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Protectorate:Novaculite

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Alternative Names: Her Majesty’s Cadre, Instructors in War
Informal Name: Drafters
Attached to Order: Spotted Hyena

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

The Spotted Hyenas are the Last Empress’ good right hand; whenever some threat arises to the Wisp gathering outposts that sustain Alhambra against the Darkness, the Hyenas spend their sweat and blood to defeat it. However, it does the City little good when its subjects die in battle - far better to make the enemy die. Honor and glory are lovely in their way, but survival and victory are what matter in the end. To make sure they understand this, the Order places its new conscripts in the hands of its professional trainers, the Protectorate of Novaculite.

Naturally the Drafters spend much of their time teaching actual fighting skills. But the core of their teaching is Alhambra’s idea of the military virtues: strict discipline, obedience to orders, and ruthless pursuit of victory by any means that lie to hand. War is terrible and monstrous, the Cadre say, but it cannot be evaded; the soldiers of Alhambra must fight everywhere they are stationed, against shadow-beasts in the City and insolent rebels beyond it. Often the only course to victory over the monsters is to become monstrous, and a proper soldier must take that course and sacrifice his conscience for the Queen. The Regents of Novaculite have sometimes spoken of War as a goddess who is most pleased by that sacrifice, and it isn’t clear if they mean Her Majesty by that, or some other deity.

Instructors in War are frequent visitors to the Rebellious Provinces. Sometimes an outpost has hired mercenaries, in hopes that some or all would subject themselves to the Queen of Tears, or just to supply a shortage of trained soldiers, and in such cases a Drafter is usually sent to command them - a task for which their Privileges are suitable. In other times an outpost needs a crack squad to carry out a dangerous or unsavory mission, and when the squad is led by one of the Cadre, her powers will stiffen their spines and harden their hearts, ensuring their success.

Marks and RequirementsEdit

To become a Drafter is to accept a duty to do terrible things if it will save the City. The Drafter’s Regalia symbolizes this with stains and tatters. No matter what a Cadre member does, her clothes invariably bear some traces of dirt or sweat, visible from every angle. When they gain a few Shadows dots, the Drafter’s Regalia grows dirtier and develops rips and tears; with many Shadows, her clothes become ragged, and her hands and face may be stained with dried blood. For some reason, this never impairs a Drafter socially - the stains and tatters give the impression of great endurance in the face of danger.

An Instructor in War must be expert in personal combat, and possess charisma for many reasons: to direct troops in battle, to train new recruits, and to convince foreigners to enlist. The Protectorate’s required Attribute is Presence, and its required Skill is Weaponry.

Secretary PrivilegesEdit

Tools of DutyEdit

The Protectorate of Novaculite are responsible for preparing their recruits for their service to Alhambra, and this includes providing them with appropriate tools to perform their duties. Anyone Sworn to the same Queen as the Secretary gains one phantom dot of the Circle Merit, linked to her; after one hour of fighting drill with her, the Sworn may roll to gain a Wisp. The phantom Circle dot stacks with any real Circle Merit a Sworn may have. Moreover, if the Secretary is Sworn herself she becomes a valid target for the Circle Merits of other Sworn in her court.

Trail of TearsEdit

The service of Alhambra is fraught with perils and compromises, and it is the duty of the Drafters to help raw recruits come to terms with their obligations. While Transformed the Secretary may protect a mundane character in her presence from moral or mental stress. When a mundane character in her line of sight reaches a breaking point, the Secretary may reflexively spend 1 Wisp to turn the breaking point roll into a teamwork action: she rolls her normal dice pool for a breaking point, applying the same penalty her target faces, and the result of her roll affects his as a secondary actor’s roll affects the primary actor’s.

Drawback: Using the Privilege makes the Secretary complicit in her target’s actions. If the target reached the breaking point by acting in a way that triggers Sensitivity, the Secretary’s Sensitivity check proceeds as if she had committed the tainting herself.

Drill ManualEdit

A Drafter may give her recruits the basic knowledge necessary for their service. While Transformed, she touches the forehead of her target and spends 1 Willpower. For one full day afterward, the target gains either one Skill dot in Brawl, Weaponry or Firearms, or gains the Language Merit [GMC 163] for the Secretary’s native language or one she has the Language Merit for and the Encyclopedic Knowledge Merit [GMC 162] for an organization which has her loyalty. (Normally the latter option is used on foreign recruits, so the language is modern Alhambran and the organization is the Order of the Spotted Hyena or the City as a whole.) The Secretary cannot raise anyone’s Skill to a level higher than her own.

Governor PrivilegesEdit

The Queen’s ShillingEdit

The Governors of Novaculite can create Sworn with an amazing efficiency. The Privilege uses the same rules as the Charm Accept Fealty, except that it must be used on a group of at least five people who are bound to each other or a common cause, sufficient for a Commonalty Charm to work on them all, and the Governor’s dice pool takes the Commonalty modifier appropriate for the targeted group.

Binding ServiceEdit

The chosen of Alhambra must work together for the good of the Last City. The Governor may spend 1 Wisp while transformed to bolster the members of an organization and give them unity. She rolls Presence + Expression - the Commonalty modifier for the organization as an instant action.

Dramatic Failure: The Governor breaks the bonds among her targets. For a full day, none of the targets count as members of any organization if a supernatural power that exploits Commonalty is used on them.
Failure: The members’ cohesion is not affected.
Success: Members of the organization who are present are drawn into a mystical unity. The Commonalty modifier for affecting them improves by one step, to a maximum of Dedicated. The increased Commonalty lasts for a full day.
Exceptional Success: The members take fire from the Governor’s words; they gain the Inspired Condition [GMC 182].

Regent PrivilegeEdit

Favor of the Last EmpressEdit

A Regent of Novaculite sends troops into battle with the favor of Her Everflowing Majesty to support them. Once per session, the Regent may pronounce a blessing in the name of her Queen on a group of people whose Commonalty modifier is currently Dedicated (either naturally or with the benefit of Binding Service) as an instant action, and spends 3 Wisps and 1 Willpower. Everyone in the group immediately gains the Destined Condition, related to a mission of the Regent’s choice, with a pool of banked dice equal to the Regent’s Weaponry dots. All the Conditions end without resolving when the session ends.

Drawback: The group’s shared mission binds them all in shared responsibility. If anyone with the Destined Condition from the Privilege fails a breaking point roll, everyone else with the Condition also reaches a breaking point, taking the same penalty as the character who failed. Failing these rolls doesn’t cause another round of breaking points; no character reaches a breaking point twice from the same event.

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