While the other families accuse them of a number of crimes, the Decados are here to stay and thus must be dealt with on their own terms. They were the last House to be invited to join in the alliance of Ten, and their intelligence operatives provided crucial information to the capture of Byzantium Secundus from the Rogue Houses.
However House Decados has significantly profited from this as it seems that most of their major enemies were wiped out in this. House Decados was one of Alexius I greatest opposition, thus their surrender to Alexius has been met with scepticism. Some suspect it might be part of some elusive nefarious plot.
Possessing the Jakovian Agency, one of the most accomplished spy networks in history, House Decados trades primarily in information. They now hold their might over many minor houses and use deception and cunning to keep the other houses at odds with each other. Decados vassals despise their lords but are kept in line through fear or promise of power for those who make good quislings.
House Decados is, in current estimation, either the weakest or the second to weakest Royal House. Its ruthless tactics have made it many enemies over the years, but the house persists.
House Decados has seen the crown change hands a number of times. Originally, the Tchaikof line held the throne. Over time, the throne has passed into the hands of the Maleviks, the Romanovs, the Vladislavs, the Ivanoviches, the Aleksandrovs, the Sfillis, and six other extinct dynasties. The Romanov dynasty, always strong, was deposed during the brief reign of Halvor the Theocrat, and since then the position passed to the Maleviks, who were deposed in 4882 and replaced by the Aleksandrovs. The Aleksandrov reign lasted until the middle of the Emperor Wars, when a series of defeats led the Vladislav line to take over most Aleksandrov holdings. Current politics are chaotic as normal, but the Vladislavs hold the throne. The Romanovs and Vladislavs are on guard against threats from the Malevik and Ivanovich families, each of which wishes to reclaim its lost glory and continually looks for new allies, and the Slava and Sharn families, which are trying to work their way inside from without. Prominent allies of the Crown include the Bogakovs and Czernys, military powerhouses bound by oath to the Vladislavs, the Gurovs, Sfillis, and Innokentis, who maintain good foreign relations for the house, and the Valushnya and Krusczek lines, which are involved in propaganda and intelligence within the house.
The Decados mindset creates a constant struggle between emergent families trying to claw their way to the top and established families trying to keep them in line. These struggles can often distract house members to no end and waste house resources on vendettas and constant mutual surveillance, but they really do cease when the crown or the agency wishes it so. More than any other house, the Decados put aside their differences and cooperate against foreigners. Decados are willing to betray anything and anybody except for the house itself. To the extent that this phenomenon is recognized, it is considered uncanny.
The strengths of House Decados are not immediately apparent, but are no less real for it. Outsiders would consider the chief strength of the house to be its incredible intelligence network, which allows it to use its power most efficiently and bargain from a position of great strength. This is all true, but it is only possible to the extent it exists because of another strength of the house– the uncanny allegiance it can command and the centralization of that allegiance. The weaknesses of House Decados are its poverty of resources, its non-martial orientation, and the lack of trust it inspires in potential allies. The house is fairly isolated, enjoying good if frosty relations with House Hazat, strained toleration by the Church and the Merchant League, and fairly poor relations with everyone else. Indeed, astute students of Known Worlds politics predict its imminent fall from prominence. Of course, they have been predicting this imminent fall for centuries now.
Decados Fiefs Edit
Decados Royal Offices and Orders Edit
The Jakovian Agency Edit
House Decados Intelligence agency founded in 2818.
The Emperor Alexius insisted upon the disbanding of the Jakovian Agency as a precondition for any surrender settlement on the part of Czar Hyram. Despite a number of highly-publicized purges, it is not believed by many that the much-feared spy network has simply ceased to exist. Still, those looking for Jakovian activity have found it far more scarce in recent years than it was before the end of the Second Emperor Wars.
The Fleshcrafters Cartel Edit
A cartel specializing in body alteration, the Fleshcrafters always fight with the Engineers over market share in Decados space. They are quite skilled at cosmetic surgery and body alteration, and they are under constant Church investigation for their genetic engineering facilities.
The Alchemists Cartel Edit
A cartel which licenses brewers of various drugs and poisons. Although there are few illegal drugs on Decados worlds, it is extremely dangerous to cultivate and sell drugs without being licensed by the cartel. Capturing an unlicensed drug dealer will fetch a number of favors from the Cartel, and so any number of opportunistic lords will seize on the occasion to apprehend such a one. Indeed, this causes as much of a conflict about drugs as exists on worlds where drugs are illegal.
The Torturers Cartel Edit
In competition with the vastly inferior Merchant League’s Torturer’s Guild, this cartel uses royal authority to train personnel in the many arts of torture and to license noble lords’ torturers. There is no way of enforcing a prohibition on unlicensed torture among the Decados, but it is considered somewhat uncouth not to have a licensed torturer in many court circles, and the mere knowledge that a torturer is licensed by the cartel is enough to remove the need for torture in many cases. It is said that promising apprentices in the cartel are taken away to train with the Jakovian agency.
The Tutors Cartel Edit
This cartel certifies tutors for young Decados nobles. A certified tutor is de rigeur in most court circles, though at higher levels one’s tutors ought to be known by their reputations rather than the mere fact of their certification. The Tutors Cartel is huge and powerful, and the failure to have a Cartel-certified tutor is sure to mark a noble as an outsider and potential threat to local lords except in the more rural and remote areas of Decados space.
The Mantis League Edit
Officially now just a cartel that licenses Master Jurists for vendettas between Decados, the Mantis League used to be a clearinghouse that awarded licenses for all of the functionaries needed within vendettas, including assassins, chaos artists, thieves, rumorcrafters, and gamesmasters. The League functioned largely as a way to award prestige by granting licenses to various Decados who wished reputations in certain fields, but it also performed a certain degree of training and quality control, assuring that those who wished to hire an assassin would acquire someone discreet and skilled. Still, in most courts lords would train their own contestants and merely apply for licenses from the League to gain prestige. Since a League license for anything other than a Master Jurist is no longer publicly acceptable, the Mantis League now is known mostly for its licensing of Master Jurists.
The Royal Kossack Legion Edit
This group is one of the oldest institutions of House Decados, founded by Antonin Tchaikof Decados the First. A unit of elite planetary assault troops, the Royal Kossack Legion would descend from the skies on their jump packs and put whole cities to the torch. They have remained a regiment of renown in the house throughout the years, but in the years after the Fall, it became too expensive to keep them all equipped with the rare air maneuver rigs. So selective genetic alteration of native Severan fauna produced Chithians and Chilothny, which were so effective that they prompted House Gesar to develop the destrier to counter them. Now the Royal Kossack legion is made up of elite boyars wearing fearsome and ornate powered armor, mounted on huge insects capable of charging at great speeds and striking down men in light armor with powerful poisonous claws. These insects have made such a great impression on the minds of the Known Worlders that few remember their earlier days. Now the Royal Kossack Legion is more of a dispersed knightly order such as the Musketeers of 17th-century France, though it is called out en masse when the Crown declares war. Further, many within the house ride Chithians or Chilothny, and they are called kossacks in the same way that psychic warriors are called dervishes.
The Screaming Dervish Legion Edit
The royal corps of psychic warriors, the Screaming Dervish Legion is moderately powerful, but it is an open secret that the truly powerful psychics of House Decados– and there are many– are not to be found here but in the Jakovian Agency.
The Legion of the Stiletto Edit
The official bodyguard of the Czar, the Legion of the Stiletto functions as a proxy military unit for the Czar and performs certain ceremonial functions of guarding. With each change of power, the membership of the Legion of the Stiletto undergoes a huge series of purges, though the ceremonial equipment and pageantry of the company, designed to intimidate and impress, does not. The Legion of the Stiletto is found at the Royal Manse and on worlds beyond Severus, doing the will of the Czar from afar.
The Legion of the Cloak Edit
It is unknown how official this order is, but it is certainly the name given to the true bodyguard of the Czar, which protects him covertly and performs assassinations for him covertly as well. Nobody has ever admitted to being a member of the Legion of the Cloak. What is known for certain is that each Czar has his or her personal corps of assassins as bodyguards, and their identities, numbers, and capabilities are always hidden.
The Order of the White Stone Edit
The Order of the Green Blossom Edit
The Order of the Black Mantis Edit
The Order of the Unspoken Word Edit
These honorary knighthoods are not in fact as honorary as they seem. On the surface of it they merely involve reiteration of the house’s oaths, but members of these orders are called upon by more highly placed members quite frequently, and they are expected to use their position to entice obedience to others. Indeed, these honorary positions were often given out fairly frequently as bribes, and so the Order of the Unspoken Word had to be added as a further qualification more distinctive than the too-common the Order of the Black Mantis. Since the period of Malevik rule, they have been far more circumspect about granting new memberships, hoping to gain some credibility.
Selected Decados Families Edit
- Vladislav: The royal family. Traditional in its Decados ways, but courting the Empire aggressively and willing to grant concessions. (Crown on Severus, big on Cadiz, Malignatius, Cadavus, Criticorum)
- Romanov: One of the founding families of the house. Has held the crown many times in the past. Rules Cadiz from the city of Vilna (Crown on Cadiz, big on Severus, Cadavus, Criticorum)
- Malevik: Aggressive if not completely subtle, the hot-tempered Maleviks have considerable enmity with the Romanovs and the Vladislavs. Accordingly, they are somewhat exiles right now. (Crown on Cadavus, big on Malignatius, Pandemonium)
- Bogakov: The most military branch of the family, and the most honorable (such as it is). Grudgingly respected but disliked within the house. (Crown on Malignatius, big on Pandemonium, Cadavus)
- Ivanovich: One of the more powerful families at court, though they consier themselves “robbed” of Malignatius’ throne by the Bogakovs. (Big on Malignatius, Severus, Cadiz, presence on Manitou)
- Sharn: Utterly calculating, almost robotic. Up-and-coming, and regarded with suspicion by Vladislavs and Romanovs. (Crown on Pandemonium, big on Severus, Malignatius)
- Gurov: Cultured and subtle, considered by many to be not far removed from the Criticorum al-Malik. The Gurov line tries to maintain good relations with non-Decados. (Big on Cadiz, Severus, Criticorum, Sutek)
- Sfilli: One of the chief Italianate families, the Sfilli line is closely allied with the Castenda Hazat and with the Vladislav line. (Big on Cadiz, Sutek, presence on Severus)
- Slava: Underdog rivals with Romanov family for control of Cadiz. Preach loudly about reform and overtures to Empire. (Big on Cadiz, Cadavus)
- Durneyev: Cultured and witty, often engaged in feuds and vendettas. (Big on Severus, Cadiz, presence on Criticorum)
- Innokenti: Highly religious, but not amazingly honorable. High incidence of theurgy. (Big on Malignatius, Cadavus, presence on Cadiz)
- Bratislav: Excellent with biotechnology, chemicals, and genetic engineering. Under close Church regulation. (Big on Severus, Cadavus, presence on Cadiz)
- Petrovna: Decadent, extremely wealthy and high-technology. Home to many cyberfetishists. (Big on Cadiz, Severus, Manitou)
- Gagarin: The most cultured and artistic of the house, as well as the most psychic and alien. The Gagarin line has long been plagued by troubling visions and portents. Once rebellious, then crushed and bound by oath to the Vladislavs. (big on Severus, Cadiz, Manitou)
- Aleksandrov: Once the crown family, deposed and largely crushed in beginning of Emperor Wars. Now they try to insinuate themselves into the politics of the backwaters they find themselves exiled into. (Big on Malignatius, Cadavus, presence on Pandemonium)
- Krusczek: Courtly family, excellent rumormongers. (Big on Severus, Malignatius)
- Chomolny: Highly mercenary, known to work for the highest bidder. Somewhat outcast. (Big on Cadavus, Criticorum, Cadiz)
- Czerny: Highly disciplined and extremely insular. Excellent rangers and warriors. Serves the Vladislav family (big on Cadavus, Malignatius)
- Turian: Strictly neutral information brokers. Still distrusted by many. (big on Cadiz, Criticorum, Manitou, Sutek)
- Mikoyan: Ardent supporters of the cartels. Often come into conflict with the Merchant League. (Big on Severus, Cadiz, Criticorum)
- Valushnya: Home to many scholars and intellectuals. (Big on Severus, Cadiz)
- Romany: Naval family, fond of life in space. Allied with Bogakov line. (Big on Severus, Cadiz)
- Tatarin: Somewhat Li Halan-influenced, this family is very religious (though not always Orthodox) and somewhat anarchic. (Big on Malignatius, Manitou, Cadavus)
- Sobor: Dissidents highly persecuted by Czar Hyram. (big on Malignatius, Pandemonium, Cadavus)
- Tchaikof: The most decadent of the house, considered to be degenerates and failures by all, but still tolerated because they are the family of Antonin and Jakob. (big on Cadavus, Cadiz)
- Strelnikov: Allied with the Castenda Hazat, still trying to demilitarize after the war. (big on Severus, presence on Sutek)
- Vaclav: Warrior family (presence on Malignatius, Cadavus)