Near a vast blue ocean, a city of black iron and twisted spires sits under a faintly glowing dome of green. This is Dominancy, where the last vestiges of Humanity live in servitude to their masters; creatures from the darkest corners of the continent. Servitude is preferable, however, to the threat beyond the magical barriers. At the edge of sight, dark shadows dance with corpses, twisting vision and minds alike. For those who live inside the walls, one truth rings clear: only the Beasts can save you.
The Nightmare Dominancy is a world where the few remaining humans have come under the rule of oppressive monsters, after centuries of fleeing the darkness of what lies in the everlasting twilight hours of the Beneath and the Beyond. The Beasts of this city, true monsters to behold, offer protection to the humans of Dominancy in return for unwavering servitude. Even then, the threat of being devoured, disemboweled, or strung up on a steeple at a whim looms over every human. Or worse. Only a select few “favourites,” known as Quislings, ever make it to any position of relative comfort; and even they still glance over their shoulders on foggy nights.
The city itself, massive and sprawling as far as the eye can see, is enclosed on land by a great stone and split into six districts, ruled by six great monsters known as the Beasts. Through a binding pact established long ago, each Beast is a pillar to the magical barrier protecting Dominancy, inviting the monstrous races inside, and providing Thus each Beast rules over their human population with supreme power. Their domain extends over any living (and sometimes, that trait is difficult to verify) creature. Each district of the city is unique and relatively insular. Though citizens of Dominancy can travel between the districts freely, their occupations, lack of transportation, and general superstitions tend to discourage them from leaving their home district. Most districts also share a similar architectural design, favouring slim stone buildings with intricate accents of black metal, high-arched windows, and dark tile roofs sporting small angled chimneys; thick smoke spouting into the sky from various workhouses. Very little vegetation grows between the densely laid cobblestone streets, as everything but wispy, slender grass and weeds dies in the thick, smoky air. Towards the outskirts of the heart of the city, the skyline transforms abruptly to the thick gnarled trees of the Untamed Woods and the moors of the Farmlands Districts.
Life for the humans in Dominancy mostly consists of working in either a trade skill or menial labour, with only occasional rest. Humans are expected to bend the knee and present absolute fealty, given tasks as befits the Beast they serve. Most humans live as simple peasants, fearing for their lives, and seeking comfort within their chuckaboos and large extended families. Though they are compensated for their devotion in “protection” and the most basic allowances; there are no dreams of riches or retirement for humans. Simply being kept fed and clothed exhausts most of the light in their eyes. Those humans that do push past the poverty line tend to be the Quislings, preying off of the rest of their race in order to squeeze out as much comfort and coin as possible. Quislings have only slightly extended means, and are deeply loyal to the command and will of the Beasts, but not removed from human ranks. Other than Quislings, merchants, performers, and exceptional crafters may live to one day see real coinage in their hands, though heretics whispered about in taverns may come across these as well. To the working underclass though, the Quislings are just as tyrannical as their fanged and winged overseers.
While education falls far below trade skills and basic survival, some humans, especially those working in the Athenaeum, pride themselves in being useful in uncovering lost knowledge. The ordinary human, however, is more concerned with keeping their head down and doing their job more so than any intellectual pursuit. As such, very little progressive or technological development comes from the human race directly. This has lead to the popular and widely accepted belief that the Beasts are the sole inventors of our modern world, and that limb and life lost for that minute progress are but a small price to pay. They are worth only what a Beast sees them as.
For those who unfortunately live near the borders of the magical barrier where the smaug is thinnest and the city less dense, few dare to wander close or look up past the wall for much longer than a glimpse. Curiosity and temptation stir. Visions of horrific nightmares or elusive treasures invade the mind. To gaze through the barrier to the Beyond will take something from you. Stories and songs circulate through the taverns of people driven mad by the torments of what lies waiting in the darkness outside, knowing that they are a stone’s throw from the Vile Shadows that nearly eradicated humanity once before.
Make-Up Requirement and Advantages
As a human, you know that you owe your life to the Beasts, even if you are a heretic and don’t appreciate their dismissive and abusive treatment of you. The fact is, you ARE expendable, and may have to be at any time for the “greater good.” You know there is no real upward mobility, except for a few very special cases, but that doesn’t generally concern you, as keeping your nose down and basic survival take up most of your time. That is not to say you do not have ambition, rather, you simply view the world pragmatically as a terrifying and deadly place.
Younger and more desperate humans might take to harassment, general thievery, and venture underground to join the small heretical rebels. The Beasts will permit certain acts of insurrection within reason, especially if the illegal act is self serving. Humans aren’t aware of this lenience. Minor illegal acts fuel human ambitions, which lead to higher productivity within the working class. Once the line has been crossed, it is not much a mystery on how your entrails outline your door the following morning.
Players may either start as a Quisling or a Human. While Humans can become Quislings, this is a difficult process, especially when removed from the gifts of the Beasts. The path from Quisling to Human is nigh impossible.
If a player decides to start as a Quisling, they must pick a Beast to be their handler. Their makeup requirement stems from this selection.
Humans have no makeup requirements.
Quislings must bear an outer marking from their Beast, which must be phys-repped at all times. The marking must exemplify the Beast that the pact was made with, and must be detailed in the Character Background. It does not have to be visible at all times, but should be of a decent size, and is subject to Plot review. Ritualistic scarring, body modifications, or visible tattoos are all appropriate for this. This requirement cannot be filled by taking a spell from The Weirding Words and Hermetic Superstitions with a makeup requirement, but can be of a similar notion.
Victorian England with a supernatural twist. Gothic horror along the likes of Tim Burton is allowed, the more elaborate, the better. NO STEAMPUNK.
Advantages and Racial Traits:
As a mostly trade-driven class, humans from the Nightmare Dominancy are trained craftsmen. They are also taught from a young age to be aware of their surroundings, lest their surroundings catch them unaware. Should they be attacked, however, range is always a much better defense than melee against the creatures of the night.
1st level of Craft is 0 CP for Humans, however the first specialty chosen MUST be alchemy, otherwise this skill’s cost is only reduced to 5 for level 1.
Quislings may purchase the the Weirding Words at 5 CP for level one, but they MUST first purchase the spell associated with their handler.
1st level of Thrown is 5 CP.
If chosen as a fourth trait, Perception costs only 15 CP instead of 20. It still can not be bought past level one, however.