Also known as Nodites, Technophiles, and other names, the Noddies are a desperate faction of neo-religious sand rats who worship advanced technology. They are simply a more militant and much better armed than the primitive cargo cults of the Polynesian islands in the 1800-1900s.
The Brotherhood of the Land of Nod traces its origins to extreme religious cults founded in the Second Dark age. After facing years of oppression under PetroBarons in the middle east, these cults gained a free hand in the Resource Wars and really started growing after the end of the Petroleum Era saw the nations of the Middle East either toppled by internal strife, revenge wars, or environmental disaster. These cults survived through the Dark Age through religious barbarism, and zealotry. Isolated in the wastelands of the Middle East, they lived in a state of near constant conflict with then environment, and many of the first dimensional fatigue events occurred in the desert.
The Brotherhood carried on the old Arabic traditions of cults of personality dominated by military strongmen ruling swaths of land with the approval of post Islamist semi-Pagan Imams. These new Imams were influenced by religious visions, and communed with extra-dimensional beings. They broke bread with the Tarxan raiders who escaped dimensional breaches. They wed daughters of the Brotherhood to them, they created tribes of mutants and hybrids. They created an entire culture around the veneration of arcanotechnology.
This wouldn't be such a major issue, except that unlike the idols and tech worshipped by the old cargo cults, arcanotech is much more powerful and much more dangerous.
The Post Renaissance Era saw conflicts across the Middle East as various powers explored the ruins, fought each other, and both caused and then closed dimensional breaches in the area. This left a good deal of scrap and damaged arcanotech for the Brotherhood to gather. The why and how remain a mystery, but the technology worshipping primitive brotherhood managed to repair some of these devices. When some of the damaged LAIs and combat computers were reactivated, a disturbing number of them reactived and gained sentience. These impressionable new intellects were indoctrinated in the theology of the Brotherhood, and were quickly assimilated into it. Eventually the sentient machines would become part of the clerical caste of the Brotherhood.
Few things can match the impression of a sentient battlemech leading zealots in prayer to technology before heading into battle to defend a piece of their desert. In the Brotherhood, there are a number of now sentient light and medium mecha, and similar captured wargear.
The Brotherhood of the Land of Nod is a religious organization that venerates arcanotechnology, with emphasis on cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and hard tech in contrast to genetic and cloning technology.
At least this is what is known on the surface. The Brotherhood has a secret they are protecting and it is basically something going on in what was formerly Iraq, and the Noddies refer to the project as Eden. The Nodites will go to great lengths to protect Eden, and most of them consider it to be a metaphor, or ideal, like Heaven or Nirvana. The elite and the leading Imams know that Eden is a real location, and it's between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The ultimate goal of the Brotherhood is to protect Eden until Eden is prepared to rise and dominate the rest of the world. The technology developed by Eden will extinguish the decadence and evil of the outside world and restore Earth to it's pristine condition. Man and machine will live in harmony with nature, under the wisdom and guidance of the Brotherhood, and it's ruling Cabal.
The Brotherhood is associated with the colors red and black and has long used the image of the scorpion as it's mascot. This remains the symbol of the militant arm of the Brotherhood, and the Imams keep the red and black motif, but have adopted their own more religious iconography.
The Brotherhood traces it's founding to the biblical figure of Cain, who was thrown out of paradise for the murder of his brother, and then traces it's history through the Muslim Caliphate, up to the radical Islamists of the Petroleum Era to the modern day.
The Brotherhood was nothing more than just another radical sect wandering the wastelands, like the Baathist, the Exo-Shiites, the Zen-Sunni, and the Sons of Persia. The Nodites were selected by the masters of the Eden Project to serve as the guinea pigs of Edenian research, testers of new arcanotechnology, and the fact that they are technology worshipping zealots makes them very easy to control and manipulate. The initial 'Founder' of the modern Nodite sect was a seibertronian known as 'Swindle', a fast talking con artist and cybernetic Fixer of no small skill. Swindle assumed the mantle of a technoImam, a robotic descendent of Cain himself.
The amazing thing is how well the nascent Nodite sect embraced the notion of a sentient machine being the modern avatar of a biblical figure. But, Swindle was also very good at what it did.
The current leader of the Brotherhood of the Land of Nod is a charismatic cyborg named Iosef Udo Hussein. Going by a variety of nicknames, aliases and titles, Hussein is a heavy augmented cyborg, with almost all of his enhancements devoted to either maintaining his biological survival, and amplifying his parapsychic ability. Hussein is a gifted mind manipulator, and can easily mind control humans as well as some sentient machines through the force of his will. This is augmented by things like an exocranial cyberdeck, arcane tattoos, and access to high end technology that nurtures and feeds his ability.
The Brotherhood is an equal opportunity organization that worships Arcanotech as the face of God. It draws it primary membership from the wasteland dwellers, mutants, and others who live in the ruins of the Middle East, and on the fringes of the world super powers. These form the masses of the Brotherhood, and a few rise in the ranks of the technoclergy. The ranks of monks, clerics, and holymen are composed of military cyborgs, escaped augmented criminals, rogue androids, and seibertronians. These receptacles of arcanotech are seen as being sacred. Those that become deranged from exposure to cosmic radiation are likewise seen as gifted by the light of god. The leaders of the Brotherhood are high end seibertronians, AISC rogue units, and sentient war machines, along with a small number of parapsychic elite humans.
Acolytes: Gifted with parapsychic powers and manifestations, Acolytes are divided into those who physically manifesting gifts such as fire manipulation and augmented strength and those who manifest mental/mind controlling gifts. The former are trained as elite commandos where they use their powers in toe to toe fighting. The latter are trained to become psychic controllers and links in a psi-communication network. The end result is a cadre of zealots that are adept at blowing things up and sowing confusion in enemy ranks.
Tech Priests: The basic level of clergy, the Tech Priest is a fancy title for an arcanotechnician. The people who understand and know how to work on arcanotech devices are given a large amount of importance in the Brotherhood. It is one thing to be divinely inspired, another to witness it, and something completely different to sacrifice sanity and often physical health to comprehend the will of the divine.
Cyborgs: Cyborgs have a place of prominence in the Brotherhood, where they function as paladins and crusaders, holy warriors who have accepted the arcane touch of the divine in an attempt to become closer to the holy mysteries. The lifespan of a cyborg tends to be short, as the mechanical men are military leaders and elite soldiers and see frequent action against other wasteland residents, dimensional fatigue events, and terrorist operations against the NEGs that border the former Holy Land.
Confessors: Operating in a similar role to Cleaners, Confessors are specialists devoted to eliminating robots, clones, and are the internal security force of the Brotherhood, sniffing out heretics, informants, moles, and saboteurs. The Confessors mix the zeal of the Spanish Inquisition with the ruthless efficiency of the Soviet political commissar.
The Brotherhood has two major things going for it, religious zeal and the backing of Eden.
The religious zeal comes from offering salvation and humanitarian aid to some of the worst afflicted parts of the planet. Large swaths of the Levant and Middle East are still radioactive from nuclear exchanges at the end of the Resource Wars, and in the subsequent Dark Age, the tsoukalocity (Dimensional density) of the entire region increased, seeing a surge in Dimensional fatigue events. With waves of mutation, contamination, and cross breeding with extra-dimensional entities afflicting the population, it was just a matter of time before someone figured out how to harness the basic human agony in the region. The warriors of the Brotherhood are fearless, and are not concerned about death in battle.
The secret masters of Eden have worked to supply the Brotherhood with technology, material resources, training, and methods to evade being destroyed by other factions that would see the technophiles crushed. Many Tech Priests, Acolytes, and Confessors receive Edenian sourced training in hidden camps in the desert. Eden also provides the Brotherhood with combat ready vehicles, such as advanced mecha, and arcanotech weapons, as well as industrial support building hidden military bases, secret strongholds, and seitch cities to house the families of the Brotherhood warriors.
Nodite Vehicles: Nodite Vehicles are a strange amalgam of primitive and superior technologies blended together. Armor, drive trains, and other mundane aspects of machinery are made of low grade materials, and often scavenged materials, giving the Nodite machines a distinctive rusty patina. The weapons and electronics systems are cutting edge, and more than one Federation trooper or mech jock has been shot down by underestimating the damage potential of Nodite rust buckets, pock marked walkers, or random metallic protrusion. Nodite infantry demonstrate this same profile, wearing combat armor that is 200 or more years out of date while carrying laser carbines, plasma casters, and SmartGun equipped MagRifles.
The Silk Road: One of the largest criminal enterprises in history, the Silk Road is a Nodite/Edenian back venture that connects many of the world's terrorist organizations, and shares technology, material aid, information, and other resources to keep the various sects on their feet when facing the combined might of the NEGs and the MegaCorps. The Silk Road funnels trillions of dollars of contraband and black market goods around the world, as well as providing safe havens for smugglers, terrorists, criminals on the run and insurgents who need to find recruits, backers, and equipment.
- The Brotherhood and ShadowLaw: ShadowLaw, based out of SE Asia and Indonesia is heavily involved in guns, drugs, money and human trafficking as it's day job, and cloning, genetic augmentation, and parapsychic ability exploitation for fun. The Brotherhood supplies some of the tech, and information to ShadowLaw in exchange for money, and recruiting some members from the vicious IndoAsian gangs.
- The Brotherhood and the Lin Keui: The Cooperation between the ancient ninja clans and the Brotherhood is minimal, as the Brotherhood desires the secrets and techniques of the cosmically aware ninja masters, and the clans have little interest in the crass hardware of the Brotherhood. There is some animosity, but the two are somewhat willing to tolerate each other as the venerable Lin Kuei have real rivals in other ancient clans and societies as well as facing the might of the ACPS security and intelligence agencies.
- The Brotherhood and the Python Patrol: The Python Patrol routinely works with the Brotherhood on a purely material basis. In exchange for Edenian sourced weapons, cybernetics, and tech support, the Patrol is friendly to the Brotherhood, protects their members in the Patrol's zone, and does a good deal of transportation work for them. The Python Patrol is largely mercenary pirates, and have no central strong ethos, and it isn't uncommon for augmented soldiers and expatriate shadowrunners to fall in with the Python chapter of the Brotherhood.
- The Brotherhood and Armas: Armas has access to high tech gear, and has a good amount of funding and local support. While Armas isn't a religious based group, they understand the value and importance of a central body of ethics and values and have allowed Brotherhood priests to preach and offer technocommunion (CogLAN system running Nodite simulations) and Virtual Atonement. The Armas Chapter of the Brotherhood is growing slowly, and the Tech Priests and their acolytes are only uncommon in Armas camps.
- The Brotherhood and Amerikka Command: The Brotherhood and Amerikka Command have a tenuous love hate relationship. The Amerophile Command has adopted a largely agnostic/atheistic stance towards religion in general, and the deeply religious overtones of the Brotherhood clash with these values. Likewise, the zeal clashes with the fierce individualism and self interest of the Command. While recognizing a common enemy in the Federation, Brotherhood cells and AC commandos have clashed in the past, and it becomes a match between furor versus skill.
- The Brotherhood and the Black Dragon Society: The Brotherhood and the Black Dragon are very good friends. The Black Dragon, being largely anarchic in nature has rejected the religious conversion of the Brotherhood, but welcomes their guns, money, and drugs, and the Brotherhood has small chapter houses scattered across Cascadia and the Republic of California. The Black Dragon supplies the Brotherhood with some recruits, but a much larger and more valuable supply of drugs, pharmaceuticals, and genetic augmentation techniques. Many of the mutation reversing or controlling drugs used by the Brotherhood come from the Black Dragon.
Manifesto or Creed:
The Veneration of Arcanotechnology, and it's elevation above the base and crude instruments of mankind.
The Dominance of the Brotherhood of the Land of Nod over the heathens, barbarians, and blasphemers who use the devices of the the divine in vain. Man should serve the Machine, not vice versa.
The Promotion of Cybernetics, CogNet addiction, and service to the Divine
The Protection of the Hidden Realm of Eden.
Author's Note and Role:
The Brotherhood of the Land of Nod is superficially based off of the Brotherhood of Nod faction from the Command and Conquer Universe, but rather than Scrin, and tiberium, this brotherhood venerates arcanotech and they are a semi-secret society. In the grand scheme of things most people haven't heard of the Brotherhood, and those that have live in parts of the world that border the ruins of the Middle East, and even then, the Brotherhood is one of several factions and sects that populate the wastelands and generally make a nuisance of themselves.
The Eden Initiative is a full on conspiracy, and the Brotherhood is being used as it's militant arm, and it's hidden dagger, with the aim of protecting the Eden project until it is complete. To this end, the Brotherhood is indoctrinated, and spread the dogmatic conditioning around the world through underground connections, criminal enterprises and the Silk Road. The irony is that through the occult scholars and holy men of the sect, the Brotherhood is very well informed, and fairly accurate on what they know and believe about arcanotech, and the condition of the world. Unfortunately, they are ultimately blinded by their faith to the innate duplicity of the Edenian faction, and when the Initiative is complete, the bulk of the Brotherhood will fare no better than the rest of the world.
Use: The Brotherhood is a terrorist secret society in a setting where most terrorist and separatist groups have charismatic leaders, political parties, and CogNet broadcasting agencies. Individual members are vessels for plot devices, introducing mcguffins, or throwing monkey wrenches in the works. They are deeply involved in conspiracy lore, and non-local news references to the Brotherhood are treated in the same context as the Bilderbergs, the Illuminati, or the Hidden Masters.
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? Responses (6)
These are a good villain for the Cosmic Era. Lots of potential.
No more comments? Unfair!
Scrasamax' whole Cosmic Age setting is simply delightful, with all the goodies from cyberpunk and urban fantasy mixed with recognizable but still slightly different items from old saturday morning shows and pc-games.
It is hellishly difficult to rate one of the 'Cosmic Age' items over the others, they are all good.
Good point the cosmic era does have a very slipstream quality to it.
This one is awesome i think! So many fascinating conceptual ideas here, meshed together quite nicely!
I was kind of expecting just a Cosmic Era take on C&C, but I really like the direction this one headed. It makes sense for a religious-to-zealous region like the Arabian Peninsula venerate super tech like arcanotechnology.
Interesting that you make it a secret society rather than a militant empire. Are there analogues to al-Qaida and the like, or am I reading too much into it?
There are, it is sort of a look into fundamentalism in a part of the world that has created zealots and violent organisations for centuries. Take away the oil and money and you have the conditions to start terrorism and that's what's happened today, but the Cosmic Era is post Islam so instead of the prophet we have tech worshipping zealots who are swayed by charismatic imams to wage holy war against those who defile the sacred tech.