Wednesday, October 7, 2015

City of Curses: Geistrakers

#Crux is this ongoing thing I keep writing setting pieces for.  I run a home game set in it, and it tends to use #FateCore.  If you want to know more about Crux, this page is probably a good place to start, rather than here. 

Geistrakers are intended to be a counterpoint to the Ghostwalkers.  In Crux, they serve the people of the Wish Quarter, including the Archwitch.  Scientists, they see Ghosts as resources to be exploited for the sake of the people.

The Geistrakers 
"Wherein we strike against the bastard-walkers of our ill-begotten Prince.  The best of us dare to fight against them.  Geists are ours to command.  This city needs to learn to fear our chains."

The dead are numerous in Crux.  The further one departs from the center of Old Crux, the harder it is for the Prince to maintain his control.  Ghostwalkers, like the sewers and sanitation magic, don't venture past Palace Hill much.  As Crux turns into stink, garbage and offal, the Demon's Orphans are more and more easier to find.

The Geistrakers are one of the many gangs that make up the Demon's Orphans.  The Ghostwalkers try to serve the ghost denizens of Crux.  Instead the Geistrakers chain and bind them.  Geistrakers provide a service to their neighborhoods, collecting ghosts and putting them together.  They combine bits of alchemy, spiritualism and ectomancy.  A Geistraker not only will remove a poltergeist, but will repurpose it.  He will turn it into a tool that helps the neighborhood around it.

Ghostwalkers tend to come from Cleric backgrounds, while  Geistrakers studied science and arcane magic.  They all studied at the University of Crux.  Geistrakers are Alchemists, Arcanists, Ectomancers, Occultists and Enchanters.  Geistrakers believe that Ghostwalkers mistake ghosts and other spirits as being intelligent entities.  They are certain that they are just echoes.

Geistrakers know how to alter and control these echoes.  They study and use ectomancy.  They study ghosts.  They don't pray.  Most of them don't, anyway.

The Chains.
Geistrakers use chains for repurposing captured ghosts.  Made with alloys of silver, steel and ectoplasm, each Geistchain requires precision to use.  Geistchains exist in both physical and ethereal planes.  Ghosts can feel them.  Ghosts can touch them.

Once chained, a Geistraker can move the ghost, even against its will, away from the anchor it haunts.  Most geistrakers reprogram captured ghosts to anchor with their chain.  They merge ghosts together, often looking to piece together traits they see as desirable.

A Geistchain can serve countless purposes.  In the Wish Quarter, they act as eyes, ears, lights and more.  There aren't that many Geistchains.  They aren't a common good that others can get outside the Geistrakers.  Those existing the Geistrakers tend to put out in the open.  Geistrakers do what they can to help those in their neighborhood.   They offer their services out to the wealthy of Crux.   They collect errant ghosts and spirits for a fee.  Then they repurpose them to provide free services for those living in the Wish Quarter.

 All without the interference of the Prince.  Or so they claim.

Geistrakers have installed critical geistchains in the Wish Quarter.  One provides clean drinking water for many residents.  Another helps the Justicars of the Iron Cage maintain their prison.  There is one that collects offal and waste from the streets.

Feud With The Ghostwalkers.
The Geistrakers are certain that the Ghostwalkers are misleading the public.  They think its an abuse of the Prince to spread the lie that ghosts are sentient or even intelligent.  Geistrakers and the Guild of Esteemed Ghostwalkers have long opposed one another.

Their conflict rarely explodes into violence.  This is unlike other clashes between the Prince and the Archwitch's people.  But each side is certain the other is abusing someone.  Ghostwalkers see the Geistrakers as the most dangerous kind of slavers.  Geistrakers see Ghostwalkers as dangerous because they mis-educate people about the dangers about ghosts.

Demons.  Fae.  Angels.  Devils.  Aboleths.

Geistrakers identify all these as geist attractors.  These are like rotten meat for attracting flies.  The most intense geist incidents tend occur after the appearance of poweful entities.  Geistrakers document each of these events, out of curiosity.  The Esoterium Machina sometimes asks them research incidents involving fae or angels.

Geistrakers always interfere with any attempt to summon such beings.  The geistchains they rely fail or can malfunction in the presence of strong entities.  They have failsafes, but the Geistrakers are paranoid of the dangers.  As such, they contain their most dangerous geists in their headquarters.   The headquarters is often nicknamed the "firehouse."

The Geistrakers fear anything happening to the Firehouse.  The sudden release of so many entities might create something they call a 'ghoststorm'.  They do what they can to keep that from being a possibility.

Sidebar: But I thought that... Ghosts...
In the Ghostwalkers piece, I touched on Ghosts being citizens of Crux This grants them rights because Ith grants rights to any sorcerous creature.  The Ghostwalkers believe and always have, that Ghosts are the dead.  Geistrakers disagree, and they have their own reasons to believe otherwise.  

Geistrakers point to how magic can alter ghosts.  They also point to geists, entities not formed from the dead, but the echoes of traumatic events.  Geists aren't as plentiful as ghosts and they aren't the result of a living creature dying.  Instead, something more abstract emerges from a event rooted in severe emotion.  Poltergeists happen to be insane melds between ghosts and geists.  Often this creates a mad entity that lashes out at those around it.

Geistrakers also have demonstrated the ability to create ghost images and objects in ectoplasm.  This suggests that they could create new ghosts without needing a dead person at all.  But this would need further efforts and research on their part.

Ghostwalkers have always countered that this doesn't dismiss the inherent nature of ghosts themselves.  Ghostwalkers are certain, even as echoes, ghosts still are people of a sort.
End Sidebar

Face: Ydrian Taan
Geistraker Ydrian Taan is, perhaps, the closest thing to a outlier the the geistrakers have.  A sabizi
tiefling, her family never abandoned her like Tomasi or Salish humans do with tieflings.  They raised her, and she came to embrace the faith of Shraxes, but as a metaphor for her family as a whole.

She demonstrated a talent for ectomancy at an early age.  Her parents, too poor to afford tuition for university, turned to the Archwitch for help.  She granted them their wish.  Three years into training to become a wizard, Ydrian's mother, aunt and cousins all died when a cadre of City Watch had a firefight with Justicars in the Wish Quarter.  Ydrian joined the Geistrakers, but had become fascinated with being able to speak with the dead, to try to reconnect with her dead family.

Ydrian has always keep an open mind in regards to the idea that ghosts have intelligence.  Her views haven't forced her to be shunned, but she has contributed some tenseness to any ongoing hypothesis.

She asks the dead for their help, hesitant to alter them too much.  She's crafted geistchains of her own, but Ydrian is still looking for solution that could satisfy her urge to reconnect with the Geistraker philosophy of using ghosts to help the community.  She could prove a vital contact in the Wish Quarter, or she could be a grey shaded rival.