Apr 1, 2017

Places to Go, Things to Kill: The Kingdoms of the Saved

A group of fractious theocracies so quarrelsome that even the Association of Useful Citizens doesn't claim them, the Kingdoms of the Saved are where you go to ask your preferred Irrelevant God to absolve you of whatever sin is keeping you out of its heaven. Sometimes, it even works, or so the prophets, holy men, abbesses and wonderworkers claim. Thanks to AUC's absence, the Kingdoms of the Saved are also prime territory for schemes that would get you killed anywhere else. Bulk-selling illegal ooze goods? Running soteriological ponzi schemes based on organ harvesting? Using scab labour to mine uranium? Chances are there's a local priest who'll be happy to explain to his followers how your scheme is fully sanctioned by the Big Fire / the Oozing Mind-Lords of Braemon / Vra-Krakorn, He Who Consumes the Works of Man / Lutheranism in exchange for a suitably generous donation to the church.

Places to Go

The Labyrinth of Ignorance

The Killbot Prophets spread the joys of release from the Necrocarcerus Program to all who submit to their gracious deathrays and blessed poison gas. But some can only find the truth of oblivion by wandering through the labyrinth of ignorance first. The Killbot Prophets have gathered the vast donations of their (former) followers, and minus a small handling fee, placed this wealth in the midst of a vast labyrinth, along with many jars of nepenthe, several lost magical tomes, artifacts of great power and various other lures to suit all tastes. Along with the treasure, the Killbot Prophets have placed many vile beasts, cunning traps, and deathly curses in order to slay those who enter as swiftly and assuredly as possible without removing all hope. Entry is open to all, and the Killbots themselves pipe in encouraging commentary and inspiring quotations from their sutras as treasure seekers are torn apart, poisoned, shriveled to ash, eaten, and otherwise granted the benediction of nonexistence. The Killbot Prophets will provide a variety of trinkets to anyone who thinks they can best the labyrinth, including "maps", flashlights, and cyanide pills.

The Holy Ylim

A sprawling monastery-city covering hundreds of square kilometres, the Holy Ylim is contested ground, constantly being taken and retaken by different factions struggling with one another for its sanctums and vestiaries. Layers upon layers of crumbling architecture and tattered paraphernalia from forgotten religions are heaped atop one another, in a vast palimpsest of devotion rich with the lost knowledge of the aeon. The Holy Ylim is one of the richest sites of pre-Incident artifacts in all of Necrocarcerus, and an expedition into its depths has made the fortune of more than one bravo or demonic cultist. Cavernous galleries echo with the hymns of undead monks while relic-thieves and bandits duel one another in the crypts for scraps of high technology. The current rulers are the Integral Order, a group of psionic monks who have managed to hold onto the place by psychically converting everyone who's come to take it, while the lower levels are home to both the Perspicacious Devotees of L'ghash and the Invidious Temple of L'ghash, two nearly-identical shadow-god cults engaged in a genocidal dispute over what kinds of sacrifices and sins the eponymous divine shadow likes best.

The Blessed Bazaar

Need a brand-name personal nuclear weapon? The souls of twelve damned children who all drowned on the same day in different bodies of water? One of the divine testicles of Vra-Krakorn, He-Who-Consumes-the-Works-of-Man? Holy water and other chemical weapons? Chances are if it's for sale anywhere, it's for sale at the Blessed Bazaar, Necrocarcerus's biggest, and least-regulated, open-air marketplace. Run by the Underlords, the largest criminal syndicate in Necrocarcerus, the Blessed Bazaar is frequented by unscrupulous mercenaries looking for exotic gear, reliquarians serving mad arch-wizards, criminals looking to dump peculiar loot, and even projectors, who have lately started to over-run the place. Payment is obols on the barrelhead, though the Bank of Necrocarcerus does a brisk business laundering funds through exotic investment schemes banned in all civilised lands.

Things to Kill

Snodgrath, Blooddrinker and Woe-to-Man LLP's Infernal Offices

Necrocarcerus's premiere credit rating agency, sub-prime mortgage lender, and the keeper of the master alignment records for citizens of AUC (thanks an unforeseen consequence of outsourcing and subcontracting). SBW's offices are atop a giant bipedal hell-engine that marches across the Kingdoms of the Saved crushing all in its path and dispensing expert on-site credit reporting and auditing services. In a recent dispute over the alignment & credit rating of the Reformed Druidic Order (Orthodox), the devil partners of the firm were all slain, and the control codes to direct the gigantomorph lost. After an emergency envisioning session by the Business Development division of SBW, it was decided to stop the engine's progress by siphoning off its power to open a portal to the impossible realms of Hell.

The area around the titanic but now-immobile hell-engine has been flooded with demonic work-seekers, more than can be expeditiously processed by the Demonic Resources department into suitable employment. The Roman Catholic Church, under the leadership of the Post-Anti-Pope John XXIII, have raised a crusade to convert or slay the demonic migrants and destroy the hell-engine, with rich rewards for any who participate. Their ardour threatens to undermine Necrocarcerus's entire credit rating and alignment system.

The Knights of Torren

The Knights of Torren come from one of the living worlds where the Necrocarcerus-based arch-necromancer Thazul's undead legions are conducting a war of genocide against the living. They believe they are guarding the very gates of Hell, preventing the incomprehensible dead (aka the citizens of Necrocarcerus) from breaking into their homeland. In reality, they have managed to set up well-defended fortresses at several reliable portals to their world, assisted by the fact that Thazul is distracted elsewhere and has not actually paid attention to their homeworld for several centuries. As noble paladins in the service of a holy cause, the knights frequently harass and annoy the various peddlers, utility company employees, mendicant pilgrims, relic salespeople and other wanderers who stray too near to their iron-walled fortresses, proclaiming them undead abominations and even killing a few of the less cautious.

The knights are a particular thorn in the side of Necrotel, as their towers amplify the wireless-signal-disrupting properties of portals, creating large blackout zones in which cellular reception degrades beyond acceptable service levels. The local barons of Necrotel have been ordered to wipe out the Knights of Torren wherever they're found. They are not above promising the mercenaries who do it the right to use the portal to escape Necrocarcerus before they close it off for the sake of telephony.

The Sacred Sodality of Orthodox Engineers
A golemonormative organisation of magical engineers, artificers, tinkers and programmers who seek to prevent certain heterodox variations on golemic gender and family combinations from becoming more common than they already are. Golems have traditionally had two genders - producers and assemblers - and formed binary couples to produce more golems at the behest of the financialised ruling class and/or evil wizards in need of cheap labour. Thanks to a century-long advocacy campaign and the fact that golems comprise the vast majority of the working class required to keep Necrocarcerus functioning, AUC has recently recognised the rights of both golems who produce parts for new golems and assemble these parts themselves, and those golems who do neither. The Sacred Sodality is up in arms about the recent decision (the crustier and more conservative members claim to even remember a time when golems weren't even considered people), and has begun assembling the components of a powerful magical ritual to reprogram all golems in Necrocarcerus to fit back within golemonormativity.

Accomplishing this requires a great deal of research to ensure the ritual affects all golems. To this end, they have sent several remote teams out across Necrocarcerus on missions ranging from the cruel to the merely bizarre. One group is kidnapping and experimenting on innocent golems in the Rail Lands, determining how they can be converted back to "normal". Another is attempting to examine the reproductive system of the buried Mega-Golem in the Far Lands. A third is busy attempting to assassinate prominent golemic activists, ranging from the infamous Conductor J of NecroRail to the venerable #5, now quietly retired as a statue in the Far Hells. But the bulk of the organisation, including its leadership, is camped out in the Holy Ylim, where they have seized Electro-Castle (formerly the holy temple of an obscure storm god) and are preparing for a massive siege by the golems of Necrocarcerus once their plans become public knowledge.

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