Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Domen Sonostra: the Knights of Rage

Thamet Sonostra, rei jiva mei girdi
Thamet Sonostra, give me strength
--Prayer to
Thamet Sonostra

The predatory, winner-takes-all nature of the Ranathim often means that every winner leaves behind him a trail of losers. The distraught, wounded and broken victims of the depredations of the Ranathim may turn to the law or to the charity of friends and family for assistance, but when even these fail, when all that is left to a Ranathim is his own blinding tears and burning rage, he turns them to Thamet Sonostra, the lord of rage, and begs him for Jenum, justice. To this, Thamet Sonostra always responds the same: “Do it yourself.”

Domen Sonostrum is a cult of revenge and vigilantism. Its members once suffered injustice or had a loved one suffer injustice, and they seek to rectify it by their own hand. The find ecstatic divinity in their own rage; they mete out of justice in back alleys, and under the cover of night. They accept no law, for law has failed them. They accept no defeat, for they have already suffered the humiliation of defeat and have risen again. They accept only vengeance. For the modern Ranathim, under the yoke of the slaver empire, they represent a brutal sort of hope: “May the Nasatemo Sonostra find you” a Ranathim victim will spit at those that oppress him.

Domen Sonostrum, the Cult of Rage, rose in the dawn of the Ranathim civilization as a barbaric counter-reaction to the rise of said civilization. Those who suffered under oppression took first to the mountains and then the stars to escape their bonds. There, their rage festered and reached divine proportions. When they fell upon their enemies, they did it with howling rage. Long before the Ranathim forged an empire, these ecstatic warriors had already carved out pocket realms in the stars in the name of their god. The rising Ranathim Empire first conquered these fiefdoms, and then unified them. The Mystic Tyrant whispered to them of the greatness of their deeds and the awe in which the Ranathim people held them. He turned their attention outward, not at the Ranathim, but at those who threatened the Ranathim. In so doing, he turned them from marauders and pirates and into the Nasatemo Sonostra, the Knights of Rage.

As the Knights of Rage, they served for centuries as the shocktroops of the Ranathim Empire. Whenever injustice befell the Ranathim people or when they met an enemy that no conventional army could defeat, the Mystic Tyrant unleashed his Knights of Rage upon his enemy. They discarded honor in favor of victory, law in favor of revenge. Their brutal tactics terrorized his enemies into submission, and earned the admiration of the Ranathim people.

When the Ranathim Empire collapsed and aliens began to prey upon the Ranathim, the Knights of Rage scattered and returned to their old brigand ways, but they never forgot their purpose as a protector of their people. They turned their piracy against the enemies of the Ranathim, and became the seeds of terror and insurgency. Wherever they found Ranathim children wailing over their fallen parents, they would take them up, fuel their hatred and forge them into weapons wielded by the bloody-handed Thamet Sonostrum. The Ranathim will never forget their grudges against other races, and they don’t have to, thanks to the justice of the shadows.

Stereotyically, Satemo Sonostra are fit, sinewy Ranathim men, covered in tattoos and blood-splashed armor, wielding a psi-sword. In practice, female Ranathim and aliens make up a sizeable portion of their ranks. They wear armor only when necessary, often dressing in civilian clothing and secreting away their psi-swords until they need them. As with all nadomen, the Domen Sonostrum have great temples; theirs are darkly lit with slow burning braziers with an altar before the great idol of Thamet Sonostra, with an altar before him, covered in blood and gruesome trophies taken from the slain enemies of Thamet Sonostra. Elsewhere in the temple, Nasatemo swap stories of injustices that need to be righted, plan attacks, or train in their brutal arts.



The Laws of Thamet Sonostra

Like most Nadomen, Domen Sonostra has vows that the satemo can take to gain access to Learned Prayers. Those who take a Communion Oath perk generally take the Destiny (Suffer Injustice); Mitigator, stay true to the Laws of Thamet Sonostra -65%) disadvantage as their “divine wrath” disadvantage. This tends to manifest as mounting injustice either inflicted upon the oath-breaker, or upon those he loves, until the burden grows too great and he returns to the fold, aware of his duty to his people.

Thamet Sonostra also commands his followers to bring “trophies” of the slain back to Him as offerings. This tends to manifest as a quirk.

  • Vow (Wield no weapon but a psi-sword) [-10]
  • Vow (Leave no enemy alive) [-10]
  • Vow (Let no injustice against (race X) go unpunished) [-10]
The Superstitions of Thamet Sonostra

  • Domen Sonostra’s blood-tasting ceremonies have given rise to the superstition that tasting someone’s blood gives you power over them. Believers of this tend to avoid spilling their own blood, and will go out of their way to acquire a sample of the blood of their enemy. This manifests as Delusion (“Tasting the blood of my enemies gives me power over them.”) [-5].
  • The Divine Masks believes that the dead already suffer, but the improper treatment of a corpse can make them suffer more. Many followers of Thamet Sonostra believe that he can inflict great suffering on the victim if the believer inflicts suffering upon the corpse. This belief manifests as Delusion (Desecrating corpses inflicts suffering upon the dead) [-5].
  • Some followers of the Divine Mask refer to Lithamere as the Eye of Thamet Sonostra, and believe that if you plan a violent crime while it is visible in the sky, Thamet Sonostra will hear and tell his knights about it, and as such, they only plan such crimes when the star is not visible. This manifests as a perk Superstition (Never plan a crime if the Red Star Lithamere is visible) [-1].

The Mask of Thamet Sonostra

Anyone may wear the Mask of Thamet Sonostra, provided they are strong of body. Those who wear the mask are sometimes said to bear the weight of Sonostrum. The mask of Thamet Sonostra is crafted of hard iron and painted with a splash of red that leaves at least some of the gleaming or blackened iron showing through. The eye slits of the mask are as narrow as Thamet Sonostra’s judging eyes, for he once he has chosen his target, he sees nothing else. One eye has one tear in the corner, the only sign of the pain that Thamet Sonostra bears. The mouth of Thamet Sonostra is curved in a thin, sharp smile, and full of teeth, like a predator who has cornered its prey. The voice of Thamet Sonostra booms and the pounding of drums accompany his words. He smells of blood, iron and the scorch marks of blaster fire.

The Nasatemo Sonostra, the Knights of Rage, when they wear armor, wear form-fitting armor accentuated with large, jagged plates of metal, slashes of red and collected trophies. They mark their skin with tattoos, one for each criminal or enemy slain, one for each injustice righted. The greatest, most feared Nasatemo have their backs covered in marks, forging a pattern unique to that Satemo. They carry a psi-sword or force sword of their own crafting, or stolen from an enemy.

The Star of Thamet Sonostra

Lithamere gleams a bloody and steady red when seen from the Ranathim homeworld of Styx (Ranagant). It lies near the end of the arm of the galaxy in which Styx resides; when the Ranathim Empire rose, it built a great temple to Thamet Sonostra orbiting this star as a mighty battlestation. When the Ranathim Empire fell, the slaver Empire that eventually took its place conquered that temple-station and turned it into their capital, where they profane it daily with the suffering of the Ranathim slaves they own.

Ceremonies of Thamet Sonostra

Silvair Dehanka

The Silvair Dehanka, or the Blood Feast, is a gathering of the Domen, of all Nasatemo, after a great raid, beneath the wrathful eyes of their deity. They offer a trophy from their victim to their god and recite the victim’s crimes, while the other Nasatemo chant the prayer of Thamet Sonostra. If any victim still lives (and the Nasatemo Sonostra love to capture victims if they plan a Silvair Dehanka), they Satemoga, or high knight of the cult, listens to the victim’s pleas of guilt or innocence while showing no expression through his mask, and then pronounces the only sentence the Domen Sonostrum accepts: death. His severed head is placed upon the altar as an offering.

When all the Nasatemo have made their offerings, when all victims have been condemned, the Nasatemo end with a great feast.

The Pleading

Victims of injustice can make their way to the temples of Thamet Sonostra to beg for assistance. They must throw themselves before the great idol and the high knight of the cult and plead his case, explain the great injustice done to him or her. The attending knights mock the supplicant, calling him weak, suggesting that the victim deserved his or her fate, or that they’re not true in their convictions; they may even threaten the supplicant that with violence for “wasting their time.” If the supplicant flees under their disparagement, the matter is closed. If they grow angry and lash out, they may be judged worthy and given to one of the knights as an apprentice. If they persist and Thamet Sonostra moves a knight, that knight will step forward and claim the right to avenge the supplicant. If such a pact is sealed, the supplicant is expected to make an offering of blood and an oath to serve the Domen in some capacity later on in return for the service.

Domen Sonostrum as Esoteric Style 4 points

Domen Sonostrum practitioners cultivate their rage. They recite their grievances, they surround themselves with imagery of the wicked acts of their enemy, and they move in a slow, powerful dance while chanting to whip themselves into a furious, ecstatic, divine frenzy. In this state, they have a chance to become one with Thamet Sonostra and to gain some measure of his strength.

The miracles of Thamet Sonostra tend to make one an unstoppable killing machine. Most practitioners take oaths (the first oath is usually something along the lines of “Give me the strength necessary to kill this specific person”) and then use them to gain access to a signature miracle, most commonly the Power of Id, Unstoppable and Mayhem. Those who achieve Archetype (Beautiful Fool) describe themselves as “carrying the weight of Thamet Sonostra,” as the tragedy of their dark god begins to spill into their life. Those who manage the rare feat of achieving Dark Communion typically become the Satemoga, or “High Knight” of their local cult. Those who learn to channel Thamet Sonostra often practice fortune telling by slaughtering a beast before the idol of Thamet Sonostra and examining the blood spatter and entrails of the beast. In such cases Fortune Telling can act as a complimentary roll to interpreting the visions of Thamet Sonostra.

Domen Sonostrum embraces strength, so it teaches cultivates the natural Psychic Vampirism of its Ranathim practitioners and teaches them to leech the strength from their prey, can can even teach them to leech the psionic power of their targets, to steal their strength for their own. Domen Sonostrum also cultivates psychokinetic powers; some who practice it for a long time may find that their hidden, latent psychokinesis is unlocked and this is especially true of those who take oaths to Thamet Sonostra, or who become Archetypes. Domen Sonostrum instructs Psychokinetics to chase their prey with agile TK Jumps, to trap them with a TK lock, and then to either destroy them with TK Crush, or their own TK-augemented strength.

Required Skills: Meditation, Religious Ritual (Divine Masks), Theology (Divine Masks)

Additional Psionic Skills: Drain ST, Steal Power, Tactile TK, TK Crush, TK Jump, TK Lock,

Techniques: Agonizing Drain (Drain ST), Belaying (TK Jump), Deep Trance (Meditation), Crushing Lock (TK Lock), Empowering Drain (Drain ST), Far Draining (Drain ST), Improved Theft (Steal Power), Precision (Steal Power), Throat Squeeze (TK Crush)

Signature Miracles: Channel Archetype (Rebellious Beast), Dark Glory, Hunter’s Eyes, Hunter’s Eyes (Enhanced), Mayhem, Power of the Id, Primordial Avatar (Rebellious Beast), Primordial Expertise (Tough Guy, Natural Athlete), Unstoppable, Unstoppable (Enhanced), Untameable Id, Wisdom of Dark Communion.

Secret Miracle: Voice of God

Perks: Blood Healing, Body Discipline (Dance), Communion Oath, Flagellant’s Blessing, Intimidating Psi, Penetrating Voice, Psychic Symbolism (Rebellious Beast, Psychic Vampirism or Psychokinesis), Secret Miracle (Voice of God), Signature Miracle (any Domen Sonostrum Signature Miracle), Symbolism Mastery (Rebellious Beast).

Optional Traits: ST

Optional Advantages: Archetype (Rebellious Beast), Dark Communion, Hard to Kill, Hard to Subdue, High Pain Threshold, Higher Purpose (Vengeance!), Natural Athlete, Psychokinesis Talent, Tough Guy.

Optional Disadvantages: Bad Temper, Berserk, Bloodlust, Delusion (Any superstition), Destiny (Suffer Injustice; Mitigator, stay true to the Laws of Themet Sonostra -65%), Fanaticism (Domen Sonostrum), Flashbacks, Nightmares, No Sense of Humor, Odious Personal Habit (Collects trophies from his victims), Obsession (Avenge one specific crime), Vow (A Law of Themet Sonostra).

Optional Skills: Dancing, Fortune Telling (Extispicy), Hobby Skills (Feats of Strength), Intimidation, Law (Traditional Ranathim Criminal), Musical Instrument (Drums), Streetwise

New Traits

Perks

Blood Healing: Psionic Powers 51

Body Discipline: LTC1 16.

Communion Oath: Provided the character has an appropriate disadvantage that is mitigated by following an oath, the character may purchase Learned Prayers directly, at full price, with an additional limitation based on an appropriate vow.

Flagellant’s Blessing: GURPS Thaumatology: Magical Styles page 22

Intimidating Psi: As intimidating curses, GURPS Thaumatology: Magical Styles page 24, except the affect applies to any attempt to resist any psionic powers or communion miracles used by the mystic.

Psychic Symbolism: You may add the symbol bonuses and penalties from a specific Path to the skill rolls of a specific power.

Signature Miracle: Gain +1 to Communion Reaction rolls when calling on one specific Specified Miracle (Leveled, to a maximum of +4)

Symbolism Mastery: You may invoke 4 symbols for +4 to reaction rolls for your path, or +2 to a miracle outside of your path.

Miracles

Voice of God

Learned Prerequisite: Divine Favor 5, Legendary Reputation +1

Learned Prayer Cost: 4

This miracle places the practitioner in a trance, during which time the divinity of her associated path communicates through her. The divinity may answer questions put to it, and is free to say what it wishes, and may even lie, but the GM can relay any information known to the divinity (or to Communion) through the vessel of the character. Most Divine Mask cults teach this prayer only to high level priests and priestesses.

Statistics: Channeling (Divine, Path -15%, Cosmic, No Die Roll Required +100%) [19]

Techniques

Agonizing Drain

Hard

Default: Drain ST-10;

Prerequisite: Drain ST; May not exceed Drain ST.

See Pyramid #3/97 “Strange Powers” page 9.

Deep Trance

Hard

Default: Meditation-4;

Prerequisite: Meditation; May not exceed Meditation.

The character meditates deeply for one hour and enters a trance. This trance either offers the same bonuses as Autohypnosis or +1 to all Psi skills plus an additional bonus equal to 1/3 of his margin of success, to a maximum of +5. He gains +4 for sensory deprivation, +2 for the Body Discipline perk, and may use Religious Ritual as a complementary roll.

Empowering Drain

Hard

Default: Drain ST-8;

Prerequisite: Drain ST; May not exceed Drain ST.

See Pyramid #3/97 “Strange Powers” page 9.

Skills

Dance

The War Dance of Lithamere, or the seflum ferfan, is a powerful dance full of rhythmic stomping, posture, sudden motion, and deep shouts. The dance is impressive, and those who know it may use Dance in place of Intimidation, or as a complimentary roll to Intimidation. Furthermore, by the nature of the dance, dancers may use HT in place of DX, though to do so is exhausting (double all fatigue expenditures). The dance may be used as a Body Discipline to go into a trance, and is the dance most often used when honoring Thamet Sonostrum.

Sefelka Sonostra, the Furious Form 4 points

The “Furious Form,” so called by humans because it resembles one of the four human force sword forms, is known to the Ranathim as Sefelka Sonostra, the fighting art of Domen Sonostrum. Traditionally, the cult trains to use psi-blades, which differ from force swords in that they tend to be smaller and represent condensed psychic vampirism focused by the eloi fragment in the hilt of the blade. It works just as well with force swords, however.

Sefelka Sonostra is an assassin’s art. It focuses on outmaneuvering an opponent and then using superior speed and power to rapidly overwhelm him and, if this fails, to retreat and try again. It accepts no concept of “honor” or “a fair duel,” nor does it work well with allies. It is the art of a vigilante who fights in dark alleys. Practitioners who face off against noble force sword styles tend to be dismissive, except of the Destructive Form, which they find fascinating and effective. As the style has evolved, practitioners have learned to blend more and more of the Destructive Form into their art.

Skills: Acrobatics, Force Sword, Karate, Jumping

Techniques: Acrobatic Stand, Beat (Force Sword), Counter Attack (Karate), Hammer Fist, Kick, Low Fighting (Force Sword or Karate), Targeted Attack (Hammer Fist/Face), Targeted Attack (Kick/Groin)

Cinematic Skills: Flying Leap, Kiai, Light Walk, Precognitive Parry

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Attack (Force Sword), Dual-Weapon Defense (Force Sword), Springing Attack, Timed Defense (Force Sword)

Perks: Dirty Fighting, Follow-Through, Graceful Glider, Grip Mastery (Force Sword), Light Walker, Off-Hand Weapon Training (Force Sword), Style Adaption (Destructive Form), Sure-Footed (Any), Trademark Move.

Optional Traits: Ambidexterity, Basic Move, Enhanced Dodge, Extra Attack, Perfect Balance.

Optional Skills: Armoury (Force Sword), Fast-Draw (Force Sword), Intimidation, Savoir-Faire (Dojo), Stealth, Streetwise

Signature Moves

Satemo’s Greeting: After deftly blocking an attack, the Satemo steps into close combat and pummels his opponent. Step and make a Counter Attack (-5) Pummel (-1) against your opponents face (-5). Roll Karate-11. Opponent defends at -2 plus any close combat penalties. Deal thr(+karate bonuses) damage and any shock penalties force a Stun/Knockdown check. Defend normally. Setup: You defended against an attack while one yard away from your opponent or you made an Acrobatic Slip defense to get close to your opponent..

The Satemo’s Dance: The Satemo suddenly shifts stance and steps body-to-body with his opponent while spinning his force swords into reverse strike position and makes two quick slashes. Instantly shift to Reverse Grip (with Grip Mastery), Step into Close Combat and make a Deceptive (-2) Dual Weapon Attack (-4/-8) against your opponent. Roll Force-Sword -6 and -10. Your opponent defends at -3 plus any additional close combat penalties. Deal 8d-8(5) burn damage to the torso with each attack. Defend at -2 with Force Sword, or -1 with Karate. Setup: Your force sabers are in a normal grip and you are one hex away from your opponent who uses a reach 1 or longer weapon or you used an Acrobatic Slip against your opponent.

Fell Assault: The Satemo, having found a secretive perch above his target, activates his force swords and then drops on his opponent from above, attacking with just as his blades finish materializing. Roll a quick contest of Stealth vs your opponent's Observation, then drop. Make a Dual Weapon Attack (Force Sword) (-4 and -8) From Above (-2). Roll Force Sword -6 and -10. Your opponent defends at -2 (if he succeeded at the contest) and cannot defend if he didn't. Make a Breakfall roll to reduce falling damage and end in a crouch. You may defend normally (-2 for being in a crouch). Setup: You are above your opponent and your force sabers haven't been activated.

Fell Frenzy: The Satemo rises from a crouch to launch a furious attack on all of her opponents. Make a Deceptive (-2) All-Out (Double) Dual Weapon Attack (-4 and -8) Springing Attack (-2). Roll 3 attacks, the first Force Sword-4, the second Force Sword -4 and the third Force Sword -8.. If the first attack hits, it deals 7d+7(5) burn damage. If the attack misses, defend at -2 for the remaining of the turn. Your opponent defends at -1 against all three attacks. You may not defend. Setup: You crouched on the previous turn.

The Satemo’s Retreat: The Satemo, outmatched, retreats from an attack with a backwards flip, and continues to somersault and tumble away from his opponent until he ends crouched some distance away from his opponent. Make an Acrobatic Movement (Tumble) backwards (this costs 2 move per yard). End movement in a Crouch. Attempts to hit you with ranged combat are -4 and you gain +2 on your first defense (and you may continue to retreat). Setup: You acrobatically dodged and retreated last turn.

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