With apologies to Greg Costikyan
"In elder days, no rags were offset
and Lord Mimeo reigned supreme.
Prozine was then a dirty word;
Urf Durfal... still a pleasant dream.
"Yet abysmal worlds spawned forth a horror!
OFFSET, challenging mimeo's rule.
Clear printing, yes, but what price glory?
Dare we abandon our god-sent tool?
"Arise ye men of mildewed minds!
Destroy yon evil process offset.
There is no god but GREAT GESTETNER,
and Costikyan is his only prophet."
-- from The Neopublicon, by Unamit Ahazredit
Some say it is an order created by the Dwarf of Dragon Pass to spread the influence of the Way of Mostal among men. Other say it is a remnant of an obscure part of the God Time, remembered by few and whispered of only in the darkest halls of Knowledge Temples. Still others express confusion and dismay. But the cult of Gestetner appears to have been given new life by the approach of the Hero Wars.
The black-robed members of the cult are somber. Some say that prospective members are flayed of two handspans’ length of skin to make paper. The cult’s indoctrination methods emphasize submission to authority, lengthy conditioning to eliminate members’ initiative and free will, and extensive educational systems to encourage literacy.
Member rank is rated in “Pages.” The student is enlisted at “Page 1” and may progress through subsequent Pages to leadership. A particular cell may consist of 6, 12, 24 and 36 Pages. Progress past Page 3 requires adept levels of skill in cult abilities.
The Cult is fairly visible, driving a caravan across the countryside, including a wagon containing the image of their god, an imposing black machine belching smoke and emitting a terrifying sequence of clanks when in use. They are much in demand as mercenary magicians, where their ability to quickly duplicate troops for engagements can turn the tide of battle. The Portal of Power created by members of the cult is the Inky Void.
Entry Requirements: Papermaking 17.
Abilities: Brew Ditto Fluid, Create Portal of Power, Know Gestetner, Read [Language], Repair Mimeograph, Rule of Gestetner, Symbolic Sight, Write [Language].
Relationships: Page of the Cult of Gestetner.
Virtues: Authoritarian, Hidebound, Traditional.
△ The Neopublicon (Command Blotch, Duplicate Creature, Flay Dead Body for Vellum, Strain Ditto Fluid, Summon Blotch ritual).
Other Side: Gestetner’s Monolith is a node on the Spell Plane. Located in a desolate and mostly-deserted part of the plane, it is easily overlooked and thankfully forgotten. It connects to no other nodes. Some say there are secret connections from Gestetner's Monolith to the Tin Dipper and the Quicksilver Alembic nodes.
Disadvantages: Members of the Cult of Gestetner are seen as obsessively insane by others. It is a fair assessment.
Notes: Ditto fluid is both a healing fluid and an intoxicant. Blotches are elemental essences, similar to undines, formed of mimeograph ink; their potent smell and caustic nature make them dangerous antagonists to the unready.
Duplicates created by the magic of Gestetner are animated from monochromatic vellum and paper, and are much weaker than the originals (abilities are copied only to a maximum rating of 13). Duplicates always obey their originals. Due to ancient cult enmities with the sea gods, duplicates are destroyed if they get wet. Also, they fade away in a matter of hours if left in direct sunlight due to the radiating power of Truth which erodes the duplicating magic.
Magical Abilities: Be Liquid 5/cubic yard, Spread Rapidly over Surface 15, Caustic Burn 6/yard, Resist Damage 3/cubic yard, Resist Summoning 6/cubic yard.
Tactics: Blotches are mindless, and act only when commanded by their summoner. The blotch automatically ignores any command that would have it act against its nature, such as a command to stop staining.
Edited by AlHazred