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Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori

Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori

Member Since 04 Mar 2015
Offline Last Active Today, 05:21 PM
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Ruhewald

23 July 2018 - 12:56 AM

 

OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION

  • Intent: Expand on Tephrike.
  • Image Credit: Here. Appears to be concept art. By David MacLeod. Found on artstation.com.
  • Canon: N/A
  • Links: Tephrike.

SETTING INFORMATION

  • Landmark Name: Ruhewald
  • Classification: Tropical forest.
  • Location: Tephrike.
  • Affiliation: The Order of the Blessed Way, a native cult on Tephrike.
  • Size: Medium.
  • Population: Insignificant population. No more than 500 sentient inhabitants.
  • Demographics: Most of the population of the Ruhewald is nonsentient. The Order of the Blessed Way, a schismatic Jedi cult, lives in the forest. However, even if one takes their non-Jedi servitors into account, their numbers are small. Various alien races such as Duros, Twi'leks and Nautolans are represented among the cult. Most of the beings that dwell in the Ruhewald are wild animals, ranging from nasty insects to huge spiders, giant lizards and bomas.
  • Accessibility: The Ruhewald is extremely isolated and its inhabitants intend to keep it that way. For starters, it is a remote, extremely dense forest inhabited primarily by dangerous creatures. This makes travel rather hazardous. Tropical rainstorms can also impede transport on foot or in vehicles. Several of the plants are dangerous for a human's health or have debilitating effects on a mind. Many members of the Order of the Blessed Way are skilled in plant surge, which they use to ensure that the forest never changes. It is also useful to block pathways and deter intruders. Though the Order is committed to peace and refuses to take a life, they are very isolationist. They maintain a commune where they trade with outsiders, but it is still difficult to reach.
  • Description: Ruhewald: A thick jungle occupied by a schismatic Jedi sect called the Order of the Blessed Way. They are pacifist flower children who reject violence against sentient beings...which does not prevent them from being the planet's biggest drug producers. They believe that they can commune with the Force through use of mushrooms. The forest's name is rather ironic because it is populated by nasty creatures with a healthy appetite, including mosquitoes, giant spiders, fast growing creepers, feral nexu and carnivorous plants. The cultists have tamed some of the beasts. A cynic would say that the beasts enable them to be pacifists because the Mother Jungle does the killing for them. Aside from being adept at animal friendship and concealment, the cultists employ plant surge to ensure the forest remains untainted. They have been known to provide guidance and healing to refugees who find their way to the jungle, but on the whole are isolationist. They refuse to get involved in outside affairs.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • The Grove: The main commune of the Order of the Blessed Way. Here the Jedi go to barter. Limited trade happens with the outside world. Psilocybin mushrooms are often sold to outsiders. The Order has a position of neutrality in Tephrike's never-ending civil war and does not discriminate between members of the various factions. Peace is enforced by the simple fact that they can always turn the Mother Jungle against troublemakers.
  • The Cave: A highly secret location known only to full members of the Order of the Blessed Way. Located in a mountainous region of the Jungle. Refers to a system of cave that gives the Jedi a home to live in and gives them cover. New initiates in the Order do not have access. They must prove themselves worthy first - and then find the cave. The masters of the order use illusions to conceal it from outside detection. Cave paintings remind inhabitants of the true history of the Jedi order. Among other things, one will learn that the original lightsabres were never lethal. They were only made lethal by the Sith, because a true Jedi would never take a life. One might note that lightsabres are extremely rare on Tephrike. Moreover, the Force and the Jedi sustain life. All these rumours about Jedi forbidding attachment are lies spread by the Sith. Luke Skywalker was a great champion of the light who defeated the Sith through love and compassion. Vader was not his father, but was moved by him to turn on the Dark Emperor and destroy him. Sadly, Vader perished, for evil destroys evil. His redemption was his sacrifice. In the words of the order's founder: "All one must do is endure evil until evil consumes itself. It is the way of the Force. To strike at it merely continues the cycle of darkness, for one who takes the life of another sentient being is stepping onto the very path they wished to avoid." The visitor will also learn that Rey converted Kylo Ren to the light. Naturally the two became a couple and had many children together.
  • Blue Horn River: A river flowing through the jungle. Here many of the plants and animals grow. Fishing can get dangerous because the native creatures include piranhas.
  • Greed's Folly: Not the original name, but the one the cultists gave this place. In actual fact this used to be an outpost of Interplan, a company that tried to exploit the Ruhewald for commercial purposes. By the time the cultists settled in the forest, the base had been abandoned. The corporate employees were left stranded by the Gulag Virus. Having lost contact with their employer, some took their chances in the jungle and tried to escape to civilisation. But the jungle undid them: A thunderstorm, torrential rainfalls, wild animals and dangerous plants. These days the outpost has been reclaimed by the forest. Young Blessed Way initiates visit this place to be taught about the sins of pride and greed.
  • Eventide Bayou: A swamp bayou, many crocodiles. For a while, it was the base of a group of rebellious slaves who had managed to escape the grip of the Disciples of the Vader. They petitioned the Order of the Blessed Way for protection, but were refused, for the order did not wish to get involved in outside quarrels, as the slaves would have brought trouble with the Sith. The slaves set up shop in the bayou. For a while the Jedi tolerated them. The rebels sustained themselves through the trade with mushrooms and launched a few raids against Sith prison camps to liberate slaves. Sith retaliated by dropping bombs on the jungle. Today, the base is deserted. No one knows for sure what happened to the rebels. The Order of the Blessed Way remains cryptic about their fate, simply saying that the sword will prove to be the undoing of those who live by it.

 
HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 

 

On first sight, the Ruhewald is a paradise. An enclave of tranquility and harmony on a war-torn planet. Unspoilt by pollution, industrialisation and warfare. The forest's flora and fauna is bountiful - and dangerous. Many dangers await the careless traveller who ventures into the Ruhewald. Army ants two inches long with stings and mandibles strong enough to hurt even a tough human. They happen to come in swarms. Giant lizards which ambush prey by dropping on them from the trees and biting them with large, venomous jaws. Big venus mantraps are among the plants of the forest. Concealing themselves in a net trap, they wait for the prey to walk in, then snap shut and suffocate even a human sized creature.

 

 

Piranha-like fish also exist, and can be dangerous for careless swimmers. In the sky, predatory, bird-like creatures vie with one another, some mammal, others reptilian. Most of these creatures live in the mountains, where they are safe from attack. Tephrike has insects and crawly creatures in abundance, including rather dangerous mosquitoes, which can act as vectors for many disease-causing viruses and parasites. Parasites of all sorts abound. Plants are naturally a huge part of any jungle and the remaining tropics of Tephrike are no different. Furthermore, there is an ostensibly harmless looking leaf covered in fine hairs. These hairs are a defence mechanism, and if they contact exposed skin they inject a mind altering substance which causes irrational fear and flight. Many animal species are resistant against it, but the effect is quite unnerving on humans. Unsurprisingly, various parties have tried to weaponise the substance in question, seeing its potential.

 

 

The intrepid explorer should also beware the mushrooms that are particularly common in the Ruhewald, for they tend to possess psychedelic proprties and can have interesting effects on his psyche, causing vivid hallucinations. Moreover, there are fast growing creeper creatures and metal-eating fungus with a taste for blasters and their delicate circuits. One can also find huge spiders, feral nexu and other creatures.

 

 

Despite all these hazards, the Ruhewald is not devoid of sentient life. For a schismatic Jedi sect, the Order of the Blessed Way, has lived in the forest for about a century. Before the outbreak of the Gulag Virus, the Ruhewald was exploited by foreign corporations. Some were attracted by its ample supply of timber, others took an interest in the local wildlife and psychelic mushrooms. A company called Interplan Incorporated set up an outpost. Tephrike's corporate, environmental and animal rights laws were rather lax and the planetary government wanted to attract foreign investment. Aside from being very active in the timber trade, Interplan was also interested in the wildlife.

 

 

Interplan's activities were a cause of controversy, as environmentalist groups protested against what they perceived to be the despoiling of an ' untainted virgin paradise'. In one instance, radical environmentalists tried to storm the Interplan outpost and release creatures that had been kept there for research or to be taken offworld. This caused a number of deaths and injuries on both sides. Tephrike's parliament and courts were still dealing with the fallout when the terrorist Zero released the Gulag Virus on Csilla. It did not take long for the pandemic to reach Tephrike, which rendered all debates irrelevant as the natives became preoccupied with not dying.

 

 

The Ruhewald might have been forgotten, were it for the fact that a sect of Jedi rebelled against the stern orthodoxy imposed by the Dominion of Light. This régime had been created by Tephrike's surviving Jedi as a response to the fact that the planet was spiralling into chaos, poverty and warlordism. Though well-intentioned at first, they were corrupted by absolute power and created an extremely repressive, totalitarian theocracy. A group of Padawans and young Knights decided to protest against this régime. They did not mind the Forcer supremacism that was the foundation of the Dominion, but they believed the Windian Jedi Order had turned against true Jedi principles, for they had embraced pacifist principles. They also rebelled against the prohibition on sexual activity, for such carnal acts are considered sinful in the Dominion, which is why every good citizen must submit to mandatory sperm/egg harvesting and subsequent sterilisation.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, they were persecuted by the Jedi Inquisitors, who accused them of having fallen to the Dark Side. Some of the heretics were 'cured' - a polite euphemism for brainwashed - others executed, but the rest were banished into the wilderness. Somehow they did not die out. The survivors attributed their fate to the will of the Force. They were joined by a few heretical Sith who had likewise grown disenchanted with the warmongering and savagery of the Vaderites.

 

 

Their path led them to the Ruhewald. Concluding that the Force had favoured them, they created a new order, the Order of the Blessed Way. Here, surrounded by nature, they would find refuge from the wars that had torn Tephrike apart. At first, the order was less isolationist. Several of its members wanted to make an effort to heal and rebuild Tephrike. While they abhorred violence, some of them advocated setting up an underground train of sorts to help refugees escape the grip of the Jedi or Sith. A few even wanted to go further.

 

 

However, these views were soon shut down. A charismatic Jedi called Leznik Carruum took control. His radical pacifist views caused some to leave, but the rest adopted his doctrine. The Order of the Blessed Way would forsake violence and pursue a policy of isolation. Violence would only beget violence, and so they would endure evil until it destroyed itself. For their duty was to the Force. Around this time the cultists began to use mushrooms to commune with the Force. A cynic might say that they could be afford to be pacifist because the jungle did the killing for them. They developed an aptitude for Force abilities such as animal friendship, healing, illusions and plant surge. The cultists also did away with 'archaic, reactionary' institutions such as a Jedi Council. Instead the leader of the order would be directly elected by a conclave. Some egalitarian radicals wanted to give Padawans a vote, but even they were forced to withdraw this notion after realising how impractical such an experiment in direct democracy would be. The order allowed some non-Force-using refugees to join them, but they do not get a vote because they are 'crude matter, not luminous beings'. They tend to do menial jobs 'beings of elevated consciousness' cannot be bothered with. Force-sensitive children of non-Force-users are taken in and trained by the order. Unlike the Windians, the Blessed Way Jedi breed. Indeed, they encourage their followers to pursue carnal activities, following the credi 'make love, not war'.

 

 

The policy of isolation would be relaxed over time, as the cultists discovered that there were things they needed the jungle could not produce. Thus they set up a small trading outpost where they could barter with outsiders. As it turned out, psychedelics were something all of Tephrike's main factions, especially the Dominion of Light and the Vaderites, took an interest in. It happened to be useful to keep their subjects docile. Wild animals and Force imbued items were also of interest. However, they remained deeply suspicious of outsiders, often using their powers to drive them away. When an ambitious Sith master tried to gain merit among the Vaderites by conquering the forest, believing the cultists to be an easy target, he was soon disabused of this notion. Wild beasts and carnivorous plants devoured many of his men. Others were misled by illusions and ended up wandering aimlessly, chasing sirens until they lost their minds or collapsed from exhaustion.

 

 

Under one particularly proactive Master, a Twi'lek called Elav, the Order of the Blessed Way tried to mediate in Tephrike's civil war. This move was controversial because it contradicted the teachings of Leznik Carruum. However, the peace conference ended poorly. The Republican Guard, a secularist faction dedicated to overthrowing the tyranny of Force-users, refused to attend in the first place, as that would give legitimacy to its adversaries. Elav was exiled by his fellows for 'disrupting the balance of the Force'. This is a common punishment for those whose thoughts and deeds contradict the majority opinion, as the cultists refuse to take lives or imprison anyone. Recently, a new group of radical freethinkers has come into conflict with the old guard, espousing greater openness. As is so often the case, the rebels of yesterday are now the conservatives who oppose change and accuse those who advocate it of deviation.


Red Coral City

26 June 2018 - 06:22 AM

Otoh_Gunga.png

 

OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION

  • Intent: Further flesh out Tephrike and sub a location mentioned in the planet sub.
  • Image Credit: Here. Otoh Gunga in 'The Phantom Menace'. Found on Wookieepedia.
  • Canon: N/A.
  • Links: Otoh Gunga, Nexus City, Castle Maysaf.

SETTING INFORMATION

  • City Name: Red Coral City
  • Classification: Armed rebel settlement.
  • Location: Tephrike.
  • Affiliation: Capital of the Republican Guard of Tephrike.
  • Demographics: The majority of the population is composed of aliens. To be specific, aquatic aliens such as Nautolans, Gungans and Quarren. Humans, Twi'leks, Duros and so on can be found as well, but they're a minority. While the Republican Guard strives to create a secular, pluralistic state, racial tensions exist. These have historical roots because strife between race-based political parties did its part to weaken Tephrike's fragile democracy prior to the outbreak of the Gulag Virus. Humans are not persecuted, but less likely to get the best jobs or homes. There is a small, tight-knit community of Yuuzhan Vong. They possess a special status because their Force Dead nature makes them excellent at fighting Jedi or Sith, who both constitute the rebel movement's main adversaries.
  • Wealth: Low. The people of Red Coral City are not wealthy at all. Tephrike is isolated from the rest of the Galaxy and there's an ongoing civil war between feuding factions for control of the planet. Even the commanders of the Republican Guard have little an outsider would consider valuable. The city operates under a regulated economy and rationing has been imposed to deal with shortages. There are harsh rules against hoarding and 'profiteering'. In spite - or perhaps because - of the regulations, there's a flourishing black market, which the rebel junta tolerates. Due to lack of funds, there's little in terms of a social safety net. Those unskilled, poor or just plain unlucky enough not to find an appropriate job are conscripted into communal or military service. Unemployment handouts are considered a luxury that encourage sloth. Since the currency is worth very little, barter trade is common. The command economy has been created out of emergency measures, pragmatism and necessity rather than communist zeal, and with an understanding of the system's flaws. Small businesses endure in many sectors.
  • Stability: High, due to strict security and population controls. Because everyone has to give their all to survive, there is a strong sense of unity among the community of this settlement, despite the disagreements, shortages and pervasive rationing. This is not to say that the settlement is free from strife, crime or corruption, far from it. But there is a strong feeling that they all must hang together. The Republican Guard has some rather harsh views on crime and punishment. Because space and resources are limited, they prefer to exile felons that are not considered redeemable. The wilderness of Tephrike is extremely dangerous, so this is often a death sentence. It should be noted that the Guard expects every citizen to own a weapon and become reasonably proficient in its use. Free citizens form a part-time militia and must participate in regular drills. However, the best weapons are obviously reserved for the Guard's soldiers. There's also a free press, which is allowed to criticise the régime. However, due to emergency wartime legislation, this criticism must operate within certain bounds. Essentially the press is allowed to criticise individual leaders or policies, but not the general line. Thus no journalist would suggest making peace with the theocratic factions or treating Force-users like normal people. Force-users are monitored very heavily and must suppress their powers. The Republican Guard supports freedom of religion and people are allowed to worship whichever deities they like...excluding any form of Force worship or idolisation of Force-users. Due to wartime necessities and shortages, the settlement has a tightly regulated economy. This has less to do with ideology and more with the simple fact that Tephrike is an impoverished planet and the Guard are rebel insurgents.
  • Description: Red Coral City is a cross between a refugee settlement and an armed rebel camp. It is protected by the Republican Guard, a secularist rebel group that opposes the Jedi and Sith theocrats. The underwater settlement lies in the a sea called the Cerulean Expanse, in the north of Tephrike. It is located in some underwater caves combined with the hydrostatic bubbles the Gungans use keep the water out. As in Otoh Gunga, these bubbles contain a breathable atmosphere and have special portals that allow inhabitants to exit. However, space is sparse and quarters are very cramped, meaning there is little privacy for the inhabitants. The members of the leadership fare better, but it is still a far cry from luxury. Security is very tight and the partisans are a vigilant lot. Scarce resources mean that those who gain entrance to the underwater city must make sure they contribute to society, for otherwise they must leave. Red Coral also houses the command staff of the Republican Guard and the leadership committee of its political wing. Gungan hydrostatic barriers keep the water out of the settlement. Air purifiers leading to the surface make sure fresh air is available. Its inhabitants get most of their food from fishing and kelp farming. Kelp soup is a common dish. Soldiers also launch raids against convoys and settlements of hostile groups to gain foodstuffs and other essentials.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A small, but dignified monument dedicated to the memory of all soldiers of the Republican Guard who died in defence of freedom against the forces of oppression. Or at least that's what the rebel junta sees it as. The shrine contains the remains of an unidentified Gungan soldier who died during an incursion to liberate captives from a Sith death camp. There is an honour guard at all times. Schoolclasses often visit this memorial to pay their respects and be reminded that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
  • Jango Fett Barracks: Both the Republican Guard and the Windian Jedi Order lay claim to Jango Fett. The Jedi insist that Jango was a Mandalorian marauder who saw the error of his ways, was redeemed by Mace Windu and agreed to become the genetic donor of the clone army to atone for his misdeeds. The two were inseparable comrades, until they were betrayed by the evil Stormtroopers. By contrast, the Republican Guard believes that the clone troopers were slaves who were abused by their cruel Jedi and Sith masters. Either way, these facilities house clone troopers who were able to escape the grasp of the Windians, whose elite battalions consist of rapidly degrading clones. Aside from the usual military installations, these barracks also house a medical complex. Its employees are largely concerned with trying to find a way to fix the mess caused by the Windians' inferior cloning methods. However, the primitive tech at their disposal limits their success.
  • Amidala Asylum: The Republican Guard has strong views on Force-users. Since a lot - though by no means all - of Tephrike's misery can be laid at the doorstep of competing Force religions, this is understandable. Force cults are prohibited and the Force is regarded as a disease. Individuals who manifest Force powers are brought to the Asylum. There, they are subjected to brainwashing, drugs and a good bit of mental trauma to associate the Force with bad things. Those who are deemed sufficiently stable are released into society. The rebels have some Yuuzhan Vong in their ranks, but their attempts to cure Force-users and pass on the Force Dead condition have achieved mixed results at best. So they resort to mental conditioning to suppress Force use. The asylum is run like a medical facility and is named after Padme Amidala, Queen and later Senator of Naboo. As anyone who has the misfortune of visiting the asylum is reminded, she was murdered by a psychotic, out-of-control Force-user called Darth Vader. He may have claimed to love her, but the disease inside him drove him to murder her and then the Jedi stole her children.
  • Senate Chambers: Resembles the High Tower Boardroom in Otoh Gunga, ironically. Here the Republican Guard's 'senate' convenes. Despite the name, it is more comparabl to the Advisory Council of the Rebel Alliance, as the Guard is not a state, but a rebel insurgency run by a semi-elected junta. The senators are directly elected and represent the population of Red Coral City plus of the 'liberated territories' outside of the settlement. Due to the ever-changing fortunes of war, membership fluctuates. Moreover, while some rebel-controlled territories have seats, their representatives are unable to attend due to being too far away and cut off by hostile forces. Despite these shortcomings, the senate serves as a check on the power of the rebel commanders. Like the chamber in Otoh Gunga, this area features listening plates to give advancing warning of danger. In addition to the chamber itself, there is an adjoining suite of offices, which house the various departments of the Republican Guard's political wing.
  • Liberty Bay: As the settlement is located underwater, submersibles are the primary means of getting to the surface and back. Admittedly you could swim, but the manifold sea monsters would make this rather hazardous. The inhabitants of Red Coral City make use of submersibles that share the organic look common among Gungan bongos, though they tend to look more rusty than fancy. Unsurprisingly, many Gungans and Nautolans work here. Security is rather tight, as the Guard is concerned about infiltrators. However, there's still a lot of smuggling. Smuggled goods include 'happy drugs' produced by the Order of the Blessed Way, a schismatic Jedi sect whose members live in a foreboding forest and commune with the Force via mushrooms. The Republican Guard's War on Drugs has only achieved mixed success. For every dealer who is unmasked and sentenced, there are many more to continue where he left off.
  • Trap Cantina: A famous cantina located in Red Coral City's entertainment district. Obvious homage to the legendary Admiral who gave his life in the service of freedom. Here the citizens of the settlement can gain some respite from a hard day of labour. If they have the means and contacts, they can also purchase black market wares under the table. For everyone else there's booze, gambling and other vices - all denied to the common man and woman in Jedi or Sith territory.
  • Library of the Republic: So much knowledge has been lost since the outbreak of the Gulag Virus ushered in the Dark Age. The Library of the Republic aims to preserve and recover as much as possible. It serves as a data repository and is open to the public. Unlike in the Coruscanti library of the same name, the written word is preferred to electronic data. An outside scholar who were to visit this place would probably find many of the historical records to be riddled with inaccuracies, but in most cases this is due to genuine ignorance as opposed to malicious manipulation. The Library of the Republic also dispatches research teams to locations on Tephrike to recover lost knowledge that will help the Guard rebuild Tephrike. Or at least improve the lot of the people under their protection. Not all make it back, as the planet is a war-torn hellhole and has a very dangerous flora and fauna. Academic and scientific research facilities are attached to this institution.
  • Tipoca Fertility Clinic: The main purpose of this clinic is to help couples conceive. Unlike on many worlds, such help is of existential importance because the Dominion of Light, as the Windian Jedi call their regime, has a general policy of sterilisation. Upon reaching a certain age, every 'citizen' must report for mandatory egg and sperm harvesting, followed by an operation because intercourse, even for the purpose of bringing new life into the world, is viewed as of the dark side. Instead all 'citizens' must be grown in labs and controlled from craddle to grave. The Tipoca Fertility Clinic aims at reversing these horrific procedures and enable the inhabitants of the settlement to conceive naturally. Those who can are encouraged to have children. After all, the rebels need new workers and fighters.
  • Chancellor Valorum Memorial Museum: An institution dedicated to keeping the past alive and teaching future generations about it. However, the view of history propagated here is a little bit distorted. Isolation, technological regression and inaccurate records tend to have that effect. It is named after Valorum because the Republican Guard believes he was the last good chancellor of the Old Republic. He is stereotyped as a good man who was overthrown due to Force machinations. Furthermore, it is also believed that Palpatine was the apprentice of Sidious, but overthrew his master and corrupted Anakin. Likewise, Sidious and the Jedi conspired together to foment the Clone Wars so that the Force blind could be brought to heel. Interestingly, their view of Luke and Leia is more charitable. Both are seen as well-intentioned people who were duped by the Jedi into continuing the cruel war and perpetuating a broken order. According to this interpretation, Luke went into exile and renounced the Force because he realised the harm Force-users had caused. He hid the Jedi's sacred scriptures to keep future generations from repeating the same mistakes. Sadly, even burning the holy texts was not enough. A visitor to the musem would also learn that Jedi Rey fought the Yuuzhan Vong and that the First Order was led by Supreme Leader Thrawn. Snoke was a failed Sidious clone who believed he was the true emperor. Interestingly, the Vong are whitewashed, for they are regarded as righteous crusaders who saw the evil of Jedi and Sith and stood up for the common man. General Jar-Jar Binks was a brave warrior who fought in the Clone Wars and later led the Rebellion and the Resistance to many victories.
  • Kelp farms: Vital to keep the populace fed. Kelp is also used as biofuel. Many inhabitants of Red Coral are employed here. The kelp farmers are unionised.

     

SECURITY

  • High.
  • For starters, the settlement is underwater and thus difficult to reach. Especially the waters are populated by creatures such as piranha-like fish, sharks and huge squid. The Republican Guard have mined most of the approaches, so only a few well guarded pathways exist. Torpedo launchers help defend those. Furthermore, they have a 'gate' that can be closed and is a section of rock, which can rise and seal the entrance. Sonic cannon emplacements provide additional defences. The rebels have a small force of military submersibles. Foreign submersibles and divers who approach the settlement without authorisation will be targeted as hostiles.
  • Within the settlement, every citizen who is old enough to fight is expected to own a weapon and be proficient in its use. Security is provided by the militia and regular soldiers, who tend to be hardened insurgents. However, their weaponry is very outdated by modern standards, as Tephrike has been isolated from the rest of the Galaxy for centuries. Slugthrower weapons are more common than blasters. This is the norm for Tephrike because blasters are more difficult to maintain, especially since the planet's jungles are home to dangerous fungi. Turrets have been set up at crucial points of interest.

 
HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 

 

The outbreak of the Gulag Virus had a profound impact on almost every inhabited world in the Galaxy. Galactic commerce came to an end, billions died from the plague and many more due to internal strife. Galactic governments collapsed and many planets succumbed to anarchy. The repercussions for Tephrike were extreme. The planet's fragile democracy had already been under fire due to racial and social tensions. Moreover, the planet was highly dependent on galactic trade. Things turned from bad to worse as the survivors warred amonst themselves.

 

 

Tephrike's small Jedi enclave tried to impose order and fight the darkness, but ended up becoming the very evil they fought against, while insisting that they were righteous. Influenced by a debased, warped interpretation of the old Jedi code, they sought to bring the planet under the control of a radical Jedi theocracy, the Dominion of Light, which took totalitarian control to new heights. Inevitably, there was opposition. Heretical Jedi turned on their masters and declared a dark crusade, forming a Sith cult that worshipped Vader as a god and believed all Force blind should be enslaved and treated as chattle.

 

 

The common people of Tephrike were caught between a rock and a hard place, as both theocracies vied for control. Their religious war cost many lives and devastated the planet. It was only a matter of time before Force blind rebel groups united and formed their own faction, the Republican Guard. Like the Jedi and the Sith, this faction turned to an idealised past. The Dominion of Light saw itself as the successor of the Jedi Lords, Lord Hoth and Mace Windu, the Disciples of the Vader regarded themselves as the heirs of the 'Dark God' Vader and the Republican Guard believed it was restoring the Old Republic. Their capital became a humble settlement called Red Coral City.

 

 

Prior to these cataclysmic events, Red Coral City had been a rather minor settlement. Founded by Gungans and Nautolans, it had been one of many aquatic settlements created by aquatic aliens who'd settled on Tephrike. It only really made the headlines when the locals complained that the activities of a foreign corporation were causing serious damage to the sea and the wildlife in it, leading to protests, Its obscurity turned out to be a blessing because it was spared much of the initial destruction that took place during the Age of Strife. However, social unrest, food shortages and the plague forced the local administration to implement harsh measures to keep order. The small town was soon faced with a refugee crisis. Desperate to escape the fighting, refugees bribed smugglers to help them get into the settlement. Strict border controls were imposed, not the least because the natives feared that they would be inundated. In one highly controversial action, a police submersible used torpedoes to turn refugee craft away.

 

 

Like many areas dominated by aquatic aliens, Red Coral City's inhabitants supported Tephrike's old, federal government, which was losing ground to the Force cultists and warlords. Indeed, there was soon little to separate the old regime from just another warlord group and its leaders demanded contributions from the locals. Furthermore, the Dominion of Light launched punitive expeditions to bring the underwater towns into the fold, after the Vaderites' Dark Crusade had been halted at Palmyra, the planet's old capital. Fear of fifth columnists was rampant and led to the lynching of suspected spies. Moreover, refugees told horrific stories about the deeds of the Windian Jedi's elite soldiers: Clone troopers.

 

 

Ironically, some of these clone troopers would turn out to be Red Coral City's best allies and help found the Republican Guard. Prior to the Collapse, Tephrike had been a location for several medical companies, which had been attracted by the planet's bountiful flora and fauna. Medical facilities had been set up to run tests and experiments, encouraged by rather lax laws. This included a medical cloning facility. The Windian Jedi later appropriated this facility and used it to breed soldiers. Eventually, they would seek to do away with natural reproduction entirely, viewing pleasures of the flesh as the path to the Dark Side. However, since the tech had been created with animals in mind, their method of cloning was less than ideal and they ran into issues such as clone madness or rapid aging. A group of clone troopers who had managed to subvert their programming rebelled against their masters, turning on them mid-battle, which helped save the town when it was being assaulted by the zealots. It was these rebels Red Coral City's embattled government made an alliance with.

 

 

The move was controversial among the settlement's more xenophobic and/or isolationist elemenets. Some believed the interests of the people would be best served by trying to appease one of the two theocratic Force cults, whose war was ravaging the planet. These views were squashed by a radical party of secularists, who proclaimed that the inhabitants of Red Coral City had to rally around the banner of freedom and liberty, for otherwise they would be nothing but slaves. This faction also gained support from many refugees, who in many cases had fled from Jedi or Sith territory with little more than the clothes on their backs and left loved ones behind. The Republican Guard controlled city administration declared itself the successor to Tephrike's old federal government and reached out to other rebel groups that shared its vision.

 

 

The battle for Red Coral City became the touchstone of the Republican Guard's foundational myth. Here, so the myth says, brave citizen-soldiers decided to put their foot down and stamp out the fires that threatened to consume all of Tephrike. Ordinary people decided to stand up for themselves, rather than become the playthings of mages. As so often, the truth is les rosy. In actual fact, the forces the Dominion of Light had dispatched to take the city had been ravaged by diseases such as dysentry and malaria. To a significant degree they were undone by logistics. Many of the soldiers lacked training in underwater combat. The Grandmaster who ruled from far away Nexus City was loath to commit an overly large force, especialy with the Vaderites still a threat.

 

 

Still, every nation, being an imagined community, needs a myth and the Republican Guard got theirs. The new state would be a secular one. Its credo would be: government of the Force blind, by the Force blind, for the Force blind. Never again would Force-users wield power. The few Force-users in the city were excluded from political power or positions of importance. Indeed, reports of cultist activities, nocturnal rituals and blood sacrifices caused a mass panic amongst the populace, Force use was prohibited entirely. Too much time has passed for it to be possible to verify whether there really was a fifth column during the battle or a cult of Sith 'deep state agents' plotting to undermine the fabric of society. Both seemed real to most inhabitants of Red Coral city and so harsh laws were imposed to protect the populace from Force-users - and Force-users from themselves and the wroth of the public. The The Amidala Asylum was founded to teach Force-users to suppres their powers. This institution operates to this day and is a cross between a high-security prison and mental health facility.

 

 

For the average citizen, life in Red Coral City is not good, but bearable. There is limited freedom of expression, and something like independent cultural life. However, most goods are rationed and there's a flourishing black market, which even the security police has been unable to stamp out. While the press is relatively free, there's a good deal of self-censorship. Outsiders who wish to settle here must overcome a variety of hurdles. The rebel junta wants to avoid overcrowding and is concerned about infiltrators. Thus refugees who manage to reach Republican Guard lines are often directed to other camps or settlements. Only those who have proved themselves and are regarded as an asset rather than a burden are allowed to reside in Red Coral City. Many refugees find that the best way to speed up the process is to join the military. Especially since combat veterans and their families receive comparatively generous benefits.

 

 

To this day, the Republican Guard continues its struggle against the Jedi and Vaderites, waging a low-intensity guerrilla war. Outside of Red Coral, the Guard maintains control over a number of scattered settlements and remote provinces on the planet, though affiliated partisan groups operate within the territories of their rivals. As far as the Tephriki know, the rest of the Galaxy has been consumed by the Gulag Virus. So the Guard considers itself to be the inheritor of the traditions of the Old Republic. Propaganda posters and the like can be found throughout the settlement, reminding citizens of the evil deeds perpetrated by Jedi and Sith cultists and the need to stand together. In a number of ways, cultural life is freer here than in most other places on Tephrike. There's booze, theatre, a primitive cinema and a press that reports more than just government propaganda. The life style is comparable to that of a military base. Regimented, hardy, but not without amenities. However, lives of opulentluxury are virtually unheard of. Certainly if one were to apply the standards of a Core World or even your moderately developed fringe planet on the Outer Rim. Centuries-long isolation simply is not productive. The same applies to pervasive militarism.

 

 

Surface level diversity is celebrated, but when it comes to politics, a citizen's choices are to 'toe the government line' or 'complain that the government isn't going far enough'. The strict line taken on social justice, 'corruption', 'separatism' and 'cultism' has created a system where the official ideology of secularism, republicanism, civic nationalism and 'support for freedom fighters in the oppressed territories' has become the only acceptable political discourse. Thus the main debate within the revolutionary coalition consists of how best to accomplish these goals. Local politics are dominated by the Popular Front, the Republican Guard's political wing. Opposition parties exist and even get votes, but they do not differ much from the hegemon. For all the pretentions of progressivism, there is a strong suspicion of those who rock the boat. The guiding values of society are resilience, sustainability, duty and unity. In Red Coral City, "the cost of freedom is always high" is the unofficial motto. There is room for some offbeat things, but sloth is not one of them. Citizens must be willing to obey their supervisors and do their jobs.
 

 

Like virtually every place in the Galaxy, Red Coral City was affected by the Netherworld event. Suffice to say it was a huge shock when hundreds of people suddenly vanished. Mass panic and hysteria ensued as those who had been left behind tried to find a culprit. Many blamed dark magicks. Little did they know that they were right, but no one knew of the mad goddess Akala and she was beyond their reach in any case. An enraged mob, whipped into a frenzy by demagogues, stormed Amidala Asylum, blaming its inmates for the calamity. To their credit, many guards tried to protect the facility and their charges. Nonetheless, it was a bloodbath. Some of the inmates managed to escape during the chaos. Some sought to flee the settlement with varying success, but others stayed and went underground. Feeling vengeful, they formed a gang that became a menace to the inhabitants of Red Coral City, terrorising those who had scorned them. Eventually order was restored by the Guard. The asylum was rebuilt, but suspicion of uncontrolled Force-users only intensified.

 

 

The pentup aggression was directed outward, as the Republican Guard launched raids against the Jedi theocracy and the Sith slavocracy, seeking to liberate lost territories. Attempts to form alliances between two of the three factions to gang up on the third (before inevitably turning on each other) never go far due to the considerable animus between all three. Thus they remain in a deadlock, and so does all of Tephrike. Territory is invaded, seized and often lost just as soon. However, Tephrike's isolation is bound to end soon. Little do the inhabitants of Red Coral City know that outsiders are en route to the planet, for as far as they know they're the only survivors of the Plague. It remains to be seen whether contact with the outside world will help change Tephrike for the better or just be the cause of more misery for its people.

 

 

The present leader of the movement is a Gungan called Odoh Senks, who bears the title of chancellor. A former slave, he managed to escape a Sith concentration camp and find refuge with a partisan group before rising through the ranks of the Republican Guard and the Popular Front. He came to power after his predecessor lost a vote of no confidence for collaborating with Darth Krieg. Ironically, Krieg had been trying to turn the Vaderites to the light side after discovering a 'lost tome' that told the story of Vader's redemption...though this did not stop him from being a despot. Due to his background, Senks is very committed to the goals of the Republican Guard and staunchly opposed to compromise with Force cultists. Though no longer able to participate in frontline combat due to his position and old war injuries, he is an inspiring figure for the party stalwarts. Elafuh Thaal, a hardened Yuuzhan Vong commander, commands the rebel soldiers.


Breaking the Machine

27 April 2018 - 04:57 PM

Ari Vox, Sebastian Thel

 

 

The aftermath of battles was not something often spoken of. By contrast, it was epic clashes of armies and the grand duels that drew attention. But it was not seemly to focus on the scars - both mental and physical - such battles could not leave. Especially if you wound up being thrown into the conflagration again. You steeled yourself, womaned up and dealt with it. Or gave a good impression of doing so at any rate. So that was what Elpsis did.

 

 

The safehouse was an unobtrusive, nondescript building, not really standing out from any of the other buildings on the street. It was drab, dull and the furnishings were pretty simple, with only the most basic functions in mind. Worker drones on the industrialised hive world of Ession did not need anything else, after all. It had food, clothes - and, hidden in a secret compartment - enough guns to cause some havoc.

 

 

Elpsis had picked a spot on the carpet in one of the few rooms to meditate. Meditation was a basic skill any Jedi apprentice learned, but she'd long struggled with it. It required peace of mind, the ability to let go and turn your gaze away from the great and small concerns that plagued you. She'd always had trouble staying in one place. Inevitably her mind wandered to the recent events that had taken place during her first sojourn to Ession. She'd come here with high hopes. Help the local rebels, deliver a blow against Sith sympathising, imperialist friendly scum, impress mother. When her contact had told her of a Sith Lord and asked that she take care of the problem, she'd pounced at the chance. Silly dreams.

 

 

What had happened? The Sith Lord she'd faced had been none other than Matsu Xiangu. The dreaded Witch-Necromancer. Elpsis would be lying if she claimed she hadn't been afraid. The fight had been vicious, driving both to their limits. She'd held her own, suffering ghastly injuries, but dishing out as well. But good people had died.

 

 

The rebels had chosen to help her with the assignment, but nonetheless the deaths weighed heavily on her. Like a mountain. She wondered how Tempest dealt with it. Or Siobhan. Her adoptive mother's name caused the bile to rise inside her stomach. Siobhan had scorned her as weak, but she'd stood up to a monster who was her mother's equal. Revulsion filled her even as she tried to focus.

 

 

So here she was again. Determined to put the intel the rebels had given her to good use. Her maimed right hand, lacking pinkie and ring finger, was a permanent reminder of the duel. As were the burns on her stomach and the dark marks etched into her face. Being blind, she could not look at herself in the mirror, but she could feel the imprint of darkness. Attempting to find serenity in meditation did not go well, for peace eluded her.

 

 

She tried to reach that safe spot inside her mind, the sanctuary of the forests and wild beasts. But just as she was about to cross the threshold, she was pushed out of her meditation when she felt two presences approaching. They were coming this way, en route to the safehouse. With a sigh, she turned her ethereal gaze outward, homing in on their presences. Their auras were not hostile though.

 

There was a knocked on the door to the room. "Company. Motion sensors spotted two people approaching. No jackboots," the female Devaronian dressed in spacer clothes was one of the local rebels who'd found alongside her. One of those who'd extracted the young empath when things went to hell.

 

"It's our friends," she said with certainty. "Tell Horns." 'Horns' was actually Lin Brakka, an Irridonian Zabrak and a Sergeant in Firemane's black ops division. She wasn't fond of the nickname. The rebel nodded - and checked a blaster pistol concealed in her jacket. The two newcomers would have to identify themselves with a password before being let in.


Castle Maysaf

28 January 2018 - 03:53 PM

Gothic-castle.jpg

 

OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION

  • Intent: To sub the headquarters of the Disciples of the Vader, a home-grown NPC cult on Tephrike. Aside from providing another location for rps for explorers to discover, the sub helps flesh out the lore of Tephrike by codifying a location referenced in the planet submission.
  • ​Image Credit: Here. Found on dailydesigninspiration.com. Gothic castle. Unknown artist.
  • Canon: N/A
  • Links: N/A

SETTING INFORMATION

  • Military Base Name: Maysaf Castle
  • Classification: Army base, castle.
  • Location: Tephrike.
  • Affiliation: The Disciples of the Vader, a local Sith cult on Tephrike. Not affiliated with any non-Tephriki faction.
  • Population: 10, 000 slaves, 10, 000 non-slaves ( second category includes non-military personnel, 100 Sith and 5000 soldiers).
  • Accessibility: The castle is well known and highly visible, but very hard to access due to defence shield, mountain passes and defences.
  • Description:A foreboding fortress located in a mountain that lies on the border between the deserts and the jungle lands. The castle has achieved infamy as the place from which the Disciples of the Vader rule. Through use of slave labourers, they have dug extensive tunnels beneath the earth, enabling them to quickly flee or get reinforcements and supplies in case of an outside attack. Unsurprisingly, the castle also has dungeons and laboratories, in which ghastly alchemical experiments take place. The castle is protected by a shield generator, giving it some protection against bombardment. The castle and the nearby town function as the capital of the Sith cult. From here, the dark cultists launch raids to acquire slaves and booty, along with forcibly extracting tribute from the settlements that have the misfortune of being under their heel. The cultists have strong opinions on trespassers. It can be summed up with the phrase 'heads, spikes, walls'.

 

POINTS OF INTEREST

 

The Grand Hall: Here the cultists congregate to pay homage to their Dark Lord and offer him tribute in form of slaves, plunder and so on. Same applies to representatives from the settlements that have been forced under the yoke. Unsurprisingly, the hall is very grandiose, and the Dark Lord sits upon a throne made of skulls. Tapestries decorate the walls, telling the story of the Vader. Time has distorted historical records, and so the Disciples have some rather odd ideas about their idol. While they agree that he was conceived by the Force, spent his childhood as a slave, won a pod race, became a Jedi and then embraced the Dark Side, crucial details differ. For instance, they believe that when he returned to Tatooine many years after his departure, he slaughtered the Hutts and Sand People, freeing the slaves. But then the slaves begged him to enslave them again, for they did not know what to do with their freedom. It was then that he realised that some people are born to be slaves because they are not meant for freedom. Furthermore, they believe that Darth Tyranus and Qui-Gon were the same person and Dark Lord of the Sith, and that Anakin slew him to claim the title. In his final living moments, Tyranus urged Anakin to fulfil his destiny and named him Vader.

 

 

Likewise, on Korriban Vader was tested by the spirits of the ancient Sith Lords, but he overcame all of their trials and devoured their souls. Obi-Wan, the archnemesis of the Dark Messiah, betrayed him and corrupted his son Luke. It was Vader, not Palpatine, who was the ruler of the Empire, for the Emperor was a weak Force-user. Tales of Vader's redemption are dismissed as filthy lies by the dark acolytes. The Dark Messiah was betrayed by his son and struck down by the false Emperor, who embraced the Light. There's an enormous Darth Vader statue.

 

 

Hall of Tournaments: Inside this castle chamber, the wheat is separated from the chaff. Taking the Sith's obsession with rule by the strong to its logical extreme, the Sith have dispensed with more rational means of promotion by allowing a Disciple to challenge his direct superior to combat to the death. The rationale behind this is that any man who cannot physically defend his position does not deserve to hold it. However, this method of promotion is only permitted if the challenger makes an official challenge to his superior. Assassination, poisoning, a knife between the ribs in the dead of night, these are considered trickster tactics and proof of a man's weakness, not his strength. Once a formal challenge has been made, a duel takes place in this hall, under the watchful eyes of witnesses and statues of ancient Dark Lords such as Vader and Bane. Disputes between Disciples are also resolved her through duels to the death. Gladiator fights also take place here for the entertainment of the higherups. Moreover, Force-sensitive human slaves can fight here for the right to become Disciples.

 

 

The Sanctum of the Dark One: Located in the highest tower of the impractical castle, secured so only the highest masters can see it. Here, the Disciples store what they believe to be Vader relics. For items that supposedly belonged to Vader are regarded as sacred. Said items are all frauds, and it is doubtful that they were ever even in the same room as the Dark Lord. Or existed in the same era. Indeed, with all the pieces of Vader's cloak, mask, lightsabre and armour they claim to possess, it would have been enough for several individuals to put together. This has not stopped the Disciples from continuing the search for relics. Only the highest masters have access to this room, and it is heavily guarded by the most loyal acolytes, who have shed flesh in favour of crude cybernetics. Successive cult leaders have claimed to commune with the spirit of the Dark Lord. Channelling his presence through his mask, he relays instructions to his heirs and shows them the power of the Dark Side. The Disciples believe that one day a Scion from the bloodline of the Dark God Vader will appear to eclipse the Light. So they store these relics until that glorious day arrives.

 

 

Chamber of Sacrifice: Once an acolyte has passed his trials to become a Disciple, it is time for him to sacrifice a limb like the cult's idol did. So he is taken to this chamber, where his right arm is severed at the elbow by a lightsabre. Subsequently, it is replaced by a crude cybernetic arm. He's also given a dark mask. Some particularly fervent Disciples go a step further and sacrifice more limbs than just an arm, desiring to emulate Vader as closely as possible.

 

 

Chamber of Forging: Located in the lower levels of the Castle. Here, alchemists conduct experiments on sentient beings and beasts alike. Prison cells and cages lie adjacent to the laboratory. The result of these experiments are crude Sithspawn creatures conditioned to serve their dark masters. Alas, some of them are simply too savage and need to be put down. But there's always more prisoners to experiment on. Moreover, cultists also design alchemised weapons in a nearby workshop. As lightsabres are extremely rare on Tephrike, Sith swords and the like are standard weapons for Disciples.

 

 

Chamber of Illumination: Also located in the lower levels. Here unbelievers are enlightened via torture. The Disciples favour some rather ghastly, stomach-churning punishments that even some Sith might consider extreme. Prison cells are nearby.

 

 

Sith Council Chambers: Located in one of the higher towers. Here, the Dark Lord and his most powerful lieutenants convene, deciding on important matters of state. As the Disciples are frankly a band of barbaric marauders, this mostly boils down to campaigns to torch Jedi enclaves, acquire slavers and booty. Composition of the council fluctuates, as power struggles are a regular occurence. The Disciples are human supremacists, so there are no aliens.

 

 

Slave pens: The economy of the Disciples runs on slavery. Slave labourers are held in deplorable, squalid conditions. The logic is that the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must. So the weak deserve anything that happens to them. They toil day and night, and have no rights. It is perfectly legal for a Disciple to strike or kill a slave in anger. Individual Disciples are awarded slaves in return for service. Should a slave escape, it is their responsibility to catch and punish them. However, should the escape be successful, this shows the Disciple was weak, which means that he is the one who is punished. Slaves are not allowed to be able to read or write. Disciples who show compassion to slaves are regarded as weak, for they are succumbing to the pull to the Light. Because Vader was human, the Disciples regard humans as the master race, so many of the slaves are aliens. However, a Disciple can be enslaved as punishment for transgressions against the Sith Code. Should that occur, he is severed from the Force.

 

 

Execution grounds: Located in the courtyard of the palace. Here heretics, traitors and uppity slaves are publicly executed. Executions tend to be public events. The Disciples are fond of a variety of savage execution methods. These include breaking on the wheel, crucifixions, disembowelment, dismemberment, hanging, drawing and quartering and immersion in boiling liquid. Sometimes the friends or loved ones of the condemned are forced to carry out the sentence themselves. Should they refuse, then they're obviously enemies as well.

 

 

Hangar: A small hangar can be found in the castle. It is able to hold a small amount of ships, but is not designed anything like frigates or cruisers. None of the Disciples have ever left Tephrike anyway. Instead, they have some primitive gunships and fighters. These are outclassed by the Dominion of Light's craft, which says a lot about their poor state since the Windian Jedi's tech is quite primitive. Rather their main utility lies in scouting or imposing the Disciples' will upon villages by raining down death upon the helpless. Up on one of the spires, there's a landing pad for small craft, which is reserved for the use of the Dark Lord. The Disciples might idolise Vader, but they've been unable to imitate his piloting skills.

 

 

Barracks: Living quarters for the soldiers that guard the Castle. By the standards of the Disciples, they constitute an elite force. Separated from their families at an early age and indoctrinated to revere the Vader, they are essentially slave-soldiers, though they are regarded as standing above the slaves. Constant indoctrination teaches them to regard Vader as the Dark God and the Disciples as his chosen ones. Connected to the barracks is an armoury for all their violent needs.

 

 

The high masters of the cult reside higher up in more elegantly furnished chambers, attended upon by their slaves. Aside from the aforementioned locations, one can also find storage rooms, a medical wing, grand dining hall, kitchens, and so on. There's also a library, though the Disciples don't have any rare holocrons from ancient Sith Lords lying around.

 

 

DEFENSES

Defences consist of an energy shield protecting the castle, some antiaircraft guns, turrets, motion sensors, long treacherous pathways leading to the castle, maze like interior, guards and traps. Moreover, ray shields have been installed along strategic locations in the castle's main spire. There are also some simple pitfall traps...but unfortunately they malfunction sometimes and several people have been lost when the trap accidentally triggered. The guards are a mixture of non-Force-using grunts, Sith and primitive Sithspawn creatures/war beasts. Extensive tunnels have been dug beneath the castle through the use of slave labour. If needs be, these could enable the cultists to make an escape - or suprise and hit a besieging army in the rear.

 

 

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

 

One might wonder what Darth Vader would think about the fanatical cult that worships him with such zeal...while totally misunderstanding him in many ways. Presumably Force Choking would ensue. Sadly, you do not always get to choose your worshippers. Castle Maysaf was built in the distant past of Tephrike. The exact circumstances have been lost to history, though it was probably built as a defensive fortress after the planet was settled during the days of the Old Republic. When the Galactic Empire rose to power and brought the Galaxy under its jackboot, it served as a sanctuary for Tephrike's Jedi and rebels.

 

 

However, its walls could not withstand a force of stormtroopers with armoured support, and so the rebels were slaughtered. The Empire briefly made use of the fortress, but over time it was abandoned. In the centuries that followed, as Tephrike experienced various ups and downs during the time of the New Republic and the Galactic Alliance, the fortress remained out of use.

 

 

Until the Gulag Virus did a number on the planet. Long story cut short, the Dark Age sent Tephrike spiralling into chaos. Isolation caused famine, a myriad factions fought over scarce resources, leading to an age of strife. Cut off from the rest of the order, the Jedi tried to take control. At first on a provisional basis, but soon they sought totalitarian power in the name of order and founded a repressive régime called the Dominion of Light. Repression bred resistance, which in turn bred more repression.

 

 

As the Jedi grew corrupt and sought to impose their vision on society, some grew drunk on power. One of them was Cade Seward. Born during the Dark Age, he was thrust into the horrors of war at an early age. Jedi ruled over vast swathes of territory as Jedi Lords, seeking to impose order by any means necessary. They dispensed justice, requisitioned supplies to feed population centres under their control and commanded armies. For some the strain proved too much, and the siren call of the Dark Side could not be resisted.

 

 

Reaching officer rank, Seward was part of a bloody campaign against rebels in Tephrike's jungles. These rebels considered the Jedi theocracy illegitimate and sought to restore Tephrike's pre-Gulag Virus Republic, though in practical terms they were another warlord faction. The campaign was not going well, for though the Jedi forces could deploy impressive firepower, they were harassed by guerillas and plagued by disease. Increasingly, food and clean water became scarce. Many soldiers on both sides lost their lives but succumbed to various diseases. Morale was understandably poor. Jedi Knight Seward took command over a section of the forces after his superior was fragged by mutineers.

 

 

Bitten by a nasty mosquitoe, Seward was afflicted with malaria. Suffering from the effects of the diseases, which caused headaches, fever and uncontrolled seizures, he experienced bizarre visions. Even as a child, he'd received Force visions, but now these were more intense. In his fever dreams, he saw a towering warrior clad from head to toe in black armour, with his face covered by an imposing mask. The figure handed him a scarlet lightsabre and, in a cold, gruff voice, ordered him to break the chains the Jedi had placed upon him and eclipse the light.

 

 

It took some time, but eventually Seward succumbed. Drawing upon his somewhat incorrect knowledge of history, he deduced that the man in black had to be Darth Vader. He shared his revelations with a few subordinates. Some refused to heed his bold vision. They were put to death. The rest swore allegiance to him. Secretly reaching out to the rebel forces, he struck a deal with them, and led the Jedi loyalists into an ambush. Holding his own troops back from the fighting, he proceeded to turn on the rebels. Conveniently, they were in a poor state as well and so a good number of their soldiers joined his cause when he promised them revenge and booty.

 

 

Taking over a few minor settlements and assimilating various militias into his army, he began his dark crusade. At first dismissed as a mere bandit, the Windian Jedi Order eventually realised that this rogue, who'd begun to call himself Darth Menace, was an actual threat. War ensued, but after winning a number of victories, his army was decimated at the Battle of Palmyra, which left Tephrike's already ruined old capital devastated by use of chemical weapons. Forced to retreat into the jungle, he led the remainder of his army on a Long March, performing scorched earth tactics on the way. Still obsessed with his destiny, he plotted revenge on the Jedi, but some of his generals had enough. And so they did the classic Sith thing and turned on him. His apprentice Darth Vengeance challenged him to a duel and defeated him in mortal combat.

 

 

It was Vengeance who led the remnants of the 'Dark Legions' to the ruins of Castle Maysaf. Here, high up in a mountain that lay on the border between jungle and desert lands, he planted his standards. From this moment on, it would be the new base of the Disciples of the Vader. Its ground was consecrated through the ritual sacrifice of several captives. While Menace had been slain, many of his principles remained alive, though the order he'd founded changed over time. Though the Disciples kept claiming that it was their goal to cover Tephrike in darkness and exterminate the Jedi, in practical terms they became a band of marauders who preyed on the weak, while still launching raids into Jedi territory whenever the Dominion of Light showed weakness. Vengeance was less of a fanatical Vader worshipper than the cult's founder, but intensified the cult of Vader in order to provide a unifying ideology that could keep the cult together.

 

 

Successive Dark Lords have kept the dark faith alive, albeit with varying zeal. It has produced an odd cult that takes the Sith's obsession with rule by the strong to the extreme. Slavery was revived, for those who could not defend themselves did not deserve freedom. Moreover, non-Force-users were inherently inferior to Force-users and thus equality was a lie. Using slaves acquired through raids on scattered settlements, the Sith cultists rebuilt and expanded the Castle, digging deep tunnels beneath the earth. They also installed defence systems, which had been mostly acquired through raids. Ghastly torture was inflicted upon heretics, 'uppity' slaves, captured Jedi and so on in the dungeons. In line with their vulgar Social Darwinist ideology, the Sith Masters decree that the old and infirm should be killed due to being 'useless eaters'. They demanded tribute from nearby settlements, and extracted it via brute force.

 

 

The Republican Guard, a secular faction that idealises the Old Republic and despises Force-users, has often launched raids on the Castle and the nearby villages, seeking to rescue slaves and captives. The Jedi are aware of the fortress', but its defences have proved formidable. Moreover, the forces of the Dominion of Light are stretched thin across the planet.

 

 

Despite often claiming that they are the only ones fit to impose order on the Galaxy, Sith have a tendency of being unstable and fighting amongst themselves. This was especially the case for the Disciples of Vader, as they fully embraced a martial might makes right ideology. Thus throughout the history of their reign over Castle Maysaf, its halls have been stained with blood.


Of particular note is an episode during the reign of Darth Impaler. As the name would imply, this Dark Lord was fond of impaling those who disagreed with him. Or just plain annoyed him. Indeed, his crass cruelty was even considered extreme by other Sith. It helped that he was extremely paranoid and convinced that his fellows were plotting against him. In all fairness to him, they actually were, so he wasn't that far off the mark.


Aside from the usual backstabbing, two heretical movements reared their head. A group of cultists had discovered what they believed to be 'a sacred text' from the Jedi, which told the true story of Darth Vader. Said text was actually a 'Galactic Civil War for Dummies' sort of book, which told the story of Vader's redemption. Thus one group proclaimed that since Vader had embraced the Light, it was their duty to do so as well as the true disciples of the Chosen One. In doing so, they would finish what he started by restoring the balance of the Force. The other group claimed that since Vader had fallen to the light side, Palpatine was the true Dark Lord and it was their duty to destroy the false Sith. Civil war ensued. Impaler hoped to pit both factions against the other, but the leader of the 'Light Sith', Darth Krieg, was able to rally a number of rebellious slaves to his cause.


In the end, Impaler was slain in a duel. The Sidious zealots were purged and Krieg took control. Despite ostensibly being a lightsider, he saw nothing wrong about ruling as a dictator. He reached out to the Dominion of Light to negotiate a treaty, but they rebuffed him. So he declared that the faux Jedi had fallen to the Dark Side and must be purged. Cannily, he arranged an alliance of convenience with the secular Republican Guard, launching a joint campaign against the mutual enemy. However, while Krieg was campaigning, his enemies in the cult seized control of the castle and upon his return he was poisoned. This was justified with the argument that he was an unbeliever, and so the normal code did not apply. The old order was restored and the 'heretical' text was burnt.

 

 

Presently, the lord of the castle is a Sith Lord called Darth Furcht. He came to power during the disruptions caused by the Netherworld Event. Castle Maysaf remains the centre of power of the Sith cultists, despite the best efforts of the Dominion to dislodge them. With the Windian Jedi weakened by internal purges, the Sith cultists sense an opportunity. Whether they will be able to stay unified long enough to take advantage of it is another question.


Nexus City

24 January 2018 - 03:54 PM

pyongyang-vintage-architecture-by-raphae

 

OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION

  • Intent: To sub the capital of Tephrike
  • ​Image Credit: Here. Found in an article by Dan Howarth: 'Ralph Olivier's photographs of North Korea reveal Pyongyang's unique architecture', found on dezeen.com.
  • Canon: N/A
  • Links: The dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell served as an inspiration, both for naming of certain organisations and the general feel. Wikipedia link here. It also owes a bit to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, though people probably have more fun there. Wikipedia link here.

SETTING INFORMATION

  • City Name: Nexus City
  • Classification: Urban Centre
  • Location: Tephrike
  • Affiliation: Governed by the Dominion of Light, the official government of Tephrike. Not affiliated with any non-Tephriki faction.
  • Demographics: The distribution between humans and aliens is about even, with humans having a slight majority. While the Windians are responsible for many unpleasant or frankly insane policies, they are not racist. After all, Tephrike's first Jedi Lord, Zaras Dant, was a Duros, and her successor Tiyan Kree was a Devaronian. Humanocentric racism looked upon poorly. However, Quarren, Gungans and Nautolans are discriminated against because many of them support the Republican Guard. Few of them live in Nexus City, and those that do are under constant pressure to prove their loyalty.
  • Wealth: Low. Even the richest of Jedi Lords own little of real value to the galaxy, and most people barely have anything. Credits and other forms of money have been abolished. Instead, citizens receive a fixed amount of coupons. They can only use these coupons for specific things. For instance, one coupon is for food, another for clothes and so on and so forth.
  • Stability: High. Dissent is ruthlessly squashed. From the moment they're born in state-run nurseries, citizens have tracking devices implanted. Security cameras, surveillance drones and the like monitor the inhabitants. The monitoring does not stop in public places, but continues in the habitation complexes the citizens inhabit. Furthermore, they must present their IDs at security checkpoints manned by militia. Having an invalid ID is cause for arrest and detention in the Ministry of Harmony. An inhabitant of Nexus City is constantly bombarded with propaganda, and the kindly visage of the Grandmaster and Lord of Light looks down upon him from posters on public buildings. Unbelievers, deviants and lawbreakers are executed, detained and reeducated, deported to labour camps or banished into the wilderness, where they often die. Reeducation is a euphemism for brainwashing, and can include mindwipes. Not reporting to the Ministry of Healing for egg/sperm harvesting and sterilisation is one of the many transgressions a citizen should not commit. As citizens are encouraged to report those who show insufficient faith and deviate from the holy laws, fear, suspicion and conformism are pervasive in the city. Hoarding, violating the universal dress code, simply not showing up at a parade or appearing insufficiently patriotic are all considered heretical acts. Citizens who find themselves experiencing 'wicked thoughts' are strongly advised to report to the Ministry of Harmony so that they can be purified before the dark side enslaves them. That said, the city has been plagued by terrorist activity, as both the Republican Guard and the Disciples of the Vader have been able to infiltrate agents, despite the draconian security measures.
  • Description: Nexus City is the official capital of Tephrike and the largest city on the planet. It is the centre of power of the Dominion of Light and the Windian Jedi that rule it. The city is filled with enormous buildings and monuments. In many ways, the builders tried to create an idealised version of Coruscant, though on a far smaller scale. While grand spires reach towards the sky and past Jedi heroes are glorified with massive statues, the living conditions of the common citizens are rather poor. The habitation complexes are drab, and lacking in comfort. All aspects of daily life are monitored by the totalitarian government. Due to the ongoing civil war, security is very tight.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Galactic Senate: The architects did their best to copy Coruscant's Galactic Senate Dome. Here, Senators are supposed to make laws for the good of all. However, the grandiose building has never been used. After all, the peasants do not need a semi-oligarchic legislature when the benevolent Lord of Light rules over them. Moreover, the Jedi overlords did not take into account that the soil would be unable to support the enormous structure. As a result, the dome is in a poor state and has partly caved in. This is blamed on dark side machinations.


The Grand Jedi Temple: A fairly faithful copy of the Old Jedi Temple on Coruscant, though this ziggurat is a lot more grandiose. It is located in Skywalker Square, like many public buildings. The visitor is greeted by huge statues of legendary Jedi Masters such as Lord Hoth, Grandmaster Soda, Master Mace Windu, as well as of the Jedi Lords who ruled over Tephrike. Holographic projections of old Jedi recite lines of the Jedi Code, more or less inaccurate quotes of Jedi sages and general words of wisdom from Tephrike's rulers. It has training rooms, living quarters, an armoury, forgery, hangars, laboratories and medbays, council chambers, gardens and so on. Despite the heat, members of the order are still expected to wear baggy Jedi robes, no matter how impractical. Jedi Temple Guards and Inquisitors watch over all, always on the lookout for signs of heresy within and without. The Temple is protected against bombardment by a shield generator. Moreover, defensive emplacements have been set up. As lightsabres are very rare on Tephriki due to the lack of crystals, many Jedi use Force imbued or alchemised melee weapons. The Jedi Inquisition maintains its own wing in the temple, which only authorised personnel are allowed to enter. It includes a dungeon for unbelievers, though these are soon handed over to the Ministry of Harmony to keep them from contaminating the temple with their vile presence. To prevent jurisdictional friction, the Grand Inquisitor is dual-hatted as Minister of Harmony. Also of note is the Wall of Heroes, upon which the names of all Windian Jedi who died in the crusade against the dark side are engraved.


Jango Fett Cloning Facility: It may be considered odd that the Jedi would name something after Jango Fett, considering what happened on Geonosis. However, time has distorted facts, and so the Windians remember him differently. In their version of history, Jango was a Mandalorian Crusader who was redeemed by Mace Windu. Under the tutelage of the Jedi Master, he saw the light and abandoned the bloodthirsty ways of his brethren, volunteering to become the genetic donor of the Jedi's clone army. The clone troopers served the order faithfully, for they felt naught but reverence for their Jedi Masters. Alas, they were stabbed in the back and massacred by the evil Stormtroopers, who had been grown in secret by the Dark Lords. Thus it is only fitting the today's clone troopers continue his proud legacy. Appropriately, this is the place where they are grown and educated. They do this under the watchful eyes of twin statues of Mace and Jango, who are shown shaking hands. Sadly, the Dominion's cloning technology is very primitive, and so the clones have a low life expectancy. Clone madness is also an issue.


Palace of the Lord of Light: This grandiose building serves as the residence of the Grandmaster and Lord of Light. Pilgrims often come here to make obeisance before the grand statues. In the old days, the Grandmaster would greet his subjects from the balcony, waving and staring benevolently upon them. However, the present Grandmaster, like a number of his predecessors, is a puppet of the Jedi Battlemaster, who commands the clone army. Indeed, he's never left the palace since being appointed and so most citizens only know him from the propaganda posters. Since said posters have looked the same for a long time, no commoner really has much of an idea what he looks like. The palace is guarded by Jedi Guardians and clone troopers. Rumours claim that within these hallowed halls, the Grandmaster violates the vow of chastity that everyone is expected to follow.


Ministries of Harmony, Health, Enlightenment, Plenty and Peace: These ministries are all located in close proximity to one another in Skywalker Square, so they can be described as one. Harmony is responsible for ensuring ideological purity and controls the thought police. Here heretics are compelled to see the error in their ways. Health regulates all aspects related to healthcare, which includes the mandatory harvesting of eggs and sperm and the growth of new citizens in nursery complexes. As this too much to handle in one building, it has subsidiaries in several districts. Enlightenment is responsible for propaganda and education, Plenty regulates the economy, assigns citizens to their workplaces and doles out coupons, Peace runs the armed forces.


Elgin's Repository of Approved Mystical Items: The license of this shop was approved by the Ministry of Harmony. Here, the loyal citizen can purchase talismans, good-luck-charms and other Force imbued items that protect him or her against the temptations of the Dark Side. In actual fact, these items are pretty useless for the wearer. What they really do is weaken the wearer's mental resilience and make them more susceptible to Force-based suggestions, in other words mind tricks and the like. The wearer experiences a minor high and thus grows addicted to the item. This helps protect the wearer from wicked thoughts that could cause him to question his place in the Dominion.


Industrial Workers' Habitat 16A: All habitation complexes are assigned to members of a specific profession/caste. Thus this habitat can be considered a model for the average one. It is a high-rise apartment complex. Here people who perform factory work in the same district live. All apartments within the complex are provided by the state, which also provides furniture. They're small and all look the same. To ensure equality, the inhabitant is not allowed to furnish his apartment on his own. Thus liberated of the need to buy a bed, chairs and so on, the resident can concentrate more thoroughly on serving the Light. Kitchens and bathrooms are communal on every floor. Hoarding is considered a serious offence. Within his apartment, the resident has access to entertainment channels, but these are all provided by the Ministry of Enlightenment. Furthermore, he has a channel specifically dedicated to his work and job. It keeps him well-informed about the Windian Jedi Order's vision of a brave new world, the Dominion of Light's victories, and how dark the world outside of the Dominion is. Needless to say he is constantly monitored. Like every habitat, this one has a habitat warden, who is responsible for the conduct of every inhabitant. Under the supervision of the habitat warden, residents regularly meet for faith sessions in the communal room. They watch patriotic movies, proclaim their faith in the Dominion of Light and perform self-criticism. Every resident is encouraged to produce a statement detailing his or her ideological errors, no matter how minor those might be, and reaffirm their renewed belief in the Jedi. Sadly, this habitat is in a poor state and the building has seen better days. Power is unreliable and it is best to use the stairs rather than the lift, no matter how many time you have to climb.


Larn's Approved Medical Commissariat: A store located in one of the less reputable portions of town, the Sapphire District. Aside from the usual medication, it also sells various illegal and semilegal items,s such as mind-altering drugs. These are generally acquired via the Order of the Blessed Way, which harnesses the mushrooms located in the Ruhewald. Officially, these flower children are schismatics, and so many customers of the store have the feeling they're doing something illegal. However, in actual fact the government knows all about what is going on in the store. The happy pills help keep bad thoughts from the minds of their users. The owner of the shop has a deal with the Ministry of Harmony and keeps the Inquisitors abreast about customers who are in need of enlightenment.


Open Circle Grand Protection Fleet Base: Open Circle references a Clone Wars fleet. This the sole spaceport of Nexus City. However, there's no civilian traffic, as it is believed that everything outside of Tephrike is covered in darkness. So the military is the sole user of the base. But the 'fleet' is quite unimpressive since most of the ships are old and rusty. A few starfighters, bombers and subcapital ships are functional, but they are very dated and maintenance is poor. Moreover, the pilots lack experience in spaceflight. The gunships are good enough to drop napalm bombs on partisans in the jungle though. Or spray said jungle with herbidcides.



HISTORICAL INFORMATION


Today, Nexus City is the official capital of Tephrike. In practical terms, it's the capital city of the Jedi theocracy known as the Dominion of Light. This regime rules most of the planet, though its control over more remote provinces is shaky.


Construction of Nexus City began during the reign of Jedi Lord Tyian Kree, as the old capital Palmyra had been devastated during the civil war that ensued after the outbreak of the Gulag Virus. However, Kree died from a heart attack while laying siege to a rebellious Gungan city. So it was left to her successor, the human Norn Astur, to complete her work. Astur had been elected by the Jedi Generals in secret conclave and lacked the authority of his predecessors. To further legitimise his claim, he assumed the title of Grandmaster, in addition to that of Jedi Lord. For all he and his brethren knew, they were the last Jedi in the Galaxy after the Great Plague had brought civilisation to its knees.


Astur was less warlike than the previous Jedi Lords. This was partly due to necessity. After years of fighting, the army was tired and the Jedi Generals wanted to consolidate power. So he focused on building an 'enlightened society' in the territories the Jedi Militants controlled, leaving the more remote and often devastated areas to the rebels.


Nexus City was supposed to be the last bastion of civilisation, a shining example to the rest of Tephrike. The builders did their best to build a new Coruscant on the tropical planet, albeit on a far smaller scale. Furthermore, many Tephriki had lost their homes and livelihood during the war. They needed to be taken care of. At the same time, this was a welcome chance for the Windian Jedi Order's ideologues to build a 'perfect society' in their image. They could create a civilisation fully immersed in their warped perception of Jedi dogma, for they wielded absolute power.


In many ways, Nexus City resembles Coruscant. The cityscape is characterised by huge towers, high-rise apartment complexes, and grandiose buildings, such as the Jedi Temple, the unused Senate Building, the Arch of Triumph and so on. A wide area of jungle was cleared to make room for the city. Intensive planting was done to support the new population. Unfortunately, the soil is quite thin and poor, made worse by inefficient farming techniques. Moreover, the soil is too weak to support a number of the more grandiose monuments, causing them to cave in. This has been blamed on dark side magic and terrorist activity, for it must obviously be the work of wreckers and sloths.


A succession of Grandmasters has ruled from this city. During the reign of Grandmaster Kolar, a vast palace was built to serve as residence. It was absurdly expensive, but conveniently the citizens of the Dominion of Light are paid in coupons. Incidentally, Kolar was also a puppet of his Jedi Battlemaster, much like most of the Grandmasters that succeeded him. When Grandmaster Kalija Grael tried to break out of the gilded cage and exercise true power, she was quietly eliminated. Since then few Grandmasters have left the palace after being put into power. Security was tightened further after a group of clone troopers mutinied and joined the rebels, forming the Republican Guard. Terrorist attacks committed by the darkside Vader cultists heightened paranoia in the city.


The régime was brought to the brink during the Netherworld Event, when mass disappearances threw the city into chaos. The event coincided with food shortages. Public protests on Skywalker Square turned violent when the régime's praetorians fired upon unarmed civilians. This day would become known as Bloody Sunday. The bloodletting caused some soldiers to join the protesters. Both the Republican Guard and the Vader cultists seized the chance, activating their agents inside the city. However, the loyalist forces were able to rally, exploiting the rebels' inability to cooperate. It did not help that the would-be Scions of Vader were often more interested in marauding than in pursuing a military campaign. While the Dominion was left weakened by these events, its crackdown in Nexus City succeeded. Since then the régime has become even more paranoid. Whereas there was a time in the past when enforcement of the religious laws was comparatively laxed, these days citizens are under extreme pressure to conform and broadcast their loyalty to the 'one true Jedi order'.


In this day and age, soldiers, militia and surveillance drones are present throughout the city. High-rise apartment complexes are prominent in the cityscape. Most of them are drab and rather bland, unless they happen to belong to the élite, though even the Jedi Lords own little the greater galaxy would be interested in. The Jedi Temple is an enormous ziggurat that in theory can be reached by a maglev train, but said train is less than reliable. Patriotic rallies and military parades often take place in Skywalker Square. A puppet Barsen'thor blesses the faithful. In the city of the faithful, citizens are born in government-controlled nurseries. They do not know their progenitors, because the miracle of life takes places in a medically sanctioned way in a lab, without sexual intercourse. Theoretically, they are all implanted with tracking ships upon birth, though the efficacy of these devices varies, as glitches can occur.


They learn their predetermined trade in government-controlled education complexes. After reaching the age of maturity, they are assigned a small apartment in a habitation complex and spend the rest of their lives repaying the Windian Jedi for their kindness by serving the order in whichever profession they've been assigned. They are paid in coupons, which exactly determine what they can buy with them. Barracks double as permanent habitats for soldiers, ensuring that they are always ready to serve the cause of the Light.


Despite the poor conditions, living in Nexus City is considered a privilege. The alternative is to live in one of the minor settlements, which are close to villages. When it comes to supplying the Dominion's citizens with food and other essential goods, Nexus City is prioritised. Those who live here generally do not need to worry about not having enough food, drink and other essentials, though there is very little to buy in the shops. This is why being exiled from the capital is commonly considered to be a death sentence. This, perhaps more than the surveillance state, is what causes most citizens to be compliant, no matter how much they might privately grumble about the totalitarian régime that seeks to dictate every aspect of their lives. Moreover, they are constantly bombarded by propaganda, which seeks to convince them that everything outside of the Dominion is hellish. After centuries of isolation, the average citizen might not be an enthusiastic zealot. But he or she simply does not know any better.