Tribe 8: A Past of Bondage
The Past is Dead...
...Your Future Begins Now
Tribe 8, Dream Pod 9's third roleplaying game, is a departure from our focus of hi-tech science-fiction and Japanese-style robots. Tribe 8 is a world of dream magic, supernatural horrors and Godlike figures called Fatimas -- all painted on the backdrop of the ruins of the modern world.
The world of Tribe 8 was once the one we know today -- skyscrapers, modern medicine, nine-to-five existence -- but all that was wiped away by the arrival of supernatural terrors. Some called them demons, monsters or horrors, but their proper name is Z'bri. No human tongue can quite pronounce the word correctly, but if your breath is rasp and stuck in the space between agony and pleasure, you're close.
The Z'bri came from a distant spirit realm and descended on the modern world like a plague. They were powerful, mad and magical lords drunk on the physical pleasures they had long been denied, and they caused civilization to collapse. Endless tombs dotted the lands and the survivors were herded into camps to dance, scream and die for the pleasure of the mad Z'bri lords. This bondage was seemingly endless, blasting away the memories of the "World Before."
There were those who kept freedom alive, however. They prayed for salvation and whispered forbidden memories to one another. When even their hope was on the verge of being washed away forever, the Goddess (Tribe 8's Earth Mother divinity) chose to manifest Herself.
The Goddess sent eight strangers -- known only as Nomads -- to the camps of a once-great city called Vimary. They taught the prisoners how to summon avatars of the Goddess and sacrificed themselves in these same arcane rituals. These avatars, powerful manifestations of one aspect of the Goddess, were called Fatimas and they were glorious indeed, imbued with holy power and divine righteousness. These Fatimas led the prisoners in a revolt against the Z'bri.
The victory against the monsters was neither easy nor complete. In the end, Joshua the Ravager, most powerful of the Fatimas, and His tribe were slaughtered in a final conflict with the Z'bri overlord. The horrors were pushed back to the north of Vimary, but they were not destroyed. The seven surviving Fatimas together formed the Seven Tribes -- the new nation of humanity.
Humanity was liberated, but not yet free.
Tribe 8: A Present of Struggle
A Present of Struggle
When Joshua was struck down, he uttered a prophecy. He said that his death would be avenged, that his killers would be destroyed by a reborn Eighth Tribe. It would lead humanity to true and lasting freedom. The other Fatimas call this blasphemy. They and their priests argue the Seven Sisters already created true liberation. This is a lie.
The Seven Tribes only provide protection and prosperity for those who toe the line. Those who dare challenge the Fatimas' will are cast out like so much living trash. Those who have the temerity to be born outside the tribes are less than nothing. Those who have the misfortune of offending a powerful priest or a capricious chieftain become exiled wretches. All the while the Z'bri still control the north of Vimary and plot their vengeance. The Fatimas bicker among themselves and toy with their followers while uncounted thousands live in bondage to the Z'bri and the world at large remains in ruins.
The Fatimas and their followers lackeys look out and see a world they will shape for their avatars will. They ignore the uncounted Squats who have never known the tribes or their ways; they ignore the Z'bri Serfs who have become slaves to the horrors out of desperation; they ignore the Keepers, strange technopriests who cling to the World Before.
But there is hope, because Joshua's legacy is coming true. In the growing legion of the outcasts, there are those who refuse to fade away. Just as Joshua predicted, the Goddess Herself has not abandoned them even if Her avatars have. They are still young, gathered only in scattered cells of like minded exiles. They call ourselves the Fallen, but they are building an Eighth Tribe to finally free humanity from Fatima and Z'bri alike..
Already they have created the settlement of Hom as an embryo of their new nation. It is a rough hewn home, regrouping various cells of outcasts and a few leaders. But it is the first step on the road to freedom.
The Gifts of Synthesis
When they appeared, the Fatimas brought with them the Goddess' greatest gift: Synthesis. Under their tutelage humans learned to tap into the River of Dream (a spirit realm humans access by sleep or rituals) and accomplish great feats. Even the lowliest tribal has natural aptitudes that reflect her Fatima's nature and participates in great rituals that shape the world around her. The priests and elders of the tribes, close to the Fatimas, wield far greater power. They are able to cloud minds and transform souls. When the priests lead the tribe in grand rituals, legendary feats are possible.
The Fallen have a natural affinity for Synthesis, maintain some of the power of their old tribe and gaining new abilities based on their own outlook. Some say that this is proof positive that the Goddess is with the Fallen. Some others claim it's a sign that Joshua watches over them. Either way, they are the Fallen and they will be free.
The Seven Fatimas
The Fatimas who came to free humanity from the camps and who now dominate human society are powerful and fascinating figures. Each leads a tribe that bases its existence around it and each personifies a human archetype. Their physical bodies are assembled from metal, wood and other materials, but their spirits make them extremely powerful. They all wield Synthesis, a potent form of dream magic, in a way akin to Gods.
The Seven Fatimas are:
Agnes the Child, Fatima of Capriciousness and Inspiration
Innocent and spoiled, Agnes was not alive during the Camps. She was born from Mary the Forgiver, a Fatima who died soon after Liberation. She doesn't like being marginalized by Her elder siblings and is prone to dangerous tantrums. Agnes can reduce others intellect to that of a child and can create playmates from inanimate objects.
Baba Yaga the Crone, Fatima of Death and Fate
Creepy and morbid, Baba Yaga is the oldest Fatima and in many ways their senior member. She has dominion over death and her tribe is renowned for the curses they can cast. She is also the Fatima of Fate and can see the future and travel about as a spirit.
Dahlia the Trickster, Fatima of Illusion and Motion
Dahlia is the trouble-maker of the Seven Fatimas. Never comfortable with order, she pushes for change and chaos even if people get hurt in the process. Dahlia can change her appearance at will, cast illusions, and move with uncanny speed.
Eva the Mother, Fatima of Empathy and Life
A nature Goddess, Eva and Her tribe hold dominion over fertility, agriculture and animals. Renowned for Her caring attitude, she also tends to smother Her children and grants her followers very little freedom. She can both promote life and choke it out of things that displease Her.
Joan the warrior, Fatima of Devotion and Fury
Deadly in battle, Joan often seems to be a simple tool for Tera Sheba and the other Fatimas. She is loyal and honorable, but has not learned to question the orders She is given. Joan fights with supreme skill and wields devastating weapons.
Magdalen the Lover, Fatima of Conflict and Sensuality
Masked and veiled, Magdalen embodies both the softness of romance and the hard edge of animal lust. She thrives of secrets and forbidden pleasures and Her tribe are masters of espionage and seduction. With a glance she can throw people into throes of passion and revel their most minute weaknesses.
Tera Sheba the Wise, Fatima of Truth and Wisdom
The stern judge of the Fatima, Tera Sheba leads them with a iron will. She believes in laws and order and in harsh punishments for those who disobey. Tera Sheba can compel one to tell the truth and understand the true nature of anything She sees.
The Fallen Outlooks
The Outlooks are the factions within the fallen or Eighth Tribe. These groups cooperate, but each have their own philosophies and specialties. A Fallen's powers come from her old tribe and the outlook she adopts. The four outlooks are:
The Doomsayers are concerned with prophecy and destiny and most especially with Joshua the Ravager, the slain Fatima. They are dark prophets and have abilities that allow them to divine secrets and see in darkness.
The Herites are holy crusaders, determined to destroy the Fatimas and affirm the spiritual liberation of the Fallen. They are highly driven and often obsessed. They have abilities that allow them to evade capture or domination and recognize their enemies.
The most violent of the Fallen, Jackers are driven to extract justice for the wrongs done to them. The Z'bri are their most hated enemies. Jackers have abilities that allow them to face the gravest dangers and strike with unparalleled power.
Leaders and politicians, the Lightbringers are focused on bringing the Fallen together into a united whole. They are also prone to intrigue and politics. They have abilities that allow them to unite groups and convince others of their beliefs.
The horrors who destroyed the World Before, the Z'bri are the purest forms of evil in Tribe 8. Originally creatures of pure spirit, they went mad when they entered the physical world and now take part in perverse pleasures of the flesh. Able to mold and regenerate flesh and posses many bodies, they enjoy pain as much as pleasure. They wield a terrible power called Sundering that allows them to control souls and bodies and use it to subject humans to a wide variety of tortures.
The Z'bri are ruled by a relatively small number of Lords, immensely powerful monstrosities able to possess many different bodies. These Lords command numerous Vassals (lesser but still potent Z'bri stuck in one body), Chained (savage Z'bri who possess animals) and Serfs (lowly human slaves). The Z'bri live north of Vimary under a feudal system that divides them into four houses:
The faceless Flemis follow a series of intricate and highly ritualized ceremonies that celebrate their hive-like mentality which frowns upon Individualism -- and their use of Sundering reflects this. They can send out distress signals immediately calling any nearby Flemis. Most Flemis prefer to communicate telepathically, being among the few who still remember the Ancient Z'bri languages.
Rage and anger, the fury of the Z'bri, the Koleris are violent and aggressive. Bursting boils and countless wounds cover their bodies, illustrating their temperament and their love for fighting. Of all the Z'bri Houses the Koleris have nothing but burning hatred of the tribes and delight in causing them as much agony as possible.
Fascinated by knowledge the brooding Melanis are secretive and enigmatic. They spend their time dissecting flesh in an attempt to uncover its power, and relishing in the pain they cause at the same time.
Ephemeral and entrancing, the Sangis retain some of the sublime essence that the Z'bri possessed before the Closing. Impossibly beautiful, the Sangis are likewise impossibly cruel, feasting on the torment and pain of humanity like some sweet nectar.