Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fragged Empire: Respectable Businessmen

Left to right: Corporate, Legion, Kaltoran, and Nephilim

 Prepping for a Fragged Empire campaign, here are three pillars of the underworld community to navigate and deal with.

Fabian Gracchus -  A Legionnaire with the rare head for numbers, he served as a quartermaster during the tail end of the Great Xion War.  Directing supplies, he and his unit were captured in a Nephilim raid on their lunar supply depot. Imprisoned in Shayol, an infamous Nephilim camp for Legion POWs, he became cadaverous as his Legionnaire values ceased relevancy.  One night, he woke to find another starving prisoner gnawing on his arm.  Fighting off his attacker, Fabian realized that survival was a matter of amoral, predatory arithmetic.  He will not say much else when recounting the rest of his time, but he was one of the few prisoners released retaining some modicum of health.

Free to operate in Corporate culture, he has carved a niche in the black economy.  Fabian has become a banker for individuals and organizations who wish to avoid scrutiny in their business dealings. Whether it's the hyper-elite obscuring their art assets or a slaver who gets paid in rare earth ingots, Fabian accepts all sorts of tender for deposits.  Maintaining a series of vaults in a nearby asteroid belt, his security is top notch and his clients trust it to stay that way. That trust is built upon Fabian's refusal to outsource the deposit and withdrawal of valuables in his care, every transaction is carried out in person with a complement of his Nephilim security staff.  He maintains an index of preferred freelancers when he needs additional muscle, and placement on that list is a coveted prize.

Signature Items - "Pulchra"- a sawed-off boarding shotgun and "Crypta"- a refitted Legion bomber

Hooks - One of Fabian's hyper-elite clients has passed away, and an extremely valuable piece of art was willed to a young family member, a child isolated from society at large.  Per his policy, Fabian will only release the piece directly to the child.  Needing specialized personnel, he hires the characters to help him make the delivery.  He considers this an audition for the crew to get on his Index.

Topiary - Since the Kaltoran Reemergence their children were raised on their parents' tales of Eden's beauty and the lost glory of their fallen society.  All in an effort to downplay the terrible things done for survival beneath Kadash's skin.  Yearning to revisit the glorious past, several of these individuals have grouped together and formed Topiary, an eco-terrorist group that doubles as a secret front for the Kaltoran Militia.  Since the Militia refuses to deal with the Corporation in any capacity, Topiary steps up and fills this space.

Where the Miltia stages terrorist attacks on Corporate industry, Topiary stages protests and capitalizes on the omnipresent news cycle, decrying the Nephilim colonization of their lost home world, the Corporation's defiance of their biological predestination, commodification of biomass and the rampant cannibalization of Kaltoran and Archon material remnants.  Topiary claims that as the last species decanted without an express purpose beyond maturation, Kaltorans are the heirs apparent to the Archons.  Because of their adherence to non-violence and incorporating public stunts into their protests, Topiary is largely seen as a mostly harmless organization starving for attention.  Internally they venerate the Dark Tribesmen of Kadash as an ideal Kaltoran society: unburdened by Corporate materialism, the Legion's failure, and the Nephilim's fleshy blasphemy.  To freelancers Topiary offers an incidental way to keep flying, unwilling to involve non-Kaltorans in their operations, the organization pays well with little outright risk, but what actually earns this pay is seemingly idiosyncratic.

Signature Items - Protest signs, various states of undress, and pamphlets.  So many pamphlets.

Hooks - Because the other species will be unwilling to put the genie back in the bottle and step aside for their betters, Topiary is seeking out lost Archon databases for any clues leading to a Genesis Engine.  These low orbital devices were used by Humanity, and the Archons, to terraform inhospitable planets.  They are willing to pay fairly well for solid leads in this direction.

The Eye of Ahura, a Kaltoran cultural treasure, is on display at a Corporate CEO's fancy soiree.  Topiary wants you to procure an invitation so they will know the party's location and stage an appropriate protest to demand the gem's return.  As always, Topiary has ulterior motives desiring the Eye and the invitation.

Bella & Donna - Heads turn at any space station when "Leather & Lace" pulls in, one of the eminent dens of iniquity in the void. A refitted freighter, "Leather & Lace" may not look like a pleasure palace but it is more discreet and impregnable than any yacht plying the Night. Bella, a Corporate spin doctor, and Donna, a Nephilim emissary, won the ship in a game of cards, making it a place where all sorts of nearly victimless vices are available.  Hired flesh, kinky catharsis, barely legal boutique narcotics, and whispered confessions are advertised, rumors abound that there are darker, stranger indulgences to indulge. Morality parties planetside prevent ventures as large as Bella/Donna's from finding a permanent home outside Nephilim space.

Aside from their public role as proprieters, the couple dip into a number of clandestine activities. Ranging from small time blackmail, minor smuggling, intellectual property infringement, implanting spy ware, and non-consensual gene sampling. a cadre of powerful politicians protect them when these side businesses go awry and hush everything up. Makes you wonder what hangs over their heads. 

Signature Items - "Leather & Lace" - A refitted Corporate Bastion Mass Cargo freighter, and modified UNITY chips networking Bella/Donna together but excludes other chips.

Hooks - Some Corporate research monkeys are eager to get their hands on Bella/Donna's hacked UNITY chips, as well as some of their narcotic wares. Unless the crew has a surgeon to remove it, this will involve kidnapping.