The Forever War Chronicles
The Faceless Union
The Empire-spanning criminal organization known as the Faceless Union is well known to just about everyone in the government and amongst the common people of the Empire. Their continued existence, ironically enough, is no longer dependent on secrecy but because the Empire recognizes the benefits of doing business with them. No one is sure just how deep the tendrils of the Union goes, but many speculate that it is likely 50% or more of all members of the Imperial Guild of Merchants is somehow involved with them, directly or otherwise.
While several attempts have been made to eradicate the Union over the years, none of them have succeeded and in some cases, the Union ended up strengthened by the attempt. One instance of this happened when the Empire hired a mercenary contractor in the year 5,642 to attack and destroy known locations where the Union were hiding out. As it turns out, the mercenaries’ weapons have been bought and paid for by funds channeled out of a merchant guild bank in Shide’Hennock. Needless to say, that attempt failed miserably as the mercenaries would not dare go against the same people supplying their weapons.
Today, the Faceless Union hide behind the mask of ‘businessmen’ as they always have. Although they are quite willing to do things the legitimate way, they aren’t above using murder, bribery, extortion and blackmail to get what they want. Each area – how these areas are defined, no one is quite sure – is ruled over by a Union Boss. These ‘bosses’ usually have colorful pseudonyms in order to hide their real identities. Interesting examples of these include Puny Pat Pasqualie, Big Momma Mercy, Bold and Brass Balois, and of course, the infamous “Uncle Dark.”
The System of Guilds was put in place thousands of years ago by the first Emperor Galemus in order to train and school the common people toward a profession that would benefit the Empire as a whole. As it turns out, the system was so successful that it survives to modern day in the form of four guilds which serve the Empire unceasingly since that time.
- Merchant’s Guild: The West Empire Company, Valencian Foundry Works, Menander Heavy Ores and a number of other shipping and mining companies all belong to the Merchant’s Guild as full organizations. Although, singular merchants are welcome to join as well. In every major city, the guild regulates prices, prevents monopolies and provides facilities for traveling merchants.
- The Constabulary – Known far and wide as being the face of Imperial Law, the Constabulary trains its members in investigation, policing of the Empire’s cities and protecting its people. While the City Watch is responsible for the daily keeping of the law, the Constabulary are the soldiers on the streets, the investigators and law keepers. Known for wearing red and black uniforms, they are highly regarded by the people of the Empire.
- Guild of Explorers – The members of the Guild of Explorers are tasked with the exploration of unknown lands. In modern times, they act as archivists, museum curators and archaeologists, digging up the ancient past to learn and grow from it. Members of the Explorer’s Guild almost never work alone, most often found in expeditions of up to one-hundred individuals.
- Guild of Healers – The Guild of Healers is signified by its symbol, a coiling snake wrapped around a staff known as the caduceus. Most often seen wearing white robes, the Guild of Healers is tasked with doing just what their name would suggest, helping to aid the sick and the needy. All of their collected knowledge has been gathered in a book which only has a few dozen copies in the entire Empire known as the Pharmesuiticarum.
The Black Velvet Band
The Band is known as an organization of all female thieves which, quite similar to the Faceless Union, have their hands in a number of different organizations and cities throughout the Empire. They are led by a mysterious individual known as the Twilight Matron. No one who has seen her face is telling who she is and current thought indicates that she may even be numerous people using the same title. Members of the Black Velvet Band can be known by the distinctive black velvet choker they wear around their necks – the jewel that dangles from it indicating their rank. For instance, wearing a ruby is indicative of a middle rank within the organization.
In modern days, the Black Velvet Band is known to be extinct. While they certainly aren’t saying one way or the other, it is believes that the Faceless Union, tired of the competition provided by the Band, were responsible for the organizations failing. Rumors persist that they may simply have gone into hiding, but no one has been able to contact them in nearly fifty years.
The Arcane Order
Ancient and powerful, the Arcane Order has its headquarters on the isolated island of Skelling off the island of Shide’Hennock on the world of New Earth. Believed to have been founded in the Time of Atlantis, the organization owes its existence to a sorcerer known as Mad Philo. The Arcane exists, at least in theory, to protect the people of Atlantis – which means all citizens of the Threefold Empire and its allies. Still, there are some Arcane who have turned to more selfish designs. While this sort of activity is not all together encouraged, it is also not restricted as often as one might think. In current days, the Order has only one off world outpost on the moon of Solace.
Department of Munitions (Steam Punk Era Only)
The Department of Munitions is a relatively new branch of the Imperial Government (Established 4,764 A.C.) and was put in place to better monitor and control military forces throughout the Threefold Empire. The Department of Munitions itself is responsible for assigning troops, the shipping and supply of medical goods, foodstuffs, weapons and ammunition to the fighting men and women of the Empire. The Department is bisected into two sub-sections as it follows:
- Imperial Navy: Overseen by the Lord Admirals, the Imperial Navy maintains the Ministry of Winds on New Earth, an alabaster and marble tower which reaches up some five-hundred feet above the Shide’Hennock skyline. Providing docking for both military and civilian vessels, the Ministry of Winds is the heart and soul of the navy. Currently, approximately two-hundred Spell-Jammers and thousands of supporting vehicles are known to exist in the Navy’s arsenal.
- Imperial Regulars: Also known as the “Greencoats” due to their distinctive green wool uniforms, the Regulars are the ground forces of the Empire. These encompass the Regulars, the Tick-Tock Corpse and of course, the Pathfinders and their auxiliary urban fighters known as “Night Watch.”
The Red Hand (Steam Punk Era Only)
The Red Hand is the ruling body of the Koroboros Freehold. An isolationist government, it does not willingly allow other species to set foot on their home world or colonies, although – simply out of necessity – they do have a standing trade agreement with the Delan Protectorate. The Red Hand rules with an iron fist and it is rumored, at least by some, that the government may have demonic origins and hold loyalty to a number of “Demon Lords” that exist only in the Shadow Realm. If this is true or not, no one has been able to tell one way or the other. The Red Hand are a series of extended ruling families who have banded together in a rough confederacy to work toward common goals. In fighting is common and assassination is considered to be a perfectly acceptable political tool.
Stellar Cartographic Society (Steam Punk Era Only)
Centered on the world of Rift City, the Stellar Cartographic Society is dedicated to the mapping and cataloging of all known worlds in the Dark Tapestry. Typically, they will send out expeditions to newly discovered worlds to ascertain which species it would be most comfortable for, if it holds any hidden dangers or if indeed it already holds sapient life. While all species are welcome to join, the organization consists of about 70% Delan due to the fact that the organization apparently predates human space flight by several thousand years. The organization is known to have the most complete series of maps in the known universe and paying for them is a good way to avoid any space born hazards.
The Delan Inquisitorial (Steam Punk Era Only)
If the Delan ever had an analog to the Imperial Constabulary, the Inquisitorial would be it. Based in a monastery on the home world of Delanoi, the Inquisitorial are trained users of psionic powers and martial prowess, using both or a combination of the two to track their prey and bring them down. Such targets usually include criminals and known law breakers but from time to time, the Delan Mercantile Council, the ruling body of the Delan, will commission them for an assassination or some other secretive job. Exceedingly dangerous and not all together talkative, the Inquisitors are known to be a stoic lot – even for Delan and are talented psionics all.
The Advent (Steam Punk Era Only)
A group of renegade humans who are widely recognized as nothing more than terrorists and fanatics, the Advent, as they call themselves, were responsible for over twenty thousand deaths last year alone and continue to target Imperial civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals and in one case, an orphanage. But perhaps the most disturbing part of their agenda is that they fully believe that the enemy of all humanity – the Genokahandren – are gods and worship them as such. As children, they are implanted with psionic enhancers by the Genokahandren – granting them latent psionic powers amongst other enhancements.
At the moment, the Department of Munitions has a standing bounty of 40,000 Courtly for information leading to the discovery of the Advent home world and every single one of them, man woman, or child – who the Empire considers to be simply terrorists in training – are enemies of the Empire and must be shot on sight. Civilians, however, are cautioned to stay away from them, both due to their inherent danger and because of their known ability to overthrow the minds of others. The Advent are known to make use of Genokahandren weapons – the much feared Dark Lance and insidious Thought Bombs.