Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2. Fluff

House Catullus (Summarized from GW Fluff)

Although most hive-dwellers do not remember the name, House Catullus was reportedly once the second-greatest of the great houses of Necromunda. For reasons that remain obscure, the house suffered a great fall and the survivors of the struggle were outlawed and exiled to the Ash Wastes--vast, barren ecological ruins of the once-fertile surface of Necromunda. The remaining members of House Catullus were supposed to die, but somehow they survived and transformed over time into the Ash Nomads. It isn't known how much the Nomads remember of their history, but it is known that they retain a deep resentment of all hive-dwellers. Only the unique double-bladed knife, trademark fighting weapon of Catullus, remains as an important part of Nomad culture, suggesting that perhaps the Nomads have not entirely forgotten.

Nomad Culture (Original Material)

Outsiders have very little opportunity to learn much about how Ash Nomads live. They are both secretive and elusive, and the most likely situation in which a hive-dweller will encounter an Ash Nomad is when his caravan is being raided by them in the wastes. But it is known that they are generally organized into tightly-knit clans built on mutual obligation and strong loyalties. They greatly prize self-discipline and value individuals who are skilled raiders and scavengers. Survival in the wastes makes it necessary that they be able to depend on each other and endure great hardships, so it is likely that most of their culture is built around encouraging these traits.

The Machine Cult of the Argearia Wastes

According to the best available records, it was only a few generations after the exile that a group of ragged, half-starved wanderers staggered into an Ash Nomad camp at the edge of the Argearia wastes. They were lay brothers of the Ordo Frateris Technarius, or "Clackfriars" as they were commonly called because of the noise made by the ornamental machine parts they hung about themselves. They had come into the wastes to teach the heathens their own version of the Cult of the Machine God. Whether the Nomads really believed in what the friars taught, or whether they just saw the practical value of the rites of operation and maintenance that the brothers were willing to teach them, the cult spread quickly through the Argearia Nomad clans. Even after the Frateris had gone on to join the works of the great cosmic machine in the sky, their teachings persisted and gradually adapted into the form they take at the present time.

Argearian Ash Nomads pray to the Machine God, whom they call "Cog," for help and aid in coaxing their various vehicles, weapons and devices into functionality. The religion, perhaps influenced by the totemistic religion of the native Ratskins, is highly animistic, based on a belief that all technological devices are inhabited by mischievous spirits, each a splinter of the consciousness of Almighty Cog who inhabits all machines, but often expressed as fickle or uncooperative in nature. In addition to the standard rites of operation and maintenance, these spirits can be appeased with magical charms, fetishes, or even an especially persuasive argument. As a last extremity, a shaman can be called in for a ceremony to bring the errant spirit back into accord with the will of Cog for the benefit of the Ash Nomad operators.

Accordingly, the Nomads of the Argearia wastes name their children and clans after machine parts, just as people in other cultures might name their children after saints or gods. So, for example, the Bearing clan might have members with names such as Roller, Tapered and Frictionless ("Fric" to his friends). The Capacitor clan had a particularly illustrious historical period under the successive chieftanships of the three brothers Ceramic, Tantalum and Through-Hole Electrolytic.

The Dust Devils

Although the Argearia Waste is an area relatively abundant in lost, forgotten and buried settlement ruins the lure of the Hives as sources of technical machinery and skill is irresistable. To scavenge a valuable and rare machine, bring it back to the camp while keeping it safe from raiders and the attacks of hostile creatures, and convince its spirits to function again is the achievement of a great clansman or chief, a reflection of Cog's favor. So it's only natural that some clansmen should band together to seek their fortunes in the regions of Necromunda closer to, and even within, the technical riches of the Underhive.

The Dust Devils are such a band, determined Nomads willing to venture far from their home wastes and set up a raiding camp in the ash dunes outside of Hive Primus, to crack the walls of the Hive, take on the ruthless hiver gangs and dig for the riches of the Underhive.

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