Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jav Holson: The Kaiser Bones

by Jason Orr

Check for future artwork updates for existing entries (marked with the * label in the sidebar).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Icsain

General, 21st Generation
Category: NA
Discipline: NA

Height: 190 cm
Weight: 140 kg
Gravity Rank: 50
RPP: 7,000
RMP: 7,000
Birthdate: Unknown

Artifact: Relic Cords
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 140,000
Dark RMP: 140,000

Active Dates: 10,690-Current
Residence: Root Palace

Icsain does not undergo a physical change when he goes Dark. While not technically a psychic himself, his intellect and ability to simultaneously calculate multiple probabilities give him an exceptional defense against psychic assault. They also enable him to exploit the Relic Cords in a way that Karlan Farsal never could. With the Cords, Icsain can control up to 140,000 individuals and need not focus on any single one or group after a set of instructions has been given. With instructions, any being under the control of the Cords will complete assigned tasks, using limited critical thinking skills to accomplish the required goal or die in the attempt. Once the goal has been accomplished, the being under control will wait idle for further instructions.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Raus Kapler

General, 21st Generation
Category:
Psychic

Discipline: Electrokinesis

Height: 246 cm
Weight: 230 kg
Gravity Rank: 10
RPP: 2,300
RMP: 2,900
Birthdate: 10,533.124

Artifact: Resurrection Bolts
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 46,000
Dark RMP: 58,000

Active Dates: 10,689-Current
Residence: Root Palace

On receipt of the Resurrection Bolts, Raus Kapler’s skin color underwent a permanent change. His skin is now pale and seemingly translucent, revealing a gray or even greenish hue beneath.  The Resurrection Bolts are visible as smooth metal circles on either side of his neck until he goes Dark, when the Bolts extend out beyond his skin. When Dark, his skin darkens further and more metal bolts rise up along the lengths of his arms and along his spine.

The Bolts enhance Raus physically, as is the case with all Artifacts, but they significantly increase his ability to produce electricity to both heal and destroy. His ability to stimulate regeneration of lost tissue makes him one of the most resilient Shades ever produced, though his power is not on par with that of Lor Kalkin. The Bolts also enable him to infuse the dead with a portion of his power, bringing up to 20,000 corpses back to a semblance of life, and which he alone can control.

While not as focused or well-developed as Jav Holson’s ability to sense bone, Kapler is able to “feel” the presence of likely raw materials for his power, if only vaguely.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Salton Stoakes

General, 19th Generation, Retired
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: The Longsword Knife, Secret Sword

Height: 165 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 1,750
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9,794.356

Artifact: Suicide Knife
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 35,000
Dark RMP: 2,000

Active Dates: 9,850-10,350
Residence: 1026

While Dark with the Suicide Knife, Stoakes is sheathed in shadow and seems to possess little substance; he is more like a dark, animate mist, though he is in fact solid at his core.  In this state he weighs a single kilogram and can float given strong enough winds or thermals.

Though Stoakes is an accomplished, self-taught fighter, the Suicide Knife has the ability to capture the image of up to 20,000 individuals via the Midnight Mirror and subject them to mass suicide.  When an image is recorded upon the blade's surface, Stoakes stabs himself to have the effects dealt to the reflections' owners.

The Knife provides other powers that, combined with Stoakes's skill, have made him quite useful to the Emperor as a covert operator, even in his retirement.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stafros Lowe

Specialist, Blue Squad, Retired
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Lead Cloud Steps

Height: 190 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 2,050
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9,471.142

Artifact: Eternal Spring
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 41,000
Dark RMP: 2,000

Active Dates: 9,500-10,000
Residence: Planet 815

While Dark, Lowe is an anthropomorphic frog with metallic, electric blue skin. His eyes are strangely faceted yellow-green gems. He has a three-meter long tongue with a bony harpoon tip which can be launched with deadly speed, force, and accuracy. At each shoulder is a sealable "pod" that houses 7 launch tubes which can fire pollywog drones. These drones can act as fairly slow smart bombs—they can fly or swim to designated targets—detonating on impact, or they can, in two minutes, "evolve" into simple copies of Lowe (up to a total of 140 copies at one time, each with an RPP of 8,200) who will brawl until their allotted lifespan of one hour is up and they explode. The smart bombs' explosions are twice as strong as the copies. Though through his martial art Lowe can effectively fly, the Eternal Spring grants him phenomenal leaping ability, which allows him to cover more distance more quickly.

Dolma Set

Specialist, Blue Squad, Retired
Category: F-Gene Fighter, Superior Grade
Discipline: Liquid Palm

Height: 172 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Gravity Rank: 28
RPP: 2,072
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9,473.084

Artifact: Essential Oil
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 41,440
Dark RMP: 2,000

Active Dates: 9,500-10,000
Residence: Planet 832

While Dark with the Essential Oil, Dolma Set takes on the appearance of an anthropomorphic cross between an eel and a shark. His single fang can infect opponents with a debilitating hallucinogenic poison. His "skin" while Dark is made up entirely of folding placoid scales, which can smooth down to make him nearly frictionless.

While Dark, the Essential Oil also surrounds Set in a bio-electric field that is sensitive to external pressures. When the external pressure is exerted by matter in a liquid state, Set gains limited control over the liquid. Among other benefits, this gives Set unparalleled speed and freedom within liquid media. Directing the power away from his person, Set can gain control over sizable volumes of liquid (up to 20,000 cubic meters), enabling him to summon forth Un Azameio, a semi-independent mass that responds to his commands and his will.

Bela Fan

First Specialist, Blue Squad, Retired
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Cryokinesis

Height: 148 cm
Weight: 40 kg
Gravity Rank: 22
RPP: 880
RMP: 4,100
Birthdate: 9,477.103

Artifact: Cold Front
Artifact Rank: 22
Dark RPP: 19,360
Dark RMP: 90,200

Active Dates: 9,500-10,000
Residence: Planet 649

When Dark, Bela Fan is covered in a thick, protective layer of glossy white enamel that flexes to accommodate her every move. She also gains a prehensile tail, two meters long, issuing from her lower back and buttocks, which she can use quite effectively as a weapon. The tail is 25 centimeters in diameter at its base and tapers to a one centimeter point.

In addition, her Artifact significantly bolsters her cryokinesis. This, combined with her mastery of Sinzer Method Projection, makes her quite deadly, able to flash-freeze her opponents through and through.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Aren Alspess

General, 18th Generation, Retired
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Liquid Steel Whip

Height: 190 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Gravity Rank: 24
RPP: 1,968
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9,322.005

Artifact: Live Wire
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 39,360
Dark RMP: 2,000

Active Dates: 9,350-9,850
Residence: Planet 906

When Dark, Alspess's body becomes a figure of animate wire, tangled and knotted, which responds to his will. Alspess can expel seemingly endless lengths of this wire, though wire that is removed from his body for more than 24 hours will begin to disintegrate. Alspess uses the wire for a variety of purposes but mostly to implement his martial art, the Liquid Steel Whip.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thuzo Povall (DECEASED)

Former Specialist, Ghost Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Illusion Generation

Height: 185 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Gravity Rank: 16
RPP: 1,312
RMP: 5,000
Birthdate: 8,975.203

Artifact: Infinity Box
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 26,240
Dark RMP: 100,000

Active Dates: 9,000-9,367 (killed in 9,367)

There is no question that Thuzo Povall was killed by Geiss Sinzer, but evidence suggests that somehow, Povall's Artifact, the Infinity Box—a powerful complement to Povall's innate illusion generation skills—has been tapped and is being used by Sinzer to provide cover for his terrorist activities. How this has been accomplished remains unknown.

Povall was one of the most accomplished illusion mechanics the Empire has ever known. His mastery over his art enabled him to move subtly from the mundane to the outlandish with no one the wiser, not even those with substantially higher RMPs. This made him very dangerous as few could count themselves proof against his Truth of Infinity, an assault on the mind and the senses which obliterated both. When Dark, Povall usually appeared as a hooded figure of constantly shifting proportions, covered in animate rags. Just to look at him caused motion sickness.

Pai Casta (FUJITIVE)

Former Specialist, Ghost Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Energy State

Height: 158 cm
Weight: 47 kg
Gravity Rank: 23
RPP: 1,081
RMP: 4,900
Birthdate: 8,977.117

Artifact: Containment Suit
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 21,620 / 98,000
Dark RMP: 98,000

Active Dates: 9,000-9,367

On receiving her Artifact, Pai Casta's skin took on a permanent light, rich gray cast. Her once fair hair also turned a darker shade of lustrous gray.

She has two transformations while Dark. The first reveals the black Containment Suit, noted for its unusual triangular helmet. The second is her refined energy state, enabled by the Containment Suit. In this state she is animate energy, a pulsing sphere of purple light one meter in diameter, essentially immune to physical harm. She has total control over her movement and her destructive power, able to project the latter in a variety of ways, from repeating projectiles to devastating blasts of built up energy.

Geiss Sinzer (FUJITIVE)

Former First Specialist, Ghost Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Telekinesis (Psychokinesis)

Height: 168 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Gravity Rank: 30
RPP: 1,950
RMP: 10,000
Birthdate: 8,983.254

Artifact: Spectral Coat
Artifact Rank: 25
Dark RPP: 250,000
Dark RMP: 250,000

Active Dates: 9,000-9,367

Besides raw telekinetic force, which he uses as a means for flight and as a primary offense, Sinzer has exhibited the ability to heal at an extremely accelerated rate, to teleport to any location he has seen (with his own eyes or through video reproduction), and to mark otherwise hidden objects of potential interest to him for further investigation (referred to by some as intuition radar). There is some speculation that these "secondary" abilities are all subtle reworkings of his telekinetic power, that unconsciously his mind sets to work mending broken flesh and bones, that he physically folds two points of space together for instant transportation, and that he "sorts" through his environment, emphasizing items that would catch his peripheral attention but that would normally be overlooked.

When Dark with the Spectral Coat, Sinzer is incorporeal and looks in fact like a ghost, or an interpretation of one. He becomes focused telekinetic energy, able to use his power without restriction. In this state, his Dark RMP doubles as his Dark RPP. The Spectral Coat also enables Sinzer to call forth the Ghost Army, up to 10,000 duplicates of Sinzer, all capable of independent action, and all equipped with his full abilities. The synergism achieved by Sinzer's innate abilities augmented by the Spectral Coat was unprecedented and remains unmatched. However, Wheeler Barson, the 20th Generation First General, comes in at a close second with his Singularity Punch.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sana Bale

General, 18th Generation, Retired
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Radiation Manipulation

Height: 165 cm
Weight: 44 kg
Gravity Rank: 18
RPP: 792
RMP: 4,400
Birthdate: 9,324.177

Artifact: Prismatic Scales
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 15,840
Dark RMP: 88,000

Active Dates: 9,350-9,850
Residence: Planet 912

Sana Bale's psychic ability enables her to sense, differentiate, and produce all forms of radiation. When Dark, she transforms into a being of living light, with her innate powers greatly enhanced.

Aila Schosser

General, 19th Generation, Retired
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Feline Transformation

Height: 185 cm
Weight: 70 kg / 90 kg
Gravity Rank: 22
RPP: 1,540 / 1,980
RMP: 3,900
Birthdate: 9,826.216

Artifact: Cat's-eye Marble
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 39,600
Dark RMP: 2,000

Active Dates: 9,850-10,350
Residence: Planet 1035

Aila Schosser has the ability to transform into a stark-white bipedal hunting cat with enhanced senses, increased strength, speed, and reflexes, and the ability to project a bolt of kinetic energy. When she goes Dark, her Artifact completes the transformation, turning her into a great 4-legged, white armored cat, standing over 2 meters at the shoulder. The Cats-eye Marble, visible while Dark, also enhances her prowess with the kinetic bolt.

Isker Vays

First General, 19th Generation, Retired
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Single Element Ghost Sword

Height: 179 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Gravity Rank: 22
RPP: 1,738
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9,819.184

Artifact: Jaaku Thorns
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 34,760
Dark RMP: 2,000

Active Dates: 9,850-10,350
Residence: Planet 1019

When Dark, the Jaaku Thorns sheathe Isker Vays in a tough layer of plant fiber, studded at intervals with deadly sharp thorns. He wields the Willow Sword, a a foil which is little more than a nearly unbreakable reed and which is produced as necessary from a dislodged thorn.

The Jaaku Thorns also give Vays the ability to animate and control all manner of plants, turning those of sufficient mass into a monstrous, creeping army. His power pushes plants far beyond their original biological designs. After about 20 hours of constant animation, all affected plants burn out, wither, and die.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brin Karvasti

Specialist, Emergency Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Suggestion/Compulsion

Height: 157 cm
Weight: 45 kg
Gravity Rank: 5
RPP: 225
RMP: 4,200
Birthdate: 10,664.304

Artifact: Dharma Engine
Artifact Rank: 18
Dark RPP: 4,050
Dark RMP: 75,600

Active Dates: 10,688-Current
Residence: Root Palace

Brin's Artifact becomes visible at her back when she goes Dark, but otherwise she doesn't change physically. She has the innate ability to make people do what she says. In general, her victims must be able to hear her voice, but she is able to transmit her power, chaining it between minds when they are in close proximity to one another.

Of course her Artifact substantially increases this ability, but it also enables her to inflict the Dharma Clock on individual victims. This attack crucifies the victim and forces him or her submit to first psychological then physical trauma according to "guilt" they feel based on criteria—genuine, manufactured, or twisted—set by Brin.

Gast Froster

Specialist, Emergency Squad
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Wind Fission Sickles

Height: 188 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Gravity Rank: 22
RPP: 1,716
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 10,660.142

Artifact: Particle Distributor
Artifact Rank: 18
Dark RPP: 30,888
Dark RMP: 1,800

Active Dates: 10,688-Current
Residence: Root Palace

While Dark, Gast Froster appears to be an anthropomorphic raven, covered completely in a smooth, electric blue metallic shell. He has the further ability to transform into the Scavenger Cloud, dispersing his body over an area and becoming insubstantial, unaffected by all but powerful incendiary attacks. In this state, he is still able to affect those within the Cloud, often using his sickles to attack.

Ren Fauer

Specialist, Emergency Squad
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: 10,000 Paths

Height: 175 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Gravity Rank: 23
RPP: 1,702
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 10,661.217

Artifact: Riot Knives
Artifact Rank: 18
Dark RPP: 30,636
Dark RMP: 1,800

Active Dates: 10,688-Current
Residence: Root Palace

While Dark, Ren bristles with knife blades and only retains a general humanoid outline. The blades can be set to motion in countless individual tracks across and along his body that work miraculously in concert to produce an unbelievable display of deadly motion. Within an atmosphere, this motion can provide lift and gives him total control over his movement. This is, of course, in addition to his pre-existing ability to fly using Approaching Infinity theory, which is also enhanced by the power supplied by the Riot Knives.

The knives can provide a great offense if he attacks bodily, and offer an excellent defense against projectile attacks, batting away incoming fire. The knives are durable, but not indestructible. When broken, they quickly grow back.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tia Winn

General, 20th Generation
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Dream Control

Height: 215 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Gravity Rank: 10
RPP: 800
RMP: 4,000
Birthdate: 10,326.192

Artifact: Keepsake Cameo
Artifact Rank: 18
Dark RPP: 14,400
Dark RMP: 72,000

Active Dates: 10,350-Current
Residence: Root Palace

As is the case with many psychics, Tia Winn does not have a separate Darkened state, but had her skin permanently bleached by her Artifact when she received it.

The Keepsake Cameo significantly boosts Tia's innate ability to create, enter into, and control the dreams of others, enabling her to create a shared experience for up to 36,000 people. Her dreams are vivid and memorable, but if they lead to violence or death, the victims suffer the same fate.

Mefis Abanastar

General, 20th Generation
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Concentration, 9 Order Fist

Height: 145 cm
Weight: 38 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 760
RMP: 5,000
Birthdate: 10,327.255

Artifact: Focusing Lens
Artifact Rank: 18 (36)
Dark RPP: 13,680 (27,360)
Dark RMP: 90,000 (180,000)

Active Dates: 10,350-Current
Residence: Root Palace

It may be that Mefis Abanastar is constantly in his Darkened state. His face is always covered and completely obscured by the Focusing Lens. He is darkly clad, literally from head to toe. Besides the Emperor, no one alive knows what Abanastar looks like or what color his hair is.

The Focusing Lens allows Abanastar to augment just about anything, ranging from the physical to the abstract, through an arrangement of lenses which he is able to produce.

Though Abanastar isn't an F-Gene Fighter, he has intermediate mastery of the 9 Order Fist, which has served as an invaluable aid in developing his powers of concentration.

Wheeler Barson

First General, 20th Generation
Category: F-Gene Fighter / Psychic
Discipline: 9 Order Fist / Gravity Sense & Control

Height: 221 cm
Weight: 110 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 2,750
RMP: 2,900
Birthdate: 10,322.106

Artifact: Gravity Spike
Artifact Rank: 22
Dark RPP: 60,500
Dark RMP: 63,800

Active Dates: 10,350-Current
Residence: Root Palace

The Gravity Spike is visible when Barson is Dark, and he appears as an anthropomorphic black unicorn. While Dark, the black of his body seems to possess depth and has been observed to cause vertigo in some.

The combination of his abilities, as both an F-Gene Fighter and a psychic, make him one of the strongest Shades the Empire has ever known. His Singularity Punch, though inexplicable to even the most advanced science, does exactly what people say it does, producing a microscopic black hole that can be banished immediately by Barson's will.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Elza Steinz

Specialist, Death Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Telekinesis

Height: 162 cm
Weight: 56 kg
Gravity Rank: 10
RPP: 560
RMP: 4,900
Birthdate: 10,664.227

Artifact: Crush Box
Artifact Rank: 18
Dark RPP: 88,200
Dark RMP: 88,200

Active Dates: 10,688-Current
Residence: Root Palace

When Dark with the Crush Box, Elza becomes a 40-meter tall giant of crackling yellow energy. In this state, her Dark RMP also serves as her as her Dark RPP. She is able to move at will through three dimensional space, unaffected by all but the most intense gravitational forces.

Forbis Vays

Specialist, Death Squad
Category: F-Gene Fighter / Psychic
Discipline: Single Element Ghost Sword / 20% Physical Augmentation

Height: 180 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 2,000
RMP: 1,000
Birthdate: 10,663.015

Artifact: Titan Star
Artifact Rank: 22
Dark RPP: 44,000
Dark RMP: 22,000

Active Dates: 10,688-Current
Residence: Root Palace

While Dark, Forbis Vays is clad in a gleaming suit of angular armor that will conform, to some degree, to his will to temporarily adapt to circumstances. Along with its excellent defensive properties, the Titan Star also provides a potent weapon, the Titan Saber, which is housed within the helmet, its hilt forming the distinctive horn rising up from the forehead.

When Vays invokes his psychic ability to augment his physical characteristics by an additional 20%, his armor undergoes a physical change in order to release the power.

When sufficiently enraged while Dark, Vays gains access to the Grudge Star, a devastating attack that crucifies his opponents and subjects them to six explosions, the intensity of which are determined by a combination of the degree of his indignation and his composure in the face of that indignation.

Jav Holson

Specialist, Death Squad
Category: F-Gene Fighter, Superior Grade
Discipline: 18 Heavenly Claws

Height: 172 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 1,825
RMP: 500
Birthdate: ??,???.???

Artifact: Kaiser Bones
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 36,500
Dark RMP: 10,000

Active Dates: 10,682.031-Current (replaced Karlan Farsal)
Residence: Root Palace

Jav was the Block 2 champion at the 10,688 Artifact Competition. He won the Kaiser Bones, and thus replaced the ailing Ritual Mask and removed the imminent death sentence that came along with it.

While Dark with the Kaiser Bones, Jav looks like a stylized skeleton, with the actual bones providing excellent protection. The space between the bones is inky black that seems like animate "nothing" and offers somewhat less protection. Besides the standard augmentation, the Bones enable Jav to animate and control up to 20,000 skeletons, making them rise from their graves and fight on his behalf. He can sense bone matter, "feeling" it as well as "seeing" it through earth or flesh and blood. The Bones also make Jav exceptionally resilient in that they respond quickly to physical damage, rebuilding and restoring tissue at a fantastic rate.

Lor Kalkin

First Specialist, Death Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Cancer

Height: 174 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 1,875
RMP: 5,300
Birthdate: 10,475.253

Artifact: Contamination Pump
Artifact Rank: 22
Dark RPP: 41,250
Dark RMP: 116,600

Active Dates: 10,500-Current
Residence: Root Palace

When Dark with the Contamination Pump, Lor Kalkin becomes a giant, sickly-purple walking cancer, increasing to 3 meters in height and 3 meters across at the shoulders. He is surprisingly agile for his bulk, however, and is able to direct his potent psychic power to instill rot through unnatural growth by touch or up to a range of 20 meters. His innate discipline enables him to regenerate tissue at an already fantastic rate, but with the aid of the Contamination Pump, he is, perhaps, physically immortal, able to reconstitute himself even after significant loss of body mass.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vacuum Drag

A series of physical techniques incorporated into a number of martial arts, both armed and unarmed, which, through incredible speed and proper movement, allow the practitioner to build up forward-moving air pressure for devastating effects, usually characterized by precise--and sometimes indefensible--cuts.

Intermediate practitioners are able to use the built-up air pressure at range and can then work up to the most advanced techniques of actually creating a vacuum in the wake of his or her fist or weapon. The abrupt and extreme change in pressure is even more destructive than the simple, compressed air strikes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wind Fission Blade

A martial arts system utilizing a variety of different blades--though swords of any kind are conspicuously absent--consisting of 108 armed fighting routines. 

The Wind Fission style is divided into 6 schools, each specializing in a single weapon or suite of related weapons. The style predates the Empire and incorporates Vacuum Drag techniques. Cov Merasec, former Triangle Squad Specialist, has devoted much of his retirement to mastering all schools of the style, becoming the most knowledgeable authority on Wind Fission.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ten Thousand Paths

An unarmed martial arts system organized by Ren Fauer between 10,680 and 10,688, consisting of Approaching Infinity techniques, most of which focus on movement.

The style is essentially free-form with the practitioner "flipping" upon any axis imagined on his body for tactical advantage. During a fight, gravity has little meaning to the practitioner, who finds himself in potentially odd positions in relation to his opponent: putting himself in place for a sudden and unexpected strike or moving into positions--that would normally be physically impossible--to avoid strikes. In this way, the Ten Thousand Paths evenly and effectively balances offense and defense.

The most advanced technique, the Crush Driver, is like a one-man mob with the practitioner constantly flipping around his opponent, but always close: striking, moving, striking, moving until the the opponent falls.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Single Element Ghost Sword

A martial arts system utilizing long, slender blades--single or double edged--overtly characterized by speed and precision. It was developed by Isker Vays and instituted in the year 9,901.

While Vays's style does rely on formalized routines for training, these are to cultivate in the practitioner a greater intuitive awareness of the world around him. Through further meditative means, the practitioner is able to "feel" the world around him, to acknowledge his relationship to every element of that discernible world, and ultimately, to "add" those elements his blade, empowering it substantially.  A properly executed Union Blade, the zenith of the Single Element Ghost Sword techniques, can inflict terrible damage, even with no physical strength behind it. Similarly, the quality or composition of the physical blade contributes nothing to the potency of the strike, and in fact Vays's preferred weapon throughout his career was less a sword than an unbreakable reed. The stroke with which the Union Blade can be delivered is restricted only by the skill of the practitioner.

Some of the core training sets are:
1. Knock
2. Star Factory
3. Eight Figure Eights
4. Blind Man's Progress
5. The World (Union Blade)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rush Hands

A simple but effective martial art built upon Vacuum Drag techniques and consisting of ten unarmed fighting routines.

Rush Hands was actually the first attempt to collect and codify all the empty hand Vacuum Drag techniques into one cohesive system, and was instituted in the year 455 by Marcan Vostof.

Rush Hands is very straight forward, using built up air pressure and the sudden production of a vacuum-like state to cut through substances as hard as steel.

These are the sets in the order they are to be learned, each one more complex and difficult to master than the one before it.

1. Bending the Wind
2. H Pattern
3. Eight Hands
4. Following Hands
5. Invisible Hands
6. Cross Pattern
7. Aiding the Wind on Its Way to Heaven
8. Drawing Emptiness
9. Emptiness Triumphs Over All
10. Storm Crushing Cross Hands

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nine Order Fist

A largely meditative martial art that doesn't teach combat skills per se, but trains the body to follow the mind to new heights of destructive power. It is perhaps the oldest martial art with its roots long forgotten.

The practitioner of the Nine Order Fist will concentrate to gather power in the arms, either to deliver a devastating punch or to defend against a similarly powerful strike. Experts can do both simultaneously, using one arm for offense and the other for defense. Because of this, the style is sometimes called the Hammer and Shield Fist, but has also been simply referred to as Heavy Fist. The system's main drawback is that it requires time to build up the girding power that makes it so deadly, but while practitioners may appear to be slow, they are in fact known for their methodical and calculating approach, remaining on the defensive only long enough to power up a decisive strike.

The Nine Order Fist is governed by The Nine Second Rule, which states that a practitioner, regardless of his or her skill, requires nine seconds of concentration before reaching maximum power to use for a strike or to defend.

They system is composed of Orders and Magnitudes.  As an example, the master's scale has been provided:

Order    Magnitude    Time Required
1            9 (.9=1)          0-1"
2            9 (1.8)            2"
3            9 (2.7)            3"
4            9 (3.6)            4"
5            9 (4.5)            5"
6            9 (5.4)            6"
7            9 (6.3)            7"
8            9 (7.2)            8"
9            9 (8.1)            9"

The number in parentheses is a multiplier (unmodified by existing conditions or any other of the practitioner's martial skills) for how much raw kinetic energy may be delivered or countered.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lead Cloud Steps

A martial arts system consisting of three fairly long unarmed fighting routines, renowned for its stance work and fast, heavy kicks.

Exponents of the Lead Cloud Steps combine strength training, stance practice, and breathing exercises to build up their legs and develop devastating kicking power.  This regimen has the added benefit of making them exceedingly light and fast, and at more advanced levels, allows them to defy gravity and even fly to a limited degree.

Lead Cloud Steps predates the Empire and has its roots in a long defunct religious practice. It is made up of three unnamed sets which are begun with invocations to the god Kar Ahn.

1. Bal Kom Nis Kar Ahn!
    (Praise Kar Ahn in his boundless strength!)
2. Kii Soh Nis Kar Ahn!
    (Praise Kar Ahn, whose vengeful wrath is my shield!)
3. Sai Sen! Kar Ahn!
    (Transformed! I am Kar Ahn!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eighteen Heavenly Claws

A martial arts system consisting of nine unarmed fighting routines based on the movements of three mythical animals. Contained within these sets are eighteen different claw hand techniques, which is how the style got its name.

The system is characterized by the following core statements and comprised of the sets listed thereafter.

The Tiger roams the land, is grounded and represents strength and endurance.
The Eagle soars through the sky, is free and represents speed and intent.
The Dragon sports in heaven, rules over all and represents spirit and enlightenment.


1.  Tiger Stretches Its Limbs
2.  Tiger Reveals Its Strength
3.  Tiger Stalks Its Prey
4.  Eagle Defends Its Nest
5.  Eagle Clears the Marsh
6.  Eagle Crushes Demons
7.  Dragon Perceives Truth
8.  Dragon Dances on Raindrops
9.  Dragon Grasps Infinity

Approaching Infinity techniques are featured in the last three (dragon) sets and are the most difficult to master.

The system predates the Empire, but was popularized and made famous by Laedra Hol during her career as First Specialist of the Triangle Squad.  During that time, the Eighteen Heavenly Claws became briefly--and mistakenly--known as a woman's style, mostly because of Hol's unrivaled expertise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vine Ganglia

Specialized knots of Viscain Tree fiber, or "organs", that are analogous to complex nerve clusters and which can be made to produce a variety of effects, ranging from simple power generation to automatically plotting the interstellar course to the Root Palace's next destination.

Vine ganglia are essentially unrefined Artifacts and have been incorporated--at least most successfully--by Military Hardware Division Director Gilf Scanlan in a variety of conventional technologies, most notably the jump decks, and, most impressively, the latest incarnations of the Generals' war machines, the Grans.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stitch Drive

A reproducible and dynamically positioned "organ" of the Viscain Tree devoted to providing faster-than-light, interstellar locomotion through a combination of explosive growth and permanent, interval space folds.

During interstellar travel, the Stitch Drive is located just above the occupied Root Palace which, in a sense, is like a needle, drawing the seemingly interminable thread of the Vine behind it through punctuated bunches of folded space.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shade

An elite, governing military leader of the Viscain Empire, made super-human by one of the Emperor's Artifacts.

There are at least 6 active Shades at any given time split into two groups: usually 3 Generals and 3 Specialists making up a signature squad. 

Generals are provided with armies, most often of mass-produced gene soldiers, and a Gran. They are the main force unleashed upon a civilization after planetfall.

Specialist Squads aid in stabilizing newly acquired planets, but have a more versatile role, often laying groundwork for invasions prior to planetfall.

Upon completing a full term of service (usually 500 years) a Shade enters retirement and is eligible to receive a planet, complete with custom modifications and any necessary resources, as his or her pension. Even after retirement, many Shades remain active, never losing their elite status, acting as martial arts instructors or Locsard Academy professors. In times of crisis, retired Shades are sometimes called back into limited service.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Root Palace

The nerve center and ever-moving frontier of the Viscain Empire.

The tip of the Vine is thickest--nearly 11 kilometers around--where it makes contact with a planet's surface. This bulbous termination, for a length of about 50 kilometers up, houses all the military might and governmental divisions of the Empire. Unseen below the planet's surface, is a network of roots that laces throughout the world to drain it of its resources. Once those resources have been drained and the Empire is ready to move on, a new shoot will emerge. This new, unfinished Root Palace will then "stitch" its way through space to make contact with the next step in the Empire's expansion.

When the Vine makes planetfall, there is of course a tremendous seismic shock which tends to devastate the surrounding area for several thousand kilometers. In addition, various alien toxins and bacteria are introduced into the planet's atmosphere which help supplement and expedite the Shades' work of subduing the native population.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

RPP

Raw Physical Power.

This is a figure arrived at by multiplying one's weight at one standard gravity by his or her gravity rank.

Dark RPP is the above figure multiplied further by the Artifact rank.

Comparing RPPs alone is not the definitive method for determining who would be successful in a contest. Technique will alter the numbers--sometimes significantly--and other factors such as speed, skill, experience, and environmental conditions will definitely play a part, but the RPP does provide a baseline from which real comparisons become possible.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

RMP

Raw Mental Power.

A psychic's rating on a scale developed by Velt Locsard.

100: the baseline; a living, breathing, functioning human being

200-400: usually a single, involuntary benefit (good health, longevity, exceptional skill with numbers, etc.)

500-3,000: the minimum for one or more discrete, voluntary abilities

3,000-5,000:
the usual range for Shades

over 5,000: there are very few psychics with recorded RMPs of over 5,000 and only one with an RMP over 6,000. 

The highest recorded RMP is a staggering 10,000 and is attributed to Geiss Sinzer, who rebelled against the Empire in the year 9367.

Dark RMP is simply a Shade's RMP multiplied by his or her Artifact rank.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Psychic

An individual possessing mental facilities sufficient enough to directly affect the physical world by force of will alone.

Contrary to popular belief, true invasive telepathy, what some might consider to be the most basic of psychic abilities, is in fact one of the rarest. Discrete abilities vary widely, though, and can be enhanced with training, enabling the psychic to perform fantastic or otherwise impossible feats like controlling local gravity, flash-freezing objects, complete mental domination, etc. This makes them natural candidates for receiving the Emperor's Artifacts and becoming Shades.

A psychic's potential is indicated by his or her Raw Mental Power, a figure from which real world comparisons can made, regardless of the disparity between abilities.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Locsard Psychic Academy

Founded by Velt Locsard in the year 526 to educate young psychics and train them to develop their innate abilities. 

Initially, the Academy was housed in the Root Palace, always moving with the Empire's frontier, but later a permanent location was established on Planet 517 to accommodate growth and allow for further expansion. Over the course of its long history, many Shades--both before and after retirement--have acted as professors at the Academy.

In the year 10,500 the Academy was destroyed by the renegade Shade-turned-terrorist, Geiss Sinzer. Miraculously, only 17 students were unaccounted for following the destruction. The Academy was reestablished on Planet 1051, with only a small, 1-year break in academic service.

Though the Empire continues to expand, the number of students remains fairly constant at about a thousand, plus or minus one or two hundred for any given year.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jump Ship

Vessels capable of flight on their own power, but primarily used for long-range jump deck to jump deck transportation.

Initially, these ships were meant to lessen the danger posed by the instabilities often encountered during the early days of jump deck travel. Because of this, jump ships are designed to operate in any environment, and, so, are heavily armored and equipped with sophisticated electromagnetic shields that make them nearly invulnerable. In addition to standard navigation capabilities, jump ships are, of course, equipped to access and control jump deck protocols.

All jump ships follow the same basic design archetype--stacked triangular or pyramidal shapes--with minor variations to account for size, speed, or other custom requirements.  The overlapping edges of these pyramid shapes vibrate at a particular frequency and interact with the engines, producing the phenomenon known as resonant lift.  With virtually no power, these ships can remain aloft almost indefinitely.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jump Deck

An artificial routing terminal powered by the fixed warp fields created by the Viscain Tree's Stitch Drive. 

Belss Okos, the man first credited with successfully incorporating Vine ganglia into conventional technology, was responsible for designing a series of relays to control and distort the warp fields, making near-instantaneous travel between any two relay points within the Empire possible.

In the beginning the system was used only for extremely long-range jumps and was rather unstable, resulting in a fair number of injuries and one particularly tragic event, costing 23 lives. Over the years refinements were made, but, ultimately, Gilf Scanlan, as Director of Military Hardware, stabilized and perfected the system.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gravity Trainer

or Gravity Block.

Large blocks of composite material similar to concrete, housing an artificial gravity generator for the purpose of training and developing F-Gene fighters.

Regular issue gravity trainers are limited to producing 25 standard gravities. Pressures beyond 25 gravities are possible, but begin to affect the mechanism itself so that the generator would crush itself or, at the very least, render itself inoperable. Custom rigs are available, but they are difficult to produce and expensive to maintain.

F-Gene fighters practice their various martial styles upon gravity trainers under ever-increasing pressure, building up a cumulative tolerance until they are able to operate freely--which is to say, until the increased gravity offers no more resistance than one standard gravity would.

An individual's gravity rank is the highest number of standard gravities he or she has achieved on the gravity trainer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

F-Gene (Fighter)

The Farsenkals Gene. The F-Gene is named for Professor Jango Farsenkals, who, before the establishment of the Viscain Empire, identified the piece of the genetic puzzle responsible for producing the fantastic potential exploited by F-Gene fighters.

F-Gene fighters respond to severe stimulation, either in a controlled environment or through natural circumstance, by overcoming it. This conditions first the body then the mind, and enables the F-Gene fighter to perform superhuman feats, making them excellent candidates for receiving the Emperor's Artifacts and becoming Shades.

Let us compare a normal human to a glass of water, where the glass is the potential and the amount of water is the potential that's been met.

An individual with the F-Gene might be compared to a barrel.  If the individual is not pushed, the amount of water in the barrel may never exceed that in the glass of the normal human. But, through increasingly intense physical exertion, always pushing the limits of possibility, the F-Gene fighter will steadily fill the barrel until it's full.

Of course, the size of the vessel, or capacity for development, varies with F-Gene fighters, and in some rare cases, individuals have shown such a rapid and consistent response to stimulation as to set them apart from the rest. Those who fit this pattern are said to possess Superior Grade F-Genes.

Because of mechanical limitations, most gravity trainers are only able to produce 25 Gs. Some special issue trainers exceed this limit, but few F-Gene fighters, even those considered to be Superior Grade, have surpassed the 25 G mark.

Besides the obvious physical feats, F-Gene fighters have also demonstrated a marked capacity for mental expansion, most often as it relates to their martial training. In this way, F-Gene fighters are sometimes able to produce effects comparable to top psychics. Approaching Infinity techniques and the meditative 9 Order Fist are but two examples.

A number of methods have been devised for identifying and encouraging the F-Gene, but the frequency remains at about 5-10% of any given population sample. Research continues, but has shown no significant increase in results since the early years of the Empire, when interest in Professor Farsenkals's work peaked.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dark

A state in which a Shade brings to bear the full power of his or her Artifact.  This usually results in a physical transformation, sometimes into something far-removed from the human form.

Under non-taxing conditions, a Shade can remain Dark indefinitely, benefiting from the full range of powers afforded by his or her Artifact. Prolonged strenuous activity, activity that constantly requires an output up to the Artifact's rank, will temporarily exhaust the Artifact and the Shade will be forced back into his or her depowered state and will require rest.

Some psychics do not physically change when going Dark, but undergo some permanent change when first accepting their Artifacts into their bodies. This usually manifests as an alteration of the skin color.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Artifact

"Fruit" produced by the Viscain Tree, and thus by the Viscain Emperor, for the express purpose of creating Shades. Artifacts usually undergo some transformation directed by the Emperor before being introduced into the host.  For example, the Seeds of the Coffin Fruit were refined into the Kaiser Bones, the Block 2 prize offered at the 10,688 Artifact Competition.

Though similar varieties exist, this "fruit" is always unique and acts as an inexhaustible power source for the recipient Shade, making him or her effectively immortal. It also augments the Shade mentally and physically by a factor of its rank, enhances the senses, eliminates the need for food, drink, and respiration, and, further, provides the Shade with some additional, signature ability.

Artifact ranks and unique abilities vary widely.  Ranks usually range from 18 to 25, but there are exceptions. The "signature" ability conferred on the host sometimes complements his or her innate abilities, and sometimes adds something altogether new.

A kind of pseudo-telepathic communication between Artifacts is possible up to a range of 2000 meters. This communication is non-invasive, requires consent from both parties, and transmits on some unknown wavelength exclusive to Shades. Perhaps more impressive, though, is the ability of all Artifacts to process spoken language. With sufficient input, any organized system of communication can be rendered intelligible by Artifacts, but aural input is most efficient for the human host and provides a template for reproducing any alien language relying on sounds that fall within sensory range.

After being introduced into their hosts, some Artifacts are still readily visible in their refined form, as an ornament or perhaps a weapon, but most are completely internalized. In either case, Artifacts are always inextricably connected to their hosts. They are very difficult to destroy, in some cases even more difficult to isolate, but the destruction of an Artifact means certain and painful death for its host.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mont Cranden

Height: 182 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Gravity Rank: 10
RPP: 890
RMP: 5,500
Birthdate: 9312.235

Artifact: Gate Crown
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 17,800
Dark RMP: 110,000
Artifact Award Date: 9350.001

Category: Psychic
Discipline: Pocket Dimension Creation, Various Minor Powers

Rank: General, 18th Generation, Retired

Residence: Locsard Psychic Academy

Mont Cranden's Gate Crown greatly facilitates his innate ability to create dimensional vaults, enabling him to create up to a total of 11,000 cubic meters of enclosed, sequestered space, to which only he has access. These vaults can remain semi-permanently in place where originally constructed or be mobile, following criteria of Cranden's devising. In either case, his vaults and their contents are invisible to and inaccessible from the outside world. It is possible to tax the boundaries of one of Cranden's vaults from the inside and find escape, but this requires a uniform and substantial display of force directed simultaneously against a large enough portion of the vault's inner surface area to overwhelm Cranden's mental constraints.

Besides his vaults, Cranden possesses a number of other psychic disciplines, most notably true, invasive telepathy and minor telekinetic powers, which are limited to his person and mostly aid in self-defense.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cov Merasec

Height: 192 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Gravity Rank: 24
RPP: 1,920
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9966.103

Artifact: Fugue Inducer
Artifact Rank: 18
Dark RPP: 34,560
Dark RMP: 1,800
Artifact Award Date: 10011.211

Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Wind Fission Kama

Rank: Specialist, Triangle Squad, Retired

Residence: Planet 1251

When Dark, Cov Merasec is covered in thin interlocking, matte-black flexible plates, topped with a cubist's crude interpretation of a crow's head. Invoking the Fugue Inducer enables him to supplement his signature Copy Twin technique, developed from Approaching Infinity theory, to unimaginable levels, becoming a one-man army of up to 1,800 strong. Cov suffers no ill effects at the death of any of his Fugue Army, and in fact, can effect a sort of serial immortality, as long as just one, even if not the original, remains alive.

Kimbal Furst

Height: 180 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 1,900
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9973.127

Artifact: Taikou Quills
Artifact Rank: 22
Dark RPP: 41,800
Dark RMP: 2,200
Artifact Award Date: 10000.001

Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Rush Hands

Rank: Specialist, Triangle Squad, Retired

Residence: Planet 1305

When Dark, Kimbal Furst becomes a self-sustained nuclear reaction in the form of an anthropomorphic phoenix. His martial training includes Approaching Infinity theory, which he exploits for completely unfettered, free movement.

Laedra Hol

Height: 166 cm
Weight: 50 kg
Gravity Rank: 30
RPP: 1,500
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9962.302

Artifact: Charging Fork
Artifact Rank: 18 (36)
Dark RPP: 27,000 (54,000)
Dark RMP: 1,800 (3,600)
Artifact Award Date: 10000.001

Category: F-Gene Fighter, Superior Grade
Discipline: 18 Heavenly Claws

Rank: First Specialist, Triangle Squad, Retired

Residence: Planet 1287

The Charging Fork, which sprouts from Laedra Hol's forehead when she goes Dark, enables her to concentrate on discrete characteristics and power them to extraordinary levels.  She typically uses the Fork to substantially increase her grip strength when performing her signature technique, the Sky Fisher Claw, but she can focus the power to enhance her speed, endurance, physical resilience, her Raw Mental Power, etc.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lor Kalkin

First Specialist, Plague Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Cancer

Height: 174 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 1,875
RMP: 5,300
Birthdate: 10475.253

Artifact: Contamination Pump
Artifact Rank: 22
Dark RPP: 41,250
Dark RMP: 116,600
Artifact Award Date: 10500.001

Residence: Root Palace, Locsard Psychic Academy

When Dark with the Contamination Pump, Lor Kalkin becomes a giant, sickly-purple walking cancer, increasing to 3 meters in height and 3 meters across at the shoulders. He is surprisingly agile for his bulk, however, and is able to direct his potent psychic power to instill rot through unnatural growth by touch or up to a range of 20 meters. His innate discipline enables him to regenerate tissue at an already fantastic rate, but with the aid of the Contamination Pump, he is, perhaps, physically immortal, able to reconstitute himself even after significant loss of body mass.

Jav Holson

Height: 172 cm 
Weight: 73 kg
Gravity Rank: ?
RPP: ?
RMP: 500
Birthdate: ?????.???

Artifact: Ritual Mask
Artifact Rank: 15 (30)
Dark RPP: ?
Dark RMP: 7,500 (15,000)
Artifact Award Date: 10682.031

Category: F-Gene Fighter, Superior Grade
Discipline: 18 Heavenly Claws

Rank: Specialist, Plague Squad

Residence: Planet 1287

The Ritual Mask, though a non-permanent Artifact, gives Jav a number of notable abilities. Like all Artifacts, it augments Jav physically by a factor equal to its rank.  In addition, the Ritual Mask is capable of initiating the Mikai Curse, which cycles up in intensity, forcibly wrenching blood--spilled and readily available or through the very pores of the skin--from all living things in a 200 meter radius. This blood is drawn directly into the Mask until the Mask is satiated and reaches its maximum, doubled potential. So far, Jav has had little success in controlling himself while Dark with the Ritual Mask.

In addition, as a non-permanent Artifact, the Ritual Mask has a finite amount of power and will ultimately fail, taking Jav along with it when it expires--unless he can win the Artifact Competition to be held in 10,688.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Approaching Infinity

A series of mental exercises included as secondary training in a number of martial arts that enables the practitioner to affect the physical world by manipulating space, in a virtual sense, in the mind.  Only those with the F-Gene are able to effectively use Approaching Infinity, or AI, but some psychics have shown a natural aptitude for what Approaching Infinity theory teaches.

The benefits of AI have been most clearly demonstrated in augmenting physical striking power. At the last millisecond before landing a strike, the practitioner visualizes the space between fist and target halving, then halving again, then halving again, and so on as the fist continues on towards its target, ever increasing in velocity and acquiring more and more mass, but never making contact, until finally the practitioner exceeds infinity and delivers the strike with devastating results.

Other uses for AI include movement, both subtle and on a grand scale, reducing the velocity of objects or projectiles, and even being in two places at the same time.