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


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


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


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

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


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.