Monday, September 23, 2019

The Sustainers (Sunless Horizon)

Close Your Eyes Forever

The Sustainers have been sleeping since before the Retreat. To avoid the dangers of Ein Soph, they took control of the wide-spread cryopod facilities, and froze themselves, leaving only a few of their number behind.

However, some Sustainers were left awake, and now labor to keep the cryopods running and the sleepers alive. While the sleepers do not eat or breathe, their pods are always on the brink of failure.

The Castes

With so few Sustainers still awake, they needed to cut away the least useful parts of their society. Now, all that matters are the castes and the sleepers. 

The Four Castes
  • Shamans lead the group by divining the wills of the sleepers - every vital sign has a meaning. There must always be at least 2 shamans awake. They always vote unanimously.
  • Farmers ensure there is enough food to keep the awakened Sustainers alive.
  • Scavengers go out into Ein Soph to retrieve important materials (such as the complex chemicals the cryopods run on) and trade with other groups.
  • Artisans keep the cryopods running, making constant repairs to make sure no parts of them fail.
If a Sustainer dies or chooses to go to sleep, another Sustainer of the same caste is pulled out of cryosleep to replace them. This newly awakened Sustainer is treated as the same person as the last one - they take their name, family, and emotions.

Broken Eggs 

In times of famine, Sustainers will break open cryopods and consume the occupants - the survival of the cell is far more important than the survival of the individual.

If a Sustainer cryopod bay becomes uninhabitable, the entire cell will be awakened, and begin to search for a new home. These wanderings are one of the only times an entire cell will be together - it serves as an almost holy time to change caste-personalities and reset social norms.

Outside Relations

Sustainer scavengers are careful not to draw attention to their cell, often lying about their origin or the location of the cell. Because of how few Sustainers are awake at a time, scavengers are usually much more sociable and polite than Navigator House Jackals - they have no overwhelming force behind them.

If a cell is found or threatened, more sleepers will be awoken. While this costs the cell greatly, hugely depleting their food supply, the sudden counterattack and unforeseen size of the cell helps Sustainers make up for their low technology.

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