Groups (Ricasa Supplement)
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Politics has been described as plenty of unsavory things, and for some reason there's always a group or two who want to cut in on the countries' action. Those in Ricasa that make any difference can be found here.
The Order of Arcanus
You know 'em, you love 'em. The famous red-robed keepers of the Arcane Tower aren't only good at magic, they're also quite skilled at political espionage. The Order has held heavy power in East and South Ricasa ever since its creation, and little escapes its gaze. All but two of the Royal Mages scattered across Ricasa undertook the tower test, and no other group has a stronger "Good Ol' Boy" network than the order. They also have somewhat less subtle methods available: the Tower sits directly at one of only two entry points to the Bay of Kolvet, a gigantic meteor-impact crater that still wells over with fire elemental energy. The reefs of the Outer Rim prevent access by and large except by closely rounding the Markaean Peninsula, on which the Tower sits, or by coming around the icy north shore of Calthoras and slipping by Kinshold Point. From such lofty positions, little escapes the eye of the magi.
Joining the Order is practically a requirement for magic-users in Ricasa, both for access to their facilities and for the knowledgable support they provide. Members of the Order are required to wear the red robes provided (Robes of the Order: +1 Int, Wis, -1 DC to all spellcasting checks, +2 DC to all Hide and Swim checks) on official business. If a member is not wearing the Robes, he will not be recognized as a member- in fact, members in uniform will refuse to speak to him until he dons his uniform.
The Great Link
They never get much publicity, and frankly they don't want it any other way. Though far smaller than their counterparts for magic, the Great Link is nonetheless a very powerful organization- as well as being the only psion ring on the continent. And as you may well have guessed, the very powers of its members make it as equally formidable a force as the Order. It doesn't hurt their cause any that the vast majority of the public is unaware that psions exist in Ricasa at all, or is unclear on their abilities. While the Order does draw all the attention, it is at least partly to help draw it away from the Link, which operates at its best when no-one knows what it is.
Joining the Link is a little harder than joining the Order, and impossible without some form of psionic ability. Confirmed members of the Link are given an identifying necklace to wear at all times (Connector Necklace: -1 DC to all psionic checks, +1 Wis), and may at any time be contacted by the Main Link (the head of the Link) for information. If a member is not wearing his necklace, other members will refuse to speak to him until he puts it on, and necklaces are only given out to new members from the Link's supposedly ruined base on Kinshold Point, the Hawser.
The Bastion Defense Works
Bastion owes its very existence to war, so it is really unsurprising that one of the strongest groups for supporting it is based there. The BDW are still the largest foundry and steelworks in all of Ricasa, employing at least 5% of Bastion's population directly with another 10% in support works such as logging and mining. They know a thing or two about making pistols, as well- the first design for a Ricasan pistol was made by the BDW, and much of their focus is on that edge of the firearm business. Like their counterparts across the bay, the BDW are not afraid to get their hands dirty to make the biggest profit, and their Industrial Espionage groups rival in skill the official intel agencies of Bastion.
The Canadese Armaments Corporation
The CAC has long been a maker of weapons, originally bows and arrows, as well as being the direct supplier for the Canadese Royal Guard. In the past, CAC has been a small firm of mostly family and friends, and only recently did they really gain fame, when they converted production to firearms. Though at first they were just playing catch-up with the BDW over pistols, the equation changed entirely when CAC announced the production of the first longarm weapon. Death from afar has always been the CAC specialty, and that has never been more apparent than with their current product line. In addition, CAC is fully willing to be underhanded when it comes to matters of heavy profit, and their IE division can match BDW's nose to nose.
Despite the best efforts of just about everyone in Ricasa, the Black Army has never been completely ousted from the continent. Scattered fragments continued to pester their surroundings all throughout the duration of the Treaty of Yehul, right up until the Black Army's reformation by the Baron just before the signing of the Grand Treaty.
But by then, some members had had enough. They wanted out of it. The main problem, however, was the thousand-year prejudices against "evil" creatures, prejudices which would take a nigh-powerful force to overcome.
So the Grayscalers were formed. A high-profile organization, the Scalers act both as a "welcoming committee" for new defectors, helping them ease out of the Black Army lifestyle, and as a publicity arm for the reformed. The Scalers do all kinds of goodwill work in West Ricasa, from repairing public works to clearing out critter infestations, as proof that their members want no more of the endless war.
It may well be in the interests of a "monster" race character (goblins, kobolds, dark elves, what have you) to join the Grayscalers, if only for the support and reinforcement their networks provide.
The Insiders are a truly nasty group of people. They first surfaced in about 30 A.G.T., when threatening letters were delivered simultaneously to the offices of the CAC and the BDW declaring a vendetta against one of their chief scientists. Less than a week later, both scientists were found dead in their workspaces. Painted on the walls in the blood of the victims was a double "I" in a circle.
The Insiders have no stated goal or purpose, and their targets tend to be almost completely random. But the overall intent is clear and unthinkable: through various means, the Insiders appear to be attempting to provoke another Continental War. Their methods and modus operandi are incredibly skillful, and they are willing to do anything from spreading rumors to outright assassination.
It is not possible to join the Insiders, even for an evil character- the group trusts no one, and all who come close to finding out anything about the organization are immediately bumped to the top of their hit list. Avoid at all costs.
The Alliance is quite possibly the most disorganized group of interests ever to exist, as well as being one of the most powerful. Not so much a group of its own as a loose cooperative union of several of the nastier specimens of life in Ricasa, the Alliance is nevertheless quite powerful, and has been traced to all sorts of activites from coca smuggling to piracy to spreading dissent.
This vile conglomerate came about after several low-life criminal groups decided to band together in an attempt to gain power over the more established organs of crime already entrenched into society. It worked, to a degree- while the groups themselves failed to rise above such powerful forces as the Mafia, the joining attracted other low-level groups into the fold, ranging from the Pirate Kingdom itself, to guerilla forces like the Styaleni Underground, to hate groups like Humanity Alone (which hates pretty much anything non-human, from orcs to elves). Slowly but surely, the Alliance was formed, and it grew in power until even its squabbling interests couldn't keep it from becoming a real threat to life in Ricasa.
The Alliance is not to be trusted under any circumstances due to its "ends justify the means" attitude towards action. As of the latest meeting of the Grand Council, and the passing of Amendment 43, members of the Alliance have forfeited their humanity (or what have you) through their actions and are to be shot on sight.
The Mob cannot be defined as anything but a criminal organization. Founded almost a hundred years ago in Wathe, the Mob has since spread all across Ricasa and maintains its role as "the grease that makes society's wheels turn". It is run by a man known only as X, whose face remains hidden behind an ever-shifting Illusion spell and who is wanted in half of East Ricasa for countless crimes.
Nevertheless, the Mob remains solely an organ of business, and X has stated that he is determined not to let it turn into another Alliance. Their ability and reach throughout the back channels of Ricasa is incredible- if you have the money, they could probably get you the very key to the Capam mithril mines.
While joining the Mob is not recommended, or easy, it is possible for a skilled and morally ambiguous player to gain a place in the ranks of the Greasers. Also, for 110% of the open market price, the Mob can get you a -5 DC check on almost any item purchase you want. (Equation: Pay 11 gold, get a 5 DC check on a normally 10 gold, 10 DC item)