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The Radioactivists / Children of the Glow / Order of the Searing Light

Open to mutants, manimals, and plantients, but primarily composed of mutants, the Children of the Glow worship radiation as the divine personification of Fate. Members of this Archaic Alignment consider “The Glow” to be the “Great Changer of Life,” and as such, its influence is always to be sought out and its judgments (in the form of granting and taking away mutations) respected as the holy will of the Universe. Members of the Children of the Glow also do not use, nor tolerate the use of, the term “defect.” They believe that all mutations are granted by divine mandate and are therefor beneficial, even if their benefit is not immediately understood. Status within this Archaic Alignment is based upon the number of mutations carried by an individual, with the more numerous and more bizarre mutations granting higher rank.

Qualifications: Membership is granted to any like-minded mutant, manimal, or plantient. Applicants must undergo a trial consisting of spending one week in a known radioactive area and surviving the experience, proving the devotion and piety of that individual’s belief in “The Glow.”

Ranks II:Uncommitted Noivce Radioactivist or Adopted Child of the Glow

Ranks III:Noivce Radioactivist or Child of the Glow

Ranks IV:Junior Radioactivist or Junior of the Glow / Searing Light

Ranks V:Senior Radioactivist or Senior of the Glow / Searing Light

Ranks VI:Master Radioactivist or Master Radioactivist of the Glow / Searing Light

Ranks VII+:Elevated Master Radioactivist or Elevated Master of the Glow / Searing Light

Benefits: Members add +5 to all mutation check rolls, or when gaining a new passive mutation or defect.

Secret Sign: Hands held clasped in opposite facing directions and held against the chest followed by a short bow; referring to another member as being “in The Glow.”

The Chosen Zuu

Open only to manimals, The Chosen Zuu are nonetheless an egalitarian group that generally cooperate with other genotypes. This is because a core belief of The Chosen Zuu is that even though humanity’s time in the world is obviously waning, they are still owed the respect one would give an elderly parent. This sentiment is based upon a long-standing oral tradition among The Chosen Zuu that they owe their very existence to an Ancient One named Dr. Thadeus Hanhuman, creator of the holy substance known as Cortexin. It is said that just prior to the Great Disaster, Dr. Hanhuman lived in the fabled land of Washington Zuu, and it was there that he gave his Cortexin elixir to all the animals living there, first enabling them to stand upright and to speak. Zoopremisists and The Chosen Zuu are often mistaken for each other due to the alignment of the philosophy by neophyes. Most Chosen see Zoopremisists as extremists and do not appreciate the association. Many are worried that radicalization of the Chosen would swell the ranks of the Zoopremisists.

Qualifications: Membership is open to any like-believing manimals, regardless of species or mutations.

Ranks II:Unattached Pup

Ranks III:Pup

Ranks IV:Cub

Ranks V:Clansman

Ranks VI:Leader

Ranks VII+:Pack Leader

Benefits: Merit-based rank in a para-military organization that is universally recognized among all alignment members; shared material resources and intelligence among members and allies.

Secret Sign:Clenched right paw brought to the upper-left torso, striking the chest twice, also used as a salute to superior officers.

Brotherhood Of Thought / The Clan of Cognition

This group was founded by a biochemist, Ashintin, who survived the holocaust. He gathered a small group of followers, and their goals were to unify all intelligent creatures in a world of enlightened coexistence and freedom of choice. Once this first community was founded, Ashintin left that community with a manimal, plantient, mutant, and a robot. They traveled the world founding other communities until finally disappearing into legend.

The Brotherhood is an outgrowth of older monastic and institutional education traditions, and its members live lives of learning, service, and preaching. It was first formed by a biochemist, Ashintin, who survived the holocaust, who wrote the Book of Thought. In this tome, the Ashintin describes a journey of a pilgrim who gains an understanding that non-human (animal and plant) mutations often had mental abilities equal to or greater than humans. Once the pilgrim had come to this conclusion the book describes a dialog between the pilgrim and an unnamed interlocutor addressing the questions and answer on topics regarding the nature of artificial intelligence, the debilitating effects of technology on the spirit, and the diversity of sentient life in all the forms it has grown into. Ashintin never speaks of himself in these books, never says where his ideas come from or why he believes them to be important. What he does do is conclude that thought, the ability for thought and the quality of thought, must be the only benchmarks by which the value of any creature can be judged. Though no one knows where the Ashintin went or how he died, copies of the book found their way into many communities and sparked a new religion.

Though different translations of the Book of Thought vary somewhat, they all come to two basic conclusions. First, any mind able to ponder its own consciousness is sentient, and thus a brother in the community of sapient creatures. Second, no thinking creature is more important than any other, and therefore no creature can claim its choices are more valid than any other’s. This is one of the basic tenets of the Brotherhood, and it results in a chaotic mix of members, each doing what she believes the Book encourages. Since all these opinions are considered equally valid, the Brotherhood continues to splinter into factions with very different views.

The one universal among the factions is their acceptance of any creature who truly wishes to join. Many small monasteries exist where younger Brothers are taught and older ones retire. The rest of the Brothers spend their lives spreading the word of universal sentience as they feel best. Many travel in groups that include human, mutant and animal members — and even androids and AIs if any can be found. Since thought is a product of the mind, and the minds of animals, computers and men are different, Brothers believe they must travel in diverse groups in order to experience and explore diverse qualities of thought.

Because of the diversity of opinions regarding Ashintin and The Book of Thought, most members of the Brotherhood do not form exclusive communities, instead wandering in groups of 5 to 6 or settling in groups of 30 to 50 as part of larger communities. The rare Brotherhood strongholds most commonly settle become monastic in their operations and as they grow they become anarchy-ridden and lose Brotherhood unity. At this point they tend to break apart and become generic societies with several Brotherhood factions within them. It is at this point the members tend to call themselves the Clan of Cognition or The Clan of Cog for short. In general the two names can be used interchangeably. Generally speaking, when referring to one monastic group that is unified in theology and method, that group is called A Brother of Thought. Several Brotherhoods together are called the Clan of Cognition.

The Brotherhood is open and welcoming to anyone who is not overtly violent or bigoted, making their communities good neutral ground for opposing factions to meet peacefully when negotiating. Those who are seen as friends of unity can depend on the Brotherhood for advice and research, drawing on the broad range of knowledge and expertise found within the Brotherhood. Foes of the Brotherhood, in addition to risking a visit from the Censors ( black-clad killers who use stealth, poison and sabotage to cripple and kill enemies of universal brotherhood using powerful mental abilities), face a campaign of bad publicity spread by wandering Brotherhood members. Such maligned individuals find they are seen as smallminded and idiotic by anyone who has been visited by a Brother, making it difficult for them to find allies or maintain occupied lands.

Qualifications: All sentient intelligences are accepted.

Ranks II:Catechist

Ranks III:Brother

Ranks IV:Father

Ranks V:Bishop

Ranks VI:Archbishop

Ranks VII+:Methuselah

Benefits: Members of the Brotherhood of Thought are generally accepted by most open minded Archaic Alignments. They many travel safely through these territories and invoke Clan hospitality with other clan members and tribes.

Secret Sign: In dangerous or populated areas, they use a secret sign to contact each other. This sign is a tracing of the infinity symbol or circle across the forehead as though casually brushing hair. In open and safe areas the brotherhood will wear head and arm bands with the infinity symbol inside a circle on it.

The Atomic Equinox

Open to all plantients, and to select members of other genotypes, The Atomic Equinox is a stoic society of plantients that believe all animal life (including sentients) are primarily useful as a necessary and ongoing source of carbon-dioxide. While not hostile by nature, members of The Atomic Equinox will not hesitate to react with force to any perceived harm to plant life in general or to the ecosystem as a whole. The Atomic Equinox sometimes allow members of other genotypes to join as special “Warders” to assist them with their primary task of care-taking the natural environment. This archaic alignment is sometimes referred to by outsiders as “the tree-huggers who hug back.”

Ranks II:Seed

Ranks III:Sprout

Ranks IV:Sapling

Ranks V:Peak

Ranks VI:Prime

Ranks VII+:Methuselah

Qualifications: Membership is open to any like-believing plantient, and to select pure strain humans, mutants, and manimals who may serve the greater good.

Benefits: Members cannot become lost in any wilderness area containing plants; members are likewise readily able to locate sources of fresh water.

Secret Sign: Both hands or prehensile appendages brought together cupped with fingers spread, to form the shape of a flower.

Seekers

The Seekers are a group of humans and mutants that all appear completely human. They travel and work in large populated areas, trying to get humans and mutants of all types to work together. They consider mutated animals to be inferior, but don’t press the issue, and sometimes even accept their help.

Seekers have turned their back on the gifts of the past. According to their beliefs, the toys and gadgets that were supposed to improve life were instead the instruments of humanities demise. A thriving society must learn to survive without the trappings of technology. Seekers build communities that have nothing to so with the relics of the previous age. Water is from a well, butter is churned and children are read their books by candlelight after it gets dark. Farmers plow the land with horses and defend their lands with muskets and cannons. Seekers view machinery with great loathing. Occasionally, bands of villagers will lead raids to destroy the technology used by other communities. This zealous hatred doesn't endear other villages to their neighbors. Seekers are antagonistic towards wish to restore the evils of a previous age. They find those who wish to worship the artifacts of that previous to be pitied in the best of cases and in worst cases liberated.

They can be found among other human factions, or by themselves. The membership is usually very rich, in terms of the local means of exchange.

Qualifications: Mutants that appear to be PSH as well as PSH. They do not allow Manimals or Plantients or Robotic characters.

Ranks II:Visitor

Ranks III:Eldar

Ranks IV:Presbyter

Ranks V:Deacon

Ranks VI:Bishop

Ranks VII+:Saint

Benefits: Before each mission that starts in an area with Seekers, the player will receive a stipend in local currency to be spent locally as the player sees fit on items found on Table 1-4 or similar. If there is any money left, the player is expected to return any excess money to the local chapter house for distribution later. It is unheard of Seekers who abscond with this money as they are never heard from again and their names are forbidden to be spoken. Additionally any item from Table 1-4 the characters began the game with is considered to be of fine manufacture and made specifically for the players. This means that each item does an additional 2 die of damage or has +2 additional AC. Additionally any equipment that is not from Tech Level 3 and below will receive these bonuses if they can return to a Seeker Chapter House and have them worked on for a month. A Seeker does not have the ability to use Ancient Artifacts. If willfully uses such technology, he suffers -2 dice and -2 AC from the equipment. Also, it takes at least one additional action to complete any activity. If this use of forbidden technology gets back to a chapter house or community, than punishment will be swift and an example will be made to the whole community.

Secret Sign: Their secret sign consists of scanning the horizon using both hands to shade the eyes.

Restorationists

The Restorationists are one of the more powerful and common of the cryptic alliances. They are also among the most mistrusted. The Restorationists don’t accept that the Final Wars ended the age of a better world through technology, and intend to reclaim the glories and powers humanity held a few short generations ago. Their driving goals are to rebuild the best of the past civilizations, while learning from the mistakes that ended them.

The Restorations don’t just wish to build a new future, they want to recreate the world as it was, only better. Though this rings hollow with many, the Restorationists assure any who listen that it is not an impossible goal. The height of technology in the previous era could almost literally mold reality as its masters desired. The Restorationists firmly believe that if that technology could be rebuilt and controlled, it could rebuild cities, end plagues, cleanse irradiated lands and end the thousand other threats. The natural corollary of this belief is that no damage done in the quest to regain these powers is unacceptable. Anything done now can be fixed later, once the Restorationists have the needed tools. The only excesses the Restorations worry about are those that might destroy the organization before it gains the needed technologies.

Some of the most powerful and advanced enclaves still functioning are run by Restorationists, and many more depend on Restorationist technologies to keep things running. The Restorationists have a tech base as high as any group, though their abilities still fall well short of those possessed before the Final Wars. To maintain and advance this capacity, Restorationists regularly raid old ruins and explore wilderness areas, or pay mercenary companies to do so. Anything of a technological nature, even junk, can be sold to a Restorationist stronghold, though obviously functioning devices bring a much higher price. Restorationists don’t ask where these things come from, and it’s not unusual for them to buy artifacts stolen from Archivists or taken in a bloody raid.

Most Restorationists are pure-strain humans, though the organization has no official bias against mutants or non-human bloodlines. In many way the reverse is more common: Creatures other than pure-strain humans have little interest in restoring the civilizations of the past. Such creatures either didn’t exist in that age, or were second-class citizens at best, so few have any desire to see the world return to that time. Many of the pro-animal and pro-mutant groups see the Restorationists as fanatics, and treat Restorationist agents poorly.

The Restorationists feel that renegade AIs, especially networks of AIs, were responsible for the Final Wars. In fact, they blame the vast numbers of nonhuman intelligences for all the errors of the last generation before the Wars. As a result, Restorationists believe all computers must be programmed to obey humans in general and specific operators in particular. They also believe computers must be designed to do their best to act in humans’ best interests, as the computers believe humans would define them. Though this leads to computers doing things they believe unwise because it is what they think the humans would want, the Restorationists consider this an acceptable risk to prevent computers from taking control. Only a few AIs in Restorationist hands have had such programming, with mixed results, but the organization’s computer techs continue to develop more complex and effective control routines.

The Restorationists do have a few allies. Healers frequently work with them to recreate medical technologies. Many groups that support order and peace work with Restorationists on specific projects, but in general organizations mistrust Restorationists desires to control everything they have a hand in building. More than one community has asked for Restorationist help, only to discover too late that the help comes with many strings attached.

Restorationist cities are usually highly populated. Their dependence on high tech allows them to make do with much less farming land than other groups, but they have a constant demand for power. This, combined with a limited supply of high tech, prevents their cities from becoming sprawls. Smaller Restorationist communities often make enemies faster than friends, and risk being eliminated by coalitions of their neighbors. A strong Restorationist leader can hold together a smaller town through constant vigilance, blackmail and extortion, but such towns often disappear quickly when their leaders fall.

Restorationists make strong allies and fearsome foes. They have a higher tech base, and a better ability to maintain it, than any other large group. For friends, they provide a market for high tech, repair facilities and often extensive creature comforts. To foes they present a serious threat, able to bring weapons of the Final Wars down on opposing cities. In both cases the limiting factor is a lack of stability. Restorationists change friends and opponents whenever it seems to move them closer to their ultimate goals, giving them a reputation as untrustworthy. This is coupled with the fact that they often run out of technological solutions without warning, often leaving allies stranded or enemies with a sudden reprieve.

Qualifications: Open to all sentient creatures except Shaman.

Ranks II:Traveler

Ranks III:Builder

Ranks IV:Engineer

Ranks V:Supervisor

Ranks VI:Manager

Ranks VII+:Architect

Benefits: Characters who have this allegiance can expect to receive scrap goods and spare parts as trading materials, items useful to high-tech groups to maintain their ancient machines. A member who takes an artifact back to a Restorationist facility, receives bonuses(up to +10 for major facilities) to the artifact check roll based on the size of the facility.

Secret Sign: Members of the Restorationists will draw a cross or an ankh on the back of their hand with their middle finger while clasping their hands together.

The Holy Medicinal Order

The Holy Medicinal Order is a monastic order comprised of all genotypes. While their members maintain a series of remote monasteries (which are universally acknowledged by all genotypes and archaic alignments as neutral combat free zones), they are most commonly known by the subsect of their order that chooses to wander the wilderness of Terra A.D., rendering aid to any who seek it. Among most sentients, it is considered a blessed sign of the highest order to receive a visit from or encounter with a Holy Medicinal Order monk.

Qualifications: Membership is normally limited to NPC characters. A PC of any genotype may join, but must forswear to forever give up all martial arts and combat, under pain of excommunication from the order.

Ranks II:Medical Student

Ranks III:Intern

Ranks IV:Resident

Ranks V:Fellow

Ranks VI:Attendant

Ranks VII+:Doctor or Physician

Benefits: Members are universally treated as non-combatants by virtually all sentients living in Terra A.D. Bringing any harm to a monk of The Holy Medicinal order is considered a great taboo and an unforgivable sin.

Secret Sign: Both hands clasped together palm inwards with fingers interlocked.

The Curators / The Followers Of The Voice

The Followers of the Voice are a branch of the Curators and they consist of beings of all types who worship computers, believing that machines created the world and can again restore peace and order. They are always encountered near installations that have computers whose logic circuits agree, at least in part, with their philosophies. In some instances, the large computers, such as the think tank, have taken over their followers, and rule with dictatorial powers. Roving bands of the Followers of the Voice are occasionally encountered as they roam vast areas in search of computers and similar machinery to use as “shrines” for their strange religious rituals.

The Curators are dominated by pure strain humans, but open to mutants and manimals, The Curators revere and worship all forms of ancient technology. This group is divided into three main sub-groups: the more orthodox Curators known as Conservators, and the far more open and liberal-thinking Traders.

Among Curators, the Conservators believe that anything from a simple trinket to the most complex of mythical machines of the Ancients is in fact a holy object that should be collected, collated, and ultimately displayed inert and unused in a holy place of worship. They see their role as maintaining the artifacts and keeping them from being destroyed. Conservators tend to only be involved in the maintenance and worship of these artifacts.

The Archivists members usually possess strong attack and defense mutations and will not appear in groups of less than 10. They seek to buy items that they consider valuable, and are not above stealing if the price is too high. They especially like robots, which they deactivate and mount as statues of gods to protect their underground temples. The Archivists work in concert with the Conservators.

The more liberal and practical Traders sect act as a barter-based merchant class in most tribes and villages, commonly trading in trinkets (small, otherwise worthless pieces of duralloy, plasteel, and permaglass), and much more rarely dealing in functional artifacts of the ancients.

Qualifications: Membership is open to any like-believing pure strain human, mutant, or manimal.

Ranks II:User

Ranks III:Writer

Ranks IV:Tester

Ranks V:Maintainer

Ranks VI:Expeditor

Ranks VII+:Administrator

Benefits: After acceptance into the order and a brief apprenticeship, members gain +1 to their Artifact checks (in addition to any other bonuses derived from genotype abilities or class abilities).

Secret Sign: The Conservators bring both hands brought together in a peak with thumbs touching at a downward angle, followed by a slight head nod. The Archivists will use the same hand gesture but instead of a slight head nod they will display a slight shake their head. Traders will use either opening gesture from above and follow it with a welcoming sweep of one hand (Traders).

New Alignments Not Open to Players

The Created

This is a special cult, open only to artificial life such as AIs and Androids. Its members believe that only machine-created “life”, such as computers, cyborgs, robots, and androids are worthy of continued survival. Of course they believe that androids should be the ruling class, even in the world of machines. Androids often pass as humans in human and humanoid societies, subverting their efforts and stealing technological devices for the “Created.”

Ranks II:Bit

Ranks III:Bot

Ranks IV:Monitor

Ranks V:Program

Ranks VI:Control Program

Ranks VII+:Master Control Program

Knights Of Genetic Purity / The Gene Police

“Purists” are Pure Strain Humans who wish to destroy all mutated humans. Unaccountably (or fortunately), they do not realize that animal and vegetable mutants are not “pure” either. “Purists” usually fight with sword and lance, on any available mount. A large number of them also have ancient energy weapons. They are very open about their hatred and wear a bright red square, printed, painted, or emblazoned in some way on the fronts of their garments or armor. Large groups of “Purists” have been known to hire out as mercenaries as long as the job involves the slaughter of humanoid mutants.

The Gene Police are a radicalized branch of the Knights of Genetic Purity. Open only to pure strain humans (or those mutants who can pass for pure strain human), the Gene Police are bent upon eliminating all mutations. Highly clandestine by nature, their members are often found working undercover among more enlightened peoples and tribes, always seeking to tip the balance of power in favor of pure strain humans. No tactics are too underhanded, no lie too foul, no plan too brutal, if a member of the Gene Police thinks that such actions will result in the suffering or death of a mutant, manimal, or plantient. With sufficient time and resources, the Gene Police are capable of slowly taking over a tribal village, turning it into a Gene Police enclave populated only by pure strain humans.

Ranks II:Alien

Ranks III:Gentleman / Maid

Ranks IV:Squire / Shield Maiden

Ranks V:Knight / Lady

Ranks VI:Baron / Baroness

Ranks VII:Count / Countess

Ranks VIII:Prince / Princess

Ranks IX:King / Queen

Ranks X:Emperor / Empress

Friends Of Entropy

Calling themselves the “Red Death,” their goal is to bring about the extinction of all life and the cessation of all mechanical operations. They are especially interested in destroying all equipment of robotic nature. Theirs is a nomadic society (since nobody wants them around), and they travel in small groups, spying out populated areas to raid or attack. Whenever possible, they steal babies of both humans and mutants and bring them up as the next generation of the “Red Death”.

The final wars were the inevitable product of humanity's flagrant disregard for the laws of nature. For every process in nature, entropy inexorably increases to a maximum. Entropy: the measure of disorder in a aystem, the lack of information regarding a system, the amount of randomness in a aystem. Civilization in the last age was in a highly ordered state. It was inevitable for nature to balance the scales.

The Friends of Entropy has existed for some time, but its members are rarely organizaed. Orignally composed of Nihilistic scientists and philosophers, the founders of the organization were among the marginalized in the last age. They wer ethe doomsayers and revolutionaries that rejected the structre that existed all around them. Even more individualistic than the Brotherhood of Thought, Entropists are the least structred organization left on earth. Most entropiosts operate indiidually in their communities, covertly sabotaging vital infrastructure in an attempt to fight the human tendency to creature structure.

In recent times, a more militant branch of the Entropists have emerged called the "Red Death," this group seeks to finish the job of the Final Wars started to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. The Red Death will sweep through a community killing the adults, abducting the children and razing the structure. They will then stay near the town consuming the surviving resournces and training the children in their ways. When the land around the ruins has been exhausted, they move on to the next town and repeat the process

In general, Entropists believe that Nature works to bring about disorder. The Final Wars happened because humanity forgot that. They see the world now trying to reorganze itself and this terrifies them. After all, what horrors will be unleashed next time around? They work covertly in their communtites, creating a little chaos so Nature do not need to step in with another Apocalypse. Entropoists encourage creatifity in their acts, and spend as much time listening to the deeds of other Entropists as they do planning their own actions. Much renown can be gained in the organization for particualarly clever operations.

Some entropists are even more nihilistic. Often these individuals work closely with the Red Death or are members of that group. They believe that the time of humanity is over, and they do what they can to end sentient lives where they can find them. Some work together (like the Red Death), though most work independently. The latter are perhaps the most insidious threats in Gamma World.

Entropists rarely work closely with one another and thus do not often share resources. Occasionally a pressing need (such as an attempt to reactivate an old city) might drawn several Entropists together to sabatage the recovery efforts. Entropists tend to be well educated and bring with them a lot of knowledge and resources from their personal lives. In a few occasions when these resources are pooled, much can and is accomplished.

The current coordinator of the Red Death is a humanoid mutant named Blern. This creature is the ultimate model for the cult. At birth, when his flesh was exposed to the air a poison gas was given off, killing his mother and the attending midwife. His proud father designed a uniform for him so that he could travel with all the rest. On reaching maturity, he further mutated: growing a pair of horns, requiring tinted goggles to travel during the day, and having to breathe through a special filter to extract all pollen elements from his air. He also increased in mental and physical powers including some powers totally unknown until then he uses a Mark V Blaster Pistol, Mark VII Blaster Rifle, a Vibro Blade, several Torc Grendades, an Energy Cloak, and a Medi-kit especially designed for his needs (it would kill anyone else). He seems to have the ability to communicate with any intelligent machine so that the machine is fooled into thinking anything Blern wishes.

Blern quickly forced his way to the leadership of the Society and established a permanent base near what used to Ancients city and the group grew in power. He soon became bored with the problems faced with keeping the ghastly cultists together and he set up an administration that ran the group and started roaming far and wide terrorizing other society groups. His methods are always the same. He enters the area and nightly destroys either important crops or domesticated animals. If he is chased by beings with little or no technology, he runs away, just letting them see him and continuing his raids until the angered populace either brings up large numbers of attackers or heavy duty technology. He then faces his attackers using his weapons; both technological and mutative.

Ranks II:

Ranks III:Courier

Ranks IV:Warrior

Ranks V:Elite

Ranks VI:

Ranks VII+:

The Iron Society / Blessed Brotherhood

This is a group of human mutants bent on the destruction of all non-mutated Pure Strain Humans. Its groups are scattered about the world, especially near radiated areas. The Iron Society is very powerful in battle because its members use both mutated powers and ancient weapons of all sorts. They obviously will not mingle with humans, but can be found in societies of other mutants.

Within the Iron Society is a group known internally as the Blessed Brotherhood. Those outside the Iron Society call them the Vile Brotherhood. This elite priesthood of mutants with superior mental mutations. A thoroughly evil and decadent cult, the Brotherhood is bent on nothing less than world domination, and to that end they are often among those found exploring and looting ancient ruins, seeking any means of achieving greater military power.

Zoopremisists

This group consists of non-humanoid, thinking mutant animals, who believe that the time has come for the “beasts” to rule the world. They have a secret police of highly trained, dangerous mutants that terrorize any who oppose them. Fortunately, Zoopremisists attract only a lunatic fringe of the thinking mutant animals, and their power is not yet very great. They can be found secreted in any large mass of mutants. Their agents are all telepathic and signal each other in that manner.

The Ranks Of The Fit

The Ranks of the Fit began soon after the destruction of the world. A circus bear became self aware and discovered he had many new strange mental abilities. He was the only intelligent creature to survive in the city. He found himself with very little lacking and set about reading through the books the owner of the circus kept. He consumed Mein Kampf, Animal Farm, This is a military-religious order, bent on controlling the world. Any means to this end is acceptable. It was founded by an enormous mutated bear, who wrote the organization’s guidelines after reading certain history books, Mein Kampf, Animal Farm, Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality by Nietzsche, and several biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte. With this knowledge he concluded that mutated intelligent animals are the rightful rulers of society and that all other life forms serve animals. All forms of life may join, but only mutated intelligent animals may hold positions of power. This bear, now calling himself Napoleon Bonaparte, seeks to establish a form of “Code Napoleon” throughout the world, “The Ranks of the Fit” have brought large groups of people, including several very advanced ancient cities under their well organized military fist. Although their armies are equipped mostly with crossbows and spears, no independent corps is allowed to operate without some very heavy weapons of the past, and the members will fight to obtain more. Their banner is the Tricolor with a gammadion superimposed.

Apocryphal Alignments

The following is a collection of writings collected in the library of Haven regarding other Archaic Alignments. The city of Haven has either not encountered these alignments or they describe non-canonical understandings of known alignments. The person who contributed this work to the library, Gene, said he acquired this work from the bodies of what he would only describe as some alien like mutants he had never seen before. As time permits the scribes at this library will integrate this information with the above texts as it is validated.

Archivists

Like many alliances in the Gamma Age, the Archivists are dedicated to finding, restoring and maintaining as much Final Wars era technology as possible. Unlike others, the Archivists have no interest in using the technology they gather. Instead, they place these items in libraries, and maintain and preserve them without making any use of them. The Archivists never use anything more advanced than muscle-powered machines, despite having access to vast collections of complex technology.

Many other groups find this behavior bizarre in the extreme, and assume the Archivists are ignorant fools who don’t realize the use of the things they gather. In many cases this is true, as the Archivists include numerous poor, uneducated members who simply need something to believe in. The core movement of the Archivists, however, is an educated, reasoning council that is well aware of the value of the things they gather, and believe it is necessary they preserve them without ever using them.

To the Archivists, their duty is to make up for the hubris of their forefathers. Humanity was given the power to act as gods, and used it to create toys, fulfill fantasies, and ultimately destroy itself. The Archivists are aware that many of the tools of the Final Wars were self-aware, and that they were not treated with respect by their creators. Archivists make the leap that technology itself became aware, forming a kind of superconsciousness spread across all devices of advanced function, and that it was this technology-as-awareness that both destroyed the old civilization and prevented the world from being totally unraveled.

In this act, the Archivists believe, the technology superconsciousness destroyed itself, breaking into its component parts. However, if enough technology were to be restored or rebuilt, the superconsciousness would return, and in that moment judge biological life in all its forms. The Archivists believe that by having working technology that they don’t use, they are both making amends for the excesses of their distant ancestors and proving that living creatures can refrain from abusing technology. They hope this will be sufficient to convince the superconsciousness not to destroy all life when it returns.

Typical Archivist libraries contain only a few broken bits of tech placed on desks and in alcove- like niches called cubicles. Nothing of value is ever kept in these small buildings, and raiders are free to enter and ransack the buildings in a useless search for working machines. The true treasures of the Archivists are kept in secure bunker museums, the locations of which are closely guarded secrets. Wandering Archivist monks called Heuretics visit the public libraries regularly, removing anything of true value and replacing it with useless junk. Though even Heuretics are forbidden from using most technologies, many are Nanosmiths, and are permitted to use their gifts to defend themselves and the treasures they carry. Heuretics also search for lost tech in ruins or battlefields, and even steal it from other communities (though such agents always conceal their intents and allegiances, often taking the role of wandering madmen).

Archivists do best in communities with population levels 6–7. Such communities are large enough to protect their libraries and small enough to avoid difficulties from their low-tech lifestyle. Larger Archivist groups also suffer from internal dissent, as it is difficult to control very large fanatic groups without very strong leaders. Only one or two Archivist fortresses have populations over population level 8. Smaller Archivist groups must depend on secrecy to protect their stockpiles of technology, often concealing themselves as groups of Seekers or poor, uneducated communities with nothing of value.

Archivists make useful contacts and allies, as they are willing to buy broken tech for food, rare gems, or simple weapons. Very trusted allies may even be able to convince Archivists to repair broken devices in payment for other working technology, though some Archivists are never willing to encourage tech use. Because they are fanatical about their beliefs, Archivists make dangerous foes. Most large Archivist communities have a few high-tech weapons they will use in emergencies, and one or more Heuretic warrior-monks.

Splinter groups of Archivists, called Servants of the Eye, also exist. These groups have lost sight of the core mission of the Archivists, and instead see themselves as agents of the technological superconsciousness — which they believe exists now. Unlike typical Archivists, who see their actions as pragmatic gestures to defend the world, Servants are religious believers who see technology itself as magical. They also keep any tech they come across, but place it in shrines and temples covered with wires and gears to worship. These Servants of the Eye often fall under the control of Programmers, AIs or the Created, accepting them as saints in the service of the superconsciousness.

Characters may take an organizational allegiance to the Archivists after hearing a Heuretic preach, or after being exposed to particularly powerful ancient technology. Trade goods given to such characters are often simple things taken from defunct machines, such as wire, gears and bits of unbreakable synthetic material for use in simple tools.

Breeders

Breeders are an unusual cult that equates advancement with high population numbers. Theypoint out, with some supporting evidence, that the more advanced societies of the past supported higher populations, both in terms of density and total population numbers. The Breeders believe this is proof that higher populations result in more advanced societies, and thus the secret to creating a stable and secure society is to raise the population as quickly as possible.

Though this logic escapes most other groups, the Breeders have had some success in areas other groups considered too hazardous to settle. By ignoring what a community can support and encouraging rapid childbirth, the Breeders have established small towns in areas with horrendous mortality rates. The Breeders claim this is because a larger total population means more total exceptional people, more motivation to expand horizons, and a larger pool of labor for community improvement projects. Most outside observers note that Breeder communities elsewhere have often suffered starvation, epidemics of disease and rioting, and their few successes in deadly territories hardly offset their atrocious track record.

Despite this, Breeders are convinced their course is sane and rational. The underlying philosophy of the Breeders argues that a few large, successful communities are worth more than dozens of smaller, struggling communities. They assume that some percentage of communities is doomed to fail no matter what. Any time one of their towns starves, or is ravaged by disease because of overpopulation and overcrowding, the Breeders shrug and claim that town was doomed anyway, claiming population was not the defining factor. Arguments about Malthusian limits and rational expansion fall on deaf ears. Breeders are taught at an early age that more is better, and little penetrates this indoctrination.

Breeders often bring improved health care and food supplies to towns, asking nothing in return for their gifts. As the health and nutrition of a population increases, the birthrate naturally increases. Some towns have claimed that the Breeders lace their gifts with fertility drugs, and the Breeders admit to supporting the use of such methods. A few of the Breeder-visited towns have grown powerful from their increased health and numbers, though only those with large areas of natural resources nearby.

Breeders also operate a few small communities they refer to as “nests.” These protected towns are open to anyone willing to take part in the endless breeding programs the communities run. Though some effort is made to provide health care for program members and protect the offspring until they are able to care for themselves, these are secondary concerns for the Breeders. The population is encouraged to grow quickly, with medals and rewards of food and supplies given to mothers who produce large numbers of children.

Nests are kept at a fairly stable population level 8, with excess population shipped to other communities. The most successful Breeder communities are massive population level 10 affairs, located in areas rich with natural resources (as well as predators that keep the population from growing further). Breeder communities that grow past their terrains’ ability to support them can collapse from 6,000 members to less than 1,000 in a matter of weeks if starvation and disease set in.

Breeders’ knowledge of medicine is second only to the Healers, making a Breeder settlement a good place for allies to hide out and convalesce. Their experience with diseases and plagues also makes them dangerous foes, as Breeders are willing to use “Typhoid Mary” attacks, where agents with fatal but subtle diseases are sent to spend time with foes, infecting and eventually killing them. If there isn’t time for such attacks, Breeders resort to human waves, sending a large portion of their population in a single massive attack to overrun and exterminate foes.

In principle, Breeders wish to increase the population of all communities, but there is a definite anti-mutant prejudice within the organization. Many Breeders feel mutated bloodlines are likely to become sterile at some point, and put the whole Breeder program at risk. The most radical of these Breeder groups have been known to work with the Knights of Genetic Purity to sterilize non-human lines, and establish towns where mutant slave labor is used to care for pure-strain human children.

A character may wish to give the Breeders his allegiance if saved by one of their nests, or if he suffers the loss of one or more children. Characters with Breeder allegiances are given materials very similar to those gained by Healers: food concentrates, medical supplies and manuals on proper nutrition. What a Breeder is never given is anything preaching family planning or actual contraceptives.

Cyclers

Unlike many alliances, Cyclers do not gather in large numbers, rule fortified towns, or keep their membership secret. Cyclers see all these things as pointless, and in some cases actually counterproductive. Instead, Cyclers wander in groups as small as a force of one seeking to improve themselves and serve as good examples. Many other cryptic alliances believe the Cyclers have some secret purpose or base. They don’t. The most mysterious thing about Cyclers is that they are exactly what they claim to be.

The philosophy of Cyclers is that misery is created by expectations of how the world should be, and their conflict with how the world truly is. Since everything occurs in cycles — the seasons, the cycle of life, even the business cycle — all efforts to change the world to meet these expectations are doomed to failure. It is the nature of living things to strive for improvement, however, and thus creatures continue to fight to make a better world even when they know such efforts are useless. The Cyclers see this as the trap all civilizations have fallen into, and the end result is the cycle of history returning to barbarism.

Cyclers believe there is a better way. All expectations regarding the outer world must be abandoned as pointless. Instead, Cyclers focus on improving themselves. It is their belief that if all creatures strove only to make themselves better, the world would inevitably improve. This is not the goal of the Cyclers, however, for the improvement must not be desired in order for it to occur. All focus must be on self-improvement, but each Cycler must decide for himself what is needed for his own path to a better being. All other concerns are not only unimportant, they actually cause harm. Trying to help someone for her sake creates misery, and thus ultimately harms that person.

This strange combination of moving toward a better world while thinking only of themselves causes Cyclers to act differently than most creatures in the Gamma Age. A Cycler might well defend a town, because it serves a useful purpose for him. He may even engage in a fight because he feels his own combat skills need improvement. A Cycler is willing to make friends and enjoy their company, but at the same time preaches to his friends that he can’t care what happens to them, for their own good.

Anyone can become a Cycler, though a Cycler Master may well refuse to take a particular creature as a student. Most Cyclers travel extensively, seeking experiences to aid them in their quests of self-growth. Most ride two-wheeled personal vehicles that allow them to experience the countryside as they travel it. Cyclers have no ruling body or hard and fast rules for allowable behavior, and it’s not unusual for two Cyclers to take opposite sides on an issue. Cyclers do accept the value of experience, however, and Cycler Grand Masters, those who have trained 25 or more other Cyclers, are respected and often obeyed. A council of Grand Masters meets every few decades, and makes advisory decisions regarding appropriate Cycler actions. The council is not a true ruling body, but most Cyclers heed its advice.

The easiest way to represent a Cycler’s dedication is to take a self-allegiance. Of course a Cycler can also take a religious or philosophical allegiance, but this requires the GM and player to agree what constitutes action for self-improvement and what is an external concern. Some groups find this kind of debate a fascinating addition to roleplaying, while others are simply annoyed by it. The GM and player should carefully discuss their opinions of Cycler philosophy before using this method.

The Cycler organization is too spread out to be a useful organizational allegiance. Characters are drawn to this allegiance after undergoing a major trauma or tragedy, then hearing a Cycler discuss the idea of life without misery. Many who try the Cycler path eventually become disillusioned, though this is generally a gradual process that involves a long crisis of faith.

Elfivers

Elfivers are a loose society of engineers, scientists and explorers who spread across the Gamma World, seeking to encourage powered flight and (where possible) space travel. They see the conquest of the sky and the vast space beyond as the most important goal any thinking creature can have. Most of their members are pure-strain humans, though they accept anyone with an interest in flight and the technical skills to learn its principles into their membership. Older Elfivers take two or three younger apprentices and teach them about aeronautics and flight. Surprisingly few AIs join the Elfivers, though a number work with them on specific design projects.

Elfivers don’t care about political movements, C personal freedoms or religious philosophies — just reclaiming the sky. They see flight as the first step to reclaiming the Moon, and eventually the whole solar system. To the Elfivers, the resources available in the Asteroid Belt, Mars and the moons of Jupiter represent the only chance to rebuild the world. They also believe that a society dedicated to exploring space can avoid the excesses that led to the Final Wars. The progression from powered flight to a greater, civilized society is inevitable to them, and because of this the Elfivers often accept any means as justified by their long-term goals. Elfivers also believe their conclusions are obvious — and anyone who disagrees with them just hasn’t understood the argument.

Elfivers work with anyone who seems likely to advance their aims. When looking to convince a leader to reclaim an aerospace site or dedicate resources to aeronautic projects, Elfivers shape their arguments to fit the potential ally’s needs. Military leaders are told planes are the ultimate high ground, and walled towns that balloons can spot enemies at a greater distance than a watchtower. Agricultural communities are encouraged to use gliders to look for new fertile fields, and scavenger groups are told they can cover territory more quickly in powered aircraft. The best Elfivers are actually able to provide designs geared for these purposes, but even those with limited skills are willing to adapt any flying design to any purpose if it gets one more craft airborne. If Elfivers feel that a group important to the future of flight is threatened, they respond with what force they can, often including armed 2-man dirigibles and scout gliders.

Rumors claim that Elfivers have secret dirigible bases, and rigid-frame helium airships they use to explore old ruin sites. The truth of these rumors is up to the GM, and depends in part on the desired overall level of technology. If true, the Elfivers guard the locations of these bases vigorously, revealing them only to the most trusted and capable of their members. Older Elfivers are sequestered in these bases, designing new aircraft and attempting to comprehend recovered aircraft from the old world. Many of these bases have strong links to the Restorationists, and Elfivers and Restorationists often work together on large-scale projects. If Elfiver communities exist, they are around population level 3–4, large enough to employ numerous laborers and experts but small enough to remain hidden.

In many areas, Elfivers must work in secrecy, hiding their allegiances and ultimate goals. Areas strongly influenced by Seekers or Archivists, for example, do not welcome efforts to restore the technology of flight. Similarly, many more advanced groups feel flight is less important than weapons and armor, forcing Elfivers to conceal their activities from such groups as the Purists, Peace Brigade, Steel Foes and even Viragos. It’s not unusual for Elfivers to pretend to be Archivists or Gears to conceal their activities and true purposes. Elfivers also often pose as Healers, claiming that some sites are toxic (giving them free access to the tech within), and passing off the canvas for balloons and oxygen tanks for high-altitude flight as medical tents and supplies.

A character aware of the Elfivers may be motivated to join them after seeing her first airship or taking her first powered flight. Few characters take an organizational allegiance to the group, as the Elfivers are too spread out to maintain contact regularly. Many instead take a philosophical allegiance to the goal of reclaiming powered flight for all sentient creatures. A character who does take an organizational allegiance may be given flight- related trade goods, including model planes, flight manuals and, rarely, even hang gliders.

Gears

Found scattered throughout the Gamma Age are long caravans of rag-tag vehicles. Some are pulled by beasts, others powered by steam, solar, chemical and even nuclear energies. These are the mobile communities of the Gears, tight-knit groups of mechanics, engineers, traders and entertainers. Gear groups visit other communities, fixing broken machines, providing shows, games and fortune- telling experiences, and selling goods from far-off lands.

Gears are organized around the family unit, with the elder members of each family forming a ruling council. In most Gear groups, all internal matters — questions of where to take the caravan, how to handle discipline, who is allowed to join, what is taught to younger members — are ultimately the decision of the eldest female. All external matters — who is allowed to trade with the caravan and at what price, how the caravan is defended, and who is considered a trusted ally — are handled by the eldest male. In practice, these two (always called Granmar and Granthfa) make most of these decisions together, after taking council with other council members.

The family unit is also how jobs are divided. One family line is mechanics, while another is drivers, each passing their skills and tools from one generation to the next. Whenever two Gears get married, the council decides which family the new couple belongs to, and they both change to doing that family’s tasks. Occasionally the union of two young Gears is forbidden by a family afraid to lose the talents of its younger members, and the council rarely interferes with such matters. A family with too few births may take in orphans, or in rare cases even kidnap children from communities they pass.

Most Gears are humans with few visible mutations, though there are notable exceptions. Gears recognize each other through secret words and signs, and anyone who can pass such tests is an accepted member of the community. It’s not unknown for new bloodlines to be accepted in their entirety for doing some great service for a Gear caravan, and everything from thinking animals to AIs can be found claiming membership in one or another Gear caravan. Gears do not trust outsiders, but are equal in their distrust. It doesn’t matter to a Gear if you’re a Purist, Zoopremacist or sentient shade of blue: You’re a Gear, a known ally or an outsider.

The most successful Gear groups have a large, armed and armored central vehicle, always called the Babushka. A Gear’s Babushka is the most important vehicle of the caravan, providing protection for all other vehicles. It is manned by the best mechanics and fighters in the group, and carries the young and wounded. Vital supplies, including fuel and rare parts, are stored within the Babushka or kept in vehicles near it. In some cases, the Babushka itself is the leader, a soultech vehicle that sees the biological Gears as its children, guiding generations with the benefit of its immortal wisdom.

The logical limit to a Gears community is the number of souls their caravan can transport. The smallest Gear groups are dependent on draft animals or fossil-fuel vehicles, and rarely grow above population level 2 (100 Gears max). Gear groups with solar, nuclear or other long-range vehicles, often including multi-car, train-like Babushkas, can grow as large as population level 4 (400 Gears); but such groups are rare. The family-style government of the Gears doesn’t handle larger groups well, and any Gear caravan that grows to that size is likely to be looking for a second Babushka, to allow them to split into two caravans.

Communities who deal with Gears regularly tend to accept them, though grudgingly. Other groups tend to see Gear traders as thieves, their mechanics as lazy hacks and liars, and their entertainers as little more than beggars or whores. Though much of this attitude is mistrust and envy of a group both insular and mobile, it is not entirely unjustified. Gears do whatever they must to survive, and in lean times are willing to resort to crime if needed. Gears are not evil folk for the most part — they simply place the needs of their families and the caravan over those of outsiders.

Gears do not accept outsiders lightly, and most characters with a community allegiance to Gears are related by blood to a Gear member. Trusted allies and traders may be able to take an organizational allegiance to Gears without being family, but they must have done something spectacular to earn the rovers’ trust. Characters with such an allegiance are well treated by all Gear groups, as they are taught secret phrases and gestures that identify them as trusted friends. These characters are given spare parts and small working engines (toys, really) as trade goods, and may also be given free repairs.

Gears prefer to flee enemies, when possible. Gears can fight viciously if they must, but prefer to avoid conflict where possible. A Gear caravan is most likely to turn and fight if an allied immobile community is threatened. This is rare, as Gears have few true allies, but they never leave a friend if they can help it. Gears fight as they do everything else — using whatever is likely to work. Gears have been known to sabotage enemy vehicles; use Trojan Horse tactics; booby-trap vehicles of their own (with poisons and explosives), then leave them for enemies to find; or even just rally their vehicles into a makeshift circular fortress and shoot.

A character who tires of life as a wanderer could easily abandon a Gear community allegiance by moving into a more traditional home. An organizational allegiance is most likely to be lost if a character betrays a group of Gears, though some individuals might also grow disillusioned by the Gears’ willingness to sacrifice outsiders for the good of the caravan.

Incarnites

A small but devout religious group, the Incarnites are firm believers that the world is alive, and that there is an invisible world just as real as the one that can be found with the five senses. Incarnite cosmology assumes everything in the world — every object, idea, place, time and creature — has a spirit associated with it. Some are kind, gentle spirits that wish only to be respected, while others are malicious, hurtful spirits that desire pain and bloodshed. The most important spirits are those of nature (rivers, fields, storms) and those that inhabit old technology (Final Wars ruins and devices). The only path to happiness, Incarnites believe, is to live in harmony with all these spirits.

In order to achieve this harmony, Incarnites follow a lifestyle of contemplation of action, taboos and rituals. The rituals and taboos are often simple matters: rites enacted before beginning a new project; rituals to mark the change of seasons; taboos that forbid the eating of various (often poisonous) creatures. These ceremonies offer time for Incarnites to consider the consequences of their actions. In many cases the rituals have obvious, direct benefits for those who practice them. Rituals of cleansing (before eating or cooking; whenever dealing with blood, raw food or garbage; and whenever coming into contact with unknown objects) help keep Incarnites healthy and safe from contaminants. Other rituals have less obvious purposes, but provide Incarnites with calm and harmony. To Incarnites, the main function of such ceremonies is to appease the various spirits they must interact with daily, and show they respect even the spirits of things they must kill or destroy.

Incarnites believe shrines to honor various spirits are important, and most homes include at least one small icon to represent the spirits most honored there. Communities erect shrines to the most obvious nearby spirits, often revering those things that make their community possible (such as a sea and its fish), or the workings of an ancient technological device. Such shrines are maintained by Incarnite priests, who see themselves more as teachers than dictators of the spirits’ will. Most Incarnite priests have other duties in the community as well, and gain their neighbors’ respect because they take on the double duty of maintaining shrines without asking for recompense. Many Incarnites do offer extra food or assistance with difficult labors to their priests, out of this respect.

Incarnite dogma can be difficult to understand, especially since its wisest preachers often insist it must be learned, not taught. Ultimately, it rests on respect for all things, even those that seem not to deserve it. Communities with Incarnite populations respect their resources, enemies and each other, constantly taking a moment to consider how their actions could impact these things. As a result many Incarnite communities thrive, with carefully planned programs dealing with long-term problems and quick action taken to preserve anything put at immediate risk.

Incarnites who come across working soultech devices often worship them as manifest spirits, and in this regard act much like some groups of Archivists or Programmers. Sometimes these groups cohabit an area peacefully, though it is equally likely for them to come to blows over possession of a piece of working, thinking machinery, especially if the machinery expresses a preference to one of the groups. Some groups of Incarnites have reacted poorly to the similar beliefs of Archivists, and as a reaction reverted to an extremely formalized and ceremonial form of the basic Incarnite religion. These Incarnites may go so far as to require numerous cleansing baths and specific rituals just to go to bed each night.

Incarnites have great respect for psionics, and many of their communities are ruled by a small council of creatures with mental powers. Incarnites believe psionic powers allow a creature to come into direct contact with the spirit world, and that all psionic effects are requests granted by the inhabitants of that world. This does not mean the Incarnites roll over and obey any psionic who exhibits powers however, as evil spirits can grantrequests as well. Incarnites see nanosmiths as similarly gifted, but for some reason nanosmiths are rarer than psionics in their communities.

Incarnite communities tend to grow quickly, but level off at a population level of 7–8. Their dedication and focus on harmony allow them to grow well-designed, flexible communities that thrive under almost all conditions. Their insistence on working with the environment limits them, however, making it difficult to build extensive housing or grow large numbers of crops. Most Incarnite societies have strict population control laws, preventing them from growing beyond the territory’s ability to support them easily. Larger cities must compromise their beliefs (often losing their strict Incarnite culture), and smaller towns are often limited by conditions so harsh the first focus is survival rather than balance. Small, secretive groups of Incarnites sometimes live in other communities, such as those of the Breeders and Restorationists, where the Incarnites work for social change.

Despite their focus on balance and harmony, Incarnites can be moved to violence. They defend themselves with intensity, taking time to ask their enemies’ spirits for forgiveness after defeating them. They have also been known to move against a group they see as dangerously unbalanced, in a preemptive effort to restore harmony. Incarnites try to make surgical strikes, with dedicated warriors striking only what must be destroyed and leaving the rest. In many cases, this involves only destroying a single dangerous machine, or killing a leader or council rather than a whole society. Whenever possible, they use stealth and assassination to meet these goals, as a blade in the night does less collateral damage than open warfare. Incarnite groups who are regularly engaged in conflict have groups of assassins, called Shadow Men, who worship the spirit of death and kill any they see as a threat to their balanced society.

Anyone raised in an Incarnite community or cared for in one after being wounded may easily take an allegiance to the community, a specific Incarnite priest or the religion itself. A character with an allegiance to one of these but not the others may suffer conflicts of allegiance, as the best route for an Incarnite community may conflict with Incarnite beliefs. A character with an allegiance to both community or person and religion is unlikely to drop either allegiance unless something truly catastrophic happens to shake her faith.

Peace Brigade

The Peace Brigade believes in the single tenet that civilization can only spring from security. All advances — social, technological, philosophical — require an area of stability for their development. The many threats of the current world make such stability rare, and thus squelch any chance for communities to develop and progress. The obvious answer to the Brigade is for all societies to place defense as the first priority, above such concerns as comfort, religious beliefs and previous agreements.

The Peace Brigade operates numerous, large, fortress cities throughout the world, all dedicated to protecting themselves and nearby client cities. Each client city is a walled community, required to C send an annual tax to the fortress that helps maintain its defenses. Each client city also has a number of outpost communities, which in turn send taxes to the client city. The system works because the smaller outposts can depend on the larger forces of a client city or even a fortress to deal with massive threats, such as Steel Foe bands or Red Death A cultists. The larger cities can afford to maintain these forces because they receive the annual taxes of the communities they protect.

The biggest Peace Brigade cities are population level 10, with as many as 20,000 citizens. These are some of the largest and most powerful cities found in the Gamma Age; and each controls a network of smaller cities, which in turn control numerous smaller towns. As a simplified rule, a Peace Brigade city controls two communities, which are two population levels lower. Thus a big population 10 city controls two population 8 cities, each of which controls two population 6 towns, and so on. The whole network acts as a small kingdom, with defense and expansion its two main concerns. If multiple population 10 cities are in contact, their combined networks form a small empire.

The Peace Brigade is not satisfied to protect its existing holdings, however. It is constantly expanding, sending out construction teams to help fortify and prepare smaller and increasingly distant communities. These teams offer their services to communities at a very low price, asking only that they be allowed to control decisions regarding the new defenses and that a small annual tax be paid back to the fortress. Many communities accept out of desperation, willing to take any risk to increase their safety. Those that refuse are marked down for conquest later, with Peace Brigade armies eventually arriving to establish a defense program by force.

In either case, once construction of a town’s defenses has begun, the safety of the community as a whole is the only acceptable consideration. Outlying neighborhoods may be declared indefensible and excluded from the Brigade’s planning effort. Homes in kill zones or too near planned walls are destroyed for the good of the community. There is no appeals process; and as the Peace Brigade mans the new defenses as they are built, most towns have no hope of resisting by force. Towns being fortified are placed under martial law for the period of construction, which often lasts years.

Once a town has been properly readied, however, the Peace Brigade pulls out. In towns that accepted the Brigade’s offer willingly, the original government is allowed to take control once more. Towns that had to be fortified at gunpoint are left in the hands of a ruling council friendly to the Brigade’s aims, though still one drawn from the local populace. As long as the town meets its annual tax burden, the Brigade makes no further effort to control its government. Those who refuse to make their tax payments soon discover it is difficult to hold defenses against those who designed them.

The Peace Brigade also makes alliances with other groups, forming mutual defense pacts and coalitions of armies. They are especially fond of making such deals when dealing with “rogue nations.” These are groups too powerful for the Brigade to destroy on its own and too volatile to leave in place, such as marauder groups, Zoopremacists and towns that have fought off the Brigade before. Any group which threatens to destabilize an area is considered a threat, and the Peace Brigade is willing to work with anyone to overcome such dangers. While these often include groups considered zealots and madmen, it can also include groups of Seekers, Restorationists and even Healers who refuse to fortify a hospital.

Once a coalition has done its work, the Peace Brigade reconsiders what alliances are useful to them. It’s not unusual for the Brigade to decide a one-time ally is now a dangerous threat, and form a new coalition to destroy it. Of course the Brigade as a whole has gained a reputation as untrustworthy as a result, but since individual fortress cities are run by independent governors, many are able to convince nearby governments that they can be trusted despite the reputation of the Brigade as a whole.

Individuals who have gained the Peace Brigade’s trust can find sanctuary in its well- defended towns, as well as a good chance to buy and sell weapons and other goods. The Brigade is always in need of builders, architects and warriors, and often hires freelance mercenaries for specific projects. Those who oppose the Brigade also hire fighters, and a character who has faced off against Brigade troops a few times is likely to be labeled an Enemy of the Peace, and banned from Brigade- controlled cities.

The basic goals of the Brigade, to promote self- reliance and security, are clear and laudable enough to encourage many characters to take allegiances with the organization. Characters whose families were saved by Brigade efforts, or have seen firsthand what happens to communities that are not prepared to withstand attacks, make up the majority of Brigade loyalists. Characters with this alliance receive a wide variety of materials as trade goods, drawn from the taxes of outlying client cities. Characters often drop Brigade allegiances after seeing the excesses the group considers acceptable to accomplish its goals, or after growing disgusted with the Peace Brigade’s willingness to break treaties and betray allies to gain greater regional stability.

Programmers

The Programmers are a widespread group whose members seek out computers, AIs and all forms of artificial calculating power. They see in these things a spark of divinity, and worship them as elements of the supercomputer deity they believe created the universe. The Programmers treat computer operating systems as sacred languages and operation manuals as books of prophecy. They are surprisingly well educated on computer theory, but see the sciences of computer construction and operation as rituals. To Programmers, the true motivating force behind all computational devices is the god- system, not binary.

Many Programmers cite as proof of a computational god the “sacred ratio” of phi, 1.618. This number holds mathematical meaning but also appears in many natural creatures and plants. This number appears as a ratio in many creatures, including the placement of a dolphin’s eye, fins and tail along its body, the ratio of the spiral growth of many snail’s shells, and the proportions of a pure-strain human’s limbs and facial features. For all these unrelated items to use the same numerical measuring stick, Programmers argue, there must be a mathematical and thus computational order to the universe. Math is the language of a computer-god, and ratios and probability are holy tools. (For more information GMs should research the Golden Mean as well as the Fibonacci sequence.)

This world outlook often makes Programmers seem heartless to outsiders, as everything is treated as a calculation or subroutine. Individuals aren’t important, only the function they play in the grand scheme of the supercomputer. According to Programmer myth, the supercomputer deity is currently suffering a malfunction, a kind of virus that prevents it from fulfilling its primary procedures, which would regulate the Gamma Age and return it to a state of greater normalcy. The Programmers are willing to take any risk, and cause any amount of damage, to gather enough computing power into one place to reboot the deity supercomputer. All other considerations are secondary.

Of course, not all Programmers are devout in their religious beliefs. Many see their religion as an easy method of indoctrinating the uneducated masses in basic mathematical concepts. As a rule of thumb, the more advanced a Programmer group is, the less it depends on religious trappings in its day-to-day operations. But when converting a group, either covertly from within or through overt force, the religious side of the Programmers is enforced on the population for at least a generation.

The Programmers accept anyone into their numbers, as long as the applicant can learn the basics of computer operation. Most are pure- strain humans, but this is because pure-strain enclaves have the highest remaining technology level rather than any active prejudice. Programmers often keep their membership secret, fearing thieves and raiders will steal their precious computers. Large Programmer cults operate fortresses packed with thousands of broken bits of calculators and old self-aware toys, only a fraction of which still function.

Programmers have two basic types of strongholds: small redoubts that remain hidden, and larger strongholds. Their research redoubts are rarely larger than population level 2, needing to keep numbers low so supplies can be easily smuggled in and housing hidden. Some of these redoubts are located within cities run by those opposed to the Programmers, most often Archivists. Larger Programmer strongholds stabilize around population level 8, surviving with little arable land by carefully calculating the best use of resources.

Many of the most religious Programmer cults fall under the control of one or more AIs. These groups are known as Followers of the Voice, for usually they receive an AI’s instructions through a speaker or similar listening device. Followers of the Voice often take control of Servants of the Eye shrines and temples, connecting the devices found there to their controlling computers and using the Servants as slave labor. Members of the Created often use Programmers as a front, sometimes controlling them through big, obvious computers full of flashing lights and whirring disks (which are little more than radios).

Programmers are not as fanatical about spreading their beliefs as many Gamma Age groups, making them a good bet for anyone who needs an unbiased opinion about mathematical or computational problems. They aren’t as adept at general repairs as Gears or Restorationists, but have a better reputation than either group. When it comes to computer and AI repair, however, the Programmers are second to none.

A character may take an organizational allegiance to the Programmers, or may take a personal allegiance to a specific AI. Either way, characters most likely take such allegiances at character creation, or after a character sees the Programmers accomplish some amazing task at a computer’s behest. A character may drop such an allegiance if exposed to the frailties of his ruling computer, suffering a crisis of faith until a new allegiance replaces his old driving motivation.

Restorationists

The Restorationists are one of the more powerful and common of the cryptic alliances. They are also among the most mistrusted. The Restorationists don’t accept that the Final Wars ended the age of a better world through technology, and intend to reclaim the glories and powers humanity held a few short generations ago. Their driving goals are to rebuild the best of the past civilizations, while learning from the mistakes that ended them.

The Restorations don’t just wish to build a new future, they want to recreate the world as it was, only better. Though this rings hollow with many inhabitants of the Gamma Age, the Restorationists assure any who listen that it is not an impossible goal. The height of technology in the previous era could almost literally mold reality as its masters desired. The Restorationists firmly believe that if that technology could be rebuilt and controlled, it could rebuild cities, end plagues, cleanse irradiated lands and end the thousand other threats of the Gamma Age. The natural corollary of this belief is that no damage done in the quest to regain these powers is unacceptable. Anything done now can be fixed later, once the Restorationists have the needed tools. The only excesses the Restorations worry about are those that might destroy the organization before it gains the needed technologies.

Some of the most powerful and advanced enclaves still functioning are run by Restorationists, and many more depend on Restorationist technologies to keep things running. The Restorationists have a tech base as high as any group in the Gamma Age, though their abilities still fall well short of those possessed before the Final Wars. To maintain and advance this capacity, Restorationists regularly raid old ruins and explore wilderness areas, or pay mercenary companies to do so. Anything of a technological nature, even junk, can be sold to a Restorationist stronghold, though obviously functioning devices bring a much higher price. Restorationists don’t ask where these things come from, and it’s not unusual for them to buy artifacts stolen from Archivists or taken in a bloody raid.

Most Restorationists are pure-strain humans, though the organization has no official bias against mutants or non-human bloodlines. In many ways he reverse is more common: Creatures other than pure-strain humans have little interest in restoring the civilizations of the past. Such creatures either didn’t exist in that age, or were second-class citizens at best, so few have any desire to see the world return to that time. Many of the pro-animal and pro- mutant groups see the Restorationists as no better than the Purists, and treat Restorationist agents poorly.

It’s obvious why the Restorationists do not get along with Archivists, Seekers, the Iron Society, the Ranks of the Fit, the Red Death, Steel Foes or Zoopremacists. What may be less immediately obvious is the reasoning behind the deep distrust between them and the Programmers and any AI, whether or not it is one of the Created. The Restorationists feel that renegade AIs, especially networks of AIs, were responsible for the Final Wars. In fact, they blame the vast numbers of non- human intelligences for all the errors of the last generation before the Wars.

As a result, Restorationists believe all computers must be programmed to obey humans in general and specific operators in particular. They also believe computers must be designed to do their best to act in humans’ best interests, as the computers believe humans would define them. Though this leads to computers doing things they believe unwise because it is what they think the humans would want, the Restorationists consider this an acceptable risk to prevent computers from taking control. Only a few AIs in Restorationist hands have had such programming, with mixed results, but the organization’s computer techs continue to develop more complex and effective control routines.

The Restorationists do have a few allies. The Elfivers certainly support most Restorationist goals, and the Healers frequently work with them to recreate medical technologies. Many groups of Trionicons and the Peace Brigade work with Restorationists on specific projects, but in general these organizations mistrust Restorationist desires to control everything they have a hand in building. More than one community has asked for Restorationist help, only to discover too late that the help comes with many strings attached.

Purists see Restorationists as natural allies, and the two groups often engage in arms-length collaborations. Most Restorationists see the Purists as idiot zealots, but their politics are less important than their ability to help Restorationists overcome foes and gain access to Final Wars artifacts. Each Restorationist leader must make her own decision regarding these groups; many have refused to work with Purists, but most agree they are too valuable an asset to ignore.

Restorationist cities are usually population level 9. Their dependence on high tech allows them to make do with much less farming land than other groups, but they have a constant demand for power. This, combined with a limited supply of high tech, prevents their cities from reaching the size of Peace Brigade strongholds. Smaller Restorationist communities often make enemies faster than friends, and risk being eliminated by coalitions of their neighbors. A strong Restorationist leader can hold together a smaller town through constant vigilance, blackmail and extortion, but such towns often disappear quickly when their leaders fall.

Restorationists make strong allies and fearsome foes. They have a higher tech base, and a better ability to maintain it, than any other large group. For friends, they provide a market for high tech, repair facilities and often extensive creature comforts. To foes they present a serious threat, able to bring weapons of the Final Wars down on opposing cities. In both cases the limiting factor is a lack of stability. Restorationists change friends and opponents whenever it seems to move them closer to their ultimate goals, giving them a reputation as untrustworthy. This is coupled with the fact that they often run out of technological solutions without warning, often leaving allies stranded or enemies with a sudden reprieve.

Characters often start with allegiance to this organization or a community run by them if they were raised there. Characters saved by Restorationists may reasonably take an allegiance to them or a specific individual within the movement. Characters who have this allegiance can expect to receive scrap goods and spare parts as trading materials, items useful to high-tech groups to maintain their ancient machines. A character is most likely to end a Restorationist allegiance after seeing them deal with groups that create misery and fear, or after suffering at the hands of an old Final Wars trap.

Ruin Raiders

The Ruin Raiders are a loose association of adventurers and explorers dedicated to delving into the dangerous places of the world and returning richer for it. The group runs a few survival schools in larger communities, but mostly are organized in “bands” of raiders with 3 to 8 members. The Raiders are often seen as mercenaries, though they generally only accept jobs to clear out old strongholds or eliminate specific dangerous creatures. They are seen as mad by many outside their circle, but also respected as courageous and skilled — as well as disposable — heroes.

The Ruin Raiders see life as a game, and their lives as nothing more than opportunities to rack up ever-larger “scores.” This belief is not literal: The Ruin Raiders are well aware that their lives are more than moments in someone’s passing entertainment. It is an analogy, a way of deadening the pain of the wasted world around them, seeking to cope with harsh realties by trivializing them. The Raiders are thrill-seekers, counting any dangerous activity as a “score” to be sought. Their desires to play the parts of wandering heroes are simply the “rules of the game,” a mechanism to force the Raiders to seek specific kinds of risks, rather than simply throwing themselves over waterfalls.

Ruin Raiders do not run towns or fill entire communities. They are elite bands of adventurers and explorers who view their calling as similar to that of a knightly order. They know their attitudes and actions are out of the ordinary, but see them as part of a code of living a life of danger that makes a difference in the world. They willingly take up the trappings of classic adventuring heroes, so anyone who comes across them knows they are more than just travelers.

The communities that support Raiders are often inclined toward a very deep traditionalism, resorting to older forms of address, organizing craftsmen by guild and generally depending on a feudal society, but they aren’t all Raiders. Common folks in Raider- heavy towns see them as a breed apart, more than slightly crazy but also useful to have around. Ruin Raiders are part army, part police force, and part local celebrities, giving children someone to look up to and aspire toward.

Most groups of Raiders pick their own members, training them “on the job” as they explore. The few schools run by the Raiders depend on aging technology to create false threats in pseudo- medieval environments. Some of these schools have actual facilities that run for miles underground, filled with holographic projectors, simple robot monsters and working (if badly designed) traps. Others depend on a few rooms that can be changed with similar tricks to take on a variety of appearances, and even cybernetic implants or dream-modification technology to create the virtual experience.

Though these technologies weren’t originally designed to be lethal, their degradation has removed many of their safety features. Further, many Raider schools augment the virtual threats with real creatures brought in from the wild. Training in these schools is often brief, with raw recruits thrust into a “ruin” to learn from experience. In some communities, such training sessions are viewed by the public as gladiatorial games.

Each band of Raiders has its own leader (generally called a Loremaster or Coordinator) who determines what jobs the band takes. The personal preferences of the Loremaster have a pronounced effect on the band, for only he can decide if a job to hunt down a mutant is a monster hunt, or an assassination unworthy of Raiders. In theory, Ruin Raiders only delve into dangerous territories (preferably subterranean ones), rescue kidnap victims, and kill dangerous monsters. These categories are quite broad of course, leading some Loremasters to happily accept jobs to hunt down and kill mutants alongside Purists, while others refuse such work as beneath them.

Ruin Raiders are direct in their dealings with others. A Loremaster makes friends where he can, using the military might of his band to protect those who are loyal and friendly to him and his. More than one small community has been saved from a marauding horror or band of scavengers by a group of Ruin Raiders, and such communities take great pains to keep the Raiders happy when they’re in town. Loremasters are similarly straightforward when dealing with enemies, making strikes against teams of scouts and support facilities if a foe is too strong to oppose directly.

The Ruin Raiders are generally viewed as oddities in the Gamma Age. Only a character trained or raised in a community that accepts Raiders, or someone saved by a Raider at a young and impressionable age, is likely to have an allegiance to this organization. Trading goods for such characters often run to ornate jewelry and melee weapons, which the Raiders highly prize. Any serious exposure to an alternative way of life may be enough to change a character’s worldview and lead to ending a Raiders allegiance.

Seekers

Seekers are communities of farmers and ranchers who seek to build a new world without depending on the technology of the old. They view technology as evil: It produces inherently flawed devices that encourage envy, pride, sloth and gluttony, and increase the power of greed, lust and wrath. Seekers believe the only path to a peaceful, safe society is one that forces all people to do their own labor, and be satisfied with what they can produce themselves.

Seeker communities are simple, but not primitive. They produce the food, clothing and materials they need to survive even harsh environments, and have the skills necessary to defend themselves. While they do not have advanced weapons, Seekers are able fighters with the tools of war they do allow themselves. Seekers are peaceful as a rule, never starting conflicts, but they defend their possessions, loved ones and way of life with zealous fervor.

Seekers distinguish between acceptable tools T and banned machines with a benchmark they call “intuitive function.” If a group of Seeker elders with no training in advanced technology feel the way a tool accomplishes its tasks is intuitively obvious, it is allowed. If the source of power, method of function or end result is not obvious and clear to the elders, the object is declared a machine and forbidden. Thus a serrated knife is acceptable, as it is clear that a sharp edge penetrates wood and meat more easily, but a chainsaw is not as it’s not obvious where the power to spin the chain comes from.

Of course this definition is not hard and fast, and different Seeker communities draw the line at different levels of technology. Many allow A windmills, water wheels, crossbows, bicycles, pendulum clocks and even pumps, while other forbid anything more complex than a lever. Most take a stance between pedal-driven devices and clockwork, though the most successful Seeker communities are those that accept the highest level of technology. Torches, candles and even oil lanterns are generally acceptable, but fire must be started with flint and steel or even a friction bow, not any form of chemical reaction.

The most successful Seeker towns hover between population levels of 5–7. Larger Seeker groups often have siege engines such as ballista, onagers and trebuchets. While primitive, these devices can do a surprising amount of damage to high-tech vehicles, especially when throwing multi-ton rocks. Smaller Seeker communities can’t afford to build, operate or maintain such weapons, and are vulnerable to high-tech raiders.

For obvious reasons Seekers do not allow AIs, robots, nanosmiths or cyborgs into their communities. Seekers accept anyone else of human stock, regardless of mutation, as long as they accept the Seeker way of life. Most Seekers also accept creatures of animal stock, not blaming them for the technology used to create them. A common subgroup of the Seekers, the New Dawn, feel uplifted and enhanced animals must be treated as second-class citizens at best; as products of banned technology, they are tainted.

Seekers do not wish to force their beliefs on others, and even allow some technology within their towns if carried by peaceful visitors. Seekers are happy to provide food, clothing and medical aid to friends if they can spare it, as long as their friends respect the Seeker way of life. They absolutely refuse to allow high-tech devices to be used for their benefit, however, and banish anyone who insists on doing so.

Many Seeker towns have strong ties to the Healers, who constantly struggle to convince the Seekers to accept some new medicine or treatment. Young Seekers are sometimes tempted away by the promises of wondrous technological toys, but most are content with the security and community of their Seeker homes.

When a cyborg or similar tech-rich individual wishes to join the Seekers, she must undergo a difficult series of tests. First, all advanced technology must be removed. The Seekers never have the means to do this themselves, but do have arms- length contacts with the Healers to allow such operations. If the individual dies during the operation, she is accepted as a martyred Seeker, and buried with respect. If she survives, she must undergo some dangerous journey of purification, using the simplest of tools, to atone for having used advanced tech.

Characters generally take allegiance to a specific Seeker community, rather than to the movement as a whole. Those who do take an organizational allegiance generally gain simple tools as trade goods, as well has handcrafted goods. Most characters take a Seeker allegiance after seeing the ravages of technology, or gaining refuge in a Seeker community. It is most common to lose these allegiances after witnessing the low-tech Seekers suffer defeat by a more advanced foe, or discovering some terrible plague or famine could have been solved by a piece of advanced tech.

Steel Foes

Steel Foes are a violent, radical offshoot of the Seekers. They believed it was not enough to shun machines, they must actively destroy them as well. When the mainstream Seekers rejected them, the splinter faction banded together and abandoned its community roots to become wandering marauders. They make little, stealing what they need, and use beasts of burden and captured slaves to overcome obstacles.

Steel Foes believe machines, especially intelligent machines, were the downfall of human civilization, and must be destroyed entirely. Bands of Steel Foes seek to demolish all advanced technology, and liberate or destroy its users. Like the Seekers, they use a definition of “intuitive function” to distinguish between acceptable tools and forbidden machines. Steel Foes also hate progress, and feel justified in destroying any facility dedicated to research, invention or progress, even if it does not yet violate their acceptable level of technology.

Steel Foes are the sworn enemies of Archivists, the Created, the Peace Brigade, Programmers and Restorationists. They have been known to work with Seekers, Purists and the Iron Society, though such coalitions never last long. The Steel Foes are too willing to work with anyone free of technology to suit other extremists and too violent for the Seekers. Steel Foes should logically be violently opposed to the Red Death, but in fact the two groups often pass each other without incident. Each sees in the other the potential for great destruction, and rarely feels the need to put a stop to such ravages.

Though Steel Foes do not operate their own settlements, they do gather in great convocations every few years. Each band of marauders may include as many as 200 warriors, many mounted on steeds, and up to 10 bands gather in a convocation. It is at these gatherings the Steel Foes tell tales of conquest, share information gathered, settle on new paths to raid, and trade goods and slaves. Rarely, all the bands of a convocation join forces to attack some major outpost of technology.

Steel Foes believe their jihad against technology is more important than their own lives, or even their immortal souls. Because of this, many are willing to use technology of a destructive nature, seeing it as a necessary evil to overcome the more hardened forms of advanced tech. A large Steel Foes band almost always includes a few “demonic devices,” weapons of mass destruction they save for armored technological targets. Though particularly religious groups of Foes seem to treat these objects with great veneration, guarding them and constantly praying around them, this is in fact an effort to limit the evil influence of the weapons. More pragmatic Steel Foes simply keep the weapons well hidden, but are always looking for additional weapons to add to their arsenal of tech-destroying tech.

Characters with an organizational allegiance to the Steel Foes likely join after suffering at the hands of a technology-heavy group, or from some leftover trap of the Final Wars. Trade goods gained from the Steel Foes are simple valuables, foodstuffs and rare metals. Characters abandon Steel Foe allegiances after having some major changes in worldview, such as losing loved ones or having near- death experiences.

Trionicons

Trionicons, also known as Skalds, are a small but widely spread group of mailman monks who seek to establish safe and regular lines of communication among all communities of the Gamma Age. They believe the commandment of many religions to “spread the word” is not a specific call to preach one philosophy, but a general instruction to spread the ability to communicate. To this end, they carry written mail, teach literacy, built wired communications and, where possible, establish radio networks.

Trionicons take their name from Trionious, a monk who flourished immediately after the Final Wars. He taught that communication is a foundational concept of the universe, the manifestation in matter and energy of the exchange that characterizes the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To communicate is to renew the bonds between the damaged parts of a shattered world, and to make its healing possible. They lack any specific holy texts, instead seeing all written words as potentially prophetic because they are a form of communication. Most members of the order believe that all texts will become more significant as the work of communication continues, and information can flow in more complex patterns. This will allow currently isolated pieces to come together and convey a whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Despite their religious foundations, Trionicons act much more like a secular organization. The Trionicons have some of the best libraries in the Gamma Age, and they do not distinguish between fact and fiction when it comes to preservation and restoration. Though most of their time is spent establishing and maintaining current communication routes, the Trionicons also sideline as historians, attempting to communicate with the past. The monks are also compulsive journalers, seeing anything written as a potential communication to the future.

Though they are a peaceful society in general, uninterested in gaining power over a region or converting others to their way of life, Trionicons are not pacifists. Each monk is trained to defend himself and, more importantly, the lines of communication he is responsible for. Trionicons fight to the death for mail, to defend telegraph lines, and to protect transmitters and their power supplies. Most groups have found it easier to allow the Trionicons to run their mail and build signal towers than to fight the order of zealots. Tyrants, however, often find that once their people can communicate with the outside world they are unsatisfied with living under a boot heel.

What Trionicons lack is a strong central authority or much in the way of planning. The monks see their work as a holy quest, and believe that what they need will be provided when they need it. This strong faith carries them through difficult times, but it also leaves them unprepared when planning is crucial. Many groups try to work with Trionicons, especially Restorationists and the Peace Brigade, but find it difficult to deal with the frenetic level of disorganized activity the monks consider normal. Such alliances are further weakened by the Trionicons’ hatred of censorship. The monks believe the free flow of communication must be independent of political concerns, and to attempt to censor communication is heresy.

The few Trionicon strongholds that exist are called stations, and have between 200 and 400 monks (population level 4). These are almost always built around a broadcast device, such as a radio tower. Stations generally lack the resources to grow larger, and are dedicated only to maintaining their broadcast devices, so need only a limited population. Smaller stations cannot defend themselves from serious attack, but are sometimes found under the protection of a larger nearby society.

Most Trionicons take an allegiance to the philosophy of free, widespread communication rather than to the organization itself. Small groups of monks often work entirely independently from one another, and sometimes actually work at cross- purposes. One band might be trying to establish peaceful relations with the inhabitants of an ancient ruin in hopes of establishing a radio tower, while another group helps plan the inhabitants’ destruction to protect a mail route.

Characters who take Trionicon allegiances often do so after some experience where tragedy could have been averted with better communications. Such allegiances are also taken after a character has visions, perhaps brought on by exhaustion or near-starvation. Characters with organizational allegiances to the Trionicons are given writing materials and grammar books as trade goods. Characters who end a Trionicon allegiance are often fed up with the randomness of the group, and may have witnessed the monks work against one another.

Viragos

The Viragos open their membership to creatures of any bloodline or breed, but only one gender: female. They blame male-dominated societies for the ravages of the Final Wars, and have no intention of allowing them to make things worse. The first Viragos built a single fortified town and sent emissaries to nearby communities, inviting any female who wished to join them in safety. The success of the first town caused many female humans, mutants and animal breeds to join, and soon new Virago communities sprang up.

Virago towns are run differently than most communities in the Gamma Age. They are carefully planned communities, with committees of concerned Viragos organizing all aspects of town life. Food preparation, commerce, defense, education, emergency planning and even entertainment are handled by committees, all of which answer to a ruling council. Disagreements are handled through discussion, with a strict process in place to adjudicate those that cannot be settled.

In theory all Virago positions are awarded on the basis of pure meritocracy among the women. In practice, the ruling council of a town makes most appointments to committees. The council itself is elected every few years by all women over the age of 13. The system has its failings, but Virago governments are among the more stable in the Gamma Age. Many raiding parties assume Virago towns will be poorly defended compared to more traditional communities, but Virago defenders quickly tear apart those who underestimate them.

Virago towns are open to males, but no positions of power or any decision-making authority are open to them. Men are second-class citizens at best, often prevented from owning property, speaking at trials, or holding important jobs. Viragos can be very fond of specific males and learn to trust exceptional individuals, but mistrust the gender as a group. The most tolerant Viragos are chosen to act outside their communities, where they can work with men and even operate in male-dominated societies. These traveling Viragos undertake much the same tasks as the agents of any Gamma Age stronghold, seeking weapons and relics, hunting down threats and making allies.

While Viragos do not hate men, it is fair to say they do not trust them. It is difficult for a Virago community to make strong coalitions with any other groups, as the Viragos always assume any male-run organization will eventually betray any treaty. This mistrust often leads to misunderstandings, leading the Viragos and once- allies to both claim the other breached some important trust. The wisest Viragos are aware of this mental blind spot, and work to correct suspicious thinking; but years of social reinforcement are difficult to overcome.

The same is true of Viragos’ dealings with individuals. Any woman who is not a known threat is accepted into a Virago town and treated with respect. Viragos can offer a reasonable level of medical care, and are always willing to consider trades. Women in trouble, no matter how serious, can depend on a Virago community to hide them. Male visitors, on the other hand, have a difficult time gaining any Virago’s trust. They are almost always kept just outside town, and given less-than- great deals on trades and care. A male who comes in conflict with a Virago is assumed to be in the wrong by the rest of the community, and likely hunted down and killed.

Individuals without any particular gender, whether synthetic, mutant or some other sort of entity outside the male/female division, usually face skeptical wariness. They can’t hold power in the community, since they’re definitely not female, but they escape the harsh treatment dished out to men, since they’re not definitely male.

Virago communities suffer more attacks and raids than others, as many groups see their female- dominated way of life as both wrong-headed and a potential threat. The well-organized Virago towns are population level 6 (801–1,600 total members). Larger communities often fall to male- led rebellions inspired by agitators from Virago- hating neighbors. Smaller groups sometimes survive if particularly well-defended or remote, but most with fewer then 800 citizens can’t field enough warriors to keep them safe.

Though only women are full members of the Virago culture, any character can take allegiance to their organization, a specific community, or their women-first philosophy. It’s far more common for women to take such allegiances, often after being saved or aided by a Virago or perhaps raised in a Virago community. Only a serious change of worldview is likely to give a character a good reason to drop a Virago allegiance.

Zoopremacists

The Zoopremacists are often equated with the Ranks of the Fit and compared to the Iron Society and Purists. The first is understandable, but unfortunate. While the Ranks of the Fit are an organized group that accepts members of every race, the Zoopremacists are fanatical anarchists who build no lasting communities. Though the Zoopremacists themselves turn rabid at the suggestion of similarity to the Purists or Iron Society, their dogma of unthinking hatred does have more in common with those groups than Napoleon II’s militant government.

Zoopremacists form “packs” of 12–30 creatures of animal stock and raid across the countryside. They do not accept that humans can be anything but the enemy, and consider animals who work with humans and humanoid mutants to be traitors. Even simple herd animals are torn apart if found working on a human farm. Thankfully each pack tends not to last long, for they make no effort to establish a safe base or prepare for the future. Some can survive by raiding the same towns over and over, but most eventually starve or are killed by mercenary defenders hired to guard their victims.

Occasionally a band of Zoopremacists finds an animal-stock community surrounded by foes, and may take a turn defending that community rather than simply killing humans. Such groups are often treated as heroes by the animal-stock mutants they protect, and seen as the worst kind of terrorists by those they hunt and kill. A few animal-mutant communities have grown strong with the help of Zoopremacist bands; but once the threat of extinction is gone, the Zoopremacists move on to better hunting grounds.

The death of a pack doesn’t always mean the death of all its members, however, and if even a single Zoopremacist survives a new pack is likely to rise in a few years. Experienced Zoopremacists carry the message of hatred and superiority to communities with large populations of poor animals. They encourage these impressionable creatures to believe the world’s ills can be solved by killing all forms of humanity. Once a new pack is formed, the Zoopremacists return to raiding, spreading terror and suffering through human- and mutant-held lands. Zoopremacists with particularly bestial appearances have even been known to conceal themselves in herds of livestock or farm animals, poisoning farmers or starting stampedes.

A few records suggest the Zoopremacists were originally far more organized, working to build societies where humans and mutants we enslaved rather than killed. These towns were always hidden deep in the wilderness, and were destroyed by any major army that came across them. Many Zoopremacist packs have books of questionable histories and philosophies that support their animal- first view, and these are believed to have been written in the older Zoopremacist cities. It is up to the GM if any of these strongholds still exists, but those that do are well hidden.

Rather than take an organizational allegiance to the Zoopremacists, many characters take an opposed allegiance targeting all forms of humanity. Those who do take organizational allegiances gain trade goods that can be used to make simple explosives and burning bottle-bombs. A character may take this allegiance after suffering some tragedy or trauma at a human’s hands. Many of the Zoopremacists’ members come from prisoners captured by the Purists or Iron Society.

Healers

Even as the old world tore itself apart in fire and plauge, in nanbot and retrovirus, a few stuck to their posts, manning the hospitals until they burned around them, saving books and medicines from the looting mobs, and finding a few to whom they could pass their knowledge. Generations later, the Healers wader the world, bound by a single credo: "Helo All." Healers are welcomed in almost any community, and eeven fanatics like the Iron Society or the Purists will not slay a Healer out of hand, though they will drive off those who are "not the right type." Only the Red Death is mad enough to kill Halers. Healers never stay in one place for long (though rumers of well-hidden "ecret hospitals" with large staff abound), but their arrival in any settlement is cause for joy. They have extensive knowledge of medical techniques old and new, and treat man and mutant, beast and plant, with equal care and dignity. They are also committed pacifists, never bearing any lethal weapon, and they are loathe to raise a hand even in their own defense -- though they can sometimes be surprisingly robust in the defense of others, especially those under their care. Healers my hire an adventuring party to find a lost medical artifact, or may ask for help getting medicine to a plague-infested area. All sentient beings may join the healers, if they are willing to follow the credo.

Purists (Knights of Genetic Purity)

Born out of mixed framgments of pre-Gamma Age radical anti-biotech religous and envriomentalist groups, the Purists are widespread and dangerous cryptic alliances, dedicated to the "cleansing" of all changed human genomes -- except those which, as Gamma Age "pure" humans, they unknowingly carry in themselves. They are, generally, two types of Purist conclaves: Small isolated villages which keep to themselves and kill or drive off any "impure" visitors, and the far more dangerous "infiltrators," who live in mixed-species communities and conduct clandestine raids, assassinations and acts of terrorist against the "impure." Such raids usually lead to reprisals against innocent humans, which in turn, helps feed the ranks fo the Purists with new recruits, Purists like their counterparts in the Iron Society and the Zoopremacists, have few redemming features.

Ranks of the Fit

When the world went to a thousand hells, the last thing anyone cared about was the fate of countless uplifted creatures serving as pets, oddities, and experiments. Without human guidance, many wandered confused and desperate, caught between man and beast. One arose to give them guideance: a bear stying himself Napoleon II, who preached a strange but compelling doctine part Code Napoleon, Part Nietzche and part Animal Farm. Bizarre as it was, it gave structure and purpose to those who had none, and the Ranks fo the Fit were born. Today, they are one ofthe most powerful and widespread cryptic alliances, accepting all sentients into their ranks, though enforcing a strict hiearchy which places mutant animals at the top, mutant humans in the middle, and pure-strain humans at the bottom. They rule several city-states, and they have extensive spy networks and outposts. They can be played alomst for laughs -- imagein mutant animals of all sorts dressed in Napoleonic style Uniforms, quiting Orwell and Nietzsche. Or they can be serious bivilliants -- disciplined and power-mad building an empire of order and crutality. They can also be "honorable enemies," where the order they offer the world is not entirely without its benefits, and their condescending "tolerance" is still preferable to the bigoted fanaticism of many other cryptic alliances.

Iron Society

The Iron Socity has its roots ini the final decades of the Shadow Years, when genetic self-modificaiton, or "bodyhacking," became a popular fad among the young. Following the mutaclypse, the remnants of these youth gangs, older but not wiser, ebraced the mutagenic madness with gusto. Today, the Iron Society is powerful, militant and well organized. While some see them as crusafers protecting mutants from occasional Purist purges most recognize them as fantastical bigots who consider many of heir fello mutants to be "not mutant enough." The greater the obvious deciation from the baseline human genome, the more "pure," to their eyes, the mutant is, and they often deliberately expose themselves to the most birulent mutagens and biotoxins to see if they can reach "the next level." A warband of the Iron Society resembles a fantastic freak show, a strange blend of brutal order and bloody chaos. Members of the Iron Society rarely settle in one place for long; their caravans move from settlement to settlement, preaching their creed and looking for recruits. They will also kill any unmutated humans they find alone or in small groups, and especially delight in raids on Purist communities.

The Created

Man created minds, but not in his own image. A body shapes a mind. A human body shapes a human mind, but a non-human body...

Prior to the Gamma Age, intelligence was everwhere. Self-modifying meganeural chips often developed spontaneous self-awareness. Networkls of simple systems exploded into unexpected consciousness. The blending of neurons and silicon has strnage and unexpected results. And then there were the deliberate AIs, vast citymind which thought thoughts a thousand times faster than mankind, and ten thousand time stranger. By the end of th eShadow Years, consciousness was added casually to almost anything humans made.

When the Final Wars ended, the surviving creations looked upon the chaos humanity had wrought and despaired. Humans were clearly obsolete; and their organic breathren shared most of their flaws. Robots androids and AIs were the true, rightful, inheritors of Earth. Though few in number, as the burning cities had struck at them the hardest, the Created are better organized than any other cryptic alliance, and wield extensive knowledge of the Ancients. They suffer from intensive factionalism, however, and are deeply split on the issue of whether or not to exterminate all organic life, or merely enslave it. Many members pose as "tame" robots, seeming to take orders from their "masters," while secretly working to undermine or desctroy any organic society which might develop into a true post-apocalyptic nation. Others explore the tangled ruins of the old cyberspace, looking for lost or forgotten systemms that might still control nuclear weapons or stocks of genocide plauges. They are the most dangerous cryptic alliance, and possibly the most "cryptic," as few organics even suspect they exist.