"It's not what you know, but who you know."

Nowhere is that axiom more true than at the end of the world. The best hunter, alone, can still find himself stalked by bandersnatch or ambushed by a ghostcat; indeed, he is very likely to fall prey to ferals. The most skilled farmer still needs things he alone cannot produce. The most experienced technomancer is nonetheless wise to go adventuring with a streetsider guide and guard. And never forget, there is safety in numbers — both physical safety and social power.

When it comes down to it, although skills are important for survival, one's connections are at least equally vital. Connections of blood, of friendship, of geography, of skill and need — in the fallen world, this complex web of relationships is what passes for civilization, and it is central to the survival of both individual people and the human race as a whole.

Streetside Society


See also: families

For humans, the central unit of one's support network is the family. These are extended kin-groups linked by blood and marriage; any one family is likely to include four generations of living members. Each family claims and defends a domain, and usually does not permit non-kin to live within its bounds. A typical domain is about the size of one city block, but can vary from a single building in the city core to a hundred acres for a farmhold in Collumbra. Most families are governed by a council of elders, who make all decisions regarding the family as a whole — such issues as resource use and relations with the neighbors. Relationships between families are highly political, but are usually resolved through negotiation (or civil but insidious feuding) rather than violence, in distinct contrast with packs.


See also: packs

Packs are streetsiders who work together to stake and defend a domain, but are not related by blood. Most packs are comprised of changelings outcast from their families, but every pack has different rules for who they accept and what their goal in life is; the systems are as varied as the people who make them up. Some are changeling-only; some are human-only; some don't care what their members are. Some have a defined and strict hierarchy; others are loose or vague; and a few govern themselves purely by committee. Like families, packs claim a particular domain as their home base, whose characteristics tie in with the pack's mission and attitudes. Packs tend to have comparatively high turnover of members, and are more susceptible to violent takeover than families. They're also more likely to simply dissolve, or lose hold on their domain for lack of membership. For these reasons, families generally don't pursue long-term associations with packs, but just try to keep a civil peace.


Wards are streetsiders who are not formally affiliated with a pack, but live in the pack's domain on their sufferance. They have none of the privileges of a pack member and generally cannot call upon pack resources (e.g. ask for shelter, food, etc.), but are de facto protected from outside threats just because of where they live. Wards usually have to pay some kind of regular tithe to the pack; even when they pay, they may be tossed out of the domain at any time by the whim of the pack's authorities. Wards are also likely to be displaced if a rival pack takes over the domain.


Some people do try to go it alone, without any support network to help in their times of need. They have severed ties with their birth family and refuse to have any association with a pack; most lonewolves are changelings, made bitter by history. Few packs appreciate a lonewolf poaching on their domain without giving back a tithe, and families tolerate them not at all; thus, lonewolves are usually relegated to the outskirts of the city, where they live on the ragged edge of survival, foraging for whatever they can get. Their lifespans on the verge are short; a lonewolf who manages five years without falling prey to ferals, a serious accident, or others of their ilk is a lucky soul indeed. While those in the city will generally trade with them as readily as any other, lonewolves are typically viewed with either a sort of pitying admiration for their courage or derisive scorn for their foolishness.

Ark Society


See also: moieties

Moieties are the dominant Ark social group. A moiety consists of several households (smaller, "nuclear" families) who together claim and defend a domain inside the Ark. Though members of a moiety are not necessarily related, they are all considered part of the same kinship group — all children of one generation are called siblings, regardless of actual relationship; all members of the generation above are aunt and uncle, except one's mother and father; and so on. Intimate relationships between people in the same moiety are thus considered incestuous, although some allow internal marriages if the lineage books show the would-be partners are sufficiently distant in bloodline. It is much more common, and greatly more preferred, for children to marry out. However, the political baggage of a moiety is even greater than that of a family; society within the Ark is very polite, yet also very cutthroat in its negotiations, the consequence of having extremely finite living space.


See also: scholars

This is a placeholder for an overview on scholars.


The Covenant

See also: the covenant, haven

The Covenant is a strange group of people who claim a domain in the northeast of Collumbra. Most people consider them a pack, but the members of the Covenant shun this label, even defy it. Where packs exist to control and defend resources, their Haven is open to all; the Covenant is perhaps the only faction which neither fences nor patrols its borders. Despite this, it has an extremely low incidence of feral attacks on humans, and has never successfully been invaded by covetous rivals — though not for lack of trying. Other streetsiders regard the Covenant with wary suspicion, certain there's a dark secret behind it; scholars and technomancers are equally certain there's something interesting behind the mystery, but the Covenant has so far kept its secrets to itself.

The Cabal

See also: the cabal

The Cabal is an urban legend, a ghost story, the modern equivalent of the boogeyman: a secret society of technomancers, maybe including golems, rumored to be researching and working with ancient technology. Some think the Cabal is perhaps well-intentioned, but idiotic: everyone knows that playing with technology leads you and everyone else to a bad end. Others are certain that the Cabal is flat evil, a vile conspiracy. Some even claim that the Cabal dates from the Fall, speculate that they brought the Fall about. The Cabal is a handy scapegoat for any major disaster, because of course it doesn't exist… or does it?

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