Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Shepherds

Eons ago the Ague Empire thrived among the stars. Its ultimate weapon was an enslavement bomb, capable of transforming Empire's enemies into unquestioningly loyal soldiers in the blink of an eye. Soon a coalition of various Great Powers came together and fought to oppose this cruelty. Amidst the chaos of the Final Battle, one of the bombs got lost and traveled for many years before crashing into this world. It lied entombed in the ocean floor for many years more before the adamantine shell of the bomb finally cracked, releasing the enslavement weapon. The weapon itself – now aimless, unfocused and partially damaged – reset itself to the most basic, emergency setting: DOMINATE. After analyzing and absorbing local marine life it emerged from the ocean on the shores of what is now known as Shrimp Bay where it came upon a feline, semi-nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers. They were the weapon's first victims, but as the weapon transformed them, they transformed the weapon. What came from this union is now known as the rākshasa.

The rākshasa are slavery demons, spirits of domination. They take pleasure from breaking the will of mortals. The more hopeful the victim, the more pleasure they take from breaking its will. They gather armies and surround themselves with loyal servants. For what purpose? They forgot. Within a few hundred years they turned the baxian city-states into their puppets. Then they convinced most of the tribal kings of the astian puszcza to stop sacrificing their condemned to the forest gods and instead to sell them into slavery. They achieved that by creating a shadowy organization known as The Shepherds (Moses McDermott came up with that name during a G+ conversation – check out his awesome d100 tables for different geographical locations). Their sigil is a stylized shepherd's crook:

Most people just call them Slaver's Guild or simply slavers, but rarely to their face. Shepherds themselves aren't aware of the rākshasa influence. They are in it for the money, slave trade being very profitable. The exception are the High Shepherds, who are rākshasa priests given special boons and blessings. Currently, there are four of them:

High Shepherd Hragandr Hvyrdder, Master of Breeds, white elf wizard

His predecessors were responsible for the enslavement of nomadic orc tribes and breeding of the half-orc "ideal slave". After the Slave Rebellion led by half-orc Bor'rok (played by my friend Patric in a campaign that finished years ago but changed my campaign world forever), the current Master of Breeds oversees the project of breeding another kind of "ideal slave", this time a half dwarven, half human mule (mul).

High Shepherd Qarias Xinthero, Mistress of Fists, human (vampire) fighter

Once a carefree pellian horselord princess, now an ancient and embittered vampire. De facto general of the Shepherds' armies.

High Shepherd Karbarches of Zyz, Master of Razors, human thief

Masters of Razors are the torturer-diplomats of the Shepherds. They are responsible for swaying astian tribal kings from their forest god worship and for controlling the tumultuous political landscape of the baxian city-states. Karbarches himself is a powerful baxian potentate and a sovereign ruler of the City of Zyz. Currently focused his attention on the Drownlands where there are rumors of Smuggler's Guild's involvement into sneaking slaves out of astian puszcza.

High Shepherd Arica Vermis, Mistress of Minds, human (tiefling) cleric

Masters of Minds are tasked with breaking the most resistant souls, sapping willpower and stealing hope. Previously this was achieved by alchemical means, by producing addicting drugs, but Arica explores another avenue of mind control – demonic possession, infernal deals and twisting of fate itself.

baxian potentates
most astian tribal kings


Drownlands Smuggler's Guild
astian forest gods
Orc Freehold
Cat Lord

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