16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
|The Number of the Beast is 666 - William Blake|
The eastern seaboard of the US and the islands of Japan were largely spared from the horrors visited on the rest of the world, and a dark mockery of civilization remains centered on these two areas. The beast from the sea rules in Tokyo and the beast from the earth rules in New York City. Within the confines of these two kingdoms the mutagenic dust from the Wormwood meteorite has no effect (suppressed by the powerful telepathic abilities possessed by both beasts). All mutations within these kingdoms are caused by the beasts instead. The kingdom of the beast from the earth (hereafter just "the beast") will serve as an evil empire backdrop in my campaign, with the PCs being from a nearby area.
The beast can speak like a dragon; charming or destroying those who hear it and bringing inanimate objects to life simply by uttering words in a terrible voice.
The beast has animated a huge idol of a dragon that the populace worships (and which destroys any who disobey the beast). All members of the beast's kingdom must bear the mark of the beast (666) on their right hand or their forehead. The mark causes 1-2 mental mutations and also allows line of sight telepathic communication between those with the mark. Speaking out loud for anyone except the priesthood is a sin against the beast punishable by death. All communication must be done telepathically through the mark.
The mark of the beast is normally invisible, but it glows brightly if a mental mutation is used or if the beast has taken direct control of the mark's bearer. The beast can use its dragon voice once through the mouth of a controlled person (destroying the person utterly in the process).
The beast has created a priesthood which bestows the mark at birth. All aspects of society are tightly controlled by the priesthood, which rigidly enforces the beast's constantly changing laws. The priesthood is selected by the beast from the populace; priests and priestesses are usually selected at puberty. The initiation ceremony is painful and sometimes fatal; it causes 1-2 physical mutations and 1 mental mutation. These mutations are viewed as the blessing of the beast (even non-beneficial mutations). Once initiated into the priesthood all ties with former family are expected to be cut, and the priests live only to carry out the wishes of the beast and to be initiated into mystery after mystery of the beast. The priesthood has an intricate hierarchy with each level requiring a new initiation into a deeper understanding of the beast. The beast loves to give conflicting directives to the different levels of initiates, adding to the confusion and terror the priesthood causes.