THE D-VERSE and ITS’ NEXUS
Throughout the infinite expanse of time, every intelligent race eventually realizes their universe is expanding. Upon discovering this, it becomes apparent that while there is no end to space, there is, in fact, a center of it. For those possessing the technology and an adventurous drive, reaching this “middle” of their universe becomes an ultimate goal. Once there, they find an inter-dimensional gathering of the most advanced species in the multiverse and are considered to have “arrived” as an esteemed and respected member of the D-Verse. The D-Verse, as it has come to be called, refers to the seemingly infinite dimensions that share this junction at the center of their respective universes.
At this central meeting point of all known dimensions, a brutal and no-holds-barred bloodsport known as Nexus is held. For eons, countless beings have converged to pit their greatest champions against one another aboard bloodstained barges. Nexus bouts have become the most popular form of entertainment across the furthest corners of time and space. And overseeing it all, permeated with the stench of death and decadence, are the masters of this pandimensional dynasty—the Lanistas.
Here is where we find you, a young entrepreneur looking for fame and fortune, out to make a name for himself and his species among the legendary ranks of the Nexus Lanistas. The long-storied history of Lanistas is filled with rags-to-riches tales of interdimensional nobodies and their ascent to power. Those among this Nexus elite are without equal in the prestige and influence they command. With success comes anything imaginable (universal fame, near-infinite wealth, endless political and judicial favors, etc.). Count yourself lucky—whether good luck or bad—to even be given this opportunity.
Welcome to the seedy, salacious, and oh-so-profitable underworld of Nexus!
REGISTRATION WITH THE I.N.C.
The Interdimensional Nexus Commission (INC) is the regulating body behind Nexus. After you file the proper documentation and bribe the necessary high-ranking board members, the INC will issue your Lanista License. The INC oversees everything from barge inspections to Helot cloning standards. If you are looking to be a major Nexus player, then there is no way around dealing with the INC… except for when there is, of course. INC-sanctioned barge bouts broadcasted across blood.stream are the most viewed events in the D-Verse. It is there that your legacy will join the ranks of legend or fade into obscurity.
INC-sanctioned barge bouts take place on Nexus barges. When entering the D-Verse nexus the first thing you will see are hundreds of these barges tethered together. Some are quite ornate and massive while other seem hastily made and designed to draw as little attention as possible. Species from across the D-Verse are gathered here, placing bets, haggling with Gnoems, or looking for marks. You will see INC officers everywhere looking for, and raiding, unsanctioned matches in hopes of making arrests (but more likely collecting bribes). Nothing prepares one for this strange sight of countless beings spread across hundreds of barges that are infested with violence and bustling with activity.
So, you want to buy a Helot? Then you’re looking for the Gnoems. Gnoems were the first race to discover the D-Verse nexus. Ever since, they’ve been traveling between dimensions collecting and analyzing DNA from countless species. Their accumulated knowledge coupled with their familiarity with pandimensional lifeforms has earned them the nickname “Toy Makers,” and makes them the only source of Helots that are worthy to compete in Nexus. Gnoem expertise, while unmatched, is still limited. Some of the nuances of other lifeforms tend to escape them. Gnoems, for example, have no gender, so their attempts at breeding species could get a bit unsettling. In fact, nothing is quite as terrifying as watching two males attempt to conceive a child for fear of torture by the Gnoems’ devices. Due to this, the INC established guidelines instructing Gnoems to sell genetic clones of only the samples they have collected and discouraging them against further abduction of lifeforms from their home worlds.
The official term for a Nexus fighter is a Helot, although they are more commonly known among Gnoems as “Mamluk” (the Gnoem word for “meat”). Helots are grown by Gnoems in what are known as the Meat Gardens. For a reasonable fee, aspiring Lanistas can purchase their future champion from the Meat Garden’s weekly harvest. Gnoem Helots are in large demand; unless you’re paying premium prices, you just get the next one off the line. No refunds. If you don’t like the result, kill it and buy another. If you’re squeamish however, the Gnoems will gladly destroy your unwanted Helot for you (but they keep the leftover organic matter).
Gnoems have already handled everything concerning your new purchase. Helots come out of the Gardens ready to fight. From an early age, they are given a series of tests to determine their motivation to survive. These tests involve analysis as subjects are exposed to extreme mental and physical stimulus. Gnoems will always find a way to motivate a Helot. Upon purchasing your Helot, you will receive his Biometric Species Analysis. This sheet will give you a comprehensive explanation of not only your Helot’s strengths and weaknesses, but also how to care for your Helot. Be sure to keep the sheet and the information on it updated, as it will be handy if you are given the opportunity to sell any organic matter after the Helot expires. This, however, is very unlikely; the Spleen Team is very thorough.
THE SPLEEN TEAM
The official cleaning service of the INC. After any officially INC-sanctioned barge bout, there is a wealth of equipment and biological matter left behind. The Spleen Team is there to steal… err… “clean up” the mess. Any disregarded Helot and their belongings are collected by the Spleen Team and redistributed by the INC’s charitable Weapons for Tots program—furthering their mission of putting a weapon in every child’s hand. As far as leftover biological matter, Gnoems are always interested in collecting whatever the Spleen Team doesn’t eat.
If Helots engage in a barge bout and nobody is betting on it, did it ever really happen? Gambling on Nexus outcomes is far and away the number one moneymaker in the D-Verse, making “The Book” the nexus of Nexus. The Book is the official odds-maker and bookie of Nexus. Not much is known about what goes on behind the scenes of The Book. That said, The Book is the only organization that the INC fears. While the INC has spoken in the past about the Nexus’ “integrity” and how the Nexus must steer clear of gambling connections to eliminate any nefarious actions (fixing bouts, etc.), its actions suggest otherwise.
While nobody (at least, nobody alive) can draw a direct line between the INC and The Book, many rumors suggest the two organizations are, in fact, one and the same. One extremely vocal propagator of such information is the interdimensional hacker and pirate broadcaster known as Crypt. Crypt has been a thorn in the side of both The Book and INC for the last millennia. Recently, many of Crypt’s sources have found themselves conducting interviews in Gnoem torture devices, but Crypt has thus far eluded capture.
Whoever said, “It’s not the weapon; it’s the Helot behind it!” was an idiot. They have obviously never seen what a Krillion Forearm Blade can do to an opponent’s flesh. The right weapons and armor can make or break a Helot in the barge arena. While weapons aren’t cheap, they are necessary. An investment in your Helot’s equipment is an investment in your Helot’s future. The Nexus Dimensional Market, better known as D-Mart, is your one-stop-shop for the greatest weapons and armors in the D-Verse.
Manufacturers from across the D-Verse compete here for profit and exposure. They sell everything from tried-and-true classics to cutting edge, next-gen, and highly experimental weapon systems. Their armors—commonly known as “Meat Packaging”—are detested among Gnoems, having been blamed for the first decrease in Helot sales in four centuries.
Be warned! These vendors won’t just sell to anyone. A Helot getting destroyed in a particular vendor’s equipment is never good for that vendor’s sales. The more established vendors require the Helot and their Lanista to have a bit of notoriety and experience before they will consider selling their wares. For these same reasons, vendors may also require a Helot to have a specific skill set.
MORE ABOUT BARGES and BARGE BOUTS
There are a dizzying number of barges in the nexus, with new ones being flown in every day. It is every Lanista’s dream to one day have their own officially INC-sanctioned barge. The amount of money and resources involved is steep, and that’s not accounting for the equally pricey under-the-table costs. This hindrance to free market violence means there are many unsanctioned barges to be found in the nexus. This is most likely where you will begin your career as a Lanista. Not by owning an unsanctioned barge, mind you, but by having your Helots compete on these floating piles of… well, sub-quality vessels.
This does, however, have its advantages. First off, you make far more bitcoin when avoiding the INC’s bout fees. You usually must hire your own cleaning crew—that’s good news because that means no Spleen Team involvement! You can collect all your dead Helot’s equipment and biomatter. And think of all the interesting people you’ll meet!
Now for the downsides.
First, unsanctioned bouts don’t bring anywhere near the exposure of an officially INC-sanctioned barge. While you might grow in popularity among the “hardcore” fans, nobody important will know you or your Helots exist—except the INC, which disapproves of not getting their cut.
This brings us to the second problem: Raids.
INC officers take their duties very seriously. They’re quite vigilant in their search for rogue barges to shakedown for bribes. Whenever your Helots engage in an unsanctioned barge bout, there’s a chance of a raid. If this happens, you’ll find the INC cut to be quite generous in comparison. It’s a small comfort knowing that you’ll have no choice in the beginning of your Lanista career. Your crap Helots will most likely die on crap barges after raids bleed you dry and you’ll fade into obscurity like billions before.