- Alternative Names: Heralds of the Ineluctable, The Students of Nappilu
Informal Names: Mannequins, Sibyls
Attached to Order: Raccoon
No matter where you go, everyone is connected.
The remit of the Order of the Raccoon is to face the threats to Alhambra that no one else foresees, and seize opportunities for Her Majesty that no one else anticipates, and that’s a hard and thankless task in a realm that distrusts anything not of the fallen Kingdom. The Raccoons can, however, point to a long record of warnings given that (when heeded) saved an outpost from disaster, or (when ignored) consigned loyal subjects of the Empress to awful fates, whenever suspicion leads another Order to suggest they be disbanded. For over 4,000 years many of these warnings have been raised by the Protectorate of Fused Quartz, a small sect who watch with impassive faces as time and history pass, and divert its flow with the proper flick of a finger.
The Protectorate has a curious history. The man Nappilu, whose students they are, was not native to Alhambra, nor was he one of the Nobility; he came to an outpost of the City somewhere in Babylonia, offering his fealty in exchange for refuge. He demonstrated a number of strange powers, bending time and fate in ways no Alhambran understood, to prove his value, and so the Ever-Flowing took him in. He was willing both to use those powers for Alhambra and to teach a few Princesses to emulate them; but when asked how he had learned them, he said only that he had been one agent among many of a great and powerful god, who was far beyond the ability of mere mortals, or even its own agents, to understand. He had been outcast, and was pursued, for refusing a divine order, and he warned his students strictly against drawing attention from the god he had abandoned, for the least of its servants was greater than he, and had no concept of mercy.
Few members of the Protectorate are seen outside Alhambra today, but thanks to their Privileges they are maddeningly effective when they do take the field, constantly anticipating the plans of their opponents. They are most likely to be sent when an outpost reports encountering beings similar to Nappilu or the servants of the deity he described, but almost any confrontation with unusually subtle enemies might lead an Alhambran to call for a Sibyl’s help.
Marks and RequirementsEdit
The Protectorate does not mark its members by any change in their regalia - they wear the normal colors and styles of a Princess or Prince of Tears. They are distinguished, instead, by a change in manner. A Herald is, almost invariably, devoid of expression, and makes no motion that does not serve a conscious purpose. This is the source of their nickname “mannequins”; they can stand or sit, immobile as an idol, for so long that others forget they are alive until they speak. The required Attribute for the Protectorate is Composure, reflecting this impassivity. The Protectorate’s required Skill is Occult, reflecting their role in Alhambra’s defense; they are students of the esoteric like all Raccoons, with a special interest in temporal anomalies.
Stare Into InfinityEdit
A Secretary of Fused Quartz is prone to fall into a trance at any moment, in which she sees omens and signs warning her, in symbolic fashion, of dangers soon to come. Sometimes the trance comes unexpectedly; at others the Secretary may induce it in herself by self-hypnosis. Once per session, a Secretary can drop into trance voluntarily as an instant action, and try to interpret the signs that appear to her. She rolls Composure + Wits; for each success, her player may ask one yes/no question about any topic of importance to her, which the Storyteller must answer truthfully. However, after doing this the Secretary takes the Spooked Condition [GMC 183] related to the topics her player asked about.
The Secretary may drop into involuntary trances at any time, at the Storyteller’s discretion, though not more often than once a session. When these occur the Storyteller describes the omens the Secretary is seeing or suggests a topic of inquiry; the Secretary’s player may roll the same dice pool as above, with the same effects on success, or decline the chance to ask questions. In either case the Secretary takes the Stunned Tilt [GMC 212] at the moment the trance hits; she becomes Spooked only if she studies the omens. Voluntary and involuntary trances can both happen in the same session, but neither can occur while the Secretary keeps the Spooked Condition.
When she is transformed, the Secretary can foresee highly improbable consequences of apparently ordinary actions. On uncommon occasions she may take advantage of this foresight. Once per scene, while the Secretary is transformed, her player may declare a task she will attempt and another task she hopes to accomplish. Both tasks must be things the Secretary could in theory complete with a mundane instant action at the moment she uses the Privilege, but they need not be related in any way. The Secretary rolls for the first task, but applies all the successes gained to the second instead - by some improbable chain of events, the normal result of her actual action fails to happen and is replaced by the result she desired.
The Protectorate of Fused Quartz has the power to lift the veils that hide their dooms from those who consult them - or, sometimes, who cause them annoyance. By spending 1 Wisp while transformed, a Secretary may inflict the trance of Stare Into Infinity on a person she touches. The target rolls his Composure + Wits, and the target’s player asks one yes/no question for each success, which the Storyteller must answer truthfully. However, for those not of the Protectorate the signs and omens are much more disturbing; the target takes the Stunned Tilt for one turn, plus one turn per question his player asks, and after recovering from the Tilt he gains the Shaken Condition [GMC 183] related either to the Secretary or to the things he asked about. (A PC need not ask all the questions she is entitled to, and forgoing a question does shorten the duration of the Stunned Tilt.) Members of the Protectorate, including the Secretary herself, are immune to this Privilege, and no target may have it used on them more than once a session.
A Governor of Fused Quartz learns how to deepen and lighten her trance state, so that the omens will guide her hands and speech to achieve her urgent need. Once per scene, the Governor may spend 2 Wisps when carrying out a mundane instant action. To her, the world suddenly slows down, the immediate future becomes clear, and what she must do to succeed in her present task is obvious. Her action becomes an advanced action - she rolls her pool twice and takes the better result.
The Governor may use Accelerando in either of her forms. When she is transformed, she may use both Accelerando and Butterfly’s Wing on the same action.
Forewarned is ForearmedEdit
When she is transformed, the Governor may rearrange her past to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. Once a scene, the Governor may spend 1 Wisp to declare that she is carrying, or has previously cached in her current location, a single piece of equipment which will help her in her current activities. The equipment thus brought into play must be something the Governor might have taken at some time in the past 24 hours, placed where she now “finds” it, and let pass unnoticed by anyone else in the current scene - this is simplest with equipment small enough for the Governor to carry on her person. However, the Governor need not actually have taken and cached the equipment; all that’s required is that, as far as anyone present can tell, she might have done so.
So Let It Be WrittenEdit
A Regent of Fused Quartz may plant a seed of inevitable disaster in the soul of another; by activating this Privilege she finds a dire future and blocks the roads that avoid it. The Privilege is used on a single person whom the Regent touches; she spends 3 Wisps and 1 Willpower, and rolls Intelligence + Occult. The Privilege may not be used on any member of the Protectorate, or on anyone who has the Doomed Condition.
- Dramatic Failure: The Regent inadvertently foresees her own Doom; she gains the Doomed Condition at a level equal to her Composure, and may not use the Privilege again until it is resolved. The Regent’s Doom is never directly lethal to her, but the Storyteller is free to choose a fate worse than death.
- Failure: The Regent foresees nothing.
- Success: The Regent pronounces Doom for the target - a dire yet inevitable event. The precise nature of the Doom is chosen by the Regent’s player, with the Storyteller’s approval, though it must be something the target strongly desires not to experience. The target gains the Doomed Condition at a level equal to twice the activation successes.
- Exceptional Success: The target’s Doom is especially hard to avoid.
Drawback: If by some chance or great feat the target manages to evade his Doom, the Regent is punished for her temerity of trying to change destiny. She immediately gains the Doomed Condition as if she had originally rolled a dramatic failure.