Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Witches

A Sister blocks the curious from following a group of novices
In the Strange Stars, The Circean Witches (officially the Sisterhood of Circe) are an order of female-only psychics that rule two worlds in a system in the neutral territory between the Instrumentality of Aom and the Alliance. The larger and more populous world is named Perseis, and it's people largely live in primitive, early industrial conditions (something akin to the 19th Century of Old Earth in the ancient reckoning). The Sisterhood, headquartered on the smaller world of Circe, limits the technology of Perseis through it's "advisory" roll to the world's various governments. The people of both worlds call themselves "Circeans," as they believe their culture originated on the smaller world.

Appearance and Biology: Circeans are basline human in appearance, other than their skin tone, which ranges from a dull, pale gray to a lead color. The brains of Circeans show mildly enhanced prefrontal-parietal interconnectivity. The result is somewhat enhanced intuitive and lateral thought processes. In females (where the connectivity is most pronounced), it can lead to the ability to utilize controlled dreamlike states of consciousness and high psi potential. Females on Perseis are tested in adolescence, and those with the talent are taken away to Circe and becomes novices in the Sisterhood. It's been hypothesized that the Magi split from the witches in the distant past; when queried on this, the Magi deal with the issue with bemused silence and the witches with irritation.

Sisters in ritual vestments
Psychology: Circeans of Perseis are a superstitious and hidebound folk, with a prickly sense of honor. The Circean Sisterhood are less insular, but still mistrustful of outsiders, mysterious, and often haughty. The witches have particular antipathy for missionaries of the Instrumentality of Aom. They're aware that the Church doctrine on other worlds has under-minded the power of witches and sorcerers, and they take every measure possible to ensure that doesn't happen to them. Though they more governed by divination and intuition, the Sisterhood is as concerned with planning for the future as the Instrumentality.

Flavor: Perseis makes a good locale for Gothic, Hammer, or Universal horror sorts of stories, with psionic beings or creatures substituted for the supernatural. The witches can be played as anything from misunderstood and persecuted to mysterious manipulators (like the Bene Gesserit in Dune or the Shabda-Oud from Metabarons) to horror movie witches depending on the context of the encounter.

Stats: Stars Without Number: Circeans must have at least a 9 in Wisdom. Only female Circeans can be psychics. Traveller: As normal humans. All members of the Sisterhood have psionics.


Tallgeese said...

We like them!

Mystic Scholar said...

And this is why I love you site, you talk about things I've never even heard of.

Of course I'm more Sword & Sorcery than Science Fiction when it comes to books and games, so . . .

It's an education, Trey!

garrisonjames said...

Sounds like a sort of backwater Bene Gesserit...wonder what their plans are, what sort of program are they running here? There could be some interesting adventures among these people. Very cool.

Alex Osias said...

Ooh, totally usable.

Brutorz Bill said...

Nicely done!

Trey said...

Thanks, guys!