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Literature / Hc Svnt Dracones

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Feyrin is not in the mood today

A pair of novels set in the Hc Svnt Dracones RPG setting written by Josh Vogt.

700 years after humanity wiped itself out in a nuclear war, their genetically engineered "Vector" descendants maintain their Megacorporations as they colonize the solar system. While the Privately Owned Society of Sol is near-utopian for some people, there are always those who slip through the cracks. These are their stories.

In Fate's Fangs (published 2016), taur sex worker Nadia finds herself on the street after one of her clients drops dead during a session, while the health corp she moonlighted at denies her existence. Upon being saved from a corporate hitman by a transient mercenary she starts to unravel the mystery of what skulduggery the corps are up to in her town.

Blood in the Mist (2019) follows Inner Ring Police Force commander Rio Dem'la Ca'Wo as she investigates the group suicide of a dozen cult members. Can she figure out their leader's plan in time to save the city? Can she trust the voice she's begun to hear in her own head?

Tropes found in Fate's Fangs:

  • Company Town: Set in the Corptown of Sacroden, owned by the Reveidolon corporation on Venus.
  • Creepy Crows: Echastel Rikkilesh is a raven.
  • Death Ray: Burner, a handheld microwave gun, capable of setting bushes on fire instantly from a considerable distance.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Echastel Rikkilesh, who works on creating tailored plagues to selectively eliminate undesirables. Aluph has some traces of it as well before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Good with Numbers: Nadia uses her extra money to buy lesson modules on Number theory, for fun. It becomes important later on, when her knowledge of it allows her to find loopholes in combat robot's programming and gain an upper hand over it.
  • Invisibility Flicker: Reveidolon invisibility cloak-equipped guards become visible, if they move too much and cloak's systems fail to catch up with their speed.
  • Lovable Lizard: Aluph, a Biped Gecko scientist and the only one of Reveidolon team to treat Nadia actually well. He even saves her from getting gassed to death, although at a cost of his own life.
  • Metaplot:
    • Feyrin survived the events of the contract module "Stars Over Landria" and married Elysium, establishing the White Hand with her.
    • Nadia's character sheet is provided as an example on page 154 of the 2nd edition Core rulebook. While both Nadia and Feyrin are in the combat walkthrough on 310.
  • Nested Ownership: as Feyrin explains, Reveidolon owns Sacroden, and in turn is owned by a bigger corp, which is a subsidiary of an even bigger corp, going further and further up the organizational ladder until it gets up to Progenitus.
  • Private Military Contractors: Feyrin leads a small corp of mercs, unfortunately she stayed behind on Venus a bit after their last op while the rest of the team went on home to Mars so she's taking side jobs.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Aluph having a change of heart and stopping Nadia and Feyrin from getting gassed to death results in Pharaoh killing him.
  • Synthetic Plague: Reveidolon pays Nadia to distribute "benign" viruses with radioisotope tags in order to study the spread of potential pandemics. Except, they also tailored the viruses to be lethal to specific individuals.
  • Test Subject for Hire: Nadia has a side job getting inoculated with and distributing supposedly benign viruses that carry radioisotope tags so that Reveidolon, the medical corporation that owns her home city, can study the spread of potential pandemics. After one of her clients in her primary job drops dead mid-session, suspicions are raised.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Both Nadia and Feyrin are "taurs", Vectors with a centaur-like lower body based on the animal part of their genomes. Nadia's a dog, while Feyrin is a panther.

Tropes found in Blood in the Mist:

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Rio has the "Atypical patterning" morphism, rendering her fur maroon and her hair blue.
  • Becoming the Mask: Adari, an undercover IRPF agent, explains that he usually knows how to keep his real self and the persona he presents to the groups he's infiltrating separate, but with Loris's University they kind of blended together, as he and the other cultists blended together during their rituals, which got him caught. And then after his extraction he turns traitor and destroys the evidence IRPF collected.
  • Canis Major: Ran'l is a lateral wolf with "macro enhancement" surgery, making him the size of a horse.
  • Compelling Voice: Loris has a collection of human skulls plated with circuitry that generate a Master's Voice effect when a ceremonial dagger is inserted into them, mixed with Loris's own suggestions towards suicide. Fortunately, Abraxus counters the effect for Rio before anyone dies when they test it.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: Rio occasionally accuses Abraxus of using her like a game piece, and even suspects he's playing her and Loris against one another at one point. But it turns out he has a very good reason for acting through a mortal Herald, Loris's "god" is far more powerful than Abraxus but has not taken notice of him yet.
  • Cult: In corporate Sol they're known as "Universities", because they claim to teach some "higher truth" or "illumination". A University known as "The Ascension of the Blind Soul", run by a megalomaniac lion named Loris Antony, acts as the novel's primary antagonistic force.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Whisper, in the climax of the novel.
  • Eldritch Location: Tunnel under compound of Loris.
  • Emissary from the Divine: Loris believes himself to be in contact with a being he thinks is "God", and seeks to ascend to its' level. Rio, on the other hand, starts getting assistance from an entity called "Abraxus" who advises her against worshiping him.
  • Fantastic Drug: Starts with a raid on a drug lab cooking Vystia, a thanatropic hallucinogen with a shockingly low lethal dose. While Rio herself makes frequent use of stims to keep working despite fatigue or injuries.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A couple side characters are a male lateral tiger shark (about 3 meters long), and a female biped (human-sized) thresher shark.
  • Human Sacrifice: Loris uses a Ritual involving the suicide of twelve of his followers to open a portal to... someplace. It's later explained that rituals can invoke transcendent effects without the use of Transcendent Technologies Inc. implants, but it requires a lot of energy without the technology, such as from voluntary sacrifices. At the end, Loris himself becomes a ground zero for a Whisper Event.
  • Junkie Prophet: Most Vystia users think they're becoming that, but subverted when discussing those with genuine visions. Apparently most people with insight into the hidden framework of the universe have been mistaken for insane and sedated.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Centered on the IRPF, the MegaCorp that provides police services to almost every other corp.
  • Lovecraft Lite: There's a cult to an elder god sacrificing people, yes, but there's seemingly another entity trying to save Vectorkind.
  • Metaplot: Rio first appeared in the adventure module "Eon" as the player characters' client during a police raid where they were hired as auxillaries.
  • Read the Fine Print: Appears to be how Loris intended to get more willing sacrifices from a Micro-rights group he co-opted.
  • Talking Animal: A few characters in this one are "laterals", Vectors who look like ordinary animals but are still sapient and capable of speech. The difficulties posed by their lack of thumbs, and legs in a few cases, are addressed multiple times.
  • Workaholic: Rio tends to sleep at the precinct, when she does actually sleep. She practically has to be threatened with medical leave to go to her apartment.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once Loris has completed his final ritual, his "god" uses him as material for a Whisper incursion.