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Organizations of Pala

Non-Governmental Organizations of Pala

Obscure, Clandestine, & Otherwise Notable

NOTE 1: INFO PCs SHOULDN’T KNOW = IN WHITE TEXT.  GMs, HIGHLIGHT TO SEE.

NOTE 2: A few of these names/ideas are adapted from Gamma World/Mutant Future. Thank you! We are using them because they are awesome names. Please don’t sue! Most of the names/ideas below, and all of the specific interpretations in 100 M.Y., are my own.

AGNI (cult of)Evil thrallherd entity and followers/thralls.  An amoeboid-bodied pure supra-intellect (Code-based life) rumored to dwell in the Chasm (Lake Edaxa, the “Devouring Lake”).  AGNI is bent on cleansing earth of non-Code life (i.e., all DNA-based or “LUCAN” [last universal common ancestor-spawned] life—human, unhuman, algal, other…).  AGNI makes deals with/controls various LUCAN entities throughout Pala.  It is not known the strength of AGNI.  It is known that, of late, some nihilisitic humans, unhumans, other sents have voluntarily submitted to AGNI’s dominion in exchange for earthly rewards…

The ArchivistsMaster-masterminds.  “Preserve the Code.”  Based out of Latura, these ultra-powerful hell scientists seek to understanding not only the heights of Tephnian technology, but the technology/magic (for the two became indistinguishable, and will again) of the other past Great Ages, of which those in Pala know nothing:  The Age of the Insects and, well before that, the First Age of Man…  No one knows how to contact or join the Archivists, or if/why such a thing is truly would be desirable.  Still, some Palans seem to feel that finding and joining the Archivists is the fastest/best/only way to ensure that, if the prophesied Apotheosis (technological Singularity) comes, they are not left behind.

The Armillae (Twelve Hell Science Colleges) of Carvolia and VennarThe hell science colleges of the north. Though there are technically twelve armillae, and though they are all technically secret groups, there are really only three major colleges (“The Big Three”), all of them more or less known to the public—at least thanks to unconfirmed rumors and mysterious explosions in the dead of night…

  1. The Black Circleof Sharkbourne.  The largest and most well-known armilla, this college’s main building is literally a large, black wooden building in Old Sharkbourne, right on the water.  With a high output of Vectors and Bio, the Black Circle is where most of the military men in the CSS who show hell science aptitude are sent to become black legionaries.  Its halls are walked by NCOs who can mentally flick drops of water a few feet into the air as well as by shadowy majors who are rumored to travel thousands of miles with a blink and vaporize saurians with a sigh.  The culture of the Black Circle is grim but not inhuman:  One of the most important rites in any Circular cadet’s life is his freshman pranking, which must be both novel and within the bounds of tradition, risky but ultimately a good-time-had.  The most famous and least successful Circular prank may have been the time Cadet Jarras L— of East Satacastel tried to psychically light a sack of his shit on fire in front of the Old Hell Science Gyroboratory and accidentally burned it down in a conflagration “the size of a small, third moon” (anon.), killing himself and fifty innocents in the process.  The anniversary of the “Jarras Incident” is now honored by a three-day kelp-beer festival—held in a remote town miles from Sharkbourne, to prevent copycats and idiots from adding further injury to insult.
  2. The White Ringof Mimmir.  The oldest armilla and perhaps the most serious, the Ring is known to produce many Alloyers and Deformers, but practically no Sphinxes or Vectors.  The Ring is presided over by a trio of ancient women nicknamed the Vanishers (but why? oh, just ask them…).  The Ring is free for half of its students and incredibly expensive for the other half.  The halves are randomized every year.  In fact, all roles shy of the Vanishers’ are randomly allotted each year during the famous Week of Blue Frenzy, which coincides with the week that the townsfolk haul in the apex jelly catch of the season.  It is possible that the “White Ring” itself was originally the pale radial body of some hydra or jelly.  The Vanishers won’t say.  And besides, no one’s seen or heard from them in ages…
  3. The Golden Peacock* [*”peacock” meaning of course colorfully-scaled lizard] – of Llamagino.  The most wealthy armilla and perhaps the newest.  The Great Hall of the Golden Peacock is one of the more ostentatious buildings in a city known for ostentation, and yet (of course) the Hall is virtually impenetrable.  One of the first secrets an adept learns is how to actually enter the building, using only the mind… or a hidden key?

The remaining colleges (“The Little Nine”) include or are rumored to include:

  1. A Ziru-majority college whose price of entry is the death of a random innocent
  2. A Vennari college whose price of entry and full tuition is the death of an unhuman CommKor (general of an army) or equivalent high-ranking Federation official
  3. A Gilspari college where everyone attends all actual hell science seminars in the nude
  4. A different Gilspari college whose price of entry, full tuition, and ludicrously amazing “free room and board scholarship” is just some hot nasty sex… with a squid monster
  5. A Ripari college presided over by a dog with the mind of an ancient hell scientist who has been transferring her psyche into the bodies of various animals since the close of the Second War
  6. The Invisible College of Midling Brin (an almost uninhabited rock known for its single herd of goats and its two defunct lighthouses)
  7. The Other Invisible College of Midling Brin (“Brin State”)
  8. The College in the Sky (meaning this armilla exists on an airship!?)
  9. The Weather Killers’ School (which hunts the College in the Sky, Ahab-chasing-Moby/Tom-just-missing-Jerry style, day and night, without cease, for reasons that no one now remembers…?)

The Bronze Men, the Men of BronzeWar vets turned vigilantes/PC-friendly.  Their leaders are two partially bronze-bodied vets, old friends.  One of them, Melkath, the more strong-willed and respected of the two, is actually a clockwork husk:  His left eye is the head of long, thin inhuman myco-organism which controls his body [this idea courtesy DnD With Pornstars].  (His right eye is a bronze ball imprinted with a star.)  The other leader, Velkath, has an even more dark secret:  He’s now working for the Brutal Men to undermine the Bronze Men (maybe).  The Bronze Men control the Glass Town Federation and are based out of Mrim.  FUN FACT:  No one knows the real reason the Men of Bronze are called the Men of Bronze—not even Melkath and Velkath.

The Brutal Men – Slavers.  Their leader sits on a throne of bones called the Throne of Yellow Bones.  Their leadership structure has four levels.  After a pledge proves himself vile enough (kills a kitten, shits on an old lady, &c.), he becomes a Brutal Man.  After a lifetime of service (~20 years), that Brutal Man may then apply to be recast as a Faceless Man, or a member of the group’s powerful governing council of 24 (actually faceless).  [12 is their sacred number.]  The two rulers of the whole group are Faceless Men known as the Masters of Suspicion.  The Faceless do not in fact know who one another.  Anyone could be one of the Masters of Suspicion…  The Brutal Men are headquartered (maybe) out of the Invisible City, Urghuna.

The Cephalic Society, the CephalitesClockwork ammon chauvinists.  A small but wealthy religious and social club founded by mysterious Caltaraani ammon physiotech Dr. Gul Zhaj, the Cephalic Society believes in “Machines Over All.”  Not “Machine Bodies With Sents’ Minds Inside Over All,” but quite the opposite.  As opposed to a tech Apotheosis, the Cephalites actively seek to engineer a world so richly populated by autotrophic (solar-powered) robots that living things are supernumerary and indeed even in the way.  The only Cephalites so far are a dozen or so ammon scattered across Pala who particularly hate living things, as well as their two dozen or so insane human followers.  Recently, three Cephalite steammonks have been buying up massive tracts of land around Gulf Kerai…

The ChangersFreedom terrorists.  These ultra-gazaarists do not believe the Federation should make any concessions, of any type, with any non-Federated entity.  They believe that, since the Treaty of Dravus was never ratified by the Empire, the Second Unhuman War never ended:  The War rages still!  Fight on, sisters!  The Changers frequently employ hell science, mutagenic, and physiotech bombs to stop peaceful groups from carrying out their business.  They, in fact, frequently target Federation municipal/military/diplomatic missions—to teach those liberal fucks at the Supreme Council back in Bankaran a lesson!

The Condotta, the Ala, Zenopolo’s BoysMercenary band grown to the third-largest standing army in Pala.  Formed at the close of the Second Unhuman War by an enterprising Vennari sharpshooter after he lost one leg to a bullet wound, the original Condotta were simply a band of well-trained, seasoned mercenaries hired by various human factions during the War when no more regular citizens could possibly be pressed into combat against Gazaar’ou.  Since the War, the Condotta have not only not disbanded, but have grown enormously powerful as money has flowed into northern Vennar and the various rival duces there have employed mercenaries to quietly (well, sometimes quietly) carry out their various minor, private wars.  The Condotta, commonly called the Ala in the Federation and the Empire, is now employed in nearly every realm of Pala.  The Condotta are currently led by the famous Strategos [General] Zenopolo—the fifth consecutive Strategos to employ that name; this one being differentiated as “Zenopolo of Carricar.”  His men follow him unthinkingly and win oftener than not.  No one knows much about Zenopolo, except that he has long black hair and a long gray moustache; he’s half-Ziru (minority, separatist ethnic group in Vennar), a crack shot, an ace saurian rider, and a champion swimmer; and that his womanizing among the new urban aristocracy has gotten him banned from entering Frizzan on pain of a war with the Vennari regular army—a war the Condotta would surely win.

The Futuremen (technically “the Joint Labor Council of the Future-Sighted Men, the Tinkerbones, the Telomerists, and the Iron Men of Pala,” also called the Council For the New Flesh), the Fleshers  – Fanatical union of pro-mutation/pro-biotech mutagenicists and physiotechs.  “The unchanged must change—or give up their bodies to the Futuremen!”  These doctors, based out of Caltaraan but expanding to many large cities in the Federation as well as a few border cities in the Empire (Qadesh and Hengalab) believe that humanity was re-invented or brought back to earth from space in the last million years, and that humans must evolve—or, more specifically, that they must hyper-evolve in order to catch up with the rest of the planet’s organisms.  There is much lively debate as to how this should happen:  The Futuremen are mostly mutagenicists who believe biological mutation is the way to go.  The Telomerists merely want humans to be immortal and free of disease.  The Iron Men think human minds are safer in steel and bend bodies.  The Tinkerbones combine approaches and more often than not don’t care how it’s done—they just like for things to keep moving.  Stasis and equilibrium is so boring…  Long live the New Flesh!

Headless Giant, the “Body Without Organs,” the Order of Black Lobster, etc.Surrealist freedom ninja/PC-friendly.  The Changers’ opposition:  HG (always spoken of cryptically and, at clearest, acronymically) works for peace between the main powers of Pala, especially the Empire and Federation.  Governed by a rotation council called the “Solar Wound” that is based out of the Federation (maybe), HG is an ever-shifting, always recruiting group, with a diverse group of “cells” stationed in regions as broad as “the south” or “the west” or (according to rumor) “space.”  Much of HG’s work is considered as meddling or terrorism by the Federation and the Empire alike—and yet, often, those very powers are later found to have hired some HG subsidiary to do their dirty work in the first place…  HG prides itself on convolution, involution, and mazing:  It’s members even write their names backward, those nutters!

M.O.T.H. – Drug-addicted libertarian explorers/PC-friendly.  An individualistic, anti-new-civilization, pro-archaetech, pro-knowledge group of powerful blooders (mostly), delvers, gmothi orphans, tesseromancers, and urbanized greens.  M.O.T.H. distrusts all forms of government but encourages groups such as itself:  M.O.T.H. members (“Moths,” unsurprisingly) “flit like moths to the Flame of Truth,” helping one another explore—and, oftener than not, find new units of the Blood.  M.O.T.H. and HG have clashed before:  The latter views the former as greedy and uncontrolled, but each acknowledges the other’s bravery in the face of the crushing bureaucracy/inhuman policies of the Federation and Empire (not to mention, say, the Brutal Men, the Plague Church, etc).  And/but, here’s the real kicker:  NO ONE KNOWS WHAT “M.O.T.H.” STANDS FOR…

The OphidioramaThe wilder senate.  The official support organization for/loose governing body of all the snakeheads of Pala.  The Ophidiorama is both a group and a place—a caravan of snakeskin tents that floats around the edges of the Chasm, in the deepest deserts of the western Empire.  Ophidioramans frequently disagree, and obviously many snakeheads do not see them as representative in any way.  Still, the group has many powerful members who keep the peace and help the group resolve conflicts with the rest of the world.  Roughly half of the Ophidiorama is composed of greens, making it perhaps the largest group of any kind that that species has joined—ever.  Time will tell if the group becomes more or less open, violent, or nomadic.

The Plague Church, the Scarlet Hand, the Crimson Horde, the Red Men, the Red Death, etc. – Nihilistic anti-life satanic terrorists.  “Kill em all!”  The Plague Church (or whatever it’s calling itself in your hometown) is nihilistic with a strongly misanthropic flavor:  It comes, and behind it, nothing.  Its members (Red Men or Plague Churchmen) are generally insane.  Its tactics vary, but the color red usually factors in, and biological weapons are a plus.

The Punctillians, the Timemen, the RestorersZany interventionist historians/PC-friendly.  “As it was before, so shall it be again.”  Originally a group of disaffected lesser nobles of Carvolia, the Punctillians long sought to restore the Loyal Dukes to power and even promote one of them (if they could only agree on which) to King…  The problem was, not one of the actual Loyal Dukes would endorse the politically extreme (and largely pacifist) Punctillians.  Thus the leader of the group, a hotheaded blond army captain by the title of Viscount B. V. Meden of Wesshand, led the loyalest of the loyalists into… Garandis.  Giving up on his homeland, Meden sought instead to restore a sense of history, a mood to a “time-cracked” or (elsewhere in his extensive diaries) “time-faltering” quilt of human kingdoms of Zaadi origin in the north.  To put it in fewer words than Meden did:  They rebuilt some decayed towns near Montebar and became minor celebrities.  Fifty years later, he is still at it, his blonde moustaches currently trembling in the winds of sand-blanketed Southchasm.  With each new project, the Punctillians set more and more specific and seemingly futile objectives (make a dead steel city of the Empire come to life as a mega-greenhouse; bring back an extinct genus of anteater that once fed thousands of cliffdwellers in Elder Tarwenmarch)—and yet they seem to fulfill most of them.  Whether or not Meden still wants to put a King on the Carvolian/Dravanian throne is hard to say; he speaks more often of restoring a sense of Tephnian-ness—not just to the Empire (and Federation?), but to the whole of Pala…  He’s interested, he writes, “in Palan history, not parochial paroxysms of people and placeholders for place, like this caravanserai now used as a military barracks for a Third War that is never coming, nevermind the never-neverland mentality that would guide a captain to settle in such an open, obvious oubliette as this if he did think war was fast a-wending” (his tendency toward treacly alliteration has worsened with age).  Meden personally opposes M.O.T.H. but tries not to get in that group’s way.  The Empire looks on Meden with a certain black-laugh backed pity.  (Also, he pays double taxes, as a foreign national.)  In all events, the Punctillians now number over a thousand sents of all stripes, each of whom has been tested for decades in a range of environments.  As to Meden’s larger goal—only Time, as they say, will tell.  (And then—it will flee…)

The Selectors, the Ranks of the SelectSocial Darwinist desert brigands.  “The strong rule, the weak serve—or are consumed.”  In the deep desert, in the heart of Asmaar, those regions not patrolled by bedouin tribes are ruled instead by a motley group of veteran warriors—especially those who are the great-grandsons of Second War vets.  Though technically against slavery (and taxation), the Selectors believe that a harsh life is the only life ultimately, and that they should be able to take what they want, allowing their Chief, the strongest, to rule totally over all the land they can grab until a stronger would-be-Chief comes along.  So far, the Selectors have mostly harassed the bedouins, Mirshalamite merchants, Federation patrols, and Imperial spies, and others who venture regularly into the deep dunes.  But they plan to expand.  If only one Chief could remain in power (and alive) long enough to pick a single direction and give the command strike out…  The Selectors—who come from everywhere, and are of every species—occasionally clash with the Brutal Men, M.O.T.H., and HG.

The Sisters of Silence???  [REDACTED.]  They dwell in the Wastes.

The Skull Brothers, the Genepurgers – Human chauvinists with shared skull fetish.  “Those not made in the Image must be cleansed.”  The Skull Brothers are not simply pro-human; they are anti-non-human.  They are not simply concerned; they are obsessed.  They dress in black and wear skull helmets.  They hold long secret vigils.  Based out of the Empire but with a strong presence in Carvolia and a smaller presence in Gilspar and Rosavalee, the Skulls have carried out daring and non-government-supported raids into the Federation… against total innocents, usually.  They are now basically branded as the KKK of Pala, and most members play that part with gusto.  Rumor:  They prefer shotguns, huge knives, and annoying future-banjo music.

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