Across a dry landscape, humanity will survive, but only as one. This is the Tribe, the core civilization of the WWNS, and the Tribe is All.
In some ways, Alabaster Tribe is a political party, a magi-smithed military, and preserver of the human race. If you are from A World With No Shadow and you have some sense at all, you are either a member of the Alabaster Tribe or you are aspiring to become a member of Alabaster Tribe. It even has a nation, of sorts, although they’ve moved around quite a bit. They aren’t married to their current homeland called “Amnesty” (aptly named) but it’s probably the best place in the whole of the world. It is warm country with long summers and temperate winters. If the land can be defended for a growing season, there is wheat, rice, and olives.
The heart of Amnesty, which sits in a fertile river delta, is a place known only as the House of the Eye. Here, the Hierarchs of Alabaster Tribe tend the Great Eye of Knowledge, an artifact assembled in antiquity to grant mankind as-close-to-infinite knowledge as is possible. In this function, it serves well and the Eye can grant knowledge across any distance when properly directed to do so. The Eye does not issue orders, the Hierarchs merely interpret the visions and data they are given by the Eye.
Interpreting the wisdom of the Eye is absolutely essential to the everyday struggles of the people, for only the Eye reveals the weaknesses of the enemy. There are so many varied forces arrayed against mankind; a mad Golem army that continuously replicates itself, an infestation of mobile fungi whose spores cause schizophrenia, aquatic masses of tentacled protoplasm with human faces, and an army of killer sub-humans…. Those are only the immediate, present threats. There are other distant horrors, no doubt, that will make themselves known at the worst possible moment. There are other people out there, too, who didn’t have the good fortune to be born into Alabaster Tribe. The good news is that Alabaster Tribe would love have them, if only they can get to them for extraction.
Being a member of Alabaster Tribe is a hard life, however, make no mistake. The Hierarchs are always looking for transgressors against the State and they know your crimes before you have even committed them. This would have been a death sentence until recently, but a New and Glorious Era is upon A World With No Shadow. A beautiful paradise exists in a far off place known only to the Hierarchs and the Eye. It needs settlers, ritually branded with ancient hieroglyphic spells, to prepare it to receive the Alabaster Tribe.
Alabaster Tribe has rigid social stratification based on profession. Most people are Citizens, but there is also a sizable number of Corvee, slaves owned by the State. A period of Corvee, tied to a specific public or military works, is required for membership in the Alabaster Tribe for those not of Amnesty. Priests outrank Citizens, but are afforded few extra rights Citizens do not share. The Alabaster Tribe considers mundane crafts to be magical, and magic to be mundane. Therefore, their Priests are craftsmen devoted to Cults of various things. There is a Cult of the Kettle (Alchemy and Treatment), Cult of the Hammer (Tinkering, Armor and Weapon Smithing), Cult of the Stylus (Diplomacy, Scholarship, and Mercantile), Cult of the River (Gardening), Cult of the Chisel (Artistry, Jewelcraft, General Craft), Cult of the Drum (Performance), and the Cult of the Eye (Emanations of the Eye). Defenders, those people who can spend two seasons in military training or action per year, have higher status than Citizens. Rangers are Defenders who seek out settlements in the wilderness to relocate to Amnesty. Healers provide combat healing to their fellow Defenders, but must be able to defend themselves so as not to become a burden. Nomarchs, the highest ranking Defenders, are regional military governors, tasked with holding a parcel of Amnesty against the rampaging madness.
The Hierarchs are primarily a military order (members are universally Strong) but also monastic (members are universally either Learned or Attuned). A large, white shield is the universal symbol of a Hierarch, carried by every member of that order. They are the interpreters of the Emanations of the Eye, a school of sorcery that interfaces directly with the Great Eye of Knowledge. The style is not closely guarded, as it is not a crime to Know, but merely to Act in a criminal manner. They style is heavy with divination, although it also performs miracles of a more visceral nature; fixing broken things, protecting from devastating attacks, and demoralizing foes.
Defense is the central ideal of Amnesty and every member of the Alabaster Tribe receives military training based on their ability. Therefore, the people of A World With No Shadow pay 5 character points for the first level Shield. Although the Heirarchs get all the glory, it is truly the common people who are the power source of the enterprise known as Mankind. Consequently the great Mage-Smiths and lowly Gardener serfs alike receive the first level of Craft for 5 character points. Those who wish to enact the protocols necessary to question the Great Eye of Knowledge pay only 10 character points for Emanations of the Eye, not 15 as normal.
For those wishing to portray branded criminals, dark black (possibly bleeding) hieroglyphs are the appropriate makeup.
Magic School: Emanations of the Eye
An Out of Play Explanation of A World With No Shadow
Characters from A World With No Shadow are intended to be characters out of the Bronze Age, of Biblical times, and of the pre-industrial world. Their way of life is simple, clear and unforgiving. They can certainly be good people, but they do not think like 20th century Americans think and this is an important element of the setting. A World With No Shadow is not a setting that speaks to everyone and it is a difficult one at times; the venue is unlikely to be a crowded one, consequently. Players can choose to be Judged, marked criminals, and flaunt the rules of the rigid society they come from. Otherwise, they can be loyal to their Tribe and walk a very disciplined, impersonal path. Thus, playing a character from a World With No Shadow as the setting packet requires can be considered hard mode. Despite the rigors of their ways, however, it’s important to remember that characters from A World With No Shadow are, above all, human beings.