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The Glorious Society of Progenitors

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The Glorious Society of Progenitors

Sascrian Experimentation

More than a thousand years ago, the Wizards of the School of Metamorphosis set out to magically create the perfect slaves.  They decided that, rather than simply enslaving other humans on a massive scale, they would combine humans with animals, selecting for useful traits in each 'breed' or line of what would become beastfolk.

Manipulation on this scale was, at the time, unprecedented, and early experiments resulted in abominations that were either experimented upon further or simply euthanized.

One of these early results were what were colloquially called "Mongrelmen" - humanoids in whom the magically-grafted animal traits did not integrate well.  Though many proved quite useful and even intelligent, they were so disfigured that the powerful Sascrian magocrats did not want them used.

Another early result of another line of experimentation were Lycanthropes, humanoids theoretically able to transition form human to animal forms, most of them combat-oriented, intended to be augmented super-soldiers.  They were not able to control their change, however, and proved to be too volatile.

Secret History

What is not commonly known is that a number of these "failed" experiments were able to escape.  They slowly gathered, constantly fleeing Sascrian hunters seeking to return the "lost property".  Over time, these newly freed humanoids took to finding refuge below ground.  

Over time, their numbers grew.

In contrast to the experience of slavery in the Sascrian magocracy, the Mongrelmen and Lycanthropes sought to create a new kind of society of their own.  They sought a radical egalitarianism in wihch everything was shared equally and decisions were made by way of simple majority vote among all adult members of the community.

As the generations passed and their numbers grew, this germ of an idea grew into the Glorious Society, an egalitarian meritocracy divided into theoretically equal work-castes.  They have colonized a number of underground ruins and abandoned complexes, including mysterious ruins that apear to be incredibly ancient - more than ten thousand years old in some cases - with some places where indecipherable writing can be found, or artifacts whose function is long-lost to time.

Post-Collapse

In the aftermath of the Collapse, the Glorious Society, numbering in the thousands, is slowly realizing that it is suddenly at a great advantage compared to it's old enemy, the Sascrian magocracy.  Objects and spell-effects undergound have somehow survived the effects of the Collapse - which means that the few powerful Society spellcasters have had a far easier time adapting to the new conditions, and all  magical items posessed by members of the Society are fully intact.

This is not good for Sascrians, but they have not yet realized the full scale of the threat.

***

This is the spot for us to work out who exactly it is living beneath the ground.

I like the idea very much that we are discussing over on the Timeline page - that resistors and insurgents have built a pseudo-communist society beneath the ground, and that their supposed utopia is just as ambivalent as the Sascrian Magocracy.

I also like the idea of reworking Mongrelmen - better name, better write-up, more variety (maybe work-castes?).

Possibly instead of Mongrelmen, or in addition to Mongrelmen, it makes sense that Lycanthropes are a first foray into creating beastfolk, with the side-effect of uncontrolled shapechanging.  They would be pretty hard to kill, especially at first, and it makes sense that there would be some escapees who would also be driven underground.

Another thought - an ancient civilization that built all of these caverns underground, maybe thousands or tens of thousands of years ago.  Who were they?  What happened to them?  Etc.

Anyway, this is the stub for that.

Comments

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mikeb's picture

  Since Beastfolk have been

 

Since Beastfolk have been around for a millenium, maybe the underground are the First Race or the Progenitors or some other mysterious name.

The Glorious Society of

The Glorious Society of Progenitors also has a ring to it.

A thought that just occurred to me - we don't have were-creatures outlined in the setting yet to my knowledge.  It would be interesting if the Progenitors were shapeshifters, but were unable to control their shapeshifting (like classic werewolves). They were a failed intermediate step on the way to creating the beastfolk - but are very hard to kill, and were thus able to escape and fled underground.

Just another thought.

mikeb's picture

On the Created Monsters page

On the Created Monsters page that lists all the OGL magical beasts, Lycanthropes are mentioned as diseased Beastfolk. That's the only reference, and I think it fits well with your idea.

DGA origin for Lycanthropes? Done. :)

Although I have to say the

Although I have to say the thought of beings that are unable to control their shifting isnt quite as terrifying as I imagine an underground society should be =/

No worse than a society that

No worse than a society that can be defeated by tossing dozens of medium rare steaks around. :)

Let's rephrase it a little. An underground society of beings who are unable to keep from shifting into terrible, deadly creatures. Instead of going both ways with it - shifting from killer wolfman to paltry human, go one way with it. Paltry human stubs toe, turns into horrifying man-beast, and begins to devastate everything around it.

I imagine that items which could withstand the assault of an enraged creature would be very valuable indeed. Rare metals source, perhaps.

Yeah, as part of the idea

Yeah, as part of the idea that they have a society, I'm imagining that in the 1200 since their escape, they've figured out a way to control their change.  Magical silver collars forged by beastfolk casters?  Meditation techniques?  Something that Sascrian wizards, who were essentially trying to manufacture war-slaves, would not have had the patience to develop.

Perhaps nothing more than

Perhaps nothing more than natural evolution. Or, interesting thought, perhaps they have to spend some significant time as children or adolescents away from magic of any form, so it can't corrupt their natural ability to shift. That's something that would have never happened in the pre-collapse world. It also means that the new world is now actually habitable to them, since previously there would have been entirely too much magic around.

 

Personally, for old ancient races, I'm a fan of bugs. Ants, spiders, centipedes, something hive-minded that either collapsed due to a temperature shift, or simply plane-shifted all their members to a new world when the current one became too small to hold them all. The surface would have had time to erase any traces of their existance, however the underground would be practically rife with ruins.

Of course, insects have been done a lot already as well.

Another option would be a sort of "planet of the apes" ripoff, where humans are the de-evolved forms of this once super-advanced and highly evolved species. However, they couldn't survive the last collapse. They would have recognized its approach, but been unable to prevent it, and been far too dependent on their machines. A hundred years ago, if electricity had stopped working, there would've been a hiccup. And then things would have gone on like normal. In a hundred years from now, if electricity stops working, the world will collapse :p

Finally, we could have the ancient race actually be one that still exists, but has become so focused on its mental pursuits that no members of the race have actually spent any time contemplating the real world in ages. When something finally knocks one of them out of their thoughts, say a clumsy adventuring group trying to pillage an old ruin, or a group of Mongrelmen trying to expand the underground caves to create more housing, things get interesting. Perhaps their magic fails to work as it once did, but the more time they have after being woken, the more successful they are at finding new ways to create the same old effects.

And I ramble onward... :p