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The Society of the Bond claims its descent from the prophet Kondo as outlined in the Myth of the Bond.
Today the Society of the Bond has its headquarters in the Kingdom’s capital city. There are those who say that it is merely a tool of the king. What no one desputes is that it has become a political as well as religious organisation.
The Society of the Bond is ruled over by a figure elected for life known as the Archonon.
The Archonon has complete control of the society and can rule on matters of doctrine and of heresy. The Archonon, who can be male, or female is elected by the Council of the Ungrateful. Named after the fact that the prophet Kondo was said to be ungrateful when he refused to sanction the bringing to life of a statue of King Cree by means of infernal technology and magic. There are twelve council members known as Councilmen and Councilwomen.
The Council of the Ungrateful rules over the Heads of the Two Orders – the Order of Natural Scientists and the Order of Holy Justice. In turn each Order consists of three offices.
In the Order of the Natural Sciences the Technical Office studies, researches and regulates the use of technology, the Biological Office regulates and studies sciences like cybernetics and genetic engineering, and the Administrative Office deals with the administration of the whole of the Society of the Bond from managing the budget to hiring freelance staff, from keeping files ordered to dealing with any complaints and disputes although these might ultimately be referred up the hierarchy and if important enough could be decided by the Archonon themselves.
In the Order of the Holy Justice, the Office of the Infernal Finders deals with routing out infernal magical influence, hunting down law breaking magic users and lifting curses. They wear long hooded robes with broad sleeves and masks that show patterns rather than the features of a face.
The Archonon's personal guard that make up part of the Office of the Guardians of the Archonon have an even more distinctive uniform. These trained killers wear tall hats with straw rims and a medallion hanging off them. They too wear a mask but theirs have eyes and large toothy oversized grin. They carry a holy blade known as a panthka on the black chest plates in a diagonal white cross. They are the enforcement arm of the organisation.
Finally, the Office of Theology that define the theory and doctrines of the creed. They too wear broad robes like their brothers in the Holy Order of Justice but instead of a mask they show their true face.
Within the offices there are variety of jobs to varied and numerous to rank but generally speaking their titles show their status in descending order: Officer, Ranked Man, Labourer and Runner.
STRUCTURE OF ‘THE SOCIETY OF THE BOND’
The structure of the Bond with links to each of the Towers at Bond Tower that serves as their headquarters.
Council of the Ungrateful
Order of Natural Sciences
- Technical Office
- Biological Office
- Administrative Office
Order of Holy Justice
- Office of the Infernal Finders
- Office of the Guardians of the Archonon
The Tower of the Guardians of the Archonon
- Theological Office
Cree was an ancient king. Powerful, he ruled over a great empire with great wisdom.
There were decades of peace and prosperity. His people loved him and in their gratitude, they had a statue carved of him that was an exact likeness down to the last detail. But when the king saw the statue, the king didn’t look happy, in fact he looked sad.
When his people asked him why he replied that it made him realise that he would never know company as great as his own. That he was alone. He had no one he could speak to as an equal.
To please the king Cree his courtiers gathered the greatest scientists and magicians in the Kingdom. They asked them if they could bring the statue of the king to life and if that it could be as intelligent, witty and strong as the king so he could know the company of an equal.
Only one courtier objected to this plan – his name was Kondo.
He said that it was not right to bring the statue to life and that it could not be done without everyone involved sacrificing their souls. The others outlawed him. Their leader was a woman called Ranoleen.
Ranoleen said that he was ungrateful and didn’t recognise the debt he owed his monarch. Kondo was banished by Ranoleen and the other courtiers to the desert.
The years passed and the scientist and magicians worked on the statue. But their work was beset by difficulties. They had to overcome one problem then another and each one demanded a higher price. Each one demanded that they pervert nature a little further. Meanwhile as they struggled, the years passed by, and the king Cree looked less and less like his likeness. It remained young while he grew old and weak. Finally, decades after they had begun the courtiers succeeded in finally bringing the statue to life.
When they presented the statue to the king he was delighted. It was a marvel he said, a miracle and worth all their sacrifice. The king had the statue move in with him to a great tower. At first the two got along brilliantly but after a while, as the king, Cree, aged further, he began to resent the statues eternal youth and unfading abilities. The king grew suspicious of the statue and the technology and magic that had created it. The statue sensed the king’s resentment and fearing that he would have him destroyed or broken up he killed the king and declared himself the new ruler of the kingdom – the reign of the Stone King had begun.
The Stone King ruled without mercy to his subjects and created the greatest army the world had ever seen. The people of the Kingdom feared him and in their hour of need they turned to the one man who had warned them all along that they should not tamper with nature – Kondo.
Kondo returned from the desert and led his army against the Stone King.
The armies fought and fought but the Stone King was impossible to kill. Finally, Ranoleen the courtier who had banished Kondo to start with, now came to Kondos desert fortress. She convinced Kondo that he would have to use the same infernal technology and magic to defeat the Stone King that had been used to create him. Kondo agreed. Ranoleen and her magicians and scientists built the Cargothen – a powerful device that used infernal methods in its creation.
Kondo challenged the Stone King to meet him on the plains of the desert for a final decisive battle and the Stone King accepted. As the armies clashed it was the Stone Kings forces that gained the upper hand but then Kondo unleashed the Cargothen.
Then the sky cracked open and poison fell from the heavens, the earth cracked open and fire spewed up into the sky. The whole earth withered and died.
Amongst the ruins of the earth the only survivors were Kondo and a small band of his followers. At first they lived in caves and natural shelters.
Kondo made them swear a bond that in the future humanity would not meddle with nature, they would have their bond with it, living in harmony and balance. They must make sure that nothing as evil as the creation of the Cargothen was ever necessary again in the future. That was how religion of The Bond began.
In the Kingdom all tech and information around tech is tightly controlled and monitored by The Society of the Bond. Tech is generally seen as something undesirable, something that unbalances the natural order. The religion encourages the use of tech only when there is no alternative. Vehicles which also often pollute and use up a lot of precious and scarce energy are generally discouraged and rare. The most common means of transport is on the back of giant steeds.
These are the descendants of colossal creatures genetically engineered by an ancient culture that destroyed itself and about which little is known beyond speculation and rumour. While genetic engineering is now only permitted by the Society in the rarest of cases they do allow the riding and breeding of creatures whose ancestors were genetically engineered. On the icy Tundra the Houses of the north ride Giant Wooly Rhino, in the desert baronies they ride giant serpents and, in the lands covered in forests, there are warriors on giant hounds. The Houses are proud of their steeds, they are part of their identity, and prized possessions.
The network is a type of tightly controlled centralised internet. Most people in citadels have access to look at the network but they cannot just post things on it. Ultimately controlled at a structural level by the king, each of the Houses connected to the network (most houses in the north and the tribes of the Lands of Shemka aren't) has a scribe. The scribe and his office censor and overlook anyone petitions them to have placed on the network. This could be anything from advertising that something is for sale to announcing a wedding. If they agree the scribes then post it.
The House and their scribe are responsible to the king for anything that gets posted in that houses name. The scribe is therefore a powerful position within each house. But the network is not just functional, it is full of entertainments and advertisements for entertainments. Recently the Principality of Barthena have been producing incredible dramatic spectacles and posting them online and the theatres in Crownhome also post performances.
Energy Shields create a shimmering, transparent bubble of energy around the wearer. This shield is designed to stop anything travelling at a certain speed. This has made laser guns redundant for everything but hunting and fighting wild creatures who have no technology. When fighting other warriors, one must be able to pass a weapon through slow enough that it isn’t blocked by the shield. Why don’t the shields block everything you might reasonably ask? Well, the problem is they couldn’t get it to distinguish between different things, say, a friend’s hand shake, and an enemies thrusting dagger, without using AI and that is strictly banned by the SB and outlawed by the King. Humans, however, don’t ever move as fast as bullets or laser beams so it can be set to block those without injuring allies and civilians around you.
The kingdom is sparsely populated. Fertility rates have remained low for hundreds of years. The Society of the Bond has no interest in investigating why as they see it as a benefit to keep humanities numbers down to save them from impacting the delicate balance of nature. Nature and the beasts that roam it have reconquered most of the lands and travel is a dangerous and lengthy business as it is done without vehicles and instead by riding giant beasts which is seen as ecologically sound.
Stormbirds are the name of single occupant flying vehicles. Their production is heavily regulated and severly limited by The Society of the Bond through the 'Order of the Natural Sciences. They are extremely rare and highly prized. They are vehicles of status and war.A large Major House may have as many as six while a Minor House might have none or simply one. They are shaped like the nose cones of retro futuristic rockets and they dart through the air at great speed but also use up a great deal of precious and expensive energy.
The Society of the Bond hold tight control over technological knowledge and resources. As a result there is a boom in rogue archeologists hunting for artifacts from the previous advanced age of a fallen civilisation referred to as the Age of Unbalance (see History of the World for details). Certain Barons who do not wish the king (who controls the Society) to know all that they have in their arsenal and at their disposal will pay high prices for ancient tech especially if it is in working order or its function is known. What is lost in these mad scrambles to loot the tech of the past is all the historical knowledge of what the Age of Unbalance was really like.
Certain regions including the Barony of Trem, and the Principalities of Forrand and Kant have been swept by a craze for massive, oversized weapons that began in Crownhome.
These are hard to block with the small blades favoured by the northern Houses, bandits and those of the desert lands. Some are so large they require their own robotic rig enhancement to allow warriors to wield them. They are slow but once through an energy shield are hard to block and their sheer weight and size can crack armour.
Marriage is a political tool. Both sexes can have multiple husbands or wives, but the 1st is most prestigious, then the prestige diminishes everyone you are further away from the first.
There are no sexual distinctions and same sex relationships are accepted – although heirs are still required and marriages are expected to be political unions amongst the powerful.
Sexual relationships outside of marriage are frowned on by most Houses but only illegal in a few.
The House Hargen live on thin ice, on their amphibious steeds, the ice toads, they dive between openings in the ice and many of their warriors have surgically implanted face masks to help them breath underwater and protect them from the cold water.
While it is an advantage, it is a permanent implant and it means that they cannot chew regular food and must live off soup and fish paste poured into a tube in the apparatus. The masks are not standardised each has been created specifically, at at some expense, by the owner.
|Simple Ranged Weapons||Rarity||Damage||Weight||Properties|
|'Dirty' Laser Rifle||Rare||6d8 fire||8 lb.||Ammunition (range 60/240), loading, two-handed, special|