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Wed 08/09/10 13:17 BST
Muddy Offline

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Those who openly cast aside the laws and customs of the Known Worlds - or simply do not fit neatly into them




Edited by Muddy (Thu 09/09/10 13:52 BST)

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Wed 08/09/10 13:18 BST
Muddy Offline

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Sathra (Sathraism)

The Past
From the very first jump it was soon discovered that a strange and life changing effect occurred when a ship passed through the gates. Each sentient being on the ship experienced a profound moment of ecstasy and revelation described by those who experienced it as “touching the mind of God”. When they arrived on the other side, the memories again faded, but their afterglow remained. A religion was born, named after the word left on the lips of all the astronauts: Sathra

The First Republic found the religion of Sathraism to be an annoyance. Pilots who had “found God” were harder to control. In addition, the pilots sought to undergo more jumps than were necessary, risking their health (and thus their ships). Sathraism was outlawed, but to little effect

Only when the Republic managed to design a force field buffer preventing the Sathra experience did the religion suffer a serious setback. Ships were built with integral buffers; any attempt to dismantle the buffer disabled the engines. The mystical visions were over; without communion, many pilots could not maintain their zeal and lapsed from their mystical convictions. Many Sathraists tried to build their own ships, and still received their visions for many years. The Republic (both 1st and 2nd ) was ruthless in hunting down rogue ships and destroying them, yet enough survived to ensure the continuance of this obsession.

The Present
Satharists still hide amongst all levels of society practicing their “religion”. The Sathra effect is highly addictive if a person is exposed to it too many times. Its impact is more intense than any known drug or hallucinogen and if a person becomes a Sathra Addict, failing to experience this effect on a regular basis leads to all of the withdrawal symptoms atypical to any serious addiction

Sathraists are not dangerous as such, yet their ever more desperate attempts to experience Sathra during jumps can endanger other passengers or crew on a ship. Unfortunately during the 2nd Republic, exotic devices were designed and constructed that could interrupt part of the Sathra damping field for this purpose. Called a “Sathra Needle” these rare devices allowed part of a ship – even a small cabin - to remain outside the dampening field for the full Sathra effect.

Sathraism is High Heracy – anyone caught practicing this banned religion or employing devices for such purpose will feel the full weight of the Inquisition

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Wed 08/09/10 13:21 BST
Muddy Offline

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Antinomy (Antinomist)

Covered in more detail in the Occult section here . Its enough to know that they practice the very worst of the Dark Occult arts. They are able to summon “demons” from the Dark Between the Stars (although often at the cost of their own lives) and can raise animated corpses (called Husks) to do their bidding.

Unless you have a strong Psychic or Theurgist with you, taking on an Antinomist with mere weapons will not be enough.

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Wed 08/09/10 13:22 BST
Muddy Offline

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The Changed



In the millennia since Humanity went to the stars, some have “changed” (or mutated as it would be in the old tongue) to creatures that are now barely human. Often mistaken for demons or other unpleasant alien life forms, they hide in the darkest or most forgotten places of the Known Worlds. Many are tremendously gifted on the Psychic level, and all have major “aberration” that sets them above normal humans in ability, wit or cunning.

The Changed are shunned by most of society, and usually driven out (rather than killed) if discovered. As for the Church each order deals with them differently. Temple Avesti considers them to be sinners, punished by God with deformity for their sins. The Amaltheans on the other hand are known for helping and aiding them if they can, carrying the sympathetic view typical of those who heal and administer to the sick


Edited by Muddy (Thu 09/09/10 13:58 BST)

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Thu 09/09/10 12:57 BST
Muddy Offline

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Barbarians at the Gates - The Kurga Caliphate





Originating from an unknown number of Lost Worlds beyond Hazat space, the Kurga Caliphate have warred sporadically with House Hazat over the planet Hira since the year 4500. This world can be reached from the Vera Cruz system, yet Hira does not appear on the jumpweb map of the Known Worlds – there is a good reason for this.

The Church has postulated that the Kurgans use some form of Dark Theurgy to manipulate Jump Gates – they are thusly labeled as heretics. Those more enlightened members of the Guilds speculate they have retained some of the 2nd Republic’s abilities to lock and unlock Jump Gates – possibly via use of an Annunaki Soul Stone. Whatever the reason, the Hazat have learned to their cost that the Kurga can sometimes unlock the Hira gate for a short while, conduct raids or major incursions into the Vera Cruz system, and then leave, locking the gate behind them before the Hazat can fully retaliate. Despite this tactic, The Hazat have managed to secure some holdings on Hira, but often have to hold out for years until the Hira – Vera Cruz route unlocks again.

Overview
Known Worlder's find the Kurgans surprisingly educated, polite and civilized though their exoticism would still unnerve the average peasant. The Kurgans have preserved many things from Second Republic culture, and from what is known of them, they are not unlike House Li-Halan in their laws, social structure and general outlook.

Society and Leadership
The Kurgans have their own King – the Caliph . It is known that the Kurga Caliphate was founded in the year 4473 by the first Calpih, Juhangiz Turhan. As the name suggests, the Caliphate has strong Middle-Eastern and Arabian origins from earth. Their society follows a Caste System, yet this is remarkably flexible , allowing those with natural ability and skill to climb the social ladder.

Religion
The Kurga follow a variation of the teachings of the Prophet Zebulon (who they call Zaibolu). The State religion is El-Diin, a personal faith between the believer and God that has no priests or other ministers – only those holy men who devote their lives to religious study and education of the young. The Caliph is also the most holy of these individuals. Unlike the Known Worlds, the Caliphate is tolerant of other religions, provided they are not liked with the Dark Arts the Prophet warned of.

Technology
The Kurga possess technology equal too and on some occasions greater than that of the Known Worlds. They are masters of thermal and electronic disruption weapons, preferring to disable a ship and capture rather than destroy it. They can sometimes (but not always) lock Jumpgates.

Trade
The Hazat do their best to prevent any meaningful trade between the Kurga and the Known Worlds, but Kurgan goods are often available from Vuldrok ships carrying the odd Kurgan merchants. In this case trade is either by ship to ship exchange in space or on Valdalla (the Vuldrok controlled continent on Lemankainen)


Edited by Muddy (Thu 09/09/10 16:56 BST)

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Thu 09/09/10 13:51 BST
Muddy Offline

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Barbarians at the Gates - The Vuldrok Star Nation



The Vuldrok are a fierce warrior people that originate from an unknown number of Lost Worlds bordering the holdings of House Hawkwood. Little is known about their true culture, but what is clear is that their title of Star Nation is somewhat misleading as they fight as much amoungst themselves as they do against House Hawkwood. Their origins lie in the collapse of the 2nd Republic, and 500 years after these events, the Vuldrok as they now called themselves, returned with a vengeance, beginning the period known as the Barbarian Wars

Beginnings
What is known is that around the year 3900, an Earther named Gunmund the Great began a revival of ancient Urth Nordic culture amongst a number of unknown worlds. By the time of the 2nd Republic Collapse, this movement was organised and well armed, sealing their own gates so that the 10 Noble houses (as it was then) of the Known Worlds could not try to usurp any further than Lemankainen.

Today
Their defeat at the hands of Emperor Vladamir during the Barbarian Wars has made the Vuldrok more cautious. They now prefer to raid rather than carry out full scale attacks. As the ancient Vikings did before them, the Vuldrok launch attacks from ground bases or raiding craft that jump in from their capital world of Hargard to Lemankainen (a route thus far only known to them). Vuldrok Raiders behave in a manner that confirms the stereotype of the barbarian held by most peasants: they are rude and brutal, used to taking what they want by might. They rarely heed rules of social propriety and tend to get very annoyed when reminded of them. The Vuldrok normally only attack when they have the advantage in surprise and numbers. They see no dishonour in retreating before the face of a superior enemy. They fight like wild men, often bare chested. The Vuldrok Berserker and Huscarl is the most feared of all Vuldrok warriors as something “other than” pure mania is thought to drive them.


Society and Culture
The Vuldrok people are divided into large “Nations” each of which is controlled by a family of sub Clans and Lodges. Each Clan within a Nation has its own chosen purpose – Hunting, medicine, lore, warrior, builder, etc. Each nation is ruled by a Thane or Warlord who keeps his own clans in line. When united in a common cause, the Thanes elect one of their number to be ”King” although this is a short lived title as most Vuldrok find the idea of a hereditary single ruler unpalatable. Squabbles are near constant between Nations and internal Clans. Justice and law in Vuldrok society is quick and brutally effective. They have a natural hatred of the “Nobility” of the Known Worlds as they see them.


Religion
The Vuldrok follow the path of Erdgheist – spirit and spirit worship of all things natural, and supernatural. Deities of nature, water, stone and the Ancestors dominate this calling, and the Vuldrok have a complex pantheon of major and minor deities accordingly. Many have their roots in old Norse culture, developed over 100’s of years to form the spiritual heart of the people. The Vuldrok practice their own heretical form of Theurgy based on these beliefs. Priests are referred to as Shaman

Holdings
Apart from their own worlds, The Vuldrok have strongholds on both Hawkwood worlds of Gwynneth and Lemankainen. Like it or not the Vuldrok are there to stay, much to the distain to their implacable enemies, House Hawkwood.

Trade
There are rumours that some canny Guild merchants have earned the trust of the Vuldrok enough to be granted access to the Vuldrok world of Hargard. Those less fortunate are still able to trade with the Vuldrok (via the Merchant Guilds of course!) from their holdings on Gwynneth and Lemankainen.

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