Monday, August 14, 2017

House Sabine, part 1

When I first knew I wanted to create noble houses, I immediately had two in mind. The first drew inspiration from Mon Mothma and Princess Leia, and represented the aristocracy of Psi-Wars as portrayed in Star Wars: elegant, egalitarian and full of noblesse oblige, but not contributing as directly to the effort as much as commanding.  If we had to have a house to root for, I wanted it to be this one.

The rest fell into place as I worked out the Oracular Order's role in the creation of the Houses.  If the Oracular Order were the Bene Gesserit, then this was House Atreides.  When I dug around in Bio-Tech for suggestions, I stumbled across altered sex ratios (technically a radical species modification, but meh, this is space opera) and fecundity, which made them a house associated with twins and who hovers protectively over their few male members. This also made them a great house for the "Damsel in distress" that a hero needs to rescue, though naturally some would have the wherewithal to rescue themselves.  I don't like to make a one-note house, though, so their "bene geserit-ness" gives them a manipulative, witchy vibe, at least to me.  Given that, traditionally, men fit poorly into either the "witch" or "princess" niche, that makes the rare male members an interesting puzzle to fit into the house.

Their name came from the Italian Sabine tribe, from whom the Romans acquired their first brides; House Sabine consists of the first brides of the Alexian Emperor, and were bred to be the brides of the other noble houses.

The Cadet Branch "Pavonis" is a reference to a character created by Elliot Belser, for his own Psi-Wars game.

The House Sabine

Cadet Branches: Pavonis, Starlane

Only House Alexus is older and more royal than House Sabine. House Sabine ruled Persephone, the homeworld of the Oracular Order, and believed most strongly in its goals. They bowed to the Oracular Order’s desire to forge them into the consorts of the House of Alexus, the breeding stock of aristocracy, and the source of oracles to serve and sustain the Oracular Order. Because their seat of power, Persephone, is situated in the Maradonian arm of the Galaxy, they survived the rise of the Empire largely intact, and remain one of the most powerful houses in the Alliance and because of their close connections to both the Oracular Order and the House of Alexus, they remain exceptionally well respected and pure.

House Sabine has a unique genetic legacy that means they’re more likely than most to produce twins (especially fraternal twins, a brother and sister), and they’re more likely to produce female children than male children. When a Sabine bride marries a non-Sabine, the girls she give birth to tend to remain true to the Sabine legacy, while the boys she gives birth to tend to remain true to the father’s legacy. Nonetheless, they tend to be exceptionally pure in bloodline and, even if they are not, those who belong to the Sabine bloodline tend not to diminish the purity of the children they breed, which means they are almost always excellent spouses to members of other houses.

Because of the shortage of male Sabines, the house is traditionally ruled by a Duchess, and the eldest child, regardless of sex, inherits her parent’s titles. House Sabine tends to be protective of its male members, and thus what knights it produces are as likely to be female as male, though male Sabines tend to chafe under the “mothering” they receive from the House, and those Sabine men who escape the motherly bonds of the House tend to go on to prove themselves great warriors and leaders, provided they don’t self destruct.

House Sabine members tend to be breathtakingly beautiful, even by noble standards, and those who find aristocratic features to be particularly attractive find them amongst the most beautiful men and women the galaxy has to offer. They often have white or silver hair. They move with grace and pick out (and obsess on) fine details. Some of their members tend to be blind (though they often compensate this with “sight beyond sight”) and visions of what could be often haunt them. Other side effects of their strict breeding include excessive emotional or physical sensitivity, a tendency to greatly prefer the company of people they know, and dangerously suicidal tendencies, especially among male Sabines, a trait other houses sometimes mistake for bravery.

Sabine Titles

House Sabine, thanks to its close connections to House Alexus, is a royal house. They have the Duchy of Persephone, the homeworld of the Oracular Order, and they traditionally receive the titles of Imperial Consort, Defender of the Faith, and the sons and daughters of the leader of the house (or its cadet branches) receive the title “Prince” or “Princess.”

They have numerous lesser titles, but tend to have non-martial titles: countess, viscountess and lady. Sabine women often serve as maids-in-waiting in other houses, especially if they have learned to detect psionic activity, where they serve to watch for any untoward psionic actions against their master.

Notable members of House Sabine

The Duchess Nova Sabine rules the House, and serves as the Speaker in the Senate. She is a strong force for resisting the empire, and for populism. She believes that the aristocracy’s days have largely passed, and that the Alliance needs to allow more rights and privileges to the people. She also believes that the people will rise up against the Empire, that the great sin of the Empire was not the dissolution of aristocratic privilege, but its oppression of its people. She believes that the Alliance’s duty is to assist those who want to be lifted up, to help them gain independence and then to invite them to join the Alliance of their own free will. She believes that more forceful tactics will alienate any potential allies and create more suffering in the universe.

The first Duchess, Sissi Sabine, served as the Imperial Consort and the first Alexian Empress. She married Alexus himself, and all members of house Alexus have some measure of her blood running in their veins. According to lore, she was breathtakingly beautiful and a virtuous devotee of the Oracular Order, while her enemies argue she was a cunning manipulator who used her position to advance the needs of her house, and her poison to remove her enemies. Both agree that she was amongst the most powerful oracles the House has ever produced.

House Sabine gave birth to the Federation through the twins Vance and Valria Sabine. Through Valria’s efforts, the warring houses set aside their weapons and joined together to create the Senate and the Federation. Her brother served as her knight and her protector and died defending her from an assassination attempt. The house still carries on his martial legacy, though his force sword was lost when the Empire rose to power.

Sabine Eugenic Legacy

Sabine Eugenic Power-Up 50 points

Advantages: Sabine Bloodline [1]; Spend up to 49 points on Classic Appearance (Aristocratic) [1], Sanitized Metabolism [1] or on the following packages:

  • Sabine Purity [18]
  • Sabine Grace [16]
  • Sabine Sensitivity [13]
  • Sabine Fertility [1]

Disadvantages: Replace any of your template disadvantages with the following disadvantages (If you have Bloodline Purity 2 or higher, you may choose an additional -5 points worth of the following disadvantages, increasing your disadvantage limit by -5 points!): Bad Sight (Mitigator, Lenses -60%) [-10], Blindness [-50], Distinctive Feature (White hair), Low Pain Threshold [-10], Mental Instability [Varies], Odious Personal Habit (Finnicky) [-5], Selfless [-5*], Shyness (Mild or Severe) [-5 or -10]

Sabine Purity 18 points

Advantages: Appearance (Beautiful) [12], Bloodline Purity 1 [1], Resistant to Poison +3 [5]

Sabine Grace 16

Attributes: DX +1 [20],

Secondary Characteristics: Basic Speed -0.25 [-5]

Advantages: Bloodline Purity 1 [1]

Sabine Sensitivity 13 points

Secondary Characteristics: Perception +2 [10]

Advantages: Acute Touch +1 [2], Bloodline Purity 1 [1],

Features: Per may be increased to 22 [0]

Sabine Fertility 1 point

Advantages: Bloodline Purity 1 [1]

Features: Altered Sex Ratio (2:1 females to males) [0], Extended Fertility [0], Increased Fecundity [0]

Sabine Mental Instability

The most common mental instabilities for House Sabine are Chronic Depression [-15*], Jealousy [-10] and On the Edge [-15*].

Sabine Psionic Legacy

House Sabine has latent ESP Abilities. If the character has the Sabine Bloodline perk and the requisite Bloodline Purity levels, she may take the following abilities and talents whenever she wishes:

  • Bloodline Purity 0: 20/20 Hindsight (Pyramid #3-69 p6) [1]; Combat Sense (PP 37) [24/level]; Dream Ally (Twin; Pyramid #3-69 p6) [1]; Exposition Sense (PP 42) [1]; Haunting Death (Pyramid #3-69 p6) [1]; I Feel Them Watching Me (Pyramid #3-69 p7) [1], Psi Sense (PP41) [8 to 32]; Visions (Dream, Second Sight, Aspected (Death), Overwhelming; PP 39) [5 to 15].
  • Blood Purity 1: Awareness (PP 39) [9 + 2/level]; Psidar (PP 41) [9 to 29].
  • Blood Purity 3: Prognostication(PP 37) [18 to 78]
  • Blood Purity 4: ESP Talent +1 to +4 [5/level]

Sample Sabine Psionic Power Packages

Sabine Battle Trance 25 points

Prerequisite: Sabine Bloodline

The space knights of House Sabine tend to master their battle trance, in which they know what will happen in a battle before it occurs. Roll once per turn when you are attacked (even a surprise attack!). Success lets you make an active defense against the attack with a +1 bonus; margin of success determines how many active defense rolls gain that +1 bonus this turn.

Advantages: Combat Sense 1 [24]

Skills: Combat Sense (H) IQ-2 [1];

Sabine Psi-Sense 25 points

Prerequisite: Sabine Bloodline

Advantages: Psi Sense 3 [22]

Skills: Psi Sense (H) Per-2 [1];

Techniques: Exclusion (H) Psi-Sense-1 [2]

Sabine Blindsight 25 points

Prerequisite: Sabine Bloodline, Bloodline Purity 1

House Sabine can “see without seeing.” Those with sufficient blood purity learn to see without their eyes, gaining psychic awareness of a 120° degree in front of them to a range of 20 yards.

Advantages: Awareness 5 [17]

Skills: Awareness (H) Per-1 [2]

Techniques: Choose either Deep Scan (H) Awareness-2 [4] or Extended Arc (H) Awareness-5 [4]

Sabine Aura Reading 25 points

Prerequisite: Sabine Bloodline, Bloodline Purity 1

House Sabine can “see” psionic abilities as an aura. With a successful psi-dar roll, they can “see” the nearest psionic ability, and may make a second skill roll to determine what power the psi has.

Advantages: Psidar 3 [19]

Skills: Psidar (H) Per [4]

Techniques: Extend Range (H) Psidar-4 [2]

Sabine Oracular Gift 25 points

Prerequisite: Sabine Bloodline, Bloodline Purity 1

The purest of House Sabine have the oracular gift, which allowed the Oracular Order to harvest their numbers to fill out their ranks. This ability allows the Sabine to meditate for 10 minutes and then spend 1 fatigue to make a skill roll to see the future.

Advantages: Prognostication 2 [23]

Skills: Prognostication (H) IQ-1 [2]

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