Summary: Prevent atrocities, relieve suffering in cut-off areas, and set up systems of sustenance and protection for people who are under threat of deprivation and violence
The most recent Contract Appendix I published was Stability Actions, but I happened to fill out Civil Relief before the others. To avoid confusion, once I’ve published them all I’ll put out a master post with links to them all, and then link to that at the start of each of these Conract Appendices.
A: Investigations: High-risk detective work
B: Special Reconnaissance: Physical surveillance in hostile conditions
C: Military Intervention: Direct action in support of allied military activities
D: Military Assistance: Train, lead, advise and inspire allied military and/or security forces
E: Stability Actions: Ensure that a vulnerable polity, individual, or process thrives by engaging with threats on its behalf
F: Counterconspiracy: Social infiltration and undercover proactive security
G: Counteroccult: Hunt strange creatures, assassinate occultists, minimize the fallout of occult catastrophes, counter malign entities, and safeguard items and places of cosmic provenance
H: Influence Operations: Persuade, influence, subvert and deceive under delicate and/or hostile circumstances
I: Extractions: Recover personnel and assets from hostile forces and other dangerous situations
J: Civil Relief: Prevent atrocities, relieve suffering in cut-off areas, and set up systems of sustenance and protection for people who are under threat of deprivation and violence
Complement of Life and Death
The Murdered Kingdom
You have been contracted to conduct a kind of arcogoetic demining operation in the former territories of the Immobile Dynasty, a civilization of the highest complexity whose hieratic ruling class (suffering from mutational meltdown) overthrew themselves in a coronation ceremony which was usurped by cosmogonic regressors, only half-intentionally, as the imperial heresiarchs had forgotten the Neolithic source of their legitimacy- which was the last time in which they had accurately perceived their place in the order of the cosmos.
Their land was made into mounds and earthvaults by a rippling bombardment by creative/retractive forces, seeding it with a conflagration of exocosmic effects. Many people yet live there, though the ruling class has been retracted and their profoundly complex society has degraded in profoundly complex ways, leaving the populace in a state of confusion and disorganization.
Your job is to allow the construction of a fundamental, cosmically-intramural society by entering locuses of disruption and removing, destroying or burying the occult objects and effects located within. Complicating matters are occultist bonepickers flocking to this region from everywhere on the continent, paying off desperate people for impunity and aid, stripping artifacts or heightening their effects into antagonistic sanctuaries for the occultists’ coarse epiphanies.
The party can either use their own expertise or bring in experts (who will make a lot of dangerously false assumptions). Locals will have practical wisdom when it comes to specific instances. Cadavers are a big problem here, both from a health perspective and because things may live at the bottom of theurgogeographic scars.
Safeguard, support, supply and participate in a tribal ritual to maintain the purity of lifeblood of passage of time through the material of potential. The tribe resides in a forest permeated by venomous insects, inciting themselves to heroism and revelation with the maddening bites of the Many; the shag/ivy/leaf covered trees play host to massive colonies of insects which have woven barracks into their leaves; disturbing them will unleash a torrent of horrid, dangerous insects.
Pits of sap develop from the leaking roots. You could dive into one of these to rid yourself of insects but would then have to climb out covered in a hardening sap.
The insects don’t go into the pits due to the giant sapeaters, which lay at the bottom of the pit respirating the sap; any insects that land on the surface get taken down by their tongues, which will also latch onto people who fall in.
The ritual tribe’s rivals are millenarian death worshippers who seek to repel the frontiers and see city-staters as chaos ants. Their impersonal weapons are designed to disrupt the forest’s life around you, their bolas and acrid smoke bombs drenching you in dislodged insects.
The jumpin’ jerboa is a hybrid rodent-marsupial that hangs upside down from their tails like little roses. It can stride and lope but primarily jump off of things like treefrogs. Their turds are complete ecosystems which one can hook up positive and negative lines to. Their coproliths function as hyper-efficient batteries and are a major export-market item. The energy from these is critical in the local economy.
Poorly-paid soldiers and separatists with genuine grievances are engaging in poaching of this animal, as are foreign raiders from a city-state where they believe that the animal’s sweat glands are the only way to achieve a consistent erection. Locals have a method of torture for these interlopers where they attach electrodes to a turd and run them into the victim.
Dozens of rangers have been killed in this conflict and they are contracting for outside help to create a paradigm where the jumpin’ jerboa is protected; this will include addressing the grievances of the separatists and government troops, or they can’t be incentivized to stop the poaching without massively escalating the violence in this region. if this fails the government will most likely empty the coprolith warehouses and go abroad, leaving those without connections to their fate in an environment with few other natural resources and little potential for agriculture.
If you want to work with separatists you’ll have to be initiated into their tribe by being scarified and buried alive in a region with colored, sooty soil; government officials who’ve gone through this process to be able to work with them are marked with these soot-tattoos. The exception is a separatist coalition that is being financed and advised by City of Leagues advisors and has been asked to give up initiation rites as part of their cultural preparation for Anarcho-Syndicalism. If you want to work with government troops, you’ll have to confront and somehow mitigate or transform their poaching, silver-or-lead policy towards the rangers, and unwillingness to engage in direct, sustained combat with the sweat gland poachers.
Bring a herd for a developing pastoralist (or would-be-pastoralist) society, before sourcing further development and protection for their herds. Their region suffers from predation by the giant yapok, which strangles you with its human hands while pulling your head off with its jaws. It pisses on its hands first to get a better grip; its piss is a numbing agent so it will squeeze the fuck out of you, and it’s got a mean right cross.
The population has been ravaged by the giant yapoks, and many herds have wandered into the hinterlands and become wild. These could be recovered despite the danger of outlying areas, but the surviving elders of the pastoralists feel that herd animals who could stand off the yapoks would be more stable solution in the long term, or else guardian animals could be found.
There are such animals in the region, but they would have to be found and enticed to the hills that the pastoralists know; salt-spraying platywolves, the burncow, whirlingshard magnetosloths, razorwool ram, snipertusk boar (currently aligned with a bandit tribe who construct howdah platforms to hurl mushroom-tipped javelins from either side of the boars’ bodies (inspired by the ability of the boar to discharge its tusks), though the boars are not without exploitable grievances).
Complement of Life and Death
Travel between outlying villages conducting a vaccination program against superdiseased predavultures which belch superacid in flight (as well as extremophile parasites who will burrow into your gut and make you starve to death - must be surgically removed) as a way of hastening the demise of wounded prey. Putting the scent of your blood into the air here while under the open sky is very hazardous. The vultures also urinate down their legs, which keeps them bacterially clean but also poisons those they claw. These vultures are being secretly cultivated and shepherded by a deep wilderness cavern sect that is not necessarily occult, but has discovered means of guiding and efficiently reproducing predavultures (mostly by garnishing the villagers’ herds to feed the birds). The sect makes special weapons and traps out of the predavultures’ gut biomes and urine, and are gradually gaining the superacidic vomit of the vultures, which they use in the production of dyes that explode when exposed to flame.
The people of Fissureleak are starving. There is a civil war between the ruling oligarchy (a band of gluttonous kleptocrats who funnel the city’s wealth into unscrupulous financial havens), who take food intended for relief of their people and hoard and devour it or sell it to their people at extortionate prices, and a rural rebellion by farmers who are resisting forced nationalization of their lands by the unfortunate means of propitiating a fertility entity through the sacrifice of most of their food (and, more recently, of government paramilitaries taken captive after battles). The government is intensifying their campaign against the farm rebellions by burning farmhouses and crops in seditious areas.
You must find a way to relieve the suffering of the people in and around Fissureleak; in the short term you can coordinate airdrops of food aid by concerned international NGOs and foreign relief programs, or elephant caravans from tribes traditionally allied with Fissureleak (beware of musth), or even construct a wheeled apparatus to transport food captured from the government and fertility worshippers to people who need it, but in the long term the paradigm in Fissureleak must change or there will be a full-fledged genocide of the farmers and subsequent mass-starvation in the city (while the oligarchs escape with their mercenary retinues and as much plundered wealth as possible).
The party has been contracted to develop and execute a renumeration program for delivering the looted artifacts of Honorgrave, which was conquered and sacked by Snarethicket before the latter city bit off more than it could chew and was defeated by Honorgrave’s latecoming allies. It was discovered that Honorgrave had secret occult programs and stores of occult material that were plundered by the invader, like Snarethicket had eaten a poisonous animal. The party has two responsibilities: returning treasures (many of which are attributed, some of which are not) to their former owners or the interim government, and to safeguard them from the party’s own greed, robbers, con artists and revanchists.
Honorgrave has made a limited admission as to the nature of its occult programs, which have concerned its allies deeply, though they have yet to conclude what should be done about it; suffice to say debellatio is not out of the cards. Honorgrave claims that the programs were born out of desperation against the invader; in fact, Honorgrave is not ruled by a council of elders as it claims, but by the Fertile King, a cystic voice which was arrested in heaven in a time before anger and noise and buried between twin sycamores in the Field of Ordeals, from which Honorgrave arose in the ages of man.
He has seeded the people with allegorical ideologies of immemorial paradise, and ost Honorgravens now believe they fall under his archaic jurisdiction. They bear mastic and syrup to pay stereotyped homage at ostentatious tombs heaped and draped with spiritual vegetation, where the elder priests (actually the first men to hear the Fertile King, kept alive in senescence and decrepitude) give benedictions in solar doctrine suffused with soteriological poetry. There are reliquary allusions to a funerary realm among the tombs, and indeed beyond the seal of the decomposing grasshopper there is a domain that is neither spatial nor temporal wherein the Fertile King dwells, transfiguring, a preparatory incarnation sealed on a throne.
The party is unaware of this when they are contracted.
The Murdered Kingdom
Red Charter sand theft operations are eroding the highland island city-state of Seagrave and their outlying archipelagic territories. The Red Charter has coopted or eliminated the old sand thieves and sand-smugglers in their areas of interest. Journalists, police officers, government organizers in Seagrave and the isles have been murdered by Red Chartermen and their hirelings.
Whole islands have been eliminated for sand, much of the archipelago massacred and dissipated (like fucking Alderaan getting blown up in Star Wars, leaving only a ravaged and devastated ecosystem; creatures that should be at the seafloor driven to the surface by sand, some of them dangerous like jellyfish that can melt through hulls, jumping superelectric eels, irate polygharials). Taking away sand can salinate nearby soil, which ruins agriculture; this drove off the last survivors from isles which the Red Charter dredged into nubs.
Stop the Red Charter and bring the influence of functional judges to bear upon the local kleptocratic networks that are paralyzing the administration of Seagrave so that the Seagrave Patrol can finally take their riverboats to the shrinking archipelagic coasts and bathe the Red Charter dredgeries in napalm.
Rule of law is extremely weak in the city-state of Deadgod, and it makes it very hard to do business domestically (both in terms of disrupting potential economic development internally and in curtailing outside investment). Crime has a lax treatment as investigating it can be dangerous while you can take bribes if you let it be, and the the sons and nephews of the ruling family commit crimes with impunity (the prime minister has been in for forty years; his daughters and nieces run the city’s largest businesses while his sons lay about, stab tourists and get in shootouts with local gangsters). There is also a foreign guy who murders rude people from abroad who resemble him ethnically, and this is deterring foreign direct investment.
Certain foreign city-states are watching conditions here with interest, and many would like to bring about a regime change, or else invade, subjugate and perhaps enslave the population, depending on the observer. Work to reform the situation (elements of the government have hired you) before the city falls under the hegemony of a foreign state or is sacked and razed (observers: military republic interested in installing a friendly potentate, Anarcho-Syndicalist cadres in a nearby region, the city of Hundredweight which will enslave the population and sell them abroad, and the bandit tribe coalition of the Axenators, who will loot the city and use the remnants as a great training ground for further urban conquests.
You are to re-operationalize the sewage system of a city-state that’s been bombed and bombarded out by a rival, and is in a state of chaos with bandits and ideological militias wreaking havoc alongside saboteur units, militia organizers and periodic bombardment from the repulsed and retreating invaders. Complicating matters, the wartime practice of feeding corpses to shadowed ferrycambions in the ruined sewers has led to a proliferation of atemporal divinities which feast on human flesh.
The local Anarcho-Syndicalist government of Brinewell has recently been knocked over by monarchists. Their systems of production were inadequate and are now disrupted, which has led to mass death from dehydration and dysentery. The region is very dry and yet blighted by waterborne illness and predators; you are to develop and safeguard new irrigation and water supply systems.
Anarcho-Syndicalist guerrillas in the outlying drylands are attempting to win over the populace by doing the exact same thing you are, and will sabotage your efforts. At the same time, the new king has stipulated that you will engage and destroy the guerrillas wherever you encounter them.
In reality, the whole enterprise is likely to be doomed unless you can reach some kind of understanding or accommodation with the guerrillas, though to integrate the Anarcho-Syndicalists into the government/society would require cutting them off/alienating them somehow from their outside suppliers/coordinators/advisors.
Establish a new train ferry system at the Strait of Souls, as the bed of the strait is too unstable for a bridge. This will benefit international trade and the host nation government (the Inward Mysteries of the Breasted Pharaoh), but currently the strait’s water transport authority is having major problems with traffickers (heroin and humans), wreckers, river-pirates and grotto creatures. The party will need to arrange the construction of short railway diversions to the isthmus and ferry slips on either side. There are giant leafy seadragons in the water, but these are not dangerous.
Conduct a backcountry medical tour in the tropical Cataracts of Pleading; go through outlying villages, either employing the party’s organic medical/chemistry capabilities or employing medical personnel furnished by the government/NGO/philanthropist employer, dealing with all dangers of the backcountry. Dental’s a big one with this, though the party’s unlikely to have a dental specialist. People might be desperate for the supplies carried by the party, willing to steal; also beware of robber gorillas (comes through the brush, grabs some shit that you have, strips you of it using its massive back muscles and then runs off. Presents this to a female to mate), and watch for hanging verdant crocodiles on the jungle trails; instead of bumps, it has leaflike projections which just make it look like a bough of the tree it’s hanging in. On the plus-side, their tails are delicious.
You are to establish an agricultural system in the Plain of Nobility which can’t easily be plundered by bandits nor squandered by the people involved, nor exploited by outside buyers (some of whom will attempt to remove the party and/or passionate/vigorous representatives of the local implementers of the program who might resist exploitation). The people of the Plain are harrowed by the emergence of hippopotapedes, which love furrowed fields, but come out of the earth gullet-first. If one swallows you and you cut your way out, you’ll still have to burrow up out of the earth. The people have begun to fear, revere and propitiate these creatures as nature spirits or god-worms, and one of the sights the party will see upon entering their town is a woman cradling a hippopotapede fetus.
Wiseredoubt has thrown off its traditional tyranny and is now fragmenting socially and politically as the former structures dissolve. The party must establish stable governance in Wiseredoubt by temporarily serving as the local/regional government at the behest of the provisional chancellor. Part of the problem is that in the midst of the chaos, occult artifacts are being utilized for necessary and desirable systems of worship, governance, production, tourism, and also for hosted research by wealthy occultists.
This all has to stop before stability can be achieved, because physical and psychological conditions under circumstances of occult proliferation can be dangerously hard to predict. Large scale industry, trade and public services will also be difficult to establish as transport systems (trucks, trains, steamboats) are harried by robbers and night rhinos, which are flying rhinos which behave like peregrine falcons, falling silently out of the sky and then striking their target in a swoop before alighting on it later to dine.