Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Risen of Grave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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