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  • The Vandor Pe

    The Vandor People, The City of Refugees, Menedek.

    Menedek is a study in contrasts. Situated right next to a large lake and several hills, the city is an example of diametric opposites. There are tents, right next to shiny office buildings, whitewashed and covered in murals. Some are covered in a mishmash of colours and patched up clothing, right next to men wearing crisp and sharp business suits without a single crease. An advanced machine shop selling upgrade and repairs to your bionics could be situated next to a tent selling wood carvings and woven reed baskets. Pre-fabricated housing and mobile homes share space with tents that are nothing more than cloth draped over a stick, right next to buildings that would fit in a city tourism brochure. Men sell fish and hawk over jungle fowl just caught this morning alongside those selling bread and ice cream. A sewage system has been set up, and if you were not lucky, you caught a whiff as the sewers overflowed, even as it mixed with the smell of perfumes.

    The people here were once the dispossessed, the slaves, the downtrodden. And now, they stand strong and proud.

    ~

    The Nameless people once had their own land. Their own culture. Their own freedom. Their own name. Their own will. And their own destiny. However, that was long gone. The corporation, Titan, was a massive corporation that spanned a dozen planets, placed them within debt-slavery, and there was no more freedom for them. Their history, their name, their culture, their very names were wiped from them, and there was only Titan. Elders no longer told them rites. Their funeral processions were reduced to recycling and incineration. Mothers had 5 minutes to name their child, before TITAN technicians placed the bracelet with their serial numbers on the infant's wrist. Parent-child interaction was regulated, and extended families were broken up, and outsiders, more unlucky fellows mixed in to prevent any form of cohesion. They were sent to the worst, most dangerous, more treacherous jobs there were, in the TITAN owned factories on other planets and on non-national territory, working jobs best suited for automatons or more better compensated and protected workers.

    Chattel slaves in all but name. Covered in shining chrome and gleaming crystal, with shock collars and indoctrination instead of the whip, and microchips instead of brands. But slavery after all. It would have continued on indefinitely, until they were wiped out or disposed of. Another people out of ten thousands wiped out within the Multiverse. And then, a miracle happened. A demonic miracle. One of their number were exalted as an Infernal, Chosen of Hell. Champion of the oppressed and the downtrodden. Within a year, Titan's HQ was in ruins, its computers virus-laden, its champions in ruins, and its coffers long emptied. The people, the Vandor, were taken away in vast ships along with whoemver was under Titan's thrall, along with whatever that wasn't nailed down. Some separated at this point. Others went on, with no home to call their own, they sought to make their own.

    Life was bearable at first. Food was gathered, from a nearby lake and from the nearby forest. Equipment, materials, and supplies were sent in by people enhanced by Verdant Emptiness Endowment, a steady supply of elite personnel, and a web network of contacts spreading out the message to all whom had to flee due to war, famine, plague, Fair Folk Invasion, Ghost-stars, and all the other horrors of the multiverse. "Come to us." the message said. "We have stability and safety here. Justice. Food. Security. Protection from Fair folk. Come to us." And for a time, there seemed to be hope. A bastion where those who were weary and cold and hungry could put their feet up in safety, and where there was a refuge.

    That was ended by the hint of plague. Fire-Walker, a supernatural disease that transformed into its victims into burning white hot monsters that could tear a man limb to limb, and then exploding into a deadly infectious conflagration. In a week, support and popularity dried up, the refugee fleets turned away, and the ensuing quarantine crippled the fledgeling nation's economy. It seemed to be the end, even as the infernal proved unwilling to use purification by fire and sword to destroy the disease. It would have easily been the end of the entire endeavour as disease tore through the starting city, Menedek. Only due to the allegiance and assistance of a nearby Solar who had expertise in medicine was the entire population rescued and all asymptomatic carriers identified and cured.

    Alliance between Solar and Infernal would last a long time, and later pay dividends. The Solar had Artifacts from the Age Before, access to incredible medicinal genius, as well as Craft Charms. The Infernal blessed all of the Solar's endeavours with order and efficiency, whether it was a medicinal manufacturing company, or a hospital, and granted prosperity and success to select allies on the Solar's own home planet.

    Culture

    The original culture of the people had long since disappeared, leaving away only a select few pieces of rites and culture without any of the greater, original context. Long ago was the enslavement, and even Titan's computers held no information on where they had come from. Thus, so far, they had to create their own. Rebelling against the pastel-coloured, sterile culture Titan had foisted upon them, for the first time in their lives truly free to experiment.

    Work is often rigid, according to schedules, and specific licenses and work shifts, though that has variations. Some have themselves paid in amount of work done. Some have irregular work schedules, walk into the jungle, or simply laze around. The infernal does not have the heart to force them to work. Not after so much enslavement.

    Families have still been split up, with a minor crisis being perpetuated as parents now realize that they no longer have an alloted 1-hour to spend time with their children. Others are more amblivient, with the parent-child bond being so frayed they simply decide to stay with their old work groups, people usually their own age and similar interests. And others are in between, forming large cohorts of people of every age and distinction, in large extended families mutually supporting one another.

    Generally, there is not much high expertise in the city. Most of the population has 4-5 dice in anything, considering that they were seen as mostly expendable menial workers. Currently majority of the projects are headed by those blessed by VEE and enhaned by SWLIHN charms.

    The religion currently in vogue is not dissimilar to that of the prosperity gospel and the Titan Cult, where hard work and the blessing of the neighbouring overlord meant that you had success, wealth, and happiness. Of course with Verdant Emptiness Endowment, such things were more true than not. The Infernal's title is Himsyus, Goddess of Excellence, Success, Wisdom, Good Luck, and Wholes Greater than the Sum of their Parts. Success in any endeavour is counted as a sign of her blessing. This applies to individual success and endeavours involving many people (Cecylene and SWLIHN bureaucracy charms). If you weren't enhanced her charms, you were blessed second hand by her blessing of the systems which let you achieve success in the first place. Once a week, she creates a new PLAN, one which to help enhance the prosperity of the Vandor. This can be an initiative to open up an iron mine, the building of a local manse, the reorganization of nearby geomancy, setting up a University, or building a factory. Either way, her charms let these endeavours be completed in the fraction of the time and far less resources than required. Thus, there is little to no resistance to the plans no matter how strange or ambitious they are. Already she has set up the basic systems required for a city to function, like sanitation, food supplies, and housing.

    This actions have set up a state religion, where Himsyus is the great planner. The source of knowledge, excellence, and wisdom, possessing great knowledge and wisdom, capable of enacting plans and construction upon the world of mankind that would be impossible for any ordinary human being. With her at the helm, their prosperity and safety is assured.


    Governance

    The Infernal Himsyus, is considerably hands off, more using incentives and proclamations instead of the iron hammer of law enforcement to get her people to do what she wants. Generally, people are free to worship whatever god or deity or spiritual philosophy they wish, with one exception. Everybody must praise her, as a Cult. Whether it is a pledge of devotion every week, a recital of poetry praising her name during the night, or praying at her alters. Thus, her priests claim, she can watch over us all in her benelovent mind and give blessings to those that please her and her plans.

    All who enter the governance are no longer free from the relatively free hand she gives others. SWLIHN charms weaken their resolve, granting them intimacies to the government and herself. The bureaucracy is fast, efficient, and uncorrupt, yes, her supporters say, but it is rather strange how people who have joined a mere day ago become so driven.

    Her 'Voices' are people who have drunk deep from Verdant Emptiness Endowment. Known for their high abilities and greatness, they dot the upper strata of the society, often found within the upper chambers of governance, although some are found in the lowest of the strata. A combination of both ambassador, agent, and priest, these so-called 'Voices' are often chosen for a certain role, and used as her hands and feet by which she manipulates society. A community leader known for smoothing over arguments may be BLESSED, and then used to smooth over arguments and schisms amongst various ethnicities within the nation itself. A great builder may be blessed, and then tasked with reorienting the geomancy of the local hill to build a manse. An amateur singer or performer may be blessed, and called upon to dance in front of the crowd, to sooth anger and distrust or to simply bring joy. Others may be called on to set new fashion or cultural trends, or serve as the 'Face' of the regime for the people to identify with. And others may be called on to share their newfound knowledge and excellence with others as teachers and guides.

    Military

    All able bodied men and women are to go for several week's worth of training and are considered to have Poor Drill, and are armed with laser carbines and basic missile launchers. Their officers and generals are amongst the best in existence, each commanding as if they had century's worth of experience. It is not enough. It is not strong enough. There is not enough surplus production to produce a fleet of war vehicles required for an army, nor to create a standing army. So far, all they have is an enthusiastic militia capable of fending off the odd raider.

    Thus, Himsyus went looking for help, and obtained it. A gigantic behemoths plow the multiversal foam between her world and the rest. A 3 mile long monster of chitinous armour, biological missile clusters pods, and crystalline eyes capable of firing deadly jets of essence. The beast cannot protect against every single raider and straggler, but it is certainly a fleshy hammer meant to shatter any concentrated army or raiding force, forcing any attacker to split up their forces and render themselves vulnerable. Deep within the ground are stationary beasts, more similar to fungi and plants than any animal. During an attack, they will unfurl from the ground like vast flowers, hyper-sensitive eyes glancing at the skies above, and spit deadly jets of corrosive essence and plasma lances.

    And last but not least, there is one final plan she has decided to create. There are only a scant few population, barely enough to populate a city. And yet, population growth is slow, and it would be an atrocity to mandate things like a child minimum. Growing children takes vast resources, time, and expertise which are always required elsewhere. Thus, she has created a plan. She has called up her solar friend, and now she has a manse capable of printing humans, in full maturity, with the full knowledge on how to take care of themselves. She is hoping that with this influx of population, she vastly increase the labour force and prevent any form of demographic decline. And then there are the plans for mass genetically engineering the population....

    Technology

    As a people who have only recently even thought of building an industrial base, the entire area is a study in contrasts. A dozen different standards, a dozen different sources of technology. The aesthetics are best described as 'used future', like the one of Starcraft II's terran machinery. Painting and shiny coverings are at a minimum, and are more focused on ease of maintenance and protection from the outside elements. There is a large focus on the technology being reliable and easily fixed, rather than high performance specs or being able to do multiple things at once.

    There only being a primitive chemical industry, barely enough to create paint and other minimums. Thus other things were used. A large variety of plants are bred, placed in rooftop gardens, and otherwise allowed to spread, with each plant having a variety of useful compounds. A single plant may have roots that when chewed relieve headaches, have leaves that create a stimulating tea when boiled, stems that are edible and block out bitterness, and can be regrown and reproduced via plant cuttings. A variety of plants may have their root systems intermixed with the water supply and sewage, filtration roots swiftly purifying the water and extracting all available nutrients, specialized chemicals and traps killing any micro-organisms within. A flowering vine may release a soft, glowing light during nighttime, serving as a primitive light source that needs no electricity. Trees may be connected to the electrical and water system, absorbing electricity to create edible fruits and crops ten times faster than any tree can do on its own.

    There is a single manse in the center of the town, used as the place where the Infernal sits. There, it serves as the nerve center of the city, Bound Servants and magical faciltities creating an endless supply of paper, records, electricity, office supplies, and a communication network for radio.

    There are a dozen projects nearing completion. When they are finished, the Menedek can produce its own machinery, tools, and aircraft.
    Last edited by Accelerator; 11-07-2020, 07:42 PM.

  • #2
    Some context at the begining, for readers to have some understanding of what they are getting into, could be useful i guess.

    It is my impression that the history of the Vandor Pe nation would fit in the Heaven's Reach sci-fi shard setting.
    Is that a correct assumption or are we being presented to something else, like some of the more peculiar realities in the Far Marches of Wyld and Beyond?

    Would like to clarify that.

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    • #3
      Yup. Sci fi. Though it's a bit different in setting.

      For starters the shards are the same. They're not made by the transhuman invention.

      Secondly, this is a fledgling nation that is highly vulnerable. PCs are for either doing missions or for destroying it

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
        Yup. Sci fi. Though it's a bit different in setting.

        For starters the shards are the same. They're not made by the transhuman invention.

        Secondly, this is a fledgling nation that is highly vulnerable. PCs are for either doing missions or for destroying it

        Maybe i'm just seeing layers where there are none, but the name and some aspects of Titan Corporation make question if a shell game of sorts might not be going on, the people's freedom an illusion, covering an exchange of forms of servitude under diferent faces/aspects/agents of the same unseen cosmic hell power....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post


          Maybe i'm just seeing layers where there are none, but the name and some aspects of Titan Corporation make question if a shell game of sorts might not be going on, the people's freedom an illusion, covering an exchange of forms of servitude under diferent faces/aspects/agents of the same unseen cosmic hell power....
          Nah, the Titan name is from Ava's demon, a quasi-cultish corporation + government that has a tendency to brainwash their their recruits. Has a tendency for blue tron lines, animal ears, shiny chrome, and lots of cultish behaviour. Including charming things like 'Without Titan, you are nothing.' and 'Titan is the best thing that happens to you'.

          edit: You're kinda right though, with Cecylene and SWLIHN charms there will be issues.
          Last edited by Accelerator; 11-07-2020, 07:28 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
            Nah, the Titan name is from Ava's demon, a quasi-cultish corporation + government that has a tendency to brainwash their their recruits. Has a tendency for blue tron lines, animal ears, shiny chrome, and lots of cultish behaviour. Including charming things like 'Without Titan, you are nothing.' and 'Titan is the best thing that happens to you'.

            edit: You're kinda right though, with Cecylene and SWLIHN charms there will be issues.

            It might not have been by intent, but sometimes the shoe fits, eh?
            Well, where you see issues, another might see opportunities. Complications and hooks, depending on what you might want to explore or tinker with.

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            • #7
              Yes. The issue is that there are no canon SWLIHN or Cecylene social charms for 3e. And the less we talk about 2e's mass social system, the better.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                Yes. The issue is that there are no canon SWLIHN or Cecylene social charms for 3e. And the less we talk about 2e's mass social system, the better.

                Oh yeah, there's that indeed. But then you walked halfway into that minefield already by making an infernal of SWLIHN into a major character in the first place, no?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Baaldam View Post


                  Oh yeah, there's that indeed. But then you walked halfway into that minefield already by making an infernal of SWLIHN into a major character in the first place, no?
                  Yes. I want to make the society somewhat fucked up... But not too fucked up.

                  I guess that's why the above write up is rather incoherent. Because I didn't have the guts to go all in.

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                  • #10
                    Seems like a perfectly functional sort of '80s-cyberpunk-McCorpWorld post-rebellion to me! Kudos for putting yourself out there with some original content!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                      Seems like a perfectly functional sort of '80s-cyberpunk-McCorpWorld post-rebellion to me! Kudos for putting yourself out there with some original content!
                      *sigh*

                      The problem with this is that there are... problems.

                      Look, Chirality Prohibition index (I think that's the name) is the SWLIHN society charm. Bad news, it's cult-like, and brings the symmetry to the landscape. But what I'm going for is 'rigid society based on licensing and procedure'. In contrast with the 'used future' aesthetic to get the feeling across of "Battered, beaten, but not bowed".

                      But the 'used future' aesthetic doesn't fit with SWLIHN, which promotes symmetry and order above all else.

                      The entire thing is incoherent.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                        *sigh*

                        The problem with this is that there are... problems.

                        Look, Chirality Prohibition index (I think that's the name) is the SWLIHN society charm. Bad news, it's cult-like, and brings the symmetry to the landscape. But what I'm going for is 'rigid society based on licensing and procedure'. In contrast with the 'used future' aesthetic to get the feeling across of "Battered, beaten, but not bowed".

                        But the 'used future' aesthetic doesn't fit with SWLIHN, which promotes symmetry and order above all else.

                        The entire thing is incoherent.

                        Well, there's where the Infernal as a person, that obviously has a choice in what SWLIHN's he or she develops or not, comes into play i dare say.

                        That said, what kind of Infernal are we talking about? While i haven't really delved into the subject, i'm under the impression that 3e version of the Infernals are veering away from "Yozi charms of Reclamation members" into one unified "twisted solaroid" charmset in the vein of Abyssals, though definitely different. That leaves the Infernal/Yozi charms of 2e in a peculiar sort of limbo, as to what would they actually be or not.

                        In fact, the whole "melange of powers mixing up in an exaltation in ways unplanned or dreamed by its esoteric patrons" angle might make them closer to "dirt bomb" exigents than anything else in the setting. Just a random thought of the moment.


                        Edit: Ah, wait. Sometimes a branch of a Yozi's charm tree might reflect a particular soul - as in, loads of green sun-based Malfeas charms - so using you might use a specific 3rd Circle soul, like for example, Munaxes, the Ravine of Whispers, to veer things somewhat away from the Yozi's imagery somewhat. It might be something of a far shot on my part, but considering things cast away is kind of one of her themes, she might make a good pick to tweak a few SWLIHN charms more amenable to your imagery interests around.

                        Munaxes may be found in Games of Divinity (1e) and Roll of Glorious Divinity II (2e).
                        Last edited by Baaldam; 11-08-2020, 03:55 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post


                          Well, there's where the Infernal as a person, that obviously has a choice in what SWLIHN's he or she develops or not, comes into play i dare say.

                          That said, what kind of Infernal are we talking about? While i haven't really delved into the subject, i'm under the impression that 3e version of the Infernals are veering away from "Yozi charms of Reclamation members" into one unified "twisted solaroid" charmset in the vein of Abyssals, though definitely different. That leaves the Infernal/Yozi charms of 2e in a peculiar sort of limbo, as to what would they actually be or not.

                          In fact, the whole "melange of powers mixing up in an exaltation in ways unplanned or dreamed by its esoteric patrons" angle might make them closer to "dirt bomb" exigents than anything else in the setting. Just a random thought of the moment.


                          Edit: Ah, wait. Sometimes a branch of a Yozi's charm tree might reflect a particular soul - as in, loads of green sun-based Malfeas charms - so using you might use a specific 3rd Circle soul, like for example, Munaxes, the Ravine of Whispers, to veer things somewhat away from the Yozi's imagery somewhat.
                          But that's the problem, isn't it? Infernals are very much not like Solars. Their powers have a mind of their own. Their own theme, their own desires, and their own biases. SWLIHN cannot destroy structures or destroy order. Cecylene cannot put the weak above the strong. No matter how kind a person the Infernal is, she can't help it. Like she can't help the fact that her powers sometimes have green flame and cause horrific wounds.

                          Besides, in your example, you have Munaxes. Charms from her sound like the thing that would come from 1984. Orabilis isn't any better.

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                          • #14
                            Accelerator, reading my post back, realized that may have come across as sarcastic, not my intent at all, for context. Re; your problem there, I may not be thinking about this in the right light, but is that really a problem? That may be the ideal that the magic is pushing for, but Infernals work with what they can get?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                              But that's the problem, isn't it? Infernals are very much not like Solars. Their powers have a mind of their own. Their own theme, their own desires, and their own biases. SWLIHN cannot destroy structures or destroy order. Cecylene cannot put the weak above the strong. No matter how kind a person the Infernal is, she can't help it. Like she can't help the fact that her powers sometimes have green flame and cause horrific wounds.
                              Yes, but the exalt mind accessing that essence can filter and direct things in the form of specific charms within those themes. And that without mixing & matching parts as is the wont of the Devil-Tiger, so to speak. That in itself leads to the questions "how much of a 2e Green Sun Prince would this character be, instead of an Akuma/Exigent of SWLIHN?" and "why did you go with SWLIHN in the first place?", among others.

                              Infernals are at present a big question mark that may lead your own NPC in a number of directions - even more so, considering you are going into a Shard setting here.


                              Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                              Besides, in your example, you have Munaxes. Charms from her sound like the thing that would come from 1984. Orabilis isn't any better.
                              Maybe, but the whole endless fathoms and place of things discarded offers some possibilties a little closer to the cyberpunk you want to mess with, i guess. Not ideal, but possibly a step up in relation to the main.

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