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Sunday, December 6, 2020

The Enclaves of the Devils


The Saturnian devils have been embroiled in the longest-lasting war in the system for millenia. The Titan and its demonis offspring can emerge from any Gate in the Saturn system at any time, and for this reason most Gates are neither out in the open nor in population centres. An unmonitored Gate is a recipe for disaster, and when a previously unknown or inactive one allows the demons to establish a foothold, it takes an almost full mobilisation of the devils and their “allies” en masse to purge the creatures.

For this reason, most Gates have at least a small guard post. A Devil may claim responsibility for a Gate and become a Lord, but will always have to be wary of challengers, as well as ensuring the Gate is secured. For all of this, effective ownership of a Gate can be incredibly lucrative, and if it does well enough to attract more devils to its wealth and safety, may even blossom into a full-fledged Enclave. 

These walled cities are the cornerstone of the devil’s civilisation. Each is a fortress, and can withstand even a full incursion of the Titan. While they technically stand independent, contracts of service are the main medium of exchange between them, bargaining for how many devils will come to the aid of another if it is required. Without the Enclaves, the devils would long ago have been destroyed, and with their loss, the Titan would have spread outwards to other Gates. 

The devils like to remind everyone of this fact, and are also rather bitter about it.

There are a variety of defensive strategies employed by the Enclaves, but most end up focussing more on one over the others:

  1. Martial. These Enclaves focus on strategy, and the advantageous deployment of troops. Often leaders of other Enclaves in war, their focus on large-scale organisation is an unquestionable force-multiplier for all devils.

  2. Siege. Fortifications and heavy weapons are these Enclaves bread and butter. They use beneficial terrain either natural or created to corral demonic incursions. These Enclaves have engineering abilities above the others, and often earn contracts from others in exchange for reinforcing their structures.

  3. Research. Knowledge is power, and devils like power. These Enclaves focus on researching the demonic threat, and their ability to produce more effective weapons and toxins make them irreplaceable to the others. Unfortunately, the Titan seems to rapidly evolve ristances, and so new weapons are always in development.

  4. Mercenary. Why fight, when you can pay someone else to? These Enclaves generally have the best trade with the outside system, and use this wealth to hire non-devil mercenaries. Such contracts pay very well, and devils never renege, but their only stipulation is that you get paid when the contract is complete. Due to the high mortality rate, this does save them a lot of money.

  5. Shock. Unlike Martial Enclaves, whose strength is in strategy and tactics, these Enclaves put their trust solely in brute force. Every member must fight and train, and as a result they are often some of the most dangerous warriors in the entire system. A devil who has trained with a single weapon for a thousand years, and regularly engaged in horrific melle and survived, is not a being to take lightly. Their service contracts are highly valued individually, and help supply the Enclave the resources it lacks.

  6. Arcane. While most devil nanoware is only passively active, rare devils can do minor manipulations. Lacking the intermediary godmind of an engel, and the control implants of their shared history, they resort to a bizarre array of practices whose purpose is to trick or force the nanoware into certain behaviours. These practices are well-kept secrets, as they occasionally result in a devil biomancer. Able to accelerate a devil’s natural nanoware evolution, and even give minor benefits and healing to non-devils, a biomancer’s abilities are one of the greatest powers and trade goods the devils have.

Although each devil settlement starts out with a single Lord, as they grow and change into Enclaves their leadership may shift. Devils are extremely individualistic and proud, but all acknowledge the benefit of cooperation. Devils love laws, as they prevent life-threatening violence and can be manipulated to their own ends. As such, several different forms of governance eventually emerge within the Enclaves, although in forms different to the outside system.

  1. Absolute Monarchy. These Enclaves have managed to stay under the direct controlling influence of a single devil. The Lord is the final arbiter and decision-maker, and they tend to be strong and extremely ruthless.

  2. Triumvirate. WHile often viewed as an Absolute Monarch whose power is slipping, Triumvirate Enclaves are often the result of aggressive expansion beyond the ability of a single Lord to handle. Several settlements and their associated Gates may unite into a single Enclave, and the trinity of rulers is the compromise. Triumvirates are the most common form of multi-ruler governance among devils, as partnerships often end in betrayal, and greater numbers fracture into sub-groups. Three rulers equally mistrustful of each other isn’t the best solution, but you can’t spell meta-stable without stable.

  3. Constitutional Monarchy. Whether a Lord who was unable to fully hold the reins of their Enclave, or one who sees the benefit of elected delegates, these Enclaves are ruled by a Lord in name only. While the Lord has veto power, and is technically still the final decision-maker, an elected group does most of the policy making and law passing. 

  4. Republic. Abdicated, exiled, or dead, the original Lords of these Enclaves are gone. The new Lord is an elected position, and comes with the need to garner support from the numerous political parties that devils form. Elections, and who can vote, are different Enclave to Enclave, and may range from “must have killed a demon” to “bought a voting license”.

  5. Corporate. Resurrecting an ancient form of leadership, this Enclave has a unique internal hierarchy based nominally on merit and mostly on nepotism and betrayal. The heads of the hierarchy are The Board, who advise the devil who is technically their Lord on things they were going to do anyway. A Corporate Lord may retain power for centuries, only to be repeatedly replaced as they and their successors suffer setbacks. 

  6. Anarchy. The rarest of Enclaves, these devils have hit upon some set of unwritten rules and laws that allow them to organise relatively well without an overarching structure. Far from peaceful, they have at least figured out how to have arguments quickly, efficiently, and in a way the scales well. Often the home of misfits, xenophiles, bleeding hearts, and engel-sympathisers, Anarchic Enclaves struggle with alliances but have an astounding resistance to internal or external strife. Afterall, little can match the chaotic tension they already consider normal life.

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