(The Assassins Adept)
"I am part of the Oneness, the collective mind shared by those of my Pride. I embrace logic and ignore the violent emotions that distracts me from my single minded dedication to the destruction of the Beast. I am the ultimately trained assassin who strikes without remorse and devours the parasites of our world. I too am the dispassionate artist whose works inspire weakness in my prey. I stand in the corner of the maze of intrigue, unnoticed and prepare to make any sacrifice to triumph."
Arachne Sanctuaries are made in secret fortresses or living ships which float over the oceans, beyond human view.
Near the center of the Everglades in southern Florida, a majestic island of exotic jungle foliage rises from the seemingly endless sawgrass prairie. On this island is the creche of the Arachne, a vast spider-like living monolith. The interior is a maze so confusing that invaders would find it impossible to navigate its corridors. Here the Arachne hold their quiet, introspective court.
Elsewhere, Pride Arachne holds sway over India and the Indian Ocean, the cities of Zurich, Istanbul, and Helsinki as well as cities the United States such as Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, and Milwaukee. They have numerous fortresses around the world in remote and inaccessible places.
Arachne hold influence in the computer software industry, as well as sponsoring art galleries and scientific experimentation. They are the premier architects of the world, sponsoring mortals of great talent at any opportunity.
The Arachne, alongside the Banjax and Anopheles, influenced the spread of the Gothic movement throughout the world, a group of disenchanted nihilists who form a sizable bulk of their quiet cultures. With the Amaranth, they compete for control of the Gothic music scene.
Arachne are descended from spider, scorpion and insect forms, notably predatory insects. In Himsati form they can appear as a normal or giant variety of the insect, whichever they choose. No matter what the size, both forms have the same attributes as the Terrene. The insect forms are always extremely disturbing in appearance and invoke an intense revulsion in most human beings.
In human form, Arachne are dark and unsettling. Their eyes are invariably dark and staring, with no whites at all. They most often wear antiquated clothing of black or gray and symbols that provoke uneasiness in others. Their demeanor is generally cold, detached, austere and generally polite. Arachne always wear bracelets as symbols of identification within their Pride. The elite of the Pride (the Swarm) wear red hourglasses as a symbol of their status, secret knowledge and mastery over time.
Male: About 30% Female: About 70%
Arachne draw the raw emotions of an individual, decreasing not only the victims life-force, but also their capacity to feel. The Arachne chooses the emotions he wishes to ingest---some favor specific emotions such as joy or rage. Arachne are forbidden to ever drain the emotion fear from their victims. Not only do they much prefer their enemies to retain this quality so they can exploit it, but the Arachne possess a carnal (see Fear Vampirism, below) which allows them to feed on fear simply by witnessing it. It is therefore in the best interest of the Prides survival not to remove fear from others.
There is always a decrease in the capacity of a mortal to feel an emotion when surrendering his life-force to an Arachne. It is up to the Arachne if the feeling is completely taken or just significantly reduced.
As can be expected, Arachne punish mortals by removing positive emotions, leaving only the negative ones. Often, this drives a victim to madness or suicide, to the delight of the Anopheles.
Arachne are among the most feared members of the Perpetual Society. Their alien logic, combined with their emotionless demeanor and use of terror to accomplish their ends makes them a disturbing element to any immortal gathering. The Arachne reputation for assassination, predilection for torture and prowess in creating intricate traps is renown. While polite, they are rarely warm and thus inspire distrust wherever they go. Arachne reputation and the suspicion they engender serves to inspire their own subtlety in scheming; since everyone expects it of them they must take all the more care. Like an iceberg in a the sea, 90 percent of an Arachnes plot is hidden beneath his calm face..
Arachne act slowly and with great deliberation. Their patience is seemingly without measure. Once a course of action is chosen, they are single-minded in seeing it to its conclusion, which can often be one of their weaknesses. They build their defenses with few exploitable gaps.
Of all immortals, Arachne are the least susceptible to the perils of probability---bad luck. Their creation of dictums, mental data formulas which allow them to avoid disastrous outcomes of their actions allows them to make fewer mistakes. In addition, they cultivate a form of madness within themselves known as the Oneness, the ability to completely ignore the burden of time on their thoughts, memories or perception and operate as a collective unit. See Dictums and The Oneness below under Carnal s for an explanation of these abilities and how they work.
Arachne have a unified purpose---the absolute control of time. They now understand that the Hourglass was designed for such a purpose and are seeking its many components. They hope to use the weapon against the Sanguinary to exile him into oblivion. They search the world for components of the Hourglass and will even make forays into the Dominions if they receive a reasonable tip-off that one has turned up.
Arachne seek out members of the Hive whenever they learn of their presence. If the Arachne can truly be said to hate any individual, this would certainly apply to the Hive. They give this Drove no quarter, relentlessly assassinating them and any who have had traffic with them. Their Queen and creator, Lilith, is believed to still be in the hands of the Hive. The Arachne put number one priority on discovering her whereabouts and rescuing her.
The Arachne know that the Hive is attempting to create a Queen themselves who will exercise control over the Arachne, probably using information from Lilith herself. Reports of unsuccessful attempts to breed this creature have filtered in for millennia, making the destruction of the Hive even more necessary to the Pride.
The Swarm: Individual Arachne are occasionally contacted via telepathy by the Drone, the mysterious mentor of Lilith, their creator. All those chosen by the Drone become part of the Swarm, an elite caste of the Arachne who serve His enigmatic purposes. Members of the Swarm cannot allow themselves to be part of the Oneness, but instead commune directly with the Drone in the same manner. This is obviously a protective measure to keep possible spies from learning the Drones plans for the Pride as a whole.
The rest of the Arachne, despite the Swarms remoteness from their greater collective, consider them to be of the highest order, an esteem which approaches sanctity. The Swarms advice are always carefully considered on any matter which they give an opinion.
Playing a member of the Swarm is challenging. They are remote and enigmatic. They rarely give a straight answer. In many ways, they are more alien than the other members of the Pride. The Swarm has one primary duty: they are the collective key which can reactivate the Hourglass weapon once its components have been recovered. As such, they always wear a bracelet inscribed with an hourglass symbol.
The appearance of a member of the Swarm in any city will cause great interest (and perhaps consternation) within members of the Arachne who live there. Not only is it a great honor, but their reputation for exposing corruption, almost as an afterthought, is well known.
Cultural Note: The Drone
Scattered throughout the universe are the sconces. These mysterious towers, made of a black ivory-like stone are so ancient that they stood, seemingly for ages, before even the arrival of the Sanguinary to our world.
The Drone is, to Arachne knowledge, either one of the towers or resident inside it. None of the sconces has ever been opened by any creature, immortal or otherwise. The material of which they are constructed is utterly indestructible. The Drone engendered the Arachne on Lilith and has guided them in recent times through His agencies, the Swarm. Any Arachne character who receives a telepathic message from the Drone, generally in the form of a breathtakingly beautiful geometric symbol, is chosen by "Him" to become part of the Swarm. The Drones purity is obvious---no one contacted by Him has any doubt that he is a creature of Light. The Drone never contacts an Arachne who is tainted or corrupted by the Sanguinary in any way.
Cultural Note: The Delirium Stone
Hidden within the inner sanctums of the Arachne creche is a special crypt wherein all members of the Pride who have entered ennui are interred. In the center of this strange web floats the Delirium Stone, an artifact into which emotions (immaculum) gathered by the Arachne are placed in preparation for the final battle with the enemy. At that battle, the stone is to be broken and the emotions spilled into the catatonic legions of Arachne surrounding it, pulling them out of their sleep and setting them into a state of delirium where they become emotion-torn, ravening monsters to send against the forces of Darkness.
All Arachne are required to possess an item which is capable of absorbing immaculum into it. This is known as a delirium chrysalis. Arachne are obligated to exact emotion as payment for mercenary services rendered to other Prides. Once the payment is secured---the emotion is transferred from the employer to the chrysalis---the Arachne is obligated to return it to the Arachne creche within the Everglades or give it into the hands of an Arachne Emissary.
Only Arachne Emissaries are allowed within the Delirium Web, where they deliver emotions brought to them from other Arachne. The chrysalis resembles a small cocoon made of glass. It glows when an emotion charges it. An Emissary can detect what emotion is in a delirium shard, but only when it is touched to the Stone. If the emotion inside is ever fear, the Emissary is charged with discovering who brought this crippling emotion in, and seeing that he is destroyed. Often this involves the cooperation of a Probe, Scourge and Slayer of the Pride.
Anyone who freely gives up immaculum (an emotion) to an Arachne must make a roll on a ten-sided die. A null indicates he accumulates points of ennui. If he gave up a positive emotion, he accumulates 3 ennui. If the emotion was negative, he accumulates only 1.
The Anopheles covet the Delirium Stone and would give almost anything to have it in their hands for the experiences it contains. This lust may be responsible for the continued friendliness of the Anopheles despite their differences from the Arachne.
Legacies: Arachne gain the first rank of the following legacies at no cost:
Ambidextrous, Censor, Vigil
Serenades: Arachne gain the first rank of any three of the following serenades at no cost. All other serenades on this list are at a complexity rank of 4 for Arachne characters.
Bare, Bastion, Daze, Filament, Flux and Flow, Galatea, Gemetria, Iris, Metaphor, Minutia, Psychomachia, Riot, Scribe and Weld.
Arachne Secret Serenades: Akasha and Loom. See Serenades, the First Book of Powers, page 105.
The Dictum: The dictum is a pure logical formula which, when concentrated on, allows an Arachne to perceive shifts in probability and compensate for them. In system terms, an Arachne can reroll any single null once per episode. This ability can effectively avoiding failure in all forms of combat, assuming Himsati aspects or avoiding ennui.
Madness Of The Hand: Arachne are able to construct objects of art which carry in them a disturbing aura which inspires certain emotions in those who view them. The Arachne must go to the Creche and receive the emotion he wishes to inspire from the Delirium Stone. He breaks the vial and pours the raw emotion over the art piece. Forever after, until destroyed, the object causes those who view it to experience a subconscious emotion. Often Arachne will use fear (the only time they are allowed to take this emotion from a mortal) and use it in their work.
This carnal does not cause an object to accumulate immaculum, as is the case of art created by mortal man (see Appendix IV, Mortal Powers, for details.)
The Oneness: Arachne cultivate a very pure form of madness known as the Oneness. This madness has a myriad of benefits. It causes incoming information (whether read or heard) to stimulate the Arachne with beautiful displays of geometric pattern and deep physical pleasure. It is the ability to access the collective consciousness of the Pride and gain information.
In system terms, the Oneness allows an Arachne to, once per episode, ask the Narrator for a detailed summation on a person, place or item from the collective knowledge of Pride Arachne. The Narrator determines how much the Arachne know when giving this information. If this Arachnes question ever seeks a conclusion or speculation from the collective, rather than cold hard facts, his standing in the Pride is diminished.
All Arachne in the Oneness are aware of the operation of this ability and perceive the thoughts of the person accessing the collective, thus in effect, reading his mind.
The Oneness is an art-form to the Arachne. How the question which accesses the collective it is stated is profoundly important to the rest of the collective. The more often the collective is asked to make a conclusion or speculation, the less the individual is considered part of the Oneness. In other words, the Arachne can, as a whole, withdraw this ability from any one of its members. With the loss of this madness comes a loss of status in Arachne society and an almost unbearable sense of loneliness.
For members of the Arachne who are part of the Swarm, the Oneness operates identically, except that the collective is formed only by other members of the Swarm and the cryptic consciousness of the Drone.
Fear Vampirism Arachne are sustained by fear. Whenever an Arachne witnesses true, expressed terror in another sentient being, they are sustained for 24 hours, requiring no sleep, food, water or fulfillment of other bodily needs. Because this carnal allows an Arachne to survive, he will never remove fear from another being with the use of a delirium chrysalis.
Enraged Himsati: Arachne not only suppress their true forms, which they consider too dangerous due to their uncontrollable instincts, they madden it to make it a more dangerous weapon when released. An Arachne, after assuming Himsati form, must kill a living thing, thereby expending the himsatis maddened state, before he can resume his human shape. This disadvantage applies to all Arachne characters and is not an option.
The following are taboos which, selected for your character, grants you +5 starting memory motes per rank instead of the normal +3.
The Arachne is poisoned by alcohol. The rank of taboo equals the rank of poison hostile.
The Arachnes presence draws annoying insects to the area (rank 4)
The Arachne takes a light wound if he deliberately kills an insect. (rank 3)
Clocks stop in the Arachnes presence. (rank 1)
The Arachne glows under ultraviolet lighting like a scorpion. (rank 3)
The Arachne kills any mortal sex partner. (rank 5)
Over a period of days, clothes the Arachne wear slowly transform to those of a bygone era. (rank 1)
In the temperature drops below 40 degrees, the Arachne must cocoon himself and hibernate until the temperature rises again. (rank 5)
Anything the Arachne touches becomes covered with spider webbing. (rank 2)
The Arachne eats other insects to survive. (rank 2)
Amaranth: "Interesting and powerful. They are bound by purpose. Their ability to inspire others is fascinating and their selfless nature something others with emotion should emulate."
Anopheles: "Brilliant, yet flawed in their embrace of emotion. They would become truly terrible if they shed their passion yet continued to pursue all possible sensation. They have been trustworthy allies."
Banjax "There is insufficient proof that the entity known as Death truly exists, and the Banjax embrace of chaotic individualism makes them dangerous to the probability of our eventual victory over the Sanguinary."
Cur: "Reckless and young. They have incorrectly perceived the dark nature of those they hunt as corruption. The probability they will survive the final war is remote."
Dracul: "Their dedication, while admiral, is given to a flawed assumption. Balance exists in the strong controlling the weak. File Reference: See Darwinism."
Eremites: "The likelihood is that humanity will either be devoured by the Sanguinary in the final war, destroyed when It emerges from their psyche, or by ourselves in defense. Therefore, the Eremites efforts to advance them is likely to be fruitless. Despite belief, there is no hard data suggesting the existence of their supreme being, yet the notion intrigues us."
Inferna: "They play a dangerous game with the beliefs of humanity. One day, they will burn for true."
Magdalen: "Worthy allies whose dedication to accumulating knowledge is second only to our own. They are less encumbered by emotionalism than other Prides yet their flaw lies in their stubborn opinions rather than tested hypotheses."
Morrigan: "The cycle of time will see an end to the Morrigan as the scepter Pride, as it has previously. Their fears encompass them despite the might of their visage. Their redeeming moment will come under another Scepter when they can concentrate on being warriors."
Nimrod: "They behave as if they are the Scepter, enforcing their will and usurping leadership. Intriguing, is it not? Their own lust for power may propel them into its central seat."
Peri: "Violent and ruled by a mirage of emotions and false bravado. The sum of every equation to the Peri is violence without discipline. They are loaded weapons which will discharge no matter where they are pointed, requiring our vigilance and defensive preparation."
Phoenix: "The essence of chaos, consumed by passion and the need to control unfolding creation. Yet, their destruction of imperfection is useful; we follow behind and build logical structure in their smoking wake."
Roane: "Observe them with all eight eyes."
Saturna: "Ephemeral and concerned with other states of existance. To dismiss them would be dangerous and foolish."
Shonelkidar: "Enigmatic, secretive and utterly brilliant in their manipulation of life. They have thus far declined alliance. Further study of them is in order."
Tautha: "The Sunedrion is sufficient as a source of strength and purity, but leave the task of war to other races. Let the Tautha guard the last pure things and preserve what uncorrupted parts of the universe remain for a new beginning, if such an event occurs."
Terat: "Too little is seen of the Terat in the waking world, and their arrogance at surviving the Sanguinarys bonds has made them aspire to dangerous works in the dream world. It seems they underestimate the dangers of Its lair. Their participation in the Stratagem seems too subtle. Data suggest they are on the verge of a single devastating coup. Reference File: Dreamtime."
Sanguinary: If only the others realized just how alien this creature is, they would understand that to overcome it will ultimately require the destruction or all that we have become.
Silence: We make no wakes in the Silence. It serves its purpose well.
Habitat: Merely part of the web, but we are entrapped in its strands.
Dominions: There may be much we have left and forgotten there, but it is of limited value. Since we failed there, we must now perfect methods born of a new world.
Crucible: An uncaring place which revitalizes us and our enemies with equal dispassion. Why seek anything more from it that it has already given us?
Morpheum: A dark place which harbors a larger spider than we, but we have made nest there in preparation for the fullness of our plans in time.
Stratagem: Its perfection lies in its ability to expose weakness while building new strength. Not even war has been able to accomplish such a dual feat!
Profane: They are a chaotic element we must beware. Their lack of discipline could be the undoing of us all.
Ingenue: They are our best links to humanity. Fortunately, they are easily controlled.
Conundrum: The ultimate webs are to be found in these mazes of the Sanguinarys fractured flesh. The riddle of the Sanguinary will be solved when we have mastered them.
Sinning: As we are preyed upon, so humans must sometimes be our prey. We will not be entangled in a false sense of morality.
Himsati: We allow the Himsati to kill for us as it was meant to do. Let us take the passions that pollute us and place them into that form where they will make it even more fierce and remorseless.
Humanity: They have built many beautiful things. Too bad they cant build faster than their own ruination.
The Arachne were one of the first slave races made by the Abzulim, and were used as architects and builders for their empire. The most violent enemy of the Arachne are the Hive, which are currently in possession of Lilith, the "mother" of the Arachne.
On the topic of the Oneness, we caught this from the gentleman that was going to write the Arachne Sourcebook. I've seen him play one in a game. He is that good:
In response to a statement about the Nimrod and Goth culture, the same wrote: