields, Anabaptist Ascetics toil. They weed out roots, carry away rocks and dig ditches. Those who collapse from exhaustion are dragged to the cathedral in Saint-André in handcarts by singing children. In the sacral building’s coolness and anointed with the Elysians’ invigorating oils, they quickly recover. A sip of crystal clear water from the font, and it’s back to work.

I think Elysians are an Anabaptist support class? This game could really use to explain more of such basic stuff upfront. Since I have read the chargen rules a bit, many of these proper nouns are level descriptions in certain Cult (which is functionally identical to your class), which are linnear as far as first ~3 levels go, although you can branch out later in the game.

There's a paragraph stating that basically all of the European Cults are present here, albeit the peace is uneasy.

East of Bordeaux is a Chronicler Cluster build from parts of planes and ships, with the architectural blueprint likely based on “picture of iron filings in two overlapping magnetic fields.” Scrappers ply their trade on the coast, looting whatever they find – including some intriguing floatsam:

Aquitaine posted:


Day by day, the surf washes ashore ships and containers. Some have burst, the metal at the breaks pitted and blackened. Many hulls still carry fist-sized holes, their superstructures gutted. On some, symbols are still visible. Circles linked by lines, forming odd shapes. No one in Europe has ever seen this sign language or can translate it. Is there a culture beyond the Atlantic Ocean?

Something might yet live in the Americas – we'll find out if the game ever gets world book expansions!



Incidentally, the latest book in the series seems to be called "The Black Atlantic"

Next time: we end our stay in Franka with a look at Briton and Britain

Cultures: Franka, pt. 5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Franka, pt. 5



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Briton

And now, for a taste of something completely different, the lands to the north of the doomed Passage North!

Briton is the afree of Pheromancers. When their resident Psychonaut died years ago (fell from a Ziggurat?), the peasants got into a frenzy, “molested the corpse,” tore down the Ziggurat and just carried out a great de-phero-Stalinization. They sent for mercenaries to help maintain their freedom.

They got Lady of the Lake Leon Leoncoeur Anabaptists instead.

The Anabaptists came and declared Briton to be the place of the final showdown between man and demiurge. Anabaptists were quite good at their claim, too:

Briton posted:

It became exactly that, for the demiurge had a lot in store: The Psychonauts sent Ganaress with glands as big and bloated as a child’s head with sweet words on his tongue. A thousand human followers surrounded him, praising him as this era’s god.
Two days later, he hung from a Briton village’s fortress walls, flayed.



Crazed protestant heretics can be crazy effective when they want to.

Britons saw Anabaptists metaphorically kick a Pheromancer in the balls so hard his neck glands exploded and they fell in love with the movement. Brest, St-Brieuc and Rennes are now the biggest Anabaptist cities and the people of the region are all too happy to support the fight with food and volunteers.

The Stukov Desert

Unlike the Northwestern bit of Franka that's full of angry Anabritons, Northeast is home to a dust salt desert – the Stukov Desert.

Gasses and spores from all of Franka float to this hell-hole, infecting... something. New kinds of bugs appear. Desert Clam – the one <location> + <animal name> monster to have never been featured in a DnD monster manual – send out tendrils to hunt passersby. Husk Spiders burrow into the ground to lay in ambush. Stukov Scorpions attack anyone that comes closer than 10 paces. Their extremely necrotic poison is valued by Spitalians, which probably makes player characters extremely interested in said Scorpions.

Though why would you willingly go to a salt desert is beyond me.

The wild clans live free in the Stukov desert, probably because nobody civilized is interested in this salty armpit of post-Eschaton Europe. They eat Dust Worms and Desert Clams (how healthy can it be to eat Sepsis mutated animals?), grind bugs into healing paste and fire arrows at strangers.

Legends claim that Stukov was a famed Justitian researcher who found semi-intelligent beasts in a system of chasms and valleys. Said beasts did not do much else but drag artifacts to store in their lairs. As proof, Stukov brought both artifacts and hand-sized (probably palm-sized) finely chinseled claws.

The maps, claws and artifacts are stored in the Chronicler's Central Cluster in Justitian, just waiting for some high level player group to steal them/get rewarded with them for a quest.

Britain

Despite the Brexiteer's efforts, the Britain was connected to Europe by the rim of the Janus Crater. The east side of it is cold and hard to navigate. The Atalantic side has coniferous forests and shrubbery (the region is dangerous for Spontaneous Overused Meme Overload). The ground also features porous rocks, “like a fist-sized deposit of an unknown substance in the stone had evaporated with the years.” Heck if I know the significance of that.

Post-Eschaton Britain is a mysterious land where few dare tread, with pillars of light grasping for the sun, lightshows, and slavers that wear a bulky apparatus on the back of their necks (mobile tea kettles?) all being reported. It's known as the Vulture's domain, whatever the fuck that means. If the Vulture is a person, it's probably one of those old time cyborgs, like the Chernobog.

Next time: Pollen can't into space, but space can into Pollen.

Cultures: Pollen

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Pollen



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Pollen



Untamed

Pollen – Poland – is fucked up. The ground is constantly churning – for some reason – with old cities rising and submerging all the damn time. The continuous mention of gossamer and spore fields employing spiders would imply that Primer/Sepsis is responsible for that... but who knows. And I don't get how the cities don't get ground up into dust in the process. Spore fields also breed Rift Centipedes to fight vegetation.

But not everything is just boiling cities and spores in Pollen. Periodically, fields of vegetation spring up from the thawing earth. They kill spore fields dead and bear fruits that won't stop growing even after being eaten. The spore fields attack them with spiders and centipedes that have to run the gauntlet of angry plants.



The true sons of the land of Po bear axes too big to fit on one page

Polish people - the Pollners, I shit you not - survive even in this somewhat trying period for their land. They have become muscle-dudes that travel between oasis's on sleds. Once settled, they protect their oasis with stone axes – hey, just like in the illustration – from Psychonauts, Spitaliers, Apocalyptics (the drug Romani, remember?) - whatever. When the oasis goes down, they go looking for a new one.

Uprooted

The pre-Eschaton people of 2071 (some us could be alive at that point) knew the asteroids are coming. Future computers took time from mining bitcoin to calculate impact point. One was certainly near Warsaw, so the Poles retreated to Sudetes and High Tatra, building new cities.

Then shit went down.

Uprooted posted:

Zero hour. The sky turned dark blue, the atmosphere heaved, the flash seared bodies and wooden walls hundreds of miles from the point of impact. The asteroid smashed much of Poland and consumed the rest with red dust.
Storms raged through the Tatra’s mountaintops. Hundreds of thousands stared up at the reddish-gray tail that hung twisted in the sky like an umbilical cord to the deadly cold of space.

This is what happens when you don't invest in Eastern Poland.

Nomads

After the Eschaton, messengers from Brno and Breslau reported that shit was, indeed, fucked up. However, not all forests and towns got demolished, so people started returning home. They uncovered supplies, headed for cities rumored to be intact, plowed fields, planted crops – potatoes are seriously mentioned – and had hopes in general.

However, Pollen is still Poland:

Nomads posted:

There was hope. But not enough for all.

Some outcasts were inevitably generated by a civilization that was working towards rebirth. These failsons, “hollow-eyed figures with bleeding gums and necrotized finger,” grabbed rocks and clubs and went after... the Clans? How quickly had those formed? Anyways, it was a thing that happened.

Strangers

On unrelated note, some savage-looking types came from the east, dressed in furs and bearing tribal tattoos and trinkets. Curiously enough, those were all of pre-Eschaton nature.

Strangers posted:

But no one asked big Aleko for the dozens of names on his left arm or Anatoly for the meaning of the crests on his chest. They had led the people through hell for thousands of miles, removed any resistance and every know-it-all, judged and bashed in skulls. Whoever or whatever they might have been in their past lives, now the people kneeled in front of them with eyes downcast, kissed their hands and called them fathers.

So, Pollners were amazed by these normal, everyday Russians tribal giants and adopted their culture - hence the illustration at the beginning! Let's see if there's anything further in the chapter to indicate who these Ukrainian/Russian barbarians are and why did the Pollners liked/needed them!

There will be no explanation.

Leechers

But not now, bitches! Spores were floating around Pollen and thus the Pollners got heavily affected by Burn – which is the Sepsis Spore Drug. Or something like it. Point is, Burn makes the cold easier to bear and whatever crap you're eating easier to swallow.

Unfortunately, Burn use leads to Burnbabies, their heads elongated and deformed. The little fuckers are greedy, too:

Leechers posted:

Yet still, they needed their mothers, crawled up on their bodies, and bit into their breasts. They suckled, little fingers clutching warm flesh, pressing. They couldn’t get enough and did not stop until they were torn away.

And even then, the parents did like their children. They were immune to cold and their wounds healed really fast. However, the growth of their powers didn't stop at the Canadian X-Man As Played By A Ruggedly Handsome Australian level. The children developed bone spurs on their hands, and skin fins on their necks and backs.

Leechers posted:

Some Clans called them Leechers as they crawled from one woman to the next at night, seeking their breasts.



At the tender age of one, the little shits were already as tall as a kid three years older. They either ate or sat alone in the ruins. Other children didn't want anything to do with them. And one day, the lil' monsters simply ran away.

Next Time: What happened to Leech Jr.?

Cultures: Pollen, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Let's talk about the other sort of weird people!

Cultures: Pollen, pt. 2



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Discordance

The Leecher is but the larval state of Pollen's own Psychonauts, the Biokineticks. When a Leecher runs away, he (or she, I guess) goes to spore field, where puberty means ribs fusing and their carapace growing thick enough to withstand Anabaptist broadswords (in a year or two, we'll find out if that's true mechanically).

Biokineticks separated into three categories. The weakest spin webs in the spore fields as tripwires and act as guards. The normal-ish dudes hatch spiders in the folds of their skin and walk around spreading Sepsis. The strongest ones... sink roots deep into the ground and become pillars of flesh and bone? Apparently, they tune into the Chakra's ether, which is like Sepsis hivemind or something, and the tower-kinectics work as routers.

Or worked like that up until the point where the European Sepsis Chaka/ether network finally joined together... and encounter the Psychovore - the weird plants plagueing Africa - network. The towerkineticks bled from their peepees (as the book points out), dug deeper into the ground or just collapsed in uncontrolled growth. The first generation of Kineticks were irrevokably disconected from the network. And while the next generation of them joined the Spore fields without issue, some of these old, brain-fried monsters still roam about.

So this event is called the Discordance (by the Spitalians) and it caused more than just a temporary setback and wandering legendary monster encounters. Deep underground, shit was happening.

Discordance posted:

Interwoven with human DNA, protein molecules latched onto the being’s genes and rewrote the program. Stem cells specialized into phagocytes or brain cells, only to revert to their generic form shortly after. Calcium and other minerals fused to form teeth and bone sails. It was unstoppable.

Spooky?

Pandorians

This side section appears about two paragraphs into the next one, so I'm putting this one here.

So, while Clanners might be uncivilized scum, but they're still human. Pandorians are, however, humanoid pandas some gits with dense stacks of sepsis under their flesh, which makes them bulbous. They carry stone clubs, act like animals, many are blind, and all guard the nests of Biokineticks.

You'd think the most physical of the Psychonauts wouldn't need shroom-infested cavemen for protection!

Fractal Forest

Despite the tiny setback of the Discordance, spore fields bloomed in Pollen like it ain't no thing. Neither Spitalier pesticide or their planted Psychovore seeds (to cause minor discordances), nor Anabaptist flames held them for long. The fields mobilized bugs and Psychonauts for defence, and isolated Discord servers Discordance sites. They were about to reach Osman city.

But then Fractal Forests appreared. They came from the west, springing forth from a former spore field, which was destroyed under a wave of “gaudy green” vegetation. They spread through fractal pathways, taking forms of circles, stars and spirals. The growth is supercharged in Fractal Forests, wuth glassy, transclucent plants sprouting up before gaining color.

Fractal Forests posted:

On the trees, blue-gray snails sit with elongated eyestalks that curl like tentacles. But no, these animals do not move. They are part of the plant, born from it and fused with it. Like the leaves, they wither to dry husks and blow away with the wind.

Spooky!

Forbidden Fruit

Fractal Forests are done growing in hours and they start to harden almost immediately. They bear fruit but a few days later. Spitalians think it's a new disguise for Sepsis/Spore Fields/Primer (at this point, I don't really remember what's the main word for the alien infection).

Two years ago, Wetzel the Chosen, an Anabaptist emissary, ate one of the heavy, red, sweet-smelling fruits. All of his notes were immediately locked up in Cathedral city.

Forbidden Fruit posted:

Still, many Anabaptists now believe that the trees are descendants of the tree of knowledge. Only the highest-ranking Baptists eat their fruit. Supposedly, consuming them creates deep, true revelations that drag many an Anabaptist separated from God into screaming madness.

I don't get this shit at all. Do these fruits create :dawkins:? Then why do Anabaptists hold them to be nearly holy? Why would their leadership consume it?

Or should I read the last setence as meaning that any Anaba-atheist that consumes the fruit has his mind blown by how wrong he is? If the fruit drives the unbelievers insane, shouldn't you want to feed it to people?

I don't get this at all.

Synergies

The Clans fukken love Fractal Forests. There's plenty of roots and bulbs to eat, and the Forests produce hot springs to boot. You only need to be careful with fire, as the all the vegetation reacts to it by turning into crystal.

Synergies posted:

Fire at the heart of a Fractal Forest could make it collapse and turn into acrystalline death trap.

This thing with fire must be somewhat inconvenient for the clans, since the vegetation harvested from the forests is, like the noble potato, deadly without preparation. If you don't cook the everloving shit out of whatever you want to eat, that shit will start growing in your stomach, pierce your skin, bloom, and use the rest of you as fertilizer.

Clanners use the act of offering the forest food to strangers as a test: if you refuse,they'll respect your unwillingness to eat it, but won't deal with you anymore. Possibly turbo damned if you do, somewhat damned if you don't.

Notice that Clanners only eat bulbs, roots, barks and other stuff. That's because the fruit makes them trip for days. People report visions of “crushing masses of flesh, a fracturing of the mind, of entwinement and humid closeness.” Some Clans claim that a Forest changes after you eat the fruit, with new trees coming to take place of old.

The Clans love the forests, and keep them clear of spiders and their webs (...what can the webs to freaky crystal plants...), crush Rift Centipedes, and generally keep Spitalians and Anabaptists away. However, the Forests have their own demands:

Synergies posted:

The ground splits open and reveals the interior of a man-sized muscle sac made of white, fleshy strands. Contraction waves ripple along the interior wall, making openings flutter. Yellowish digestive fluid sloshes in the deep: a phagocyte cusp.

Rabbit, gendos (some sort trademark post-Eschaton animal, I bet), blessed children, enemy warriors, Spitalians – all go into the cusps. The cusp closes and leaves barely a scar.

Eventually, the Forest is spent, and everything starts dissolving. The Clanners thank it and leave, looking for the next one. What they don't notice is that the ground opens and the phagocyte cust sacrifices reapear unharmed – not even aged - yet changed.

Nothing is explained here, so there's an adventure hook for you.

Next time: why can't we have non-crystal plants for a change?

Cultures: Pollen, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Pollen, pt. 3



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


We start off today with two side sections: because if Pollen is short on illustrations, it's wealthy in side-sections.



What does this tree have to do with anything?

Spider Rain

It rains spiders in Pollen. Unlike Stukov Scorpions, these are just spiders infected with Sepsis that are super into spinning webs. Entire cities are encased in webs! The gossamer hides dangers like ravines and such.

Also, some of your players might have arachnophobia and you would end up never visiting Pollen.



See if this matches the description that follows.

Pandora

This goes with the illustration. The Pandora crater has ridges 600 meters tall and covered in spore fields. Milky water pours out of the crater into the plane and carries weird stuff: crabs (which Spitaliers have identified as trilobites) and weird fractal stars.

Eternal Oases

The first Fractal Forest sprung up about six years ago to the northwest of Wroclaw and killed a spore field dead. However, Pollners have legends of oases of the more regular kind: patches of normal, natural vegetation and fertile soil. Supposedly these are the secret to the wealth of Pollen – or rather in Pollen, I guess – and are well hidden. The Piast of Wroclaw apparently has three, because “how else could Wroclaw have survived the dark years this well?”

I dunno, if they can still harvest and grow potatoes, who needs the damn oases.

Influx

Two Hellvetic passages open up into Pollen, since Pollen also encompasses Austria and some Germany. The western tunnels open up near Steyr and the overland route follows the west border of Praha Respublika (RIP).

Wind bring sulfurous clouds from Reaper's Blow, so travelers have to be careful. The Hellvetics had build bunkers along the route for travelers to hide, but many of them are used for Burn storage by the Apocalyptics.

Influx posted:

Other bunkers stink of gendos.

No idea what that means.

The western road then bisects, with one route going to Osman, the other following Praha border to Dresden. That's where the Corroded/Chernobog gathered his hordes, so the city's a ghost town, quite literally. The streets are littered with bloated corpses, ghosts presumably appear at night and slaughter any clanners they meet, leaving bloody banners in the morning.

Explanations of the spooky shit in Dresden range from surviving Praha archivists to ghosts to marauders, but everyone agrees that the city is best crossed during the day. The next destination on the road is Wroclaw.

The eastern road starts at Ternitz and goes to Brno. And that's all the description of that route!

Silk

This side section says that the Przadkas ("Spinners" in Polish. German Degenesis wiki suggests that it's a clan) of Eastern Pollen collect the spider silk and prepare it for use. The Neolybians trade it for African rifles and spices, as they plan to make a killing in Tripoli, because silk is silk. Meanwhile, the armories of Wroclaw use it to make armor for Druschinnik, the Piast's guard. The armor is light, near untearable and easily defeats knives and arrows – the next best thing to Kevlar, I guess.



Dude is not chill at all

Brno

Brno section is annoying because there are trees in the background of the page and a huge branch goes through the first two paragraphs of text.

When the Corroded/Chernobog destroyed Praha, he only stayed in the city for a few days. In Podlipanske massacre, he singlehandedly wiped out a clan that questioned his leadership. Then, he moved into Brno.

The clanners made him a throne from weapons and bones of the enemy, a throne he never sat upon (Clanners aren't very bright). The locals pleaded him to spare the city. Many fled to Spilberg fortress to hide with Hellvetics and Spitalians.

When Chernobog finally decided to move, many of the Clans moved with him. Those left behind struggle to succeed him as rulers of Brno, with sharpshooters shooting those that try to climb his throne. Stragglers from Praha try to pawn off books and artifacts to Chroniclers and Apocalyptics. Spitalians try to hash out a deal with clan leaders, but those change often (must be all the throne-climbing).

Brno posted:

Hellvetics install gun locations in the city and secure the passage road.
They call punitive actions in the inner city “combing lice from the pelt”.

Fractal Now

This side section basically states that Chroniclers suspect the Forests to be a giant computer.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw is ten days away from Brno and it's the hub of civilization. Neolybians are here and their Surge Tanks are too – for hunting. A vignette describes them using the turret to blast a Biokinetick five kilometers away. Guess those central European plains are really plain!

Wroclaw is a Safari destination for the Africans.

Wroclaw posted:

Pheromancers in Franka are good, Dushani in the Balkhan are a challenge, but to slay a Biokinetic, a marksman must put the lead right between their bone plates. Then he reloads, fires round after round into the attacking beast until it falls in a fountain of dirt. Target practice with the Surge Tanks only serves to entertain the Scourgers for the city’s benefit.

By the way, I found these images of a Surge tank on Degenesis Facebook and decided to spare us all the suffering of not knowing what it looks like.





Apocalyptics are hired as beaters, Scrappers take tourists to sunken cities, clans sell goat meat and vegetables – as well as offering some strange, be it Burn, men or women.

The Piast rules Wroclaw. Some believe him to be 500 years old, and that he won't die until Wroclaw reaches its prior glory. Others claim that this is just a position inherited by anonymous scions of a ruling clan. Some say that it's just five ducks in a Winged Hussar outfit. The palace of the Piast has all the amenities one could want, and can house thousands that would never need to interact with the rest of the city. Only the Druschinnik guards see the Piast and carry his orders to the masses, much like a Polish version of Custodes (Kuzhtodiesh?).

But that's not the only mystery of Wroclaw. The city is prosperous, despite nothing growing outside of its walls (so much for my potato comment). It's separated into twelve districts by high walls and gates, and nobody – not even well-meaning Spitaliers – are allowed to leave the merchant quarter.

My guess is that the Piast is a GOG server who has gained sentience and Druschinnik are genetically enhanced descendants of CD Projekt Red that guard him

Next time: Fuck Apocalyptics with a sledgehammer

Cultures: Pollen, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Pollen, pt. 4



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Smuggle

Here's another side-section – Pollen is lousy with them.

So, Pollen's Burn makes cold bearable, food edible, expands conciousness and heals diseases... while still being a product harvested from a Mother Spore Field, which can turn the user into a Typhoid Marry for Sepsis and kill him dead (Sepsis doesn't really work with fully formed cells of adults)

Previously, it was an easy trade for Apocalyptics. The Spitalians used their usual routes and Spore Felds blossomed. However, things have changed recently: the Spore Fields rot, and Biokinetics are so aggressive that you can't send out children to gather the stuff anymore.

Apocalyptics blame Spitalians and their Anabaptist buddies. They dug shafts, took samples and pumped poison into the ground. This has made the business a lot more difficult, so now the Apocalyptics guard Spore fields, ambush Spitalians and burn down Fractal Forests.

If this doesn't paint Apocalyptics as the worst of the playable clans, I don't know what can.

Danzig

Not about to see your light, but if you wanna find hell with me, I will tell you what it's like: a city near damn covered with ice. Local Spitaliers are slowly evacuating their research center to a Spital in Borca.

Consultant Dr. Jensen has set up her Primer research group here. She thinks that Primer will exit the host and return to its metaorganism form if you throw the host into unpleasant enough circumstances. That's why she's experimenting on Biokinetics.

Danzig posted:

Body 2 has become her hobby: A flesh film covers the maximum security lab, groping for seams and hanging from the ceiling in flaps. Bones are swimming on the surface of the flesh, joined by cartilage and bone threads. A head-sized bulge down by the door’s lower edge keeps expanding only to deflate again. Something dark presses against the shell before sinking back into the bulge’s wet carnality. Strictly speaking, the experiment has not succeeded, but it proves the Biokinetics’ adaptability.

“Bulge's wet carnality.”

Meanwhile, Anabaptists, always great allies when it comes to purging shit, keep their distance from the labs. Instead, they're rebuilding Cold St. Mary, a pre-Eschaton church. These hardcore fanatics – mostly Ascetics (I think they're lvl 1 Anabaptists) – will eventually lose, the book says, but this way Cathedral City shows its dedication in fighting the demiurge.

Also, the largest nest of Spore Beasts is under the city. We've never heard of them before, but I guess the name is supposed to make them scary.

The Wretched Hag

A side section about a Baba Yaga-like character with black eyes and black teeth. She's old, crazy, ill, endlessly hungry and subject of most tales told to Pollner kids. The first records date back to murals that appeared near Poznan a few years after the Eschaton. and the book asks what happened to burn this myth into the minds of Pollners.

Scrap Blessings

Another side section! It basically says that ground heaves and old cities burst through the ground, attracting Scrappers with phat loot.

At the Spore Front

Look at the map here.



That blot in the east? Endless spore field. The Spore Wall started in Pandora, spread east with the wind before turning north and south, merging with the Balkhan field in former Ukraine.

It's too late for the Spitalians to stop it, but not too late to be metal about it.

At the Sporefront posted:

In Brest the doctors tried to keep the closing door pried open. For many decades now they have been fighting to build a corridor to Asia, poisoning and burning the soil to starve the Sepsis. Fully automated Destruction Fortresses, a grand synthesis of Chronicler and Spitalian technology, spray fungicides in set intervals, making survival in these zones without protective suits impossible.

I bet they would love to get their hands on a hydrogen nuke.

Anyways, six years ago, Dr. Glukhovsky led a platoon east. This offended the Sepsis/Primer somewhat fierce, and it collapsed the tunnel behind them, destroying a DESTRUCTION FORTRESS in progress. By the time one was reconnected, Glukhovsky was gone.

Some believe that he managed to reach Asia and it's untapped waifu lodes. Others believe that there's only death to the East.

I guess you could say that the Spore Wall is the most apocalyptic of the Sepsis/Primer threats in the game, but it really doesn't get that much mention.

Life At The Ice Barrier

This section reminds you (and me) that there's an ice-age type glacier moving in from the north. Nothing to be found there – escept for the Garganti, who wander the wastes on their mammoths.

And that's all you need to know about them.

Next time: Balkhan, the land of the noble nipple savage

Cultures: Balkhan

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Balkhan



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




Balkhan

Powder Keg

You might have noticed – I only noticed it when writing this thing – that the first section usually describes the region/culture in broad strokes.



The Balkhanis totally misinterpreted the usual criticism of fantasy armor for women.

In Balkhan, that means broad stereotypes. While the land is described as a place of hilarious extremes – meters of snow in winter, burning sun in summer, torrential rain, hurricane winds, and forests that somehow withstand it all – the Balkhanis are the passionate barbarians.

If you have ever read about a savage land where people are merry, yet quarrel easily, where they feud as quick as they make up, where they remain united as long as a common foe remains, you have read about the Balkhani.

Powder Keg posted:

Even within the family, a single word can have the destructive power of a grenade. One altercation, and father and son attack each other savagely, just to embrace again laughing the next morning. Me against my brother – my brother and I against my uncle – together against the rest of the world!

Usud

Usud is the crater – the crater lake – of Balkhan. It's separated from humanity by the Carpathians. The spore fields are overgrown with trees (somehow this doesn't happen nowhere else) and the mountains have been sanded and carved by freak winds. It's almost musical.

And it's certainly musical when the Dushani, the local Psychonauts, get involved. They modify the landscape to modify the music, like they were spawned by a mutated Feng Shui library.

Usud posted:

Then the Dushani raises his voice, creates a counterpoint to Gaia’s breath. The sounds touch the heart, planting pain or comfort. In this instant, he merges his Earth Chakra with mundane creation. Intervening. Changing. Taking and giving.

I'm still confused about this whole Chakra thing. Then again, it's orientalism: if the alien stuff started resembling some Judeo-Christian thing, people would just roll eyes and throw the book away. Go a little Asian on it, however...

This Means War

Africans basically blitzkrieged Turkey, taking the people away to work as servants in Tripoli or as labour in the oil fields. They control harbor towns, with their HQ is now based in Constantinople Istanbul. They even threatened to spill over the Bosphorus.

But the Balkhani turned it into Africans' Vietnam.

This Means War posted:

Children squatted in the ruins along the lines and reported the Scourgers’ movements to their villages. Others crept into the camps and poisoned wells with discordant Burn. Women seduced the Consuls, the last thing they felt was their killer’s hot breath. The Voivodes intervened in the battles, but avoided battles themselves. Wherever the Scourgers advanced, the troops retreated to reform elsewhere and attack anew, stinging the Lion’s flank.

Alliances were offered and not kept, and even the slaves brought back to Africa took to sabotage with great aplomb. The price of Balkhani slaves tanked and the African advance ground to a halt.

Clan Rule

With Africans beaten back to Istanbul, the Balkhani were almost ready to get back to propper orky infighting. But then they noticed that Cults exist, outsiders one and all, providing slights real and imagined.

Clan Rule posted:

Today, the cults in the Balkhan are beggars who have to explain their every step to the Voivodes. Those who rebel are sold to the Africans as slaves.

Maggot Tunnels

Since Balkhan isn't beset by cooky geological activity like Pollen, it features quite a few tunnels. Many of them are natural, some are man made yet overgrown, and some are... inhabitted.

Project Tannhauser was the Recombination Group's (previously mentioned as the makers of nanotech containers that crystalized a spore field) take on Fallout's Vaults in the Carpathians. However, instead of purposefully experimenting on survivors of nuclear holocaust (this is such a stupid bit of Fallout lore...), they put everyone in cryosleep and posted guards (the book calls them mercenaries, as if any corporate security couldn't be considered such) to keep watch and wake the worthies when time is right.



Blood for the tunnel god, hinges for the door throne

Hundreds of years later, the guards – or their descendants – had mutated into Palers, who worship the Sleepers as goods and do rituals they don't understand. But the algae tanks are exhausted, and Palers need to eat. Since they're the chosen of the gods, it wouldn't behove them to work; thus, they mount night-time raids to the surface.

Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Laibach

Want to know more about the palers? Too bad! Instead, you get to learn about a city that's untouched by the vegetation that so often overwhelms abandoned settlements of man. Laibach has a song of its own and the center of the city is etched with Dushani Chakras of various sizes.

'Laibach posted:

The Balkhani say the buildings are telling the city’s story in a language that no one can understand. Others claim the voices are the shadows of those whom the screaming of the Dushani Mokosch Eidolon has ripped body from soul, no less. Until today, the souls vacillate on Eidolon’s wavelength, unableto flee.

Mokosch Eidolon the most anime name in the book yet.

Laibach is also situated on an old smuggler route in the Carnic Alps between Purgare and Balkhan. What few visitors come there can find Burn and weapon staches, even slave pens. However, nobody stays long. A bandaged creature – a cyborg with eye lasers – roams the streets and there are red lights (cameras?) in the windows downtoawn that can alert it to the presense of visitors.

Pest

This part of Budapest is now a giant sound amplifier for the Dushani, to the point where sound can slice you to pieces before disintegrating you entirely. It used to be held by the Judges at a time long past. However, the only inhabitans now are mutants (called Abberants, because we're short on synonims I guess) who will kill anyone who makes a sound. Some Apocalyptics still manage to harvest Burn in there - they must have very disciplined children!

Summarized half a page if not more there.

Breaking the Wave

AND THEN CHERNOBOG HAPPENED!

The Corroded wanted to cross the city, so he ordered the clans to clear the road, break the sound wave. Hundreds got vaporized by the sound waves, with Dushani from all over the country rushing in to bolster the song of defense.

Breaking the Wave posted:

The Corroded is impatient. He wants to move on. Lights flash in the night sky; detonations tear the whispering of the woods. Soon, he will have reached his destiny. Next stop Beograd.

Like in any good post-apocalyptic setting, pre-Eschaton losstech kicks fucking ass.

Voivodate Beograd



Voivodate Beograd posted:

Over the centuries, Beograd’s Twin Tower has been besieged, fortified, conquered, lit on fire several times, ironclad, cursed and blessed.

The place is the iconic seat of power, and the settlement grew around it. Whoever takes power, installs himself in the Twin Tower. The Djuric family/dynasty has held it for the 100 years and there are celebrations on the account of the centenial - and to help the citizens forget Beograd's many enemies.

The Voivode sold Spitalier doctors to slavery after they failed to stop typhus a year ago. Some Apocalyptics empied their chamber pots in front of him once, so now they have to live in a ghetto that they can't leave at night.

The Usudi are a new problem in the mountains; the kind that eats travellers. However, this isn't just your usual bare-assed Clanners being angry at people who use indoor plumbing!

Voivodate Beograd posted:

However, those Usudi wake a primordial fear even in Djuric’s assassins. They are nightmarish creatures without fear or brains, dehumanized and deadly. Even the smallest scratches lead to putrid blisters when an Usudi is around. They pollute the air and the soul. The people consider them a bad omen.

Ah yes, nigthmare killers that spread contageous miasma – might be a bad sign! Might be.

The others smell Beograd's weakness: Dalmatians have sent advance parties of shock troops for exploration (the Steiner scout lance approach), and Sofia is both building walls and hiring new troops. Oh, and remember that the Corroded is on his way.

So Djuric is sending lookalikes into Beograd to demonstrate normalcy; two have already been assassinated.

Voivodate Sofia

Sofia is a cool place, with a lot of clean mountain water, fertile ground, and wind conditions that take Sepsis into the mountains and away from their lands.

It's guarded by five fortresses that protect the five mountain passes leading into Sofia. If IRL Sofia isn't surrounded the mountains, well, the Degenesys Facebook claims that since the world is set 500 later, the location of the cities doesn't have to be the same as we know today.

'Voivodate Sofia posted:

Sofia itself lies on the northern slope of the Witoscha Mountains. Ramrod-straight streets lead past palaces adorned with pillars, metal-covered buildings and dusty apartment blocks. Some end in giant plazas, others get lost in the forests’ proliferation. The Voivode’s palace is an octagonal hall clutched in steel ribs that would have room enough for dozens of Surge Tanks.

The Voivode rarely stays in his pimp shack. He's always about town, inspecting troops, giving orders, and so on. He's spreading the road network and even building a radio mast. The book calls the latter Voivode's only mistake.

All in all, I kinda like the writing about the Sofia's Voivode. Too bad the dude doesn't even get a name.

Confederations

Oooh, a sidesection!

Confederations posted:

Djuric knows his people. He loves them for their savageness and excesses, for their grand gestures and their passion.That is also why he mistrusts them.

Djuric's love/mistrust relationship with his walking stereoptypes means that he has to seek outside help. For that, he's tapping the Pollners, and I regreat having already used the Eastern Poland joke earlier.

Pollners are sworn to him and they carry out his orders. They get free reign in the city and in return. When they're not whoring and drinking in Beograd, they go out to the clans of Pollen and Balkhan to convince them to join Djuric.

Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




The book also has quotes from IRL sources, but I'm not sure if I should bother with them.

Karakhan

So I said that I liked the description of the nameless Voivode of Sofia. Well, this next bit just make everything just confusing.

Some nameless dude wandered into Sofia (later quoted as having said “Sofia called to me”), took in the sights, somehow ended up directing the reconstruction of Cathedral of the Patriarchs, did some ruin delving... and coup'd Voivode Victor with full support of the customs officers, city guard and even the Boyar guard.

He then assumed the name of Karakhan, which the book claims to mean “black leader.” Karkhan immediately got to work: he solved the (previously unmentioned) Paler problem “by fumigating the bunkers with a handful of trusted companions,” (this means that he either gassed them, or that he struck a deal with them) and armed his officers with machineguns (even odds of weapons in question being SMGs and assault rifles) and body armor. Karakhan kept the Sun Discs for himself.

No, I have no idea what those are. Maybe got the guns and the Discs were looted from the Paler tunnels? I assume they would have some old world tech kicking about.

Anyways, Karakhan was not alone in his dealings.

Karakhan posted:

At his side is a black woman clad in the Voivodules’ garb. The crisscross patterns are unknown, not pointing towards a certain clan. Her voice is deep and calm, and she only talks to her Karakhan, talking to him in an African idiom that no one around understands. Depending on thelight, she seems to be ancient or very young, and she never smiles. Is she an emissary of Tripol’s Merchant Bank, his bodyguard or his lover? “My heart and my soul,” he calls her when talking to his officers. “Too big to carry within me.”

Is Karakhan some lostech wonder, too? The Sofia section stated that building the radio mast was the Voivode's only mistake. If we assume that Voivode to have been Victor the deposed, does it mean that Karakhan was lured to Sophia by the radio mast? And if the Voivode in the Sofia bit is Karakhan, is the radio mast his mistake, then?

Fuck.

Anyways, Sofia is described as being the mirror image of Karakhan: tricky, disciplined and challenging. Meanwhile, Karakhan is said to have assumed the city's motto for himself: “Grows,but does not age.”

My theory is that Karakhan's real name is Marty Sue of the clan DMPC.

Bucharest

Bucharest has been through some shit. Ruins are everywhere, including the “fortress walls [that] once held against zealots from the deepest south.” Apparently, the city had suffered a severe firestorm that made stones melt into glass.

The Dambovita river overflowed some time ago, turning the municipal territory into a short lived lake. It dried up and left soggy ground that could not support the taller pre-Eschaton buildings ("towers," the book calls them) that well. Most of them collapsed, saved for the two that crashed into each other and remained there like two drunks. The whole area had undergone cycles of reclamation from vegetation, inhabitation, fighting and abandonment.

Then the Jehammedans came, converting the local tribes, crushing those they couldn't sway. They preached at such tourist spots like Stavropoleos Church, the Cathedral of the Patriarchs (one in every city?) and even the House of the Republic. They also let their goats get in on some urban grazing action.

The splendor (goats?) of Bucharest made Jehammedans clash with Anabaptists. The war turned to be costly, drawing in Bucharest's best to replace casualsies. Said men were not there to protect the city when the Africans crossed the Bosphorus and came in knocking.

They Sow The Wind...

Chroniclers and Scrappers escorted a huge load of niter through the somer borderpost of Teritorial Region IV (near Laibach), which I assume means Hellvetics. The documents were in order and the passage for payment were paid without even haggling. By the time some Hellvetic officer took notice of the shipment, the trail had gone cold – not even Justitian knew anything about it.



The symbol appears approximately here in the chapter. I have no idea what it means.

...And Reap The Whirlwind

The incursion into Balkhan was a big thing for a Neolybian named Zuberi. He had three Surge Tanks given by the Merchant Bank (of Tripoli), hundreds of Scourgers following him, and even his friends and family who were there to witness his triumph.

Zaberi's plan was to storm Bucharest, close off the southern Balkhan (somehow...) and loot the shit out of Paler tunnels afterwards. Zuberi had already cast his face in silver; the mask was to be worn at his triumph in Tripoli and the ceremony in which he'd be declared a sheih of the Merchant Bank.

The trip went uneventfully, with Surge Tanks making slow and steady progress (remember, they're huuuge). The route took them through the Voivodate Ionnus - an enemy of Bucharest, and well bribed to boot. Never the less, the Voivode wanted to meet Zuberi.

Voivode Neven merely asked for him and his cavalry to be allowed to join the expedition and fight in the siege of Bucharest. Zaberi agreed: if you can have Balkhanis killing Balkhanis, that means fewer dead Africans.

During the trip, the Balkhani cav scouted ahead, reporting on the conditions of the route, especially if flooding or landslides were blocking the path. With some corrections, the convoy still ended up within three days of travel to Bucharest. It was then that the Balkhani asked for one last stop. They wanted to hold a small fiest before they end up having to feast with their ancestors (gotta love that suicide cav). Zaberi agreed, because he was so full of himself, and he wanted to show the local colors to his guests. So the convoy set up in a good open field which which provided great line of sight on any possible ambushers. The tanks were parked as in an open, triangular fortress formations, and a fire was set in the middle.

What Zaberi didn't expect was the Balkhani being suicidal. Neven himself infiltrated a tank's engine room and threw a bundles of grenades in the furnace. “Never would he surrender his country to the black devils,” says the book of the nationalist martyr.

...And Reap The Whirlwind posted:

The grenades detonated with a flash, followed by a barrel of flame that vaporized the engine room and roared against the armored hull. The Surge Tank bucked, the outer shell burst outwards. Molten metal rained down to the ground, hitting a layer of niter that Neven’s henchmen had applied days ago. The fire was searing hot, eating deeper and deeper into the ground. Until it reached the buried niter barrels – Neven’s legacy and gift to the Balkhan.

They didn't hear the explosion in Bucharest, but they certainly saw the flash. Fragment (rank) Impulse (name), nestled in the safety and comfort of Justitian's Central Cluster, watched the whole thing unfold over drone feed. The niter thing was a part of his plan to protect his ancestral land.

I guess unlike AdMech, Chroniclers are more given into sentimentality and nationalism.

Next time: Voivodate Supreme Great Leader

Balkhan, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Balkhan, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2


Dissolution

Djuric (of Voivodate Beograd) was not fast enough to act against Bucharest. He didn't know about the African army's destruction; by the time his spies relayed the information, Karakhan was besieging the Stavropoleos church.

What follows is a salad of Jehammedan class names. Bucharest was exhausted in fights againt Anabaptists and Africans (somehow), and Bucharest's Iconide's (class name) calls for help went unheeded. He surrendered to Karakhan in two days.

Dissolution posted:

The same day, the last remaining Isaaki in Bucharest, Arioch, pushes him from the tower of the Church of the Patriarchs as a traitor.

Arioch goes into hiding, but “Bucharest remains unvanquished.” Hard to see how it can be considered to be “unvanquished,” as the next paragraph talks about the plight of Bucharest's Abrami (class name). Their sons all... perished? Are tied up in the fight with Anabaptists?... and they can't send their daughters to fight. Karakhan gives the Abrami an offer: he'll declare their women taboo if they swear eternal allegiance to him.

Nice guy, that Karakhan

Voivodate Dalmatia

Voivodate Dalmatia posted:

A mummified hand is on display, index and middle finger crossed and held in place by wire. Next to it is a bundle of bandages, shot through with silver and gold threads, supposedly containing an Anabaptist’s skull. Without getting up, the merchant adds, “There’s an acorn in the jaw.” His display contains only unique pieces: a hilt with a broken blade, mud-encrusted and lacquered; a ram’s horn, dull and dusty blue; a Hybrispanian Mnemonid’s perforated and strung-up mussels; a club with a hundred notches in the hilt. Beneath the stall, more items gather dust in crates. “There is more down there, just pull it out and rummage through.” Now the merchant grins sourly.

Apparently, Dalmatia overthrew Jehammedans at some point and looted the vaults of the Iconides for their Icons: tokens of their deals with God. The relics were hot merchandise for some time, but forgeries quickly appeared. So even if the Jahammedans were to retake the city, they wouldn't be able to tell the real Icons from the fakes.

Just like with friends in real life, amirite?

Broken

And now we learn what actually happened. For the longest time, Jehammedans lived in “in Dalmatia’s dried-up coastal cities” like strangers, with entire quarters being separated from the Balkhani (and their high-impact domestic violence).

Supposedly, this was the way since the founding of Dalmatia by the legendary brothers Zlatan. After conquering the Dalmatian clans, one of them remained a worldy fellow, the other became and Isaaki with the Jehammedans and was eventually declared an Iconide.

Apparently, the brothers ruled for three generations, because boyar Buzdovan smashed Voivode Zlatan's elderly skull in with a mace and declared freedom. Freedom was followed with killings of anyone who disagreed, assassinations, outlawing of Jehammedans (you get to keep what you loot) and them being sold off into slavery, slaughter of Apocalyptics (not the worst decision, considering that their Burn trade makes them a fifth column element) and eventual betrayal of Anabaptists who may or may not have been literally thrown into a pit of hungry gendos.

Titles are given and taken away daily, the bell tolls on the hour of freedom every day and there's a bowl of gold in the market; to touch it means death. I guess this is one way Buzdovan can claim that you can leave a bowl of gold in the street of Dalmatia and nobody would touch it. I bet your conservative dad would love him.

Buzdovan is serious about his role as the Great Leader, even forming new rituals customs to show that Dalmatians are, indeed, a distinct people, and that they should stay together instead of getting Balkhanized. Some love the New World Order, others take heart in their dealings in slave trade and black market.

Meanwhile, like any good Great Leader, Buzdovan is crazy. He thinks he knows the hour of his death. He keeps an Icon deep under his throne room: it's prophesied that an Isaaki who wears it will topple the Voivode of Dalmatia. Buzdovan doesn't destroy the relic, because he figures that fate would just find some other way to kill him.

Crazy, I tells ya.

Turkey

Not a lot of talk about alien danger in Balkhans, eh? Well, now we get to know that Psychovore seeds traveled down the Nile and into the Mediterranian sea before sprouting up in Turkey. The plants quickly devoured entire regions, putting into question the African conquest of Turkey.

However, there are rumors that the Turks survive in hermetically sealed enclaves. They venture out in suits made of shimmering, bulbous plastic. The Psychovores (the book uses plural) retract vines and needles away from them; the book implies that shimmering comes from a contact poison. The Africans would love to get the formula, but the Turks avoid everyone.

Meanwhile, a tanker moored in Kalkan. It carried Neolybians and Spitaliers (I guess they'll work with anyone as long as it ends up killing Primer spawn). Our murder doctors donned their Hygienist suits, went into the forests, took samples and planted wired cartridges.

Turkey posted:

The experiment will begin soon.

I wonder if Spitalians are once again throwing old Recombination Group tech at Primer to see what sticks.

Next time: I can't go to Hybrispania, I'm allergic to prescient sea food!

Cultures: Hybrispania

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Hybrispania



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




Hybrispania

Hybris

Remember how I noticed the pattern of the first section being a generic overview of the region? Hybripania says “fuck that.”

When the big one hit, Spain fared pretty well, all things considered. A shard of the asteroid struck the mountains near Toledo... and that was about it. The emergency services sprung into action, convoy leaders became the new rock stars, and the story of Reconquista was joined by the new legend of Reconstruction.

However, this is Degenesis, so things can't go too well for too long. Spain, for one, needed power: the ash from Toledo impact (and, one would think, Reaper's Blow) made solar farms useless, and coastal tsunamis washed away their wind farms. The country ran on generators, always hungry for oil.

Hybris posted:

People who wanted only the best for their country gathered around maps as they had done for centuries. Fingers pointed to faraway and less faraway countries, but rarely to their own.

Africa’s oil raised desires. A small, armed squad was supposed to negotiate pumping concessions. Someone at the map table laughed, the mood was bright. They knew what they weredoing.

I think the first sentence of the quote falls victim to the translator/writer being a non-native English speaker. There's a lot of difference between “wanted only the best” and “only wanted the best” - and the latter would be more apropos in this place.

Gibraltar

So apparently the pre-Eschaton humans of Degenesis had built the bridge over the Strait of Gibraltar. With no BJ Blazkovitz to fuck it up, the bridge stood there until it was hit by asteroids or metheorites. At the same time, the water level fell, and sand and debris collected around the struts to the point where you could almost get to Africa (nice country) without getting wet.

The Spaniards used dams, concrete and even the debris itself to build a road to the other continent.

Gibraltar posted:

During the last few hundred meters, the Africans cheered the Spanish workers on and poured tons of rock into the gap themselves.

:sadsmith:

The Line

The bridge was barely finished and the workers hadn't even stopped shaking hands/exchanging t-shirts/posing for historic photos when the Spanish oil prospectors came. Armed to the teeth, with machineguns in the beds of their technicals, they stormed to the oil fields and started dragging barrels of oil back to Spain. With the lights finally back on, the Spanish were happy. The Africans, however...

The Line posted:

The Africans, however, were angry. This was theft! They demanded the intruders get their white asses back to their own country. The Spaniards begged to differ. It quickly escalated.

Conflagration Now

Spanish mercenaries (why not the army?) start shooting left and right; soon entire cities are on fire. Apparently whoever planned the oil acquisition took all the cues from a conquistador rulebook. Back in Span, the pacifists were silenced by the oil lobby and oil money. Apparently, having half of Europe split by an asteroid is just the right time for petrofuel greed to blossom.

Africans weren't idle. In fact, people from all over country continent came to fight. I guess expecting reinforcements from Sub-sacharan Africa is a little naïve, considering that the Psychovore-rock landed there. Anyways, the Africans struck back with guerilla warfare.

Conflaghation Now posted:

It must have been hundreds of thousands that finally attacked the invaders. Mercenaries countered by pumping lead into the crowd until their machine guns glowed and the bandoliers were empty. In the end, they exploded the rigs and retreated under the cover of smoke, controlled at first, panicky later. All of Africa had risen against them and drove them back across the sea, back to Gibraltar. The
Africans followed and crossed the land bridge.

So something that would have been a relatively trivial trade question in real life became the spark for the most important intra-human conflict in the post-Eschaton era.

Turn of the eras

“That was 200 years ago,” states the book, which makes it sound like either the Spanish oil thievery went on for about 300 years after the Eschaton, or that we still have 300 years of history to cover.

In any case, it's pointed out that Spain is really wet now and there are jungles and shit.

The fall of Gibraltar is called out as the birth of Hybrispania, as the Spanish had to retreat from the conquering Africans. They were only stopped outside Madrid, in a booby-trapped forest. Thus ended the army phase of Spanish/African conflict. It boiling down into all the unpleasantries of guerilla skirmishes, including stuff like nailing your enemies to the trees. The Spaniard fighters are called Guerreros, and we'll be hearing a lot more about them (dying).


Is this lady a Guerrera? Who knows!

Fallen by the Wayside

Fighting for freedom is the brain bug of all Hybrispaniards (the book wants us to the entire ungainly word). They revere their martyrs, compose endless songs, and even paint their names on the walls of Castile's fortresses “until even the Guerreros consider it insane.” So it's kind of like a more dangerous, hands-on version of supporting are troops.

However, the life of a Guerrero is basically the shitty life of any rural guerilla soldier you care to mention, save for maybe Viet Cong, since the Africans don't have air superiority (air-anything seems to be absent in Degenesis). Guerreros live to fight.

Fallen by the Wayside posted:

In the jungle, he lives in hastily built camps that do not matter to him. Possessions are a burden, restricting his mobility and making him vulnerable. The forest is his most loyal fighting partner, they become one, and the Guerrero learns to track enemies and to live off the woods. Self-sacrifice is considered the greatest merit, mercilessness towards the enemy is deemed just.

All this talk of fight and sacrifice, and not a single glimpse of self-awareness that the Hybris were the ones who cause it all in the first place.

So there are many ways for a Guerrero – or Guerrera, Hybris don't have the luxury of Bucharest's Abrami – to die. But the Scourgers have a worse fate in store for them: slavery. Guerrero's don't kill themselves in prison – they wait. Neolybians know that and send the slaves to ore mines – they are too dangerous to be let into the households.

At this point, the Balkhani and the Hybri Guerreros are pointed out as shitty slaves. If the people of Purgare turn out to be that feisty, too, that would mean that the three geographical regions closest to Africa are the worst for slavery efforts.

Next Time: Guerrera 2: Daughter of Guerrero

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Castile

While Madrid and a string of other cities stand, no African will be allowed to set foot on the Castilian plateau. And it's a place worth conquering, as the Hybrispanian jungle gives way to cornfields stretching between chains of hills and rocky outcroppings.

Castile posted:

Almonds smell sweetly, dry-stone walls mark pathways. The alleys are flooded with light, old Guerreros sit on stone benches, surrounded by children, telling stories oftheir battles, of their enemies, their grimaces and masks and that they bleed just like you and me.

Scourgers are fucking badass, you can't escape that even in scenes of rustic tranquility. Also, by the time we're finished with Hybrispania, you'll be certain that “old Guerrero” is an oxymoron.

In case you forgot that we're still in Spain, every city and village is stated to have an Arena. But it's not for the bulls: young Guerreros are taking part in a cross between historical reanactment and gladiatorial games, ritually recreating famous battles.

Castile posted:

La Campeadora is said to have killed an African Simba with nine hits, so those who manage to knock out their opponent with exactly nine blows in the arena are named El Astado, the bull, and celebrated as the village’s strongest fighter for one day.

A Simba is a Scourger class/level, I thing. Who is La Compeadora? Lol, that's next subsection, silly. Now we need to talk about the Jehammedans. They're are getting along with the Hybris just fine. The lay people buy their goats, listen to their sermons (including the ones on “sublimity of
the war against the Africans”) and take their sons to fight along with them.

Since Jehemmedans get to fight with Guerreros, the veterans get a lot of street cred. Which means that Iconides are the closest thing Hybrispania has to holy warriors. This makes them super influential in the war effort – and motivating people to fight.

Castile posted:

If there were days of leisure once, the Iconides’ droning drives the Guerreros back to the jungle’s inferno with their wounds barely healed.

La Compeadora

La Compeadora posted:

Cordoba took her left eye. At Cartagena, a 9mm round punched two smoking craters into her cheeks and turned her teeth into a galaxy of calcium shards. At Barcelona, the exploding Abubakar’s shrapnel tore her nose and forehead. Scourger welts on the back at Malaga, another gunshot wound at Cartagena, in the leg this time. Little sacrifices to a big war and her painful, but victorious part in it.

La Compeadora is the Guerrera. She was known as 'The Beautiful Flower” at a Neolybian's court in Cordoba twenty years ago. Things have changed since then. La Compeadora – The Fighting Woman – is all about kicking ass.

La Compeadora posted:

The Hybrispaniards’ war bred great Guerreros. They came and went: torn by bullets, run over, chained between Scourger buggies and ripped apart. Their death inspired the survivors from whose ranks the next conqueror soon rose.

Emphasis mine

So, Guerreros are great at fighting. But La Compeadora is also good at talking to people, working the crowd. She's a leader, someone the book calls the closest thing the Hybrispaniards ever had to a warlord. However, the book contradicts that immediately by dedicating a long paragraph to all the practical stuff La Compeadora does. Her hands-on approach means that shechecks weapon chaches, teaches people to set traps, raises morale of broken Guerreros, recruits children and trains them up as junior Guerreros... The woman does everything.

Next time: Our SIGINT picks ups tachyons

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Prophecy

When Scourgers joined the fight in Spain, they expected a fast victory. Their morale was excelled, they were well armed, and unparralled in combat. They only needed to do a Surge Tank push on Madrid, hit the city with rockets and incediaries, and use the buggies cut off the communications in the plateau. This would leave the Guerreros still in the forests cut off from supplies. Most of them would give up in time.

But that didn't happen.

Surge Tanks got stuck in well-prepared ditches and other Ewok bullshit. Buggies ran into pits that opened into nest of future wasps. Whatever the Scourgers did, the Guerreros had a plan for.

“They had made a pact,” says the book.

Destiny

Mystic forests high on the southern slopes of the plateau (so, close to the front?) are not for regular mortals. Every tree is marked by mystic etchings.

Destiny posted:

They are coordinates in space and time forming a humans destiny only in a Pregnoctic’s mind. They can tell his past and future much more exactly than this genes; they draw a line from birth to death and into the afterlife.

They say that there is a cave in the forest; any Guerrero wealthy and strong enough to shoot bullets at its entrance for a day would be rewarded with purple artifa- wait, no, that some other Destiny.

Pregnotics are the Psychomancers of Hybrispania, and if I'm getting it right, many of them are just nodes for a hivemind that can see into different times and even worlds.

Destiny posted:

Attributes, deeds, and the manner of death – all of this is written down at the day of birth by a Node, a Pregnoctic whose body can only hold one facet of her mind. She is everywhere at all times. She sees through thousands of eyes into a dozen worlds and countless eras. The trees are her anchor and point of orientation in this world and time. She already knows (has just experienced) that in twenty courses of the sun, a young warrior will come to her (was here) to ask for a glimpse of his future. Like a spider weaving its web, her fingers wander across the bark, cutting time, place and events into it with her fingernails.

Biokinetics look like chumps when compared to the power to see through the veil of time and space. That and having nails sharp enough to etch bark.



The book crammed this picture of what presumably is a Guerrero camp in here, and I will too

Woman of the Mountain

The story of the previously-mentioned warrior continues. The big Scourger push was about to happen and mere oracles were not enouch (why?). A warrior was lead to the mountain by a vision. Crossing the forest of etched trees, he found the Woman of the Mountain.

Woman of the Mountain posted:

Then he sees her: a naked woman by the lake, her back to him. Shadows sway at her feet, climbing her legs and flitting across her back up to her head. Her silhouette blurs as if she was a reflection on the lake’s surface. She giggles with a creaking voice that speaks of age and has nothing in common with the naked beauty in front of the warrior.

I don't know how a giggle can be creaking, but such is the profane magic of the Primer.

Woman of the Mountain posted:

He walks towards her, reaching out to the woman of the mountain. She turns around, takes his hand. Belatedly he lowers his gaze. He has seen the eyes sewn shut and the thing on her forehead that gazes at him like a hungry animal from the depths of nothingness.

She lead him on a tripping vision quest, and he saw the Surge Tanks advancing on Madrid - “enough time to ready the traps.”

No Price Too High

Of course, not everyone is so lucky: some warriors never return from visiting the Nodes. Young girls, however, always return. La Compeadora recruits them from villages for vague Guerrera business, and sends them up the mountain.

These girls return as crones with mussel necklaces, “without a past or present life,” but full of visions/knowledge of the future. That's how Guerreros level the playing field against the Africans.

By the way, the two sides of this conflict are sometimes called the Lion and the Crow. No idea why the Crow is supposed to represent Hybrispania – or why the symbol of Hybrispania is the wheel.

Next time: Lorenso Lamas is... the filthy fucking traitor

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Renegados

When Africans came to Hybrispania, they were driven by vengeance, killing and looting, raising Malaga, Granada, Seville and Cartagena. However, no campaign can be sustained endlessly, and the attrition forced Lion to slow down.

When they did stop, they noticed that Hybrispain is quite the place, fertile, beautiful and dotted with Bygone buldings.

Renegados posted:

They strode through the Mezquita’s portico in Cordoba and marveled at a fountain carried by twelve stone lions in the Alhambra.

So the Africans started restoring their conquered territory. Neolybians moved into palaces, and captive Hybrispaniard labour was used for repairs, and to wash all the blood off. Old Andalusia become their home-away-from-home, with Sevile rising to be the second Tripoli.

After two hundred years of such life, the pain of Africans who originally invaded Hybrispainia subsided into legend. Locals of the conquered territories work as free people, bound by laws rather than chains. They even socialize with the Neolybians. However, being critical of the new regime – or having the temerity to “chase a thieving African kid from their market stall” - can lead to being sold to slavery (“taking the road to Gibraltar').

Hybrispaniards do not wish to revolt, since the northerners considers the Andalusians Renegados – traitors. Apparently, when La Compeadora took Cordoba, she left a field of impaled skulls. That's... one way to tell your conquered people that you're fighting for them. It remains even after the Africans conquered the city again.

Consejeros are the ellected officials of the Andalusians. They keep peace, act as judges, interact with the Africans on official matters – and, of course, vie for power and privilege, offering up their young as guards and pawns. This kind of colloborator-controlled life makes the Guerrero heart bleed.

Cordoba

Cordoba, as you might have gathered, is a shitty place to live. This troubles Jaafar, the city's Consul. He has abandoned his gardens, blood stains remain uncleaned on the tiles, Mesquite has been converted a hospital for the maimed, “and the Scourges’ crack is audible in his palace, rousing him from his sleep even after all these years.” There are even odds of the Scourge being either a whip or a rifle.

The city doesn't fare much better. The streets are dangerous and Guerrero attacks are constant. Compeadora is not aboving using the children to poison wells and rice stocks with discordant Burn (non-discordant Burn is Apocalyptic territory). Most of the Hybrispaniard population – which Jaafar “always treated fairly and kindly” - has fled to Gibraltar and Sevile. The ones who are left are either Guerrero sympathizers or their captives. Even the Consejeros look shifty (even if one would reason them to be considered arch-traitors by Guerreros and thus irredeemable).

Jaafar considers the remaining Hybrispaniards suspect. The Scourgers chain families like some sort of post apocalyptic not-so-secret police. Jaafar even had Ignacio, an old friend and Consejero, arrested. However, his desperate pleas over the arrest had sown doubt in Jafaar's heart.



This illustration comes from much earlier in the chapter, but I think it's more fitting in the Cordoba section

Outside of the city, Scourgers post the heads of killed enemies. At night, Guerreros leave poles with impaled skulls of Scourgers (I'm sure there are plenty phrenologists who cantell which skull belongs to which side). But theres more than skulls in the fields. “Some days ago,” a Scourger patrol tripped over wire between the poles and fell into a pit of poisoned nails. Anubites (long time no see) are fighting – and praying – for their lives.

Cordoba posted:

Hope is all that Jaafar has left.

Borderlands

If Cordoba is fucked up, then so is the rest of the Al Andalus border. Guerreros consider anybody living there to be either an African or a Renegado. Burned-out farms and villages dot the landscape, with ruins throughly tunneled and mined.

Also, Primer is still a thing, don't forget.

'Borderlands posted:

The discordant fields are very close.

Spores dance in the breeze, there is a strong smell of ammonia in the air. Sometimes, pale beige membranes glide across the sky trailing a wake of turbulent spores, swimming in the air like malformed rays. The insects are multi-segmented here: One species of ants has five body
segments instead of three as usual. The two additional ones are bright red, and stunted pairs of constantly vibrating legs grow from them.

Into this fucked up landscape the Scourgers venture out in their Koms buggies.

Next time: The stalker packs his bag with ammo, nuts and bolts, some chorizo, and a bottle of sangria.

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Hybrispania, pt. 5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




Here's a crazy prophecy to get us started.

Phenomena

The forests are heavily boobytrapped and mined - by the Guerreros, of course. But now Jaafar has to contend with anomalies that straddle the middle ground between STALKER and Metro 2033. All of them are preceded to do with the change in the air, and all of them are freaky. Sometimes, they can eat a patrol, too.

Distortion

Surprise, this bullshit is all the work of Primer! But first, a bit about the different kinds of Pregnotics, the Psychonauts that are considered a part of daily life in Hybrispania.

Distortion posted:

Though eaten by the spores and driven into loneliness, they have kept a spark of humanity.

You'd think they're not exactly Psychonauts – what with the mention of being “eaten by the spores” - previous stuff has told us that Sepsis only works with babies, and Burn affected adults don't really get powers, becoming Sepsis carriers and shroom food in the worst cases.

Enigmatics are your run-of-the-mill oracles, helping people through visions. I bet these are the crones mentioned earlier.

The Mnemonites are ultimate stealth troops, who can slip through a busy market unseen, and can travel as far as Pollen.

Distortion posted:

Only when there is but one branch left on the Tree of Destiny, can they be hunted and killed. The Spitalians have not managed it yet.

What Tree of Destiny? Who the fuck knows anything anymore.

The Nodes are the ultimate form, since their prophecies shape the future (somehow). They're also the key to the Distortion (the anomaly generating zone). It's a triangle that centers on the Mirrar Crater. The Northern-Western point is on the Woman of the Mountain, North-Eastern is on Node Enigma close to Cuenca. Some unknown node is the southern point. Enigmatics don't want to enter the territory, escept for the northern border. There are implications that the south corner might have been touched by Discordance. Anyways, the zone is strange.

Distortion posted:

People stumble into time traps, caught in the metaphysical nets and torn from their world. Ancient
cities burst from the past into a sunlit jungle, tower there in their ancient glory for a few hours and relapse, tearing trees and taking people with them. 500 year old Recombination Group radio transmissions crackle.

Apparently, some shit was happening in the Toledo area even in the Bygone era/pre-Eschaton. New Age sects considered the trees marked by the illegible etchings of Pregnotics to be holy sites and it's possible that you might find some time-locked hippies, which is the worst adventure hook.

Broken Front

La Compeadora was outside of Cordoba when the Nodes created the Distortion (thanks for not stating that in the previous section). Now, the Scourgers are gathering Surge tanks to secure the city gates, and Madrid is unreachable. Guerrero scouts explore the border of the Phenomenon (we totes needed a second name for that); most disappear, with some leaving spotty maps at dead drops. They marked with words “insanita” and “muerte,” because the Distortion is spooky.

Time is running out; in time, the Scourgers will get over the shock and push the Guerreros into the Distortion.

Broken Front posted:

Maybe this is the big chance for the resistance. Or its downfall.

Yes, getting caught between the rock and a hard place is deffo the big chance for the resistance.

Lisbon – The End of the World

Many people forget that Portugal played a part in Napoleonic war and in World War I. Some of those people will notice how deftly it was folded into Hybrispania.

Lisbon Bay is filled with shells of mussels, snails, and trilobytes. However, some of those snail shells “are the size of babies” and a few get even bigger, to the point where even a Scourger wouldn't be able to lift them on his own. Strange how they're not all being ground up in some post-Eschaton industry.

However, there is one snail shell that's fuckhuge – bigger than even a fishing boat! Dating by groves in the inner shell shows this one to be thousands of years old, predating Eschaton. Also, the inside is freaky as fuck.

Lisbon – End of the World posted:

Those who enter the shell report dizziness and a permanent feeling of déjà vu. In the bulbous front part, the dome, the sound is broken and echoes hundredfold. Those who speak, hear their voice from behind before it becomes a distant thunder echoing continuously. The first coils into the tapering interior are easy to walk, the ground slick, but still easy to navigate. Soon, one loses the knowledge of up and down. The walls seem to vibrate. Memories of past and future attack the intruder while his perception bursts into a thousand fragments. He knowshe has to get out.

Who needs Nodes when you can trip the fuck out in a giant snail shell?

Five floors/segments are considered the safe limit for people exploring the shell. Six more await player characters unexplored, as noboy has returned from venturing further.

Not all Lisboans have tried to go inside. The pleasantly sane ones live in two-to-three storey buildings decorated with shells, with colorful scarves flying from the windows. They work on building dhows; even the Africans like these nimble ships crowned with blue, triangular sails. The entire city is devoted to ship building.

Since the African navy stays in the Medditeranean, the Lisboan shipping has no competition in the Atlantic. They sail up to Briton to sell firewood and oil to Anabaptists. The Leopards is a small group of African merchants who found safe haven here – they plan to sail to Vulture's domain (Britain).

“But JcDent-senpai, the conflict in Hybrispania should surely spill over into, ugh, Torture-gal?” you ask. Well, it doesn't, since the “hinterland” is full of canals, which impede buggies. Said canals are filled with trilobytes and mussles that clamp onto swimmers and drown them them by weight. So much for Portugal, I guess!

This makes Lisbon only reachable by sea, because bridges and combat engineers don't exist anymore. Lisboans are content with that; they had always opposed the Spanish invasion of Africa; the whole war is their own damn fault. The Lisbians are presumably also OK with the rest of their country being a channel-ridden trilobyte feeding ground.

And that's that for Hybrispania!

Next time: JcDent just came back from a trip to Purgare, I'm sure he'll tell us all about discordant Burn infected pizza

Cultures: Purgare

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Purgare



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




Purgare

Elysium

Each year, Anabaptists make a religious procession through the fields during the harvest season. They carry sickles and other work implements, as well as their cast-iron sigil, a broken cross. Their yellow-striped pants and oiled hair get dirty. But once they arrive at Catalanos estate, they always refuse the customary offer of water. On the other hand, the gate of the estate is always closed to Anabaptists - or their offers to help till the field.

Abbondia Catalano is the patriarch that kept the Anabaptists away from his city for 70 years. The Gonfalone, the battle banner of family, bears neither the broken cross, nor any other symbols. Each year, it's carried through the town to celebrate Sala Reuinioni. Each summer, the Anabaptists come and are turned away.

Bot Abbondia is old, troubled by gout (hi, Hey Guns!) and clouded eyes. This year, his sons tell him to listen to the Anabaptist woman that came with the procession. According to the book, Abbondia considers female baptists “monkeys” barely fit enough to be called women. But his sons are adamant: she's beautiful, she came all the way from Cathedral City and she only wants to give him Heaven (???).

Elysium posted:

He smelled her before he saw her: a mix of lilac and olives, strong and strange. His sons stood at her side. Three rhombi on a perfect forehead, skin like mare’s milk. She moved closer and offered him nothing but to soothe his pain. He referred her to the good olive oil that he rubbed into his skin every morning and felt like a stubborn old ass. She nodded, gave him a green vial, and stroked his white hair. Warmth permeated him. He touched his head, felt the oil, wanted to scold her for her insolence when the heat burnt through his body and kindled a furnace within his chest. He straightened and exhaled. Age fled him. Sweat collected on his face in oily droplets. For the first time in more than a decade, his vision cleared: How his sons had grown!

Where previous Anabaptist efforts failed, the anti-agapic properties of Elysian oils won out. The city opened to Anabaptists that day and threads of the Gonfaloni were unraveled to embroider the banners with the broken cross.



Make a hoe joke at your own risk.

Purgatory

During the Eschaton, the rocks hit Italy not 50 miles east of Vesuvius. Apparently, it hit a magma bubble and “detonated with a flash as bright as a hundred suns.” The usual apocalyptic crap followed. The Reaper's Blow is just off the West Coast of Italy and remains a permanently fucked up volcanic area, hot and poisonous.

The map tells us that most of it is submerged in what remains of the Med, but the Blow rises to surface eventually and continue through the length of Europe.

And then it got worse.

Purgatory posted:

Around them, reality bloats and splinters into shards that fracture the light into gaudy kaleidoscopes. Stones float in the air and jut out in strange angles across the seas of debris, anchored inspace and time. Darkness grows from Rifts in crystalline efflorescences as shimmering Filaments swell in vaporous clouds as hard as stone and sharp as glass. Those who stray there first notice the fleas and mosquitoes. In thick clouds they attack, crawling into clothes and biting. Shadows fall from the walls, condensing to shapeless cocoons, expanding, and tearing open. This is the end. Invisible deadly tripwires made of intertwined force fields stretch between rocks as they flee.

Psychokinetics are the Psychonauts of Purgare, and their vaguely defined powers all deal with manipulating space like the bitch it is. They also have mosquitoes for defense, because those totally wouldn't burn up in the volcanic zone, and they're totally necessary when you can cut fuckers with force fields.

Of all the Psychonauts, these seem the hardest to kill so far. I wonder how their stats will look in the other book!

Anyway, Spitalians think that there's nothing mystical about Psychokinetics that a good vivisection or two couldn't solve. Purgans consider such view to be hubristic – in their mind, the age of reason is dead, and a new age of wonders (Planetfall) is upon us.

Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders posted:

Is it still superstition when one’s own family is entangled in an unseen web of razor-sharp strands, their fingers and arms raining down like deadfall? When fat bodies rise out of the blackest night and send out armies of ticks?

When a man looks out of the window and sees reality cracking around him (as opposed to going on Twitter and seeing normality slaugh away from bones of insanity), he begins believing in signs and portents. That's why Purgan villages have Augurs that observe birbs for signs like “seagulls from the east” that signify the safe return of their warriors. Some people go to huff the fumes of Reaper's Blow, and babble while raking themselves with their nails – even these crazies are respected. And when Flayers (flagellants) are in town, their spilled blood is collected and mixed with cat's bile (RIP kitty) to cure rheumatism and ward away bad luck.

Of course, Anabaptists are more than happy to replace these base superstitions with solid faith.

Family

Hey, remember what we haven't seen in some time? Sub-sections! That's because there were none in Hybrispania coverage.

This subsection states that family is everything to a Purgan, and the patriarch is the top dog who both punishes and rewards. If you don't have a family to back you up, you can't even be trusted.

I guess this is handy to any Anabaptists who subscribe to Quiverfull philosophy.

Next time: Balkhan is at it again.

Cultures: Purgare

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Purgare



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Chosen

When Anabaptists went out to search Europe for edenic rivers, they found out that the Adriatic sea had dried out. A glacial river, pure and blue, now connected Alps to the Mediterranean. Adriatic lowlands had quickly become the most fertile land in Purgare - must be all the dead fish providing fertilizer!

Anabaptists immediately decided that this was one of the four edenic rivers, and the Demiurge's army (in the form of Psychokinetics) was gathering to assault it.

Chosen posted:

It was so obvious. Right here in Purgare, the final battle for humanity’s destiny would be fought.

I thought the last battle was supposed to be fought in Briton!

Foul Paradise

My God, that title

But the Purgans weren't the only ones in the Adriatic valley. Balkhan was on the other side, which meant that some Balkhani tribes were getting in on the action. Seeing how troublesome those gits are, the first real war erupted in 2201.

The Purgans pushed the Balkhani back to their side of the river, but were destroyed in turn.

Foul Paradise posted:

The war began. For 300 years, the fortified camps defied the incendiary projectiles. Their wooden beams are blackened and hard as stone, the tin roofs worn out from hails of stone. Boats and rafts lie broken in the reed, swords gather rust in the mud at the banks. Moldy boots and belt buckles tell of desperate attacks and rearguard battles. Bombings with burning oil barrels have singed swathes into the fertile land.

Writers have no sense of (time) scale!

The Purgans mark their land with broken crosses to show their Anabaptist allegiance. The Balkhani answer with stylized ram's heads, as they have apparently forgotten their hatred of Jehammedans. On the other hand, the book states that the Balkhani do this in reference to Aries (some sort of Jehammedan god, I think, who at this point looks to be 100% a Bygone cyborg), who helped them in the fight against Purgans.

However, by the time the game begins, peace is found for the first time in hundreds of years, so Purgan/Anabaptist player characters won't get immediately murked when crossing to Balkhan.

Two Sides

The Apennines bisect Purgare in two from North to South. The mountains keeps the bad shit on the west side of the peninsula. The east side is where Purgans and Anabaptists live side by side and ready for war against Psychokinetics.

Bergamo

Bergamo, the city at the foothills of the Alps, remained isolated by “pyroclastic current” and poisonous vapors for years. That changed at some point, as the scouts from the Lombardi family who discovered Bergamo found it to be lush and green, and full of Bygone buildings and art stuff.

The Lombardi settled in Bergamo. They became rich when the Hellvetics built a fortress in Val Brembana – about 15 miles away, what is this Imperial bullshit in my Euro game - and created a route for people traveling to Reaper's Blow. The city is also bolstered by renegade and exiled Hellvetics. Apparently, the Apocalypse Swiss don't execute their traitors or war criminals.

Bergamo refused Anabaptists no matter what they said – or what gifts they brought. The truth came to light when the city started sheltering some Jehammedans. Now, Cathedral City forbids any Anabaptist to cross the Bergamo city gates.

Veneto

With Bergamo lost to poorly defined quasi-Islamic religious sect, Anabaptists turn to the Veneto region and the Catalanos that control them (they featured in the opening vignette). The family tree is big, yet it struggles to avoid entanglements (incest?) as most people in the region are intermarried.

Veneto posted:

The Catalanos cannot marry into the Lombardi family who they consider cursed and lost (which is partially due to the Anabaptists). The Sforza with their weaponry are their nemesis. Glowing embers are unwanted on a corn field, once and for all! The Modica think they are the cat’s whiskers and will soon be gone, while the Capodieci and the De Paulo are out of the question, being from southern Purgare. So the Catalanos stay among themselves.

Well, when you put it that way, Shelbyville, it seems perfectly reasonable to marry your cousin!

Many of the locals work the fields that feed Purgare (damn, that's some trade network!) and they view Anabaptists as lost brothers. The local superstitions have been replaced by the new faith, so yay, I guess.

Venice is also a part of the Catalanos domain. I guess the water level is much lower now, but the locals still don't dare to go there. There are rumors of a monstrosity that lives there, something that was snacking on Purgans even before the pacification of Cathedral City (I guess the meaning is "for a long time"). Of course, Anabaptists don't give a fuck and go exploring. Most of them return.

Veneto posted:

But the Catalanos are not that sure, because who counts the gains and losses?

Still not sure what that means.

Santiago and Cruces

Santiago and Cruces are Spitalier hospital cities on the Adriatic coast catering to “those who have fought on the wrong side of the saber,” which I assume to mean “caught the wrong end of the sword” but could also be interpreted to mean “warcrime victims.”

These services are offered as a gift to Purgans and Anabaptists. However, it's a part of a Spitalian ploy to gain a beachhead in the Balkhans. Traveling through Pollen is troublesome, as they'd have to cross Pest, full of Dushani – and Spitaliers haven't yet bisected enough of them to get that sweet damage bonus. The area is also full of clanners on the move – infiltrating them is hard work – and there's also Chernobog to contend with.

Anabaptists and Jehammedans (who have many relatives in Justitian that depend on the goodness of Spitalians) help smuggle them across the Adriatic. Many are captured “before they get the chance to cut their first Dushani into ribbons with their Splayers.”

Santiago and Cruces posted:

As long as the Clans do not leave the land and step away from the spore fields, the Spital is not free to act. In the end, it is always the Purgans who have to cut the dams.

Again, not really sure what that means, unless the Purgans have Dwarf Fortress-like lava dams

The Maw

...is not the weird of god of WHFB ogres. Rather, it's the most approachable part of the Reaper's Blow.

The Maw posted:

A tri-angular bit of the continental shelf cuts deeply into the sea of vaporizing basalt. The air is dry and hot, ash flakes whirr across the plateau and swirl against stone altars on the wayside. Flags with broken crosses, riddled with burn holes, fly in the wind. Some are ancient: faded tatters, embroidered with family crests. Others have been put up only a few years or even days ago.

Metal

This is a favorite holiday destination of Anabaptists, who come here to push Psychonaut corpses over the edge and back into the hellish pit they came from. You see, according to their legend, humanity will only vanquish the Demiurge when it will be able to cross the Reaper's Blow on the bones of Psychonauts.

OK, now I want to play an Anabaptist.

Of course, the Maw has been eating those corpses for centuries and anybody can see that it's not filling up that much. Most Anabaptists consider the whole corpse-pushing thing a pilgrimage that connects them to their community.

Next time: more

Cultures: Purgare, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Purgare, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Perugia

It's a pilgrimage site beyond the Apennines, the gateway to the final battlefield. The Anabaptists come here to be anointed by Elysian oils – exactly 14 drops rubbed into the head (“spine will burn, the air will taste of metal, the pupils will dilate”) - and to throw down with some Psychokinetics.

The plazas echo with sermons, the Palazzo Dei Priori - with the wails of the maimed. The baptisteries are often dry, as the water keeps getting contaminated with blood - they should probably handle the maimed folks better. Sforza smiths repair weapons and sell new ones.

Sforza are the Goliath-Orlock family that controls the city. Each member has proven himself (or herself) in the forge. They're prudent, but uncompromising.

Perugia posted:

Day by day, Anabaptists and Spitalians gather, fight to be at the top of the pecking order, threaten each other only to laugh in the end and clap each others’ shoulders. Together they make history – or rot together as breeding sacs for fleas and ticks, forgotten amidst the Filaments.

The Filaments must be some sort of Psychokinetic attack type. Also, I'm not sure if fleas and ticks like corpses that much.

Once you go to Perugia, you really can't turn back, else your family consider you a coward. But some do get a little lily-livered when they see the returning warriors: dirty, bloody, their armor torn, they drag their swords along the ground, some clutching stumps of amputated legs or arms.

Those that (very naturally) freak out, remain in Perugia and work as part of the supply chain. They don't really ever return home. There's a rumor that someone is selling Psychonaut body parts for deserters and cowards who wish to go back. Sforza consider this to be no more than slander by the Modica family, but Cathedral City is looking into the matter anyways.

Macerata

Speaking of the Modica, they were one of the first ones to accept the Anabaptists. They have gained great honor – one of their kind has been declared Baptist (probably their version of an Iconide) and carries the time from the clock of Macerata to Cathedral city, where it's beamed to all other chronos (watches). But the fight in the Adriatic has drained the clan of blood.

A 14-year-old boy is now the heir of his family – his dad an uncle were killed by a Psychokinetic on their way North (the books implies that they were 100% assassinated). Life has a lot of shit in store for him.

L'Aquila

Situated in the Ateno valley, it's surrounded by Abruzo like a fortress. Since the current day Abruzo is noted for a fuckton of natural parks, it might just be a forrest. The Capodieci that rule here have accepted the Anabaptists, but don't allow themselves to be ruled by them. Baptisteries and aqueducts can be found here and there, and there are many Anabaptist emissaries at court of Emilio Capodieci.

L'Aquila posted:

For him, dealing with the Anabaptists is a dance where he leads and the woman still enjoys herself.

He's also very good at conquering villages in with words rather than swords.

Campobasso

And now, for a taste of something completely different! The Campobasso is the weird Italian nationalist enclave and the De Paulo family has assassins shooting any Anabaptist they see, and toppling any crosses that appear. The citizens hide the family, and they even coin their own currency, the Lira.

Lol, these guys!

The Crossroads

Life is relatively normal on the east side of the Apennines. Yet crossing the mountains west isn't that hard. But the west is where shit is constantly hovering near the fan.

Towers

Ash, carbon monoxide eruptions and similar bullshit is the order of the day on the strange side of Purgare. That's why any clan that's worth their salt has build a giant sandstone tower that rises above it all. San Gimigiano, the City of Towers in Tuscany, had 15 such towers, growing higher and higher, before they were felled by an earthquake. Only the Salvucci, Ardinghelli, Tozzi and Colei families survived with their abodes intact. They made penance and decided not to build their towers any higher lest they incur another quake.

The book says that the other villages did not the receive the mercy of the divine sign and that any towers built continue to grow until either the tower or its inhabitants die... which sounds like a very natural thing for houses? Unless this should imply that that the deaths come sooner rather than later. Also, I like how you can read the sentence to mean that some towers don't stop getting bigger after the inhabitants die.

Harvesting Villages

If you live in a villages on the slopes of the Apennines, your place looks like an idyllic picture of an Italian village. Poisonous gas passes over the town, and sun seems to triple in the sky. Such is the effect of living under a force dome produced by a Psychokinetic.

Harvesting Villages posted:

He is hiding in a Rift, cocooned in Filaments. Lines of force are extended into fields absorbing all light once and for all. Absolute darkness fills the Rift. More force fields protect the place and divert the poisonous swathes. Where the field lines’ offshoots rise from the ground, the townspeople gather. They extend their hands into the pull and let it tousle their hair. Some throw planes made of light wood into the forcefields and watch them rise, follow the field lines and land a hundred paces away.

That's what the pleasant side of such life looks like; force fields ward off poison and do... other things that I don't understand.

Unfortunately, such a town is an ant farm/food storage from the Psychokinetic. How does the fucker feed? By sending hordes and hordes of mosquitoes, ticks and fleas to drink their blood. This is not a subtle, continuous process, but something that occurs like a flood.

I bet all of those villagers are a hair-length away from being crazy.

Vigilantes

Some people think that being bug MREs kinda sucks. They're the Vigilantes, who watch for changes in light and bug activity to hunt Psychokinetics. They use Lupatas – sawn-off shotguns – to get close enough that a Psychokinetic can't avoid the shot by bending light or swatting the bullets away, and punch him full of cartoonish holes.

Vigilantes posted:

Vigilantes do not have to be good shots; they only need to come close enough.

That's my kind of player class!

They come from the clans and the stay with the clans (ugh, why do we need to qualify?). The locals love them – not being engulfed by mosquitoes and ticks is amazing – yet the Vigilantes never marry, because it's a hazardous job.

Next time: Did you know that Roma is inhabitted by the Romani?

Cultures: Purgare, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Purgare, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Roma



A picture from earlier in the Purgare write up.

Roma posted:

A Bygone historian once wrote: “In Rome, everything converges, from everywhere, the terrible and the nefarious, all is being celebrated.” What was meant to describe the past should prove prophetic.



The miasma from the Reaper's Blow erodes the palaces of the city, leaving them pockmarked and black, and any windows still existing are covered by soot.

Having spent the last week in Rome, I don't see the difference.

The surviving people live in the catacombs and dig tunnels into buildings. They nest in St. Peter's Basilica (I bet the high dome is sooo easy to seal from the poisonous vapors), loot libraries and palaces.

“The Romani do not care much for the past,” writes the book in the most hilarious translation faux pas. I doubt that Rome is fully inhabited by the Roma people. Anyways, current Romans are looting the city and selling shit to Neolybians, who pay in gold, weapons and delicacies. Only one type of the goods mentioned seems to be obviously useful to post apocalyptic people in a hellhole city, but what do I know.

Also, the book claims that Neolybians are waiting in the port with their transports.

Since the citizens of Rome don't care about the past and insist on living in the underground of some poisoned city instead of running to the east, they burn fires in ancient halls, eat their simple meals from golden bowls and cosplay Metro 2033 in many other ways.

Roma posted:

Some Purgans read from books, others sit on them. Whores walk from one man to the next, whispering into their ears, smiling coyly and leaning against statues of ancient Roman senators. A Spitalian deserter – or simply someone in a Spitalian suit – treats sores. Africans sit in a circle next to Purgans, chatting about their adventures at sea. They wait for a passage to Corpse where they intend to join the Apocalyptics’ pirate crews. The Burn addicts lie amidst the crowd, spores flake from their mouths, and the Purgan sign blossoms on their chests, first red, then white.

The section on Rome ends with “the Romani celebrate life instead of cursing it.” This is stupid on both translation and on the meta level. Sure, let terminal Burn cases spread spores among you, that will surely end well.

Corpse

I guess neither Sicily, nor Sardinia had names that could be easily edgy-fied.

Apparently, the Reaper's Blow is 2500 meters under the water (finally, back to metric), causing bubbles and vortexes that can fuck up entire fleets at a time.



Picture goes here.

It's the island of pirates. They had left so many stolen ships to rust on the shores that they from a barrier on the east and south shores of the island. The pirates put catapults and harpoons (because Waterworld) on top, and a/the fairway can be blocked with chains. The west is guarded by the shore rising thirty steps (?) over the water, and a dangerous current that frequently smashes ships up.

The pirates use this as a base for piracy in the Med. African tankers as well as coastal cities are all good targets. Only Rome is spared. The myth is that pirates are too proud to deal with that shithole; the truth it that Rome trades well. Pirates also rework African rifles into Lupatas.

I guess they have many spares, since Tripoli sends Scourgers to clear the island, yet their boats only become a part of the barrier.

Oh, an peep at this map:



That's Corsica and Sardinia joined into one thing. It's a shit ton of territory for the pirates to control.

Bedain

Bedain posted:

Olive groves and vineyards, healthy crops in abundance, a mild climate and friendly people – this is how Sicily greeted the Africans. They answered by first igniting the ports with incendiary grenades from their ships and then sending out hundreds of Scourgers. Surge Tanks crashed into the docks, their tracks crushed the ancient concrete. They rolled through the fields and stopped in front of settlements, shaking and roaring. Buggies encircled them, hunted those who tried to escape. The Neolibyan Sarahali, a big man with hands like paws and a tendency to flamboyant gestures confronted the island’s eldest, put an arm around his shoulders and walked through the village with him.

During their stroll, Sarahali praised the Purgan women’s beauty, their glossy hair and broad hips. He praised the fields’ fertility and the farmers’ efforts. He stroked his belly and laughed. This island was so rich and loaded with corn, it had to be Purgare’s belly. He embraced the old man who had yet to say a word and who looked up at him with rheumy eyes now. That was polite enough. To be sure, there was only one thing he had wanted to proclaim. From now on, the Sicilian Purgans would work in the Lion’s shadow, and if he, Sarahali, this island’s Consul, should deem it necessary, they would also breast-feed the Lion.

Sarahali wasn't that good with Purgan, so he used an ancient word for belly, Bedain, to name the place, and it stuck. Africans don't even use “Sicily” as a name anymore, while any Purgan who does so is whipped.

When Sarahali said that Bedain would “breast-feed the Lion,” he probably had fermented milk in mind, since he only cares for the wine production and not foodstuff.

He has also transformed Syracuse into a major hub for the looting of the Med, with hundreds of ships moored there at a time.

If we're going to take the timeline seriously, the Africans probably struck Spain first, then, once the war bogged down, they moved to looting Franka. And now, with Badain being taken within living memory/lifetime of Sarahali, they have turned to the rest of the region... which still isn't much, what with the Adriatic being dry, the Balkhans being famously a pain to penetrate, and Turkey mostly overgrown with Psychovores. So maybe there is enough stuff to loot, but not for long.

Scrap, once offloaded, gets picked over by Scrappers, with useful stuff fixed up and loaded up for sale in Tripoli.

Bedain posted:

The remainders are heaps of iron shores and broken machinery surrounded by a nest of cables and rust – a Mecca for Scrappers. The placid Mediterranean city of Syracuse has become a rusty technodrome, the historical city center smoldering under thumb-thick steel sheets, riffle files, and metal beams.

As we all know, “a Mecca for Scrappers” means “a pile of refuse that you already picked over for the good stuff, and now you're just doing it for scrap metal.”



I guess this is Bedain? The picture was on the opposite page of the Roma section.

So we end our introduction to Purgare the usual way: with a brief overview of some strange periphery territory! It was definitely something.

I guess it rains strange plantlife in Aaaaafricaaa

Cultures: Africa

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Africa



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




Africa

Majestic

Majestic posted:

Neolibyans walk the streets, a wave of fine fabrics, blue and green, embroidered with traditional patterns. Black skin glistens in the sunshine, there is a scent of jasmine and cedar wood. Laughter rises in the air, full of self-assurance and strength. Wherever they set foot they gild dusty alleys and live in solicitous hospitality. A wink, and promenades grow in sleepy towns, Purgan marble adorns market squares and manufacturers rise.

Welcome to Africa! It's both very rich, in the vein of mythical Muslim states, and very traditional/spiritual just like any person who tells you about how true Sub-Saharan African villages insists they are.

There's also a lot of stuff in the chapter that some chimpout-fearing, RaHoWa-preparing nutscase will swear would happened if you didn't stop the black people before it's too late.



In Euro-game, it's the male that has the impractical, chest revealing armor

Time of the Crow

So, how did Africa (great country) look in the years before Eschaton? Not that different from today, but worse, and it was not climate change's fault, either.

'Time of the Crow posted:

Africa, however, had professionalized civil war until nothing remained from its ancient cultures but bleached bones and stream posts. International corporations rummaged through the continent in search of rare minerals and oil. In return, they gave the warlords weapons. The few stable African countries mined their borders and built barricades made of tanks and guns. Nairobi was like a fortress.

So, how do you deal with the fact that your game wants to trade heavily in exotic back people opposing your Europeans, but real-life North Africa is very much an Arab-land?

You hit them with a plague. A disease that rots a person from the inside, makes necrotic rashes appear on arms before spreading to chest and neck, and fatal within days started in Ivory Coast. Quite naturally, it turned out to be a “retrovirus resembling HIV, but it was resistant to existing treatment.” The internal WHO name for it was HIV-E, which became “Hive” in popular parlance.

Not that it matters, anyway; the virus only exists to give reason for all the black Africans to surge north: first to escape the disease, then to look for the cure rumored to be developed in Europe. Oh, and there where theories that whitey actually created HIV-E.

The Time of the Crow posted:

Chaos and anarchy soared. 50% of the population suddenly seemed to carry a Kalashnikov. When a rumor spread that hundreds of thousands of shots with the cure had been dispensed to the military from ships on the Mediterranean coast, the people could not be held back.

This was the tipping point that made Arabic Africa black. “Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt’s defenses could not cope with the rush and dodged the army of dispossessed jeeps, rusty transporters, and Russian machine guns” is a sentence I can still hardly parse. Of course, the cure turned out to be just a rumor. So, what did the Africans (wonderful people, great hosts) do next?

They re-enacted Africa's most favorite novel, Camp of the Saints.

Time of the Crows posted:

A grotesque fleet of floating coffins, rafts, torn free bateau bridges, and overloaded cutters risked crossing the Mediterranean to demand a cure from Europe. Those who did not drown during the trek encountered a steel wall of fear and reluctance. European cruisers, frigates, torpedo boats, and destroyers formed a security cordon along the African coast and denied them passage. Corpses floated in the sea, and Europe sinned anew.

Several things:
*Just wow at the “grotesque”
*I doubt that even a futuretech Europe would have any countries operating cruisers.
*The last two words of the paragraph just reads like talk about the sinews of Europe.

So, what happened when the exodus failed? People died, that's what. Hive ran its course, killing millions. But some regions and people were spared: many Libyans and Sudanese (probably from the black South), and explicitly Masai, were immune. The book states that someone might have eventually found the cure in “one of these tribal warriors' blood,” but Dhoruba happened.

Dhoruba

March 13th, 2073: Eschaton. Europe is hit the heaviest, but one rock carves a scar hundreds of miles wide in Central Africa: that's Dhoruba.

The Lion Awakens

After Hive burned itself out, survivors from groups like herders in the Atlas mountain, nomads holed up in oasises and the immune Masai started banding together.

The Lion Awakens posted:

Laughter had fled Africa, but the survivors found solace in their community and their faith. And they still had oil.

Millions are dead, a piece of asteroid has struck the continent, but at least we have oil

As centuries passed, the rains from of Atlantic transformed the Sahara into a savanna while the coast was graced with verdant jungles. I dunno why that came to pass - and what stopped this transformation beforehand - but it did, and “the continent was reborn.”

In place of the old Tripoli, Tripol arose as a legally distinct entity. The Arabs, the Berbers and the black Africans gathered there. Soon, a merchant only known as “The Libyan” started what would become the Neolibyan cult. This guy played Transport Tycoon in real life, linking settlements with truck routes and sending Scrappers to loot Europe.

The Lion Awakens posted:

The Africans had not much love for whites. They chased them away with a roar or gave their haggard children candied fruit. The old anger was carefully covered with a sugar coating of compassion. The white man seemed to pose no more danger. He was not a worthy foe.



Next time: JcDent gets probated for abuse

Cultures: Africa

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Africa



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


You guys asked if there's Orientalism But For Africa? Well, Wikipedia has just the thing for that, though I don't know if you can say it outloud.

Wikipedia also implies that there are Albanophiles and Estophiles, which I refuse to believe is true.

Anyways, back to Africa.

Ancestors

Sub-section time!

Basically, the Africans believe the spirits to be everywhere, and they can take residence wherever they want. If there are no Anubians around, the Scourgers are the next best thing they have to a priest. They tell you stuff like how to apologize to the spirits for felling a tree and so on.

Paw Swipe

Not long after the rebuilding, the Spanish Conquistadors (what, not mercenaries?) came, burning shit from Gibraltar to Tripol. Pour one out for reverse racism:

Paw Swipe posted:

The Africans understood: The white man would never let them live in peace. In his heart, war and greed burned and would always be hotter than reason and love. Only chained, the white man would pose no more danger.

The Scourgers pushed the (Hybri)Spaniards back to Hybrispania... and we all know what happened next.

Three

With the invaders pushed back and white slave labor in relative abundance, the cities were rebuilt. It also solved the question of African unity once and for all:

Three posted:

The Mande, Yoruba, Fulbe, Bantu and all the countless other African people and tribes unified –quicker and stronger than any emissary could have madethem. They discovered common traits in their languages, laughed about the same jokes now, and proudly spoke about their tribes’ history and rules. The Fulbe explained their codex, the Pulaaku, which is based on the three pillars of self-restraint, honesty and wisdom. Other tribes recognized a very similar law of three in their stories and legends. Had they all been blind and deaf to their siblings over the centuries?

Folks, you know me. I'm neither extremely woke, nor radical. However, even I can see that this is some magical writing there. It's probably the worst handwave in the African section, and it's already built on handwaves!

Anyways, the Lion was adopted as the symbol of Africa. It has three virtues that correspond to the pillars of the Pulaaku, and which can be found in three distinct groupings of people: the Neolibyans are the heart that gives him strength, the Scourgers are the claws, and Anubites are the soul.

This principle spread from Gibraltar to Cairo in days, and even tribes in Central Africa that had never heard of the cults adopted it. Some say it's the dead ancestors awakening to lead the people in unity.

Three posted:

Maybe they're wrong.


Psychovores

The book says it's Psychovores.

In Dhoruba, the Primer-plant jungles grow: they produce hexagonal and octagonal leaves, the fruits are strange to chew (and poisonous), and the barest scratch from a thorn will start a necrotic infection that will eath through the flesh and make the bone crumble.

So it's somewhat nastier than your typical tropical jungle. Or a jungle where most fruits bear white phosphorous.

The proximity of Psychovores dilutes language barriers, throwing them back to some “primordial language that still somehow retains coherency.” There are also whispers in the air that compel people to do stuff, which, I guess, is some sort of Psychovore psychic phenomenon.

Psychovores posted:

All language barriers are breaking down. Africa unites, but the multitude of cultures and tribes is diluted by the plants’ influence.

DAMN YOU, PLANT-ERNET!

However, the Psychovores are spreading fast, reaching even into the Mediterranean. Entire villages are displaced. People says that there's no place for man in the new jungle. The Anubites disagree and keep mounting expeditions to gather herbalist stuff.

Resistance

Some more strange stuff related to Psychovores: sometimes, people just up and leave to go into the jungle. They are rarely ever seen again. Sometimes folks are found in the center of a circular patch of dead vegetation. Those circles eventually collapse and the plantlife regains lost ground, while foundlings – who are not only Africans, but also some white skinned, almond-eyed folks – always run away into the jungle.

The Africans try to keep the jungle back by burning the plants and salting the earth, but the Psychovores fight back, evolving sturdier strains and even every-sidescoller-platforming-game-ever shooting plants.

The Africans understand: time to get some Spitaliers up in this bitch.

For some reason, they are referred to as “the old enemy” at least once – yet I don't think we've read anything about actual clashes between Spitaliers and Africans. If anything Spitaliers don't seem to give a shit about Cult/Culture warfare, being laser focused on tacling Primer instead.

Resistance posted:

Charged by Tripol’s Bank of Commerce and guarded by African mercenaries, doctors explore the Psychovore fields, working from the city of Qabis. In their neoprene suits they approach them, force the plants to adapt with toxins, make notes and research. An arms race has begun.
Pesticide follows epigenetic inhibitors, bursts of flame burn vegetation strands that create bizarre flowers in an endless evolutionary loop. The battle has begun.

Emphasis mine; their editor must not have known much about this “style” thing.

Next time: take me down to Tripol city, where the Dinar is gold and the girls are pretty

Cultures: Africa, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Africa, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


The Coastal Cities

Reaper's Blow terminates somewhere near Algeria and Marroco. The Africans had one look at the tectonic bullshit and decided not to interact with it. However, to east, the cities grow.

The Coastal Cities posted:

Children sit on the battlements of ancient fortresses, climbing the cast-iron cannons, waving to the ships or throwing stones at them.

Book, I doubt those ancient fortresses still have their cannons today.

The cities are your bustling centers of commerce, where sailing ships and Surge Tanks can be seen standing side-by-side. You also have “ancient military gliders” with black sails and spotted hulls (what kind of a boat is that anyways?), as well as Scourger motor boats. The bigest boats of all are the luxurious transport craft that any Purgan captain would be more than happy to abandon in times of trouble.

The Coastal Cities posted:

But giant transport ships with superstructures of gold, silver, mahogany, and flowing silk approach the port as well. Their wake from their bow makes the smaller ships bob up and down in the waters nearby. The smoke of their diesel engines rests in the bay like a haze and crawls into the docks and lungs of hundreds of white slaves waiting to unload them.

The Africans have done well for themselves; while most buildings in the coastal cities are two-three stories high, some are described as “sky-scraping.” There are some factories, too.

But that's not to say that you won't find that African Flavor in there! In any city, you can find rocks carved with mystical symbols which celebrate the faiths of the locals. Also, the Scourgers fix their buggies in city plazas. Those are two details that are fit to share a single paragraph.

This bit also hosts the description of Bazzar, Colorful, 1 Per Region. The lengthy description ends with that special spice you have come to dread and loathe expect and cherish:

The Coastal Cities posted:

In an auxiliary hall, caretakers of rich Neolibyans wait for the next batch of slaves, preferably domesticated and educated.

Tunis

In the Bygone days, Tunis was the HQ of United African Organization (UAO), “the counterpart to the European UEO.” The acronyms are kinda pointless since those organizations haven't been mentioned before and probably won't be mentioned until deep in the Cults section.

Tunis was the arm depot of the organization, something the Scourgers used to their advantage. That's why you can see them wearing those blue UN helmets in illustrations. But it didn't last.

Tunis posted:

During a mock attack on the docks by a fleet of Corpsian pirates, the slaves used the chaos to break into the facility, seize the weapons and attack the Scourgers in their coastal encampments from behind. The Petro store’s tanks detonated in rapid succession, the fireball engulfing two Surge Tanks and tearing them apart. The Scourgers’ rapidly approaching Koms veered, struck by the column of fire, and burst like ants under a magnifying glass.

Why is "Petro" capitalized?

That column of fire sure had some unexpected horizontal dimensions if it struck the incoming buggies!

The slaves, led by a group of Balkhani slaves, all former Voyavodes, are trapped. They can't go into the sea, since there are Scourger torpedo boats hunting anything that moves. Fair enough, you can't really use your small arms against dedicated naval attack craft. They can't break out through land because, ugh, there are barricades and Neolibyan big game hunters? I dunno, this just seems like a problem that an overwhelming amount of gun violence could solve in short order.

Constantine

Constantine is where the famous African Dinars are minted. The standards are rigorously enforced by the Bank of Commerce. Greatest smiths are invited to the city to design new coins and patterns (...how often do you need to do that?) and Neolibyans are willing to sacrifice a lot to see their face on a new Dinar.

Of course, gambling is rife in the city, with African Apocalyptics trapping workers in various debt slavery schemes. There are no actual slaves permitted into the city, and even Africans of good standing can only enter after a thorough soul checking by a Cypher a Watcher Anubians. The strict security scheme kinda goes against the whole “workers entrapped by Apocalyptics” thing, but whatever.

The Scourgers are still jumpy: the treasure of 300 years spent looting Europe is stored there. And here I though that all that fortune was used to make the lives of all Africans better? Well, whatever, there's a shit ton of gold there. I'm sure the players will love to try and steal it for... reasons.

Tripol



Bank of Commerce in the background, extremely rad Scourger in UAO helmet in the foreground.

Tripol is the city in Africa. The exploration (and looting) of the Mediterranean basin started there, and the city has been fed a rich diet of Dinars. This, naturally, attracts a lot of people (and I bet they enjoy not living next to creepy alien jungle).

Tripol posted:

The masses live in skyscrapers flagged with awnings and panels of cloth. Ancestral statues made of black hardwood lean next to their doors, wind-bells chime in the breeze. Next to them huddle one-story lodges with broad terraces, their walls whitewashed or covered in bamboo. Strands of cables link the houses, forming a network above the plazas that cuts the sky into triangles. Surge Tanks tower like rocks in the sea of people, and within less than two days, ladders are in place and carpets adorn the upper deck. Old men sit in the shadows of the arcades and smoke cinnamon flavored tobacco. Young people congregate on the rooftops, dangling their legs while someone offers them tea. Others stomp and clap to the rhythm of their songs, forming circles, leaning forward and parting again, singing out their joy.

There are many ancient buildings in Tripol and none of them are disused. The tribes that migrated there also love displaying their cultural artifacts, like leather shields and carved statues. Supposedly there's a museum that houses an ancestral sculpture carved out of Psychovore wood. The clan that made it joined Anubians a long time ago, which is, oooh, spooky .

The Bank of Commerce has a very physical presence as the golden dome of the building that houses the organization rises over the city. “No place is more sacred to the Neolibyans than this temple of the Dinar,” writes the book as it strains under the attempt to make Cults more cult-like. Here, Neolibyans get yearly permits to ply trade lanes or to collect profits from some areas of business. The Bank is also the place where you get your Thread of Destiny read by an Anubian before signing a long term contract. Disturbances in the thread portend to bad shit coming down in a man's future, thus endangering the deal.

The Bank of Commerce.

Somehow, it has a section for itself, despite most of the description staying in the Tripol bit. Anyway, The Bank of Commerce is only open on certain days, and slackjawed tourists stare at it wondering about the riches and splendor found within. Some say that even Spitalians had stayed there recently.

Next time: Rachel Dolezal, the first Spitalian in Africa

Cultures: Africa, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Africa, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Discordance

This sub-section is a lot longer than that superfluous bit about the Bank, but here we are. Anyways, The Earth Chakras (the spore fields) in Europe and Psychovores in Africa don't interact well. Technically, the Discordance is said to be located between the domains of Chakras and the 'Vores. However, the only region that had funky stuff happening was Pollen, which definitely isn't located between Africa and the rest of Europe, so...

When Discordance hits, spore fields crumble, and green Psychovore jungle is replaced by withering purple plants. Spiky bulbils form. When they burst, freaky alien things, colorful and sometimes “hundreds of paces long,” take to the sky.

Most of them die almost immediately. However, some survive longer. Anubians compare them to pearls: the bulbil takes some Earth animal (or a human), mix it with alien DNA, and hopes for the best. I guess Discordance is the failson of both Primer and Psychovore, as those two seem to be building stable mutants without any problems.

The Shabath clan (of Africans?) is famous for hunting those creatures, and the region next to Bengasi (Benghazi?) is especially rich with them. After a good hunt, they put the captured freaky shit in cages and parade them in the coastal cities. “Last year,” the biggest attraction was a net formed from octupii connected by their tentacles. Its heads exhaled blue fog while it clung to the side of a glass container and formed geometric patterns with the tentacles. Some theorize that it was a form of communication.

Anyways, it died within a day, so not many people got to see it as something other than a mass of dead octupii. Somehow, it still became the biggest attraction of the year.

The Gate to the East

The Gate to the East posted:

Even in Tripol, all is not gold that glitters – sometimes it turns out to be fool’s gold.



The east gate of Tripol used to be an upscale gambling district. Now it's a very poor gambling district. That's basically what the section says. I guess you can go here for quest giver NPCs in the form of down-on-their luck Neolibyans with rumors of treasures but no financial backing.

Long Shadows

This is semi-lengthy and convoluted section about Bank of Commerce basically putting a shit ton of people into debt servitude by giving out easy loans.

Long Shadows posted:

The sheikhs make tremendous profits. Dozens of cities struggle in the Bank of Commerce’s chains in the meantime. Highly indebted clans guarantee a seemingly endless supply of cheap wage slaves. Many villages send their children onto African Scrappers’ ships in the hope that they might find an artifact to buy their freedom. Today, the Bank of Commerce is the most powerful institution in Africa. It commands vast resources and halls full of IOUs – each and every one of them is worth a favor. It finances wars and lootings and even holds the Neolibyans on a tight leash.

It implies that Neolibyans are separate from The Bank of Commerce – but why do they submit to it then? And if they are a part of it, why do we need the bit about the tight leash?

Also, lol, wage slavery. Bank of Commerce is basically Wall Street.

The Road

This depressing book is the only white literature acceptable in Afri - wait, no, that's not about that.

You see, not all Africans are itching at the chance to get himself some whitey Rhoomba replacement. Madame Dayo is an old Anubite that decline advancement to the third circle (didn't level up?). Instead, she started up "The Road," which smuggles slaves back into Europe. Some stay with the organization and even go into the jungle to get captured again to help a new group to escape.

Quabis

For the last year, the hottest new thing in Quabis was... white people. Specifically, Spitalians were brought into the town by a ship belonging to a Justitian-based Neolibyan. Their hands weren't tied, their clothing wasn't shredded by the Scourges (so that's where the Scourger name comes from). The Scourgers didn't even let children throw rotten fruit at them like usual.

The Spitalians (I know I sometimes call them Spitaliers – the connection to Hospitaliers is just too strong) are free to mingle in the city, haggling over dates, drinking coffee and playing Kalaha.

Quabis posted:

They have adopted African foundlings and teach them the white man’s shamanism – pure medicine, based on evidence.



At first, there was trouble with people accepting free whites in Africa. However, Scourgers, being the guardians of tradition (and also warriors and slavers, what with the name), came up with a ritual to make the Spitalians honorary Africans. This included being buried under ground, clawing your way out and chewing on intoxicating leaves for days. They all became Black Panthers and ruled Wakanda as a council. Now, they're a tourist curiosity and people literally come to see these “white Africans.”

Wakili, the Neolibyan that brought the Spitalians here, gave them two Surge Tanks. The first was called Aesculapius and became their XCOM HQ and lab. The other, called Ndulu - “Brother” - by Wakili, was used more actively.

After a lengthy (paragraph about) repair, the tank was filled with fuel and provisions, and the Spitalians set out towards Dhoruba. Masai scouts followed it and noticed something: the tank turned east, towards Anubia and maybe even Cairo.

Quabis posted:

You simply cannot trust the white man.

Around whites never relax, am I right?

*Remembers that he lives in 2018*

Wait, shit, that's true

Next time: the Psychovore queen of Anubia

Cultures: Africa, pt. 5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cultures: Africa, pt. 5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Anubia

The Nile has swollen, eating up "long forgotten cities" and carrying Psychovore spore packs down the stream (that's how Turkey got fucked up). It has conquered Anubia and the jungle belt around Cairo, the Forbidden City, is said to be impenetrable.

The Anubian Cult doesn't give a shit, and the city is their capital.

Anubia posted:

A city where the Anubians’ ancient knowledge about humanity and time is hidden in giant pyramids whose tips catch the lightning and speak of wisdom.

Did the Anubians transform the pyramids of Egypt into Frankenstein labs? Who knows. People say that Anubians can avoid the necrotic, bone crumbling effects of the Psychovore poison, but nobody knows for certain. Not even the people reading this book.

Thanks for making this section about an important location for one of the player classes super short!

Leopards

Remember these guys from Lisbon write up? Well, the thing with Neolibyans is that wealth flows downward to all the branches of the family tree. Even some failson cousin that's "as useless as a one -legged slave" gets to be decked out in silks and whatnot. However, some towns and villages either don't get or lose such privilege. Instead of living suckling at the toll-booth-ed teat of Neolibyans, they get back to a more pastoral existence.

Leopards posted:

Their inhabitants fish in lakes, hunt antelopes or monkeys. They weave their own fabrics from plant fibers. At their hips, they carry bone knives, and they paint their naked torsos with tribal symbols using holy earth. They watch the metropolis with skepticism and curse the Scourgers’ stinking, noisy buggies

They're quite content with their life, but they are aware that they're poor. That's why a lot of these folks have banded into loose trade confederacies that defy the Neolibyans. They go where they wilt, sell what they wilt, and generally get up to shenanigans.

They call themselves the Leopards, as a leopard is faster than a lion. They use secret paths and waterways to to penetrate inland. Outside of Africa, their ghanjahs sail the Atlantic. The Neolibyans have abandoned the ocean because all sorts of gelatinous blobs assail their ships, congealing and slowing them down. It is theorized that ghanjahs, being sail driven, don't attract mystery ocean bubbles like the engine driven ships do.

The Leopards even trade with England VULTURE'S DOMAIN. Many wouldn't go there, as the Aquitaine ship graveyard is full of wrecks shredded by high caliber rounds.

Leopards posted:

But so far, all ghanjahs have returned, loaded with crates full of books, golden jewelry, and golden teeth.

There's a joke to be made about British teeth somewhere here...

The Leopards don't give a shit about Neolibyans. They don't care about their laws and they don't buy their goods. As the book says it, the leopard villages thrive without drowning in pomp, putting Leopards in the position of a cool, grass-roots organization based on communities rather than some bank.

However, the Neolibyans don't like it - the word of Bank of Commerce is law! Something has to be done about the Leopards. And while Scourgers are very much unwilling to open fire on fellow Africans, someone else (on Bedain?) might.

Lifelines

Remember how north Africa suddenly became a rich jungle? That's because the moisture/rain from the western winds suddenly started getting caught up in the triangle formed by Ahaggar, Air and Tibesty mountain ranges. That's where most of the rain falls and where many rivers that feed both the normal and Psychovore jungle originate.



Marked this region for both you and me.

Oh, and it's basically unexplored.

Hinterland

Leopards or no Leopards, the influence of Neolibyans reaches into the hinterlands, with plantations and oil fields sprouting up here and there. If the locals live in traditional mud buildings with wooden roofs, the Neolibyans raise palaces.

Here, slaves from Hybrispania and Balkhan are put to work building Surge Tanks in scrapyards and tending the crops. Not that many try to escape, as jungle is, quite naturally, not much more merciful than Scourgers.

Steel

In the deep jungle, you can find overgrown outposts from the Bygone era. While fortresses and barracks from the ages past are a fun thing to explore, they're also dangerous: here there be robots!

AMSUMOs – I don't know why anybody would know their official name or what it means – are stooped, humanoid bots that spontaneously reactivate, clean themselves up and start patrolling their environment. Supposedly they were used by pre-Eschaton whitey to oppress the local populace, but rebelled and started doing their own thing.

Steel posted:

Those who meet them in the African jungle these days may be lucky and encounter a machine that has scratched a 2 to the power of 16 into its own forehead. Presumably, these AMSUMOs have a soul, having watched humans or animals and learned from them through imitation. Maybe they’ll never again leave their humans finder's side, copying his habits and speech patterns. However, it’s
also possible that they’ll see him as prey whenever they’ve finished studying leaf-cutting ants. Machine Men are always dangerous and mostly deadly .

However, they're not Chernobog levels of deadly, as Scourgers and Scrappers hunt them: Neolibyans pay a lot of money to get certain parts of them to wear as jewelry.

<<<>>>

And that's it! We're done with cultures! What have we learned so far? Probably that while the book is beautifully formatted, the editing and pacing is all over the place, and the authors are not that good at walking the thin line between "mysterious and tantalizing" and "what is this unexplained proper noun bullshit."

But maybe we'll have more luck with the next chapter of the book: Cults!

Next time: Cult of personaaalityyy

Cults: Spitalians

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Spitalians



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Shit is about to get lit

Fukken finally! We finished up with the Cultures (though “Geography and Plot Hooks” would have been a more apt name) chapter and we can start getting introduced to organizations that gave birth to the player classes.

Wave Rider

But first, story time! This is short one about how a Spitalian is brought in as a prisoner and presented to an African woman named Malais, the Grand Buzzard of Corpse. He proceeds to beat up the Apocalyptics holding him (a fun detail is that he also gets hit a few painful times) and asks Malais to used her speedboat, Zuwena, to take him to a place near Quabis. The Scourgers are apparently searching the ship they're on (it's not entirely clear where they are, this being Degenesis and all that), but the Spitalians are ready to pay much more than they would. Malais agrees.



Spitalians

In The Light Of Salvation

This describes the Spitalians in general. Primer is a disease while Sepsis and Psychonauts are the symptoms. The Spitalians work to eradicate them, running experiments deep in the bowels of Spital. That's where most of the work concerning the eradication of the alien sickness is done; it's also where on transgenic horses is bred.

Outside of the labs is the Appendix, the sick quarter of the Spital. That's where the Spitalians act as your doctors, tending to the people.

In The Light of Salvation posted:

Chronicler Drafts, furs, glittering scrap, bottles of oil and other valuables change hands – relatives of the sick pile gifts in front of the Spitalians until they are ready to start treating the diseased with scalpel and saw or just give them some medicine. Their means are limited, but still, in the Appendix, in Justitian’s hygienics stations or in the public hospitals they help the populace; here are doctors who defend the Hippocratic Oath defiantly and determinedly.

But Spitalians are more than just nerds. They also take part in the more active fight against Psychonauts. The example here talks about a Spitalian woman on a horse overlooking a pool of blood on ice incefield. The pool has the sword-hacked bits of Psychokinetics floating about. Maybe they're easier to kill than they sound?

'In the Light of Salvation posted:

Every day in the labs brings them closer to understanding and to saving humankind. Every day they decide between destruction and healing. They fight cholera and destroy spore-afflicted villages. In Franka, they detonate the Pheromancers’ vents, in Pollen, they study the Fractal Forests, in Purgare, they burn swathes into the ticks’ and fleas’ millionfold army. And in the Balkhan, they bring thedissonance to the Dushani.
The Spitalians are humanity’s last bastion.

Sub-title drop!



I recognize that bulge!

Ancient Secrets

The wing that contained records of Spitalian history burned down, but enough lockers (not file cabinets, for some reason) remain intact that stuff about the earliest history can be pieced together.

Back in the days following the Eschaton, the Spital was known as Crisis Center Southern Ruhr. Things were kinda hard back then.

Ancient Secrets posted:

Looters stormed the facility, killed doctors and took what they could get. Medicine crates and bandages were pushed out on beds, and outside, the fighting continued. The transports from central storage crashed into barricades, were pushed over and robbed, too. The doctors defended themselves with scalpels and infusion stands and loaded injectors with cartridges full of sulfuric
acid. Oxygen and gas bottles intended for ventilation were turned into flame throwers. The doctors of the Crisis Center stood with their backs to the wall, were armed to the teeth with fear.



Dear nerds: this is the second or third time I had to read the paragraph. And the first bolded bit always throws me for a loop: it states or implies that all the doctors were killed before the looting commenced. But then the second bolded part comes and you see that some doctors survived and went on the defensive. So are my English skills failing me, or is this some shitty writing?

Anyways, UEO (United European Organization, counterpart to African UAO) forces arrived to save center, but by then the doctors had gone too far. What does that mean?

The Second Wave

Fuck if I know, because the book states that things at the Crisis Centre had normalized in the four following years. The center had been rechristened “The Spital” (much like the 'Ton hotel in New York) and the soldiers of the collapsed UEO served as the police/guards of the doctors.

The Second Wave posted:

With the efficiency of people who need not fear any lawsuit, they crushed flashpoints.

So they shot... looters? People who got really desperate? Gingers?

The city around the Spital was worthy of the opening shots of Terminator 2, and “skeletons in streaming rags lined the street, carelessly shoved aside by bulldozers.” Those might have been people who died from the environmental conditions, as well as any lead injections as proscribed by the Spital.

But with European megadeaths the influx of refugees thinned and the Situation (why did the book capitalize it?) became manageable. Doctors were regaining self-esteem, things were looking, and only one nagging question remained: did Hive die out in Africa, or did it reach Europe?

It reached Europe. The doctors flipped their shit, locked themselves up in Spital and told everyone else to

The Second Wave posted:

Those waiting for recovery in the infirmaries were told via speakers to leave the region: “The Spital is closed, effective immediately. Go home.” From helplessness, a wave of anger arose, leading once
again to violence. But HIVE was already rampant among the attackers, thinning out their ranks. Siege machinery and weapons fell from the infecteds’ hands. The resistance was broken long before the battle was joined.

Siege machinery. This idea that people in desperate straits would turn into utter, yet organized bastards seems either edgy or very reactionary. Anyways, you can't have your apocalypse without mass looting, now can you?

Back on topic, seeing those people dying outside the walls of the Spital wasn't easy for the doctors. Some even jumped. The others swore to never turn their backs on the world again.

Next time: You gonna get healed, boy

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


New Goals

The doctors took more than ten years to finally get out of the Spital and back into the world. How did they manage to survive that long? “Lol, I dunno,” says the book, waves hands and mutters stuff about the fire that destroyed the records.

New Goals posted:

Today, we have no recordings of this process anymore. The great fire burned the documents and robbed the Spitalians of an important part of their genesis, including the secret of how they survived in the bleak Spital without outside support.

When the doctors rejoined the world, the word spread through Borca (as Germany had gotten totally borc-ed in 20ish years since the Eschaton ). At first, people came warily. But the folks in gasmasks and black suits weren't degenerate cosplayers or wild gimps; they healed people as best they could. The menacing outfit “was merely a disguise – for now,” whatever the fuck that means.

But the people kept coming in and the trickle became a flood. Since mass lead inoculations or siege mentality were no longer options, the doctors organized. Consultants – the highest level/rank of Spitalians – convened and drew plans.

New Goals posted:

They considered a campaign against everything that was sick, schemed and gave orders like the generals of old.

Platoons of Spitalians divided the surrounding area into wards for specific diseases, sorted out the sick, quietly executed any antivaccers, fortified the compound and sent out Village Doctors (that's a class) to heal folks in the more remote settlements in exchange for money or protection. Thus, they started to grow in influence in West Borca.

Sepsis

For a while, the Spitalians had it good. Their databases they had helped heal all sorts of maladies, diseases, injuries, illnesses and boo-boos. But something new was happening; something connected to this cheap, powerful new drug called Burn. Spitalian warnings fell on deaf ears; nobody wanted to ban Burn and thus the influence of the Spital waned.

First mutations had started in Pollen in 2211. Then they reached Borca, too.

Sepsis posted:

Swarms of vermin flooded the land, entering body cavities and stinging, biting, laying eggs.



Spore fields were blossoming everywhere. The Mother Spore Fields in Pollen and Balkhan joined, cutting Europe off from Asia. People didn't care about that – they were high on Burn.

In 2300 (hell of a reaction speed there), the doctors went on the offense. Psychonauts and their Raptures (hey, a new unexplained proper noun!) were studied. Tech like Noumenon Vocalizer constructed by strange bug people in a spooky mansion allowed them to detect the etheric transmissions of the Chakra fields, which helped the Spitalians develop the Primer theory. Burn was identified as the prime vector of spore infestation, leading to its ban and the hunt for smugglers bringing it into the country (and yet Apocalyptics still exist).

Spitalians realized that they were witnessing a sustained assault on humanity and that they were the first line of defense.

Sepsis posted:

When twelve years after a Mother Spore Field developed in Menden, the doctors were ready. They triumphed and created the Festering. But the battle wasn’t over. In Pollen and Franka, it had only just begun.

Protectorate

In 2513 (that's the issue of setting your game 500 years after the apocalypse – you leave yourself with 500 years of history to fill, which leads to unrealistically slow developments) the Spital joined the Justitian Protectorate. They got a cushy deal: the Judges weren't allowed to enter the Spital and they had only limited access to the Appendix. The Spitalians would take part when any hygienic and medical issues arose (I don't think The Only Real Doctors In The Wasteland had to fight particularly hard to get that “privilege”). Spitalians with Mollusks (those saves with Sepsis sensing tissue) were posted to guard the entrances to the city.

But not everything went that smoothly.

Spitalians wanted the right to hunt Psychonauts and Leperos (the terminal Burn victims IIRC) in the Protectorate, but especially in Justitian.

Protectorate posted:

The Judges opposed them by saying that everyone within the city limits had to be judged by the Codex (which contains no Psychonaut law).

This type of reasonable, rational argument triggered the Spitalian snowflakes and there were even fights in the city, with some doctors getting arrested only to be freed again by Preservists (since we don't know who they are yet, we don't know if it was bribes, influence of stealth action that affected the escapes).

Luckily enough, the clans started to get uppity and the Judges needed every man they could muster. Platoons of Spitalians now fight the Cockroach Clan alongside the Judges and help guard the frontier cities. In return, they can have little detours to hunt down Psychonauts and the spore-afflicted. It's a win-win for everyone (except the clans and Psychonauts)!

Mollusks

TIME FOR A BIG-ASS SIDE SECTION!

When Sepsis infects an organism, it penetrates the tissues with extremely thin mycellum. When that reaches a critical mass, mutations occur and a person becomes a vehicle for an Earth Chakra to joyride.

The Spitalians use the Chakra field for detection purposes. First, they infect some bovine tissues with spores (the book gets more technical, but who cares). The infected muscle is then placed into a glass jar with a nutrient solution.

When Psychonauts or spore-infected people get near, the muscle starts spasming. The closer you are, the more violent the spasms, up to an infarct (but at that point you're probably stabbing a Psychonaut anyways).

The Mollusks are part of standard equipment and can be fitted to any Splayer (spear).

Next time: stupid sexy Spitalian

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Hygienics

The doctor cult is, unsurprisingly, somewhat concerned about this whole “being clean” thing. When one enters the Spital, he or she can expect an enema to flush the bowels of bacteria (this is probably unhealthy) and to get hydrated with several liters of water (which also seems unhealthy unless done over several days). A full body shave follows and then “a vile brew that burns the skin and reddens the eyes” is applied as a disinfectant before the ceremonial bleaching of the butthole.

Specialist Hygienists oversee this procedure. Spitalians actually consider this close to a sacred rite – a “de-fearing” as the book puts it, since it removes the fear of being unclean. Of course, the most serious worry is being a Leperos without knowing it.

Primer Knowledge

If anybody knows their stuff about the Primer, Sepsis and the Psychonauts, it's the Spitalian Cult. That's why people take their advice a little too hard at times: the book gives example of villages going out of their way to kill bugs, as they can be carrying Sepsis spores.

Primer Knowledge posted:

The people fear the Sepsis less than a Spitalian platoon finding Sepsis in their village.

Well, we all know what happens to villages that harbor the mark of the mutant Sepsis:

Primer Knowledge posted:

The doctors carry the myth of their omniscience like a shield and give the people simple basics. That’s all they need and that they can stand.

You might be able to handle the truth, but you probably can't stand it!

Spitalian knowledge is hard one to come by, and the book claims that ten thousand doctors have died to gain it. Never the less, the Epigenetics established “a few general rules with their histone theory” only a few years ago. The scientific work is quite mundane: samples are tested, live Psychonauts are used to discover their reactions to changing temperatures and various diseases, soil samples from craters are checked for Primal primer, and so on.

A Spitalian knows a lot about this alien disease. He has seen Sepsis in both experiments and first hand.

Primer Knowledge posted:

The results of a spore field’s metamorphosis are as canonicalas the dosage of EX, the cure-all against spore infestation.

Waaait, there's a cure against Sepsis? Why hasn't it been mentioned before? You'd think Voyavodes and other clanner dildos would be scrambling to kiss ass, suck dick and generally kowtow before Spitalians to get some of that good shit.

Maybe it's scarce because it's produced in some edgy grimdark way (like boiling baby Psychonauts). Maybe it's an euphemism for “EXplosives.” Maybe this book is just not laid out well.

However, not all knowledge in the Spital is free. In particular, the Hive and prosthetics research groups are super secretive.

Noumenon

SIDE SECTION! So, the Noumenon Vocalizer taps into the Earth Chakra (God damn do I hate this stupid fucking name) and Psychonaut network and relays it as a “sequence of tones.” Some even have Chronicler-made screens to show the oscillations. All have an electrode-connected Mollusk at the core. Spitalians learn to read the what the Vocalizer says... and that's where the explanation ends. Could be useful to know what data can be gleaned from the damn things.

Humanity's Saviors

Humanity's Saviors posted:

In the end, everyone must answer one question and one question only: Is he with the Spitalians or with the Aberrants and thus against Humanity?

The Anabaptists are trusted allies, in that they decided through faith, not science, that all Primer stuff must die. Hellvetics spent a lot of time just watching the Aberrants... right until Psychokinetics used Filaments to send fleas and ticks into their tunnels. Now they're scrambling for Spitalian aid.

The other Cults haven't expressed strong opinions either way, and help spread sepsis inadvertently or, as is the case with Apocalyptics, by choice.

Humanity's Saviors posted:

They cannot expect mercy from the Spitalians.

Except that we saw that Spitalians are more than willing to work with Scourgers, Neolybians, Chroniclers and probably anyone else who's down to gank some Psychonauts. Nope, no mercy.

Field Work

Spitalians are quite active in the outside world, exploring regions affected by Sepsis, healing people and generally being out and about. They do it all clad in “impermeable neoprene suits.” Said suits have membrane-covered holes for injections in a few strategic spots: this allows for injections that don't expose the body to the atmosphere. The pee is collected in a bottle affixed to the thigh – it will later be checked for spore and infections. Disinfectant lime is used in plague struck areas - the whole body - especially such exposed areas as the skull - is covered. You might remember that the Spitalian in the "Sacrifice Everything" trailer does just that.

Next time: "Joint the Spitalians," they said. "It will be fun," they said.

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Blood and Sweat

Blood and Sweat posted:

There is hard work in the Appendix. Daring experiments with unknown pathogens and feld work create incalculable risks – risks that the Consultants consider necessary but that create long death lists in the lower echelons. To fll up the ranks, the Spitalians therefore need a permanent supply of young, intelligent people.

When you show up to join the Spitalians (because you have a neoprene suit fetish), you first get to talk to a low-ranking Orderly. They are good at describing just how hard being a Spitalian is. However, they also outline the benefits: your life will have meaning because you will be fighting for humanity. If that isn't enough, you'll also get "praise, gratitude, daily rations of drugs, and a powerful community on top."

This is meant to weed out the, well, weedy, much like recruiters in "Starship Troopers" (the book) do. Being a Spitalian is hard work for hard men and women.

Blood and Sweat posted:

Wimps in the Appendix would frst wither, then break and fnally die from one of the countless plagues. Ah, and shortly thereafter rise skywards from one of the many crematories. Those who carry a Spitalian suit must live up to that symbol.

Live up to the symbol of chimney smoke? Or did they mean the insignia of the Spitalians? Boook!

Career

Once you become a Recruit and get your leather apron (fashionable!), you're sent to work in the Appendix. This happens no matter how high your station was in previous life. Your father might have been a high-ranking Spitalian, a gambling man down in New Orleans or some Clanner savage bashing rocks together and ranting about stupid city folk and their houses with four walls; it doesn't matter.

After you've done your time being elbow-deep in blood, sweat and other bodily effluent, you rise to be an Orderly. They get more responsibilities and more formalized schooling. An Orderly is to evolve into a more medically-adept Famulancer. These guys have some pretty universal applications. They might get swept up by a Consultant forming a platoon for defense of some important position. They help clean up after the work of Surgeons and man the Hygienist gates. These tasks a relatively simple, but they serve to determine the further career based on the aptitudes a Famulancer displays. When the time comes, these dudes and dudettes begin their training as Surgeons, Epigeneticists, Pharmacists, Hygienists, Anaesthesiologists and Hippocrats.



It takes years of training, exams and general proof of worthyness before a Famulancer becomes one of these actually important people. This is the peak of their career for most Spitalians. Not anyone can become the department representative (book points out that they can be male or female), a post that holds great power over a certain grouping of Spitalians and only answers to Consultants.

Consultants are top dogs, shaping the goals and values of the Spital. The Registrar is their voice and they're in a position to become the next Consultant. And if a doctor survives 60 years of service (in this hellhole?), they are granted the honorific title of Elder. This allows the older farts to criticize Consultants as well as delegating tasks to other, less aged people.

Preservists are a caste apart from other Spitalians. If a Spitalian turns out to be some hardcore type that the chief would order to leave the gun and the badge on his desk, he or she is called to Arnsberg by Representative Kranzler. What follows are years of training during which “mind is shattered and rebuilt as a mosaic according to Kranzler’s wishes.” Apparently, this is a necessary step for making Preservists, the commandos that do wetwork that might be outside the scope of the regular Spitalian work.

THE SPITAL

The Outer Ring: The Appendix

When spring comes and stuff thaws, the diseases also spring up, too. The Spitalians work to disinfect septic tanks and clean open bodies of water, as well as vaccinate the citizens of Justitian. However, the illnesses still strike.

The Outer Ring: The Appendix posted:

Every year, a stream of diseases pushes through the Black Lungs’ city canyons towards the Spital. The access roads have been freed from wreckage and old cars by healed people as a means to give thanks. Stone altars along the way speak of the healed people’s thankfulness. Colorful ribbons flutter on poles, wreaths made of weeds and animal sacrifices lie half-buried in the dust.

The ruins transition into sick wards almost imperceptibly. You might be walking down the street and you find yourself “amidst wheezing, rag-clad figures, passes tents and smells vomit and Sepsis...” which is probably what a Clanner settlement smells like, but in this case, it is the Appendix!

Once a new patient is brought it, he is registered, a price is put on the treatment, and he is set up at an appropriate sick bay: “the cholera quarter, the plague alley, the dysentery avenue.” Cheerful names, those. The Appendix a lively place when times are good, and a stinking necropolis when they're bad. Some buildings in the Appendix are painted red to make them go fastah and pasted with warning signs (I guess they're full of virulent corpses) while others had been burnt by Spitalians to prevent the spread of some disease (maybe this happened at the times when Spitalians didn't have enough red paint?).

There is a kind of life in the Appendix. You don't leave your designated area, so families stay together, with the healthy ones doing menial labour. There are beggars, well, begging for food and water. Some crazier merchants sell overpriced food :thatscapitalism: while covering their faces with wet regs (I wonder if they're urine-soaked!). The Appendix is better than nothing for the sick folks, but not by much. The Spitalians can't really provide full, long term care in there: for one, there are more sick people than doctors.

The Outer Ring: The Appendix posted:

There are nights when the wind comes from the southeast and one swears that the crying and moaning of the dying ones can be heard as far as the Tech Central in the distance, but there, you hear at most an anxious sigh.

But if you have goods or drafts (money? Blueprints? Sons and daughters to be formed into future Spitalians?) you might get treated in the Corpus!

The Inner Ring: Corpus

In the middle of Appendix rises a wall of concrete blocks and unfinished bunkers. Spitalians patrol the top, armed with Fungicide Rifles (proper nouns, whee), doing their best impression of a medieval fortress.

Beyond the wall lies the Corpus. It was supposed to be the area where Spital's logistical services were to expand into. However, it was never finished.

The Inner Ring: Corpus posted:

Now, bunker foundations jut from the ground like dental necks. Pillars form concrete forests, steel trusses hint at roofs. The roads are channels cutting through this bunker world, their billabongs leading into the research groups’ labs and storage rooms via ramps.

They sure love those unfinished bunkers, don't they? Anyway, the area has no markings; the Spitalians still manage to orient themselves “as an ant follows its queen's pheromone trail,” which doesn't make any sense. The strangers don't get to walk around there. Anyone who managed to buy their way into the Corpus for advanced healing is kept at the hospitals near the gates and under house arrest.

Because the role of priviledged people hospital is secondary to the CDC center-level shenaginans:

The Inner Ring: Corpus posted:

The Corpus is a dangerous place. In the high-security labs, the results of plague tests on animals are researched, and next to them, ramps lead down in the subterranean storage facilities for spore and plague victims. Almost no other place in the wasteland has the same potential to end mankind.

Keeping rando pubbies next to your horrible virus labs? Seems like a great idea!

The Echein Spiders

SUB-SECTION TIME! The Echein ("to have, to hold" in Greek, apparently) Spiders are a purpose-bred species of blood-red, palm-sized (including legs) spiders. Found in some cavern in the Corpus, the spiders produce webs rich in a compound so similar to Vitamin C it can be used to cure deficiency.

So the spiders have killed eaten almost all of the bugs to enter the Spital. More importantly, their coccons are used to store corpses of plague victims and fun research subjects. Apparently, the power requirements for the cold storage of such an amount of corpses is imposible in the post-Echaton age, so the spider webs have to do. I don't think that Vitamin C-webs are an adequate replacement for freezing, but what do I know.


The Spital

The Spital itself is strange fortress-like building, with upper floors overhanging the lower ones. A five-meter wide trench surrounds it.

The Spital posted:

A Spitalian who descends and stomps through the red dust encounters a hated part of Spital history. A lantern’s light falls upon iron plates and walled-off windows; scars mar the walls that are fire-blackened over many meters. Someone tried in vain to break through here.

So I guess the Spital is actually rising out of the trench?

Well, who cares. If you want to cross the bridge and enter, you need to get your pee tested for Sepsis and “a complete purification in the disinfection bath completes the check-up, cleanses the body and caresses the soul – we are pure, the outside dangers stay outside.” A Spitalian then gets shrink-wrapped clothing for his stay inside while his gear is sent for cleaning.

The inside of the Spital is, unsurprisingly, white and brightly lit. There are libraries, reading rooms, labs, factories, fermenters and generators. If you join a department, you go to work in its wing.

Spital posted:

The Surgeons have several operating theatres, an auditorium and the Panopticon where they exhibit medical curios for their colleagues. Presumably not just to shock new arrivals.

Anaesthesiologists take care of the, ugh, intense care wards next to the surgery threather. Pharmacists use an entire building block for their digs. It houses the Community Pharmacy (“where drugs are handed out”), fermenters and reading rooms. Epigenetics enjoy the most modern equipment and their wing is fully electrified. The Hippocrats “have taken over the second floor,” which is confusing when you consider that Pharmacists are supposed to have a full building block.

Spital posted:

From here, they can descend into every department without going through the lobby. They like it that way. The rest of the doctors don’t.

The second floor also holds the records of rogue doctors and the printing press.

The Spital posted:

The Hygienists feel at home everywhere, but of course they also have their own wing with de-sporeing chambers as well as bodysuit maintenance. The sign above the entrance says “South Wing II”. Those who enter here will get to feel what Hygienists think of hygienics.

There's also a registry, a public library, garages and a prosthetics workshop. The arsenal is hidden behind “Gate 6” (the book itself uses quotation marks). If you have a warrant, you can get a gun. Pharmaceutics wing is actually responsible for constructing phosphor grenades and gas cartridges. The rule is not to keep biochem munitions in the arsenal for more than 24 hours. Which implies that pharmacists are cooking those weapons up all the time, which feels neither safe nor efficient.

Some doors are marked with the “HIVE” stencil. Nobody goes inside; way back when, Hive patients actually managed to break into the cellars (so much for the whole too-weak-to-siege thing) and died there. Nobody knows if Hive managed to survive all that time (possibly in the bones) and nobody wants to find out.

At The Center: Cor

Cor blimey, guvna!

This thing looks like a side section, but it isn't!

At the Center: Cor posted:

The Cor is considered the Spital’s heart, complete with forecourts (the disinfection gates), cardiac valves (Preservists guard the doors), ventricles (labs and dorms) and sometimes ventricular fibrillation (the meetings of the board of Consultants).

The book then states that it's more like two hearts: the consultant chambers at the Ziggurat (some molithic structure that shares the name with Pheromancer pimp shacks) and the block with labs, private chambers, power plant and the fancy equipment that it feeds. In any case, you really can't get in unless you're spore-free and the Consultants put you on the guest list.

Next time: what are you, some kind of Spitalian?

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


RANKS SPITALIANS

Having described the classes of Spitalians before describing the plan of the Spital, the book now presents us the the ranks (levels) of the organization. Ain't this kind of organization grand?



1 – Recruit

These are the people who have just joined. When they're not knee deep in menial labour, they're studying Bygone books – especially spelling books. Spitalians want all of them to be literate.

Recruit posted:

Those who are not fluent in it after two semesters are dishonorably discharged. “Stupidity is a disease that even we cannot cure.” Pressure is high, bloodshot eyes tell of long nights of studying, diseases mark the exhausted bodies. Many cannot bear it and collapse. This weakness is often seen as “apraxia”, the truant laziness – a severe accusation that can only be punished by exile.

Only the hardcore survive the four semesters. You'd think the Spitalians would have more luck with maintaining personel numbers if they didn't have such strenuous entry phase.

2 – Orderly

These dudes (and dudettes) are literate and semi-skilled in medicine: they can be trusted to know triage, work on blisters, set broken limbs, etc. They're not likely to visit Cor anytime soon, but they're on their way there.

3 – Famulancer
Now you're one of the cool people in gasmasks and neoprene suits! A famulancer can walk around in the Spital willy nilly. Hopefully, he'll stumble into a department that suits him. However, if he's adventurous, he'll bet given a Splayer and a Fungice rifle, and sent to the platoons.

4a – Field Medic

The book gives all of the “4” specializations the same number, so I'm adding letter to differentiate. Field Medics have broad medical skills, and they're the ones working with Famulancers, being the first contact with the sick and outside world. For some reason, they're not well liked in the Spital.

4b – Hygienist

Very much the hygiene officers from Paranoia. They check people entering the spital, they look over disincetion pools in Justitian, they're checking your table for Spore infestation. If something has to be cleaned, there are three Hygienists sneaking up on said thing with cleaning fluid. Sometimes, this means treating Spore fields and Leperos with a flamethrower!

4c – Surgeon
They're surgeons.

4d – Epigeneticist

Epigeneticist posted:

Epigenetics is the study of trigger molecules within human genes and the specific molecules the Primer modifies.

You're a huge nerd who needs to work with Bygone procedures and tech to carry out those tests. However, since you need tissue samples and even entire Psychonauts, you sometimes have to go out into the field... Dunno why Hygienists and Preservists can do that instead of risking your precious nerd head.

4e – Pharmacist

You make and distribute drugs.

4f – Hippocrat

Hippocrat posted:

They are the Spital’s conscience; its moral and ethic foundation who follow up on complaints about doctors.

4g – Anaesthesiologist
They put you under and they care for you after the operation. They also kill folks via the poison gases they develop. If you need a Leperos village destroyed, but your Anabaptist friend isn't the mood to burn anything, you get one of these hard-to-spell dudes.

5 – Registrar
Apparently there's only one? He works for several Consultants and watches over the ethical integrity of the other doctors. And if a Consultant dies, he takes the post, while the remaining Consultatns elect the new Registrar.

6 – Consultant
These are the top dogs, and they're the ones laying down the law. They're accountable to nobody but themselves, basically.

4alpha – Preservist

Preservist posted:

On black stallions with gas masks, they lead platoons of Spitalians into battle against the Sepsis. With their Preservalis sword, they cut through the Aberrants’ ranks or destroy Leperos villages with mustard gas cartridges.
Their faces behind the gas masks may show fear, but their deeds speak of ruthlessness. They are long since beyond any doubt.



Those black stalions also get gas masks, it's like a cyberpunk party up this bitch

As I mentioned before, Preservists are a caste apart. The Preservits Corps doesn't give a shit about Hippocrats, Consultants or Elders. They're trained at fortress Arnsberg, and go into the field specifically to fuck shit up.

4beta – Commando Prime
Representative Kranzler is the one leading the Preservirsts Corps. He had been doing it for years, Hippocrats be damned. Kranzler is supported by Commando Primes, intelligent individuals he employs to hurt the enemy (Psychonauts) bad.

6 – Provost

Provost posted:

The Provost officially does as the body of Consultants says – but what do these old farts know of the war? Representative Kranzler has long since severed the ties once intended to bind him.

And that's all the book says. That bodes well! I guess Kranzler is supposed to be the Provost, but why is he never refered to like that?

0 – Village Doctor

Believe it or not, but the payments from the patients cover the running costs of the Spital. However, that does not generate the profit needed to mount expeditions to Franka and Pollen. That's where the Village Docs come in – they're rented out to villages, towns and cities in exchange for food, oil, craftsmen, mercenaries...

Nobody wants to be a Village Doctor – to stay with the illiterate moon-worshipping savages – so that's why Spitalians work extra hard to stay ahear of their competing peers. On the other hand, dudes with strange opinions or failing grades will get sent out post haste.

X – Elder
This rank is based on age: you get it if you spent 60 years as a Spitalian. You get to offload field work on proxies, which is a boon when you're pushing 90 in the world of Degenesis. On the other hand, five out of eight Consultants are Elders, so surviving that long isn't that hard, I guess.

Next time: SPITALIAN: This man is your friend, probably. He fights for HUMANITY.

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 6

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Spitalians, pt. 6



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




I see you started working on that Fallout 3 gun mod

STEREOTYPES
You know this section from White Wolf, you love it: it's what the Spitalians think about the other Cults. Inspired by the 7th Sea write up, I'm just gonna quote it wholesale.

Stereotypes posted:

Anabaptists: Though we share common goals, they are full of misconceptions. But we cannot afford to be too picky when it comes to our allies.

Anubians: Black devils giving us a hard time in Qabis. They have entered an unholy symbiosis with those Psychovores. At home, we’d call them Psychonauts.

Apocalyptics: They carry Sepsis into the cities. Purely for their own needs with no regard for the consequences. True, not all of them are bad; some make good carriers. But if this war has taught us one thing, it’s that sometimes innocents have to burn to fight a potential danger.

Chroniclers: They’re smart. It’s obvious they pull the strings behind the scenes. They’ve beguiled the Judges and Scrappers. As far as we’re concerned, they’re maintaining some machines in the Spital already.

Clanners: The people. We protect them from diseases and Sepsis, and they feed us. This arrangement has been working for centuries now.

Hellvetics: Hellvetics are modern highwaymen collecting money from the most profitable bridge in all of Europe. They’ve been opening up since the infestation of their tunnels. It’s only a matter of time before an alliance is struck.

Jehammedans: Since they avoid Burn, spore infestation is virtually unknown amongst the Jehammedans. One less worry. In the Adriatic lowlands, we fought them for a while. Let’s hope they are not unforgiving.

Judges: We’ve had our altercations. Once we have destroyed the Clans, we’ll see where we stand and what parts of our alliance we can transfer into peace times.

Neolybians: The Chroniclers say the blacks eat children. We cannot confirm this. In Qabis, they’re on their best behavior. They love their land and they’re worried. Somehow, that makes them our brothers.

Palers: Sickly figures hiding in holes as soon as there’s danger on the horizon. Not very astonishing after all these years of incest. Still, they could pave us the way to the Balkhan.

Scourgers: African warriors. In Qabis, they protect us, but let’s face it. They hate it. And us.

Scrappers: Scrappers are poor bastards, living in the dirt and dying from it. At least that’s what our Famulancers think. Actually, Scrappers show less deficiency symptoms than city dwellers. They have mastered the wasteland, so they get by.

That Chroniclers bit is a little what, but what do you expect from some technocratic nerds worshipping the internet.

And now, the short biographies of three Spitalians to show what people you can expect to meet? Or maybe they're just plot hooks if you want to score some brownie points with Spitalians? I dunno!

NIKOLAI WORSCEK



Culture: Pollen
Concept: The Seeker (what does that mean? We'll probably find that out in the next book)
Cult: Spitalians (Preservist)

He was one of the first Sappers (what are those?) that went deep into Polland. He used to lead a platoon near Danzig and was well known for his ability to sense Spore fields and Psychonauts. However, he's now hiding a Burn addiction – something other Preservists would love to find out. Any Hygienist player who finds out this secret and doesn't collapse into a pile of epiplectic rage should be reprimanded for not playing his character well.

ALMA MARTINOVA



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Heretic
Cult: Spitalians (Famulancer)

Alma once refused to lead an attack on a Borcan Leperos enclace. For her punishment, the Consultants sent her to Souffrance. It turned that she is quite tallented in the resistance line of work and assassinating Pheromancer minions. She probably goes around with a glowing gold expclamation mark over her head, luring in murderhobos.

DR. HERNEZ VASCO



Culture: Hybrispania
Concept: The Hermit
Cult: Spitalians (N/A)

The good doctor has been on the run since the expedition to Pandora in 2562. Last seen in 2570, he showed super human strength and agility. Some say that he has struck a bargain with the Primer itself. I say that it sounds stupid.

And there you go, the Spitalians in all of their glory. If you want to play the angriest healer class in the history of gaming, if you have a neoprene fetish or wished that you wear Pickelhaube every day, they're the Cult for youuu!

Next time: save me, Internet!

Cults: Chroniclers

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Chroniclers



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




CHRONICLERS: THE OMNISCIENT

Digital

Imagine if Tech-priests of Mars weren't red and all of their biotech was just dress-up. Surprise, you have just imagined a Chronicler, a dude who loves cyberpunk cosplay and having multiple screens be placed wherever he goes.

'Digital posted:

The mask tightly presses to the nose and the forehead. Nimble fingers fumble with the clasps at the back of the head, tightening them until the leather is like a second skin. The frames of the glasses are now pressed tightly around the eyes, tubes are pushed into the mouth. A microphone membrane transmits the sound of every breath, every wheezing of the lungs and the squelching of the saliva-covered tubes to an amp hanging in front of the chest by a two finger-thick cables.

This opening “story” is about a Chronicler getting dressed, going outside – which includes a scan of his forehead barcode tattoo – and dreaming about the day when they will be on the top.



This is what "business casual" looks for Chroniclers

Open

Most cults can hardly remember their founding days – we already know that about the Spitalians. But Chroniclers know exactly what happened.

Before the end of the world they were the Streamers – not the Twitch streamers that you know today, but people devoted to the Stream, the Internet++ of the technologically advanced age.

Open posted:

The Eshaton interrupted the flow of data, tore social structures paralleling the web of data. Centuries-old knowledge was lost. The last residues in the minds of the surviving generation were beaten out of their intelligent heads in the era of the beast. The counter had thus been reset to zero. Later on, the Chroniclers started calling the enormous catastrophe in 2073 the Zero Event.

Emphasis mine. I think we're going to see the whole “ignorant masses killed the redditors smart people” a few more times in the writeup.

So while everyone else were inventing new ways to worship the moon and eat unprocessed food, were Streamer collecting all sorts of technological crap (as well as user manuals, which surely existed in printed form in 2073). They lacked a leader, but they all strove towards one goal: getting internet the Stream back online.

Merely 29 years later (man, RPGs and time spans...) they built the Central Cluster in a freight yard. With electricity back online, they reestablished a “static Stream,” which is probably what we would call a LAN.

Open posted:

But all Streamcasts that might shed some light on these circumstances are hidden behind cascades of passwords. No one knows the reason. Presumably, the last authorized Chronicler died centuries ago. Since then, the Chroniclers are digging into the data, circumventing security mechanisms, overcoming barriers and installing backdoors. Using newly entered Stream data, the construct bridges across digital deathtraps and skirt defense complexes. But what hides within its core?

So much for knowing their origins! It's basically the same as with Spitalians, but this time, the data is still there, it's just paywalled encrypted!

Start

And now, we're going to reiterate the previous section in a different way, because organization is for chumps.

So, Streamers wanted to get the Internet back online, because once you have WikiHow back and running, getting massive industrial processes required to run a technologically advanced culture back online would be trivial.

To that end, they secured the Colone Cathedral and the ajoining museum that held a computer center. Museums are well known for their sophisticated computer networks, servers and calculation centers, don't ya know?

They found an another LAN there and started mining it for technology. “They made a technological leap from the status of a Stone Age cult with residual information to a high-tech organization,” writes the book, and that sentence is an artifact by itself.

In 2148, mere 46 years after Central was established not at the Colone Cathedral, Anabaptists came in, crushed the weak nerds camping in the church and crucified them outside as heretics. At this point, about 70 years after the Eschaton, few if any of the original Streamers would have remained alive anyways.

Start posted:

The Anabaptists’ reign of terror began. Large amounts of information and technology were destroyed and thus removed from humanity’s consciousness. The achievements the Bygones had gathered over centuries fell prey to human stupidity. The Chroniclers fled and hid from their enemies to finally gather in the Central Cluster.

Reset

So the Chroniclers understood that no matter how many Wikia pages they edited, in the end, the guy with the sword (and willingness to use it) was stronger than some keyboard warrior. Thus they desiced to get crafty to survive.

Chronicler posted:

From that day on, power through intimidation became their new policy. No stranger has since seen a Chronicler’s face. Shards of mirrored glass were added to their robes. A modulator amp distorts their voices. The Cultists now look and sound like irate gods. But that wasn’t enough.

See? It's all cosplay. It's probably the only RPG faction that I know that literally cosplays to intimidate people. In Glorantha, dressing up like Techpriest would imbue you with the power of the Electric Gods. Here, it's just plain ol' dress up.

Man, cosplaying a Chronicler would be sooo meta.

Another thing that Chroniclers decided to do was take the old adage “information is power” and apply to the creation of currency. The Chronicler draft (so that's what the drafts mentioned in the Spitalian section were!) is, ugh, something:

Reset posted:

The consigned counter value of the drafts was pure, condensed information from the think tanks of the Cult. Crumbled sheets of paper with their barcodes and columns of numbers could simply be exchanged for directions to preserved, pre-eschatological storages, spy data, compromising information on enemies, or scientific texts on flora and fauna at the next Cluster. Everything the Chroniclers heard was entered into the always hungry data storages and distilled for redistribution.

I don't think the authors know what a “think tank” is.

So is the information encoded into the draft? If so, it's probably hard to hunt down the particular draft with the data you need. But if the draft can be exchanged for any information you want, then how is it any different from any other currency, albeit backed by data instead of gold? And here I thought Bitcoin is stupid...

Eventually, Chronicler's best trick turned out to be blackmail. If you don't accept a Chronicler into the ruling Council of your city, welp, then all the nerds pack their technologically advanced shit and move out, while the information on the dirty laundry if your leaders suddenly drops in price. That and being a serious part of the economy secured their place in the real world.

Operating System

Side section! Sadly, it doesn't deal with the question of what OS the Stream is running on. No, this section is about the cutesy, tech term-laden language that the Chroniclers - much like the guy who came up with the titles for the sections in this part - use.

Level: Rank. Applicants are level 1, Fragments are levels 20-40, at least the Agents (so levels 2-20?) think so, but the info is murky.

Bios: it's a Chronicler's CV, which includes their score.

Update: once a Chronicler reaches a required score, he or she advances in rank. So when you level up in the game, you level up in-universe, too.

Redundancy: information that Chroniclers already know – an asshole way to say “nothing new.”

Next time: How to become a turbonerd in the post-apocalyptic wasteland

Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Generation++

Chroniclers used to have difficulties recruiting new members, as they looked “too weird and too far removed from reality,” which is... an apt description of some Darth Vader-looking motherfucker that tries to squeeze in as much unnecessary tech lingo as they can into their conversations. Then again, you'd think the kids would be all over that shit.

Then they found a life hack via their cooperation with Spitalians:

Generation++ posted:

The Cult takes in the children that doctors deem autistic and all youths who’ve fallen through the cracks due to their physical shortcomings. In the wasteland, strength and endurance are crucial. Children with a great deal of imagination and interests in Bygone writings are usually not good at working the land and thus cost more than they earn. If the Chroniclers want them, all the better. They feed them and give them a chance to survive.

Well, at least they're doing good with their recruitment criteria?

The potential recruits have to pass logic tests. If they do, they're assigned a mentor and given a barcode tattoo. They also receive a cell in the cluster to live in. Once they prove worthy of an Update, they receive new responsibilities and new security clearance. It's understood that leveling up crystalizes what the person is best in and directs them that way.

Life in the Cluster

Life in the Cluster posted:

In the Cluster, there are only Chroniclers. They speak the same techno-language and share a dream of fully reactivating the Stream, so that it can reach the whole world and fertilize it with knowledge. The air in the Cluster seems to shiver with excitement. Everyone considers himself part of a great, sublime endeavor.

Yes, I'm sure everyone wants to get the Stream back online, just so we could have Burn-bros advocating for Burn legalization, futa art of Hybrispanian Pregnoticists, countless posts about how “Hybrispania did nothing wrong,” PUAs discussing what alpha males the Pheromancers are and YouTube comment sections filled with weird Balkhani arguments in broken Borcan.

The barcode is probably the most important form of identification, as machines scan it in order to give access. It's also tied into the whole “score” thing.

Ya see, Chroniclers don't believe in coincindence; in fact, they believe that a man's fate can be determined by a formula, a formula they apparently use to predict the fate of one of their members. They believe they could predict the fate of anyone and everyone, if they had enough data! Not evben Wisconsin could withstand their wrath then!

Life in the Cluster posted:

Communication between Chroniclers is very focused on information, free of phrases and full of ancient computer commands. Words are chosen carefully. A Chronicler prefers to speak slowly and deliberately, avoiding any slips of the tongue. Syntax errors are considered brain malfunctions. The brain is considered a machine; the mind its operating system. Only constant updates make it possible to adapt to an ever-changing world.

This seems... very stiffling. Maybe it's the influx of non-neurotypical folks, maybe it's cargo-culting computers which require precise code not fuck up. Anyways, it runs counter to what you would usually expect out of tech fetishists and people driven ADD by being extremely online: a rapid pace of speaking.

Maybe Chroniclers are secretly preparing for making deals with the Devil and want to get this whole “exact meanings” thing down.

Chronicler Drafts

Side section! This one is quite stupid. So, the Chroniclers in the exchanges could print out endless cash and crash the economy. But they don't, since the printers have a set number of money they can print, after which they shut down. Only high ranking Chroniclers – Streamers – can reset it.

Beyond the Stream

What, there's life outside of internet? No way!

Everyone in Justitian knows the Chroniclers and the white chalk barcodes they use to mark their territory. It's kinda odd how the book states that everyone knows that Tech Central wouldn't exist without Chroniclers: why, yes, the central hub of actitivites that Chroniclers established wouldn't exist without the cogboys (chipboys?).

But while everyone has seen a Chronicler out an about, their cosplay elevates them above the regular rabble and they appear like mysterious, powerful figures. It goes to their heads sometimes, considering that the whole outward appearance is to make them look cooler than they are.

Beyond the Stream posted:

Everything Bygone makes them hyperventilate, the Scrappers say. Mostly harmless.

Knowing contempory “Chroniclers,” I'd say you can add “stairs” and “women” to the list of stuff that makes them hyperventilate.

However, they're not some Moon-Moon worshipping savages, and the Chroniclers are more than happy to use the tech they find. Their Clusters apparently dig into the ground to expand unseen. Meanwhile, the Chroniclers themselves are lviing out the fantasy of every put-upon nerd to have ever expressed regret that those who had worse grades than them at school get to rule the world:

Beyond the Stream posted:

Thus, the Chroniclers have long since pulled the strings from behind the curtain. In powerful city states like Justitian, they wield true power from behind the throne, preserving society by keeping the peace or bringing war with nothing more than information.

This explains that one story of Chroniclers organizing the attack on that Neolybian expedition into Balkhan.

2 to the power of 16

Side-section! So when the asteroids fell, they fucked up the physical infrastructure of the internet Stream. However, the network had started dying days before the Eschaton. Some singature (no clue wthat that is supposed to be) marked with “2 to the power of 16” startered srpreading trough the web, propagating itself and crashing the Stream.

The two theories the book puts forward are “birth of an AI” and “internet immunity system kicksing in to prevent the birth of an AI” - both of them seem crazy. Anyways, the Chroniclers are scared that once they put the internet back together, “2 to the power of 16” will brick it again.

Data Stream: Needle Tower Disaster

A side section that's fuckhueg! Back in 2563, 16 Fragments, high ranking chroniclers that had gained access to the deepest secrets of the Cluster, were sent across the Reaper's Blow. 8 of them survived the passage, proving that being a turbo nerd does not a great survivalist make, and that there's a reason why you send expendable underlings on such expeditions.

They were to establish a network similar to the West Borcan network (no idea what that is). Their first goal was to reconnect East Borca's Needle Towers, which I assume to be Bygone telecomunication towers that somehow survived 500 years of neglect. Sure enough, the mega geeks did that.

Then they “surrounded themselves with an army of whores and mercenaries,” which is definitely what a redditor would do if given free reign. They also ceased communication with the Cluster. All info on them is secret. However, the names of four of them are household names for Chroniclers – so much for the secrecy.

Chromium and Iridium founded their own cities, using the shiny-ness of the towers to impress savages. Promethium was supposed to construct a relay station near Osman. Instead, like any good techpriest, he started tunneling and reached a great Osman library (not mentioned before this point). Cobalt is supposedly leading a savage clan near Praha – maybe he's pretending to be a mini-Chernobog?

The identities of the other four are either classified or deleted, the writing is unclear. However, this lead to Fragments activating Shutters and Fusers – elite thieves and commandos that have their own mirror net (?) and a social score of zero. Barely anyone knows they exist and fewer have their control codes. Shutters and Fusers are the cyberninjas that other nerds wish they were.

So yeah, not much more information than the time needle towers were mention in the Borca writeup, but now we know that there are assassin nerds out there!

Next time: the kind of smugness you can only get by posting on the internet.

Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


The Web Expands

While Central Cluster is cool and all, a new one is growing in Aquitaine in Franka. It is situated at a seabord junkyard, and apparently new shipwrecks wash ashore even 500 years after the end of the world.

The Web Expands posted:

Scrappers climb from ship to ship, cutting them apart with arc welders or exploring their cargo holds. With nets, they recover crates from the water. The granulate they toss back into the sea, but the machinery – wrapped in oilcloth and perfectly preserved – they drag to the Chroniclers. They have found quite a lot already! Black steel tubes clinging to one another like lugworms; dull white cubes that even a spur cannot scratch; spindles of light metal wrapped in bands of glowing stones full of cables and boards.

Chroniclers are more than happy to disect these artifacts. However, they don't know where this shit is coming from. Why are the ships torn apart? What's with the strange logo that nobody in Europe recognizes? There are never any corpses, either, so they don't even know if the ships ever had a crew.

Anyways, while the biggest clusters are in Justitian and Aquitaine, there are many smaller ones in basically any Borcan or Frankan city. The Needle Tower disaster stopped the cult's willingness to spread too far out. They refused the Spitalian invitation to establish a cluster in Danzig.

The Web Grows posted:

Though the Spitalians had paid their respects to the Order’s Fragments and invited them to establish a base in Danzig, Pollen, they had only turned up their Vocoders and answered “Zero!”

:eyeroll:

Neither do they wish to go too far west; the Fragments are afraid that Cultists go out of control the further they are from a cluster. So basically, any Chronicler fringe groups are literally on the fringe!

They also fear for their safety. While the Chroniclers are feared and respected in Borca, the Hybrispanians give them a lot less of the respect they feel they deserve.

Sanctioned

A side section! So, most of the Chroniclers rely on non-lethal weapons to scare the enemies away, and on their Spitalian and Judge allies to kill people dead. This also makes them seem less threatening when they ask to found a Cluster in a new city.

But then there are Shutters, who are officially outside the cult, but just so happen to kill the people Chroniclers needs killing, blah blah blah. They're cool secret black ops types, get it?!

Links

Chroniclers do OK with Judges and apparently they were the ones to actually start Justitian? Anyways, the Judges hang out with them and they have an understanding going, even if they don't have official treaties.

It's a little different with Hellvetics though. For one, the Alpine Fortress houses some Bygone computer systems, where the Hellvetics record their merrits and probably some mundane logistical stuff, too.

Links posted:

Endless knowledge and surely a piece of static Stream must be trapped in there. The Chroniclers would love to extract it, but the descendants of the Swiss military have always denied the Cult any kind of access. No reasons given. They do not listen to reason. “Why do you do that?” scream the overloading Vocoders. But the Hellvetics are experts at keeping neutral and are unimpressed by the Chroniclers’ demands, regardless how much they whine or struggle to order them around.

Picture a Chronicler in his cosplay garb literally screetching at a gruff, no-nonsense Hellvetic and try not to laugh.

The old animosity of Chroniclers and Anbaptists has been put on hold ever since Rebus the Baptist accepted Fragment Modus in Cathedral City. Nobody knows what's happening, but no Chronicler is allowed to move against the Baptists in the meantime.

Links posted:

In the meantime, many Anabaptists see Chroniclers as a necessary evil. Someone must dig up the technological corruption that can undoubtedly be attributed to the Demiurge, and that is exactly what the Chroniclers do. Like the bacteria of decay that decompose corpses. “That is about how they smell, too”, the Anabaptists joke. No one sees the Chroniclers faces behind their masks. They are grinning. They go out and continue to gather information, spinning the threads of their web.

Bolding mine

The Mirror

So, this is a slightly confusing side-section. The Palers – the Morlock guards of the Recombination Group's vaults – have been infiltrating Chroniclers for ages, posing as believers. And this is where it gets confusing. When a Paler enters the core data stream for the first time, he dives into a pool of mirrored data, which is both meant for their eyes only and a trap. While they read this mirrored data, transponders read the access codes in the nanites swimming in their blood. If a Paler was to get through the mirror (whatever the fuck that is), the Cluster's radio will send a signal that will awaken an angry ancient.

This is... something. So did someone put a trap for Recombination Group in the Stream or in the Cluster? Is this trap laid by Chroniclers? If so, how do they know to awaken one of what I asume to be Chernobog-like cyborgs? But if it's a trap laid not by chroniclers, how does it know to mirror the system? What does that mirroring do? Would the paler infiltrator not know he's fed the wrong data by cross checking it with other Chroniclers?



Resistance Equals Tension Divided By Strength

Unless this is a physics reference, I'd say that “tension multiplied by strenght” would make more sense.

Anyway, the situation is changing. The Clanners are on the rise and they presumably hate Chroniclers only slightly less than they hate indoor plumbing.

Resistance posted:

The Enemoi clan has accessed sealed Streams and sub nodes waiting for their final extraction by a Fragment in at least two places in the wasteland.

So Clanners have hackers now?

The Clanners are moving in on Chronicler's turf, killing Judges and generally being a nuisance. That's when Chroniclers send in the Paradigmas.

Clad in the most advanced lostech archeotech technology of the Bygone era, they glide on electric discharge and their vocalizers make dust dance on windows hundreds of meters away. This naturally impresses Clanners enough for them to stop wallowing in their feces and start worshiping them as gods.

Chroniclers also use the previously mentioned video walls. Huge ass talking screens act like quest givers to impressionable clanners and murderhobos. Regular Chroniclers also know how to impress people. Their gloves discharge electricity at a gesture – this is so well known that raising a pinky is a known Chronicler warning at this point (sounds lame, tho). Clanners actually believe that this is an innate ability of the cosplaying dweebs.

Next time: Take This Test To Find Out What Kind Of Chronicler You Are! The Results Will Shock You!

Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Chroniclers, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


RANKS CHRONICLERS

And thus we are unceremoniously dumped into an another section describing the ranks. Like with Spitalians, this should have been done a lot earlier.



1. Bit

You're so new, your barcode tattoo is still bleeding. You start with zero score (the book calls it “virginal”), but this doesn't get you killed like those who have their score drop to zero.

The Bit has to then “beat the sensoria” (probably a computer interface), find a mentor and beg convince them to share technical data and maybe send some bitcoins score their way. Then they get promoted to Agent in a few weeks.

Bit posted:

The imminent danger for its life is over. Welcome to the Chroniclers!

Ugh, what danger? It's not like they can catch an infection a la Spitalian newbies!

2. Agent

Agents take care of the everyday maintenance of the cluster. They know some stuff about electrical engineering, so they repair beaten sensoria, jammed locks and the like. They don't go outside unless the security scanners are broken.

So they're basically Space Station 13 Assistants.

3a. Mediator

When you become a Mediator, you get to be sent outside! Thus, they become the human form of IpoAC, working with image walls, delivering messages to other clusters, and so on. “Score++” is dropped as a single sentence, indicating that this menial work is good for advancement process.

And you'll want to advance. As a Mediator, you will have been given the chance to dip into the Stream, which both increases your knowledge and makes you hungrier for more of it.

4a. Streamer

You're not afraid to tell the truth about women and Je- wait, not, that's in real life. Anyways, a Streamer might be just a rank above a Mediator, but they're supposedly loaded with blackmail material on the leaders of Justitian and Cathedral city. However, they don't use that info for eeevil, so they're considered to be discrete and sent out as advisors and emissaries.

5a. Fragment

Supposedly, little is known about these high-ranking dudes. They mostly stay in their mom's basement at the center of the Cluster and don't interact with the lower ranks much. “Their knowledge must be immense,” states the book.

5b. Paradigma

So if a Fragment is a Streamer who turned into an enigmatic shut-in for some reason, Paradigmas are Chads extremely outgoing. Well, at least they like to go out and pose as gods to clanners. That's basically all that they do.

3b. Shutter

If an Agent understands that being a Chronicler in the Cluster is a slow transformation into some pale poster worm that wouldn't survive outside, he or she might become a Shutter. They get alcove and image wall jobs just like mediators, but they're armed with deadly weapons, so they go out to fuck shit up.

Wait, didn't the book say they have zerp score and exist as pretend-outcasts...?

4b.Fuse

A Fuse is a successful Shutter. They keep the threats away from the more limp-wristed members of the cult. The book doesn't state if “blowing a Fuse” is an euphemist for advancement through sex

Fuses get implanted with transponders that grant them access to special areas of the cluster and cashes in the wasteland. However, the Neddle Tower Disaster has not been forgotten and those transponders are more than just transmitters!

5c. Scalar

A Scalar is basically a Johnson: at this point, they're controlling the operations of Shutters and Fuses in exchange for a percentage of score and draft. They're the only ones who can keep a concise picture of the secretive operations of the assassin nerds.

0. Zero

So, if your score falls down to zero, you are removed from the ranks of Chroniclers. However, the nerds still don't know how to revoke passwords and mod priviledges, so Zeros can still use the Chronicler resources. This is why Fragments issue extermination order on Zeros.

This is massively stupid.

X. Needle

A Zero that manages to capitalize on the tech-cults inability to remove user priviledges from their networks can become a Needle, growing a tiny cult around them.

Needle posted:

Their followers protect them against the Fuses while they expand the knowledge of the Stream and build an arsenal of sanctioned and Free Spirit equipment.

Damn heretek magos! Wait, what's “Free Spirit” equipment.



Two in the pink, one in the Clanner

STEREOTYPES

Stereotypes posted:

Anabaptists: Fragment Modus on unknown mission in Cathedral City, potential access to data core. Diffuse conflict, halt embargo. Relay compromising information to Jehammedans only after payment.

Anubians: Africans. Probably of Egyptian origin. Mostly mystic worldview referring to the wheel of life. Comparison to Indian mythology to be done. No opinions.

Apocalyptics: Communication problems. Their agenda is indecipherable. Assumption: meaningless structures and confusing way of life. Potentially mad.

Clanners: Uncivilized clans see technological artifacts as signs of their gods. They are harvestable resources. High risk, refuse Corporation. Paradigmas sent.

Hellvetics: Accusation: stemming the flow of information. Refuse access to the data cores of the Fortress, get in the way of our goals. Must weigh future approach extremely carefully.

Jehammedans: Sect. Attention: extreme threat potential. There is no common ground, intermediaries should work on an interface. They deserve support as a counterpart to the Anabaptists.

Judges: Lawful organization protected and civilized by us. Give us safe room for efforts in Borca.

Neolibyans: They are a virus in the system, conjuring conflict of resources. They are bad for the Cluster. Countermeasures are implemented.

Palers: Guard high-ranking pre-eschatological supplies as guardians of the Sleepers. Mostly degenerated, thus, only limited possibilities of trade. Infiltration attempts have so far been repulsed. Continued recruitment of outcasts.

Scourgers: Amazingly advanced with psychology, probably pre-eschatological. Questioning to be done when possible. Attention: dangerous individuals, warrior background.

Scrappers: Their swarm intelligence enables them to perfectly check the ruins. Every successful drone brings us closer to the Stream.

Spitalians: Fascist organization claiming to save the world. Primer threat recognized. Worthy of support. They give us time to reactivate the Stream.

EJECT



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Conqueror
Cult: Chonicler (Needle)

One of the original eight Fragments that fucked off to do their own thing during the Needle Tower Disaster. He runs the Chromium (I thought there was a Fragment by that name?) city in Eastern Borca and has clanners hunt down anyone who knows how to use tech to protect himself.

OUTLOOK



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Adventurer
Cult: Chronicler (Streamer)
OK, this guy made me realize that the folks mentioned after stereotypes aren't the example members of the cults – they're prefab anatagonists. Why? Because Eject is a Streamer sent to Aquitaine to increase artifact excavation rates – but he skims some of the relics to trade them with Apocalyptics in exchange for “young boys to sate his carnal desires.”

And once again: how are Apocalyptics a playable faction?

NAIKE



Culture: Borca
Concept: anime waifu The Martyr
Cult: Chronicler (Fuse)

She used to live in the Cluster until some audio feedback tore her eardrums. Since deafness apparently made her useless to Chroniclers... because you can't post if you can't hear?... she was cast out in the wasteland where survives by doing dirty deeds for the cult.

Somehow, a deaf person is a better assassin than computer nerd.

Output: Conclusion

I probably would not want to play Chroniclers. They have nice visuals and the “wants to rebuild the internet” is a fun take on the Guard-of-Lost-Technology trope. However, between those two points are sandwiched the worst dweebs to ever be considered a player faction. If I wasn't sure that Degenesis is 100% sincere, I'd think the faction is a parody of internet nerd culture. Yet I think we're supposed to believe that Chroniclers are smart, secretive and inlfuential, which is which feels like smug and tiresome fantasy of someone who spends too much time online.

Next time: this is my rifle, this is my cuckoo clock

Cults: Hellvetics

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Hellvetics



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures




Hellvetics

Shift Change

We are introduced to the Angery Swiss chapter with a fluff bit on how a Hellvetic starts his day. It starts with a dude waking up in darkness, pulling out his Trailblazer rifle from under the bed and “completely” disassembling (rather than just field stripping – though I doubt the authors know the difference) it by touch.

The Trailblazer has three barrels, by the way.

As he works on losing rifle bits in the dark, the Hellvetic recalls his entire life, as one does in the morning.

”Shift Change” posted:

Deep down to the beginning: the day he received his weapon. It was a few days after his fifteenth birthday, barely able to hold the Trailblazer. The feeling of pride he had that day reaches through the decades; it feels like only yesterday. He smiles. He was sixteen when he fired his first shot and dislocated his shoulder.

It seems the future Swiss had decided to solve the child soldier problem by making rifles ludicrously heavy to carry and kick like mules.

Back to our Hellvetic, he had his first kill a few years later when his patrol found some “illegal crossers” (you can try crossing the Alps without paying for the use of the Hellvetic tunnels, but you have to contend with sharpshooters). He fired five shots, hit three times, and killed one dude.

”Shift Change” posted:

They said the first one was always the hardest one. They had lied. The first twenty were hard.

That's a lot of shooting! But life wasn't always about tagging tangos. Some rescue op in Gotthard went south and he got shot. Worse, he endangered the patrol and left one dead/behind.

”Shift Change” posted:

Then he was punished by ammunition reduction and scorn. He had that coming. He had endangered his comrades and left one of them behind. They put recruit Tillis’ bloodsoaked, torn undershirt onto his pillow, a little gift.

I think that giving less ammo to soldiers that fucked up but are expected to serve on is somewhat counterproductive. However, this whole thing apparently taught our Hellvetic about responsibility and soldierly duty.

By the time synthetic chime comes over the loudspeaker and the lighting changes from “from red and white to headache blue,” the Trailblazer is reassembled and warm (presumably from all the gun-waking). The Hellvetic wears a skin-tight Harness of reassuring weight. He walks through the empty corridors (with lights coming on before him and shutting down behind him – seems like an unnecessary use of sensors) until he reaches areas with more Hellvetics. It's not explained why he's the only one from his corridor awakened for the shift.

Eventually, he crosses rows of vehicles in permanent mothball and emerges onto a bridge that Hellvetics built over the Reaper's Blow.



Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Who Got Shot While Illegally Crossing The Alps

Sanctuary

Back in 2072, the Swiss raised a question: what if the asteroid shield of “paladin satellites” wasn't going to provide 100% protection? That's why they implemented Plan B: Vault program, but with the Alpine Fortress (there’s no such thing in Switzerland; googling the name brings up a Nazi evacuation plan in WWII while the Swiss National Redoubt was contingency plan in case the Germans invaded them in the same war). Cultural treasures as well as scientists, politicians and artists would be safely stored to emerge and restore Switzerland even after a total collapse. They were to be accompanied by 2000 career soldiers: men and women who would help them secure the land.

For a year, all sorts of goods and equipment were ferried into the Alpine Fortress. Then the selection process for people to be housed inside began. The last step was “emptying” museums and galleries for culturally important stuff to store. It was around that point that the folks understood just how serious the whole thing was. Protests grew into riots and the Swiss Stream (not internet) was brimming with applications that an expert system sorted, but could do nothing with: there was no more room left.

Wasn’t the stream supposed to be down due to the whole “2 to the power of 16” thing at that point? Anyway…

Isolation

When the gate closed, those left outside felt cheated (...but probably not for long, what with meteorites and all) while those inside felt helpless and isolated.

The good thing is that they didn't have to feel that way for long!

”Isolation” posted:

The Reaper’s Blow split the Alps like a divine axe blow. The massif of rock broke open, stone avalanches splintered from the breaking point, crashed down with a deafening noise and buried rising magma under millions of tons of stone, a fragile seal on Pandora’s Box. The Alpine Fortress was mortally wounded. The great access gates caved in or were buried under rubble. Tunnels that had led into hangars and barracks only yesterday now ended in dizzying heights and opened onto newly formed valleys. Deep black, toxic columns of smoke curled skywards, searing heat welled up. The mountain had become a prison.

Entire sections were cut off from the core and nobody knew the fate of the Swiss trapped there. Most of them were civvies, instrumental to the rebuilding effort (as well as some insufferable interpretive dance artists, I'm sure).

”Isolation” posted:

The survivors devised a rescue plan so absurd it could have only been conceived in that time of flamboyant gestures and actions: They wanted to build a bridge across the Reaper’s Blow, across Purgatory itself.

So while the proto-Spitalians were busy being overwhelmed by the masses and ur-Chroniclers were coming down with a Stream crash, the Swiss were building a bridge over a bleeding wound in the mantle of the Earth. Only “flimsy asbestos suits” protected them from the heat rising from the bubbling magma. From those hellish working conditions and gallows’ humor came the name “Hellvetics.”

The first of six bridges was finished in 2076 – and recon specialists had managed to cross the Blow a year before. However, they found that two vital sections – housing high command and government representatives – had caved in so completely that “not even ashes remained” (creators of Degenesis have a flimsy understanding of what happens when human bodies get crushed by cave-ins). It is never clarified if the sections with artists and scientists survived or got crushed as well.

This would have severely demoralized the survivors if not for Hellvetic (so a non-civvie?) Leonard Gboy who occupied their minds with discipline and purpose.

”Isolation” posted:

A Corps Commander who had to guarantee the area’s safety autonomously was assigned to all of the Swiss Territorial Regions. He commanded smaller units of a few dozen soldiers that were supposed to be constantly checked for quality by an independent section commission. The chain of command was restored, and the Hellvetics felt like they were part of a Swiss clockwork again.

That's when they officially renamed themselves as Hellvetics, to make a break from the past (great job preserving that Swiss identity, guys).

Next time: rebuilding Switzerland, whether it wants it or not.

Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


From Hell To Hell

It took till 2080 for the Hellvetics to clear out the gates into the Swiss heartland. For once, I kinda believe the timeline: clearing massive cave-ins would not be an easy task even for a well-equipped engineer force. The emerging soldiers found cities like Zurich to be empty, sings of looting were everywhere while the survivors were weary of armed me due to run in with your generic post-apoc bandits. Considering the fact that IRL Swiss get to keep their service rifles once they muster out (albeit the ammo is kept in central depots), there might have been more of armed marauders than in other, less gun-happy parts of Europe.

However, the Hellvetics were now slaves to the capital-d Doctrine and thus ready to help the civilians, whether they wanted it or not. They crushed bandit camps and let their leaders choose between death and exile. Many Swiss bandit leaders thus ended up in Borca.

From Hell To Hell posted:

The Hellvetics were never interested in a better world. For them, it was the Doctrine that mattered. They did not give up quickly on goals once found.

Look at that tragic drama of a leaderless army latching onto the first goal they could find! Oh, the humanity!

After all the resistance was crushed, the surviving Swiss welcomed their saviors. It was during this time that the Saugur (did the name come as some freaky mix of SIG and Steyr AUG?)11 rifle got named “The Trailblazer.”

Doctrine and Ethos

Side section! So, when an army finds itself without a government or a leadership, bad things happen. Luckily for everyone, Hellvetics came up with their Doctrine. Now, it controls them fully – this is what gives their lives meaning to the point where Hellvetics don't even worship any god anymore.



This is what Hellvetics actually believe!

Fast Forward

Hellvetics became the leaders of Switzerland reborn. Cantons got back on their feet, more bridges were built over the Reaper's Blow, and the asbestos suits developed into the Harness somehow (I'm sure asbestos provides great ballistic protection). Drilling tunnels into the mountains connected their domain with the rest of Europe, and ensured safe passage. Spitalians were suddenly able to reach their outposts in Pollen without dying. Neolybians quickly became very important friends, providing oil which powered the machinery in the Fortress and “turned tunnels claimed by wild clans into a flaming hell.”

The book states that Hellvetica quickly became Europe's eye of the needle (center for mangled Christian metaphors?). People were very much willing to offer pacts and alliances while Hellvetics were as keen to turn them down.

Relapse

However, civilians soon got uppity. Cantons began fights both political and trade-related. The book blames it all on safety and comfort:

Relapse posted:

Many spoke out loud what Command was not even permitted to think. The confederates were faring too well. Thanks to Trailblazers and Harnesses, they feared no influences from the outside and played their games in the Hellvetics’ slipstream.

So what did the Hellvetics do? Well, they said something about “disrespecting the troops,” quoted that Colonel Jessup speech from A Few Good Men and retreated into their forts, presumably to start printing veteran t-shirts and make veteran Milka chocolate.

This was around the time when Praha fell. The clans were feeling powerful and so they invaded the Swiss heartland, easily overcoming unmanned Hellvetic barricades. Villages burned.

Relapse posted:

While the inhabitants of Torino fled back under the Hellvetics’ protection again in the end, presumably purged, the other Territorial Regions’ inhabitants learned what fighting for survival meant. In the future, everyone would have to earn the Hellvetics’ protection.

OK, what the hell does “presumably purged” mean? Did they just shoot up the people of Torino? What the fuck?

Anyways, so that’s why you can have wild adventures in Switzerland these days: the Hellvetics have abandoned them to fend for themselves, which I’m sure is a great idea in the long run.

Deserted

Side section! If you can't take being a Hellvetic no more, you can just give your gun to your unit commander, and you'll be lead outside of the fortress to do what you will. Other soldiers won't do anything more than scorn you.

However, should you slink away with your Harness and Trailblazer, they will hunt you down. Yet there is a weird loop to allow player Hellvetics (or Hellvetic PCs) to fuck around in the wild. The book says that the military will only hunt you down if you don't report/maintain contact with some regularity. Which is, ugh, definitely a way that a military can operate.



Harnessing dat ass, am I rite?

Territorial Regions

Hellvetics divided their realm into four Territorial Regions: two on each side of the Reaper's Blow.

Territorial Region I takes up the Frankan Alps and makes sure the passes are safe.

Territorial Region II covers all of the Cantons. Originally, the plan was for an old-school Swiss democracy, but, ugh “but this development was rejected by the Hellvetics as anarchistic and non-democratic.” Only Bern had a measure of self-rule without the right to raise a militia.

Had. Ever since the Hellvetics threw a shit-fit, the Swiss themselves guard the walls of their cities, armed with old rifles and presumably a pitchfork or two. Hellvetics only care for the roads and waystations.

Territorial Region III covers all of former Austria. Understandably, this is a big bite for the Hellvetics to chew, so their Genies (engineers) have been laying underground rail to give them mobility matched only by Tiberian Sun-era Nod.

Territorial Region IV is “uncharted territory” and basically the backwater of the operation.

Territorial Regions posted:

The Hellvetics’ fortresses are unfinished buildings, tunnels carved into the rock without camouflage or security mechanisms. They are sparsely manned.

The Purgan side of the Alps is watched by Jehammedans and Anabaptists, while the Balkhan side is covered by Voyavodes and their rackets. So yeah, this probably isn't the most popular posting.

Cuts

Side-section! Reaper's Blow is a volcanic hellscape, but Aberrants live there. They weave the Filament - it's hard as glass and cuts you if you step on it (doesn't affect the Aberrants) and eats through the mountains with ease. Spitalians say it has something to do with self-contained or condensed power fields.

Sure, why not.

The Filament is spreading towards the Alpine Fortress, burrowing into the tunnels and unleashing ticks and mites. The Hellvetics don't know what to do with an enemy they can't shoot, so they have invited Spitalians to help.

The Soldier and His Weapon

The Soldiers and His Weapon posted:

Hellvetics are exclusively recruited from their own ranks or from the former Swiss population. The drills start at the age of fourteen, boys and girls are equal. If the recruits prove themselves, they get a Trailblazer the year after. This weapon is at the center of their thoughts and actions until they die. If their weapon is stolen, they are expelled from the army. The same happens if the weapon is irreparably damaged. If they sell the weapon – Off they go! Repeat: What happens if you lose your weapon?

That's very Brotherhood of Steel of them!

Next time: here’s how an idiot runs an army

Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


Austerity

OK, we're taking a Scourger buggy and riding that bitch straight into Stupid Town in here!

You see, even with the manufacturing capabilities of the Hellvetics and the taxes they levy on passage use, it's really not that easy keeping them adequately supplied. Trailblazer ammo is hard to make, so it has been rationed for ages. But using any army gear “thoughtlessly and unnecessarily” is considered theft.

And then we get to resource allocation.

Austerity posted:

To spread the resources evenly and effectively, the four Territorial Regions have been further divided into 20 sections. Each of them is entitled to a percentage of a monthly storage output. The amounts also depend on the effectiveness of the Hellvetics stationed in a section. If one of them botches a mission or they cannot meet central storage’s demands with regards to profits from transit fees, drastic cutbacks ensue. The section gets less ammo, and special support weapons and vehicles are suddenly not available anymore. If the soldiers cannot discipline the comrade responsible and get him up to speed again, the whole section’s survival is placed in danger.

Your section is suffering difficulties dealing with Clanner raids and Apocalyptics? Well, maybe you need more personnel... lol, no, fuck you, deal with the problem with less ammo and fewer guns. I'm sure this will encourage you to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and deal with the situation instead of being a lazy moocher.

Austerity is a horrible brain worm, both in real life and in Degenesis.

Bunker Fever

This sub-section is probably not about underground dance-offs.

The Alps near Laibach are strange; weird lights are sighted, spells of dizziness overcome the patrols, people start going bald. While some would like to attribute this to Bunker Fever (and I'd say something about radiation exposure), these cases have been verified and recorded through the ages.

Somehow connected to that stuff is the legend of Triglaw. A “grotesquely stunted man in billowing layers of white fabrics,” he stalks the Hellvetic tunnels, taking anything he wants from the stores. He is said to be very cunning and over 400 years old.

Tales claim that Triglaw supplied the Swiss with asbestos for the bridges; that he is the soulless husk of one of the first Hellvetics; that he's the original protector of the Alps and a Bygone relic. My money is on experimental Swiss defense android.

But whatever the truth is, if it ever came to light, “the Hellvetic history will have to be rewritten.”



I probably should not be skipping the further prophecies of Jehan de Vezelay, but I don't think anyone is interested in them that much. Here are some actual illustrations instead!

Merits

Delving deeper into the organizational insanity of Hellvetics, we arrive at the section that deals with ranks and promotions. Here's where we learn that soldier rank is gained through a combination of merit points, workshops taken and skills acquired. So, you know, the post-apocalyptic Swiss gamified gaining ranks in the military.

At the end of every tour, each Hellvetic takes his or her Trailblazer, plugs into the system (there's a port for that on the gun) and uploads the stats to a screen.

Merits posted:

The number of shots fired is recorded, as well as the rate of fire or any overheating by continuous fire. Once the weapon has been checked, the soldier turns to his comrades and awaits their judgment. Behind him, his data flickers across the wall-sized display, accompanied by his combat statistics and his commander’s effectiveness assessment. The reactions vary from respectful silence to scornful humiliation.

So yeah, you are publicly judged on your K/D score. I'm sure this is wonderful at building cohesion and camaraderie.

After the public shaming, the computer calculates which section is the best and how much ammo is left. So while the best gaming clans sections can relax a bit, the weaker ones have to go outside on a dangerous mission to improve their score.

I bet some neoliberal opinion writer dipshit is reading this and thinking “hmmm, yes, this is how we should fight a war.”

Grades

This section here is to muddle the waters a bit. It mentions that Soldier, Private and Lance Corporal are but the first, easily abandoned ranks in the career of any Hellvetic. You'd think those are the ranks that would be most plentiful in any fighting force, but there we are.

The noncom ranks of Corporal, Constable and Field Officer (yes, a rank) are the first to involve leadership duties, like “autonomous guard duty” in passes or peripheral tunnels, or command jobs leading “very small groups.”

Once you advance further, you get to specialize as a Sapper, Genie, Grenadier and so on – implying that there are no Grenadier privates or Lance Corporals. Once you get to Sergeant, First Sergeant, Adjutant, Staff Adjutant, First Adjutant and Chief Adjutant, you get to lead a platoon. Becoming a Sub-Altern (1st or 2nd Lieutenant) means you lead several platoons. This feels like a Captain posting, but no, Captains are “responsible for all of a section's formations.”

A Captain is outranked by the Field-Officer grades (I thought that was the rank before Sergeant?) of Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, who assist the Corps Commander leading the territorial region.

Territorial Service

Hellvetics have no agriculture nor natural resources (abandoning the Cantons to their fate continue to be a great idea). That's why when they need something, they rent out soldiers as mercenaries. The book says that they are respected in Pollen and Borca, despite being really hard to work with.

Territorial Service posted:

They question every attack and refuse to obey if they have any doubts while defending an endangered settlement is almost always considered morally faultless.

These mercs don't help with wars between the city states and cult-on-cult conflict, so you basically hire them if you want to, dunno, keep the Psychonauts away or shoot some Clanners.

Next time: how is armmi formed

Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Hellvetics, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures


RANKS HELLVETICS



1. Soldier

Young soldiers are “are recruited from their own ranks” - whatever the fuck that means – or from volunteers from the Territorial Regions. Here I thought that Hellvetics only recruit from among their own, but maybe the other Swiss count, too.

Anyway, they start training at 14. They get their Trailblazer after a year.

Soldiers get the grades of Private and Lancer Corporal for good behavior and “good fire quota,” so they're like gold stars, I guess. I doubt any player will ever give a fuck about the grades, and they annoy me, so I won't be writing them out, unless something obviously stupid crops up (it will).

2. Corporal

Hey, look at this, it's both a grade and a Rank. This is certainly not confusing, in fact, it is very well thought out.

Anyways, this basically copy pastes the earlier text about autonomous duty, and reminds you that a “higher ranking noncom officer” must specialize.

3a. Sapper

So, you have now advanced high enough in the ranks – and earned enough experience in command training – to have the right to blow yourself up. Sappers are the dudes dealing with demolitions, whether they're needed to clear tunnels or enemy bunkers. They also get Tunnel Shields to hide behind, which reminds me of Breacher Marines.

On the other hand, the book says that they only use Trailblazers in emergencies, preferring to rely on machineguns and grenade launchers. So far, this feels like a very fucking steep jump in power.

3b. Grenadier

Supposedly these specialized ranking noncom officers make up the largest part of the Hellvetic army. They have a modified Trailblazer, are perfect shots and have enough survival skills to mostly operate outside of the Fortress. Grenadiers are pointed out to be what a Swiss considers to be the soldier stereotype.

They don't have anything to do with grenades, so the Grenadier name is used solely in the Napoleonic/German terms of prestige.

4a. Special Detachment

Recruited from Grenadiers and Sappers, called “Specialists” by other Hellvetics, they answer directly to the Corps Commander, who sends them on politically important deployments... like guarding foreign emissaries in Hellvetic territory. They are also sent on foreign duty (which probably means “outside the territorial regions”).

Despite what the book says about a Trailblazer staying with the soldier for life, Specialists get a snub-nosed version of the rifle and generous ammo allowances when on a mission.

3c. Sentinels

Sentinels are a doozy. First, they're the expert border guards: they know every bunker overwatching the Alps and they decide who gets to pass. They man the cannons of the Alpine Fortress. They set charges in the snow to cause avalanches (since that “saves ammo”).

They also get to wear the heaviest Harnesses and act as field police.

All that in one tidy package!

3d. Radio Beam Unit

They're the nerds looking over Hellvetic network of “radio masts, cables and relay units.”

Radio Beam Unit posted:

Their understanding of communications electronics is at par with high-ranking Chroniclers’ – but Radio Beam Units can radio for help or artillery support.

3e. Spotters

They provide observation in the wild.

4b. Infiltrator

An Infiltrator is a Spotter who wears his light Harness under local garb and infiltrates the locals to weaken them. They're one of the HSLD Tier 1 Operator-types that Hellvetics employ.

5a. P-26 Squad

Named after the Swiss stay-behind forces (as if anyone was ever gonna invade Switzerland), with the numeral referring to the number of Cantons, they're the Infiltrators shaping the Swiss heartland. They go in, denounce or kill people opposed to Hellvetics and carry out other actions of significant symbolical value.

3f. Medic

Medics stand side-by-side with Grenadiers and do Medic stuff.

3g. Genie

Genies (old ass French term for engineers) build and maintain bridges and roads, as well as doing vehicles maintenance (this is a lot easier when people keep losing access to vehicles because their score being too low). Their logistical skills are unparaleled.

At this point I realized that the first two Ranks of are just base camp for Hellvetics, and they go off to specialist training afterwards. However, the grade thing confused the fuck out of me... well, that and the fact that Corporals go out to serve (and lead) before getting a whiff of specialist training. Milgoons, halp.

3h. Forager

They know how to access storage and section computers in the Alpine Fortress, and thus they organize food and other provisions. So despite the name, they do no foraging, being tech nerds instead.

4c. Subaltern

This Rank is accessible to any of the previous except for Spotters who are locked into the Infiltrator/P-26 track. Text copied from the Subaltern section, but it mentions that they have private quarters in the fortress, get a Grenadier bodyguard once they go outside the fortress and are used as ambassadors.

5b. Field Officer

This time, it's a rank, not a grade! Most of the text description copied from before. What's new is that they can place any civilian on the confederate ground (so, Swiss territory?) under martial law and judge them.

6. Corps Commander

You the man now, dog.

STEREOTYPES

’Stereotypes’ posted:

Anabaptists: One of many clans, but one with a strong military branch. In the transfer tunnels between Borca and Purgare, they are our main source of income. They scratch their crosses everywhere.

Anubians: Rare guests in the passages. In the ranks, they are considered a mystic variety of army doctors. The Scourgers seem to need their hokum.

Apocalyptics: Almost all of them are smugglers. They ook for gaps in the defenses, blackmail and bribe. The Sentinels are constantly on their trail.

Chorniclers: Be very careful! They want our technology and obsess about it. The Sentinels already had to arrest Foragers who were found to have granted the Chroniclers access to the Fortress computers for pay.

Clanners: The vestiges of the people. While we have sworn to protect them with our lives, we expect cooperation. As they do not cooperate, they will have to earn our protection now.

Jehammedans: We have Trailblazers; they have swords and a goat god. We win.

Judges: Paramilitary army trying to unite Borca under the hammer. Their Codex raises them far above the Clans. With betterweapons, they could bring peace to Borca.

Neolybians: A trader tribe, not half as mad as the Anubians or Scourgers. According to our comrades from Territorial Region II they rob Borca blind. Well, as long as they pay their passage...

Palers: We seem to have a similar fate. At least, that’s what they say in the Cantons. But it’s not true. We have a doctrine, a code of honor. Palers are like animals: naked rats crawling through the underground, sniffling and grunting.

Scourgers: No chain of command, no ranks, no discipline. The strongest ones wear lion heads. Europe is being vanquished by them?

Scrappers: The African Scrappers show no respect and are loud. The European ones are grumpy and quiet. Both pay their passage. We like them.

Spitalians: We underestimated the Psychonauts. A mistake that comes to haunt us now. We have to let Spitalians into our fortress and assume obligations towards them that will, in the end, cost us our neutrality.

Paramilitary army just sounds… weird.

The last sentence about Scourgers was probably meant to sound incredulous, but it doesn’t work when you don’t put emphasis on “them.”



Three barrels, two magazines, one stupid design



CORPORAL GRUBER

Culture: Borca
Concept: The Abomination
Cult: Hellvetics (Corporal)

The command considers him human scum… so that why he has been sent out on mercenary duty often, particularly with Judges and Chroniclers.



HELENA OF TIMMELSJOCH

Culture: Borca
Concept: The Visionary
Cult: Hellvetics (Forager)

She and her command were the Timmelsjoch pass in Teritorial Region III. Helena turned it from a shitfest to a success story and her troops adore her.



ADJUTANT SLABON

Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Mediator
Cult: Hellvetics (Adjutant)

He is the guy helping Triglaw smuggle tech to Laibach. Also, adjutant isn’t among the ranks Hellvetics.

Only one of these guys is outwardly terrible. Maybe stereotypes aren’t meant to be enemies after all.

Debriefing: Hellvetics

The three Cults so far have been very much of the sleek, sci-fi looking type. Hellvetics are the most obviously ranged combat focused… and looking out of place in Fucked Up Future Europe. Their write-up is all over the place, and neither their structure, nor organization, nor even the laws that govern them make any sense.

That, and they threw a shitfit and abandoned their people while operating like a country-sized checkpoint racket. Too bad!

Next time: I am THE LAW! *hammer whack*

Cults: Judges

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Judges



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Judges

Homeland

Do you want to be an Old West lawman, but with a hammer instead of a six shooter? Do you want to be Ray McCall that replaced the Bible with the Codex of law? Judge Dredd with a wide-brimmed hat and a leather duster? Then you're in the right place!

I can't wait to see how the writing undermines any coolness in the concept :/

The starting fluff piece is about a Judge riding through Justitian. He looks like you'd imagine him to look. Justitian, on the other hand, is a dusty shanty town – can't have have Western hammer-slingers in a place that isn't at the very least dusty. I wouldn't be surprised that the whole thing about Borca being covered by rust-dust is just an excuse to set up the terrain for cowboy-ing.

There's also a mention of a Scrapper pulling a cart of scrap through the streets. The Judge understands that there's no use in trying to get him to hurry. This little tidbit, together with the previous mentions of Scrapper hivemind, suggests that there might be more to scrappers than just looting (they’re the next cult to be covered).

The fluff piece points out the almost religious reverence the Judges give to Codex, with the dude in question keeping it in a hermetical flask and reading it to draw strength.

Our Judge joins a mounted expedition. The other dudes look like him, and rifles as well as muskets are mentioned. They're going out to crush some Cockroaches that have overtaken a ruin.

First Judge

After the Eschaton, people took to looting and pillaging with great aplomb.

First Judge posted:

Some claimed their circumstances were to blame. Centuries of ethical and moral development were gone with the wind.

I wonder what the authors mean by that.

Gangs formed and individuals were powerless against them.

The first Judge appeared in 2381, making them a relative newcomer as far as cults are concerned. It was in a fortified village near Bochum. He apprehended a Clanner that was wounded during a raid and left behind. The Judge recited the Clanner's crimes and smashed his head in with a sledgehammer using an overturned bucket as the executioner's block.

First Judge posted:

There was no axe to be found in the village.

People were shocked by this and the peasant the Judge had borrowed the hammer from did not want it back.

And thus the story of this particular Judge began. He traveled from settlement to settlement, mediating disputes between the people with “the patience of a snake waiting for its prey.” Of course, he also got to execute criminals. The book calls his judgments “merciless, but just” and his executions grim and brutal.

First Judge posted:

His trademark floppy hat, the glasses, the coat and hammer were all soon known throughout West Borca.

When you're trying to describe a dude as a badass, you probably don't want to call his hat “floppy.”



Hat: not really floppy

Despite the questionable state of his headdress, the Judge became a living legend – and a target for Clanners.

First Judge posted:

They resisted. They ambushed him, attacked him with two, three and finally four people.

Wow, they sent four actual people to ambush one dude? How did he survive?! This is some Marty Sue bullshit!

Such formidable ambushes brought the Judge off his horse time and again, but he was a tough dude and always survived. Eventually, he started attracting a following of young people. At first, they just provided logistical support. Then, they rode out with him as protection.

Stone Heads

Teeny-tiny side section! When a Supreme Judge dies, he is burred – together with the codex he wrote - “in a giant stone head above head height.” You can see these heads in the Judgment Alley in Justitian.

I bet it looks goofy if they're just giant, disembodied heads. There's 23 of them at this point.

Guardians of Order

The Judge had soon attracted over 100 followers (yet didn't get the blue check mark, since Jack is a Clanner). They dressed like him and spread his word over Borca. The locals were surprisingly happy to have a wandering cowboy cosplayer preside over their disagreements and courts. They were offered food and even permanent residence. But many remembered that the first Judge was a wandering justicehobo, and went back on the road.

Hilariously enough, the Judges didn't notice when the First Judge disappeared, because they were cosplaying just that well.

Guardians of Order posted:

With their scarves in front of nose and mouth, the floppy hats and the glasses it was nearly impossible to discern one Judge from the other. Their mentor could have moved amongst them unnoticed. But his disciples wondered what new deeds the old one had done, where he might be and how he might feel. No one knew the answers. Only after months the Judges realized that their founder was not amongst them anymore.

They also understood that they didn't need him to be able to judge people.

The Testament

On December 15th, 2409, two Judges received the Testament of the First Judge from a Chronicler.

The Testament posted:

The two Judges held in their hands the First One’s travel diary, holding his collected experiences, epigrams and pages full of paragraphs. The knowledge of a holy life and the testament to his successors, collected in tiny, scratchy handwriting on greasy pages.

Soon, people used this Codex Judgestartes to base their judgments on. Others analyzed and interpreted the text. Eventually, it became the core of everything the Judges stood for.

Justitian – The Righteous Fist

Justitian started out when Chroniclers offered home next to their Central Cluster to two Judges and several of the more civilized clans. The Judges were supposed to act as a protection force from the rowdier of the new settlers.

All two of those Judges.

They fortified the hidden wells near the Cluster and started getting comfortable. Advocates, the theorcrafters of Judges, liked having a safe place to be nerds at.

'Justitian – The Righteous Fist[/b posted:

To the old-fashioned Judges who wanted to beat the word into the faces of fat criminals with an iron fist, the nascent city was a corset hindering their movement. They made the best of it, even if they disliked the centralization.

The new city was called Justitian after Justia, the goddess of justice – it was a Chronicler idea, again. Judges were, of course, prominent in the city, getting their nose into everything and counseling even when unasked.

Before long, one Judge went for the kill, that is, trying to become the leader of the Cult. Thus, Justus I became the first Supreme Judge.

Justitian – The Righteous Fist posted:

He elevated his own version of the testament to a universally valid law and called it “the Codex”. He ordered the Advocates to make laws and asked the practitioners to apply them in the field. To each his own. Internal strife he countered with a hierarchy making clear who was right in the end.

I really don't know what value judgment the book is trying to pass here.

Anyways, the Judges rode through the city, making law, while enforcers and capital-V Vagrants guarded the gates.

Eventually, The Judges came to dominate Western Borca. The survivor groups appreciated law and protection after spending years defending against rowing bands of bandits and tribals.

Cults: Judges, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Judges, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


The Codex

Basically, every Supreme Judge that enters said office brings his own Codex – a book of laws and interpretations of the Testament, supposedly to account for the changing times or the inventiveness of criminals.

The Codex posted:

Chairman Archot is the oldest of them all. He has been Supreme Judge for more than 20 years; his Codex has become a bloated monster that no one can control anymore.

I like to imagine that the book has become animate and lawyers have to wrestle it to the ground every time they need to consult it.

“Thou shall not kill” and “Thou shall not steal” are some of the core ideas that the law grows around, accruing exceptions, provisions, interpretations and precedents like a ship does polyps. The Advocates are the ones working to come up with new laws and interpretations that need to be written down, keeping the SIC (scribe-industrial complex) going. This does not sit well with some of the Judges.

The Codex posted:

Only a few older ones remember the times when the handy booklet wrapped in black leather gave them direction, but did not force them to rush down the slope like a train on brakeless tracks. There is no room for interpretation anymore. Everything that could be interpreted has been interpreted and set in stone. The law has become a burden.

“Man, I love law. *Sees Codex* Wait, no, that's too much law!”

Two Camps

There exist two camps of Judges. The Protectors are the ones out in the field bashing heads with hammers, and they're “peers to the people.” The Advocates are the ones actually writing down the law and getting in Protectors' way (of casually murdering people and justifying it with their interpretation of the law).

Two Camps posted:

The Advocates recruit the Judges from those who are too weak for the physical drill and the Protectors’ claim. In fact, the Advocates value education and intelligence higher than the ability to strike people down with a hammer. They want to define the evil in people, find it and tie it down with laws. They see themselves as educators, not as warriors.



I love this illustration for some reason.

Protectors: Hammer
Howdy, pardner, this there's a side-section! This one says that the Protectors are basically dumb muscle; the tribunal that selects them is mostly interested in physical strength first, and only requires a cursory understanding of law. Upon graduation, the recruits get to smash some iron sheets upon the executioner's block, thus stamping their oath.

The Senates

Consequently, there are two Senates, one for each of the groups. The Protectors are generally for expanding the Protectorate, while the Advocates control the city and get up to law-nerd stuff. Sometimes, their roads cross – especially when extraterritorial matters come forward – and then the two Senates can't help but interact (argue).

I guess having a single Senate would have been too restrictive.

Judges' Lingo

The Testament is peppered with Greek and Latin phrases. The first Judges couldn't understand them, but by the game’s “now” they have enough experts to have deciphered everything. The Senates are divided on the matter. The Protectors think that Codex should be written in plain language, so that the people would understand everything. The Advocates, on the other hand...

Judges' Lingo posted:

The Advocates, on the other hand, see their position threatened. If the people understand and internalize the laws, what would they need the Judges for?

Yes, if people understood the law and acted lawfully, there would be no need for Judges. That is a truly realistic fear to have and not some Jack Chick tract about the Catholic Church BS.

Anyways, there are a few examples of what Latin sayings are commonly used. It also says that some Judges like to use the foreign languages because it makes them look cool and confuses people, while others don't use Greek or Latin at all.

Basically, you, the player, can do whatever.

I say you should use every Greek or Latin word you know, especially if the other players don’t.

Jurymen

Since the Protectorate expands faster than the amount of Murder Lawyers, something must be done, as allowing crime to go unpunished would lead to rebellion. Thus, local leaders and big merchants, maybe war veterans, are quickly trained to be jurymen to act in the absence of a Judge. If a criminal accepts the verdict given by a juryman, it stands. Protectors are consulted in severe cases.

An Eye For An Eye

I wonder if this will go ba-

An Eye For An Eye posted:

The Judges bring law to the wasteland, and just like a strict father teaches the rules of life to his unruly kids by beating them, the Judges punish all who act against the Codex’s teachings.

Oh, so you're trying to sell the faction by making positive comparisons to child abuse. Got it, book

Anyway, the Judges have developed many means and ways of punishment. Many of those account for the fact that nobody has the resources and/or willingness to imprison people. You also have to take into account the fact that people at large don't carry any documentation. Apparently, you can start a new life just by moving into a new district of Justitian – somehow, I don't believe that it's the multi million pop metropolis that would guarantee that kind of anonymity, but that's just me.

That's why punishments have to be visible. A thief's hands and forearms are painted with a stinking blue solution that will only fade in weeks or months. Same thing happens to the lips of thieves and frauds. If the paint fades without you committing a new crime, all is forgiven. However, if you do, you get some more... permanent mark. A thief will have a knuckle on each hand smashed. Liars will get their tongue split. Adulterers get their dick split.

Those don’t apply to killers or rapists. They get branded and cast out. If they return, the Judges will allow the family of the victim choose the punishment: smashing a limb or ripping it out with the help of a Judge's horse. . How the last one is different from a death sentence, I dunno, but death sentences are also possible.

An Eye For An Eye posted:

Many culprits, especially those lesser crimes, get to choose. Either pay an indemnification to their victims or spend a few days in Justitian’s boot camps. Additionally, their faces are marked with red color, the henna. In the following days, they work for the city’s benefit, repair streets, build houses, shovel dirt from the Defiler Streets, fight the dust with their spades, and work on the great Colossus, chairman Archot’s legacy.

I dunno how and why these guys are treated differently from thieves that are just marked blue and let go.



"Argh, why am I getting owned by a Spitalian in my own chapter?!"

Anyways, if you run away from the public works program, something bad is done to you – being merciful is weakness. However, once the paint goes away, you are free to go. Some stay – two meals a day is a hard offer to say no to.

These kinds of paint-related punishments shape the culture in Justitian in obvious ways. Everyone who wants to shake hands on a deal removes gloves and people show their faces to demonstrate their honesty. Strangers can trip up on these details like that.

Advocates: Codex

This is the subsection about the Judge Nerds. Advocates have much laxer physical requirements. They prefer muskets instead of hammers since they don't need to get on the same level as (or close to) the wasteland savages. Their physical tests are less arduous, too.
But they need to know Codex by heart. And once they're really good at it, the Advocates LARP a trial. If the council judges your RPG skills worthy, they'll shake your hand and you'll be considered one of them.

You nerd.

Next time: Judging continues

Cults: Judges, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Judges, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Archot's Obsession

The first 20 years of (Supreme Judge?) Archot's reign were magnificent or so the history books will say. The Protectorate absorbed dozens of villages in Borca. Scores of Clanner scum fell to musket fire. The Cockroach clan was driven into hiding. Ignatz, a smuggler's den, was razed in a combined effort with Preservists. Archot accepted praise for these accomplishments with “an insufficient layer of false humility.”

However, the Supreme Justice feared being forgotten in death, just like Supreme Criminal Bender. He didn't want to be just another stone head among stone. He wanted something bigger.

Archot's Obsession posted:

They struggled in the ruins, harvested stones, and dragged them to Justitian’s high town. They piled them up at the end of the Judgment Alley; layer by layer, a stone torso formed, passing from a sinewy neck to the chin, tapering at the shoulders.

Is it me, or the description of the Colossus feels off?

It doesn't matter, really, since a Jehammedan assassin blew it up.

I don't know why he's called an “assassin” for blowing up a statue, but here we are.

Apparently, Chroniclers recorded “the Hagari” (whatever that is) before the detonation. Some judges saw a female Jehammedan near the statue. Archot knew that an Issaki had been sent to Justitian from Osman. He gathered all that information within 30 minutes of the explosion and he was mad with vengeance.

Archot's Obsession posted:

Streamers spread out, trying to warn the Jehammedan community, but they did not reach them. Interface problems. In the end, Rutgar’s black Judges found the Isaaki Gideon and riddled him with 12 rounds of bullets.

I think there's implication that this all might have been orchestrated by the Chroniclers – or that “interface problems” is just a stupid way to call a misunderstanding.

Also: 12 rounds of bullets is one of the more wrong descriptions of a shooting I've ever read.

Archot hung Gideon on a jib on the wall of Justitian - and with this madness started the collapse of the Protectorate.

Retreat

The Jehammedan quarter survived, but only because one dude convinced them to turn their back on Osman, persuading them that their leaders started a holy war that would kill them all. But Archot remained paranoid.

The fall of the Colossus emboldened the clans to attack... somehow (apparently, SYMBOLISM is super important). They started attacking trade convoys. Some Protectorate settlements were lost, just like that (what were the Judges doing in the meantime?). Then Praha fell. The Judges didn't care about shit going down on the other side of Reaper's Blow - but the clans did. If they could kill Praha (with the power of a pre-Eschaton murder robot), they could surely fell Justitian, right? So they gather in strength. Even the Cockroaches are back.

That’s where the situation of Judges at present. We now unceremoniously switch to the description of the organization.

Hall of Judgment

The Hall of Judgment starts in the middle of Justitian, just next to the Central Cluster. It's rectangular, 80 meters long and 50 meters wide, with thick walls, high arched windows, columns, a dome... and three entry portals, with two bronze statues of Judges between them. Each over 8 meters tall, one is shown resting on a hammer while the other clutches a Codex to his chest.

Hall of Judgment posted:

The roof is 14 m high, a broad battlement with low bunker towers on all four corners surrounding the whole building. Thick-bellied cannons and mortar mounts stare down onto visitors grimly from up there. Behind them, the Protectors patrol.

It's basically a Warhammer fortress. There's building next to it, concrete “covered in ashlar from pre-eschatological times” (read: fancy stone bricks), that houses the stables. Of course, there are rumors that horses live better than some citizens of Justitian.

The main structure is described further, but it's kinda boring. Just know that there are stained glass windows and a central atrium.

The Barracks

There are barracks placed in strategic spots in Justitian (just... how big is it?). Depending on importance, they can hold between 10 and 100 judges, subterranean vaults, arsenals, training rooms and fortifications.

pre:
                     THE CODEX

                    SERVE JUSTICE,
               SEEK THAT WHICH IS WRONG,
                ALLEVIATE THE SUFFERING.

                     THE WORD
       GIVES US PREMONITION AND SHOWS US THE WAY.
               IT AWAKENS THE SPIRIT,
              EXACTS THE CONSCIOUSNESS.

                     THE HAMMER
               DOES NOT SHOW THE WAY.
                     IT PUNISHES.
                    IT EXORCISES.
                     IT REMOVES.

                    CLOAK AND HAT
   ARE THE SIGNS OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
                THEY DEMAND HUMILITY
                AND ASK FOR RESPECT.

                  GOGGLES AND SCARF
                   ARE THE SHADOW
                 HIDING THE FEAR AND
                 DEFLECTING REVENGE.

                     THE MUSKET
               IS LIGHT AND LIGHTNING.
           ALL THAT IS FALSE FLEES FROM IT
                      INTO RUIN.
I can't into whitespace

Next time: these are some rank Judges!

Cults: Judges, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Judges, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults



RANKS JUDGES



1. Vagrants

Judges like to make Vagrants out of children orphaned by violent crime. These kids will grow up wanting to inflict the pain back on the criminals... which doesn't sound like the ideal situation, but you do you, Degenesis.

There are also children of Advocate families who can get basically railroaded into becoming Advocates. To them, violence of the Protectors seems alien, and they look for justice or at least the right law.

Other than that, they're basically Judge interns and spend time observing and serving (making tea is mentioned) their mentors.

2. City Judges

After following next to a Real Judge for some years, a Vagrant is tested. If they pass, they're considered Judges – but mostly in the “fights clans” capacity. They don't get to hold trial over crimes any more serious than whatever Post-Eschaton equivalent of a parking violation is.

They look just like real Judges, which they like, and they get to show up wherever tensions need to be reduced via a show of force.

3A. Protectors

Do you want to punch people and use “common sense” to interpret the Codex rather than throwing the book at the criminals? Then you become a Protector. You lead from the front, doing whatever it takes to deliver justice (or hammer blows). Think Roland, I guess.

Protectors act fast and judge fast, sometimes not even quoting the codex.

4A. Executioners

They are known either for creative punishments or for smoking out bandit lairs. People fear them and they like it.

That's it.

4C. Black Judges

They fight the enemy within – the corruption within the Judge system. They are very secretive, connected by this dude Rutger, and nobody really knows how many there are. Rutger contacts them via specific radio frequencies and they carry out death sentences on the supposedly corrupt Judges.

3B. Advocates

The advocates want to “tame the wolf within the man by taking him by the short leash of the law.” They're the ones who put the law first, head-bashin' not being that important. “Judges should be merciful mentors, but also cruel pedagogues,” they say, while also mentioning that a mercenary band can be as good at bashing heads as a bunch of Judges.

4B. Arbiters

Arbiters are the LAW in that they're experts of the Codex. That's it, a short description.

4D. Assessors

They're basically snitches and information gatherers for a Commissioner.

5A. Commissioners

As you can see, only Assessors can level up into Commissioners. These guys are very adept at the long game, allowing some criminal conspiracy to exist for longer so they could gather more information and find its leaders.

5B. High Judges

For everyone else, there's the path of the High Judge. Once you are approved by the Senate – after intense scrutiny, of course – you get unlimited freedom to do what you want. Some go out into the wastes to expand the Protectorate, while others remain in Justitian to do politics.

6. Senators

quote:

The Judiciary affords two senates with eight high Judges each. All of them were heroes once, unused to being interrupted or contradicted. In the angry debates over Justitian’s fate, they will have to tolerate this.

7. Supreme Judgment

Archot has become synonymous with the seat of the Supreme Judge and nobody know what would have to be done if he stepped down or died. That he erased the procedures for handling power over doesn't help. However, he's “neither tired, nor decrepit,” so it remains an issue for the future.

How has he not been whacked by a Black Judge yet?!

quote:

STEREOTYPES

Anabaptists: For years, we lay in ambush with our rifles, guarding Justitian’s Cross Quarter like a prison camp. After all the Chroniclers had spread about the Anabaptists, they had to be wild animals. Now everything is supposed to be different? I wonder who’s in control in Justitian.

Anubites: Who? Ah, Africans. Rare guests in the Protectorate. If they behave, they’re welcome.

Apocalyptics: Wherever these migrating birds land, trouble is not far away. If they pick at us, e will smoke out their nest.

Chroniclers: The Chronicler sect is subordinate to the First. As long as Archot thinks we can use them, we agree. They bring us information and take care of the technology. Ah, whatever.

Clanners: It is our destiny to guard the citizens of the Protectorate. As far as the Clans are concerned, Archot has taught us the only language savages understand: force.

Hellvetics: Soldiers without ambitions, happily sitting in their Alpine Fortress. That’s
just as well, for they have the weapons to forcefully gain control over Purgare and southern Borca. Yet in their old home, they failed. That’s what happens if you jabber too much.

Jehammedans: Since the war in the Adriatic lowlands has lost its momentum, the Anabaptists
and Jehammedans have lain low. The conflicts in Justitian have died down almost completely, and in the Protectorate, the two sects keep their distance from each other, too.

Neolibyans: Chairman Archot had it entered into the Codex: no citizen of the Protectorate may trade with Africans. Sounds as if the Chroniclers had a finger in the pie there.

Palers: Born thieves. They prefer the night like the scum they are. We will keep an eye on them.

Scourgers: Warriors from faraway Africa, often at the side of the Neolibyans. Probably mercenaries.

Scrappers: Don’t ask an Advocate about the Scrappers. In their eyes, those ragged figures ruin the cityscape. But they’re okay. They keep their mouths shut and stick to the rules.

Spitalians: They are part of Justitian. The Hygienists screen every crumble of bread we want
to eat. For a long time, they tried to undermine our rules. After their closing of ranks, WE have to stick to THEIR rules. It’s… unbearable.



Not a sixshooter, oddly enough



Laika, the Bitch

Culture: Borca
Concept: The Zealot
Cult: Judges (Protector)

She operates in Tech Central, ruling over the Scrappers with an iron fist. She has a band of violent Anabaptists (!) everyone calls “the Pack” at her command. Apparently, the Scrappers say that she finds every criminal out there and thus Tech Central sees very little crime.



Rutgar

Culture: Borca
Concept: The Mentor
Cult: Judges (Senator)

Outranked only by the Supreme Judge, he's considered to be the leader of the executive branch, an “old wolf [that] pulls all the strings.”



Philippe Lautreche

Culture: Franka
Concept: The Defiler
Cult: Judges (Advocate)
He was sent in to oversee a newly conquered village on the Frankan bored and to bring justice to the place. Instead, he rules the place like a tyrant and I guess nobody would be sad if he ended up on the wrong end of a PC's musket.

In Conclusion:You can quickly see that the creators of Degenesis clearly had less love for Judges than they did for Chroniclers and Spitalians. On the other hand, Judges seem at least a little more sympathetic – unlike, say, Hellvetiocs, who threw a fit and left their people to fend for themselves - and they sport a very iconic, if not exactly unique, look.

Next time: Shitting in a forest is true living.

Cults: Clanners

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Clanners



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




CLANNERS

Old Ways

It starts off with a narrative bit about Chisulo, a Massai tribal meditating on a concrete pipeline: he’s thinking about taking his wife/girlfriends and running away from his clan to join either Neolybians or Annubites. We don't know why he wants to run away, but it would be very shameful, so he stays. He has a wooden spear and an AK-74. The sun is named Ahmahdee and is considered a god exactly in a way you'd imagine once you heard “post-Apocalyptic tribals.”


Probably not Chisulo

Survivors

After the Eschaton, only those that stayed together survived. Naturally, this lead to regression of civilized ways – apparently, a family that stays together, regresses together – and rise of Clans.

quote:

The individual lost ground and became one with the Clan. Everyone had a role to play: in the first years after the Eshaton worth was dictated by ability, later, when the cultural decline began, by birth and sex. Those who wanted to make an exception endangered the Clan.
Survival was hard enough, why bother with deviants? Punishment came quickly and strictly.

Apparently, the clanners love tradition!

The book states that Clans basically degenerated to survivalist savagery, and only later got prosperous and cultural enough to allow for the survival of the old and the weak. Eventually, they developed cultures and theology and ideology.

So families were the downfall of the Western Civilization after all

Contrast this to the other Cults that can almost trace their lineage back to Eschaton, didn't start banging rocks or worshiping the moon at any point and kept their asses clothed rather than bared. I don't know what excuse the Clanners have for falling that low.

Eventually, clans gained names derived from where they lived or what they did, which is OK enough, I guess.


Every Cult-section has it's own art style. For Clanners, it's these neat cave drawings.

Nomads

Nomad lifestyle arose from the ecological disaster after the Eschaton and the need to constantly move in search of Twinkie bars you can probably find one or two in Europe to scavenge and maybe look for vegetation was hasn't been choked by ash.

They still retain the lifestyle. However, while the strength of the clan first rested on the physical power, it later shifted to virility of the men and women (I think this is the second time its mentioned). They also know how to read the ground, the weather... and do haruspicy.

Anything from the Begone era – including written word – is basically magic.

quote:

If a Chronicler would make St. Elmo’s fire burn across his pauldrons and preach the global conflagration to the Clans with his Vocoder turned up, theywould consider him a god.
If only they knew.

A reminder that Chroniclers are descended from a bunch of extremely online turbo nerds who only wanted to go back to posting, and still managed maintained a better tech base than the folks who banded together in tight-knit family groups to survive.


Despite clanners being unwashed and not-even-noble savages with no technological base, we get an illustration of Vostroyan Firstborn mammoth cavalry

Settled
It’s a little unclear, but apparently some of the clanners are nomads, while the others settle down. Why? Because a strain of wild wheat that's “highly resistant and undemanding, thrived in the cold close to the Ice Barrier just as in Pollen’s dry climate” started spreading from the North.

Spitalians don't like it: it's similar to the Triticale of the Begone era, but only superficially. This hints at the work of Primer, but while the wheat can carry spores just like any organism, the base variety is free of taint. Also, for some reason, the wheat is called Rain. Go figure.

Anyway, everyone loves it, and some Clanners are settling down to try their hand at farming and indoor plumbing. Some even start villages – villages, I tell you!

quote:

Rules of succession are devised, laws are made. Rules and prohibitions steer life. “You want to marry a Ferropolite? Forget it, son.“ Welcome to civilization.

Savages

However, “common decency is rare” and the only good Clanner is one that got civilized by Helvetics or Judges. Go beyond their territory, and hills start having eyes:

quote:

For centuries, Clans whose grasp of humanity has suffered dearly through ongoing incest have been living there. For the Spitalians, these Clans are an interesting field of research, for they still retain some Bygone blood undiluted by inbreeding with a large gene pool.

I'm sure the second bolded word was meant to be “interbreeding,” but I can't be certain. So yeah, basically, fuck your cousin for enough generations and you'll lose all sense of decency instead of becoming a post-apocalyptic Habsburg. However, your blood is untainted... despite the fact that you were exposed to the same conditions as everyone else and not exactly pure, Vault-born stock? Sure, book, sure.

However, the Sisterfucker clans are really dangerous, as the book leans heavily on the image of savage hillbillies, starting by mentioning that “Their Shamans, Chieftains or Founders are hulking figures who can unite the whole incestuous Clan with one shout.” They're cannibals who live with rats, decide everything in bloody battles and raid the territories of civilized people.

But then the book decides to throw shade on the settler's claim that the savages who attack them are baby-eating cannibals (despite dedicating a paragraph exactly for that). It's actually kind of a mishmash, and the book goes on to say that not all of the raiders are cannibals. Many supposedly spent a lot of time in their valleys without contact with other people; they're actually afraid of the civilized folk who they don't understand and who appear to be very jumpy. So they watch the cities and wait for their fear to turn to hate.

Or something.

I doubt this really applies to the African clanners, as mentioned in the opening.

Next time: Clans-by-Region

Cults: Clanners, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Clanners, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Here there be a geographical breakdown of Clanner “cultures.”

Borca

Between Anabaptists, Judges and Helvetics, the former German lands have been civilized with hammer and gunpowder, aqueducts and protected trade routes. Undesirables have been chased out to regions that pose less danger of getting shot (Pollen?).

The local Clans had been kinda civilized, becoming enamored with said cults. They chased Justitian fashions, hoped for a life in the city, fattened Judges...

quote:

They scratched lichens from the judgment stones and brought a soup made of boiled roots to their local Judges on a daily basis until the fat and lazy Judges walked next to their mares because they could not mount them anymore.

Those must be some high-calorie roots? Anyways, the young listened to the stories of fights against Cockroach Clan and about Exalters still drinking water out of poisoned wells (?), they didn't respect their elders, probably even wiped their asses, and were acting in other non-Clanner ways.

That didn't last. Roaches survived in their hidey holes and waged a guerilla war. Exalters still fought on. Enemoi constantly attacked the Chroniclers who couldn't call on reinforcements from the Judges (busy with Roaches). The fall of Praha reawaken Clanner pride and the youths started respecting their elders again.

Meanwhile, the Helvetic Clans carried out such atrocities as losing themselves in endless trade wars. This - and not some savage campaign of gruelling guerilla war – is what made the Helvetics pack their bags and retreat into the mountains, to teach the thankless civvies a lesson.

The lesson came in the form of the savages that had been previously chased away. So the canton clans had to learn to defend themselves.

quote:

The cities hate each other and have largely turned into military camps. However, they do not attack each other. While the citizens of Bern, Lyss, and Worb are united by a tradition of animosity, the enmity towards other Cantons runs much deeper. The savages from the mountains are even worse. Maybe they all have more in common than they care to admit.

I dunno what that means.

On the other side of the Reaper's Blow, clans are moving towards Praha. They want to see what the (previously) closed city looks like in real life and maybe even grab some loot.

Osman (Turkey) used to have no such problems (aside from being grouped with Borca for some reason). The Jehammedans just stuck to agriculture and were happy about it. The agricultural clans were the same. However, the land is called Osman, after all, and you can't have Osmans without Janissaries. The Jahemmedans have Janites, military Clans that work for them, killing the savages, hoping that their children will be able to continue the service. However, after Praha, the Iconides started mistrusting their mercs, which is basically making a problem where there is none. Possibly an adventure hook?


In the pre-Eschaton days of 2070, old timey diver helmets were all the rage, thus explaining their relative ubiquity in Clanner fashion.

Franka

Frankan Clanners stay away from Pheromancer strongholds in Souffrance. Many have tried to maintain their ancient estates (hooray for rural nobility?), though many of those still turned into ruins. Everyone lives in the swamps, using rivers and lakes to avoid the Swarm and the Pheromancers. Some live entirely on rivers, as pheromone markers apparently don't carry over running water, thus keeping them safe from wasps (and, presumably, vampires).

Many clans have to fight the Pheromancers, so they use Mardulk oil to infiltrate ziggurats, kill queens and blow up vents. Spitalians help by providing EX (the drug that cures spore infestation?) and other drugs, explosives and so on.

Things are even worse in Briton (Brittany, no Brexitland), where the supply convoys don't come anymore (first we heard of that). Spitalians are deputizing Clanners that have lost home to termites, and they use Splayers of fallen Famulancers and baggy gasmasks that gave them the nickname of “Grenouilles” - frogs.

New, disgusting stuff is breeding in north east, the salt desert of Stukov. The Clanners there eat Rift Centipedes (HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES) and other new breeds.

quote:

Their hunters are as implacable as the climate, but still they deal with the Spitalians, exchanging Flying Leeches, Stukov Scorpions, Rift Centipedes, Husk Spiders, and Fractal Stars for drugs and weapons.

Monster Hunter Europe


This is probably Chernobog

Pollen

Pollen, as you remember, is the land of constant upheaval, and the Clanners have to be constantly moving, eating anything they find.

The hottest, newest thing are the Fractal forests, and the fruit that Clanners can trade with Anabaptists. However, Apocalyptics, the Official Worst Cult, are moving in and attacking Clanners that take shelter in them weird forests.

quote:

However, the Pollners have been stoically chewing lichens for centuries, have defied the cold, the Spore Beasts, and the Biokinetics, and they do not plan to run.

Spitalians try to burn down any Fractal forest they find, so there's potential for a three-way battle!

The Ice Barrier, the glacier, is moving in from the north, but there are small clans who live there, because if there’s one thing that humans like, it’s settling in some terrible place and toughing it out.

quote:

None of these consists of more than 30 people today, but they likely all come from a Clan shattered some 300 years ago. Indicative of that fact, they all wait for a horse oracle, an enigmatic three-faced figure, to arrive. They hunt and dig for old stores told by their ancestors.

That's actually an interesting bit of plot!

The sedentary clans in Pollan are the likes of Wroclaw that we read about before. Wroclaw has its own Eternal Oasis (first time it's mentioned by name, previously it was just said that Wroclaw has a MYSTERIOUS source of food) and Africans like it as an outpost for hunting Biokinetics. However, the fall of Praha is making the Pollners shit their pants.

Balkhan and other stereotypes

Cults: Clanners, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Clanners, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults



Balkhan

Balkhan, the white racial stereotype land, was being shafted by basically everyone, Palers included.

Then, two winters before the fall of Praha, Karakhan coup'd Sofia and showed the Cults who's the boss. He and two other Voivode Clans now rule the Eastern Balkhan. Any Cult member who doesn't toe the line gets sold to Africans.

quote:

Secluded from the eternal power struggles, there are still Clans living in the mountains: cranky, frugal people distilling their own Slivovitz, living in quarry stone houses, and welcoming every stranger as long as he shows respect.

They are, however, still stereotypes, in that they have long-standing feuds with other clans, yadda yadda yadda.



Hybrispania

So the Spanish Clans have long families that live in their own estates, and they track their family trees (and the pruning of those by Africans) very carefully. However, many of the castles (...because Castile?) are abandoned. Many others are half-empty, because, you know, war.

What is most curious is that it's the Jehammedans who are urging Hybris to fight the Africans.

quote:

Again, the Iconides have incited the young ones with bluster and insinuation. “Do you know what the Scourgers do to your women? They take the children by the legs and smash them against the tree, so for them, it is over quickly. But the women...” No one can elude this without soiling the family honor. Young men and women march south at the side of Jehammed’s swords to confront the invaders.

Ain't nothing as good ol' fearmongering!

Then the Warpage ([url=https://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/jcdent/degenesis-rebirth/#27]previously only referred to as “the Distortion”) happened. The whole “an area is plunged into a time and space anomaly” thing makes it hard for the Guerreros to attack Africans, as their routes of retreat go through this Zone-like territory. Some, however, don't care and still do it. Jehammedans are pointed out as the ones least concerned with its effects, as the faithful will be guided through it, and if you die, it just proves you were lacking.

Oh, and there are people living in Warpage, ones that fled from the war. Sometime they help folks lost in anomalies by marking the way with rocks.

I'm glad we don't get anything more about these anomaly dwellers!



Purgare

In Purgare, the main business is allying with the Anabaptists to fight the Filaments, the ticks and the Psychokinetics. However, Purgans are still Italians of every RPG ever:

quote:

Even if most of the Purgan families firmly back the Anabaptists, they have conserved their internal strife and struggles. They believe in honor and land. One disrespectful word could lead to a fight that starts a circle of revenge and counter-revenge. The heads of the families may stop these feuds via decree – as long as they can keep face doing so.

It's like the Balkhan Clans, but these guys like the Cults! Well, a Cult, anyways...

However, some shitbirds don't want to get along, and so they are the pushed into the Apennines or even into Western Purgare, which, if you remember, is where the reality warping bullshit is at its strongest.

quote:

Every family member knows what to do when encountering one: The younger children act as bait;
the older ones determine the size of the force fields and Filaments with sticks; some light fires to chase away the swarms of fleas, while others hack their way to the epicenter and kill the Psychokinetic. Anabaptists unwilling to return to their camp without a prize are more than willing to buy the Aberrants’ heads.

How slow do Psychokinetics move that children can be used to recon them out?



Africa

African Clans enjoy ancient traditions – including pagan worship - because, ugh, Africa. It is said that they treat their white slaves well, as “nourishing food and a strict hand are enough.” However, they're losing their youths to glitzy cities... or to the psychovores.

quote:

The elders resist. They involve the young people more strongly, let them lead the hunt, give them white beaters or concubines. Old rules are re-interpreted and defended against the coca-intoxicated elders. However, even one dead sparrow hawk on the village square can be considered a bad omen and thus destroy any progress, lead a Clan back to its old ways, and ossify in tradition.

Make of that what you will!

Psychovores, however, are an entirely different problem. Some clans move into circular areas that just rot away in the middle of the jungle. They move when the circle closes – so basically, they live the opposite life of Pollners, who look for mysterious forests in the desert and move when those die. Some clans move too far south and are never heard from again (is this a plot hook?).

Other just burn and salt the expanding jungle. Spitalians think that this isn't the best idea, since the Psychovore jungle reacts like a single organism, yadda yadda.

Next time: these Clanners are rank!

Cults: Clanners, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Clanners, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


RANKS CLANNERS

And just like that, we're dumped into the rank system. Boy, am I glad that all of these disparate groups of clans from wildly different cultural and geographic backgrounds have a regimented structure, not unlike other Cults!


Not a lot of space for horizontal advancement

1. Scout

This is the job for the young and fast. The descriptions talk more about roaming the ruins and not scouting in wilderness.

2a. Hunter

You hunt animals by running them down, making use of that famed human long-term endurance.

2b. Gatherer

The other side of hunter-gatherer coin, they know the territory, they know how to cook, and they look after the children.

3a. Tribal Warrior

Either way, one can become a Tribal Warrior to keep your children safe from being eaten by Gendos and to keep your root soup from being stolen by rival clans.

3b. Shaman

However, if you turn out to be less suited for violence, you can “plumb the depths of the human soul”... which the book takes to mean “reading the weather and/or animal bones”. Also, you get to make potions and salves, some of which enhance virility (yes, really). You make barbarian boner pills.

4. Chieftain

Either being really good at the art of applying club to heas or by going on spirit journeys, you can become the leader of the clan. Have fun being a petty tyrant that goes unquestioned.

5a. Champion

quote:

He led his Clan through dozens of battles, won by guile and pure strength every fight and duel. He is a blessed warrior, the archetypical embodiment of strength and control. Even if he leaves the Clan one day to join the all-father, his children and their children will bring him sacrifices and remember his exploits.

So if you were a great warrior chieftain, you can become this guy, venerated after death.

5b. Founder

These are the guys who were so diplomatic (or made such great boner pills) that they unified a bunch of tribes and made a new clan. The winning state in “King of Boner Pill Pass.”


The peace club is twice as big

STEREOTYPES

”Stereotypes” posted:

ANABAPTISTS: They lend us a hand, help us on the fields without asking for anything in return. Weird. Maybe their teachings are not all wrong. A toast to the Anabaptists!

ANUBIANS: The jackals heal the land of the poison from the past and the people of the poison from the present. They know about the universal time, about the beginnings and the future. The Psychovores do not harm them; what does that tell us?

APOCALYPTICS: They foul every nest with no sense of honor at all. They seduce our children. Keep them away.

CHRONICLERS: Their voices are sublime; the spectacle of the light is divine. Are they ghosts, gods, or demons? Beware of their touch! It robs you of your life force, and some... lose control. You know what I mean.

HELLVETICS] : They took our mountains, stop our herds from crossing the passes, and we are powerless. Since then, the Clan has been divided; the shepherds under Koski’s rule have built a new settlement somewhere in the north, but we were left behind. Maybe one day we will have enough money for the passage.

JEHAMMEDANS: Like us, they have a strong tradition. They honor their women and treat us kindly. Nevertheless, they also oppress us. We are supposed to smash our idols and take the word of Jehammed. They give us one more night to “renounce our false gods”. And then? Well, what are you going to do to us that we cannot do to you first?

JUDGES:They have killed many of us. Men, women, and children. They will not be the last to die, and every murder makes my heart bleed. Now we are back. Build your walls high and bulky, and hide behind them. We are coming.

NEOLIBYANS: Their walls are plastered and tiled. They had a new well dug and built a nice bench right next to it. It is the least they can do, being children of this village.

PALERS: Banished by all-mother sun, exiled beneath the earth like the dead, they reek of ruin.

SCOURGERS: They attacked our village by night and took away my siblings. My parents are broken, my mother has been crying for days. Tomorrow, the remaining warriors will pick up the scent and slaughter every one of those bastards.
Then, surely, everything will be right again.

SCRAPPERS: What have they done that their family cast them out? That they have to atone alone in the dust?
Hey, get away from that Scrapper!

SPITALIANS: The Shamans are no good anymore. Nowadays, you visit the Spitalians when the fever keeps coming or the infection festers. They are good people – at least as long as you don’t take this... Burn.

Apocalyptics: still the worst!



ULKAR

Culture: Pollen
Concept: The Traveller (not of Destiny's fame)
Cult: Clanner (Champion)

This dude lost his clan, so he's a wandering pit fighter now. That's basically it.



Frekka of the Corpse Eaters

Culture: Borca
Concept: The Destroyer
Cult: Clanner (Shaman)

quote:

Damn those Cockroaches, worms, and flies! They rob the Corpse Eaters of the bodies of Scrappers killed in accidents – ah, what a joy it is when one of these hairless voles thrashes in the pit! The Shaman Frekka knows the symbols she needs to paint onto the cadavers to stop the victims’ souls from vanishing into death’s nothingness before the Clan’s warriors are able to devour them along with the meat.



Luren

Culture: Borca
Concept: The Mediator
Cult: Clanner (Pneumancer)

He was sent with a Mechan(?) to Justitian to craft an alliance between the city and Ramein region rulers. The Mechan died from fever, so he spent years in the ambassador quarters. He also learned about Pneumatics at Tech Central... because they'll teach anyone, right?

Anyways, back home, his clan was conquered by Phospophorites, who got owned in turn. Mechans don't rule the land anymore, which might give him the opportunity to go home because... reasons.

In conclusion: Clanners are kinda meh. The heart wasn't really in it to make a Cult focused on "I'm a barbarian or something" and you can totally see in the rank system that doesn't offer much in the way of choices. It's one of those places where they could have gone strange and introduced culture-specific Clan ranks (like Balkhan Slivovitz Runner or something)... but they didn't. However, if you look at Techpriest Larpers that shoot actual lightning, flamethrower doctors and hammer lawyers and think "man, I wish I wasn't special," here's a Clan for you.

Next time: Scrap diving!

Cults: Scrappers

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scrappers



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




SCRAPPERS

A Handful of Scrap

Do you to play a literal murder hobo – or just a hobo? Then being a Scrapper is just for you. The opening fiction is about a crazy, root-chewing Scrapper lady berating herself for delving into ruins that have been already looted (Scrappers even leave hobo graffiti to mark their passage). Then she accidentally finds... something she can't identify, but believes to be useful. She calls the other Scrappers who didn't chance upon this thing idiots.

Charming.



You wouldn't believe how many root products has this guy eaten in his life

Lost Knowledge

The first Scrappers arose from people who survived in the cities (which were universally fucked up). Crawling out of their basements, they learned how to read the weather and to protect from the elements. The first ones knew which bits of loot were the best (and what they actually did) and discarded a lot of stuff that later generations would come to treasure. I guess that’s the handwave to explain how there's still stuff to be found 500 years later.

Savior

More specifically, Scrappers arose from those people who ventured out of their settlements to search for materials and spare parts. These people are separate from Clanners because those guys just went for Stone Age-level of tech and stayed there. The book basically says that Scrappers are the ones that kept the flame of civilization alive, even if they got alienated from their villages.

quote:

The long, ascetic weeks in the ruins had alienated them from other survivors. In the villages, people kept complaining and clinging to old ideologies. Those people were so dependent. Whenever a water pump collapsed, there was a big clamor. Then, the Scrappers were on their way again, searching for surrogate aggregates in waterworks or filling stations.

They're very Vault Dweller, you see. Notice also how the book throws shade by calling people whose water pump broke “needy.”

At The Same Time

MEANWHILE, IN AFRICA.

So, the coastal cities were fucked up by tidal waves. Yet reconstruction was ongoing. Children dived to the underwater ruins to tie ropes to useful stuff. The Africans looked at Europe and considered whether they had better stuff by the virtue of having non-coastal cities. So they prepared ships and sent expeditions to Franka and so on, where they looted interior cities and brought all the best tech back to Africa.

quote:

Soon after, steel bars were salvaged from the concrete and shipped away. Entire factories were dismantled and transported off piece by piece. Village after village and city after city, the Scrappers scoured Franka.
Africa flourished while Europe spiraled downwards into the stone age

I dunno if there's any connection between African Scrapper looting and European degeneration, as people descended to barbarism even in spots where no African ever reached.

Payment

Oh, hey, a side section!

So, the modern Scrapper is a hobo that brings things he doesn't understand to Chroniclers. And the internet lads are greedy for “the artifacts and the stream enclosed in them” - which means they're looking for data storage stuff, I guess. There's little haggling, as Chroniclers always have the upper hand (they can always say no). Scrapper cartel appraisers might help, but nobody knows for sure, and I'm not sure if we'll hear about them in the books.

In exchange for stuff, Chroniclers might give them data on a cache of Bygone artifacts (which they don't want to seek out for... reasons, even if Chroniclers would be better suited at not fucking those up during recovery) or Chroniclers Scrip.

For the African Scrapper, the Neolybian is the friendly neighborhood pawnshop attendant. They take artifacts, melt down metals and so on. African Scrappers only accept payment in Dinar.

Craving for the Past

Anyways, within a few centuries, Europe had lost almost all knowledge of electronics and mechanics. This meant that it was a bad time to be a Scrapper, since actual scrap was worth more than a computer or such. You'd think random bits of metal would be easier to find and sell, but here we are.

quote:

However, the Europeans never gave up completely on the artifacts: the memory of the Bygones was supported by their gear, and where there was a will, there potentially was a way, too. The worship produced strange effects. Sects propagated the relics’ inherent magic, accumulated scrap, and prayed to it – with negligible effects. Others banned the artifacts as a symbol of exaggerated materialism that must have driven any divinity from the Bygone people’s lives. Naturally, the two groups didn’t get along very well.
The Scrappers were in the midst of it all, the piece of iron between anvil and hammer.

However, better times came as Judges drove the sects out of their protectorate (it's also the first time we're hearing about sects, as if we didn't have enough of categorization between Culture and Cult). Chroniclers set up trading posts. This lead to a wave of Scrappers again setting out into the ruins, as being a hobo is definitely a structured culture that can persist over centuries of nobody valuing scrap to just spring back to life when people start getting interested in computers and discarded Zunes again.

Faster

But while Scrappers in Borca waited for Justitian to eradicate stuff like the Cockroach Clan, Africans had already set up the looted machinery back home and looking at Purgare. Soon, they sent convoys into the country. They were said to be going from Rome to Naples, which is, the most purgatory region, what with all the anomalies and ticks?

Anyways, Scrappers hung to the sides of Siege Tanks, happy to strip the lands of white(ish) man clean:

quote:

The morale was excellent. Eternally oppressed Africa had thrown off its chains and climbed towards the zenith of culture over Europe’s dead body. Everyone wanted to be a part of this.



Lonely

Ever noticed that European Scrapper loots like this while African Scrapper loots like THIS? So yeah, these two sections detail the biggest differences between murderhobos.

European ones are loners. Their clothing is suited to blending into their environment. They work alone, digging up relics and taking their sleds back to trading posts when they're full. Sometimes, a Scrapper might have a companion or take on an orphan (called a “mouse”) since they can go into small spots where the adult can't.

Scrappers learn how to read the ruins, to catch glimpses of what life used to be in the Bygones – and if there were any survivors that might have taken their treasures with them. Scrappers appreciate their lonely lives, as there are fewer chances of social contact and fucking up during such.

So yeah, these hobos are anti-social.

A rare few actually become mechanists, building rifles, traps, locks and other equipment that doesn't use electricity. Chroniclers don't like it: now, there's another group that has use for the artifacts instead of just selling them for whatever handful of scrip was thrown in front of them.



Aaah, nuuu, cheeky breeky, etc.

Strength

On the other hand, the African Scrapper is proud to bring glory and loot to his village, Clan or Culture. Scourgers might not like them and Neolybians simply use them as pawns, but who cares, there's valuable shit to be found.

And unlike the European misanthropic Scrappers, Africans care a lot about their community and home. It's important to stay with your buddies in hostile and barbaric Europe!

quote:

After a hard day in the dust, the Scrappers spend the evenings celebrating and laughing together, talking about homesickness and giving each other solace. Physical contact is very important to the Africans: they embrace a lot, and they touch each other while speaking. To see two male Scrappers hand in hand is not a sign of homosexuality, but signifies that they are good friends. Out in the field, they take care of each other and work together.

It's not gay if the Recombination Group canisters don't touch.

They're also fashionistas who wear colorful clothes with markings that express everything from Clan affiliation to ideas about life via what they wear.

African Scrappers: much cooler.

Next time: advanced hobotry

Cults: Scrappers, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scrappers, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


SCRAPPERS

Runes

Scrappers don't like going out in groups, since you're easier to spot and have to share the loot. However, they still communicate by hobo signs Scrapper runes.

quote:

No one would remember Grief who wandered the streets south of the Tech Central when the tunnel system still existed or Toktok who searched refugees’ mummies in mountain caves if both of them had not marked their way with runes.

Scrappers tattoo the rune of their names on their foreheads or the back of their hands. Leaving a rune on the ruins means “Hobo was here. Shit's looted. Piss off.” They also have a hobo alphabet way of communicating danger and what not, but

quote:

The meanings of the runes differ from region to region; there is no common alphabet.

The Africans, on the other hand, don't know about the runes since they're normal people who talk to each other.

Bedain

Remember Bedain? Well, this place, the largest shipbreaking operation in the world, is where the whole thing about Scrappers also being constructors takes place. You want a Khyber Pass rifle? Too bad, it's Sepsis teritory right now, but Bedain will build you anything that doesn't need electronics. And also Surge Tanks.

It's also like Mecca for Scrappers, all of whom want to visit it at least once. Nothing is mentioned about the difference in attitude towards Bedain that might exist between African and European Scrappers – or if the former are admitted at all. On the other hand, runes are mentioned, so maybe?

Hidden Stores

Hey, a side section!

So, some amateur Scrappers tie their load to their clothes because... they're stupid, I guess (and the clanking, apparently, attracts bandits). More experienced ones make carrying rigs out of welded tubes, because the authors don’t understand either backpack frames or weights in general. And, of course, some drag their stuff in sleds and or carts.

However, you can't always carry all the shit with you. Some gets left in stashes. But not all stashes are found again, as Scrappers die, get lost and so on. This almost says outright that hearing a rumor of a cache at a bar is good story hook.

In Old Age

Not many European Scrappers retire, as the endless MMORPG grind for scrap is apparently addictive. Those who don't die in the wastes can retire to Scrapper halls (probably mentioned for the first time here). It's not a gentle retirement – their body is all sorts of fucked up – but at least its easy to get food.

Machanists and manufacturers can find shelter in the rare communities of Scrappers. Sometimes, even Chroniclers are interested in their stuff. It's a little different in Africa, where the clans take care of the old.

quote:

Full of interest, the children bend closer to listen intently when the gnarled Scrappers talk about their adventures and battles against Borcan barbarians. In the end, they diein dignity. European Scrappers rot in the wasteland.
Ashes to ashes.

I wish somebody would take care of this writing.

Next time: Scrapper’s Guide To Europe’s Phattest Loot

Cults: Scrappers, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scrappers, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


SCRAPPERS

All Around The World

And that's how we get into talking about the scrapping according to regions. This paragraph is the last on the page and the whole region talk starts on the next page. You have to turn the page to get to it.

So while the book is beautiful in general, the arrangement of information could use some work.

Borca

Western Borca is so rich in scrap, it has birthed an army of Scrappers. And it's the place where Scrapper cartel (no, the “c” is not capitalized) was born.

quote:

At least with a wry smile Bosch, its leader, calls it a community. He is an irascible dwarf trying to leash the Black Lung’s Scrappers in order to extort higher prices from the Chroniclers. His bullies monitor the ruins and sell search licenses while his appraisers offer their services to laden Scrappers in front of the exchange offices – by force, if necessary. But his network has holes, and many Scrappers manage to bypass the cartel. The organization is growing, though.

Things are a little different on eastern Borca. Beyond Reaper's Blow, there's a lot more greenery and a lot more spots that have been avoided by superstitious natives. However, there aren't many ways to offload your stuff. Unless you want to pay Hellvetics for passage to civilized Borca, you won't find many Chronicler outposts nearby... except for the renegades at the Needles, who will purchase your scrap gladly. Chroniclers have ways of finding out which Scrappers deal with traitors and banning them from their outposts. How do they do it?

Oh, and you can deal with Osman, too!

Franka

Franka is already cleaned out by Africans. The only stuff you can find is in sealed, collapsing basements. There's little demand here, as Clans can manufacture what they need, and the only Chronicler Cluster is in Aquitaine. Most finds are used as jewelry while artifacts are exported to Borca.


I'm team "Break Up The Monotony Of Walls Of Text With Images"

Pollen

Apparently, a falling chunk of Pandora flattened most of the land, leaving most of the stuff in Northeast buried. I dunno if that matters when Pollen is the land of cities popping out of the ground and disappearing under the surface in massive tectonic upheavals. Also, you know, urban spiders.

There's not enough stuff here for Scrappers to develop a culture like in Borca, so the few that live in Pollen cling to settlements. In Wroclaw, they organize building supplies and fix Africans' buggies and Surge Tanks (didn't know Africans were so trusting of Euros!). Danzig (the freezing city at the edge of the glaciers) needs petrol – sorry, Petro – more than it does bits and bobbins, but mechanists can find some work there, too.

And, of course, Scrappers from all over Europe are flocking to Praha to loot whatever the savages haven't.

Balkhan

Hey, remember how the chapter started off by describing proto-Scrappers as looters and technologists that helped their societies survive the immediate aftermath of Eschaton?

quote:

For a long time, the Balkhani left the ruins to nature’s growth unchecked. Other things seemed more important.

Yeah, apparently the people of Balkhan managed to OK without all that technological crap. Once they got interested in that stuff, Voivodes were already showing interest in looting Bygone relics to strengthen themselves. Which means that you need to get their greenlight before going looting.

Hybrispania

Remember Warpage? Apparently, you can find entire preserved Bygone buildings phasing in and out. I bet the rules for looting them will be in some future Hybrispanian expansion!

Purgare

Purgare got looted by Africans “in a time when they didn’t have to fear the Psychokinetics,” which was what, three days after the Eschaton? Anyways, Tripoli still sells ever cheaper licenses for looters, as there little to be found. Many local scrappers are heading for Praha. The few who survived in the dangerous western part are stalkers, well geared up and skilled.

Africa

quote:

Legends say the African hinterland had almost no ancient technology. Africa came closest to the European civilizations technologically in the coastal cities – but these were torn into the Mediterranean by the flood. African Scrappers are travelers, and usually their travels lead North.

If you want to go looting in Africa, go south and look for intact UAO fortresses. They are, of course, guarded by spooky scary Bygone robots.

Next time: I'm a career hobo, dontyaknow?

Cults: Scrappers, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scrappers, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


SCRAPPERS

RANKS SCRAPPERS



1. Mouse

Mice are kids. You tie a bit of rope around them and shove them into some hole you can't fit into. Apparently, not all Mice are treated well, especially if they were bought from an Apocalyptic Stork (Apocalyptics continue their uninterrupted streak of being the worst).

2. Badger

Once a kid gets too fat (really) or too proud to go into holes, they become a Badger, which is fancy way of saying it's the first real level of being a Scrapper.

3a. Fox

While a Badger is described as a novice scrambling over the ruins in search for shit, the Fox is someone who already knows the area as the back of his hand and only needs to return to civilization to sell loot to Chroniclers. A bit of a jump in competence, isn't it?

Also, what's the use of knowing some ruins that well if you're collecting non-renevable resources instead of being some sort of ruin forrager who would know where the best moss grows?

4a. Lone Wolf

This guy somehow knows where the artifacts are and how to recover them – and how much that would cost. He also has a gun that “tears holes much bigger than any rock can make” - it's a reference to people no longer throwing stones at them.

5a. Cave Bear

You become a Cave Bear when you get so well known and adapted to delving into the ruins that people actually turn around and go away once they find your rune telling them to do so. You may also have an actual bear companion.

3b. Mechanist

Tired of just looking for crap or having an animal related name? Become a Mechanist. Somehow, as a snot-nosed Badger you learned enough about mechanics to become a crafter. That's why you look at salvaged stuff not as goods, but as materials.

4b. Manufacturer

You know a lot about mechanical stuff and can probably clone a rifle well enough to make any Khyber Pass smith jealous. You likely have a secure workshop somewhere, possibly at Tech Central.

quote:

Around his neck, he wears a chain from which keys the length of half a man’s arm dangle. Every one of them opens the workshop of another manufacturer. Every settlement would be proud to have a man like him amongst its ranks.

Also, your neck is broken.

3c. Scavenger

Scavengers are those with the gear and knowledge to salvage really big stuff. They have enough tractor combos and pneumatic tin snips to take apart a Surge Tank. Also, unlike the regular antisocial Euro-Scrapper, they never go around alone and actually value community (of people with industrial looting gear).

4c. Alpha Wolf

Not to be confused with Lone Wolf. He's basically a leader of Scavengers who hasn't fucked them over too often and knows how to sell shit to Chroniclers without getting the Cartel involved.

5b. Legend

So, A (animal name), B (crafting) and C (having friends) branches can all go to become Legend. And that's what you are: a well known Scrapper who has done some legendary shit.

3d. Cartel Thug

So, Cartel camps Chronicles outposts, taking one fifth of each Scrappers proceeds in exchange for advice and not beating them up. You can avoid this by joining the Cartel as a Thug. You only pay 10% and get some small-time missions like beating up a guy or reconing some unknown ruin.

4d. Cartel Appraiser

They're the guys who, in exchange for 20%, advise Scrappers on how not to get fucked by Chroniclers, even accompanying them on the trades. They know their artifacts and tricks.
Cartel members only pay 10%, however.

5d. Officer

Appraisers answer – and pay – to them. So that's that.



Stereotypes posted:

ANABAPTISTS: Anabaptists are armed farmers. They don’t even get their cross-and-water crap themselves. The only thing that matters to them is tilling fields, drinking, and killing Aberrants. By the way, the Orgiasts’ baptisms are not that bad. That’s not water in their barrels.

ANUBIANS: They smear themselves with resin, wear dog masks, and put beetles into dead people’s mouths. We are not completely free of insects, either, but that is ill. Supposedly, they have all been dead once before. Some even several times.

APOCALYPTICS: They have my respect, for they know how to live. They always have Burn and Distillate for us. Ah, and the women! Guess my reason to return to those damn settlements.

CHRONICLERS: They are bonkers. Some become all fidgety when they see my artifacts but still only pay the minimum price. But mostly, they’re okay. They don’t talk a lot, so put your stuff on the table, wait, take the drafts, get out. If you are looking for lifelong friends, go somewhere else.

CLANNERS: In a hole full of insects, there are always some that want to bite you. It’s the same with the Clans out there. Some are peaceful and help you out with water and a piece of meat. Others will cut that piece out of you and feed it to their kids.

HELLVETICS: Impressive equipment. A Trailblazer would keep me going for several winters. The Hellvetics are okay; they don’t make a fuss as long as you behave within their fortress. So please: only piss into the marked holes!

JEHAMMEDANS: Jehammedans live in a different world. ou can drink with an Anabaptist, you can discuss your rash with a Spitalian over a glass of distillate, you can even talk to Judges. But the Jehammedans?
I know nothing about goats.

JUDGES I can take care of myself, I never needed anybody. The people in Justitian seem to see this differently.
The Judges like rules – the more, the merrier. No one can keep track of that crap. Once they at least kept the ruins clean by killing cockroaches. But that’s not working very well these days…

NEOLIBYANS: They are merchants; on Bedain, they are supposed to be nice chaps. The Chroniclers have a different view, judging by the stories they tell about them. They say they steal our children, disembowel them, and use the innards as fishing bait. The mask faces would tell us no crap. Still, it’s kind of weird.

PALERS: A little tour trough their bunkers, and we’d be set for life. But they sit on the treasures with their pale asses, keeping it all for themselves. Assholes. They are a little weird, too. They have this crazed look, somehow disquieting.

SCOURGERS: Dangerous fuckers. They are not more violent than other idiots, but instead of leaving you on the ground after a brawl, they take you with them.

SPITALIANS:
They think we are scum and consider themselves above us. Ha-ha, they might be right. But we are free!

LOBO



Culture: Purgare

Concept: The Disciple

Cult: Scrappers (Legend)

Lobo's a white guy who managed to lie his way into Bedain. He is charismatic enough to get along with Scourgers. Lobo sells stuff Neolybians have already picked clean of anything useful to Europeans. However, sometimes the pile contains a thing or two that should have went to the Africans...

HESTA



Culture: Hybrispania

Concept: The Visionary

Cult: Scrappers (Lone wolf)

quote:

Digging in the dirt may appeal to some Scrappers as a lifestyle, but for Hesta, it is not enough. She has gotten wind of something big, has collected maps and Pathfinder way markers, has studied ancient books, and has compared printouts of city skylines with the silhouettes of seas of debris and come to her own conclusions. “More than a strike”, she says, her jaws tight.

THE HEAD COLLECTOR



Culture: ?

Concept: The Destroyer

Cult: ? ( presumably Scrappers )

Apparently this is some dude who has already beheaded 29 (possibly female) Scrappers in Justitian and Judges still can't find him. Maybe someone is protecting him? Who knows!

In conclusion: Scrappers are probably the flimsiest excuse for a cult, seeing how it's basically looter lifestyle the class. The fact that African Scrappers are very different from Europeans doesn't help. But if your Cult defines your class and you already entrusted the high tech stuff to redditors Mechanicus Chroniclers, you probably need to create something extra. Too bad they didn't get a more unified theme than “so you wanna look like a Mad Max extra.”

Next time: DINAR DINAR DINAAAR

Cults: Neolibyans

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Neolibyans



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




NEOLIBYANS

Concessions

As usual, we start with a bit of story to set us up the the mood.

Tripoli! The place where heat and the smell of rotting algae can be quickly replaced by tropical rains. Today is the day when Neolibyans gather in front of Neolibyan Bank of Commerce. Beggars and other poors gather around to look at them, as if a reminder that a good capitalist is dead capitalist, even if he's supposed to be a pan-African benefactor.

quote:

A large entourage pushes through the crowd; at its center is a palanquin of mother-of-pearl silk stretched between poles carried by white slaves. Their mistress walks in shadows. Every step makes her chest jewelry of chaste silver plates jingle. A bald white man approaches her with bowed head; she grouches something and points ahead. The slave scuttles away.

A Neolibyan comes carrying fat loot from a raid drop Boots of Protection +1 armored boots made from plates of Machine Men armor. Apparently, they're supposed to be super protective – and that he sacrificed 50 Scourgers to get them. A beggar kid runs to the Neolibyan, doing a video game dash-slide to touch the boot. The merchant kicks him away and everyone laughs. JcDent remains confused.

The door to the bank is opened by meticulously shaved Balkhani (that's how they're domesticated – via beard removal) and all of the fancy merchants basically stampede inside.

quote:

The Neolibyans outside step back at first and then push each other into the cool twilight of the Bank of Commerce. They tear at each other, push and shove until they are able to get some space and enter the vast lobby. They don’t spare a glance for the meter-high tapestries with their traditional patterns. Bare feet pad across the marble, sandals clatter. Saber scabbards and rifles collide, and it sounds like battle din.

Is this supposed to evoke something? I'm willing to chalk this up to to racism, when even the supposed elites are nearly trampling each other to get into the Bank.

They all crowd into the map room. As far as I understand, the Neolibyans are on a second-floor balustrade. The map is on the first floor and it's just a bigger version of a conspiracy-guy's chart. The map of Europe and Africa is set with nails that mark settlements. Threads go from nail to nail, representing trade routes. Small flags mark names of Neolibyans.

Auctioneer Thabul and chartists make everyone calm down. People are here for the auction of trade licenses or route concessions. It starts from with some low level stuff, with the betting eventually reaching the routes that connect Tripoli to other places.

quote:

Thabul dances around on the thread-covered mosaic, pointing to various countries, calling out the trade volumes and praising the advantages of this city or that sea route like a barker. The chartists at his side unerringly grab the flags, pull them out, and replace them with new ones. Thabul doesn’t give the bidders a minute’s rest, harrying the merchants from concession to concession. When the crowd is tired and wants to take a break, he offers profitable roads, thus adding fuel to the fire. It’s a game, and the world is his game board.

You'd think this kind of stuff would make it hard to maintain a solid logistics network and keep stable routes, well, stable, but I'm not an RPG writer, so what do I know.

Outside, people crowd near the bank since “only those at the very front will get a chance to spend the night with slaves, wine, and delicacies from all over the known world” as the winning merchants throw a party.



They look cooler than they sound

To The Top

“The Neolibyans are merchants whose goals are profit, influence, and wealth,” goes literally the first line here, as if to tell us that Neolibyans are different from those other kinds of merchants who are interested in charity, petting cats and exploring the internal struggle of the post-Eschaton man. Apparently, they're such hyperfocused capitalist caricatures that they don't even care about recording their own history, since it's not profitable.

However, enough can pieced together from ledgers and treaties at the Bank that it's functionally the same as having a recorded history. 50 years after the African coast was devastated, a merchant known as the Libyan developed his own massive trade network built on catering to the needs of survivors. This is supposedly special and not what any regular merchant would do. Anyways, the biggest of this outposts to turn into a city was Tripol, established on the ruins of Tripoli, where he grew up.

The book mentions that the network was soon too big for the Libyan alone to control and that there are list of packers, helping hands and scribes he employer. Eeither the book thinks those are management positions, or that the authors are secret comrades.

quote:

Other cost items indicate that some of the profit went to the populace. The Libyan paid for the construction of meeting halls and had workers create fields or fortified canals. Africa’s decline had been stopped. Now, its inhabitants prepared to storm a mountain of inherited cultural waste, clan enmities, and desolate structures.



The Foundation

quote:

The Libyan hated every word that did not directly lead to a profit measured in Dinars. He didn’t talk about his family, about the weather, and especially not about his competitors.

You'd think you'd need to discuss your competitors from time to time to run a business. But who knows, maybe such things are otiose in a niche.

However, sometimes, the Libyan would get sentimental, serve tea and give a TED talk.

quote:

He looked around, nodded, and described the events that had led up to this point. He said everything wasbased on three things: exploration, diplomacy, and trade.

These three aspects were dependent upon each other, and only together they formed the triad that beguiled the world like he himself was beguiled by his concubine Manhare’s zither music. He called them the foundation of every flourishing venture and said that nothing and no one could tear down the building based on them.
These teachings would become his legacy.

200 years after the Libyan's death, his followers named themselves Neolibyans.

Exploration

Basically, any new, unexplored spot can grant you profit in Dinars or in cultural achievements (I thought Neolibyans only cared about money?). So go out there and make like an European explorer in 17th century!

Diplomacy

TL;DR shooting people makes them mad; saying nice things helps you do business without sicking Scourgers on everyone.

quote:

Without diplomacy, culture can neither create nor build bridges, cross borders, or gain new perspectives.

Again with this culture shit! Where are my Dinars at?

Trade

After a Neolibyans conquistador explores a new area and strikes a deal with the locals to not shoot Africans, he conducts market research. He then sells the new trade route to Tripoli and gets paid two years of expected trade worth in Dinars (that's... generous). The trade route is the sold on the auction.

Next, we get a bit of Thomas Friedman-type bullshit about how trade generates stability and how no two clans with a ScrapDonalds have ever gone to war, etc..

Peace is also profitable for the Neolibyans, because of course it is.

Next time: I would have liked Neonlibbys more!

Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 2.



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


NEOLIBYANS

Raiders

This bit is a bit confused, since you don't know if we're delving into history again or describing the present. But whatever; the Neolibyans didn't get rich via trade alone. They took Scourgers and Scrappers to loot the abandoned parts of Europe, like we've heard about 500 times at this point.

This wasn't really frictionless as Scourgers “man the guns and race through the ruins in their four-wheel buggies, the Koms, searching for savages and running them down,” which is kinda what Spaniard mercs did when they crossed into Africa to get oil, right? Also, lol at the reminder that Koms, the scourger buggies, are indeed four-wheeled.

Basically, this was/is so bad that Scourge tank sightings get entire clans up in arms. Stuff like that happens before diplomacy is established – or after it ends. At least you can capture a few slaves!



Veteran Scourgers let Neolibyans take point, since if they die, nothing of value is lost.

The Bank of Commerce

450 years ago, the location of Bank of Commerce only held mud buildings. Eventually the place grew with two-storey offices clad in Purgan marble, manufacturies producing materials for scribe duties, and more. Today, the Bank is nearly its own town in the middle of Tripol. Hundreds of chartists and scribes do all sorts of Adeptus Administratum stuff here.

The trade route auction is held on the first day of the first month of the new year. In the Bygone era, that was January 1st, but who knows what sort of entrepreneurial calendar the Neolibyans have adopted.

quote:

The riches gained through the auctions go to the Bank of Commerce’s vaults and from there into the pockets of craftsmen who expand Tripol. Large sums are also given to impoverished settlements at the outskirts of the city. Neolibyans hate poverty in close proximity to the capital.

Only cockroaches and NIMBYs will survive the Eschaton!

Business

A side section!

It basically goes to describe how Tripol's market are exotic bazaars and how the need to become rich drives the people to work harder.

Glory and Obligation

Neolibyans measure personal worth by capital. However, since only the accountants at the Bank know anyone's true wealth, they have to turn to conspicuous consumption to carry the message. A wealthy dude is usually slated for continuous success.

However, if you try to fuck over a fellow Neolibyan by going against the auction (working a concession you no longer have rights to and so on), you will be put on trial - no matter how wealthy you are. The guilty party will assign three judges and so will the accuser and

quote:

Usually, this is an unruly process. The proceedings are far from civilized.

The members of the tribunal shout and appeal to their counterparts’ obviously clouded mind, and yes, maybe he has had a little too much of the hookah. They laugh, they insult, they flatter. But in the end, they always come to an agreement. No one supports deal breakers; they are quickly unveiled.

New Ways

The Neolibyan Cult is increasing – but the number of profitable routes isn't (so much for the explorer doing their part). So what does a Neolibyan without a concession do? Some work for other, wealthier dudes. Others turn towards regions that don't have concessions due to their unstable nature. This also means that profits aren't guaranteed, which is a threat big enough to make the most hardened capitalist faint. There's also the option of going exploring and finding new markets or just new stuff, thus becoming the talk of the town.

Rifles

A side section!

Having a rifle is a mark of prestige in Africa, see, and Neolibyans are continuing the trend. Your rifle might be non-functional, but as along as it's impressive (maybe even gold-plated and studded with diamonds), you're good.

Next time: those thankless peasants!

Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


NEOLIBYANS

Homestead

When a Neolibyan reaches level 9, he can bui- wait, no. However rich, Neolibyans still have their home villages and clans to support.

The whole bit is entirely hostile to the people that need that support, and shows that Neolibyans are, indeed, capitalist scum.

quote:

They equip the Scourgers, becoming an aspect of the great symbiotic relationship within the African people. The African people could be satisfied by this, but instead keep demanding more.
<...>
The competition between the villages and clans is fierce, and all the bragging is done at the cost of the Neolibyans.
<...>
The more Dinars are spent on schools and teachers, the better the basic human raw material. It’s an investment.

Neolibyans: not yet the worst as Apocalyptics exist.

A Drop of Bile

In the home villages, Scourgers are seen as heroes that sacrifice themselves to Africa and Neolibyans as tricksters that get others to do their stuff. The book states that even the lowliest Socurger ranks higher than a Neolibyan.

However, in Europe, the balance of power shifts and Neolibyans can enjoy wealth and opulence in their palaces stacked with riches and supplies. The Scourger power is weaker here because, ugh... I dunno, I guess they can't just shoot the resident Neolibyan if he refuses to supply them.

Indentured

Side section!

When an African reaches 11 years of age, they can join a Neolibyan's entourage. At 17, they are presented to the auctioneer (the dude that does the New Years bidding marathon) and the Neolibyan host tell him about the applicant’s virtues. If the auctioneer embraces the youth, they become a Neolibyan. If they only shake hands, the kid remains an unpaid intern a servant for another year.



Nobody is really excited to visit Eastern Pollen.

Big Game Hunting

Side section!

Some Neolibyans are fine with just being merchants that do merchant stuff. Others want blood, and thus they go on big game hunting trips in Europe. And while killing a mammoth or a Gendo is good, it's not good enough. That's why they hunt Aberrants. Same high caliber rifle (you leave you fancy presentation rifle at home), but the prey is kinda, sorta human now! Biokineticks are prized prey, as their bodies spit out bullets like Wolverine.

In Foreign Lands

Thus we approach the section that details what Cult does in which cultural region. It also states that trading emporiums maintain huge metal cargo ships. They take Scrappers and Scourgers to Europe and return with artifacts.

Borca

The Alps are expensive to cross, especially if you want to take a Surge Tank along. The Scrappers are unhappy about the Africans, too, and fight them in the ruins. Meanwhile, Chroniclers are spreading blood libel, because if your organization was started by Twitch streamers, it was started by racists.

I have yet to see an explanation why Chroniclers hate the Africans so much. You can only theorize it is because they looted some servers or something.

Anyway, the Judges don't really buy into that, but Chroniclers are their allies, so they don't permit the Neolibyans to loot the ruins. Meanwhile, the Clans are mistrustful of strangers while also more being more than happy to buy tea, spices and gas PETRO.

Franka

Things are a lot more chill in Franka, as the place has already been looted and slave hunts are expensive in the swamps (and they're cheaper in Balkhan because). Trade only happens in coastal cities that Anabaptists and Spitalians have freed from Pheromancers. Some sailors go down river to buy bug-related stuff. Also, there's a hint of a plot hook: apparently the Bank lists twenty Surge tanks as missing in the swamps, and they're supposed to be “fully laden.”

Pollen

Wroclaw is the biggest trading center in Poland, but that's because the African big game hunters that travel there to bag some Biokineticks still want their luxury items, like tea, psychovore seeds and cut gems.

Purgare

Killing Psychokinetics is good fun, but the west is a blasted hellscape that ruins lungs and Surge Tank filters alike, so trading with the local clans is barely profitable. In the east, the war (between Anabaptists and Jehammedans) used to be driving the sale of Petro. However, the conflict is winding down and Neolibyans are already checking out possible new peacetime markets.

Hybrispania

Neolibyans actually believe that Hybris have already paid their due for their oil-stealing mercenary shenanigans. However, Scourgers disagree and the constant warfare makes trading beyond Al Andalus impossible.

Also, we are reminded that Hybris make for shitty slaves, as they're a danger to any household (due to their hatred of Africans) and constantly lead rebellions in the oil fields. The best you can do is put them into the mines.

Balkhan

Voivodes love luxury goods, because of course they do.

quote:

In return, the Voivodes give them wood and slaves – and what slaves they are! Spitalians stand next to Hellvetics and Palers (bah!). Definitely better than stubborn Jehammedans and Balkhani.

Yes, fanatical doctors and people who don't know life other than the military life make for better slaves than regular-ass Balkhani. Must be that wiiild southerner blood!

Piracy

Side section!

Neolibyans claim control of the Med. The bank hires concession-less dudes to patrol the seas, which they do in the previously mentioned huge ships that are swarmed by Scourger torpedo boats. Allied cities can pay protection money to remain unmolested – and so their ships get passes that ensure they won't be boarded. Otherwise, a crew can end up as slaves in a jiffy.

Next time: TOP 10 fattest cats in Africa

Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Neolibyans, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


NEOLIBYANS



Nwabudike Morgan does Mad Max

RANKS NEOLIBYANS



1. Apprentice

If your kid is troublesome (i.e. wants to learn to read), you send him to the Neolibyans as soon as he's old enough. He'll do some menial tasks, become literate and maybe even learning arithmetics.

2. Scribe

You're a scribe, you post “the gains and losses of at least one merchant route.”

3. Merchant

Now we're in business: the 17-year-old has been recognized as a Neolibyan by the auctioneer. They can now start their enterprise with the wealth they have accumulated by... being a teenager scribe?

This not the first time we find a class Cult that doesn't make you a real member until you're at least 3rd rank - and where the early levels are meant explicitly for children. How are you supposed to adventure as a Scrapper Mouse or a Neolibyan Apprentice? Only the rulebook will tell.

4a. Seafarer

These are the explorers of the Cult, the ones that are bored with just doing deals and looking at Excel sheets the whole day. They go out, explore the seas and the rivers, and find new places for the capitalist Cult to exploit.

5a. Cartographer

Cartographers are explorers extraordinaire, filling travel blogs Atlases with information on the people and the lands that they found. They're famous to the point where children want to be them. Eventually, many will try to sail the Atlantic or past the Horn of Africa. None have returned, but the Africans think the black Elon Musks of Degenesis must have succeeded.

5b. Great Hunter

Tripol and its decadence wears down a man's soul. That's why he takes a big rifle and goes hunting!

quote:

He has escaped a world that was so protective and gaudy that it ate away his soul. Now, he feels the beast within again, stalking his mind, circling his reason. Grinning, he accepts it. Surrounded by Spore Beasts and Biokinetics, there is no predator more dangerous than himself here.

I think I cut myself on the edge of that quote.

4b. Magnate

They're “rich beyond reason” - just like any rich person – and plan to continue building their wealth. Also, their entourages are massive.

5c. Sheikh

Sheikhs are so rich, they don't even need to try to become richer – it's just the natural course of events. They're said to be closest to the Libyan in wealth and influence.

That's why they head the bank – and can ignore Scourgers and Anubites when it comes to politics. As such, they were able to invite Spitalians to Quabis and settle peace with the Voivodes.

5d. Raider

A title usually used for the runts of the NPC litter in other games is reserved for one of the possible endings for the Magnate chain! Yes, when you're as rich as Croesus, what you really want to do is load a ship with Koms and Surge Tanks and go plunder Europe.

4c. Ambassador

Ambassadors do diplomacy and negotiations. Magnates say they're dopes who won't ever get rich. Ambassadors reply that their wealth lies in their contacts. They probably didn't read the few parts of the chapter that claim that Neolibyans only worship the Dinar.

5e. Waziri

You know what? Personal wealth sucks. As such, Waziris are advisers to Sheikhs and help run their empires. Their influence comes not from their stacks of gold, but from being employed by someone important. I bet players are chomping at the bit to become one of these guys.

5f. Consul

I have already mentioned that changing trade route ownership yearly is probably not that great for infrastructure. That's why Bank of Commerce assigns Consuls to oversee the rule of settlements, no matter what dildo won the last concession race. Consuls take care of defense, logistics and diplomacy.

Stereotypes posted:

ANABAPTISTS: They are efficient workers and a counterpart to the goat herders. They take our weapons as long as they do not have to confess to it.

ANUBIANS: They do not see the mathematical beauty in a balance, the gain and the loss, and how in the end everything leads to a result. Instead, they wave their bones. To each his own.

APOCALYPTICS: The only white men steeped in the principle of market economy.
They are ruthless and talented, and they go far. That’s why we subconsciously hate them.

CHRONICLERS: Damn bastards! In the first days, new white slaves behave as if we were going to eat them. The masks have done a good job.

CLANNERS: Every Clan has potential. The larger the Clan, the bigger the potential… profit. [I just want you to know how much I hate the ellipses in that sentence, fuck me.]

HELLVETICS: A fascinating mercenary Cult. They work as footpads. Yes, alright, we’ll pay.

JEHAMMEDANS: How long have they been opposing us in the Balkhan? Now they are discounted on the slave markets. Thanks, not interested. Are there any Spitalians left?

JUDGES: The Chroniclers’ lackeys. Obviously, our offer was not good enough.

PALERS: We do not know enough about them. They avoid large cities, and we avoid dark holes.

SCOURGERS: Great people, true warriors in soul and mind. At home, that’s a problem: they ham, and we play along. But later, in the north… now, who controls who?

SCRAPPERS: An efficient breed of people, but simple minds.

SPITALIANS:
We had to get them into the country. They are the only ones able to fight the Psychovores.

The astute reader will notice that the stereotypes section is much shorter than it was for the previous cults.

UKMENA



Culture: Africa

Concept: The Adventurer

Cult: Neolibyans (Seafarer)

Ukmena is the daughter of a Magnate, so she had all the opulence she could ever want. Alas, she was unhappy until she decided to leave the past behind and set out on a ship. There, she gained renown and reputation. But she wants more and is preparing a ship to cross the Atlantic.

EZENACHI



Culture: Africa

Concept: The Traditionalist

Cult: Neolibyans (Merchant)

He used to be rich, at some point. But troubles started piling on, and eventually even his women left him and took the kids (the book remarks that the children were probably not even his, seeing how much time he spent at work). After briefly considering suicide, Ezenachi took a different path: he now joins entourages of wealthy Neolibyans as a scribe and works to set them on path to ruin and bankruptcy, jumping ship long before it sinks. His next target is Sheikh Darweshi.

DARWESHI



Culture: Africa

Concept: The Conqueror

Cult: Neolibyans (Sheikh)

Darweshi is rich and he wants everyone else to know it. However, he's been having trouble lately: Psychovores are closing in on his oil fields. And there are fluctuations in the accounting...

In conclusion: Neolibyans are most likely the faces of the group, though the great game hunter and explorer paths have some other utility. That is, if you can squeeze in an African character into a game that's most likely going to be set in Europe and maybe even have a Chronicler in the group. And if you want to play the Capitalist.

I dunno if that's just confirmation bias, but it seems that the book is going for African exoticism vibe, where Africans are more emotional and dynamic than Europeans, what with all the constant mentions of shouting, arguing and all that. It's almost ARABIAN NIIIGHTS up in here, even worse than what we've seen with the Balkhani.

I wonder what they did with the Scourgers and Anubians!

Next time:Avengers of the dark continent!

Cults: Scourgers

posted by JcDent Original SA post

I'm still 400 posts in the past since I can't ignore reading posts about social mechanics and how they're bad. So while I'm delving into part 4 of the Chromebook FnF, you all get to experience

Cults: Scourgers



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




SCOURGERS

Broken Wings

This fluff piece actually starts describing double towers, one of which is the Voivode's domain. You can guess that this place in Beogorad. Empty cages hang from the bridge connecting the towers – they're empty, since the slaves have been sold. After all, we're talking about Scourgers here.

Chuma, a Scourger, feels a hand on his shoulder and turns to strike – and is immediately thrown to the ground. This is male bonding, you see, and he was just bested by his Dumisai (I read ahead, it means “super unit champion”) Kabaila. Chuma feels good about this fast fight, because this shows that The Scourgers remain strong even in the land of the Crow.

Other Scourgers gather and the book mentions that they wear helmets of blue steel, which irritates me mildly: the illustration shows some sort of PASGT helmet (made of kevlar IRL) and the African-UN in 2070 would have had helmets that are made from some futuretech spacematerial.

The Scourgers, armed only with their Scourges (as per the deal the Voivode struck with their Neolibyan), approach the slaves. One of them is obviously a former Spitalian. Chuma doesn't understand what he's saying, but he takes the hook from the windlass on his Kom and attaches it to the chain of the first slave in line.

They ride out slowly, so that the slaves can keep up. The Scourgers laugh when they notice a child in the city mimicking a demon: apparently, this display of childish tomfoolery shows that the locals fear them. When they leave Beogorad, Kijani and Taye, pack's Simba (a low sort of champion) are jogging alongside.

There's someone on the road and the guy in the lead Kom gets owned immediately. The convoy is under attack by the Spitalians (described via pale skulls and weird, tripple-bladed spears). Chuma sends the Kom to the side as a distraction (no mention of what happens to the slaves) and jumps out. The book describes Spitalians as afraid or child-like, so he and his friends defeat them easily.

Taya is then allowed to go for a duel with a huge Spitalian with a tattooed face and a black sword.

Note that I'm whiter than a Paler and don't know much about African culture. Do tell me if I make fun of something that's a real thing and not just Degenesis doing "ooh, Africa"



Me, irl, is the exact opposite of that

Drawings

This section describes an abandoned city where the walls of the ruins are painted with depictions of post-Eschaton African history. There's nothing new here, I'm just quoting this so you could get a taste:

quote:

Drawings can be seen around the window cases. Here, Africa’s history has been recorded with colorful earth pigments, blood and spittle: black areas dotted with red, fragile figures, broken bodies. Bullet holes. Legions of white chalk lines advance unstoppably, cut through the great waters and color the rivers red with the blood of their enemies whom they slaughter like animals. Dark streaks disappear in the oceans.

So that's Spaniards stealing oil, yadda yadda.

Tempest

The frescoes continue into the present in the same style, telling about the Scourgers driving Europeans back and striking at Europe itself. We find out that there's a solitary old man doing these paintings. Glad we wasted so much space retelling the history of Spanish colonist adventures in a stylized fashion.

The Lion's Claws

quote:

If the African people are the Lion, the Scourgers are its paws.

It's literally the first sentence after the title of the section and they still felt it necessary to call Scourgers paws instead of claws. What the fuck.

Anyways, fighting the Crow (white people) is the only thing that honors the ancestors. Subsequently, Scourgers train a lot in the mountains, Psychovore jungles and generally don't conform to any sort of organized military drill.

quote:

In the settlements, young women adore them. Children come running, laughing and admiring the muscles, pulling the girls’ hair: “Eke loves a Scourger!” If a Neolibyan walks by or is even carried past in a palanquin by slaves, the Scourgers strike a pose in front of him and denounce him as a weakling. If they get the chance, they grab the merchant’s garments and tear them off him.

Scourgers hate fat people, since “predilection for greasy meat and alcohol that enabled the white man to conquer proud Africa.” This lead the people to renounce the ancestors and to embrace capitalism, which lead to the continent’s downfall (well, they're right about one thing…). People respect Scourgers since they bleed and die for Africa while Neolibyans are just fat cats.

The Crow

quote:

The ancestors had chosen them to push back the conquerors and destroyers. And then what? Wait until the white man has recovered? Scourgers see Europeans as born oppressors who need to be chained in order to avoid them causing damage.

Don't worry, we'll get even more stuff about ancestors!

In Hybrispania, the Scourgers push the Guerreros into the Warpage (what an inelegant word) and burn down their hideouts. They drive the Scrappers out of the ruins in Purgare and Borca. They fight in the Balkhan.

quote:

Prisoners are enslaved so they can work off their centuries-old debts on Africa’s fields. They call this balancing, not injustice.

The overview of Scourger activities by cultural region is probably one of the shortest ones yet.



Scourgers look cooler than Hellvetics by the simple virtue of not having stupid three-barrel rifles

Living history

The city ruin where the history of Africa is recorder in wall murals? That's Agadez and it actually exists in the game world. However, the Scourgers don't go there: they learn history from storytellers.

Which means a party where everyone gets high.

quote:

The rhythm leads the way into the depths of their souls. Their pupils widen; their breath slows down. They gather around the oldest Scourger present. He sways back and forth. His teeth are blackened from the concoction of the intoxicating plants; the gates to his mind are wide open. An ancestral wind blows through. He raves incoherently like an oracle, speaks in tongues or starts some weird chant. But something happens to those gathered around him, who keep moving closer to him. He leads them down to the sea of collective memories, pulling them with him into the absolute blackness.

Afterwards, some lie passed out, other chug water from gourds, etc..

Guardians of Tradition

The world is full of spirits and they inhabit every last thing. That's why Africans apologize for the stones they remove from the fields and thank a game antelope (notify me if I used “game” wrong) for agreeing to become food.

Spirits don't interfere in human problems... except for when Hybris attacked. Then shit got weird.

quote:

The power of the eight ancestors flowed through young warriors throughout Africa – they had been chosen to repel the Europeans as champions of the eight. Years later, these warriors were only known by the name Scourgers.

Therefore, Scourgers are also super important spiritually and as guardians of tradition. Apparently, one is required when an African is caught lying or doing harm to another African or needs to move a rock to build his hut (what is it with rock moving).

The Scourger then consults the traditions and the spiritual world to set the course of action. This can get a little silly:

quote:

The rock may only be moved if no one in the village opposes the idea and the spirit inhabiting the rock has been pacified with sacrifices for a whole month.

It's a wonder they have any time for training or slaving.

Next time: alien Esperanto

Cults: Scourgers, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scourgers, pt. 2

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Warui

Probably the only place where the book remembers that Africa is big and inhabited by many peoples instead of “black people be here” is in languages: there were a shitton of those even after the Eschaton and the plagues.

But then stuff happened. Wanky stuff:

quote:

It started in the south, close to the Psychovores. The people lost their fathers’ tongue and communicated on a rudimentary level with simple words, clicks, and other basic sounds. This new language formed images in the minds of its users, conveying a painful intensity of emotions with few phonemes. The Scourgers call it Warui, meaning “from the river”. They consider it the legacy of the eight ancestors who pierced the barrier by interfering with the human world and making way for a flood of emotions and ancient knowledge. Those who drink from this river are rid of the intellectual ballast of centuries, of grammar and vocabulary, and regain the first and most primordial of all languages in which the spirits and ancestors communicate with the Africans.



If there were programmers in Africa after Eschaton, they'd probably settle on a single new programming language, too!

So yeah, Scourgers wouldn't have ever come together if not for this entirely-innocent-and-not-suspicious-at-all phenomenon. Who could have ever learned other languages or settled on English or French or some other international language! No, we need some special Psychovore bullshit.

Yes, it's tied to Psychovores, since the language breaks down in the North (Europe), so Scourgers take some Psychovore seeds with them to chew and to restore the “Can Speak Primordial” buff.



Face...OFF!

Immoderate

Scourgers don't really have personal property aside from weapons and armor. They don't need much, since the other Africans feel obligated to give them what they want. And if a Scourger abuses this privilege, “be it at a Neolibyan’s table or in a brothel’s bed,” the other Scourgers will grab him, tie him to a pole and torture him till he remembers his manners.

Equipped

The Scourge is a shock whip (you know what those are) and it's the symbol of Scourgers. However, they get the other weapons from the arsenals of the Neolibyans. Tunis used to supply them with helmets, armor and camo pants, but it was overrun by escaped slaves. In the meantime, you have to scavenge that shit from dungeons raids abandoned military bases. That is often used as a rite of passage for a young Scourger.

The Koms that Scourgers love so much are also provided by Neolibyans and they're amazing all-terrain vehicles suitable for slave hunting. The Scourgers also train hayenas, because of course they do.

quote:

Just like at the Neolibyan’s table, a Scourger has to be modest in battle: a Hybrispanian village full of old people, women, and children will not be subjected to a softening- up barrage, but attacked with spears; a boar will not be killed from a distance, but attacked with a knife. For the Scourgers, fighting means a battle between souls and trial of strength. What cowards would they be if they attacked any given enemy with grenades?

I dunno, if you're attacking with a sharpened shovel in one hand and a box of grenades in the other, you are a badass. On the other hand, I'd be more concerned with the ease of manufacturing grenades in the post-Eschaton times, but that's just me.

Death Masks

This side-section says that Scourgers wear their hockey death masks to channel the ancestors when fighting the Crow.

Family Trees

Scourgers carve their family trees that depict both physical and spiritual links, usually back to one of the eight ancestors. Apparently, there's a slab with a family tree in front of every building in Africa, telling visitors about the lineage of the inhabitants.

Also, carving is the only job that Scourgers can do. Fighting, hunting and carving: those are the only things that are suitable for warriors – anything else is left to the slaves. I wonder what the other Africans would think of that.



This Kom has seen better days

Far From The Frontlines

Scourgers know no peace except in the moments of transit. In Africa, they guard oil fields and other holdings. They might be sent into the jungle to hunt animals. They track down escaped slaves.

That's why Scourgers are invited to the evening gatherings, where people fawn over them and admire their biceps (no, really). Meanwhile, the virgin Neolibyan obsevers the chad Scourgers and skulks:

quote:

The Neolibyans grimly observe the merrymaking. They do not join in but watch the villagers squander their wealth – and adore the Scourgers.

What assholes.

Eight

OH BOY. This side-section takes half a page and talks about those mystery ancestors that Scourgers love so much.

Every African can feel them, but Anubians and Scourgers feel them the best. It invokes silent cotemplation in the former and a great inspiration to act like the ancestor (Uknown Armies: Post-Eschaton edition) in the latter. The ancestors are only ever referred to obliquely and in metaphor. Apparently, their influence covers entire regions.

The Eagle symbolizes the first one: he inspires intuition and foresight.
The second ancestor is the strength and superiority of the Lion: his influence on a region causes duels and challenges.
Third ancestors inspires great works of art and architecture.
The fourth one is community and love.
The fifth is all about fucking (the book says “sexual reproduction”).
The sixth is essentially Babel fish.
The seventh ancestors works to mesh the influence of two ancestors when their areas of influence meets. So he makes people affected by third and fifth make titty anime. Scourgers say he's the source of Warui (and not the sixth, who literally does language).
The eight ancestor is the the Outsider faceless assassin super whale is an asshole who makes you be close-minded and act only for your own good – the patron saint of FYGM. Africans accept him as part of the spiritual world, which houses the bad as well as the good (except that there are 7 good ancestors and this asshole over here).

Next time: This is my Scourge, this is my gun.

Cults: Scourgers, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scourgers, pt. 3

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Unto Death

If you want to be Scourger, you have to get note from your mom: basically, they won't let you join if your mother doesn't hand you over.

A 12-year-old (possibly a girl, but the book is talking about males all the time) has to prove himself to the Scourgers to join. In Gibraltar, he has to chase down a slave. In Tripol, he's exposed to stereotypes sent into the jungle to face animals while armed with only a spear. Whatever rites, whatever the place, they pose some danger to the prospect's life and nobody can help him. If you can't cut the muster mustard, you might as well go be a Scrapper or a Neolibyan.

We’re also ignoring the bit where the youth has to raid a ruin for helmet and armor. Maybe that’s some other rite of passage.

After the trial, the prospect is introduced as Scourger to his village. The community will care for him between the ages of 18 and 28. Young Scourgers don't marry, either.

quote:

These adolescents and adults may not marry: their deaths would cause existential problems for their partners. Of course, this does not stop them from having purely sexual relationships

Heck yeah, you can be a cool warrior that orders Neolibyan nerds around and fuuucks, how cool is that!

Once a Scourger reaches 28, they pass rite where “they swear to use their heads more and their fists less,” essentially becoming officers. They can marry, but Neolibyans don't have to provide for their families. With Scourgers being banned from work, they make-do selling slaves.

If Scourger reaches 50, they get to be a village elder or a shaman.

quote:

Not many reach the age of 45.

RANKS SCOURGERS

1. Dufu

quote:

He killed an animal or vanquished a slave to be considered a warrior. He barely survived, though. His comrades laugh at him, pushing him around, calling him Dufu, which means “fart”. They keep getting more provocative until he finally loses it. With a burning face and a deep frown he attacks his comrades, hitting and bludgeoning them. To no avail. They block his blows, duck, or utter an exaggerated, shrill “Ow!” should he hit them. When he stands there panting at the end of the lesson, with heavy arms and full of shame, he has learned that he is nothing. The entrance test, this first challenge? A fart.

So yeah, your path to Scourger-dom begins with getting massively owned. But then you get to go on dangerous assignments (like scouting or playing bait) and fight on the frontline with spear and shield! Maybe you'll survive and earn a new rank that allows you to use firearms.

What is this, Caesar’s Legion?

2a. Hondo

If a Dufu proves himself in melee, he can rank-up to become a Hondo, an ancestral warrior.

quote:

He demands an assault rifle from the Neolibyan and gets one. Then, he makes it a part of his rites, treats it as a friend, garners its favor. When he looks the slaves or his enemies in the eyes, he knows that Scourgers like himself are responsible for the Cult’s reputation of being implacable and deadly.

Big words for a rank-2 character. On the other hand, Scourgers might turn out to be the Warriors of the setting, since they're hyper-focused on battle.



Not gonna lie, I fucking love this one.

3a. Chaga

Be a warrior long enough and you might become a Chaga, a leader that's also answerable to the ancestors. The Dumisai are the only people who can question him, and the discussion then turns into a fight (Africans had discovered that debates were bullshit shortly before the Eschaton and it’s one of the Bygone things that survived).

Chaga is a leader on the battlefield, the tip of the spear, executing whatever plan the Damu comes up with. He can only rise in rank if the Dumisai challenges him (the Chaga) and gets beat up. The Chaga then takes the new position and choses a Hondo to become the new Chaga.

The book likes to use the work “pack” when discussing Scourger formations, even though lions gather into prides. Apply own interpretation here.

2b. Damu

Damu is the brain-nerd warrior as opposed to Hondo's hands-on approach to fighting. He discovers the weak-spots of the enemy, devises plans of attack and the deployment of Dufus(es).

3b. Simba

Damus, being the strategy brain nerds of the group, naturally advance to be Simbas, the “lions of the pack” and the champions of the group. All that strategy-making and weak-spot noticing? All in service of challenging the enemy champions to duels.

Eventually, the Space Marine Simba wins enough of these fights to be promoted to Dumisai by the Chaga.

You'd think the progression would make more sense if you switched Chaga and Simba on the track...

4. Dumisai

You're the Emperor's Champion now, boy! Dumisai are the supreme lore keepers and are nearly unquestionable, even if they're not actual leaders. They exert influence by challenging Chagas to duels – Dumisai can't be challenged themselves.

O. Moyo

OK, this goes stupid, fast.

quote:

One day, the Chaga will go to his Dumisai, sit opposite to him on a rock at some distance from the pack, and tell him that it is time to select his Moyo, his soul mate. The Dumisai selects a Hondo or Damu he feels close to and whom he considers worthy. Together, they perform the ritual of union. They are now one, their souls have joined.What happens to one also happens to the other.

The Moyo gives his mask to Dumisai and sets out to do eight heroic tasks that were laid out to him to protect his Dumisai's honor. He has two months to do it, and no Scourger may help him, lest they anger the ancestors, yadda yadda.

What happens if he succeeds?

quote:

If he manages this, the Dumisai keeps his position. The Moyo gets his mask back and is a Hondo or Damu again.

Fucking nothing. The whole thing about spiritual bonding, become one, and stuff? Pointless. It's all just a way for Chaga to spite a Dumisai and maybe get some underling killed in the process.

X. Kifo

What happens if a Moyo fails? Well, they (and the Dumisai that chose them) become Kifos, the maskless ones. They're kicked out of the Scourger society, they are expected to come back as evil spirits after their death, and they have to learn to fend for themselves.

Some Kifu work as mercs for Neolibyans or the Cults. Others get (rightfully) pissed off and switch sides to join the Hybris or Voivodes.

Turns out that casting out a living legend of the group (and some hapless Hondo) isn't the best course of action!

Next time: Scourgers say the darnest things!

Cults: Scourgers, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Scourgers, pt. 4

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




SCOURGERS



This would have been the perfect opportunity to insert an illustration to show the iconic Scourge. It wasn't used.

Stereotypes

quote:

ANABAPTISTS: A white man’s warrior clan, guardians of Purgare and Southern Borca. They don’t consider us enemies – and will regret it one day.

ANUBIANS: We bow our heads to those who know what once was and what will be. The Anubians are our brothers in spirit; their thoughts guide our Scourges.

APOCALYPTICS: Beautiful, sensual white people that can be sold for handsome sums on Tripol’s markets.

CHRONICLERS: It is said they talk in riddles like ancient spirits that time has passed by. As long as our paths are not destined to cross, we void contact.

CLANNERS: Wandering Clans are easy prey. The quality varies, but the Neolibyans take anything they can sell to the plantations.

HELLVETICS: They have always been standing between the Lion and the Crow, trying to make some profit with this position.

JEHAMMEDANS: To face the Jehammedans is like walking through the Psychovores naked: you come back scratched and pricked.

JUDGES: Too many Crows can even endanger a lion. The Neolibyans throw Dinars at them to buy their mercy. Maybe we can do better.

NEOLIBYANS: Lazy buggers in colorful garments with a touch of ink on their eyelids. If you shake them, it rains Dinars. Go ahead and try.

PALERS: Worms crawling through the body of the earth. They are sick, outcasts satisfying their hatred for everything that is healthy with bloody cruelty.

SCRAPPERS: They dig in the dirt like pigs. They flee from every battle. They cannot expect any mercy from the ancestors.

SPITALIANS: They are in Qabis. The Neolibyans actually dared to open the gate for the Crow. should we listen to the Anubians’ warnings now or trust the Neolibyans?

AYUBU THE BLOODHOUND



Culture: Africa
Concept: The Ruler
Cult: Scourgers (Dumisai)

He used to be Simba, killing Hibrispanian champions left and right. Then his Chaga made him a Dumisai. He lead his pack deep into the Warpage to find a route to strike at the Hybris. I don't know what you're supposed to do with him; have an encounter in the anomaly?

EPHREM



Culture: Africa
Concept: The Seeker
Cult: Scourgers (Dufu)

I'll post the whole Ephrem bit and you'll tell me what kind of bigotry this is supposed to be:

quote:

Ephrem is a hermaphrodite: half man, half woman. That means she is nothing in the community of Scourgers. Thus, she furiously tackles any danger to impress others by her deeds and rise in her pack’s pecking order. To no avail.
She is and will remain a Dufu.

I have no clue why this should disqualify Ephrem from being accepted into the higher Scourger ranks when she was still able to join.

AGU



Culture: Africa
Concept: The Disciple
Cult: Scourgers (Kifo)

Agu was a good Hondo, but the endless war in Hybriaspania broke him; he wanted to go home, find a wife and settle down. However, he fell in love with a slave in al-Andalus – and she was a slave to Neolibyan.

Being declared the Moyo by his Dumisai was the straw that broke cammel's back (I mean, the whole thing is bullshit anyways). He betrayed his pack, grabbed his lover and ran away... into the Warpage.

Now that's almost an adventure by itself; a former Scourger on the run from both his pack, possibly his Kifo'd Dumisai and a jealous Neolibyan, trying to live in the Warpage and not piss off the Hybrispaniards.

In conclusion: It feels as if there is a lack of enthusiasm when writing up Africans. There's certainly not much effort put into their rank trees which are barely branches (compare it to the nonsense that happens when you play a Spitalian or Hellvetic). I don't know if we really learned anything new and important about the Scourgers that we didn't know before: they fight, they take slaves, they're the claws of Africa. The whole “reverse slavery” angle gets tiresome, too. The upsides are that Scourgers look cool and give endless amounts of shit to Neolibyans.

Next time: the Africans!

Cults: Anubians

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anubians

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




ANUBIANS



Swan Song

Under the title of probably the least cool song by Dua Lipa rests our introductory bit of fluff. It starts with a young Anubian woman (female Anubian?) in her ossuary watching over a graveyard. The jungle isn't that far off and there be jackals around. She covers herself with a simple cloth.

quote:

The tattooed white Circles around her navel remained unwrapped.

The Anubian is going outside since the villagers had left a dead dude the previous night and the wailing kept her awake. It's a dead warrior and the Anubian is sad to see him cut down before his time.

quote:

Her arms and legs were now blackened with resin, and an Anubis mask covered her head and shoulders.

The Anubian – and believe you me it, it's a struggle to not write “Anubite” - embraces the corpse before putting a scarab in his mouth. She then pours Anansi spiders over the body, as their web is said to catch the soul – only Anubis can free it then. The spiders take two days to spin a cocoon around the body (as spiders, known for their love of teamwork and funerary rites, are wont to do). The Anubian then wraps it in bandages marked with runes and slips in a few amulets.

We then switch to talking about how the runes are the same as found in the depths of Anubian temples. They mention dead technology laying in the corners and we get the first inkling of suspicion that Anubians might just be a cargo cult that found a bunker somewhere.



I first became aware of Degenesis on a /tg/ thread that was wanking over how mature (read: shows boobs) it was. So click for NSFW if you're interested.

The Past

Anubis! He stalks the city of the dead and reaps golden-winged souls, sending them to Osiris. Some souls are “foreign to him” and escape – it might be an alusion to Aberrants, or to Europeans. Or maybe it's just an errant bit of flowery language.

quote:

Once he had blessed humans with the Ka. For generations, mothers passed it on to their children. But like a corruption, the Ba entered the human soul and poisoned it. The Ka’s power waned. In every cycle, the Ba roamed the earth, and things got worse and worse. Anubis lost soul after soul.

Only the Anubian tribe had Ka powerful enough to withstand it, but not even they remained untarnished. So some of them sleep under the desert while their children are searching from the way to awaken them and ooooh fuck, this is just about a bunker with some frozen doofuses, isn't it? Is it Palers 2: Africa Edition?

Do note that I'm writing this fairly blindly and I'm paranoid.

Hi, it's future me, doing an editing pass: the truth kinda like that, but maybe more annoying.

Written History

On the other hand, this bit makes it feel like there might be more to it than just another Fallout 3 gimmick Vault.

quote:

The caverns in the Anubian Desert are inaccessible. Once they were a haven for the ancient ones. Hidden in the tunnel systems’ eternal night, the Anubian history survived there on scrolls in sealed clay jugs. Now the jugs are retrieved and opened one by one. The Anubians work carefully to avoid losing one of the secrets already considered lost for good. The veil of the past lifts from the Anubian desert, reveals the true history of one of the world’s most ancient cults.

The ancient Egyptians had actually exiled the Anubians to Kerma in the kingdom of Kursch. However, they actually loved the symbols of their death cult:

quote:

they tore the organs from their diseased’s bodies and senselessly mummified the empty shells, buried them under tons of stone afterwards. The Anubians of that time pitied their ignorant siblings but did not want to enlighten them.

Diseased – or deceased? The difference is kind of moot in the times before germ theory!

Nevertheless, Egypt was successful while the Anubians waned. It wasn't long before the former crushed the latter in the 18th dynasty (I guess the knowing true funerary rites only lead them to be good at burrying their dead and not, well, winning).

Anubis Syndicate

Side section! Some of the texts in Cairo speak of Anubis Syndicate, “a mysterious group of eight African scientists, doctors, and philosophers dedicated to the reawakening of the body after death.” Not much was known about them even in the Bygone era. However, shortly before the Eschaton, Norman Thorn, one of the founders of Recombination Group, fled to them due to a case of industrial espionage.



Maybe SENS Research Foundation would be taken more seriously if they had such kickass branding.

The Eternal Cycle

Much like you drop a stone in the water and it creates waves, Anubis created life in the endless oceans. But he wasn't the only one, the waves from the impact circles enmeshed together.

The important thing to know here is that the imagery of waves and circles is going to become really obnoxious.

quote:

The Anubians had to rise, to free themselves from the wave and the cycles. They had to be like Anubis, to help him in his striving for perfection. He had inscribed them with the key long ago, and now they had to perfect this Thread of Life and become like him: a mortal race was to become an immortal species between life and death.

Skirting awfully close to panspermia or some Eva shit there, book.

Ka And Ba

Ka is the thread of life passed down through the ages.

quote:

Call it soul or genetic foundation.

Those are extremely different things, but OK, you do you, book.

Ba, however, corrupts Ka and diminishes its power.

Eschaton messed things up, like a big rock crashing into the water and creating new capitlal-C Circles. The Anubians had almost managed to reach their goal via centuries of preparation and the use of Bygone tech, but the world just up and ended.

Psychonauts in Europe and Psychovores in Africa are what made the Anubians act fast before all is lost.

Next time: real Ka shit 4 real 4 u

Cults: Anubians, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

From the impenetrable depths of my SA reading backlog comes...

Cults: Anubians, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Lost Children

The book loops back to the past to say that Anubians went into hiding among the advanced African civilizations of the time. Some even forgot their purpose, but their thread of life (the genetic strain) remained. It can be found among North Africans, Asians (not appearing in this book), and even the bloody Euros.

To detect it, the Anubians use an inscribed bone the length of a forearm, for some stupid reason called the “finger of Anubis”. It is passed down from generation to generation and rumored to be filled with jackal bile.

quote:

When an Anubian scratches an African’s skin with the finger of Anubis, a true descendant develops eczema the size of a fingernail from sunrise to sundown: the mark of Anubis. An African who bears it is destined by birth to walk the path of Anubis. He’s an Initiate.

Welcome to the cult of transcendental eugenics!

Imiut Skin

Side section!

Bruises, smallpox and other similar stuff is sorta easy and rote for Anubites, who have elixirs, ointments and amulents aplenty (probably because they crushed the Big Amulent shortly after Eschaton) – or they can go into Anubis realm to battle Ammit, the devourer of souls and “return with Duat blood (no idea) in their veins.”

But when a Scouger gets fucked up by a stake trap, a bullet or “the detonating tank of a Kom” (how often does that happen), things get serious. The dying is rubbed with Duat blood (no idea) and sown into a jackal or dog skin cocoon, the Imiut skin. This symbolizes going back into the womb for rebirth and the Scourger, bald and thin, claws his way out in a few days, weak, but alive.

Death

Once you are scratched by a disgusting bone and found to be a Merovingian an Anubian, an Embalmer starts tutoring you. First, your skin is blackened with resin and you get to wear a cool mask. Then you're lowered into an Anubian catacomb.

quote:

Down there in the darkness, surrounded by his ancestors’ bones, he waits. He eats bugs and corpse flesh that the Embalmer throws into the shaft. He devours rotten mash mixed with drugs.



The poisoned man-flesh, the darkness and all the skulls makes the Initiate go crazy, and in their visions they eventually confront Anubis, probably to ask “what the fuck, man?”

Rebirth

The Embalmer then drags out the passed-out Innitiate, “embalms” him with scented oils and rolls him in bandages like a mummy. The oil and the heat are supposed to draw the poison out of the body in a few days. The Embalmer keeps watch and gives the mummy water via a straw. Eventually, the Innitiate is symbolicaly reborn.

Seven Circles

Then comes the time for the Embalmer to tattoo seven concentric circles around the Innitiate's navel. Seven different kinds of white paint (prepared according to a secret formula guarded by Cairo) are used. Each circle uses different paint and is drawn according to a set order.

quote:

To the Initiate, the Circles symbolize the wave on which every living being drifts towards death, but also the world created by Anubis.

Embalmers only have five circles upon them, since you lose them as you rank up:

quote:

The Initiates move on the outmost Circle, the Enchanters on the sixth one, the Embalmers, Sickles, and Healers on the fifth. The honorable Hogons have left the four outer Circles behind and stand on the third one. They decide when an Anubian is ready to leave his Circle.

Anubians: great at healing and tattoo removal.



Ain't no business like spooky business

The Wave Breaks

Side-section! When an African dies, an Anubian prepares their body like in the introductory fiction, and then burries them in their Boneyard.

Initiated

After the cannibal drug trip is over, the Embalmer teaches the Initiate about burial rites and bug use. They have to listen to the Psychovore forests for the voices of the ancestors. Eventually, they have to expose themselves to the Raze.

To Anubi's Right Hand

Everybody knows that Psychovores will fuck you up. If the thorns that drip with poison that eats through flesh and bone won't get you, then the epigenetically active fruit will via rapid aberrant mutation – the Raze.

quote:

The only exceptions are the seeds used by Europe’s Scourgers. Bitten in two, they break into a thousand splinters that enter the gums and the mucosae like glass. They don’t kill, but strengthen the Warui outside of Africa.

It works via the blood, you see.

Meanwhile, the Anubians are nearly immune to Raze. Sure, festering wounds still happen, but they can heal them. Meanwhile, their blood reacts to Psychovore substances as if to Witcher mutagens, changing the body into a bioreactor (I doubt that means what the developers think it means).

quote:

Spitalian would barely recognize an Anubian blood sample in this phase as human.

Anubians go into the forest, get themselves some Duat fruit and eat it. Their body immediately begins self destructing and regenerating in turn.

Then they die and face Anubis.

quote:

The bioreactor kicks in. The body vibrates from heat. The heart pouns and circulates the seething blood. A honey-like ichor wells from glands under the tongue, in the armpits, and in the groin. The body’s blackness disappears.

They are grabbed, torn away from Anubis’s throne, come back into life wincing.

Hmm, I wonder who else synthesizes various compounds from glands in those specific locations?

Basically, they use their body to transform Duat fruit into useful compounds. That's what the Duat blood is: the blood of an Anubian who had a Duat fruit trip. Various fruit combos produce various versions of blood that have different uses.

That's actually kinda metal.

Anansi Spiders

Side section! Spiders are present in the grassy Anubian plains and it is considered an art to trick them into making a funerary cocoon.

quote:

The spiders react to the embalming oil as if they had been bred for just this task.

DUN DUN DUUUN?!!

Next time: Duat blood of the masses

Cults: Anubians, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

You know, I'm getting really intrigued by this Torg-mania. Should I read the entire oTorg FnF in preparation?

Cults: Anubians, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Transformation

Sometimes, a Hogon will come to an Anubian and give him a canoptic jar with a jackal head. There's white fluid inside it.

quote:

The Anubian lifts the canopic jar to his lips; ripples form in the liquid. It flows towards his mouth. Small tendrils shoot out, piercing his lips, hardening and breaking under the pressure of the liquid that follows. There is a crackling and cracking, and the canopic jar has spilled its contents into the Anubian’s mouth.

Then the Anubian dies, only to awaken emaciated and with the outermost of his tattoo circles gone. Only Hogons know what happened, but they ain't sharing.

Keepers of Secrets

Anubians have been collecting lore for generations, but it's buried under Cairo and unreachable to those who have more than two circles remaining.

Naturally, everyone assumes that Anubians are mysterious and filled with secrets. They reinforce the image via the way they dress. They also guide Scourgers in the ways of keeping traditions, they know how to appease spirits (I bet they can get great modifiers on the length of Month-Long Ritual Of Appeasing Spirits Before Moving A Stone) and they do burials.

Ossuaries

Africans both revere and fear the Anubians, as it is right when you're confronted by a death obsessed weirdo that carries at least one skull at all times. The Anubians all live away from people and prowl their boneyards for bones uncovered by rain and wind. They use those to build ossuaries where they live and mix their drugs.

I imagine that an Anubian who buries bodies too deep is basically homeless.

True

quote:

With every transformation, with every Circle that the Anubian masters, he loses some of the superstition.

Oh boy, here we go!

This section implies that there's quite a bit of woo that Anubians, the African religious clan, embraces willingly to have more power.

Hecateans are more concerned with catalization of the Duat fruit, but still present themselves as Healers (lower rank) who actually bargain with Anubis.

Ammit is the sickle-armed warrior rank, who listens to the Ancestors and senses Psychonaut Chakras. He tells the Scourgers that he's protecting the wave of creation.

Embalmers and Soul-Seers actively shit on the altar:

quote:

He can shut out the whispering of the ancestors and make room for other ancestors – not because he prays or meditates, but because he has understood the principle. Because he’s the key and the Psychovores are the lock. The people believe that ancestral spirits accompany him to pay their debts to Anubis. They believe that the spirits imbue the Psychovores. He lets them believe whatever they want to.

Hogons are the top dogs of the conspiracy pile. They observe the changes in those that drink from the canoptic jizz jug. They even discuss such changes with the Spitalians.

quote:

How could he speak out against the white doctors for the last decades? What a lack of knowledge! Aside from the Anubians, no one is closer to the secrets than them.

Hogons understand the tattoos as indicators of transformation (duh) and that the molecules in paint are destroyed by change in the body. But why are they mutating themselves? Well, you still have two circles to go before you learn the truth.

The Sickle

Side-section! Anubians actually sense Psychonauts as a pain in their body; there's a different pain for each kind. And those pains just happen to coincide with (non-gloving) weakspots that Anubians can attack for great damage! Their blade is guided by what they feel, opening, I dunno, Chakra ports on the Psychonaut's body. If all goes well, the pain goes away and the mutant collapses as a soulless (yet still breathing) husk.

The Ancestors

Did you know that Psychovores are nearly literally the Warp?

quote:

The Psychovores are amplifiers. They receive human aspects and emotions, channel and filter them through the network and into that which Anubians and Spitalians call the Aethyr. Soul Seers know how to superimpose those waves with their own emotions and channel them back into the extraterrestrial vegetation.

However, Anubians rarely do that. The source of most whispers lies somewhere in the jungle, and the Anubians are looking for it. They follow the whispers, poring over old maps, and staging expeditions. Sometimes, they find nothing. Other times...



quote:

Down into prehistoric vaults, into labyrinths made of glass and polished sandstone. Behind false walls, protected by pitfalls and dead ends, the first people slumber, preserved in beautiful sarcophagi made of gold, lapis lazuli, and chrome eons ago.

What's in the box? Recombination Group? Ancient Astronauts? Warframes? Walt Disney's preserved head? You be the judge.

No Anubian that has more than two circles left has ever met these ancient popsickles. Any such discovery is immediately secured by Hogons, who bring the sarcophagi to Cairo, where the higher ups (NPCs?) open them.

quote:

The long chain of the script of life is said to be impeccable in them, inscribed into them by Anubis himself. No wrong letter, no errant passage disturbs the perfection. They are like him. In them, he will one day walk the earth.

Obviously, it's all about genetic purity. So pyramid Nazis, then?

The Solar Cross



SwastikaSide-section!

The higher-up Anubians don't really care about their common symbolism. However, the solar cross – even the book describes it as a made from four fours – is important. Apparently, it holds some answer to life's great questions. The Jackal's Prophecy is based on it.

Books of the Dead

The ancient Egyptian beliefs relating to afterlife? All giberish copied down from Anubians. Here's how the judgement of the soal really went:

quote:

The Egyptians copied this practice from the Anubians. The books contain the complete listing of the deceased person’s life essence – in a language illegible to the living. Legend has it that only Anubis himself was able to decipher the script, and he was also the one to read it to Osiris and his demons. If the passages pleased the God of the underworld, he had the books sent to Yaru. If Osiris was bored, he destroyed the writings with a simple gesture. Afterwards, even Anubis could not decipher them anymore.

Degenesis, are you pulling an Assassin's Creed on me? Are we gonna discover that humanity was made by aliens?

Anyway, the books of the dead are found in the vaults of the first people. They're thick black slabs that only two-circle-or-less dudes know how to make. It is said that they will only be read once Anubis walks among the people again.

Hogons apparently favor people who find these books, as the books let themselves be found. Very mystical of these SSDs holding genetic imprints of some long-dead Anubian.

The Forbidden City

Cairo is overgrown by Psychovores. The city and the Nile are abandoned. Only Hogons are invited to visit. Other Anubians who want to find the city will return sratched and Raze-stricken, and die, since Cairo doesn't want to be found.

Next time: you the jackal now, dog!

Cults: Anubians, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anubians, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


RANKS ANUBIANS



1. Initiate

We covered this before: get scratched by some dirty old bone, develop eczema, have a trippy experience in a crypt, become an Embalmer's unpaid intern. The only new thing here is that sickles are used to lop off Raze-infected limbs before the sickness reaches the heart.

Before an Initiate can advance further, he must go into the jungle and do some Duat fruit synthesis

2. Enchanters

So you ate some strange fruit and drank suspicious white liquid. Congratulations, you're an Enchanter now. Which means that you are entrusted enough spiritual lore to guide the Scourgers, and officiate marriages.

quote:

One day, a Hogon will ask him to choose. Does he want to continue guiding Africa’s destiny as a wise man, to keep up the wave as a warrior in the land of the Crow, or to offer up his body as a Healer?

Hogons are probably the most active of all end-game carreers in Degenesis. A finger in every pie, a hustle everyday and being the level-up dialogue in a CRPG all at once!

3a. Embalmer

Embalmer is the top dog when it comes to speaking with spirits and guiding others in spiritual matters.

Oh, and they're able to decide which of the 8 ancestors influences the region. This power doesn't work in Europe... unless Scourgers munch on some seeds.

4a. Soul Seer

“Anubis is a principle” is a thing that Soul Seer understands, which makes the whole background of the faction even harder to decipher. If Anubis is a principle, so what about all that junk with the books and bringing them to be judged? What about the dream trips?

Oh, and in Africa, a Soul Seer can telepathically control Psychovores.

quote:

In Europe, that makes no sense. Here, he relies on the like-minded: the Spitalians. In hidden labs, he researches genomes side-by-side with them, identifying populations with extraordinary traits. He organizes the medical Cult’s forays into the Psychovores.

In Europe, he does eugenics!

He also lies about mystical stuff to Neolibyans and Scourgers, because half of this fluff was written by a redditor, swear to God.

3b. Healer

Here's to the crafting class! A Healer knows how to make potions and poultices... but also how to catalyze Duat fruit for fun and profit. They make the Marduk Oil, too. Once the people begin to believe that he has magical powers, he ascends to become a Hecatean.

4b. Hecatean

quote:

A Hecatean can repair a person’s torn Thread of Life in the Imiut skin. He has elevated the catalysis to a new level. His skin changes color, sometimes smelling lovely, sometimes bringing the Raze through a simple touch. He is able to reconfigure his metabolism and keep up this change for minutes or even hours.

Not sure how sewing someone up in jackal skin to fuck with their DNA heals gunshot wounds, but I'm not a walking medicine crafting bench.

3c. Sickle

Sickles are the ones who sense the glowing Psychonauts weakspots in their own bodies.

quote:

They feel the corresponding Chakra bleed dry. They feel the emptiness. They want to get rid of it. Armed with a Khopesh, they are the perfect weapons against the Aberrants. With only a few cuts aimed at the Psychonaut’s singular Chakra, they slice through his Thread of Life.

Much like with Healers going on to become Hecateans, a Sickle reaches his next form once he's venerated as a peerless warrior.

4c. Ammit

Getting willingly called after the devourer of souls in your own religion (even if you don't believe it anymore) is a weird flex, but OK.

Besides the ability to sense weakpoints, they also sense lies. They're like soul-eating Batmen.

5. Hogon

The third circle is the last one you'll ever see in the wild and the last tier that the players can reach. This is probably the first Cult that bars players from ultimate power within their group.

Anyways, they know a lot of shit, go through Psychovore jungle effortlessly and worry about innitiation procedures. Yawn.

Nex time: What do Anubians think about you?

Cults: Anubians, pt. 5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anubians, pt. 5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Looks kinda khopesh-y to me, fam

STEREOTYPES

quote:

ANABAPTISTS: A warlike people from the heart of Borca. With the Spitalians’ help, we will be able to check them for the Anubis strain, too.

APOCALYPTICS: They disturb the wave and drag others down with them, too.

CHRONICLERS: They don’t know their place in the Lion’s pelt. Soon they will understand and will be able to prove themselves worthy.

CLANNERS: If we’re the soul of the African Lion, they are the flesh on its bones.

HELLVETICS: They have the power to strengthen the wave, but instead stay in their fortress and count their tolls.

JEHAMMEDANS: Faith without insight. All their power is used up in their pursuit of unity. Vanquished in the Balkhan, meaningless in Hybrispania. They will soon be gone from the wave. The prophecy foretells no place for them.

JUDGES: A Borcan people of soldiers.

quote:

NEOLIBYANS: Dinar after Dinar. A useful aspect. They empower us to get the Crow to Africa.

PALERS: Age and incest have turned their Thread of Life thin. Their wave will soon expire.

SCOURGERS: The Lion’s claw. They follow the path of the ancestors and the traditions. Our path.

SCRAPPERS: They are drawn to Europe. They dig for relics of a foreign culture – and become slaves of the Dinar.

SPITALIANS: In their hearts, they are like us – only they are bereft of any spirituality.

Oh boy, this was just overflowing with enthusiasm, wasn't it?

EZENVA THE HOGON



Culture: African
Concept: The Creator
Cult: Anubians (Hogon)

Enzenva fell in love with the Psychovore forest after he commanded it to open up and give him a glimpse of Cairo – and it did. He spends all of his time in the jungles and he's starting to understand that Psychovores are more than plants.

NAKU



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Chosen
Cult: Anubians (Ka)

He's actually a former Spitalian, and his parents were part of the HIVE reasearch group. Even they knew his genes are special, and eventually he was taken in by Anubians. Thirty years later, he's basically the top dog, to the point that his class – Ka – was never mentioned as a thing outside of it Ka being a distinct concept. Anyways, good job rising above any African mentioned in this book, token white guy!

quote:

Between books of the dead, nanite canopic jars, and ancient machinery, he’s getting ready for the end of the cycle.

I'm sure it will all be explained in a splat some time in the future.

WAITIMU THE ANUBIAN SICKLE



Culture: African
Concept: The Traveler
Cult: Anubians (Ammit)

Waitimu wants to go into Pandora to face the ultimate challenge and cut it open with his Khopesh.

In Conclusion: Anubians are very confused. They want to both actually spiritual and actually not-spiritual. The book insists that Anubiansreally experience Anubis and other trappings of Egyptian faith (which were copied from ancient Anubians). At the same time, it's extremely coy with what's actually at the core of Cult: ancient astronauts, rich Bygone people, or something stranger? Supposedly the cult is thousands of years old, and the Thread of Life is kinda-like-DNA-but-maybe-not? Oh, and they manipulate the rest of the Africans and lie even to their own members.

It's like not!Catholic Church in every JRPG ever.

So, having covered all of the African cults in the game, what do we have? Capitalist conquistador slavers who'd probably exploit their own people harder if they didn't have slaves; spiritual warrior clan which is focused on taking slaves over anything else to do reverse-racism to Europe; and death cultists who serve an ancient conspiracy, lying to their own ranks and to the people at large.

I dunno, maybe it's my desire to clear my name after defending Degenesis' treatment of Africa, or maybe the authors are really shit when it comes to it. The Rank trees are more sparse, the Stereotype bits are a lot shorter, and the slaver warriors come off as the least shitty of three Cults.

On an unrelated not, the way the book talks about the lifepath of a Cultist before doing the same a bit differently in the Rank section is getting on my nerves with its repetitiveness.

Hey, maybe the next section will be easier?

Next time: legally not Islam

Cults: Jehammedans

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Jehammedans



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


JEHAMMEDANS



"Counternance" means face, facial expression or favor/approval!

Sacrificial Lamb

The opening fiction begins with a battle between Jehammedans and Anabaptists. We're following the viewpoint of a mounted warrior. His face is heavily tattooed with records of ancestral glory, and his hair is pinned-up.

The book also insists that we capitalize 'Scimitar,' even when talking about regular-ass sabers.

Anyways, the mounted warrior sees that his dudes are losing. His plan? Clear the 300 feet (what's with the bullshit measurements all of the sudden?) between him and the Anabaptist camp and “kill the Anabaptists' fat leader.”

The first 100 feet pass without anything interesting. He then runs into a line of spearmen. That's when we learn that he's an Isaaki, “destined to die for others to live” and “the sacrificial lamb.”

The regular Jehameddans in the battle are the imaginatively-named Swords of Jehammed.

With 50 feet left to the target, the Issaki starts thinking about how victory would allow new families to settle on this side of the river. Fortunately, he gets hit in the shoulder before he get deeper into analysis of the economical base of Jehameddans. Now, the spears (wielded by Furrors, which I guess are the Anabaptist redshirts) are hitting his legs and the horse – or so I infer from the text.

quote:

Barely enough time to say goodbye to the glorious days as a blessed child in his mind. To his father’s love. To the priest’s eulogies.

The Isaaki purposefully drops from the horse, rolls and attacks.

quote:

May God decide if he wants to accept this sacrifice.



Pictured: probably not your PC, possibly a heretic.

Cain and Abel

I actually read the entire Jehameddan bit before writing it, so I already know how faux-Islamic it is. But I don't know if they welded any other Abrahamic faith bits to it. But the ride is going to be a little wild.

Back to the book: Jehammed appeared in Mecca – and in style:

quote:

He appeared to them on top of the Kaaba, the mysterious black building in Mecca: Jehammed, last of the prophets. He was a shining dream, replete with God; his voice thundered down on the people and made them feel the power of his Lord. He told them that God would come upon the world in anger, to purge it from lazy faithlessness.

Fuck yeah, God is coming down to own centrists!

quote:

To pass it on to his disciples, the descendants of their progenitor Abraham so that the Seed may sprout and the land may flourish in faith.

Is God going to pass anger on to his disciples? It's not made clear.

Also, the Seed mention here smells of Anubians BS. Was Jehammed an alien too? Am I just paranoid?

Anyways, then rocks fell and everyone died

Life was shit for everyone, but Jehameddans survived via the pro-strat of banding together against the danger of the world. Some flaked off, joining Apocalyptics(?) and such. But the community remained, crafting weapons from Bygone scrap, investing into animal husbandry and keeping themselves clean to keep the plagues away.

quote:

The Jehammedans spread from the Balkhan to Borca and Hybrispania and flourished where other clans died. In the early years, they gathered all those under the roof of the faith who felt homeless and stranded in the wasteland and adhered to Jehammed’s laws.

In Balkhan, they made cosy in the ruins of Budapest. In Borca, Jehameddan Iconides impressed the locals of Osman enough that the entire city converted. In Hybrispania, they got to rule Castille in a bit of Re-Reconquista. Even small settlements were happy to see Swords of Jehammed (who were probably there to drive out Clanner dipshits and Apocalyptics).

Ancient Anger

Remember how Adriatic basically dried out and turned into lush lowlands? Well, that's where Anabaptists and Jehammedans, quasi-Christian farmers and crypto-Muslim shepherds, met. The former saw vast tracts of land for crops, the latter – good grazing ground.

quote:

When the Anabaptists finally took up their arms, a conflict arose that couldn’t have been much crueler. The life-giving Adriatic soon was adorned with piles of corpses on the Purgan side. Just like Cain, the farmer, had killed his brother Abel, the shepherd, the Jehammedans felt victimized. The Anabaptists attacked them, raped them, killed them, smashed what the Jehammedans had built the diligence of a thousand hands in the centuries after the Eshaton.

That's kinda what you can expect from some of the more historical versions of Anabaptists, yeah. Strange how those were the guys that survived the end of the world!

The Anabaptists crossed the river to attack Jehammedans on the Balkhan side ... but then Aries the Ram appeared.

quote:

No one knew this stranger, but he promised to destroy the enemy souls, for his anger was tremendous and old. The Jehammedans let him do as he pleased, and the foreign warrior lead their troops. The wind of revenge came over the Anabaptists like a roaring blizzard, the occupied areas of the East Adriatic plain were reconquered with a thousand saber cuts, and the enemy who had already felt victorious was killed, beheaded, and defiled.



Lead by someone that's almost assuredly a Chernobog-type cyborg, the Jehammedans drove the Anabaptists to the other side of the river. After one last big battle, the two sides settled for hundred of years of cold war, staring at each other's entrenched positions and, I dunno, mooning oponents from time to time.

Fronts

However, things are going south for Jehammedans. In Balkhans, they fought Africans (and possibly their own heretics) to a stalemate. Sofia's Voivode saw the opportunity and occupied a weakened Bucharest.

The Jehammedans in Hybrispania opposed the African invaders (wait, how long ago that happened?) and were crushed. All would have been lost if it wasn't for the Warpage. However, both Jehammedans and Scourgers see this Psychonaut bullshit and starting to realize that they might have been fighting the wrong foe.

Next time: ever noticed that shepherds do it like this, but fishermen do it like that?

Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Parables

One of the bigger cultural marks of Jehammedans is separating people into shepherds (good) and fishermen (bad). See how it goes:

quote:

The fisherman takes a bucket of paint and paints his boat to protect it from the worm; the shepherd guards his flock, protecting it with his life.

The fisherman loads his boat and enters it, pushing away from the shore into the solitude of the sea; the shepherd finds quiet within himself and in his flock.

The fisherman flounders, hoping for a lucky catch, gazing into the emptiness and receiving it; the shepherd shears his sheep, combing and spinning the wool, finding God’s mercy in his work.

The fisherman returns to find his wife in another’s arms; the shepherd has watched his flock.

The fisherman behaves like a raving animal, attacking the raunchy woman and his rival until blood flow; the shepherd is steadfast, grabs his staff and kills everyone who approaches his flock unduly.

The fisherman is dead; the shepherd is full of sap.

And so on. I wondered if the fisherman was some allusion to Christianity (what with the whole “fishers of men” thing), but the metaphor doesn't seem to go any deeper than this.


Fisherman

A curious thing is that the fisherman isn't a supernatural force opposing God, for “there are no supernatural beings except for the Lord; there are only humans and animals on the stage of creation.” Fisherman's issues are his own damn fault, the very human failings he falls into. It's possible to redeem a fisherman, but is it worth it?

quote:

Obstinacy or laziness are in the renegades’ blood. In the end, that will impact their thinking and behavior, and tomorrow they will walk the path of discord.

That's some phrenology stuff going on here, fellas.

Family ties

Here's where we start delving into Jehammedan family ties, because there was effort put into making the system, damn it, and they'll make you read everything about it. However, this is just a taster of things to come.

Abrami is the married man that leads the family, just like Abraham did. But just as Abraham took a slave of his for procreation, so does the Abrami have a Hagari.. Her girls will prepare for Hagaridom and help her out with chores, while the boys – the Ismaeli – will herd goats, provide water and guard the camp. If Ismaelis want glory (and to get laid), they can become Swords of Jehammed and go to war. If they do good enough, they might become Abramis themselves.


Abramis also hate and loathe manicure

However, Hagari isn't the only type of wife available!

quote:

Although the Hagari births children to the Abrami, she’s not considered his primary wife. For this the Abrami chooses a Saraeli, a virgin creature, strong and pure in her faith. Once in the cycle from spring to winter, the Abrami and the Saraeli share a bed. If a son arises from this union, the joy is boundless: the Lord has blessed the clan with an Isaaki!

This stuff went weird. Future Jc here: it will go even weirder.

Anyways, Isaakis: they're the spoiled children of the family. They get all the best food, clothes, and all of the respect. However, the Isaakis are always drilling for war, since they're basically brought up as martyrs:

quote:

Day in, day out, he shapes his body and soul to be a perfect vessel of devotion to God. He is the sacrificial lamb that the clan will offer to the Lord on the battlefield. There will be many opportunities for this; he rides into battle after battle. The Isaaki leads the host, gallops in front of them into the enemy ranks, is a blazing example. Very few live to reach their thirtieth winter, and only if God wills.

What happens if an Isaaki doesn't die on the battlefield? Well, the old murder dude is declared to be an Iconide by the Council of Elders and starts dealing with the more administrative Cult duties.

Iconides

Abraham bargained with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah, right? Well, he didn't really succeed, but this is the basis for Iconides to bargain with the Lord.

To do so, Iconide retreats to a room, burns incense, washes his feet in a ritual way, and prepares two cups of tea (poured out of samovar, lol). He then sits at the table, waiting for God.

When he starts feeling the presence of God (it may take hours or days), he opens a golden box to offer an Icon – the symbol of the deal.

quote:

The Iconide explains to the Lord what it symbolizes: the skull of a Jehammedan torn apart by machine-gun fire stands for the wish to punish an emplacement of Scourgers with death and destruction; with the severed hand of a thief, the Iconide pushes for quiet and order in a rebel village; gazing at a piece of concrete from Tripol, he discusses a flood to punish the sinful city; a broken sword is intended to lead to an Isaaki who is considered lost back to the temple of the community.

The Iconide then sweetens the deal by telling God about all the hardships his clan had endured. Usually, old Saraelis will drag him out of the room unconcious. He lacks sleep and food, and needs to rest. Then comes the wait: the Iconide reads news for signs that the bargain was upheld. It may take months or years.

If a deal is considered to have been carried out by God, the Icon becomes a relic. If it doesn't, the Iconide will hide it himself, to retrieve it at some later date and use it to decipher God's will... somehow.

I'd think that an Icon of a bad deal already shows that God had issues with your plan in the first place, but I'm no Iconide.

Jehammed's Legacy

Here we learn that most Jehammedans are illiterate. You could learn that as a child, but doing that distracts from herding goats, which is just the thing a shitty blighter (the word is used here for the first and possibly only time) would do. However, once you're an Abrami, you're too proud to be taught as if you were a child

Yet an Abrami will still lust for Jehammed's word captured on paper, and will trade for scrolls, probably in a pious bout of conspicuous consumption.

quote:

His inability to read doesn’t bother him, for he carries his true faith in his heart.

Tie this to criticism of your least favorite religious group here. Looking at Prosperity Gospel, I can't say that the ability to read holy texts necessarily goes hand-in-hand with comprehending or interpreting them right.

Anyways, those texts are also useful, since Iconides like to visit people and read them – and being visited by one makes the patriarch a respected man.

I guess the idea is that Abramis are hunting down relics from the time of Jehammed and not just regular copies of not!Q'uaran. Otherwise, why would the Iconides care about reading more of the same copies of the word?

Lamb Meat & Tinctures

quote:

As caught up as the Jehammedans are in their spiritual worldview, which they pay tribute to through rigid traditions, they cannot deny that they are still very humble shepherds.

Goat is love, goat is life; the bigger the flock, the more Ismaeli the Abrami can have. Having many children is a blessing from God: even if you never made an Isaaki (maybe try having sex more than once a year), you still boosted the ranks with new Swords of Jehammed.

The sheep - and whatever else they herd - are used for the prosaic purposes. Just imagine a paragraph about what things can be made from which parts of a goat. The only interesting thing here is that old women use various (likely gross) extracts from animal organs and herbs to make combat drugs for Swords and viagra for Abramis. :goatdrugs

Next time: sedentary life is for idiots and fishermen

Cults: Jehammedans, pt.3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Jehammedans, pt.3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Wind in my beard

Jehammed really wanted his people to be nomadic. Stone buildings breed feelings of false security. Owning a lot of property (in shape of stone buildings) would produce haughtiness instead of humility (Jehammed, Islamic space commie?). Just keep moving all the time and you'll be good.

This puts to question that bit about Anabaptists destroying everything that Jehammedans had built up, but, you know, deeetails.

It worked for centuries. The herds grazed in the tundra, which is lol – I know the glaciers are coming in from the north, but was it enough to turn Near East into tundra? Anyways, the Jehammedans were autonomous, since they were also well versed in crafting.

However, the emergence of quasi states – Anabaptists and Judges guard their territory jealously – and the aggression you see every time when you enter someone's lands in Balkhan made some of the Jehammedans settle down. The biggest cities are Osman in Borca and Bucharest in Balkhan (ruled by Voivodes).



Tent city, bitch, tent tent city, bitch
Tattoos on goat titty, bitch


The Holy City

Side-section! It is said that there are still piles of bronze tubes at the base of stone of Kabaa: the words of Jehammed written down in the last days before the Eschaton and sealed for safekeeping. Jehammedans would like to get them all, but the Africans don't let them in purely because Jehammedans are too Euro for them.

As for why the Neolibyans don't sell them those things for atrocious prices, well, they-- look, another side-section!

Life rings

Jehameddans love tattoos and use them to record their life and deeds. More tattoos = the better and more experienced person. Once a year, during the Bairam, the Iconides spend seven days listening to stories and judging what tattoos should commemorate them and where they should be inked. So incels basically walk unblemished.

Aries the Ram

Out of the left field comes an in-no-way-a-leftist character, Aries the Ram. He hasn't been seen for ages, but Jehammedans still see random goats (don't rams actually come from sheep?) straying into their camps at night as a sign from Aries, as only he could have pulled the surprised attack that won the day so many years back.

Iconides don't like this, because they see Aries' worship replacing God in Jehammedan life. And it's spreading from Balkhan to Osman and Justitian. Iconides have been dealing with it harshly: in Justitian, they banish the Arianoi from the city naked; in Osman, it's implied that they're sold to African slavery.

It's not easy for the Iconides, as Jehammed had said that it's better to cut your own hand before raising it against a member of the clan. But he never said anything about cyborg worshippers, and they had never had a threat from within (except for those guys that went Apocalyptic on them, I guess).

quote:

Honorable Iconides unwilling to characterize Aries as a corrupt false God and deny his worshipers God’s mercy make their fight even harder.

Cult heretical what do

Arianoi

Aries and his followers disappeared after ye olde battle. They went to Crete. Anyone who goes there is met by ram's heads (symbols? Skulls? Both?) and impaled Africans.

quote:

Actually, there are several eyewitness reports from Neolibyans who foundered on Crete’s dark shores at night. They could not but watch the terrible orgies that took place inland next to temples and bizarre labyrinths of scrap and bones. The tales of torchlight and squealing lambs staggering around in a circle of ram-headed men with open jugulars seem far-fetched.

At least we know where the industrial amounts of ram skulls come from!

The stories of Crete seemed like tall tales before a 500-ton freighter ran aground near Tobruk. Not a living soul remained aboard, only disemboveled and skinned Neolibyans and Scourgers, and ram's heads piled on the deck (I wonder how they kept the formation during the trip). And that's why African shipping steers clear of Crete.

Meanwhile, the Arianoi who do contact Jehammedans spin a different yarn. Jehammed told the Clan to become isolationist to survive – and Aries has come to reintroduce them to the world... along with some blood and fire.

quote:

He wants them to set out, see with open eyes the miracles that they could not experience from the confinement of their clan. Leave the defensive, start attacking, use their strength to liberate Bucharest and conquer Justitian. Take the Arianois’ hands. They know the way, you children of fishermen.

Do they still not know who Aries really is?

I still don't know who Aries really is, but I bet he's a cyborg.

Next time: at what Rank does the mahdi become invisible?

Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


RANKS JEHAMMEDANS

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME



LOOK AT THIS CHART. LOOK AT THIS FUCKING CHART. THIS IS INSANE. And that's because of how devs decided to codify the entirety of the male/female and worthy/unworthy matrix of Jahammedan life into Ranks. Lord have mercy on my soul, my fingers and my keyboard.

1. Ismaeli

Ismaeli are the boys who had the misfortune of being born to an Abrami and a Hagari. They do all the hard work, they get all the kicks. Wanna get your own Hagari to spawn some unpaid workforce? You have to prove yourself in battle, because cowards and weaklings don't get to lead families.

2. Sword of Jehammed

Luckily for Ismaelis, the only way to advance is to become the Sword of Jehammed. The book literally says that this is the chance for then to harness their humiliation and frustration from Ismaeli life and unleash it in the battlefield. They also get Scimitars, because we don't understand what kind of weapon is easy to manufacture (especially for nomads) and arm large bodies of troops with. Anyways, these boys are so crazy, even Scourgers stay away from them (and presumably shoot them from afar)

quote:

They are the Swords of Jehammed, after all, killing every infidel in the name of the last prophet.

AW YEAH, INFIDEL DROP, WE'RE GOING PLACES!

3. Abrami

Slashing dudes really well (Scimitars aren't that great for stabbing) will allow you to marry a Hagari from another family. That's when one finally leaves their humiliating Ismaeli life behind, gets laid and starts a family.

Abramis are patriarchal figures, respected for their experience in life. However, their public rank is determined by how many children they have. Jehammedan fat cats in Osman and such have 30 or so sons (so the real number of children is likely higher, unless the writer fucked up and used “sons” and “children” interchangeably).

In addition to the Hagari, an Abrami gets to choose a Saraeli, a blessed one and

quote:

She can be his daughter, his sister, or any other virgin from the clan. Only her virginity matters, her purity in the eyes of God.



Can he even get an unrelated girl? Does his “clan” include only his own progeny, or someone from his father's family? Since only Abramis get to marry (and only Hagaris marry out) and they by definition start a new family, there's no clan structure that would allow you to get at least “a cousin 9 times removed.”

And unlike animes would tell you, an Abrami gets to do incest sisterfuck be Habsburg have sex with the Saraeli only once a year. If a boy is born, he becomes an Isaaki, a blessing from God.



At least there's no mention of underage marriage, so I'll give this section 6 out 10 dawkinses.

4. Shepherd

Shepherd is the opposite of the fisherman and is thus good. Only an Abrami that Iconides like very much can be declare d to be one, and he's as close to God as you can get while fucking your sister.

1. Isaaki

The role of Isaaki is based on incest the story of Abraham and Sarah, and how he nearly sacrificed their only child at God's request.

quote:

Every day the Jehammedans must walk the same path - but they cannot count on the reconciling intervention of God’s hand. Thus, they send the Isaakis, the blessed children of the Abramis and Saraelis, to death on the battlefield.

Since Isaakis are raised as martyrs from day one, they're showered with attention and love in exchange. This doesn't fuck them up at all. An Isaaki starts training for battle as soon as he's able to hold a wooden sword, and if the Abrami can't pay for a good teacher (for non-combat stuff), well, then the Ismaeli and Hagari have to work harder to make it happen. Also, you can't say one word against an Isaaki, which I'm sure does wonders for their upbringing.

2. Jehammed's Blessing

If your incest snowflake who definitely didn't grow up to be a pompous egoist keeps not dying despite how many battles he participates in, he's considered blessed and on the road of Iconidom. My description is probably longer than the book's.

3. Iconide

An Isaaki who went into hundreds of battles and didn't die, and reached the age of thirty, becomes and Iconide. And Iconides are the super-manager class of the Jehammedans.

quote:

His job is to recognize when a sheep is pregnant, find new watering holes for the flocks, and determine which newborn girls God wants to be Saraelis. Iconides are priests, judges, and executioners all in one. They guide the masses, and their word is law.

I hope their pamepered martyr upbringing didn't mess them up!

4. Prophet

If your Icons are cooler than anyone else's, you get to be a Prophet. Short description there, book.

Next time: And now, something for the ladies in the audience!

Cults: Jehammedans, pt.5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Jehammedans, pt.5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Here's a reminder:



1. Hagari

Girl time! It's not great being a Hagari.

quote:

Hagaris are the Cult’s backbone. While theirs is the lowest rank in the Jehammedan family, everyone regards these women with pride.

Anything you can't kick a Ismaeli into doing is done by Hagaris, which means crafting and housekeeping.

Oh, and dying for their men.

quote:

From an early age they are taught to love their father, husband, and children and precede them into death.

It’s terrifying when unassuming women mingle with the Anabaptists or walk across Purgan markets to kill themselves and countless enemies with explosives. In the evening, the Abrami will explain to his children that they are sure to gain access to Heaven, who then tussle his beard in mourning and pride.

10/10 dawkinses, we have liftoff!

Also, a suicide vest is the most technologically sophisticated weapon that the Jehammedans use, as much as we know. Think about it.

2. Delilah

A Hagari that displeases her Abrami can be cast out and become a Delilah. They have little other recourse but to fight besides the Swords of Jehammed and die. Not that those guys want to associate with them too closely:

quote:

No one wants to give the impression to his Abrami that he was guilty of the Delilah’s fall.

...what? Isn't a Delilah already fallen? You can't assume that your son has caused the fall of any Delilah he ran across! What the fuck?!

2. Voice of Jehammed

Some Hagari (probably not too hot on life of toil and pregnancies and suicide bombing)- decide to find an area where the Abrami can't compete with them – and that's literacy. When a Hagari can read and interpret the writings of Jehammed, she can give no end of shit to an Abrami – and he has to comply or face the ire of Iconides.

3. Righteous One

This lady has studied Jehammed's words so much, she nows them by heart. Even Iconides don't want to be on her bad side.

quote:

Their knowledge makes the Righteous Ones misfits. Their Abrami is considered a little soft and seems to be unable to control his women.

Women, amirite?

1. Saraeli

Much like the male blessed child of incest, Isaaki, the Saraeli is pampered from her birth. One of them will birth the Messiah some day, but for now, it's great if they can produce an Isaaki (or a Saraeli) from the one time a year she's allowed to have sex with her father brother uncle Abrami.

2. Pride of Jehammed

The book says that if a Saraeli can't produce a son, the investment spent on her would have been better used for buying a goat. However if she does give birth a boy, she is considered blessed... and can influence the clan via the fruit of her loins. Very Cersei Lannister of her.

2. Maculate

Now that's a word I had never heard used.

If a Saraeli loses her virginity to anyone else but her Abrami or can't produce a son, she's nearly outcast, “surrounded by false courtesy and mock respect.” Many Maculates just vanish, understandably going out to look for a better life outside of Jehammedan society.

I wonder if the rules support that, lol.

2. Immaculate

This is a Saraeli who never had sex with an Abrami – maybe she didn't marry, maybe her Abrami tripped over a goat on the way consummate their marriage, fell head first into a clay jug, stumbled around noisily breaking stuff and dropped into a latrine to drown in poop. In any case, not having sex granted them strong wizard powers gave them freedom. Now, Immaculates are no longer pampered, but they're allowed to do whatever they want, as long as they do it with modesty. Most take to tending to the sick, learning the teachings of Jehammed with the Voices or even doing diplomacy.

3. Iconess

If the Immaculate has done something miraculous in her service, she can be elevated to Iconide status. Some elders will say that a woman can't do that; the Righteous Ones will say that Jehammed never said anything about women being unable to interpret images. Since it's hard to argue with women that actually read the damn writings...

4. Oracle

That's just an Iconess who had made some kickin' rad and true prophecies. Doesn't feel as influential as being declared a Prophet, but you take what you can get!

3. Arianoi

So if you're a Delilah or a Maculate that wants to stay within Jehammedan society or a Sword/Pride of Jehammedan who thinks that killing is cool and wants to do more of it, they can go to Crete. There, they'll meet Aries (and see “his tattered cloak fly when there was no wind at all”), drink a “metalic draught” from Ram's head (so it's capitalized after all) and ride the combat drug high from then on.

4. Blood of Aries

The higher you get on Aries' supply, the better you get, with rapid regeneration and visions that cloud the mind. The book claims that they are now part of Aries – possibly with ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL implications.

5. Fatum

A Fatum is Aries' elite assassin. That's about it.

Next time:No more Ranks, I promise!

Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 6

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Jehammedans, pt. 6



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


STEREOTYPES

quote:

ANABAPTISTS: The old hatred fades. We have fought and worn each other out. What remains is a human being, hurt and tired. Their teachings are still blasphemous, but at least they have a faith.

ANUBIANS: Their path leads into the land of death. They defile corpses and adorn themselves with their bones – where is that supposed to lead?

APOCALYPTICS: They are children of the fisherman trying to lure us from the path with intoxication and sinful flesh. If they don’t give way, we will respond with our sabers.

CHRONICLERS: They pray to false steel gods, even style themselves as gods with their droning. But look into the heart. The only thing you see there is a bawling fisherman’s child.

CLANNERS: Some of them follow ancient traditions and look back to great family trees, just like us. But they have not been given Jehammed’s revelation; in their minds, they remain children. Some pray to idols, stones, or trees, others harass us at Bucharest. Be careful, and keep your sabers handy.

HELLVETICS: Look what stone does to people. They pray to weapons, follow a man-made set of rules instead of a divine revelation. Their roots reach into putrid waters.

JUDGES: They enforce peace, taking whole nations along. But it’s a man-made way that does not stick to the way markers a judge set down in ancient times. Where will it lead to but to the water in which the fisherman poaches?

NEOLIBYANS: The Dinar is their faith, they fight for it, they measure themselves by it. You can talk friendly to them, but you talk into an empty cave. You will never reach those fisherman’s children’s souls.

PALERS: By day, they stain[sic] their holes to attack our flocks like wolves do by night. It is a sign of the highest piety to still offer a hand to these creatures.

SCOURGERS: They have occupied our ancient sites, loot the land of our forbearers. How many of our children will have to die until we can walk the holy city again?

SCRAPPERS: What should we do about them? They are devoid of God, devoid of hope. Break bread with them. We watch them go with pity when they return to the wasteland. Thank Jehammed for his foresight.

SPITALIANS: On the Adriatic Sea, they cooperate with our archenemy. But can we be angry at doctors if they want to heal? Yes, we can. Don’t trust them, never trust them.

The Anabaptists do not return the sentiment, btw



Close enuff

GILEABOD RUBEN ABRAHAM



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Zealot
Cult: Jehammedans (Prophet)

He rules Osman and hates Justitian with a passion. He's gathering an army to march on it.

quote:

Very soon, the prophet’s breath will caress the world.

SENKA THE IMMACULATE



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Righteous
Cult: Jehammedans (Immaculate)

Senka was a hero rallying troops for the Adriatic (I thought that was ages ago). However, her status drained with the war fervor. Now, Icondines have turned to courting Voivodes. That's why Senka turns her eyes to Bucharest.

I love her portrait, btw.

ELIAS ISMAEL



Culture: Hybrispania
Concept: The Traveler
Cult: Jehammedans (Ismaeli)

Despite what the description says, Elias is a Sword of Jehammed fighting in Hybrispania. But he has a dirty little secret: his mother might be Jehammedan, but his father is a Clanner. I guess that means that a married Hagari turned to the left, as nobody else could really hide something like that. Anyways, apparently Clanner blood helps him navigate the Warpage.

In conclusion: At least they didn't mention underage marriages. Jehammedans are a weird cult with more Ranks than sense, but they're OK otherwise... possibly. Nothing really stands out as a cool concepts to play – the PC group is unlikely to be interacting with Jehammedan society stratification on the reg – except for the Iconide prophecies, but they're very much late in the game. Too bad that Arianoi appear so late in the game, too.

Next time: The Worst Cult

Cults: Apocalyptics

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Apocalyptics



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




APOCALYPTICS

Bad Cards

The shitbird introductory fiction centers on Dushkov. He's visiting an Apocalyptic brothel. Dushkov eying a Nomura-pattern dancer:

quote:

Her dress seemed to consist only of buckles and belts.

The dancer, of course, comes and starts straddling him. She also wants to know why he dropped “zigzag” (punctuated as ,zigzag' in the book, wtf) as the password at the door. Dushkov doesn't know much more than that he was given it as gift “to friends of the flock.” Then the dancer bites his ear off.

Apparently, “zigzag” is a codeword for traitors. Woops.



That crotch can't be comfortable

Mysticism and Violence

The Worst Cult is all about being young, drinking, fucking and not caring about tomorrow. They despise booklearning, so what we know of their history comes from Chronicler research. Said research is described in prose so purple, you could dye a king's cape with it:

quote:

Information clustered around white spots, joining to form a giant puzzle that had to be expanded several times and finally was transferred into an n-dimensional data space. Click! Every day, new data comes in, sticking to the structures or strengthening existing links. The silhouettes of the white spots are higher in contrast than ever before, mocking the Chroniclers and keeping them going until, yes, until ... Yes!

It all started with Gerome ”Gerbill” Getrell, billionaire, visionary and televangelist.

quote:

He preached the power of the archetypes and of the tarot, free love and sadism, nationalism and anarchy, democracy and dictatorship, a life on the fast lane, subversion.

This slurry of nonsense set the stream (what a stupid name for future-web) on fire, just like Jorp did in real life. And just like Jorp, you had to be really in it to get it, maaan:

quote:

Getrell’s wisdom promised freedom in an overregulated world to those who were able to decipher the feeds and see the truth between the contradictions.
Passion over mind was the simplest interpretation.

The alternate interpretations didn't spawn a Cult, so fuck 'em. Anyways, unlike our chuds and incels, Getrell's followers banded together to dance, fuck, fight, get high and goonrush public spaces.

And while those were easily dealt with by your future rentacop with a shock baton, the Apocalyptics soon employed stolen drones to violently take over the drug market. They also found “mobile prototype factories” (3D printers?), which allowed them to trade in guns and blades – and remember, this is Europe, so guns and knives aren't sold over the counter at Tesco's.

The Apocalyptics showed callous disregard for casualties. They also started using the stylized raven, because nothing says “sex, drugs and rock'n'roll” like a quasi-fascist raven.

quote:

Getrell never took a stance on this. He never referred to current events. He was above the fray.

Well, at least this bit is realistic!

Apparently, his talks also spawned some peaceful movements of dopes disappointed with mainstream religions who read something spiritual in some rich failson's ramblings.

Man, Getrell's appearance on Joe Rogan's Preserved Head In A Jar Show must have been lit.

The futuro-Musk disappeared a few months before Eschaton. His followers took over his reddit and it was popular among people who wanted to “really live one more time, feel every nuance of your own suffering and joy.”

Suffering and joy? Why, that's the hallmark of every cookie-cutter subversive and 2mature4u pleasure cult ever! Exciting stuff!

False prophet

This is an in-universe bit as a side section. It's an email (or a bulletin board post) from “Ammit@hiddenhost” (do I smell Anubis?) to... someone, really, talking about Getrell's rambling actually being perfectly modulated five-dimensional-chess memetic warfare trials.

quote:

He’s up to something. You help him. Block his feeds. Boycott Recombination Group.

That's how the bit ends. Amazing.

Next time: partying after the End

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Years After

After the Eschaton, the Apocalyptics were somehow organized enough to infiltrate various recovery agencies, steal stuff to stash (I guess that's what the Scrappers are recovering when they're lucky), and deal drugs and sex.

Now, read these three sentences.

quote:

With sticks, stones, and automatic weapons, they herded Europe into the age of the beast.

When the wave of violence hit them, they were surprised, but quickly recovered.

Centuries later, the undertow subsided and left humanity washed up on the shores of a new stone age.

So was the Worst Cult making situation worse purposefully? If they were such geniuses, how did they miss the violence coming towards them? How did they recover “quickly,” if the recovery took centuries?

I think the book is trying to sell Apocalyptics as cooler than they're are. It's hard to do that as Apocalyptics got owned as soon as they met any resistance: the First Judge crushed them in Borca, Voivodes refused to share power in Balkhans and Hellvetics closed their routes.

So the cult turned to reading Getrell's cult tarrot for strategic planning. This made them unpredictable – and prosperous.

That's very The Dark Knight Rises's Joker of them!

Life, Whatever The Cost

The whole chapter is very , especially when it's dealing in uninspired tripe like this:

quote:

Getrell’s ideology fell on fertile ground. Even more than 500 years after the Eshaton, his motto “Live as if there’s no tomorrow” is practiced daily by the Apocalyptics.

They're Every Slaaneshi Cult Ever in experiencing all sensations ever, which makes them Chaotic Stupid reckless. It also makes them terrible at planning, since they pathologically don't want to care about future.

quote:

Always the same principle, an action and its consequences, and always the same answer: I don’t care! Apocalyptics live in the present; they only look to the future via their tarot – and it doesn’t tell them if they’ll be dead on the eve of tomorrow.


This is so tiresome.

Flock of Birds

Apocalyptic are nomadic. Their Flocks take names like “Dust Riders,” “Splinter Wings,” and “Carrion Birds.” Individual ranks of Shitbird Cult are named after birds – fighters are Battle Crows (as opposed to Peacenik Crows?), a Magpie will be “a whore and thief” and so on. The leaders are Ravens, of course.

Raven Game

Raven is the leader Rank, and they control the people via their interpretations of tarot. I remember that the early short descriptions of the cults pointed out that the Ravens are full of shit and rule arbitrarily, but by the time this the Cult description was written, the writers must have fallen in love with the idea of the tarot.

I guess someone remembered to check their “Romani Stereotypes for 90's Game Designers” checklist.

Thicker Than Blood

Rigid hierarchies are bad, so Apocalyptics settle everything via duels. Cheating is mandatory.



May the biggest asshole win!

But then there's this:

quote:

The loser will leave the Flock to lick his wounds in the wasteland. His days are numbered.

That would just be random edginess, but it's almost immediately followed by this:

quote:

A knife in the throat is not a welcome sight but proof that the attacker has lost control and all respect. Get him away!

So you should cheat, but killing is bad, yet the loser is still cast out to die Or is outcasting only reserved to leaders who lose?

Trash Cult remains trash.

quote:

For an Apocalyptic, loyalty towards the Flock grows from respect, dependency, violence, and submission. To betray it breaks his wings.

Tarrot

Side-section!

There's no uniform system for the tarot, as new cards are added according to the historical events that struck a certain flock. Some still try to use the original Getrell deck, but most don't.

Next time: professional shirtbirdry!

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Nesting

Even nomads (the book insists on calling them “migrants,” which is jarring, even if they probably meant “migratory birds”) need a place to rest. That's why Woodpeckers establish brothels, hideouts and other places where they can deal in gambling, sex, drugs and Burn. The places are usually bad for the settlements they're established in, but if the Judges were to squash them, the Scrappers might rebel.



Magic the Gathering eventually solved problems with sexism by allowing female players to bring a gun to the table

Beauty Over Age

Apocalyptics hate old people and want to make them fuck off, since they're ugly, not prone to partying, and might have ideas about planning things. Only the really cunning ones can survive, becoming shadowy crime lords that “would rather be accompanied by Hellvetics than by Battle Crows.”

Carrion Birds

Carrion Birds appeared as soon as the Judges established the Protectorate. They were regular assholes, but they were lead by Mother of Ravens, who was there when the Exalt fell (not mentioned before), the City Wars (not mentioned before) and Cultrin's march (not mentioned before). She fucked and killed her partners, spawning enough kids to ensure that Ravens in Borca, Pollen and Balkhans carry her blood to this day. Mother of Ravens killed her fail sons and daughters in their sleep and ate them, to provide nourishment for whatever kid she was pregnant with. Surely someone else is carrying her name now; she must be dead.

It would be an actual twist if she actually turned out to be dead and not one of the mystical cyborgs or some other Bygone monstrosity.

Foul Work

quote:

Whether it’s human trafficking with girls from the Balkhan, Burn smuggling past the Spitalians to Borca, pit fights in Purgare, prostitution and gambling in every major settlement, or blackmail, theft, and pick pocketing, the migrants cannot desist.

The Worst Cult has a varied reputation among the other Cults. Scrappers love them, because where else will they get to drink and whore their money away? Jehammedans don't like them seducing Abramis and Saraelis (this has lead to families getting cast out – glad to see that Abramis are also kept to the same standard of fidelity as the women). Anabaptists wouldn't care if not for the fact that Apocalyptics deal in Burn.

GUESS WHO HATES BURN THE MOST?

quote:

Led by Dr. Heilkamp and the Office of Hygienics, they compiled dossiers on all [East Wind] Flock members. Heilkamp always knew where the Ravens were and what was stored in their warehouses. Then, the Great Purge followed. In a concerted action of Judges, Anabaptists, and Spitalians, all Flock members were herded together and killed.



Generally, when you're writing about an organization that the players can join in the game, it's bad form to have the readers rooting for groups out to kill them. Yet here we are, looking at the only paragraph in the chapter that made me happy.

Anyway, the Great Purge lead to Burn trade being very much lessened in Protectorate. And who says violence doesn't solve anything?



Another Vampire LARP goes bad

Flotsam

Side-section! Every post-apocalyptic setting has an establishment that's taken over a derelict ship. Flotsam is the Apocalyptic disco/brothel/gambling hall/fighting pit in a ship in Justitian's old harbor. The Judges tolerate it as it lets people let off steam.

A Plague of Seagulls

Seagulls and Albatrosses are the Ranks of Mediterranean pirates. They attack African shipping to steal, to retaliate, or to “throw garments infected with the pox or the plagues at the crew – and then sell them the remedy. Or at least something that looks like a remedy,” which is certainly a business model.

Some of pirates are escaped Africans. They fight even harder, because Scourgers would skin them or nail them to the sides of their ships.

They make their bases on the European coast, but there are rumors of small docks in bellies of cannibalized boats on Bedain's coast, all for the better trolling of Neolibyans. You'd think that kind of thing would be hard to hide, but maybe – just Maybe – Degenesis is a post-apocalyptic setting and Neoliberals Neolibyans just don't have the manpower to patrol the coast.

There's also Corpse (Corsica), surrounded by welded ship hulls, and covered by Reaper's Blow's sulphuric farts for weeks at a time. You can get a kickass boat there, but you need to be armed and well known enough to gain entry... at which point you probably already have a kickass boat anyways, so why are you going there?

Lion's Blood

Much like with Scrappers, African Apocalyptics are wildly different. They're part of the society, providing entertainment that Neolibyans can't. They're lead by Buzzards and they don't settle everything with fighting. Once you're accepted by the flock, you don't need to fight your own people anymore.

Also, their establishments actually look like respectable places that you wouldn't mind visiting.

quote:

The bordellos resemble palaces, and in the casinos, every guest is surrounded by children bringing him drinks and regaling him with little artistic acts and laughter.

I wonder how the whole “live every day like it's the last” thing slots into that.

Thunder Across The Plains

Sometimes, a Flock can get motorized via acquisition of salvaged Koms and bikes. However, fuel is expensive and the roar of engines alerts their enemies. Thus motor Flocks embrace Mad Max and become more aggressive and violent while still having some reliance on cunning.

Next time: shitbird pecking order

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


RANKS APOCALYPTICS



1a. Finch

quote:

What is a Finch good for? It pecks, it flies, it craps. Now and then it also squeals – like when a Judge steps on it.

Finch are abused by everyone else. Only showing courage will earn them respect.

2a. Battle Crow

As opposed to the rare Militant Pacifist Crow, the Battle Crow is the Apocalyptic Fighter, probably relying on the local Agility stat.

2b. Magpie

Hookers who steal from their customers, Burn dealers and, ugh, footpads? All of them are Magpies.

2c. Vulture

They go with Scrappers to get the best salvage. Vultures also loot the bodies left after battles.

2d. Cuckoo

Cuckoos are impersonators making a living pretending to be members of other Cults. Wonder how that works with Palers or Chroniclers.

2e. Owl

Night assassins.

2f. Woodpecker

You're the scout, pioneer and engineer for the Worst Cult. You might even keep an inn.

2g. Stork

Storks steal children to replenish the ranks of Apocalyptics - or to put them to work. They're also master emotional manipulators. Basically, they're the Worst Rank of the Worst Cult.

3a. Raven

They're the guys who read the tarot and lead the Flock.

1b. Tern

Seaborne Finches, they have to clean the ship and endure the jokes of Seagulls.

2h. Seagull

You're a pirate.

2i. Albatross

You're a pirate navigator!

3b. Albatross

You're a pirate king – and that's a description barely shorter than the one in the book.

1c. Hummingbird

The African Finch tries to sweeten up to the higher ranks, but is still beaten and abused. Once he blocks a hit or counters a blow, he ranks up.

2j. Marabou

Technically an African Vulture, but more of a thief.

2k. Ibis

The nerd who keeps the books and information.

2l. Toko

The African Woodpecker.

3c. Buzzard

King shit of African Apocalyptics - even Scourgers and Neolibyans respect him.

4a. Phoenix

What if the end of Scarface followed the story of the videogame and not the movie, but you had a Raven/Albatross/Buzzard instead of Tony Montana? A Phoenix is a Apocalyptic leader who lost it all – even his Flock – but managed to bounce back.

[i]Next time: end of chapter, yay!

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Apocalyptics, pt.5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


STEREOTYPES

quote:

ANABAPTISTS: As long as they don’t follow a track of Sepsis to our doorstep, we get along. In the end, they’re only flesh and blood.

ANUBIANS: Their bodies, eyes, and mouths are soft and tender, too seductive not to touch. But those who do will feel the snake’s cold scales. The Anubians embrace life – and caress it with poisoned lips. Beware of them.

CHRONICLERS: They hide behind their masks. I don’t mind fetishism! But it seems as if they take their fetishes very serious. Well, not serious enough that a hand in the right spot couldn’t get a bit of information out of them.

CLANNERS: The people are scared. One grim look and they leave you alone. Not these Clans, though. They are aggressive and do not discern between a Judge and a migrant. Who would have thought that one day we’d be fighting side by side with the floppy hats?

HELLVETICS: Big guns aren’t everything, but tell that to a Hellvetic. Soldier’s honor and doctrine? Hypocrites. In the brothels, they moan just as loud as everybody else.

JEHAMMEDANS: A challenge – they really dig this family thing, enjoy the roles their leader appoints them. They have trouble with fun and joy.

JUDGES: We had an intense relationship until the Clans came. Now they are out there battling Cockroaches and savages. The time seems right to revive some old business models.

NEOLIBYANS: They dig luxury and spend quite some Dinars on a visit to our palaces of joy.

PALERS: They sit in their holes and enjoy the droning voices. That’s weird.

SCOURGERS: Fit and luscious, but one wrong word, and they bite you like a rabid dog.

SCRAPPERS: Good customers. From the ruins, they go straight to the Chroniclers and then come to us with their Drafts.

SPITALIANS: Doctors, but mad and rotten at the core – ask our Magpies. They have destroyed the East Wind. That’s good for the other Flocks, but it’s also a warning. Be wary of the Spitalians.



DEJAN THE RAVEN



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Adventurer
Cult: Apocalyptics (Raven)

Dejan is the Raven of Carrion Birds. However, he got owned when Dust Riders came in town. Dejan had to sacrifice his hand to appease Mother of Ravens – but that might not be enough if he doesn't get back at newcomers.

JELENA THE MAGPIE



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Healer
Cult: Apocalyptics (Magpie)

She's the consort of the Osman Iconide, which allows her flock to get away with stuff – and for her to steal stuff from his home.

HAGRA



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Traditionalist
Cult: Apocalyptics (Vulture)

Why not “Hagra the Vulture?” Anyway, he's a looter in Hybrispania who caught either black plague or something nastier from looting.

Why are all three NPCs from Balkhan?

In Conclusion: Apocalyptics are the worst cult in-setting and outside of it. The whole concept of party hounds that are also edgy criminals is boring and tiring. And its hard to believe that they hold any power if they hate actual planning, rely on cards (which, to fair, might be a way for Raven to plan without looking like a lame ass square) and Logan's Run themselves. There's no fun angle to them and they actively making the world a worse place by smuggling Burn. Fuck these guys and shoot them on sight.

Next time: flamethrowers and brimstone!

Cults: Anabaptists

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anabaptists



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


ANABAPTISTS

Preface

That's a very straightforward title there. It begins with an Anabaptist leader praying in a repurporsed Christian church. He finishes the prayer by slicking back his hair with Elysian oils and murmuring the Anabaptist motto (“strength, faith, insight”).

Outside, his mob awaits.

quote:

Outside, the others are waiting. Men and women braced two-handed swords, long spades, flails, and pitchforks – war weapons for farmers and the suicidal. Many wear loose striped pants and leather jerkins or are equipped with padded shoulder pieces. The broken cross is everywhere: drawn onto the leather in simple chalk lines or worn as iron pendants.

Some turn their faces from him; others are positively vibrating from Elysian high. The Anabaptist wonders about how true the faith of his throng is; he's aware that many were brought in by the promise of food and community rather than preaching of being absorbed by God. It is, however, badly phrased and you'd read it as if the Anabaptist himself doesn't believe.

Anyways, the people have enough faith to go into battle.

quote:

The man grabs a sword someone hands to him; he pats another warrior on the shoulder, laughs and makes his way to the front, to his gang. There is boasting, muscle flexing, and the ringing of swords. The weather is mild; he can see clearly. It’s a good day to be devoured by Pheromancers.



I'm 100% into this.

Insight

Rhebus the Baptist was a man looking for true religion, man, doing meta-analysis (and a few disections) to find a common thread. It didn't matter; he judged all of the religions equally man-made and false.

quote:

If they had something in common, it was their blindness. If it was fed from a common source...

Eventually, something unspecific blew his mind and he found the commonality hiding behind all the religions (or at least Abrahamic faiths).

quote:

In the thicket of pagan faiths he finally found something called Neognosis. It was the tree in the Garden of Eden; it was the apple and the snake. It was pure, divine insight.

The Neognosis had hidden from him and from the world, had persisted between the covers of ancient volumes, when the archons of Christendom still gathered people around them. Their teachings were branded as pagan, infectious, and sick. The truth is never beautiful.

I wish someone could tell me if this sounds better in German.

The Root of All Evil

God created Demiurge “to expand the Paradise ensouled by the divine breath.” However, instruction were unclear and Demiurge mixed God's breath with base matter from the Earth he dreamed up. This created the Bygone world. God wanted to see if the newly created humans (it's unclear who crated them) would withstand Demiurge's corruption.

Spoiler alert: they didn't.

Rhebus and this flock where the only pure-ish people. He begged God to not destroy the world for its sins.

quote:

Finally, God took pity upon him. He decided to give Humanity one more chance. “Watch and learn!”

The Longest Night

So basically, God did the Eschaton by tearing Demiurge out of the Earth and throwing his corpse into the ocean.

quote:

On one side, the demons and avatars of the Demiurge gathered, remainders of his infamy; on the other side were Rebus and his rebaptized ones. Between the lines were the ignorant ones, waiting to be seduced by one side and redeemed by the other. For that was the deal between the super creatures and the nether creatures: the humans had to prove that they were still God’s people. Victory or death.
No middle ground – God was fed up with the humans.

This is the ultimate showdown, of ultimate destiny, etc.

Farmers and Warriors

Rhebus – who, like the Jehammedans, predated Eschaton – saw the end of the world as a final revelation, a mercy upon mankind. He wrote books about how God tore away Demiurge's illusion of the perfect world.

The land now laid broken and poisoned (by Eschaton and not, like, industrial pollution – albeit the book doesn't point it out). It needed honest human effort to flourish again. That's what Rhebus' hosts set out to do.

Soon, they had wheat fields growing among old ruins and old battlefields (I supposed there were battles after the end). This attracted starving people and... zombies?

quote:

But Rebus had underestimated the magnetism of his newly awakened paradise. Like locusts, famished skeletons attacked the fruits of the fields, eating until their bellies were fat and rounded and they could only crawl and grunt. However, they did not stop eating, striking down the workers, biting them, fighting for torn-out arms and gnawing at fingers.

These guys don't seem like people or even Psychonauts, unless there's a great deal of poetic license going here.

Anyway, Rhebus noted that his people were good farmers, but bad soldiers. That's why he started drilling, making them attack scarecrows (I mean, it is a straw dummy) before arming them with pitchforks and spades to take back the fields. So it came to be that working Anabaptists would always have warrior Anabaptists to help them.

The others saw Rhebus' people as ones who could provide community and food, and their religion wasn't too crazy. The book likes to point out how happy Anabaptists are accept people that aren't really believers at heart.

quote:

Let those who wanted to believe Rebus’ stories of the rotten paradise and the eternal struggle – paradise or no paradise, this was about survival, and at that, Rebus’ hosts were experts.

The Four Rivers of Paradise

Anabaptists believed that there were four legendary rivers Perat, Hiddekel, Gihon, and Pischon, all milk-and-honey stuff, that flowed to the tree of knowledge. Rhebus searched for them to regain youth: death brings salvation, but he didn't feel like it was his time yet. However, any real rivers he designated as such turned out to be, well, false.

Eventually, Rhebus received insight, that the rivers are metaphorical, flowing within each of us, thus reinventing the humours. They did a lot of testing with plans and old mecidines and whatnot and came up with the Elysian oils.

He still died. But before his death, Rhebus had a thing to do:

quote:

On his death bed he called for his faithful followers, and they came running. Pischon oil and Hiddekel extract: crucible after crucible he emptied over his companions’ heads. He anointed them all. The oil sank into the skin and mixed with their fluids. It cleared their gaze and gave them hope. No longer did they grieve for upcoming losses; now they euphorically waited for their teacher and leader to become one with the Lord.

Spiritual combat drugs! Honestly, why would you ever deal with shitbirds and take Burn if you could get high on God's own good shit and be a badass landsknecht that fights mutants?

Neognosis

quote:

Neognosis doesn’t need faith. It’s there.

That’s an interesting way to begin a side-section about religion, but OK.

If you ignore Neognosis, then it means you’re high on Demiurger’s supply. If you don’t, you get to receive insight. This has something to do with God and world being opposite on macro scale and mind and matter on the micro. Pneuma, God’s breath, used to be pure and matter was dark, but Demiurge mixed them together.

Humans are a bits of Pneuma caught in decaying prison of corrupt and dirty flesh. If you’re good follow of Anabaptism, you die and be join back with God. If you’re some shitbird (or a Shitbird), then you are reborn as human, again.

Next time: life and times at Anabaptist High

Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 2

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




ANABAPTISTS

Cathedral City

Rhebus might have gone all bile-and-black-phlegm over the holy rivers, but his followers still sought them in a very literal sense. They decided that a marker of such river would be fertile ground and possibly some epic ruins.

They were really surprised when they noticed a cathedral while walking through the grain fields of river Rain (Rhine?) one day. They had missed it many times before, but there it stood, mighty and beautiful.

quote:

They sank to the ground and buried their hands into the soil, rubbing the wheat straw and inhaling its scent. Gihon or Hiddekel, Pischon or Perat, this had to be one of the headstreams! The cathedral at its banks would become the center of their faith as it had attracted piteous people ages ago.

However, Chroniclers had already set up shop there. Anabaptists just knew that those nerds were up to no good.

quote:

Thousands of Neognostics armed with war spades and hoes marched against an enemy that a dozen could have vanquished

Turns out, they owned the nerds so hard, it was a blow “they could never recover from.” For the Anabaptists, it was Tuesday. You can also imagine that the force that “a dozen could have vanquished” was actually a hundred or more Chroniclers, but all of them in the physical shape of a regular poster.

Anabaptists also started irrigating and planting around the cathedral. Soon, Cathedral City was a major hub of water supply for the region.



"And deliver us from the dread weeaboo, oh Lord..."


Reflection

Side-section!

Technically, Anabaptists were never beaten. However, Scrappers can still find ruins and artifacts of Anabaptists that pre-date Cathedral city, together with underground temples and crosses made of wire.

Those who get to know secrets of the Cathedral know of Cultrin, who brought about the Anabaptist civil war and nearly destroyed them with his army of the “corrupted.” However, in Franka, he changed his mind and disappeared.

End Times

200 years after Rebus' (I was mistaken – there was no “h” in his name) death, Anabaptists had spread out and entrenched themselves. They had nearly forgotten his prophecies... but then Psychonauts appeared and woops, turns out ol' man Rebus was right about Demiurge's minions.

Thus, they took up the war-spade (and possibly the battle-hoe), anointed themselves with Elysian oils and went out purge the enemy. That's when they started calling themselves Anabaptists.

Two Hearts

Anabaptists are strong and many. They offer community like you have never seen. They're coarse, dirty and work hard. Their fighters are passionate and willing to sacrifice themselves.

quote:

Their principles are few, and almost none of them are unchangeable.

I see they have some American Protestantism influences, too

True Anabaptists are split into two kinds. Ascetics work hard, healing the earth with their toil. They detest the body and its vices, and they don't fuck (the book says so).

Orgiastics think they're kinda crazy. They're the soldier caste and in their view, their souls elevate them above the body. That's why they fuck even harder.

quote:

They are above carnal desires and get rid of their human urges via excessive violence and orgies.

Who could have guessed that their name would be so literal?

On the other hand, the book obliquely references that those are the actions of Ascetics and Orgiastics that are true believers in Neognosis and Anabaptist creed, so you can probably find an Ascetic that does, indeed, get laid.

Symbolism

Side section! The cross shows the Christian Gnostic roots of the movement. The circle is God's creation, and its missing bit is human imperfection.



She's so high right now.

Snake and Apple

Anabaptists don't need recruit; their offers of food and community attracts many willing people. They are called Touched. Most of them don't believe in the Anabaptist dogma; the Anabaptists don't care – at least they're not working for the enemy anymore.

Here's where it all breaks down. For the first year, a Touched becomes the lackey (book's words) for an actual Anabaptist. This guy teaches the noob about Neognosis and how to identify enemies of the cult (Step 1: Is it a Psychonaut? Y/N). At the same time, the Touched is free to join Ascetics or Orgiastics in their work. He hasn't made any pledges, so he can try any part of the community he pleases. However, he has to make the choice within a season: ascetic work life of an Ascetic, or sex, drugs and possible death in the field of an Orgiastic? One he choses his gang, he's with it for life. The new Anabaptist is anointed with oils and tattooed.

It just seems like an unwieldy system, having to pair every trainee with an actual Anabaptist. What if the Anabaptist is on an assignment somewhere where you don't have, say, Ascetics around? In addition, I doubt that the fact that you can become an Orgiastic or Ascetic without actually believing in the spiritual side of things helps with the theological training of the Touched.

Initiation

All Anabaptists are supposed to wear a nose ring to represent them being slaves to the body. They also get three dots tattooed on their foreheads, though shape and color may vary.

They also learn to be cool: slicking your hair back with oils and holding them with a leather strap is a must. For an Orgiastic, it keeps the hair out of the way in battle. Meanwhile, an Ascetic doesn't have to interrupt work to death with stray strands. At first, the oil is simple, with a few Elysian additives. Once you prove yourself, you can get the real shit.

The Seed

It is somewhat harder to get to the top of the Cult than to get in... Which I guess is true for every organization in the world.

quote:

Without a modicum of Neognostic devotion, an Ascetic remains on the fields and an Orgiastic on the front.

To advice in ranks, you must search for the Seed – a bit of divine insight, brought on by questioning yourself and looking for truth. They take all sorts of shapes and forms – from voices to visions – and they usually strike in the midst of hard work or on the battlefield.

Some just make shit up.

quote:

Some take a shortcut and invent visions. They should be as cryptic as possible: giant stones, a blood-soaked sky, hands reaching down from the clouds, burying themselves in paradise’s heaving body. There are frauds, but their descriptions often lack the excited passion and transcendent qualities of a true emanation.

Even then, there's a commission of old Anabaptists that decided whether your vision is true or if you're lying (or suffer from eating a spoiled turnip). They are question for days. The more “emanations” you receive, the close is their scrutiny.

quote:

The visions grow to become multilayered and contain mystical symbols, the existence of which is only known to Council members and the Baptists. In the end, only true believers or the truly cunning can reach the Cult’s top.

I swear, the book puts a lot of effort into ensuring the players that they can be faking it all. Talleyrand it up, why don't ya.

Next time: putting “Baptist” into “Anabaptist”

Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


ANABAPTISTS

Rich on Emanations

The eight most insightful Anabaptists are above the council; they're nearly as close to God as Rebus was. The Baptists guide the cult, thought in secret, they rarely agree on stuff.

quote:

However, if the Pneuma only allows one way, why should one need eight Baptists?

However, the eight Baptists show a united front to the world. They also do the work they used to do before: Orgiastics fight, Ascetics plow. You can almost forget how powerful they are.

Aberrants

Anabaptists never lacked for enemies, and Psychonauts make it easy for them to have more. They hate Pheromancers (France) and Biokineticks (Pollen) the most, since they're obviously inhuman.

They also hate Sepsis and seek to purge it by working the land. Spitalians tell them that making the soil good and fertile isn't the way to do it; Anabaptists tell the geeks to fuck off.

Revolt

Borca was supposed to be the land of peace. However, Anabaptists had always been fighting Chroniclers and Jehammedans (I still don’t know how they got his far west/north). But things are changing.

quote:

Liqua, one of the largest Anabaptist cities in Borca, only a few days’ journeys away from Cathedral City and her Orgiastic gangs, was under siege. The Exalter clan claimed the city as part of its heritage, and the population opened up the gates without much deliberation. They even cheered the invaders. The Anabaptists remained calm. In fact, they did not understand what happened there and thought the hubbub was a fun affair. When they realized that they had just witnessed the conquering of the city, it was already too late.

How the fuck do you mistake a siege and takeover of a city for something else? What the fuck?

Exalters now play at diplomacy, presenting warrants and treaties signed by Rebus (it's a lie, they're just playing Crusader Kings II). Anabaptists and Judges don't want to attack the city and risk one of the region's large water supply centers. Baptist Amos would have done that... but he's in Franka, squashing bugs and blowing up vents.

Meanwhile, Clanners keep getting bolder and attacking Anabaptist infrastructure and patrols.



Working the field never looked this good.

Baptism Amos

Side-section! Amos started his road as an Orgiastic in Franka, bringing ultraviolence to the hives. As a Baptist, he still does the same, personally leading attacks on ziggurats and “breeding mounts [sic].”

Amos is brave and good at the whole war thing, which attracts a lot of people to die at his side. The other Baptists maintain that they're as brave as he is. Two of them want to recheck his emanations, as his cult of personality seems worrisome. Amos doesn't care – he knows he could be declared the supreme Baptist if he gave the word.

Old Enemies, New Friends

A shift in Anabaptist/Chronicler relations came when Fragment Modus was accepted to study in the Cathedral. He's cooperating with Baptist Orphid (one of the people questioning Amos). Amos threw a shitfit over it, but what can he do? He’s stuck killing the stinky abhuman French Pheromancers. As long as Modus appears at the steps of the Cathedral every day to prove that he's still alive and welcome, the truce holds.

It's a wee bit different with Jehammedans:

quote:

The Jehammedans are a different case. Their demeanor, their cleanliness, their precisely shaved beards, and their starched garments expose the Anabaptists’ own crudeness. The Orgiastics repaid that arrogance a thousand fold: they killed their goat herds, dragged Abramis from tents, pushed
them into the dirt, and shaved them clean with their swords. Hagaris and Saraelis were raped.

This is so stupid. It’s like when the English killed the Vikings because they were too clean and seductive to their wives.

However, nobody is drawn to fight in Adriatic anymore. They're afraid that provocations might lead to war, and that's just not on the menu now.

Nest time: more baptist than thou

Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 4

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults





RANKS ANABAPTISTS



1. Touched

The non-commitant entry rank. You can leave at any time – or get baptized, take the ring and get tattoos.

2a. Ascetic

Paradise might be dead, but if you work the land hard enough, you can rebuild it. That's what Ascetics do.

3a. Elysian

The Medic/Elysian potion crafter. They also know how to track down and eliminate Sepsis.

2b. Orgiastic

Dehumanize yourself and face to the bloodshed, but with Elysian oils.

3b. Furor

Fight hard and have good visions, and you get to be a Furor. They are allowed to use the “forbidden arsenals” of “corrupt weapons,” some of which date back to Chronicler occupation of Cathedral. The only player facing weapon so far is the Spitfire (it's a flamethrower).

4a. Emissary

An Emissary is a dude who mortified himself enough to receive a shit ton of visions, showing them Cathedral City as the center of the world, the Anabaptist weave and God's promise to unify all in Pneuma like it was a non-weeb LPL. They do diplomacy to bring that about.

5a. Councelor

It's an Emissary singled out to be a Baptist one day. They are the ones that judge whether an Anabaptist's emanations are true.

6a. Baptist

You the man now, dog! However, take note that they still lead in the field; few die in their beds.

4b. Sublime

What if instead of seeing visions and portents, you were the subject of other's visions? What if your coming is prophecied? Well, shit, then you might be one of the Sublime. Once you get confirmed as such, you get to do some Living Saint shit. The obvious choice is to whip up a crusade around you and bite a biokinetic yourself.

quote:

Some disappear into the mountains to become grains of seed in the heads of Anabaptists.

Or you can do... that.

5b. Aheron

Wikipedia posted:

According to later traditions, Acheron had been a son of Helios and either Gaia or Demeter, who had been turned into the Underworld river bearing his name after he refreshed the Titans with drink during their contest with Zeus.[9] By this myth, Acheron is also the father of Ascalaphus by either Orphne[10] or Gorgyra.

No, you don't get to become a river. Naw, you get to flaunt the rules, turn from the heavenly rivers, and go to the dead rivers of Styx and Acheron. And you know what's on their shores? Sepsis and Burn. That's right, you get high on the bad shit, corrupting your humanity, to get at the enemy and kill him better.


IF I WAS IN WORLD WAR II THEY'D CALL ME HURRICANE
IF I WAS IN WORLD WAR II THEY'D CALL ME HURRI.CANE


Stereotypes posted:

ANUBIANS: They look for divinity in stones and trees, talk to bugs, and surround themselves with bones and death. They won’t find anything.

APOCALYPTICS: They are rotten at the core and defile the paradise where it seemed whole again. If we were more, they would be fewer.

CHRONICLERS: Poor fools who hide their cowardice behind masks and impress the crowds with magic tricks. Baptist Orphid seems to be impressed, too. In spite of everything we are bound by her word: that’s why there is a cease-fire.

CLANNERS: We don’t deceive. We don’t fill people’s heads with promises of salvation. We work hard in the fields and give our lives for the security of the villages. We lead by example, and the people love us for it.

HELLVETICS: They would make good soldiers for a good and holy cause. For now they sit in their mountain holding their hands open whenever someone wants to traverse God’s world. The Filaments are a fitting punishment.

JEHAMMEDANS: Oh man. Do you know what they do with the goats? I don’t want to think about it. Otherwise, everything’s always spick and span; everything has its place, never any disorder, and great beards. Even their curses are like lukewarm air: they call us fishermen’s children! Geez.

Every fucking time they need to speak about Jehammedans from Anabaptist perspective, they bring out the talking points of your Racist Veteran Uncle.

quote:

JUDGES: Rebus and the First Judge both had a vision. Both erected a fortress for humanity: one was founded on faith, the other one on rules and laws. One is adamant; the other is crumbling.

NEOLIBYANS: In Purgare, they knew how to keep us fighting: bulbs and steel for their “white brethren”. They are sly dogs. As if they hadn’t also sold to the Jehammedans.

PALERS: Sated on other people’s work, these toads hide in their realm beneath the roots. Still, the Baptists have not branded them children of the Demiurge … yet.

SCOURGERS: We’d love to have them join the ranks of the Orgiastics. They, however, follow the path of revenge, not the path of insight. They are another victory for the Demiurge.

SCRAPPERS: Scrappers have devoted themselves to material things, but they are good workers. They are the ear we are supposed to reap.

SPITALIANS: They believe to have found their grain of seed in science. Since the time of Rebus we have known that it makes no sense to try to teach them, so we take them as they are. At least they are on the right side.

I appreciate it that Anabaptists make no bones about calling Apocalyptics shits and lusting for their blood.

VINCENT THE BREAKER OF BASSHAM



Culture: Franka
Concept: The Protector
Cult: Anabaptists (Counselor)

He freed the Frankan city of Bassham (not a real place AFAIK) from Pheromancers; now, it's an outpost where he trains Anabaptists to fight Pheromancers at the behest of Baptist Amos. He's also a liaison with the Spitalian mission in Franka.

CASSANDRA THE DREAMER



Culture: Purgare
Concept: The Creator
Cult: Anabaptists (Sublime)

Cassandra was the best "resistance" fighter on the west bank of the Adriatic. People said she could read the mind of the enemy. However, as the fighting stopped, so did Cassandra. Now, she sleeps while watched over by other Anabaptists who tread her with oils and record her comatose utterings.

LEIBNER THE HUNTER



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Mediator
Cult: Anabaptists (Furor)

Liebner is well known for his courage and skill in hunting Spore Beasts. Anabaptists wanted to declare him an emissary, but he has other plans on his mind. He's waiting for Chroniclers to recreate Soundcloud to become a white rapper, as he already has terrible facial tattoos.

In conclusion: If you ignore anything to do with Jehammedans, Anabaptists are a cool faction. You wanna dress like an Imperial State Trooper, get high as a kite, and burn mutants in the name of God? That's your Cult! Overall, it's probably the most accepting factions when it comes to player concepts, especially if the devs are falling over themselves to say that no, you don't have to be a believer to be Anabaptist, you can be just fooling them, haha, possibly to placate that one dude who won't play a DnD Paladin because he's rational and an atheist, and believing in a god is stupid.

Anabaptists also hate Apocalyptics, which is a big up in my book. Their rank tree isn't an insane monstrosity like with Jehammedans, so it's also a plus.

Next time: Palers are the last Cult. Then we'll have 30 pages of world history.

Cults: Palers

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Palers



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




PALERS

Bunker Rats

The introductory fiction begins with people entering what is essentially a Vault. Bulkhead closes, neon lights turn on – this is going to be their home forever.

Many generations later, people stand against the same door; there's rust and mold on the walls, and the neon tubes flicker and hum. The bulkhead opens up only a little bit. Two dudes step up with hydraulic claws. Eventually, the bulkheads give up and slide into their slots in the walls. The engines moving them die out, and so do the lights. Palers stare into the starlight, seeing the outside world for the first time in generations.

quote:

But they have never forgotten their gods, have never leftout even one ritual, have never become unfaithful to thefuzzy figures on the image screens and their likenesses in thesarcophagi. When they go out into the world now, raising their gleaming, pearlescent pendants high, they will be the chosen ones. Chosen to free the world and pave the way for the gods.



Finally, Hans Moleman will have his revenge!

In File

Some time before Eschaton, tall, beautiful, powerfully built people known as “Guardians” (by who?), descended into Recombination Group bunkers at night. There was no doubt in their eyes. They marched past everything into the halls containing cryopods. And I'll just post the rest of the section here:

quote:

The Guardians spread out and attacked the cylinders. They touched control panels, removed digital barriers. Inside, something hissed, and then the tops opened. Ice-cold mist from the inside blew across the floor. Men, women, and children lay in the cylinders. They slept. Hoarfrost glittered on their skin. The lids were tight over the frozen eyes; their cheeks sunken in. They were all ill,most of them frozen in the throes of death.
The guardians could have woken them. But what should they have answered to the questions and the screaming, the nervous “Am I healed?” or “What are you doing to me?” It would have added unacceptability to unpostponability.
Instead, the guardians put on gloves and took the bodies from the chambers. Bones and flesh cracked like ice. With scrapers, they removed the remainders. They threw complete bodies as well as single arms and legs into carts, piling them up in a wild mix of limbs. Electro cars came, and cart after cart was hooked to them until they finally started moving with a hum.
They drove to the storage halls. Endless halls with pillars, empty, the end barely visible to the naked eye. The electro cars unhinged the carts and returned. They carried everything here that the sleeping chambers had to offer.
The work was done. One guardian stood at the portal and let his gaze drift across the army of carts. There had to be a hundred, all filled with... what looked like the stuff a butcher leaves behind. He switched off the light, closed the doors, locked and sealed the halls for eternity. No one noticed that some of those trapped awoke – this transgression remained unpunished.



I'm just gonna say that the writing in the Paler part is more compelling than in most others. At the same time, one can't shake the feeling that Palers could carry a game of their own.

Well, if you can get beyond the endless repetition of the word “dispenser.”

Sealed

After the Guardians finished dumping people who probably funded the whole Recombination Group cryo effort with hopes that they will be thawed to be healed, they went outside to meet the people who would actually reside in the pods. They arrived in armored cars and all of them bore numbered tattoos that went in multiples of hundreds – from 100 to 900. Ten days later, all those folks became Sleepers. The cryo halls shut down the lights and closed the door; a countdown started for the first thaw 100 years later.

The Guardians were left to live in the outer ring of the bunkers. They spent their time doing maintenance and watching feeds from the Sleeper chambers. Soon, they noticed things in the Sleepers' DNA, something that hinted at divinity. According to their data, there could be no other thing: the Sleepers were divine. How do you read that out of someone's DNA code? Hell if I know. Then again, I don't watch brainwashing material 24/7:

quote:

It was all a facade. With every generation of guardians, the information backed up in the dispenser software’s code was presented simpler than before. It planted the seed for a religion.
Pure, infectious memetics.

Be prepared: the Paler section is going balls-deep into memetics.
Blackouts

Eschaton came and went, the clocks on dispensers kept ticking down... and I think this book just doubled the times I read the word “dispenser” in my life. I think Degenesis uses it for all and every computer system in a bunker and possibly the bunkers themselves.

The German word “automat” translates into “dispenser,” so maybe it's another case of bad translation?

Some Guardian groups didn't get high on the meme supply: they blew out the bunker doors and went on to live regular survivors (the book doesn't say it, but there's nothing saying that your non-Hellvetic character can't be descended from one of these folks).

Others stayed there for the Vault experience, eating slimy fluid from algae tanks and drinking water that has been endlessly recycled.

There was some despair around the time when lighting systems failed, but the Guardians prevailed. Eventually, that day, “day X”, descended into legend, becoming the time when Palers chose the night.

The darkness (and terrible food, and years of inbreeding) turned Guardians pale and hairless, and probably afflicted them with whatever happens when you're critically low on vitamin D. Since the darkness was only sometimes pierced by light, like LCD lights on “bunker aggregates” (in Lithuanian, we use “agregatas” to describe machinery sometimes, probably due to Germanic influences – damn translators), their sight degraded. The Guardians started scratching information into the walls, so that one could use touch to read about whatever the ancients were thinking – or about the powers of the Sleepers.

Intercom was the next system to fail, which the Guardians replaced with tubes (regular, not the “inter-” type). Eventually, sophisticated tube-banging language arose.

quote:

The crying of children echoing through the darkness was liberating and provided a dimension to the nothing that the people could cling to. The guardians sang to keep the darkness away from their hearts.

The hills have eyes, but they're not that great nor can they see outside!

Next time: the real fake religion!

Cults: Palers, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Palers, pt. 2

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Faith

So, why did RG meme-code a religion for the Guardians? Why, to keep the maintenance of the bunkers and Sleepers going, which is a lot easier when the instructions are encoded into the rituals. I guess it's much more reliable than hoping that the original Guardians will imbue their corporate bootlickerism into their (inbred, malformed) children.

quote:

The memetics modifications within the dispenser code finally unraveled completely: picture walls that had been dead for eons woke up, displayed some shining creatures for a few seconds, and then died down again.

Yeah, I have nothing: is this just the system malfunctioning and randomly displaying propaganda, or is it the last step of the process, showing the Guardians random visions? I dunno.

Anyways, songs and noises unlocked doors closed for ages, while recovered artifacts additional granted access or played sounds from intercoms.

Every bunker became a faith-based, voice-activated quest dungeon.

Eventually, the right combination of song and artifact could open “the biggest mystery:” a room with domed ceilings. The place had strange acoustic properties, making the speaker sound like he's behind the listener.

But if you had a pendant (probably a lanyard) and strong voice, the dome would show stars on the ceiling, accompanying it with “supernatural murmurs.” This was very convincing to even those who were less than totally believing in Sleepers.



Welcome, brothers, to the First Sleeper Church Of They Could Have Drawn Us Some Girl Palers

From the Dark

Stuff broke down, but the Guardians/Palers could always replace it with spares... until they couldn't.

quote:

The water preparation became more and more undependable: the drinking water stank; the toilets clogged. Mold spread in the corridors and made entire sectors uninhabitable. The bioreactors leaked; cable isolations became brittle; displays flashed for one last time and then blacked out.

Even the entrance controls stopped responding.

quote:

The dispensers had become the guardians’ prison – or their deathtrap.

See this? Do they mean that the bunkers or the machines became the prison? The will refer to the bunkers as “dispensers” quite a few times later.

Some Guardians, dedicating their lives to Bygone languages, would browse whatever databases still worked, found manuals and emergency plan. It's also mentioned that this knowledge often died with them because sharing is caring and caring is bad, I guess? However, some did manage use that information to break the seals and go outside.

quote:

For the first time in their lives, they saw the sun and realized the limitlessness of the sky. And they were afraid.

A reaction one can see when a gamer leaves his home, too.

Awakening

The outside world was a shock. The Balkhani – I guess this implies that either the first or all of the bunkers are in the Balkans – only laughed at these troglodytes talking about their gods. They were beaten back into their holes in short order.

quote:

For so long, they had called themselves ‚guardians‘, but now they received the title that would spread on the surface: Palers, a war name to hide their true nature.

What is this “war name” shit, it's not the first time I read it in the book. More bad translation?

In any case, the Palers felt hatred rise in them. “Back in the safe body of the dispensers” those that survived first expeditions argued what to do, giving rise to probably the first good joke in the book:

quote:

The aim was clear: they had to pave the way for the divine ones, build palaces out of limestone and bones for them (they did not all agree about how gods liked to reside).

Palers weren't exactly numerous, so they couldn't go into a real war against the surface. However, they had one advantage: they were very good at navigating in the darkness, which also included the night. So at night, they returned to the place were the Balkhanis beat them up like so many nerds, strangled them in their sleep (probably metaphorically) and looted their shit. That's how reconquest of the surface world started.

And no, I don't think we're ever told which bunker did that – or if that's just how it happened to every bunker on first opening. Degenesis, being unclear on details or time frames? No way!

Well, at least the Palers were smarter than to send out a single bunker-dweller to take on a world he doesn't know to bring back a vital piece of infrastructure



"Re...reco... reconbi... fuck it, I'll be an Apocalyptic."

Demagogues

Here we learn that the memetics that enslaved Palers were created – and endlessly tested online – by Getrell, that asshole that gave birth to Shirbirds. The idea was to boost territoriality and dominance, but also instill submissiveness to superiors. It's an elitist ideology (as in "Palers the chosen of the gods") that worked because isolation from the world allowed the memetics to develop according to the plan.

quote:

They created a form of solidarity for which love or devotion are only insufficient descriptions, as well as a special talent: the ability to lead and to instruct by voice, facial expressions, and gestures.

Yeah, because regular humans can't lead and instruct by voice, facial expressions and gestures. Degenesis invented oratory the same way the internet intellectuals invented “steelmaning” because they had never heard of the principle of charity.

Regular humans are probably even better at the talk-influence thing since we can see expressions and gestures

“Language and sounds had always held immense meaning in the Paler society,” wrote some man who never considered that this applied to humanity in general. However, what they wanted to mean that Palers set their pecking order by the depth of the voice. Children with deeper voices were taught how to develop it and elders taught them storytelling, with hopes of raising “one of their best: a Demagogue.”

I don't know if calling someone you expect to be your rightful leader a “demagogue” is very natural, but then again, maybe the Palers were as good at understanding language as whoever peppered this section with strange words.

A Paler Demagogue is someone who uses eloquence and memetics to a great effect, becoming essentially a turbo orator that basically does video game buffs and debuffs by just saying shit.

quote:

The Demagogue judges, leads councils, and gives solace. His memetics develop along with his nature: Rato, a Demagogue of fear, controls his subordinates through terror and punishes deviance with panic; the words of Chire, a Demagogue of violence, hurt like whip lashes; Jiklas’ people indulge in the intoxication of song to forget the terrors of the outside world.

This works wonders on Palers, since it's part of the plan to control them, but the Demagogues are good enough to even affect the surface dwellers – or “abovegrounders,” as the book calls them.

Next time: low life and times at Paler high

Cults: Palers, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Palers, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Awakened

The Palers realized that, hey, there should me more dudes like us. So Revivers set out of the bunkers to free their brothers and sisters. Traveling by night (suns hurts like a bitch when you and your previous generators spent their entire lives in their parents' basement) and orienting themselves by old RG maps, they wore Sun Discs “that bore the dispenser command codes and other artifacts, signs of awe and proof of their origin.”

quote:

Every dispenser they found made their hearts swell. They were not alone.

See what I meant about the strange use of “dispenser?”

The memetics made Palers greet Revivers like old friends. They opened doors locked long ago and uploaded new codes into their disks. Their quest felt holy. However, at some point, they ran out of “dispenser locations” marked on the map. Revivers returned to their homes as heroes, but nobody wanted to follow in their footsteps (...was it because there were no more bunkers to discover?).

“Several years ago” (I assume it's before the date of the game), a map showing a new kind of dispenser that has never been seen before, appeared. It was 'Gusev,' 12 of 44, and it was stuck smack dab the middle of Chronicler territory in Noret. So now the Revivers are back on the road again, exchanging burnt out artifacts for information, being a bit more polite when asking for stuff, not being all high on the 'Chosen One' status and so on.

quote:

It doesn’t always work, but without help, they will not find the 44 bunkers. Maybe that’s the divines’ last test. Yes, the liberation must be truly at hand!



Gamer emerges from his basement, 2019 (colorized)

Sleeper

Side-section!

The Guardians that became the Palers were Recombination Group's best, implanted with Getrell's memetics (brain washing). But their loyalty wasn't enough for the rich shit, and the Sleepers were supposed to be the real beneficiaries of his planning. Who are they – rich bastards, scientists and engineers, soldiers? The fact that they arrived in some luxury points at the burgeoisie, but only the bunker systems really know. However, the machines have lost power and can't really provide the answers.

Most of the “information” now comes from Jaquar, a possible sleeper that Hellvetics found in the ruins of Laibach:

quote:

“Do you see this 100 here? Goes all the way down to the bone. Even right into the damn soul. Don’t touch it! I am, no, I was a socio-cyberneticist. Others built roads; I programmed groups of people. Advanced memetics. What year is this? No. That can’t be. That can’t be! Only weeks ago... I met a 300. That shouldn’t have happened.”

He also told them about the Exalt, “all the blood and gore, the endless labyrinth and the grinder.” Exalt was supposed to be their temple which would, once again, separate the wheat from chaff (probably would have been better to do it before freezing the sleeper). He also raved something about “Free Spirit equipment,” even if he didn't know what it was.

He died in a locked room in an Alpine fortress. The Hellvetics that prepared his body for funeral uncovered many pinpricks that seemed to hint that he was constantly drained for blood. Spooky!

All in all, that's some evocative writing, even if the whole MEMETICS!!1! is getting tiresome.

Also, the book doesn't address the fact that the 100s-through-500s should be waking up by the time of the game, which would probably mean that a lot of Palers are seeing their “gods” wake up.

Trade

Side-sections! The memetics (sigh) that make Palers stick together makes them disdain the outsiders. However, traders still try to trade with them. You are liable to just get robbed, but if the Palers chuck some artifacts your way, you can make a lot of money off the Chroniclers.

Hunters in the Night

The food in the bunkers is running out. The algae from the tanks either tastes awful or is poisonous. And the stores from which food was rationed ran out. But there exist regularly-refilled stores on the surface – and there's no rationing.

That's how Palers perceive human villages, see. Many Palers bled the villages they looted dry, making them disappear – and thus lead to the collapse of their own tribes. Oops. Also, sometimes the villages fight back or get Vojavodes to help.

Smarter Palers – like the ones from Fermat and Thalus bunkers – actually practice sustainable raiding and looting. They have a schedule, which allows the villages to bounce back before they get ripe for raiding again.

Just shows that degenerate progeny of brainwashed corporate slaves have a better understanding of sustainability than corps themselves.



The original idea for the panty raid in Revenge of the Nerds was a lot darker.

On the other hand, this just raises more questions about the initial number of the bunkers if some were abandoned by Guardians early on, others died out due to unsustainable looting, and so on. Underground facilities that house hundreds of people and have support systems to keep cryopods operating for hundreds of years have to be expensive and hard to build, you know. On the other hand, Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale.

The Day After

The Palers believe that once the Sleepers awaken, they will cleanse the world with bygone tech, elevate Palers to a priest caste, and they'll all live in abundance served by abovegrounder slaves.

Secret Language

Side-section! Palers use their own secret war tongue for communicating when regular folks are around. Those languages are different from bunker to bunker. So at least there's some nod to the real possibility that different bunkers would have evolved differently.

Sleeper Prophets

So, as you may have gathered, the hundred-y tattoos mark how long after the Eschaton a Sleeper is to awaken. The 100 series woke in 2173, when the Palers weren't yet fanatical devotees. The 200ers were greeted by 100% moon-worshiping savages.

Such Sleeper Prophets now roam in Europe, doing all sorts of tech miracles. Some Palers abandon their own bunkers (and their own “sleeping gods”) to follow the Prophets, becoming Halos.

It's kinda interesting how these Sleeper Prophets have yet to be mentioned anywhere else and have had so little impact on the world with 5 waves (out of 9) of them supposedly being around. Heck, this doesn't even factor in the whole “Reviver” and uncovering new bunkers stuff, which seems to have taken place isolated from the Prophet-thing.

The Triszyklikon



The Trypronounceitklon

Side-section! The Triszyklikon is a palm-sized disk, black, smooth, hard as glass. The pic related etching is seen a at certain angle. Nobody knows what it does – it doesn't act like a Sun Disk – and it is said to sink into the skin of your palm. It was supposedly found in Exalt, in a room “the size of the globe,” and there are many more ridiculous theories besides.

Palers don't know what it is, but they still hold it as a revered artifact that only the most honored get to carry from bunker to bunker and try to unlock stuff. Hey, it looks like a key, you know!

Next time: the sublime hierarchies of moles

Cults: Palers, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Cults: Palers, pt. 4



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




RANKS PALERS

1. Specter

You're an entry level Paler. You have to prove yourself with action or, ugh, by voice.

2a. Solar

Sun is a shit; it burns and blinds. However, much like a dispenser, it gives life and, much like a dispenser, is there to serve the Palers. Solars are the ones who go outside to unfold solar collectors and force the Sun underground where it will recharge the dispensers.

The Solars are a lot more pragmatic about their roles, and they view themselves as technicians... because that's what they are. They take care of the maintenance in the bunker (which is made easier by the modular plug-and-play nature of the dispensers), carry sun disks and can enter the oldest locked rooms.

3a. Aurora

An Aurora is a tech nerd who not just services the mechanisms of the bunker, but can also understand and control them. They know how to power corridors, fill them with gas, and more. Their memetic conditioning is breaking down, and they can access the memetic coding in the dispensers. However, they can't access the Sleeper cells... yet. The more codes the Revivers bring back from the 44 new bunkers, the more powerful the Auroras get.

So it's basically like how engineers in Space Station 13 tend to go rogue and declare the life support system section the independent realm of Atmosia.

2b. Reviver

If a Paler feels interested in going outside, wants to mix with the peoples on top, or is just some shit with annoying squeaky voice (the Palers would hate Ben Shapiro, it's canonical), he becomes a Reviver.

Above ground, the Revivers know how to recognize important Bygone structures (possibly of RG origin) and how to access them for fat loot (to great chagrin of Scrappers everywhere, I'm sure). They also collect intel on the hidden dispensers.

3b. Redeemer

They're essentially professional dungeon adventurers of the Paler society, cracking RG facilities like it ain't not shit, finding tunnels that aren't even marked on the map, and drawing support from multiple Demagogues.

2c. Phantom

The warrior class of the Palers, armed with SMGs and grenades from guard armories, striking at whoever stands in their way above ground.

3c. Cyclops

These guys are legendary divine assassins who get access to secret Paler armories. Their name comes from their NVGs, “Cyclops’ eye, through which they see the night in fluorescent green,” which suggests that they're using GEN II or GEN III NVGs... in 2073 and onwards. Who knows, maybe those are made with components that can withstand long term storage?

4a. Aspirant

When you get to know the mechanisms of the bunker well enough and throw off your Demagogue's memetics, you're on the road to becoming one yourself.

5a. Demagogues

When you can command people and machines with your voice, you become a Demagogue.

4b. Halo

This is a Paler who left his or her bunker to follow one of the Prophets: Daimondal, Trice, Helios, Uriz and Enceph(alitis). They examine future battlefields and explore and reconquer the holy city of Exalt sector by sector.

quote:

Free Spirit and Tannhäuser are not foreign concepts to them.

They're still foreign concepts to us, players! God damn it, book!

STEREOTYPES posted:

ANABAPTISTS: Swords, final battle, baptisms: they have been in the sun for too long. Let them go on writing their weird books about divine phantasms.

ANUBIANS: Just look at their skin – they are marked by the night! But there is even more that connects us to them…Wasn’t the Triszyklikon found in their homeland?

APOCALYPTICS: Apocalyptics are predators hunting at night like we do. When the gods walk amongst us, we will not tolerate this any longer. But until then, we wait, for the migrants have nothing of interest for us – and we have nothing of interest for them.

CHRONICLERS: We have to get into their Clusters! They know much more than they are ready to admit. All reports about the 44 were retrieved from the Chroniclers. Try it friendly first, lick their boots, and seduce them. Bug them. Then break into the alcoves, steal artifacts, and blackmail them with them!

CLANNERS: The gods abandoned them, and now they are destined to be our fatstock and milking cattle. They have been a little rebellious in the last
few months.

HELLVETICS: The Alps: so many tunnels and unexplored bunker segments. If only these armed rats did not guard them. But we will get in. Then we’ll see if the defense mechanisms aren’t somewhat adaptable…

JEHAMMEDANS: They try to obey exactly ONE God. No one has ever seen him, and there are no pictures of him. They have no idea when or where he will awaken. For he’s already there. Everywhere.
Aha! Even if he existed: what is he supposed to do against our army of gods, huh? Idiots.

JUDGES: The Judges are a force that owes us our due. Our Demagogue in Justitian has given up reminding them of that.

NEOLIBYANS: They trade with the gods’ gift. That means they trade with what belongs to us. That makes them thieves, right?

SCOURGERS: The Bygone phoneme rings in their voices. It touches us, makes us feel a desire for their land. What enormous powers must be at work there!

SCRAPPERS: They enter our holy halls, looting, destroying and defiling! How many gods have they killed already? Our Phantoms hunt them like
rats.

SPITALIANS: Their suits look like those of our ancestors. Who are they? The fallen divine tribe? Or simply grave robbers?

I mean, there are some interesting suggestions in the Spitalian and Scourger bits, but lol at Palers declaring Anubians to be blackest of them all.



Behold the iconic weapon of the ancient guardians of bygone gods: a club!

FINGER



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Chosen
Cult: Palers (Redeemer)

Finger was destined to become a Reviver from the first time his parents heard his annoying shrieks. 40 years later, he's a Redeemer legend, who may have been in contact with the Masters (possibly Sleepers, though they have never been called like that before). The biggest mystery is where the finger on his neck – which don't rot, but shimmer in light – come from.

I'm going to assume that's he's killing Sleepers for some reason OR that he's fighting Twilight vampires.

ZON



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Defiler
Cult: Palers (Halo)

Zon hated taking care of solar collectors and wanted to stay down in the bunker. Zon really fucking hated the sun. But then she picked up Daimondal’s broadcast, and fled to find him in summer (as others wouldn't follow her in the heat).

Now, Zon prowls the catacombs of Exalt, installing radio control disks into ancient sensors. She is starting to get what Daimondal's plan is (and she's not sharing it with us, players), but she doesn't care, she's just happy to be out of the sun.

I really love it how one note Zon is. “Gods and prophets are cool and all, but you know what's better? Staying out of the sun.

MESNIK THE CARVER



Culture: Balkhan
Concept: The Destroyer
Cult: Palers (Demagogue of Fear)

He's a mad sadist surgeon.

In conclusion: Palers are cool as fuck. They're degenerate morlock scions of true believer corporate bootlickers, caught in a religion that is 100% a scam. They look very different from the others (just look at that cool art) and they're probably the most alien of any player character in any group (though I bet the Chronicler tries to act that way as well). At the same time, there's some sexy mystery behind the bullshit that Recombination Group has planned, and in Exalt, too. So even if there won't be additional content released for them (who knows), you have enough morsels and hooks to run a Paler-centered campaign.

At the same time, the Palers are the least organic of the factions. They seem to be welded to the setting almost as an afterthought, not having any real interaction with other factions nor being in any way affected by Sepsis (Remember that? Shroom-based end of the world, bugs, etc.?). In fact, I'd go as far as to say that you can transplant Palers into any other post-apoc setting with minimal effort, and I don't know what that says about their design as the faction.

Next time: who wants to learn some more history?

History

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 4: History



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 4: History


See that up there? It’s Chapter 4. We finally ended Chapter 3, probably the longest chapter in history of man (nearly 190 pages). In comparison to that, the near 30 pages of history will be a breeze…

Mostly because I say so. I read ahead and this chapter is bullshit. Nevertheless, let’s not get ahead of ourselves (even if that would be typical for the book).

Crown
An intro fluff section shows the end of one of Surge tanks that Spitalians were driving from Quabis to Cairo. It’s overwhelmed by the living jungle and our Preservist character has to hack down a friend who is infected by the plants and starts giving demands telepathically. Eventually, the tank is surrounded by zero-circle (unachievable by PCs) Anubites Anubians who demand that the Preservist hand over his cargo: a tiny flask of Primer, probably brought into the jungle to cause Discordance and fuck everything up.

SPORE RAIN

Spitalians [sic] Archives

This is a timeline/history of things related to Spitalians. I’ll summarize what I can.

We learn that most of the Primer meteorites hit northern hemisphere, some chunks landed in the south, and a huge one, named Colossus, hit the Atlantic, but that one didn’t become active till years later. America was basically spared, since the Yellowstone exploded and made the land somehow unappealing to Primer, mutating only a few wanderers (often fatally). It offers no explanation as to why the Americans don’t really show up in the next 500 years.

First human-derived paranormal phenomenon occurs in 2201, and Psychonauts (albeit in early stages) start appearing, beginning with Pollen.


Proctologists hate it when your dad comes in for a checkup

Colossus becomes active after a quake in 2235, and it’s the explanation for strange animals that wash up in Portugal.

2267: Paris turns into a swamp, the spore fields, and the bugs make people abandon it.

2270: The Biokinetics, the Dushani, and those weird Spanish seers are formed. Apparently, the types of Psychonauts are called “Raptures:”

quote:

All Raptures are tied to large Mother Spore Fields, the Earth Chakras that spread their traits to the surrounding fields in the decades to come.

Gibberish!

Spitalians’ turbo hate for Primer also originates in 2300, when vents in Souffrance start emitting methane in what probably is a terraforming effort. Pheromancers and Psychokinetics emerge during the next 6 years.

Discordance happens in 2470, btw, as there “seem to be communication problems between Europe’s Mother Spore Fields and their Psychovore equivalent in Africa.”

quote:

So far, the doctors assumed that the Chakras’ communication served to coordinate and to exchange viable DNA sequences. Now a dissonance blankets the communication; the fields seem to jam each other or to communicate false information.

In 2492, Spitalians take Danzig, their ice fortress. They also start making the telescoping Destruction Fortress (seriously) project to breach the spore belt to the East (into Russia, Asia and such). The project is only lost in 2544, which is ugh, still probably longer than most human projects last without interference by a hostile alien intelligence.


Say what you will about Spitalians, but at least they made the trains run on time.

At the same time, Africans begin communicating in Psychovore Esperanto, which seems late, considering the importance placed on its unifying influence in the earlier chapters.

In 2562, Dr. Vasco returns as the only survivor from an expedition to Pandora Crater. He claims that Primer actually started life on Earth. He runs away and turns into reoccurring anime villain, possibly powered by primer. He was briefly mentioned at the end of the Spitalian chapter!

In late 2580s, Hot Spots appear near Danzig. They’re the ones that turn Spore Fields into Fractal Forests. Hot Spots have never been mentioned before. Also, a Hot Spot has to physically intersect with a Spore Field to produce a Forest, making them less common than you would have believed.

2594: Spitalians are invited to Quabis.

2595: Game day!

A NEW WORLD ORDER

The Stream

This bit talks about how Chroniclers came to be and it’s just tiresome bullshit about the Stream not!Internet and more crap around the “2 to the power of 16” thing.

Timeline
So, you think this going to be the history of Chroniclers, just like Spitalian archives, before going into separate histories of all the other cults later on?

NOPE.

This is the setting history. The first part wasn’t a history of Spitalians, but of Primer – so basically, shit you don’t care about, because, aside from Vasco and maybe the Fortresses, who gives a shit how the Primer developed historically?

I’ll be heavily summarizing this one because there’s a lot of pre-Eschaton and immediate aftermath info that doesn’t matter (like Kazakhstan joining China).

So, Pre-Eschaton:

UN collapses (due to talks by US president Trunk, which is a funny thing for an ostensibly 2015 book to say) and reforms into neat, continent-friendly blocks. Mammoths are cloned (now you know why they’re around). AIDS is cured (rioting is expected in Africa for… reasons). Jehammed and Getrell start doing their thing. HIV-E arrives to Africa on an American ship. Panic spreads, a massive migration starts from the Sub-Saharan Africa to Northern Africa, presumably so that we could have an explanation why all Africans are black in 2595. Said migration is first met by (Arab) tanks, then by European warships that sink the refugees (realistic).

quote:

Much development aid seems to have gone towards purchasing weapons as four out of five refugees are said to carry Kalashnikovs. What started as a blockade escalates into a war without goals: the Africa Conflict.

This shit is so stupid.


As always, the art is perfect, the writing - less so. I'm omitting a few pieces here and there.

Recombination Group uses their newly discovered nanites to safely cryofreeze people for later curing of HIVE - that’s what Project Tannhauser is.
Overwhelmingly Large Telescope in Chile spots the Primer meteorites. All space agencies quietly panic and draft plans for the Paladin network of protective satellites. The Maasai turn out to be immune to HIVE because of reasons:

quote:

Ionized air? Condensed cosmic rays? Aliens? Jesus? It is the stuff that Europe’s New Agers’ dreams are made of; one result is an Africanication of the esoteric scene.

People rush the place and some even kill the locals to drink their blood. Fun fact: the caldera of an extinct volcano where the Maasai were mentioned to live after the British relocation? Maasai were booted from there in 2009.

2071: 2 to the power of 16 infects the Stream, RG’s Guardians scrape the popsicles out of the cryopods to make place for Sleepers, the Swiss start reinhabiting the Alpine Fortress.

2073: The Paladin Network fails to stop a single meteorite, as it was sabotaged by 2^16. Everyone panics and leaves the cities. The Swiss seal themselves in the mountains. People turn to faith. RG launches 12 mysterious orbiters from Kazakhstan. DIS-PEN-SERS:

quote:

An RG insider reports in a streamcast that the storage facilities are internally called dispensers and are supposed to open in 100 years

The Thor project exists to shoot ground-based lasers at rocks. It fails to do anything at all, leaving us to question the necessity to include it in the book. World ends on March 13th.

There’s also near a page-worth of side section about how the meteorite impact smashed central Africa – nobody cared when they described it the first time, nobody cares now.

Next time: history after the end of the world

History, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 4: History, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 4: History


Post-Eschaton:
Everyone is working on rebuilding. Global communications and GPS were killed by the meteor EMP or ionized fallout. UEO (Euro UN) auxiliary troops are known as “the Convoy.”

Reaper’s Blow only opens in 2075, two years after the blast, and gets wider the next year. Geology nerds, help me out. HIVE finally reaches Europe for good (pre-Eschaton cases were effectively quarantined in Spain) and people are dying left and right. Proto-Spitalians seal themselves. World cooling starts in 2082.

A sub-section mentions that Ambrosia is the nanite solution is what flows in Sleeper pods and in the veins of Marauders (the god-cyborgs) – and they need more of it. This explains an early fluff piece. It also mentions Argyre – the guy that took over England as Argyre’s domain – as someone we would know.
Chroniclers and Spitalians emerge.



I too liked Frostpunk

2100s:

The Libyan emerges. Chroniclers take Cologne cathedral. Rhebus’ crew rises above cults that don’t survive their founder’s death. Exalt is founded in 2146, and it marks “the end of the era of the beast,” as it’s supposedly a civilized city close to what you had pre-Eschaton. Anabaptists take the Cathedral after Chroniclers had merely 30 years to work to decipher its treasures – goon projects, amirite? First Sleepers wake u[ in 2173 to prepare the path for the 200-series, taking small towns and doing memes. East Borca becomes verdant.

2200s:

Purghans and Balkhani start killing each other in the Adriatic. So much for this being an age-old Jehammedan-Anabaptist conflict. Lybian’s neolibs flourish. In 2265, merely a hundred years after the Eschaton, Spain finally invades Africa. By 2269, the Africans are pushing them back into Spain, taking Andalusia. For some reason “No one uses the word “Spain” anymore; everyone calls the land ”Hybrispania”.” Why?

Exalt goes big. The 200s awake, but they’re clueless and brain-frozen. Many get owned by the Dushmans Dushani or the local Balkhanese. Palers support them anyways

2300s:

Giant barges with triangular sails land in Franka, scaring the locals (apparently, Hybris and Welsh are known pirates). However, only one kind of people in the world do triangular sails: the Chinese. Thus the only proof of life beyond the spore curtain is mentioned on page 342 and never again.

Adriatic conflict turns into trench warfare. Spitalians raise hospitals for the Purgans, making Balkhanese hate them. Ice Barrier pushes Scandinavians into Germany, revitalizing culture and bringing… a horse cult? What? Anabaptists start recatholocizing converting Purgare.

300 series fail to wake up. Maybe it’s 2^16, maybe it’s MYTSERIOUS PEOPLE ENTERING THE BUNKERS (Marauders, I’m sure) are to blame. Maybe it’s Maybeline.


The First Rule of Spital: Do Not Stare At The Crotch Bulge

First Judge appears. The first real explanation of Argyre: he’s not a cyborg, but a Sleeper who didn’t go to sleep because NANOMACHINES, SON.

quote:

Argyre’s foray: He is one of the old ones, winner of countless battles, his soul a bag full of swarming cockroaches. Northern Franka’s people call him the Vulture. He is a Sleeper who never slept but used the power and the possibilities that Ambrosia gave him early on.

Agyre declares Britain his via cunning use of flags in 2390; everyone else is told to fuck off.

2400s:

Justitian is founded.

Meanwhile, Cultrin, a 400 series Sleeper, wakes up on time. He starts building an army by meme-enslaving other Sleepers, and arming them as well as mercenaries with arms from 100s and 200s warehouses. Everyone wants to be his friend. Except the Anabaptists, who attack his forces. He marches on Capital City. Exalt executes a Sleeper agent while their fellows are spotted in Berlin.

“War is in the air,” writes the book, treating the Anabaptist scuffle like the American establishment treated every conflict since World War II.
However, Cultrin disappears, either ensnared by a Pheromancer Queen or killed by a woman who was an ancient beauty that turned old and ugly. His army collapses like the Diadochi, and Exalt forces (as well as Spitalian planted plague) finish them off.

Osman Janissaries beat Cultrins forces in Berlin and the city gets named Osman. We still have no idea who or what those people are – and if they are supposed to be Jehammedan, the J’s never mentioned any of Janissaries.

Exalt undergoes its own civil war and is abandoned.

quote:

Irregulars occupy the market square, the Portal Halls.
Others defy the Last Rule and lay bare the forbidden portals. With jackhammers and explosives, they try to break through. A sacrilege!

I have no idea what any of that means

Liqua emerges as a den of scum and villainy. Justitian starts gobbling up territory in Exalt’s absence.


Getrell had a lot of opinions about The Little Mermaid

2500s:

Prahan archeologists start constructing (?) The Great Library in Osman. They suddenly disappear after a few years. Spooky!

Justitian rises and strikes an alliance with the Spitalians.

Needle Tower shit goes down in 2563. 500 series start awaking in a disorganized fashion in 2573. There’s a suggestion of RG facilities that exist beyond the Ice Wall.

2586: a Jehammedan assassin ruins the sculpture of Chief Judge Archot. The locals respond with violence. Osman sends a force of Swords of Jehemmed to teach them a lesson, but they get thwarted by Reaper’s Blow. There’s now a camp of frustrated Jehammeds who can’t reach Justitian - nor can they go home.

“The battle between Jehammedans and Anabaptists on the Adriatic Sea has lost quite some intensity in the last decades,” says the book, forgetting that the conflict started before any of the cults took power.

In 2593, a pulsed AM broadcast from the Balkhan awakens Chernobog, who takes Praha. Clans rise the next year, making protectorate crumble (well, start to crumble) and turning Balkhan extremely dangerous. Chroniclers and Anabaptists reach a truce.

2595:

quote:

Welcome to today! The Protectorate helplessly faces the Clans’ hatred; the Cults close ranks. Even former arch-enemies consider alliances. Chernobog’s hordes suffuse the Balkhan with violence and destruction – what is the Black God’s goal, and what will happen once he has reached it? What does Argyre do in Britain? What are the Great Library’s secrets?

Yeah, I don’t think anyone is too interested in Britain or the Great Library, as those have no detail besides what’s mentioned in the history part. What else is not mentioned? Most of the Cults, really, or anything that happened in Africa post Eschaton (Lybian aside).

Next time: Primal Punk in retrospect

Post Mortem

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Post Mortem



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults



Degenesis: Primal Punk certainly took more time than I imagined. It was a very bumpy ride, to say the least. Like many people say, it's a very beautiful book, but the information layout is dogshit. Certain things are nearly duplicated. Many remain unexplained for hundreds of pages. I'm not entirely sure if placing Cultures before Cults was a great idea. The lack of any time frames before the History section is fucking terrible.

Having the Primer info in the front of everything else might have been the only good idea when it came to layout.

Meanwhile, for the Cults themselves... I'd say that Scrappers and Clanners existing as Cults is fucking stupid. Scrappers and Clanners are such diverse people that having some sort of unifying theme for them is silly, especially when you compare it to Spitalians and Hellvetics. It's like saying that Peasant and Knight of the Exclusive Order Of Followers Of An Obscure God are both equally specific.

And of course, an extra special fuck you for Apocalyptics: they have a stronger claim to factionhood due to the memetic inception, but that's all they have going for them. They're, without a doubt, the evil faction, the functioning of which makes no God-damn sense. Every word written in their own section makes you hate them more. Apocalyptics should definitely be an NPC faction, especially when you already have Spitalians, Anabaptists and basically any other right-thinking faction gunning for them.

I’m still kinda interested in the world of Degenesis and would probably play a game in it, but I would have been better by not reading the fluff book first. The writing, the repetition and the lack of explanations just wear you down, sapping enthusiasm and the will to go forth. If Degenesis: Primal Punk is tantalizing, it’s despite itself, and not because it’s purposefully so. The book badly needs an outside editor with no buy in into the setting.

The relative novelty of setting post-apocalyptic adventures in strange Europe can only carry it so far, even for a European.

THE END

Next time:Chapter 5

Game Mechanics

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 5: Game Mechanics



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 5: Game Mechanics


Editorial

This prefaces the contents of DEGENESIS BOOK 2 KATHARSYS, but I didn't want to make an entire post just for a few jokes.

So in the editorial, we can see that Degenesis is the brainchild of Christian Günther & Marko Djurdjevic: both of them are listed as responsible for concept and development. Christian is separately listed as the author, with Marko sharing the co-author credit with Alexander Malik.

Marko also appears in every listing for art, design, and anything else that requires you to draw well. However, he’s not the only artist, so we can’t know how much of the really cool art is his.



Look my eyes are just pingpong balls
Look your writing has drawn red from hands


However, the real culprits behind out suffering are, in my eyes, Oliver Hoffmann, Joe LeFavi and
Brian McGackin. The former is the translator, the latter two – the editors. You all know what they did!

The “special thanks” bit features surnames of possible (long-suffering) spouses as well as gamer nicknames as imagined by boomers, like Nox, Deathrace King and Das Grauen.

There's also a diclaimer. Disclaimers are hilarious.

Disclaimer posted:

Degenesis advocates tolerance and international understanding. The game world of Degenesis has evolved from ours and distorts it into an imaginary future. Conflicts within the game world are, of course, not real – and we do not wish for them to be, either. They only exist for excitement’s sake. Although we know this kind of conflict from films, we urge you to use them with caution. None of the seven Cultures mentioned in Degenesis is better than any of the others. All of those Cultures have an equal right to exist in the game world of Degenesis.

We know that Apocalyptics are objectively worse than anyone else and should not exist!

Disclaimer posted:

We have actively avoided the term “race” common to RPGs as we deem it discriminatory. We strictly oppose violence and racism. Illustrations of combat action are not meant to promote violence, but to depict a cruel world we should strive to overcome. Culture and civilization are the major goals in Degenesis, accompanied by hope. We still recommend Degenesis for people 16+ as we cannot be sure whether our message and our appeal to humanity will be understood.

To be fair, I dunno if any of the readers of this FnF are younger than 20 AND got the “appeal to humanity”

Anywho!



CHAPTER 5: GAME MECHANICS

Character

The chapter starts by explaining that a character is the player's avatar in the game world. It notes that characters can be very similar to their players – or entirely dissimilar – and that your scores become more important the more different you are from your character.

I guess it's a hint to an idea that roleplaying would grant bonuses, and if you can't cut it, you have to rely on scores? In a more elegant world, it would just mean that that you don't need to roleplay to get them charms rights just like you don't really need to act out combat.



Art comes in fast and hard, but I don't think I will be inserting all of it.

The game system is called KatharSys, just like the oppressive cyberspace in my Cyberpapacy ripoff where it's the Kathars oppressing the people – DONUT STEEL. In KatharSys, your attributes range from 1 to 6 and your skills 0-6. Slap the two together, and you have your dicepool to look for successes in.

Attributes

“Best be described as genetic predispositions,” the Attributes are six in number and the book claims that all of them are equally important. They are:

BODY: Am strong, enduring and impressive.

AGILITY: Dodge, shoot, do crafting better.

CHARISMA: your “authentic presence,” does negotiations and stuff.

INTELLECT: “enables abstract thinking and deep concentration,” it marks you as a HUGE NERD.

PSYCHE: willpower, but also lying and deception, and resistance to Primer.

INSTINCT: “Instinct guides our rudimentary reactions to outside influences, unleashes the beast within us. In a world without any measure, Instinct guarantees survival.”



A nerd kidnaps a child to dress him into jokey DnD T-shirts, 2019 (colorized)

Notation

Side-section! Skills in the book are usually referred to as Attribute+Skill, like BOD+Force (and marked out with a >, like “>BOD+Force). Here's how they're abbreviated:

BOD – Body
AGI – Agility
CHA – Charisma
INT – Intellect
PSY – Psyche
INS – Instinct

Next time: Jay is skilled at turning tricks behind the old cinema.

Game Mechanics, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Game Mechanics, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 5: Game Mechanics



The Skills

Skills ain't nothin’ but tricks and snitches. Or, rather, they don't work without attributes. “Dexterity is nothing without Agility,” says the book.

Action types are broken down into categories:

ACTION: when character actively does something.
REACTION: roll passive awareness, basically.
COMBINATION: probably the most interesting bit, as it deals with combining skills : “Judge is more easily deceived (PSY+Deception) by a distinguished choice of words (CHA+Expression), while an ambush (AGI+Stealth, followed by BOD+Melee) becomes an assassination attack.”

Specialties: some skills may have qualifiers. I guess these are your Exotic Weapon Proficiences. Those are additional, hard mechanical effects some skills have.

I think attributes have 6 skills each. I'm not gonna go into full detail on each, tho.

BODY

Example:

Brawl posted:

The fist, the elbow, and the knee are weapons humans are born with. They cannot be stolen, they cannot jam, and they are always at hand. They push down enemies, make them gasp for breath; they break ribs. The more trained the fighter, the faster he will get through his enemy’s defense to strike his throat or spleen. All these unarmed combat techniques are summarized under the Brawl Skill.
ACTION: Boxing; kicking; throwing; pit fighting
REACTION: Quitting a brawl; breaking strangleholds
COMBINATION: >PSY+Reaction: disarm

Athletics: am move good, also known as the skill you never wanted to invest in.
Force: being strong! Specialty is adding damage to your melee attacks. Can be combo-ed witg >PSY+Domination for intimidation.
Melee: the noble art of hitting people with things.
Stamina: do things longer, withstand poisons.
Toughness: being an impressive lump of flesh. Withstand pain – but not poisons – better. Specialty adds health.

AGILITY

Agility gets fucking weird.

Crafting: make shit good and evaluate shit. The Agility of the brain.
Dexterity: use your fingat real good; more for sleight of hand and Combo-ing with >AGI+Crafting than being God-stat.
Navigation: drive. It's drive. You use it to drive cars, planes and horses, evaluate vehicles and... “aligning heavy artillery?” Really?
Mobility: It's dodge. Mostly duplicates >BOD+Athletics stuff, but for shootmans who invest in Agility instead of beatstick’s Body, which is a nice touch, I guess.
Projectiles: doing pew-pew. Combos with >AGI+Mobility for throwing grenades and >AGI+Navigation for Mad Max car combat.
Stealth: doing a sneak as well as detecting sounds.


Only one image today, but it's aaa-dorable.

CHARISMA

Art: literally anything that can be called an art, from dancing to sculpture. Combine with >AGI+Crafting to make art more expensive. Well, that seems useless.
Conduct: etiquette and knowing how not to stuff your foot into your mouth.
Expression: doing jazz spoken word and speaking in general. Probably beloved by all Palers out there. Combo with >CHA+Art to become a pop star.
Leadership: leading people. Combo with >BOD+Melee/>AGI+Projectiles to do combat tactics or >AGI+Navigation for herding. *Terrible Mount&Blade herding flashbacks*
Negotiation: diplomacy and trade.
Seduction: passes the Jeff test by actually being Charm-Interrogation rather than Sexhaving: The Skill. Includes “turning tricks” as one of the actions, which is, ugh, amazing. Reactions are all KINETIC RESPONSE TO PUA-TYPE ACTIVITIES: “Counter-flirting; resistance against flattery; recognizing and countering seductive trick.” It's hilarious and I love it.

INTELLECT

Artifact lore: you know how to identify, use and repair Juuls, furbies and other numenera artifacts the Bygone people left behind.
Engineering: Doing a technology thing. The Specialty points out that it’s the high-tech equivalent of doing >AGI+Craft to improve weapons.
Focus: do thing extremely better; Combos with >INT+Medicine for surgeries, >AGI+Shooting for sharpshooting, etc. Interestingly enough, you have to choose this or >INS+Primal, since they both provide Ego points and can’t be raised outside chargen.
Legends: know history.
Medicine: you know how to heal people, and you can Combo it for pharmacy/crafting purposes.
Science: MASSIVE NERD. Active uses include reading, writing and maths. Reactions include being a logic-bro (“Uncovering logical errors”), Combinations involve stuff ranging from CSI to drafting building blueprints.

PSYCHE

Cunning:

quote:

Truth is the lover of the cunning one. She bends under his caress, and when she breaks, her ugly sister, the lie, steps in. Both lead him to his goal without his victims being any wiser.
More like cunning-lingus, amirite?
Deception: lies, disguises and forgery.
Domination: intimidate, terrorize, subjugate. Counter influences and set pecking order as reaction.
Faith: skill related to the specific religion you belong to (also, “the atheist relies on his free will, but
faith can move mountains.”) and does jack shit for other faiths. You do your religion better. Does not combine with >PSY+Willpower and you have to choose one of them. Faith defends against mental influences and spore infestation.
Reaction: Initiative (at least as a Specialty). Combos with others for surprise attacks, quick draws and the like.
Willpower: at this moment, you are euphoric. Lists actions like “self-conquest” and “austerity.” Also/unlike >PSY+Faith, it counters (instead of defending against) mental manipulation (not influences) and the effects (not results) of spore infestation. So, naturalist language strikes again: we don’t really know if there’s a functional difference between the two.

INSTINCT

Empathy: for some reason, the ability to understand what others are feeling combos with >INT+Medicine to “impart salvation.”
Orienteering: remember, >AGI+Navigation allows you to ride a horse while >INS+Orienteering allows you to know where to ride it. The two combo to allow you to ride safely.
Perception: spot hidden.
Primal: GOING BEAST-MODE ON THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS:

quote:

Those who dedicate themselves to the Primal Skill feel the beast snarl inside them and throw itself against the bars of reason. Primal ferocity breaks free from its prison. Once Primal is set free, the good and the bad aspects of self rage in a firestorm, burning away any thought of caution and planning. Instead, passion, the willingness to make sacrifices, violence, and rage take over—the beast is free to race across the plains. The mind does not control the hand anymore; that is the heart’s job now.
As an Action, you can, ugh, rage and intimidate enemies. As a Reaction, you can suppress rational fears, such as “being a raging lunatic is probably a bad idea.” You have to choose between this or >INT+Focus for your Ego points, whatever those are. Unlike >PSY+Faith and >PSY+Willpower,
Survival: hunting, gathering and doing other Survival stuff.
Taming: befriending shrews and “REACTION: Showing strength to an attacking animal and thus unsettling it.”

Game Mechanics chapter is 15 pages long. Skills take up 6 of them.

Next time: dice mechanics that survived the Eschaton

Game Mechanics, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 5: Game Mechanics, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 5: Game Mechanics


Action Number

KatharSys is a dicepool system. In it, “Action Number” stands for... your pool of d6 dice. The book says – once again – that skill is nothing without attributes, so AN is generally Attribute + Skill. Sometimes, the pool might be bigger or smaller depending on variables (wounds, weather, whatever).

So, for Toughness stuff, you roll >BOD+Toughness amount of dice. For shooting, >AGI+Projectiles.

A Question of Success – The Dice

So, how do you succeed in KatharSys? By rolling dice and counting every 4+ roll as a Success. Another thing is that when your pool – er, Action Number is larger than 12, you only roll 12 dice, with the excess ones automatically transforming into successes.

Difficulty chart suggests the number of required successes for certain tasks. There are five levels of difficulty, with Routine being 1 success, Difficult – 4, and Desperate Measures requiring 10.

However, we don't have any real examples to judge what counts as Routine or Difficult. That’s either good (as it doesn’t confuse the players and the GM with odd Word-of-God examples) or bad (since you have no guidance)

Anyways, in a published scenario, the difficulty level is always written out in brackets after the test in question, like INS+Taming (2).

Modifiers

Side section! Modifiers in Degenesis either give dice or take them away. So that's that.

Triggers

Triggers are crit successes. They only happen when your roll both succeeds and generates any 6s, which each 6 counting as a Trigger. We're given levels of Trigger results, from 1 being “solid” and 6 being “legendary.” The game is very vague about how Triggers impact your success, only that it makes things better. In combat, Triggers “bring lots of bonuses,” so we’ll have to wait till Combat section to find those out.

Failure

A Failure is what happens when you roll less than the required number of successes. However, if you not only fail, but also roll more 1s than successes, you Botch.

quote:

The Action takes a turn for the worse: if he was handling a precious artifact, he just happens to snap a small but absolutely important part; if he was leading a group through the Borcan wasteland using INS+Orienteering, he belatedly realizes that he was leading them right into the domain of the Gendos. In deals, a Botch doubles the original price; in combat, the fighter drops his blade.

Well, it's not “crit fail, you shit your pants,” but I understand that some people don't really like crit fails. Me, I dislike the vague language around Triggers and Botches.

Conflict

Conflict is how opposed rolls are called here. You just need to roll more successes than the other guy, Triggers break draws.

If the Triggers can't do it, you have to determine if the action is competition (as in sports or whatever), or a yes-or-no situation (like stalking a target). In a competition, a draw is possible. All other cases, the acting/active/initiating side has to succeed or lose – draws don't exist.

quote:

In a Conflict, often very different Skills clash: a young Magpie tries to lull a Chronicler using CHA+Seduction, but he counters with PSY+Faith or PSY+Willpower. Or a Clanner tries to see behind an Apocalyptic’s mask with INS+Empathy, which is being countered with PSY+Cunning.

The example for this is Falberg, the guy appearing in all the examples thus far (all of which I omitted), trying to buy Burn from an Apocalyptic. Since the Shitbirds are the worst people, he's actually pushing Discordia, which is supposed to bring madness instead of Burn high. The Shitbird rolls >PSI+Deception while Falberg tries to see through his lies with >INS+Empathy. Apocalyptic rolls three Successes, Falberg – three Successes and a Trigger.

He calls shenanigans - by which I mean that he draws a sword. Honestly, that's how every interaction with an Apocalyptic should end.

Combinations

Sometimes, you need something beefier than a regular Skill/Action roll. You need a combination.

Choice of Skills

I mentioned combos when I was outlining all of the damn skill. The book says that some combos will soon become very common depending on the type of character you play:

quote:

with Palers and Assassins, the combo AGI+Stealth/ BOD+Melee comes handy for ambushes; a Hellvetic sharpshooter delivers well aimed wide-range shots with INS+Perception/AGI+Projectiles.

The next two sentences go on to say that, actually, most Combinations take too long to be used in combat.

Rolling Combinations

How does a Combo work? Well, you roll the first skill. If you succeed, you roll the second. Triggers are summed up – so if you rolled any on the first skill, you add it to the ones you rolled on the second to get the total count. This makes combos very useful (says the book), because while the chance of failure may be bigger, the results of the action can be much more greater.

Here's our friend Falberg demonstrating a Combination while pursuing a Voivode scout he noticed in some Balkhani ruin:

quote:

Falberg has only one chance to try to hit the stranger with his sword from horseback before he disappears between the ruins. He attempts the Combo AGI+Navigation/BOD+Melee: he keeps his mount on track with one hand and his thighs while raising his sword with the other hand. Galloping towards a running target results in a Difficulty of 4. Falberg is a good rider, rolling 5 Successes and 2 Triggers on an Action roll on AGI+Navigation. Yes!
Dirt flies from under the horse’s hooves; rider and animal move in perfect unison. Steel flashes down. The Action roll on BOD+Melee results in 6 Successes and 1 Trigger. The Action succeeds, and the Triggers from the first roll are added to the 1 from the second roll, resulting in 3 Triggers overall: Falberg uses the momentum of his charge. The sword cuts a bloody swath.



Complex Actions

What game doesn't have complex actions? In Degenesis, they work the same as anywhere else. You have a target amount of successes to achieve by spamming certain actions. Triggers count as two successes.

In Combat, the character usually can't fight while doing a complex action, so it's imperative to get as many successes as fast as possible. On the other hand, combat rounds only last 4 seconds each, which... possibly helps? Outside of combat, the GM determines the skill, successes needed, and how long a round is.

…unless the roll would be boring:

quote:

Outside of dangerous conflicts, rolling for a certain number of Successes usually is neither exciting nor necessary: a heavy door will finally break under enough kicks, and it does not matter for the rest of the story if it took 10 seconds or 5 minutes. If the Game Master and his players enjoy rolling dice, the Game Master can allow 1 roll covering the whole Action. If it fails, the Characters can try again after a short break.

Well, that is some good, if basic, advance there. Game Masters are told to remember that all rolls – both successes and failures – have to have some sort of consequences.

Cooperation

Cooperation happens in two ways: in complex actions, people pool their successes, while people assisting a character with a regular action give him a dice per Trigger. However, if I'm reading this right, each additional helper rolls at +11 difficulty.

In conclusion: so that’s your skill system! It seems easy enough: you have to dice, and the modifiers don’t fuck with target numbers or anything, just the number of dice. I’m not good enough at math to figure the curves out, and we don’t know what the average stats of a Degenesis char are yet. I think the vagueness and potential overlap of the skill system may confuse some players – while others would probably see potential to maybe do more with their skillset than it would generally seem possible. The fact that some skill titles choices are somewhat questionable doesn’t help.

Next time: before you do a Combat, you need to create a character!

Character Creation

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 6: Character Creation



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation




Protagonists

Before you dive into generating your character, you should sit down with your GM to answer a few questions about the campaign.

So I'm guessing we're getting the exact opposite of WFRP 4e's “420-roll-it” approach.

What will be the game's topic?

I guess this answers the “what are the players supposed to do in this setting” question. This step is probably discussed will all of the players. That way, you narrow the campaign’s focus the fuck down: where the game will take place (Europe, Africa, both?), will the characters do much traveling, how much fighting is to be expected, etc..

You know, just because you have a giant sprawling setting doesn't mean you can't run your campaign in a single city. I wish more people got that.


You'd think they'd have more dignified surroundings for this.

There's also the question of genre:

quote:

Psychonauts embody horror. Crime stories develop in places where the human condition holds sway. When Cults collide and the power structure threatens to give under the pressure, we have a thriller. When the Sleepers or Pollen’s weird Fractal Forests come into play, we have arrived at mystery. Do the players want to portray normal people in the harsh daily routine of Degenesis? Or do they want to become heroes—or criminals?


While you can argue how much horror is there in fighting Psychonauts, it's the part I bolded that's weird for me: if you're a member of a Cult, you're already something other than the “normal people” of the setting (except for maybe Clanners). There's really no common-commoner class.

Anyway, this is also the step where the GM writes down the player's wishes and makes a schedule, which is a list of character goals, I guess? It says that the schedule will change with the game and it doesn't have to be more than a sketch at this point.

Why this group?

A Spitalian, an Apocalyptic, a Jehammedan and an Anabaptist walk in the bar. Why aren't they killing each other? That's where you determine why the group is together. The four suggestions here is being related, being friends, being in the same trouble together, or just being mercs.

Who plays whom?

This bit is about avoiding crippling yourself by making a party of four engineers with no social or combat skills. Most Cults can cover several roles. Here's the checklist for a good party:

Two Damage Dealers
They punch shit: Hellvetics, Judges, Scourges, Anabaptists, Jehammedans and Clanners. It notes that Spitalian Preservists get good at ranged in the late game, but I doubt that's something a starting party has to take into account.

At Least One Support
Buff your dudes or weaken enemies from range: Spitalians and Chroniclers.

Spy or Assassin
Rogue: Palers, Scrappers and Apocalyptics. Considering what jerks two of those Cults are...

Healer
Healer: Spitalian, but an Anabaptist Elysian or Anubian can do. Seeing how only Spitalians are strongly recommended, this almost feels like niche/waifu protection.

Silvertongue
Face: Neilibyans, Judges and Apocalyptics. So Judges.

Spark of Life

A very strange side-section which says that the players should now know how their team is supposed to work... but that they should also read the rules before continuing with the char creation.

Special Skills

Remember when the Skill section first mentioned that Primal and Focus as well as Faith and Willpower are mutually exclusive?

Primal and Focus

Primal means you're driven by feelings, Focus – that you like to tell people how rational you are. (INS+Primal or INS+ Focus)*2 determines your ego points, which are like fate points? I guess? Your pool can lowered by social and mental attacks, and you get demoralized if it reaches 0 (we'll find out what that means in the Combat section).

The influence is mostly roleplaying, says the book, but it also impacts access to Attributes and Skills. We're advised to flip 71 pages ahead to find out what that actually means.

Faith and Willpower

INS+Faith or INS+Willpower is your mental defense. That's it, lol.



The virgin Spitalian vs. the chad Anabaptist

Character Generation Overview

This is a side section!

1. CHOOSE CULTURE, CONCEPT AND CULT

This is when you note down skill and attributes

2. SPEND POINTS

You can spend 10 points on Attributes and 28 on skills. The “max” is 2, but your Culture, Concept and Cult can raise those by +1 each (so I guess you can walk out with max 5 in an Attribute or Skill)

3. SPEND POINTS ON BACKGROUNDS

You have 4 points and 6 backgrounds to choose from; no going over 3 in a trait.

4. DETERMINE RANK

Remember when I was confused as to what a char is supposed to do as a 16yo newbie Chronicler? This bit solves that. You climb ranks in a Cult until your stats are not enough to qualify for the next. This awards you gear and stuff.

I'm sure this won't lead to terrible balance issues down the line.

5. CHOOSE POTENTIAL

You get a level in a Culture/Clan Potential. No idea what that is.

6. FINISHING TOUCHES

Pasting Mr. Proper as the character portrait for you Spitalian.

Anyways, back to the main-section land, where the above details are expanded upon.

The Character Sheet

It's explained that every player needs a character sheet and that's where you write down your character's stats. It's highly unlikely that Degenesis is your first RPG, so I doubt the utility of this bit.

The Human

Note down name, age, sex, height, weight; none of it matters mechanically (we'll see if that holds true when we get to the more... interesting Jehammedan ranks).

Attributes and Skills

Same as mentioned in the side section. Attributes all start at 1 already, so you spend those 10 points however you want; however, the max is still set at 2, so you best hope your Cult, Culture and Concept will give you enough of a ceiling to allow you to spend all the points. But yes, when any of the CCCs give you an Attribute or Skill bonus, that's just a bonus of how high you can raise them.

So essentially, you spend your points after you choose Culture and such. Could have worded that better, book.

Culture

Here's where you choose your culture (region) and get your bonuses.

quote:

Some combos of Culture and Cult are uncommon, but not impossible; not all Cults are present in every Culture. In the list, you will find the Cults commonly encountered in the respective Cultures. A Character does not have to adhere to this, but an African Jehammedan needs a damn good explanation.

I'd say a Pollner Scourger would be a harder concept to pull off, but that's just me.

What follows is a table of Cultures and their associated Common Cults, Attribute Bonus and Skill Bonus.

Here's Africa (an obscure micronation):



Interesting bits: Apocalyptics, Scrappers and Clanners can be found everywhere. The African Cults are also present in Hybrispania. Palers are limited to Balkans and Hybrispania.

Concepts

The part about Concepts is a bit insane, since we have paragraph or more on each of the 22 Concepts (based on Apocalyptic tarot). Mechanically, you get the Skill/Attribute bonuses that Concept gives as well as +2D to an Action once per day when acting according to your concept. This seems too small a thing to waste that much space on.

Personality Patterns

This side-section explains that Concepts basically exist as a scientific thing in the world of Degenesis. They emerged from a Chronicler big data surveillance project that compared their sensor data to whatever leftovers of Stream they had at hand.

quote:

Over 100 years ago, data sets of alleged personality patterns activated a cascade of 22 symbols. Every pattern related to exactly one symbol. A Chronicler’s dream became reality. The Stream had revealed to them that humans were classifiable into 22 groups! How much easier could it get? The Stream reactions died down after minutes, but from this point on, the symbols were rooted in the Chroniclers’ minds. Years later, Chroniclers saw the same symbols on the cards of the Apocalyptic tarot. They were identical, and they were 22 again. They were definitely onto something very big here.

Chroniclers are really too excited about rediscovering Meyers-Briggs (all of them are INTJ, btw).

Back to the main sections, the 22 Concepts and descriptions follow. How do y'all want me to do it? I don't want to c/p the entire thing!

Next time: So, my character concept is “a good Apocalyptic” and

Character Creation, pt. 2

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 6: Character Creation, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation


When doing an FnF, there's always the question of how detailed you want to go. Now, simply writing everything down is boring (and probably close to copyright violation), while going very abstract feels unsatisfactory. I'm striving for information level close to what Unhallowed Metropolis' FnF was, I guess.

Anyways, I'll strike an unhappy medium by detailing the character concepts requested by forum poster Nessus, as well as the Abomination, since it's terrible. I'll give a brief description for the rest.

Do remember that the +'s only raise the cap, not actually add to said stat.

0. Adventurer – you're doing the adventure thing because settling down is boring.

I. The Creator - The Magician in IRL tarot

quote:

Everything crumbles. Humans simply die. Only their buildings and inventions, the knowledge from their lifetime, survives. The need to leave their legacy, to keep their name from being forgotten, is what drives Creators. They are constantly working meticulously, seeking the biggest challenges to prove themselves worthy by mastering them. They build monoliths, construct defensive walls for villages, weld together pipes for irrigation systems, or consider the awakening of the Stream their life’s work.
Nothing motivates a Creator more than the desire to build a monument to his name through his endeavors.



+Agility, +(CHA) Arts, +(INT) Engineering

II. The Mentor – You seek immortality through being a link in a chain of mentors that continues through the ages. You hate people who use internet for cat pictures and not Coursera.

III. The Martyr – You're the Warhammer 40,000 Crusader or the war-like version of the Anabaptist Ascetic.

IV. The Ruler – A combo of a totalitarian dictator and micromanager. Your biggest fear is “assigning power and responsibility to others.”

V. The Seeker – The Hierophant IRL

quote:

Where do we come from, and where do we go? The questions of life and death vex the Seeker. He wants to unravel the mysteries of the world, dissect them down to the bones, ask questions no one has ever asked before—and answer them. What is behind the 2 to the power of 16 phenomenon? Where did the asteroids come from? What is the nature of the Primer? Was this really the first impact? The Seeker digs in the thicket of the past and in the labs of the present for explanations, but time is hot on his heels.

You're a player character!

+Intellect, +(INT) Artifact lore, +(INT) Science

VI. Healer – You want to fix stuff, be it wounds, broken tech or barren soil.

VII. The Traditionalist – The Chariot IRL

quote:

Order is safety; it separates the humans from the apes. It prevents humanity from wandering aimlessly and falling prey to the next pack of Gendos. Those who stay true to the traditions, honor the family and act accordingly, chase chaos from the world. Anarchy is anathema to the traditionalist. He implores people to look to the past when today’s questions are hard to bear. He clings to the ancient rules, never adapting them, no matter what happens. It would sweep him off his feet. He hates change, only wanting to guarantee continuity.

The Ben Shapiro archetype!

+Instinct, +(INT) Legends, +(CHA) Conduct

VIII. The Mediator – You’re a centrist diplomat who believes that “emotion should take second place to reason.”

IX. The Hermit – The Hermit IRL

quote:

People chatter all the time, so much so that every thought drowns in the sea of spoken inanities that constantly surround us. The hermit does not want companionship. He dislikes everybody. He does not want to communicate and is not interested in the stories of others. In a group, he always flees to the fringe, needing his distance from the din of the world. Life as a loner is so much better. No responsibility towards anybody: being left to his own devices makes the Hermit happy. Only in absolute solitude does he find peace.

If the Stream was still around, going on an adventure instead of drawing endless comics about introverts would be breaking character

+Instinct, +(INS) Survival, +(AGI) Stealth

X. The Heretic – You want to break down religion/civilization/tradition just cuz.



Here's an adorable callback to break up the text.

XI. The Conqueror – You’re a real life WAAC, morale be damned.

XII. The Abomination – Jared Leto wrote this while working on The Suicide Squad:

quote:

Some people have seen too much. Something within them has broken, guiding their thoughts down strange paths. No one wants to be around them. The ways of the Abomination disturb those who meet him. His proximity makes them shiver. He sucks in the fright he awakens in others like mother’s milk. It nourishes and disturbs him, adding to his weirdness. He loves getting lost in fantasies and seeing the fire of fear burn in his opponent’s eyes. When others realize that he has shed any civilized emotions like compassion or responsibility, they see a feral beast looking at them through his eyes. Madness squats in the Abomination’s brain. He is a clockwork bomb without clockwork. Tick tock.

This is probably the most up-their-own-arse concept in the chapter, and we already have The Conqueror.

+Psyche, +(PSY) Domination, +(BOD) Toughness

XIII. The Destroyer – You break down stuff to make place for something new to grow – or just because you hate it. The book isn't clear.

XIV. The Chosen – You're a cult leader high on his own farts, so you’re Jordan B. Peterson and such.

XV. The Defiler – You're mad that others have nice things.

XVI. The Protector – You will protect whatever you're determined to protect unto death. Legally distinct from the Martyr because you don't need to deny yourself when not protecting stuff.

XVII. The Visionary – The Star IRL

quote:

When knowledge finally steps out of time and into the foreground of reality, the Visionary has already seen it. He sees the course of the future, thinks decades ahead, accuses unbelievers, and implores people to be reasonable. He hopes to pave the way for a better tomorrow. His intellect and his visions determine humanity’s progress.

You probably have shares in Boring Co.

+Charisma, +(CHA) Seduction, +(PSY) Cunning

XVIII. The Zealot – Like The Martyr, but for religion/cause rather than people

XIX. The Disciple – You would really love to fall down an endless Wiki hole.

XX. The Righteous – You have the nuanced world views and action plans of Rorschach.

XXI. The Traveler – The World IRL.

quote:

The Traveler must wander the world to grow by experiencing it and its people. He collects impressions and experiences like others collect Gendo skulls, but he does not keep them to himself. He spreads good and bad news, connecting the hinterland to the metropolis, linking Clans and Cults. He is restless; he longs for the road.

The descriptions get a lot shorter towards the end of the list, lol.

+Instinct, +(INT) Legends, +(INS) Orienteering

So that's character concepts! Some of them have very subtle differences between categories. Me, I'm not a fan, since this step seems very much like encouraging system mastery/working towards building a power character.

Next time: being in the reclamation business is a lot like being in a Cult

Character Creation, pt. 3

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 6: Character Creation, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation


Cults

The thing Degenesis is crazy about! Cults! Your character belongs to a Cult, either by birth or by choice.

quote:

The Character starts at the bottom of the food chain. As a Spitalian, he starts as a Recruit. As a Chronicler, he starts as a Bit. His Skills—and his background (explained later in this chapter)—decide if he rises in rank and into which one. Through clever choice of Attributes and Skills, Characters can rise through the first two levels during Character creation.

Only two ranks? We'll see about that!

Still, the implication is there that you may end up with only a single rank, which is, as you all remember, essentially “child labor under the supervision of a Cult-appropriate Fagin.”

Rising ranks in a Cult allows you to earn Cult Potentials as well as Cult gear.

Clanners

So you know how I said that there's no peasant-peasant Cult? Well, this side section says that Clanners are the “the populace, the farmers, gatherers and hunters.” Which is... interesting when you always see uppity Clanners outlined as one of the dangers to civilization.

Anyways, Clanners! The side section says that they're not a homogenous group; you should choose your clan from Chapter 10 or make up your own (the rank guide later on should give you hints on how to do that). The Clanner statline here represents your regular caveman; if your dudes are more tech adept (like the Enemoi, whatever they are), you might have to ask the GM to give you a different set of skills.

Six Backgrounds

These aren't backgrounds as you'd understand it. Rather, they're like Cult resources that determine how high and mighty you are. There's 6 of them, and like everything else in the game, they're ranked from 0 to 6. You get 4 points to raise them at chargen – at this point no Background can go over 3. Unlike skills and attributes, Backgrounds are not raised with XP; you'll have to work with your Cult to increase them (so it's either roleplaying or Mother-May-I, depending on how you viewsuch things).

Allies

An Allies score means having friends in the Cult. They're basically your real buddies who don't care about your social standing.

Use: when you meet members of your Cult, you can recruit them. Allies score determines number and rank of recruits. 5-6 means you can pull some high-level help.

Gain/Loss: Depends on characters ethical/moral disposition. If you betray your morals/cult, if you don't help your allies when they ask you, you will be abandoned.

Authority

Authority measures how highly your char is regarded in the Cult. This is your social standing.

Use: making Cult members fall in line in social conflicts or just getting them to do shit.

quote:

Most often, it is used in conjunction with CHA+Leadership, CHA+Negotiation, and PSY+Domination.

Gain/Loss: Never. Stop. Husslin. Authority only retains its level if you're constantly working on proving it. It rises as you compete with other ranking members. Welcome back to high-school!

Renown

You're known for being the paragon of your Cult's values. I guess that means that you're the biggest asshole if you're an Apocalyptic.

Use: if you're a high renown character, people want to “break their bread with them” and offer aid. Somewhat like passive authority, I guess.

Gain/Loss: the book itself states that you don't have hustle like with the Authority score. People already idealize you. You just have to keep on the straight and narrow.

Resources

How willing your Cult is to give you the good Cult shit.

Use: We're told that in Chapter 8, we'll notice that each Cult item has a price and Resource cost. Price only applies when buying stuff; Resource means that you can take it from your Cult stache. Don't know how that works for Scrappers. Maybe you know the best hobo hiding spots.

quote:

If the Character’s Resource score is equal to the object’s value, the same is true. However, the Character’s Resources are reduced by 1.

I guess this means that taking anything under the Resource score doesn't impact it.

Oh, an Resource 5-6 items are only available at the Cult HQ. Can't wait to find out what's considered to be the Shitbird or Clanner central!

Gain/Loss: you gain them by fulfilling missions and tasks that helps the Cult. You lose it if you become known for wasting it (like taking a bunch of things below your Resources value to sell).

Secrets

How well-versed are you in the edgy bullshit from the first book?

quote:

The Anubian rites are only mumbo-jumbo to hide the truth from the eyes of the villagers. What kind of influence would they hold if everyone knew that?

Under the Cathedral, manuscripts detailing every step of Rebus, the Cult’s founder, are stored. They permit for other interpretations than the official ones lived these days.

Use: you can finally tell what's the motivation behind the orders of your superiors – finally, you can really know if Iraq was invaded for oil! You also know about hidden/abandoned facilities (bonus on INS+Orienteering – but I guess only when you're looking for those). You also get bonus on INT+Legends roll to impress Paler ladies with your cryptic hints about MEMETICS as you know about your Cult’s secrets (such as the Scrapper secret of faaart). It also emcompases the knowledge of shady dealings of corrupt cultists.

quote:

A high Secrets score reveals shortcuts and promises additional information during the game.

Gain/Loss: you gain secrets from dying mentors and such. You may get waxed if you appear dangerous in your knowledge. And you may lose points of secrets if you keep telling everyone about Anubian religion being false or whatever.

Network

Your contacts outside of your own/in other Cults

Use: Information gathering?

Gain/Loss: Be a good person, help your friends and they'll help you. Be a bastard and shithead and people will not like you anymore.

Assigning Points

quote:

Now that all bonuses are clear, the player can assign points to Attributes and Skills and must decide between Primal or Focus and between Faith or Willpower.

Well, that's a lot clearer now!

Potentials

Potentials, separated into Cult and general, are your fancy super powers, rule-breaking abilities and such. Each has three levels. You start with 1 at Level 1.

Ranks

Time to climb the corporate ladder! You always start at Rank I and each cult only has one of those (Jehammedans and Apocalyptics are singled out as the only ones to have different choices due to cultural/sex reasons).

Ranks have prerequisites in backgrounds and Skills (well, the Attribute+Skill score). You don't lose Rank if you experience Skill loss. Rank bonuses come in the shape of duties (doubtful bonus), rights and Cult equipment (which you can keep).

You have to follow the Rank tree, so no grabbing Rank from other branches, skipping ranks and so on. Special rules are usually only applicable to the current rank.

So this solves the issue of “how are you gonna work a Spitalian recruit, literally a dumb teen, into the game?” I raised earlier: unless you screwed chargen terribly bad, you should be able to get three ranks at the word go.

Next time: I’ll re-read the chargen rules so that we could see how far we can take a starting Spitalian!

Character Creation, pt. 4

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 6: Character Creation, pt. 4

Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation


Back in page 9 of Katharsys, a side-section on notation said that whenever you see '+' when a Skill is written out (that is, INT+Medicine and shit), it means you add up the Attribute and Skill to get the Action Number.

With that in mind, lets build a Spitalian, Johann, to see how far we can go.

The first rank of Spitalian is Recruit. You need fuck all for that as you're just some dumb teen who likes being around sick people.

The second rank of Spitalian is Orderly.. You need INT+Medicine 4 (not too dumb to heal people) and BOD+Stamina 4 (for running around and carrying out orders).

The third rank of Spitalian is Famulancer. You need BOD+Toughness 4 (to survive Post-Eschaton measles you got after Lyknn bit you in the Annex), INT+Medicine 4 (“yep, that's turbo polio”), and INT+Science 4 (for defending vaccination offline).


RIP to a real one. Had he been an Apocalyptic, his body would have been thrown in a roadside ditch.


So, we start first by choosing the Culture of our birth. We settle with Hybrispania as it's the most beneficial European region for Spitalians (Africa could be better, depending on whether you want AGI or BOD). Ironically enough, Borca is nearly useless.

I assume Pre-Eschaton Germans liked to get drunk on Spanish beaches just like current ones do, so that's where Johann's name comes.

Being faux-Spaniards, we get +1 limit to
Attributes
Intelligence (2->3)
Agility (2->3)
Skills
Melee (2->3)
Mobility (2->3)
Medicine (2->3)
Stealth (2->3)
Orienteering (2->3)

Then we have to choose one of the Apocalyptic-tarot derived character concepts. We're gonna go with Seeker for Johann:

quote:


V. The Seeker – The Hierophant IRL

quote:

Where do we come from, and where do we go? The questions of life and death vex the Seeker. He wants to unravel the mysteries of the world, dissect them down to the bones, ask questions no one has ever asked before—and answer them. What is behind the 2 to the power of 16 phenomenon? Where did the asteroids come from? What is the nature of the Primer? Was this really the first impact? The Seeker digs in the thicket of the past and in the labs of the present for explanations, but time is hot on his heels.

You're a player character!

Being protagonists Legiones Astartes operators Seekers, we get +1 limit to
Attributes
Intelligence (3->4)
Skills
Artifact Lore (2->3)
Science (2->3)

Now, we just gave to choose a Cult, which is kinda obvious at this point.

Being Spitalians, we get +1 limit to
Skills
Toughness (2->3)
Medicine (3->4)
Faith/Will (2->3)
Science (3->4)
Perception (2->3)

That's right, Cults don't give any Attribute bonuses.

Now remember, Attributes all start at 1, and we have 10 points to spend on Johann. Here's how it looks in action:

(3) Agility 3
(2) Instinct 2
(4) Intellect 4
(2) Charisma 2
(2) Psyche 2
(2) Body 2

On the other hand, Skills start at 0 and we have 28 points to spend. Here's how we do it:

(4) Medicine 4
(4) Science 4
(3) Melee 3
(3) Stealth 3
(3) Toughness 3
(3) Orienteering 2
(3) Artifact Lore 1
(3) Faith 3
(3) Perception 3
(2) Primal 2

After spending skill points, you spend your Backgrounds: you have 4 points and 6 Backgrounds.

Johann takes
Renown 2
Resources 2


Johann here looking mighty fine. Lyknn won't know what hit him.

Not all character art is this SFW, btw.

Backgrounds is one of the hard caps preventing you from starting at rank 4.

This is where you need to start thinking ahead as many rank 4 classes have Background requirements that go beyond chargen limits.

For example, Field Medics need INT+Medicine 8 (We're good, as we're Int 4, Medicine 4), Renown 2, Resources 2, Network 2 (6 point in Backgrounds when you start with 4).

If you wanted to go shitkicker route and choose Preservist, you're SOL.

The first requirement is “appointed after some outstanding combat against the Spital’s enemies.” Then you need BOD+Melee 8 (we're at 5 now), AGI+Mobility 6 (3), BOD+Toughness 6 (5) and Resources 4 (you can't jam more than 3 in a single Background at start).

Now, let's look at what neat shit we get from climbing the ranks of Combat Doctor: Medic Harder.

As a Recruit, we get the Manual. It's an illustrated "Medicine for Dummies" book which gives +1D to INT+Medicine Rolls as long as your Medicine is 2 or less. It's immediately useless for us, as we're hitting INT+Medicine 8 as Famulancer. Maybe you can give it to the secondary medical character in the group, or roleplay a comical moment where the Spitalian is injured and some Clanner fuck has to heal him by flipping through the book. You also get a leather apron.

As an Orderly, we get a permanent +1D on rolls against illnesses. We also receive the Spitalian Suit, immediately becoming the fetish star of the wasteland.

As a Famulancer, we are said to be appreciated in the Protectorate, which means we get free food in territory (no, there are no hard mechanical components to this). It's also said that if we don't choose a medical specialization soon, we might get sent to be a Preservist or to “help allies” (the Village Medic rank). On the more solid side, we get a Splayer (the Spitalian spear) with a Mollusk (the mutant-sensing muscle slab) and one other attachment, as well as a fungicide rifle.

Oh, and we have a single level 1 Potential, which are as-of-yet undetailed super powers.

Next time:Potentials and derivatives

Character Creation, pt. 5

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 6: Character Creation, pt. 5



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation


Potentials

They come in generic and Cult forms. The write-ups are dogshit, like the worst of FFG's 40K book stuff, mixing fluff and mechanics willy-nilly.

Anyway, here are the Potentials available to Spitalians:

Splaying: mastery of the spear. For two Triggers (rolls of 6), a Spitalian gets +1D to defense and +1 to handling (?). If you get two Twiggers next turn, the bonuses increase, and so on, up to the level of the Potential. If you don't continue the Trigger chain, you lose the bonuses. Does not combine with Splayer's “Cutting” ability.

Phalanx: if you have at least one other “flank man” with a Splayer or a polearm, your get +1D to defense per buddy, up to the level of Potential. If you defend with 2 Triggers, it counts as an attack that does T in damage – the enemy charged the pike wall and lost. Combos with “Cutting.” However, Phalanx is only free on the first turn of combat – later on, you need a combat-free turn to reorganize. So you can't really aggressive-turtle a Clanner mob dead.

Preservalis: Preservists-only. Do a difficult attack with a sword. If you succeed, you “fire a contact shot, ignoring the enemy armor.” The fluff says that it's the Preservist stabbing the enemy and then shooting them at point blank with their pistol. However, it's terribly described in game terms, to the point where you can argue whether you really need a gun or whether the “contact shot” needs a to-hit roll.

Last Bastion: you read enough books about killing Psychonauts that you get Triggers equal to the level of Last Bastion when fighting them.

Kranzler's Teaching: you need to have Focus (instead of Primal). Kranzler hates Psychonauts so much, their bullshit doesn't effect him. You know his teaching and you're immune to “Psychonautic influences” for turns equal to the Potential level.

The Last Farewell: Needs Primal. Spital was the only one to stand against humanity's enemies. And now that you're entire team is KO'd, so are you.

quote:

For 6 combat rounds, he gets +1D per level on attack and defense rolls. His passive defense rises by +1 per level, as well as the damage he does.

See, that's the kind of vague descriptions we have to deal with. The fact that you need your entire team to be KO'd is only mentioned in the fluff bit and the last paragraph that states that this Potential ends once a companion regains consciousness and rejoins the fight (what happens if they run away instead?).


After chancing upon a nest of wild barrels, he killed the mother-barrel and made it into his house. Her progeny, now enslaved, guard his loot.

About 50 pages later, we get to generic Potentials. They're a crapshoot, but you could probably guess that after reading through the Spitalian ones.

Asceticism allows you to “skip one meal per Potential level (at least once per day) without penalties.”

Elephant Skin represents your skin being fucked up and healed so many times that acts like ugly armor: you get +1 armor/-1D to CHA+Seduction per level.

Sleek gives +1D per level to escape grapples.

Yeah.

Final Touches

Here's where you name the character and do derived stats. The character building examples already showed the player actually not being able to build up Mediator-rank Chronicler, which makes his chosen Nova Potential “obsolete” (pretty sure they mean that he can't use it yet). He could ask the GM to change it (and GM should allow it, at least by the book), but he soldiers on and hopes to get to Monitor as soon as he can.

He's sort of an idiot.

Ego

Your brain/mind/soul HP. It's INT+Focus or INS+Primal x 2. You regain it by getting high on Burn, using certain Potentials or acting like your concept. Since I went dumb with Johann (INS 2, Primal 2), he has 8. If I had sunk those points into Focus, he'd be rocking 12 Ego (INT 4, Focus 2).

Physical condition

This is your wounds and shit.

Spore Infestation

Spores infest your body, sure, but your spore max (before you become Leperos, a carrier) actually depends on PSY+Willpower/Faith. Not very physical – you can Sororitas that alien shroom bullshit away.

Johann, not being a Sister of Battle, only has 4. PSY isn't a focus skill for Doktor Wehrman, which is interesting.

Flesh Wounds

BOD+Toughness x 2.

That's 10 for Johann (BOD 2, Toughness 3).

The chargen example for Trauma states that it's enough to withstand getting shot by musket – once. Not great!

Trauma

Trauma is when wounds get serious. It's BOD+PSY. We have no idea what it does yet.

Johann is traumatized at 4. I dunno if it's some limit for when Flesh Wounds run out or how many Flesh Wounds you need to lose to start hurtin'.

Defense

If you're not in active Conflict (say, you were surprised), your Passive Defense is 1, unless you raise it with Potentials or whatver.

Dinars and Chronicler Drafts

The amount of dough you start with depends on your
*rank
*Resources Backgrounds
*Clan

You add up the first two and multiply it by the rank modifier. Of Europeans, Apocalyptics are richest, getting x 200 CD. Many are poorer. Spitalians are x 100 CD. Chroniclers are x 128 CD – the only ones to get an irregular number like that – because something something kilobytes. Africans get dinars instead. Neolybians start with x 1000, the rest – x 100.

Neolibyans, being the enemy of the working classes and parasites upon the society, are filthy rich, as dinar is converted to CD at a ratio of 1:1.

Johann would have 1000 CD if I invested 2 Background points into resources.

Equipment

You already have some gear from rising in Ranks. Now you can flip a few chapters ahead to “Bazaar” and buy shit. This is the only time when market/location modifiers don't matter. The example character spends 155 of his 384 CD on a water filter, blanket and matches. They describe him as not being rich enough to buy a weapon yet. Yeah... Imagine how the lads that get x 50 CD will fare!


Incidentally, they did include the finished charsheet for the dumbest Chronicler.

Weapons and Armor

Weapons and armor might have stats! See Chapter 7 “Battle” to see what they mean.

Experience and Progression

Experience

Characters gain XP! This is very instructive to the three people that chose Degenesis as their first elfgame.

quote:

At the end of every gaming session, the GM awards experience points (XP) for mastered challenges and great feats, but also for instructive defeats. For suggestions concerning this see “Adventure Development” on page 314.

Since the Degenesis doesn't seem to have levels, you will be constantly adjusting your XP score as you get points and spend them to upgrade your character.

Raising Attributes and Skills

This is a fuck you to you everyone who built their character without reading the chapter in full. You see, the price to raise a skill or attribute depends on whether you went with Focus or Primal. Primal favors/makes BOD, CHA and INS stuff cheaper, Focus – INT, AGI and PSY.

So if Johann wants to be Punch Doctor more than Heal Doctor, he's on the right path. Otherwise...

To raise an attribute, you pay New Rank x 12 XP (x 10 if favored), while skills cost New Rank x 5 XP (x 4 if favored).

At least the discount isn't large enough to make raising stuff outside your wheelhouse be prohibitively expensive.

You can't raise the level of Skill and Attribute over 6. Johann is 122 XP away from maxing out IN (would be 110 if he had gone into Focus).

The example talks about the XP that the example character needs to spend to gain the level of Artifact Lore to rank up to Monitor. Like a dumbshit, he's a Chronicler with Primal, so it's not too cheap.

Rising in Rank

But wait! Raising in Rank in your organisation isn't just receiving a notification on some Post-Eschaton Twitter. You get your level at your Cult's HQ – or in some appropriate place, since it's hard to say what Apocalyptic HQ would be.

quote:

However, the GM should incorporate the process of leveling up into the game: one last little trial; an obstacle to overcome; an unpopular opponent; a ceremony to remember: a Character gains this level only once and has earned the hubbub.

The team roots on the sidelines as a Chronicler has to defeat his life-long rival, the Redditor, in a match of De-Bate!

Potentials

Potentials are somewhat-powerful, so raising them isn't cheap. To raise the level of Potential, you add up all the levels of Potentials you have and multiply it by 10.
So if you're some dummy who took Ascetic I and Sleek I because you walk into every trap option you see, getting Elephant Skin I (because your team is begging you to get something useful) would cost you 2 x 10 = 20 XP.

Next time: the cutest Paler in all bunkerdom

Character Creation Bonus Content

posted by JcDent Original SA post

Chapter 6: Character Creation Bonus Content



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation


Palers

Specter, the Paler Rank 1, has a requirement of “born into darkness” which is some dumb shit with no mechanical backing. It's like some of the Jehammedan starter ranks demand you be born to a Saraeli or whatever – yeah, it's entirely in my background fluff and it costs nothing, so why the requirement? Is it just there to only enforce lore compliance?

Being in the dark all of the time, Palers get +2D to INS+Perception when actively listening or when someone is trying to sneak up on them. However, all this basement-dwelling gives them -1D to attack and defense in “bright sunlight”. They start out with a “Grim sun,” a talisman that gives +1D to mental defense.

The Rank 2 is split into three routes: Solar (not afraid of the sun anymore), Reviver (bunker-seeker) and Phantom (sneaky breeky). They also get Sun discs of various quality AND level. That's right, we're probably gonna have some dumb rules on discs going forward. Palers also get access to better gear sooner, with Phantoms getting a muffled (silenced?) SMG with a bayonet, +1D rounds per month (yes, gun-haver ranks get rounds as allowance – maybe that will be detailed more in the adventuring section) and a shock grenade.

However, you can't get Rank 3 in character creation. Aurora and Cyclops are barred behind Background requirements while Redeemer adds adventure requirements (awakening at least one bunker).

Most curiously, Auroras, being the ones who actually understand memetics/bunker systems, go full , where their Faith level transforms to their Willpower level.

Aspirants make up the 4th Rank. They have variable requirements ( CHA+Expression 10 or CHA+Seduction 10 or PSY+Domination 10; Authority or Renown 5) to represent this being the step during which an aspiring Demagogue chooses which way he'll manipulate people. In return, you can perfectly mimic a person's voice after 5 rounds of concentration... giving you +2D to PSY+Deception to dupe a listener. "The Getrell avatar of his bunker" updates his Sun Disc level, whatever that is. He gets to 2D for defense against being bamboozled by other Aspirants and Demagogues.

Now, if you rise up to Demagogue, at Rank 5, you can do all sorts of shit with your voice, becoming Michael Winslow in Police Academy, as well having “+3D to PSY+Deception, PSY+Domination, and CHA+Arts (Singing)” when using voice, and “also +3D to PSY+Cunning in the dark.”

However, if you're happy with tapping out at Rank 4, you can become a Halo... provided you can prove that your turned your back on the “false gods” and now follow a Sleeper Prophet (that is, one of the popsicles that are awake and fucking about).

You have five Prophets to choose from. They range from relatively simple shit of Diamondal (exploring lower levels of Exalt, they get +2D to Engineering and acess to the Free Spirit tech, whatever the fuck that is), to fluffy, fun but useless stuff from Trice (sje travels like beggar and marks good people so that her followers would help them, followers get +2D to INS+Empathy) to basically nothing from Ensceph (an angelic figure setting Palers against Sleepers, technically allows you to make godsbane weapons from the bones of Sleepers).



Palers are fully onboard the Ugly Guy, Hot Wife train.

Paler Potentials

Nighmare: super duper stealth attack. A Paler attacking from the shadows rolls AGI+Stealth vs. enemy's INS+Perception. If he wins, he gets Potential level in Triggers on that attack. At night, you get +1D/Potential level to AGI+Stealth. Do you have be undetected before the attack? Who knows!

Lament: needs Primal. A Paler lets out his fear as a scream. Roll INS+Primal, +1D per level of Lament. The result (amount of successes, I guess) is the Difficulty “all unprotected opponents” have to roll against with mental defenses. Failure incapacitates for a round. For every 3T the Paler got, incap extends for a round.

Your party members are also affected unless they have earplugs! Now, how many times per battle can you use this? Unknown! Stunlock them fuckers!

Alias: you can pretend to be a surface dweller. +1D per potential level to PSY+Deception to pretend that you're not a bunker Morlock.

Midnight Sun: needs Focus. Penalties to perception due to darkness, blindness or bad visual conditions is reduced by one per level, as can compensate with your other senses.

Chosen: needs Veterans of the Long War – I kid, I kid. Halo only. Your Sleeper Prophet likes you and your Authority and Secrets Backgrounds rise by one per Potential level.

Suggestor: needs mastery of English language and usage of words that definitely exist. Or being a Demagogue. If a Demagogue sneaks up to an unsuspecting victim (AGI+Stealth), they can use CHA+Negotation (+2D per Potential level) against their defenses to plant opinions in them as if they were a voice in their head. What does it actually do? Shrug, lol.

As you can see, much like other Potentials, this one is a grab-bag of abilities that are in no way balanced in usability.

So there you have it, those are the your bunker folks!

Next time: Battle or how to put Apocalyptics into the ground where they belong