[ People | Places | Groups ]
Your character is likely to be familiar with any of these well-known people.
Madame Simone l'Arraigne
Once an ingénue singer and performer, Simone married the previous owner of the Theatre Moderne and inherited everything upon the man's tragic death. This talented and sultry individual is never at a loss - not for resources, talent, or a witty retort. Larger than life and twice as mysterious, she rules the theater with an iron hand and is still one of the Theatre's premier performers. It is said that Madame l'Arraigne often suffers from ennui, which is why she has recently relocated the theater to Morocco - she was simply bored with Paris.
The director of the Theatre Moderne is a whimsical individual who loves theater in all its forms. He lives to recruit and showcase new talent and is generally the peace-keeper among the ensemble. In particular, Jean-Michel has the ability to appease Simone l'Arraigne and give her the dazzling performances she demands. He can sometimes be distracted and has a serious penchant for absinthe, but otherwise is congenial and friendly.
Sophia Amalia Alessandrini
Known for her conspicuous personal fashion as well as her vocal performances, Sophia is a true diva and close personal friend of Madame l'Arraigne. Sophia has an astonishing array of performance styles, and is as likely to deliver a heart-breaking aria in her native Italian as a traditional American frontier tune. Madama Alessandrini rarely fails to appear in outlandish costumes for her performances, often including masks in her stage attire. She has infuriated many theater directors over the years by refusing to select her vocal piece until the last moment - sometimes no more than minutes before the curtain rises. However, Sophia's eclectic taste and erratic behavior do not seem to trouble the unflappable owner of the Theatre Moderne.
Clinton Seeley, Talent Agent
Clinton Seeley is a somewhat familiar name in the Americas; he is known for his interest in new talent. It is rumored that he has recently been spotted in the Puerto de Mayo area, reportedly on vacation.
After finishing his term as President of the United States in 1909, Mr. Roosevelt left for a safari tour of Africa. Rumor has it that he has extended his trip to see some of the recent discoveries in Puerto de Maio. Only two years after leaving office, Mr. Roosevelt is already a legend. He is remembered as a strong, progressive president who is perhaps best known for his policy, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." During the Spanish-American War Roosevelt distinguished himself as the leader of the Rough Riders, a crack cavalry regiment whose members were equal parts cowboys, soldiers, and scholars. Ever since his long battle with ill health in his youth, Roosevelt has been a dedicated follower of the philosophy of Health and Suffering.
Donald Scottsworthy, adventurer, trader, explorer, retired pilot, amateur engineer, and eccentric, is the owner of the North West Africa Trading Company. Scottsworthy has had a large variety of business partners over the years, though it is unknown who currently holds that post. Word has it that the high turnover rate in Scottsworthy's collaborations is a result of his wild schemes to increase trade and exploit new lands the world over. One of his most famous was his plan to floor the African Sahara in order to open the interior of the continent to trade. His most recent spectacular plan is to build a railway bridge from the Moroccan mainland to Puerto de Maio. Full-scale work on this bizarre project is already underway.
Nellie Bly is an American reporter for the New York World, and has pioneered an investigative style that is often called "stunt journalism." Bly is perhaps best known for her widely-publicized attempt in 1889 to "beat the record" of traveling around the world in 80 days, set by Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg, which she did, in 72 days. Bly is among the best-respected journalists of the day, publishing a never-ending variety of first-person accounts of oppression around the world and sensational exposes on current events.
Nevada Evans brings 'em back alive. From the Komodo Dragons of Indonesia to the Snow Leopards of the Himalayas, Evans has brought back the rarest of the rare for the world's finest zoos and private collections. Now she has her sights set on the most remarkable game of all - the strange and peculiar beasts of the Moroccan wilderness.
Gabriel Stewart MacQuarrie
One of the most deadly marksmen in Europe, and a legendary big game hunter, Gabriel MacQuarrie holds no less than seven hunting records world wide (including records for largest Siberian tiger and black rhinoceros). The dozens of trophy heads on his wall should be a testament to his skill, but he has become bored with "ordinary game" and recently ventured to Porto de Maio in search of better sport. It is no secret that there is a serious professional rivalry between MacQuarrie and Nevada Evans, which likely stems from the time MacQuarrie shot a rare 21-foot estuarine crocodile that Evans was attempting to capture for the London Zoo. On their last meeting, Evans called MacQuarrie a "savage blowhard," prompting him to call Evans a "pansy colonial git."
Mary Henrietta Kingsley
Mary Kingsley led a quiet life until after the deaths of her parents. She then took off for Africa to study African tradition, beliefs and culture. She has traveled extensively in western and central Africa, often being the first European to visit an area. She has climbed Mount Cameroon and journeyed through Nigeria, Gabon, Angola, and Cameroon-always in the voluminous clothes of the late Victorian era. Kingsley has come to Morocco to study the traditional beliefs and practices of Berber shamans.
William Matthew Flinders Petrie
Referred to in hushed, reverent tones by the entire Ancient Studies department as "The Father of Modern Archaeological Methods", Petrie has long been a prominent figure in Egyptian archaeology. He was the first scholar to carefully study the range and placement of items at a site, rather than just digging for pretty objects to sell. Rumors have been flying regarding Petrie's reasons for coming to Porto de Maio. The only thing that is certain is that he was invited by the Ancient Studies department for what Professor Lesko described as "lending his considerable expertise regarding a most curious development.
Howard Carter discovered the first magical incantations in an ancient Egyptian tomb in Alexandria, Egypt, and since them has become a world-famous archaeologist and scholar of the magical arts. Formerly an Inspector General for the Egyptian Antiquities Service, an unfortunate incident at a dig site threw him into professional obscurity for some years. Carter has recently reemerged as a personal researcher and excavationist for the enigmatic Lord Carnarvon, and despite his obsession with discovering the tomb of King Tutankhamun, is rumored to be en route to Puerto de Maio.
Annie Smith Peck
Annie Smith Peck had a distinguished academic career, including a master's degree from the University of Michigan and advanced study in Germany and Greece. She taught Latin at Purdue University and Smith College. But her first glance at the Matterhorn awakened an interest in mountain climbing, and she scaled that peak in 1895. On September 2, 1909, she became the first person to conquer Mount Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru on Sept. 2, 1909. She is in Puerto de Maio with the Adventurer's Club, reportedly to hack a route through the island's dense forests to the base of the highest peak in the Atlas mountain range.
A visiting member of the Adventurer's Club and renowned treasure hunter, Blackwell has spent the last five years scouring the globe for obscure artifacts to add to the Club's collection. She is also something of an expert in Cultural Anthropology and Demonology, but she left the University after her parents met untimely deaths on their Bombay estate. Though quite capable, Blackwell is distractible, and perhaps somewhat mad - likely the result of a brush with malaria during her time in India.
Dame Victoria Weatherby
Dame Weatherby is ancient, famous, rumored to be extremely wealthy and is just a touch...eccentric. No one can quite remember how or when she became a Dame, but she has always been one within anyone's living memory. Dame Weatherby is a formidable woman, who appears to have the ear of every royal and well-placed noble in Europe and even Russia. It is considered one of the highest honors to receive an invitation to tea with Dame Weatherby. Recently, she has relocated to Morocco. No one is sure why she has moved from her estates in England, although she has been heard to say it is better for her constitution. Dame Weatherby is always accompanied by her man servant, and aging man named Jones, and can be seen strolling through Porto de Maio on her daily walks.
General Louis-Hubert-Goncalves Lyautey
Commander of the French Foreign Legion 1st Foreign Regiment Puerto de Maio unit, Lyautey has a shrewd, cut-and-dry attitude toward Morocco. The Commander is known for his "oil slick" colonial strategy, in which the French build posts on the uncolonized edges of a region, provide security, safe trade, and excellent medical facilities to those nearby, and win local support for French control of the area. Successfully implemented most recently in Madagascar, it is unknown whether Lyautey plans to test this theory in Puerto de Maio.
Aissa ibn Umar al-Abdi
As of April 1, 1911, Royal Vizir Aissa ibn Umar al-Abdi and a small entourage were sent by the Sultan to reside in Puerto de Maio to represent the Sultan's interests there. Puerto de Maio has not been declared a Royal City - reportedly because the Sultan does not have the forces to defeat the Taieb and Madani tribes warring over the region. However, al-Abdi is known to be a close, personal friend of the Sultan's, and will undoubtedly use his politically finesse to win every possible advantage for the Sultanate.
Shaykh Al Akadin Amatara
Shaykh Al Akadin Amatara maintains the position of Official Import/Export Minister of Southern Morocco to The Sultanate. Exactly what this position is and what the Shaykh does officially remains unclear as there are numerous other Trading Ministers within this region who speak for and represent the Interests of the Sultanate. Unlike these officials, who are routinely replaced when there is a change in the ruler-ship of Morocco Shaykh Al Akadin Amatara seems impervious to these changes and has maintained his position through at least four governments. The simple truth of the matter is if he takes an interest in a trading activity or communication it can be a mixed blessing. If his interests are favorable the route is all but guaranteed to be secure. But if his interest is negative.... Well lets simply say that he was not an advocate of the Moroccan Trading Company of France. All in Puerto de Maio remember when the Shaykh said to their Trade representative, "your contract with the Vizir is meaningless... You shall not be trading here until we have reached amicable terms..." They never did and now the Moroccan Trading Company is only a memory after suffering three straight years of disaster immediately thereafter until it went out of business in 1909.
The Local Woman
Native to the Berber tribes of Puerto de Maio, this Marabout (Berber shaman) is said to be a powerful prophetess, mystic, and healer. Island natives give her name only as "The Local Woman", and no visitor to Puerto de Maio has yet laid eyes on her.
Miss Mina Harkness
To the delight of her many devoted followers, Miss Harkness has recently relocated from London to Puerto de Maio. Despite her youth, her devotees claim that she is remarkably powerful in the arts of clairvoyance and mediumship. Miss Harkness has founded a spiritualist circle in Puerto de Maio and seems determined to establish herself as the center of spiritual life on the island. She welcomes newcomers to her spiritual sessions, which are open to all true seekers.
Houdini is known as the greatest magician and escape artist in the world. Recently he has started a crusade to debunk the growing number of spiritualists and mystics. Using his knowledge of illusion, he is able to duplicate the ghostly apparitions, noises and mysterious levitations produced by the working mediums and their "spirits".
An aging American river boat gambler, Morgan is the most prominent adherent to the Parallelist philosophy of luck and wisdom. Tremendous speculation has been made as to the origins of this philosophy, with the most popular current theory being that it came from a mentor of Morgan's back in the 1850s. Morgan has never confirmed the rumor or identified this mentor. The industrial revolution and the "civilization" of the American West have brought the world of the river boat gambler to an end, and Morgan now travels extensively, feeling most at home in the world's gaming centers and dwindling frontiers.
Bernard Augustus Shaw III
The latest in a line of wealthy American bankers and financiers, Bernard Augustus Shaw III has come to Morocco to oversee his many investments in the area. Aside from the extreme wealth, Shaw is known has a collector of rare and unusual objects, including a vast array of Egyptian and Phoenician treasures. According to rumor, his latest investment happens to somewhere in Puerto de Maio.
Michaela "Mickey" Finn
A Boston Irish immigrant and natural mechanic, Miss Finn attended MIT briefly but was thrown out after three semesters for breaking a teaching assistant's nose with a crescent wrench. Despite her nefariously short temper, she successfully served in the Merchant Marine's engineering corps, before being hired by the North West Africa Trading Company as a mechanical engineer and demolitions overseer. She has done good work for the railroad project, but still has a penchant for fistfights.
Dr. Abelard "Drosselmeyer" Exeter
A brilliant mechanical engineer and chemist, Dr. Exeter recently set up his labs in Porto de Maio. He earned the nickname "Drosselmeyer" for his penchant for creating clockwork toys as children's gifts. Dithery, awkward, and always preoccupied with his work, Exeter is an endearing absentminded professor. It is unknown why he has moved to Porto de Maio, but then again, no one really understands anything Exeter does.
Visiting Lecturer Theodore Carlyle
The sole representative of the spiritualist discipline at the University, Mr. Carlyle specializes in the fields of mesmerism and communication with the dead. An American, Carlyle is a renowned and dynamic figure in his field who is known to have been invited to mesmerize several important world leaders. There are rumors that he corresponds with Rasputin on certain topics of mutual interest. Rumor has it that some professors strongly object to the inclusion of the spiritualist discipline in the Metaphysics Department, and that Carlyle retains his foothold at the University through the influence (and perhaps the money) of a powerful political figure.
Professor Marc Laroux
The Department of Metaphysics at the new University was particularly fortunate to acquire Professor Laroux, an expert in the field of Colonial Archaeoastronomy from the Sorbonne. Professor Laroux has won a grant to study the structure and alignment of the graveyard and crypts, which he believes to be designed along archaeoastronomical lines. Accompanying Professor Laroux is his research assistant, Octavia Cree, who specializes in classical geomancy and dowsing.
Professor Richard Peake
Rounding out the list of luminaries in the Department of Metaphysics is Richard Peake, the renowned English phrenologist. He is accompanied by Dr. Lydia Fowler, a doctor from a distinguished line of phrenologists who lends her medical expertise to Professor Peake's endeavors.
Does not exist. Or at least, that is what some people say. Most, however, believe that he is the mastermind behind most of the criminal enterprises in Europe, from running gin to arranging assassinations to smuggling black-market artifacts. He is said to be the most dangerous man alive, murdering anyone who dares cross him - and yet, no one ever seems to have met the man, or even know what he looks like, prompting many to believe that he is merely a spook story meant to keep unruly thugs in line.
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A phenomenon has recently arrived to grace this corner of the world: The Theatre Moderne! Fresh from amazing audiences in Paris, the owner, the inestimable Madame Simone l'Arraigne has declared Paris a "dead bore" and come in search of glory, riches, and a good time. The shows of the Theatre Moderne are very avant garde - strange, fantastical and at times magical displays have been dazzling audiences and mystifying the more "scientific" minded. The famous director of the theater, Jean-Michel Destrier, often holds open auditions to draw in and showcase new talent, and who could resist working with such famous persons as Nicollette, Gastonne the Amazing and of course, Simone l'Arraigne herself. Tours of the theater can be arranged with the management, for a small fee. The Stage Manager, Dirth, ensures the security of the Theatre and no one who is not a member of the Ensemble is ever allowed backstage. It is rumored that, bizarre as the shows may be, they are nothing compared to what goes on behind the scenes.
The Theatre Moderne operates mainly at night, sharing space with the Adventurer's Club.
The main meeting place for locals and visitors to Puerto de Maio, the Adventurer's Club doubles as the town watering hole in the evening. The Adventurer's Club is one of the few organizations with the wealth and clout to be able to command its own permanent structure in Puerto de Maio. As such, the place is buzzing with activity from morning to night, and is filled with artifacts, books, memorabilia and other evidence of the exploits of its members. Whether you're meeting a guide, colleague or a secret contact, arranging a hunting party, dig team or séance, or just looking to share a brandy and exchange war stories with friends, this is the place to be. In the evenings, pull up a chair to watch the fabulous productions of the Theatre Moderne - or join the menagerie onstage yourself.
Generations unnumbered of those who lived and eventually died in Puerto de Maio have brought their dead to this silent place for their final rest. Researchers at the University have discovered evidence of interment from no less than three distinct cultures in this area. Rumors persist there may be as many as six cultures in occupation of this sacred space, and scholars in the Department of Necrology may not have identified each of them. The graveyard itself has expanded over the centuries from its original location, newer graves close to the town, with those nearest the furthest outskirts most ancient and mysterious among all of them. It is said the pictorial and runic labels on some of the oldest grave markers have not yet been deciphered by even the university's best scholars.
Wandering beneath the streets of Puerto de Maio stretch ancient layers of the Egyptian burial crypts. Carved through the course of centuries, through occupation of nations and cultures each with their own design, this labyrinthine city of the dead is an attractive destination for archeologists, historians, necrologists, even thrill seekers and treasure hunters. Only the genius protections of the ancient architects of this palace of adventure keep safe the wealth contained within its barriers, for it is said that one cannot enter the crypts without the secret keys to their design. These crypts first came to the attention of the world in October of 1910 when a significant store of new magical incantations (most now in common use) was unearthed in the now-famous Site H. University and local officials are ever vigilant for graverobbers that sometimes manage to enter and pillage sections of the crypts. Occasional reports emerge of the disappearance of unwary treasure hunters who enter the crypts never to reemerge. The safety of the contents (and occupants) within these ancient crypts is rumored to be ensured by elaborately engineered pitfalls and snares.
The Diamond Mines
Only recently discovered, these abandoned mines are rumored to hold more than just diamonds. Bandits, escaped criminals, and pirates are said to use the winding tunnels as a hideout, and more than one claim-seeker has returned with rumors of strange lights and whispers from within. However, the treasures of the mines are more than sufficient to draw those seeking them.
The Adventurer's Club has recently gained licenses from the Sultan to designate much of the wooded area surrounding Puerto de Maio a Game Preserve. Hunting and guide licenses are to be obtained through the organization's Big Game branch, known as the Tent Club, which must in turn have Royal approval for each expedition. All residents and visitors to the island are strenuously warned not to venture into the Game Preserve without a local, approved guide, under penalty of stiff fines and expulsion from the town. This warning has proved unnecessary of late, as the recent massacre of a poaching party by an unnamed and very large beast seems to have prevented any further unauthorized expeditions.
The Royal Residences were constructed in 1910 by the Sultan. Visiting and local dignitaries, University Consortium faculty, employees of the North West Africa Trading Company, and other authorized guests stay there. For the safety and convenience of the residents, it is forbidden for any person to enter the Royal Residences unless they have specific approval to do so.
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The Ladies' Adventuring Society
A knitting and embroidery circle is one of the last things most people would expect to see in Morocco. Nevertheless, a tightly knit circle of friendly upper-class women have carved a niche for themselves in Porto de Maio and can often be seen in a corner of the Adventurers Club, carrying on animated and surprisingly scholarly conversations as they busy themselves with their needlework. One should not be fooled by their dainty, domestic exterior - these ladies have first-hand tales of some hair-raising exploits.
The Adventurer's Club
The Adventurer's Club has its roots in ancient Greece, where it was founded on the teachings of Plato and his Republic. Young scholars would enroll to experience the world and learn about its ways, in order to become properly educated Philosopher-Kings. Later the mantle of the Adventurer's Club was passed on to the English; it is in Britain that the Club is now headquartered, although there are chapters across the world. Dedicated to exploration and preservation of knowledge, the Club's members have included some of the finest explorers the world has ever known, and it is well known that its members go on to become leaders and men and women of prominence. Some of the more famous members have included Meriwether Lewis, Ferdinand Magellan, Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope, Sir Walter Raleigh, Admiral Zheng He, Isabella Lucy Bishop and Marco Polo. Current members include polar explorers Commander Robert Peary and Sir Ernest Shackleton, as well as aviator Nellie Bly and African explorer Mary Henrietta Kingsley. The current head of the American chapter of the Adventurer's Club is former president Theodore Roosevelt. The Adventurer's Club recently formed a chapter in Morocco, in order to investigate the opportunities there. The President of the Club is Sir Charles Kensington, a highly regarded big game hunter who has restored the Club's heroic, somewhat swashbuckling image through his emphasis on modern-method exploring and excellent publicity. He has done an excellent job of documenting the Club's exploits through photography and newsreels, and has published a highly-popular series of five-cent books chronicling his adventures. Annie Smith Peck, a famous mountaineer and explorer and high-profile Club member, has joined Kensington in Puerto de Maio. Peck is rumored to be mapping a route through the island's densest forest region, which stands in her way of climbing the highest peak of the Atlas mountain range - a peak which is now situated on the island of Puerto de Maio. The Adventurer's Club is said to maintain a friendly rivalry with the area's University Consortium in unearthing ancient treasures, and frequently sponsors Club-led excavation outfits to venture down into the labyrinth of crypts in the area. Kensington is also careful to maintain cordial relations with the varied consulate personnel in the area, and has also been quoted as having a keen interest in improving contact with the local Berber inhabitants.
The Tent Club
Led by the indomitable Martha Trury, this is the game hunters' arm of the Adventurer's Club. The Club is known for its fearless pursuit of the most dangerous and elusive game, and have come to Puerto de Maio on the trail of legends concerning mysterious beasts said to roam the woods in the area. The Tent club has begun providing the wealthy and sporting in the area with a tracking party (hired mainly from the local population) in pursuit of prize quarry. The Tent Club has declared a good portion of these woods a game preserve, which can not be entered without a licensed guide. Poaching in the preserve was a concern until an entire hunting party was slaughtered recently. Only their guide, too inexperienced to lead the party to safety, returned to give a baffling report of the unnamed and vicious creature which had decimated the group.
The East India Trading Company
Originally founded in India by British entrepreneurs the East Indian Trading Company ("The EITC") has expanded its original business manifesto to include Africa. It has placed a permanent store in Morocco as part of this plan. While this store is based in Casablanca the EITC has recently expressed a great deal of interest in Puerto de Maio. This interest has been expressed by talk of regular shipments to Puerto de Maio placing a permanent Store within that community. However, their success in infiltrating Puerto de Maio's markets has been limited by their ongoing debates with the NATC over administrative issues. The EITC historically has specialized in the trade of spices, textiles, silks and tea. It is rumored that the EITC has also been a major arms dealer throughout India and the Middle East regions although these rumors remain unsubstantiated.
The North African Trading Company
The major rival of The EITC in England the North African Trading Company (NATC) was founded by a former director of the EITC, Sir Howard Hingsley. Sir Hingsley left the EITC in 1882 and took with him numerous advantages trading relationships and contracts that the EITC had established throughout Africa. As a further insult to the EITC he founded his company out of Sydney Australia but was able to maintain British charters and importantly British naval protections due to his position in the House of Lords. The NATC trades primarily in textiles, medicines and luxuries. The NATC is believed to be the largest importer of Gin and Quinine into North Africa (including Morocco). It is rumored that Hingsley delights in thwarting the EITC at any opportunity, sometimes to his own disadvantage. This might explain why both organizations have thus far been unable to penetrate the Puerto de Maio markets - leaving an elated Donald Scottsworthy in control of trade routes to the area.
North West Africa Trading Company
Founded in 1898 by the eccentric adventurer and trader Donald Scottsworthy. While the EITC and the NATC have been squabbling over the details of port agreements and trade taxes, this company has filled Puerto de Maio with trading goods, modern conveniences, and the ubiquitous "porters" who work for "North West". The North West Africa Trading Company has delved deep into the African Sahara to found trade routes through the interior of darkest Africa. Taking notice of the opportunities in Puerto de Maio, Scottsworthy has embarked on a project to build a rail bridge from the island to the Moroccan mainland. A shrewd businessman as well as a true eccentric, Scottsworthy has so far successfully taken advantage of the administrative red tape bogging down the trade business of his two large and high-profile rivals.
The Millennial Society
A spiritualist group originating in Vienna in 1900, the Millennial Society has toured Europe "bringing enlightenment and education to those of the New Age". The Millennials, as members call themselves, actively recruit new mediums, mystics, and other spiritualists as they travel. This group has a reputation for attracting the world's most impressive spiritualist talents as well as its most notorious charlatans. This group is one of Harry Houdini's main targets in his quest to debunk the notion of contact with the spirits of the dead.
The Society to Prevent Spiritual Corruption (SPSC)
This loosely organized group consists of a wide diverse collective of individuals and groups who believe that tampering with the spiritual arts is morally reprehensible and must be stopped. The belief is based on a combination of the sanctity of the dead who should be allowed to rest in peace and the fear that contacting these spirits awakens and releases powerful dark and evil forces into the world. The group recognizes the existence of the Spiritual World and maintains that crossing it into the Material World is hubris and folly. Like many widely spread and loosely organized movements this movement has a diverse membership along with sub-groups. These range from peaceful teachers/philosophers to radical and violent militants.
Panepistimio Antartis (roughly "Rebel University")
This group is formed of students rejected from prominent universities due to their wild or outlandish ideas. Some were never allowed to attend the university of his or her choice, while others had their theses spurned by their professors. These students banded together in a loose organization, claiming their goal to be making scholarly research and writing available and understandable to the general public, but frequently their works are too bizarre for any to comprehend. Among their number are a few brilliant scholars who just may not have had the connections to attend a university, but the majority are dismissed as irresponsible fools.
The Makers' Alliance
A social group of unknown number practicing a simplified, unmechanized lifestyle. Rebelling against the new manufacturing practices of the Industrial Revolution, the Makers' Alliance consider modern technology "cheating". They take great pride in individual craftsmanship - striving for perfection in one's work is the true path to purity and perfection of the spirit. Their social structure shuns marital relationships; Makers have no children and therefore readily welcome new members through initiation.
The Alchemists' League
A loose organization of Herbologists from various academies and colleges, the Alchemists League was refused a position among the departments represented by the University at Puerto de Maio. Accused of unethical practices, and looked down upon by professors of the "real" sciences, the League's goal is to elevate Herbology to be the equal of, or even to surpass, the other sciences. Despite their lack of scientific recognition, however, the members of the Alchemists League are among the most skilled Herbologists in the world.
In the last year, Britain, France, Spain, Germany and America have expressed that interesting diplomatic opportunities exist in Puerto de Maio, Morocco. Although no official presence has yet been established there by any country, several visits have been made by the consular corps of each. Prevailing wisdom holds that most countries are hesitating in anticipation of seeing what the others will do. Rumor has it that France will break the stand-off soon, but this is unconfirmed.
French Foreign Legion
Known in France as the "Legion Etrangere", a small unit of soldiers from the 1er Regiment Etranger (1st Foreign Regiment) has been sent to Puerto de Maio in order to ensure order and security in the area. In keeping with the traditions of the Legion, these soldiers come from a great diversity of backgrounds and countries, and maintain the tough and brutally practical attitude for which the Legion is famous. The arrival of the Legion is seen by some as France's first move toward occupation. However, there is word that the Legion's main activity so far has been the occasional scuffle with various other European and American soldiers stationed in the town.
The Harvesters of Set
Little is known about this group beyond the obvious fact that they seem to be determined to rack up as high a body count as possible. Even their name is a guess based on stray, murmured comments overheard by their very few survivors. It is known that they seem to mark their kills in some way, usually with something red (hence the connection to Set, the red-haired Ancient Egyptian Deity). No members of this fearsome cabal have been caught alive, but the few bodies that have been taken by authorities have each been carrying a notched stick which is believed to represent the number of kills they have made.
Saharan Nomadic Tribes
Little is known of this weathered band of wanderers, collectively known as the Saharan Nomadic Tribes. They live isolated lives as they travel in small groups through the desert and surrounding areas. So far, their attitudes seem neutral enough, although they are extremely secretive and mysterious. It is unknown why they are in Puerto de Maio.
This band of macabre performers can often be found giving performances in local graveyards. It is said that they have a unique gift of being able to summon and communicate with spirits of the long dead.
Cult of The Golden Skull
A powerful band of the notorious Death Cult, the Cult of The Golden Skull seeks to educate the populace in the glory of Death. It is said that the Cult serves a reclusive master yet there are no eye witnesses to verify the rumor. What has been verified is that many soldiers report having killed the same Cultist over and over again.
The Pride of Akhemaht
These savagely dressed warrior-shamans have plagued the outlying settlements of Porto de Maio, stealing livestock and attacking locals. They seem to hold lions as their totem animals, which accounts for their being fiercely territorial and their habit of painting their faces with stylized cat's eyes. Perhaps strangest of all are the reports that these warriors have been accompanied by lions or lion-like creatures, which is ridiculous considering it has been centuries since lions roamed North Africa.
The Brotherhood of the Shroud
Garbed in black and always silent, they strike as swiftly and deadly as cobras before disappearing into the night. It is unknown what this murderous crew wants, though they have a penchant for attacking archaeological sites and treasure-hunting parties. Their attacks are always skillfully and efficiently executed, suggesting they are always planned with great care and premeditation.
With the rise of trade and the rumors of vast wealth it is no surprise that Puerto de Maio has developed an underbelly. Whether it is extortion, smuggling illegal drugs, weapons or ancient artifacts there seems to be an extensive network of criminal "families" in and around the city. No clear information is known about how these criminal networks are organized, except that there are more than one and that they have no reservation about utilizing violence to resolve their differences or enforce their will.
A powerful force in the 12th century and onward, the Barbary Pirates were largely disbanded following the War of 1812. The young United States of America refused to pay tribute to the Mediterranean pirates and launched a series of attacks upon the pirates' strongholds, crippling their bases of power. Though their unified strength was dispersed, these pirates have still survived into the 20th century, attacking American and European shipping lanes in Mediterranean waters. They also seem to be fostering the resemblance to the days of the original Barbary Pirates when their Corsairs ruled the waterways. In a direct reference to the pre-Napoleonic days of the Barbary Pirates and as a slight to the United States one of the pirate leaders has taken the name, "O'Bannon" after the U.S. Marine hero of the Battle of Tripoli of 1805.
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