Hmm, why don't you place the sword masters on Khurosov? Perhaps the training to become a swordmaster could be seen as a form of redemption. The most potential prisoners, or perhaps their offspring are rewarded/recruited into this rigorous trainingprogram. Most of will not make it, but those who do become sword masters, powerful warriors employed by the empire.
Note that the training could include some very strong religious indoctrinative methods, basically brainwashing (or possibly re-wiring) the brain.
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Nah, I see the only survivors of Khurosov being hardcore killers who don't last very long.
Some sort of formal martial art/weapon training would be reserved for the wealthiest offspring of noble families. Even some favoured malcontent criminal wouldn't last long at a martial academy with their formality and rules.
I can't help but think of the Combine when checking the Black Praetorians.
These cross overs between Techno robot, BP, mutants, etc is something I'm really keen on. Forget one faction versus another faction. I want the ability to use any unit in any army, renegade redcoats who have sided with the BP. Misguided mutants fighting for the BP, or mutants loyal and fighting for the redcoats, with a disfigured redcoat commander as their leader.
Looking at the Combine, they are some alien race from another dimension which includes all sort of species, humans and cybernetics. When looking at the Black Praetorians, we could see something similar. The Imagnifiers subjugated various races and factions. The Draculs could be the early cult/group/sub-species that were taken over, or perhaps they are humans upgraded by the Imagnifiers. They become the representatives of the Imagnifiers sort of speak. Their primary military arm consist of the Black Praetorians, but other forces such as renegades, mutants, mercenaries, daemons, monsters, etc. have joined in.
More cross overs would be possible with the whole idea of infiltrators and double agents. You mentioned Dune as one of the big influences, that universe is filled with intrigue, double siding, treasons, sleeper agents, etc.
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I think I've got the BP pretty much pinned down in terms of fluff and motivation. Those suggestions dont sit with their agenda and approach.
Need to be careful not to blur the lines between inspiration and copying, I think I'm going to stop referring to other things and saying ' they're a bit like the.... '.
Here's a first draft of some flavour text for the redcoats. Not even proof read it yet or fleshed it out, it really needs to be rewritten/reworded, I will before I get it on my site, but posting it here to let folks get a feel for what I'm aiming for in terms of imperial culture.
Life in the Imperial Alpha cities of Helot prime is a test of endurance, both in mind and body.
Overseen by the totalitarian governmental structure, everyday life becomes a trial of obedience and commitment to the Empire and its gigantic militaristic regime, with little room for stray.
Indoctrination from birth has created a society of die hard believers whom obey their leaders without questions and when roused, can provide a formidable fighting force for a cause that is absolute in the minds of all.
Hope for the citizens of the Alpha cities consists of no more than military service or employment on a factory floor, both of which return only living accommodations and a pitiful earning with which to by meagre foodstuff and supplies.
The bulk of the citizens, from age twenty one to seventy, toil for four thirteen hour days in imperial factory work lines in return for one day of rest. Part of this rest day is expected, and enforced by law, to be spent in service to the local church of Tzar. From praying to physical maintenance, the church receives unlimited attention and care by the population.
All literature and commodities flowing into the cities are strictly monitored to ensure Imperial purity, a black market is known to exist but the imperial propaganda administered from pre school has ensured obedience to the strict edict of Tzar. In fact, many historic catastrophes from near civil war to famine, through miss management by poor or corrupt official administrators has been halted by the common citizens stoic belief in the rule of Tzar.
Many see the existence of Helot city residents as bleak and overpowering, with no alternative but the accept the Empires regime. Whilst this is true, even within this harsh environment the family unit proves to be the greatest asset to the downtrodden civilians.
Evenings are spent in large living quarters with extended families, toasting tradition and enjoying the protection and small creature comforts provided by city living. Countless dances and evenings of folk tales take place in the residential towers and provide a small light in the lives of the oppressed people. Children are treasured and grandparents take the mantle of family heads, ensuring old ways are remembered and strict values are adhered to.
This tight nit way of life has produced a resilient population, with vast support networks between families who regularly share supplies during particularly hard times, and also allows criminals and deviants to be rooted out quickly to be dealt with by Imperial enforcers.
With tradition and strict values being at the core of Helot's Alpha City populations, the militia army of Redcoats takes this commendable way of life and projects it onto the battlefield.
The Empires universal conscription system means each citizen, male and female, from age fourteen to twenty one spends time in the higher education centres of the Empire: the army training colleges.
Urban warfare, brutal hand to hand fighting and marksmanship on the move are drilled into the recruits for the full seven years. The secret Imperial battle language is learned and unit formation and operating procedures are memorised perfectly. Upon release at age twenty one, each soldier is required to take a blood oath upon the altar at their local church of Tzar, to maintain arms and when required in times of need present themselves in full uniform to the local Commissars station, ready for combat action. The soldier is then presented with their iconic bear fur hat by their local Priest of Tzar, usually a man who has seen the soldier grown from childhood, and released from duty.
Should they wish to remain in the imperial army, the soldier is inducted into the Red corps and receives further training in advanced weaponry and combat encased in bronzed battle armour.
The uniform of the army is a standard long coat pattern. No coats are produced for the militia and must be made by hand by the soldiers family. Slight variations therefore exist in the overall make up of the garment, but with government sanctioned suppliers the fabric and colouration remain consistent.
The Imperial Army system regularly runs drills to asses the combat readiness of the militia, ensuring a mixed cadre-militia structure survives during peacetime and strengthens the citizenship to potential invasion.
I'm liking it! It silmultaneously brings to mind Metropolis, the industrial revolution (in particular the class divide at that time), the cold war USSR and the Empire (as in star wars)
I Imagine that a system like that would eventually give rise to dissent. though it such a totalitarian regime they would be pushed to new levels of subteruge and ingenuity, forced into the wilderness or trying to infiltrate the system.
it ties in nicely with things you've mentioned about mutant uprisings and rebel redcoats. i imagine if the working class citizens are that downtrodden that the mutants must be enslaved in a gulag style system where they are often worked to death.
Fist off, thanks for taking the time to read it haha. It's pretty convulated and not an easy read, need to elaborate on a few things and trim the fat on it.
I'd want to try and get a duality in there in that the Empires pretty sh1t yet it's the strength of the man on the street and their family that binds it together. Not perfect but actually good in a vintage christmas of yester year kind of way.
Spot on with the mutants Borak, they are bred and worked to death in the under cities. Some will be loyal to the empire though, I imagine little churches and communities in the mutant zones.
One idea I'm toying with is taking characters and fleshin out mini stories for them into the narrative, with the aim of driving a greater narrative.
Here's another first draft rough document for the creation of the Black Praetorians. Points for anyone taking the time to read it:
Long ago, the galactic civilisation of man and machine drove their pursuit of knowledge to the brink or mortal comprehension.
What they discovered at the end of their quest, what had consumed them for millennium... shattered their sanities and lead to the complete breakdown of galactic society. A spectacular breakdown, from which it would never recover.
When death overtakes consciousness, the mind is severed from the mortal body. As is with dreams, time has no meaning. A consciousness freed from the mortal body, the soul of a deceased being, experiences times flow at lightning speed. The flow of time leads to the ultimate end of the galaxy, to the compression of a super massive black hole. Here resides the soul, alone and in darkness, driven mad by the silence. To the soul, the consciousness, this void prison lasts an eternity... and eternity from which there is no escape. Or so the galaxy once believed....
From the void whisper the Imagifiers. Their whispers are the language of sleep and dreams. The mortal races, having long expunged the grim knowledge of the afterlife from their societies, ignore the Imagifiers whispers which are shruged off by even the subconscious.
A Techno Communion drone is a vat grown organic body, it's raw DNA having been manufactured by the machine intelligences as one of their many biological serfs for interaction with races of the galaxy.
Drones can be programmed to perform any role with the proper subconscious imprinting, and swarm the galaxy a billion times over performing various duties in service to their masters, the recipients of the Drone, sometimes as a purchase from the Techno Communion, sometimes as a gift. The Drones are regularly used as currency.
The blank mind of the drone is it's greatest asset to the Techno Communion. A blank mind can be utilised in a thousand different ways.
It takes almost six weeks for the diminutive, hairless three foot body of the drone to mature in it's rich protein vat. For six weeks the drone slumbers in a mechanical soup, with a blank mind.
For countless millennia, perhaps since the dawn of time, the Imagifiers whispered from beyond death. Seeking an escape from the void they found themselves in. No one can tell if the Imagifiers were once mortal beings who passed over, or if they are something altogether different, spawned in darkness and the anathema of the living.
Their perverse whispers eventually fell quietly on the drones as they slumbered in the Techno Communion complexes. At first the whispers were ignored as all beings do, but over time, eventually, one drone heard the call of the Imagifier.
After an eternity of silence, the Imagifiers had received a response. In shock, they recalled having whispered to every living being many times over throughout the life of the cosmos and never once having received a reply. The coy mindless thought of the drone would hardly be classed as a response, but to the Imagifiers it was the single most monumental event in their long existence. To the Imagifiers it was more than a response... it was a path.
The Drone was birthed within a batch of hundreds. The final week of it's growth it had subconsciously been condition to be an agriculture maintenance worker. Swiftly the drone was processed and shipped from the Techno Communion compound, bound for Helot Prime's border provinces.
The Imagifiers waited impatiently, despite and eternity of waiting this drone constituted its only recalled communication.
Agricultural imprinting being rudimentary and basic at best, the Imagifiers dark whisperings were easily brought to the surface during the drones sleep periods. Within a month, the Imagifiers had complete control of the Drone at a subconscious level and removed the drone from the farming commune at which it had been stationed.
Rogue drones were not unheard of but always the result of trauma and never lasted long in the wilderness of the border farms. The lost drone was written off.
Trekking through the farmlands for hundreds of miles and nearing exhaustion, the drone chanced upon a travelling caravan. The occupants were of the house Crowmantia, and were part of a larger travelling circus. The lost drone was quickly scooped into the caravan and given bread and water as was the basic drone diet, and once the caravan had rejoined the circus the drone was given new conditioning as a stage hand along with the dozen other drones whom had chanced their by questionable means.
The Imagifiers continued to direct the small drone through its dreams as a puppet, and before long by using the drone had gained access to the subconscious of the other drones via the crude means by which the circus owners had imprinted them.
Dressed in the garb of small clowns, the Imagifiers watched and waited as the circus returned to Crowmantia's home city after a season of touring the border lands.
Crowmantia, being a vassal of the Imperial House, resided in the gloomy city of Ark. Here they toiled in industry under chocking smog clouds for their Imperial lords. Resentment ran deep in Crowmantia as the people were forced to wear dark hooded cloaks and breathing apparatus when venturing outdoors into their ancient crumbling city.
It is the dark catacombs of Ark that the Imagifiers lead the clown drones after defecting from their underhand circus masters. Here they established themselves as a small commune, amassing various tools and instruments by chance and thievery. Through the Drones the Imagifiers heard the plotting and conspiring of house Crowmantia and it's downtrodden citizenship.
Orating now through the drones automatic writing, a discipline supplanted into their dreaming minds as the control increased, the Imagifiers dictated the first of many dark documents pertaining to the hollow song of death and the incantations of dark powers.
The clown drones, infiltrating society via sewers and under-city service pipes, even emerging in broad daylight sometimes in a time of gloomy carnival, planted the seeds of darkness in the hands of the vain with their dark tomes and parchments. The recipients all unaware that the chance they believed had befallen them finding the black words had in fact been orchestrated by malign powers.
Sects were soon borne in the dark catacombs of Ark. The city originally gifted as an honourable abode turned in fact to be a rotting dank city of stone, ancient to the founding of the Empire. It's twisted maze of dungeons providing the perfect setting for insurrection.
Dark ceremonies were performed by the vain and rebellious, eventually supplanted by the presence of the Clowner drones as heralds of the darkness.
As the number of cultists swelled the ceremonies became more elaborate, culminating in the periodic possession of members during the black candle lit ceremonies.
Recruits to the Imagifier cults attracted the powerful house members and soon even managed to corrupt other biological serfs of the Techno Communion. It was these serfs that would become the Black Alkemists and pave the way for the crossover invasions.
Utilising Techno Communion knowledge, the Black Alchemists fabricated arcane machinery and bastardised the cult ceremonies into melding the machinery into their possession processes.
A willing candidate was elected and became the first Dracul.
The Imagifiers had not been alone, their underlings were the deceased yet they had never been given any attention as they wailed in the void as worthless orphans to the Imagifiers. This was the first of the Imagifiers many lies to their followers, a means to an end.
The dracul soul possessed the cultist body with great force, and killed many other cult members in the process. It tasted it's new surrounding, licking the hard stone altars and smelling the cultists fear and elation. The possessed body would decay and transform in time, the dracul required fresh human blood and organs to sustain it's unholy flesh, despite this before long it's human face and appearance had become gaunt and decrepit .
With the powerful presence of the first Dracul, the cults saw with their own eyes what powers lay beyond and hastily complied with the Imagifiers orders through the clown drones.
More entities existed in the void, countless tiny souls the Imagifiers had before ignored or simply left go unnoticed without the reflection of mortal existence.
The Black Alchemists utilised the Crowmantia infrastructure to fashion mechanical work lines and produce android photonic mind units. The drones incubation vat designs were used as the basis for growing blank full size bodies, upon birthing the heads of which were removed and replaced the the android skulls, the design of which allowed for the possession of the body by a dark entity from the void.
This legion was crowned the Black Praetorians and led by the Draculs. The praetorians themselves required the sustenance of miserable souls to survive but spared a the Crowmantia citizens, instead devouring the mutant underclass from below Ark. The population of Ark were required to continue the fabrication of munitions and Praetorian units.
As the Black Praetorians grew to a massive army, the cults set out to infiltrate Imperial Alpha cities and at the allocated time detonated the first of many atomics, eliminating the Imperial command structure. The Black Praetorians marched from Ark amidst the fallout and initiated war with the Empire.
Sacrificial camps were erected for the refugees and captives to fuel the Black Praetorians thirst for suffering, and the Dracul drank deep and consumed the mightiest fallen imperial soldiers in the aftermath of battle.
Eventually through many months of great arcane mechanical ritual and countless sacrifices and unholy blasphemy, an Imagifier was summoned in the bowels of the Ark catacombs. Slowly more Imagifiers were summoned. Their cravings for sustenance were more delicate than the draculs or praetorians, the Imagifier required pure souls: the souls of children.
The clown drones, now numbering in the thousands and growing, were sent out into the wastes and refugee columns to tempt and steal children for their daemonic masters.
The Black Alkemists continued their experimentations and produced the Uber Praetorians and monstrous flesh hulks by fusing their Techno Communion knowledge with that of the Imagifiers. Various other mechanicul and biomechanical units were researched and implemented including the scarecrow or 'stick men' infiltrators, the raven and the gurt hounds.
Some of the people of Crowmantia, realising their folly at the last moment, turned renegade and set out in the borderlands away from the aplha cities. Those too forgone, or blackened and corrupt by the darkness remained and sided with the Black Praetorians as soldiers, workers and spies on the refugee masses.
The renegades from Crowmantia escaped and set out to contact what remained of the Empire with information on the Black Praetorians they hoped would aid in the looming war.
Last Edit: Sept 1, 2010 18:48:36 GMT -5 by M.O.T.N
Entire thing still work in progress (target date for going live is end of the year), but added a few updates and created a template for each world on the redemption sector site.
Fleshing out the various zones of Helot is going to be fund.
I've been in consultation with my solicitor about commissions and IP rights should I get people to feed text or art or anything into this. All interesting stuff and actually pretty straightforward when mapped out. Should open up avenues for people if they were to create quality material that fitted with the tone of my stuff and earn them a few £££ from me.
Last Edit: Sept 4, 2010 18:27:12 GMT -5 by M.O.T.N
The division of the forces kind of reminds me of the 2nd edition of 40k which was "characters, infantry & vehicles". How will the secret police like characters move between these factions? Would they form a different one?
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Yeah that's kind of the idea, select the leader characters and they have influences on how the troops perform granting them bonuses or abilities.
I think there will be ranks for all the minis: Heirophants, Fixed and Free.
Heirophants are like the Imagifiers and priests. Locked into one ideal and not really flexible.
Fixed mini's can only be included if a certain Leader or Heirophant is present: Redcoat Elites can only be taken if a Redcoat Commander is present. Zombies can only be taken if a Dracul is present.
Free mini's are free to be used almost anywhere: Redcoats for example will show up in a lot of forces. If a Heirophant is present though there will be limitations (No redcoats if an Imagifier leads for example).
Imperial agents would be free given that they could have any agenda. They would not show up in an Imagifier led army though.
I want to go for the scale of 2nd Ed. 40k, about 20-50 minis per 'army'.
Check the attachment for a little snippet I wrote on the zombies used by the Black Praetorians. It's a little something I wrote at my work, meaning it was done under the influence of sleep deprivation.
I hope to write more of these snippets using maybe the same characters, enabling the reader to get to know the world they are in.
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I'm throwing in random shorts bits, I know it's not fully 100% consistent with your ideas. For example Technocratic Union instead of Techno Union ("Techno" as a word used in that context is so 80s! ) and the way in which the war goes are a bit off, maybe even the names. Maybe the war is even at a later stage than the current setting, but I'll keep writing these bits and hopefully later on also for Wastelander and Sciror.
What did you think of the words in "imperial" such as "arkh" and "sukhe"? Should I stick to them or just keep it pure English?