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Dominion of the Black

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Dominion of the Black
Abtaroh Vorenic, cultist of the Dominion of the Black.
(Organization)
Type Genocidal
Headquarters Dark Tapestry
Goals Expansion; potentially universal extermination of sentient life
Scope Intergalactic
Structure Subjugated races ruled by unknown powers
Members Enslaved and engineered sentient lifeforms

Source: Valley of the Brain Collectors, pg(s). 64-69
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The Dominion of the Black (also known by many names, including the Dominions of the Black and the Black Truth) is a malevolent, galaxy-spanning conglomerate of aliens.[1] The Dominion of the Black has been described as a "mysterious consortium of emissaries," suggesting that it may in fact act as a lower hierarchical rung that serves the malignant incomprehensible intelligences that rule the aether of the Dark Tapestry, the lightless places between the stars.[2]

History

The Dominion of the Black first took note of Golarion around -4363 AR, when the Divinity crash-landed in Numeria after fleeing a Dominion attack through a wormhole. Though Dominion forces could not follow the Divinity, they had planted several rhu-chaliks during the battle, which were able to transmit their location to their masters.[3]

References to the Dominion of the Black were first found in the hieroglyphs of ancient Osirion. Some of the earliest inscriptions allude to visitors descending from the stars, "making playthings of men"[4] and offering "gifts of mind quakes when favor [was] found and obliteration when it [was] not."[5] Some paintings surviving from this period depict the victims of flesh-warping plagues and laborers with insectoid limbs.[4]

The Dominion is believed to have had profound influence over the rise of the four Pharaohs of Ascension at the dawn of Osirion's Second Age in -1498 AR. The Pharaohs made unprecedented magical and technological strides during their reign and are known to have received 11 powerful gifts from an otherworldly patron. The Pharaoh of Numbers was also notably obsessed with the planet Aucturn, which itself is believed to be tied to the Dominion.[6]

In 4598 AR a Dominion agent known as the Emissary from Beyond was able to influence the Lirgeni astronomer Gelviel Zorriah to create the spaceship Lirgen's Glory. The ship launched two years later only to be overtaken by the Emissary in 4656 AR. Once the Emissary finished corrupting the crew, it turned the ship around and ultimately crash landed in Isger in 4712 AR, where it briefly attempted to make preparations for a larger invasion force.[7]

A separate Dominion force touched down in the Scar of the Spider in 4709 AR. This force was tasked with investigating the ruins of the Divinity, and quickly set about reverse engineering a recovered AI core and retrofitting two annihilator robots for their purposes.[3]

Some believe that the ancient Osiriani countdown clocks point to a date early in 4718 AR, which these scholars claim is the date a massive Dominion invasion force will arrive on Golarion.[6][8]

Structure

The Dominion of the Black is a loose collection of alien races with an intergalactic range and no central home or headquarters. A family of genetically engineered species—neh-thalggu, bah-thegga, bah-uurla, deh-nolo, jah-tohl, rhu-chalik, and yah-thelgaad—comprise the front lines of their vaguely expansionist actions.[9] Lunarmas, the neshmaal, and yangethes are also associated with Dominion activity.[4]

Above these servants is an amorphous hierarchy of priestly chyzaedu and haeshi-shaa, as well as navigational shipminds.[9]

Beyond this collection of beings, the most powerful documented entities of the Dominion include:

Symbology

A symbol used by the Dominion of the Black to represent the Dark Tapestry is a strange tangle of tentacle shapes.[11]

Technology

The foundation of most Dominion of the Black activities are its fleshfarms. These facilities are said to be the size of nations, and their operations are overseen by the jah-tohl. The fleshfarms are built to receive entire species as they are conquered by the Dominion, which are used both as slaves and raw materials in the manufacture of new servant races for the Dominion.[4]

Likely the most iconic of all Dominion technologies are their shipmind-driven cyborg spaceships that can range in size up to that of continents or even moons. The larger of these are capable birthing lesser ships for use as shuttles. These ships are often unable to lift off after landing, as the Dominion does not consider pulling back after an invasion has begun. Once on the ground, the organic components of these ships slowly rot, poisoning the land, and the former crew recycles the metal to harvest or corrupt native species.[12]

Relationships

Among the Dominion's closest relationships are those with intellect devourers, which serve various research purposes, and vespergaunts, which often serve as scouts and emissaries.[4]

Beyond the creatures known to work alongside their forces, the Dominion of the Black has several other notable relationships.

Aucturn

Golarion's solar system includes the mysterious living planet Aucturn, and researchers of that distant world suspect its ruler Carsai the King to be connected to the Dominion.[9] Also known as the Stranger, Aucturn may be Golarion's link to the Dark Tapestry.[13]

Cults

A small number of cults devoted to the Dominion of the Black operate across the Inner Sea region. Because the Dominion has little interest in engaging humanoids on their own terms, these cults see little support from their patrons and are largely disorganized in their activities.[4]

One especially active cult is lead by Abtaroh Vorenic, whose family has a long history of exposure to Dominion agents. She operates her cult from her family estate in Macridi.[14]. These cultists wear distinctive magical amulets—black discs ringed by white dots, common to other Dominion cultists on Golarion.[15]

Night Heralds

The Night Heralds are the most organized cult devoted to the Dominion of the Black. While their practices may seem religious to outsiders, they think of themselves more as diplomats. These fanatics hold that defeat at the hands of the Dominion awaits all, and therefore seek to have their brains harvested by the neh-thalggu—a fate they see as a sort of immortality.[16]

Great Old Ones

Though Dominion texts such as The Last Theorem make seemingly reverent references to the Great Old Ones and their cults, most scholars on the subject are convinced the Dominion is actually in open conflict with both.[12] The Shub-Niggurath-worshiping mi-go are deserving of special note in this category, as they are known to have carried on an eons-long conflict with the Dominion of the Black.[3][17]

Scholarship

Many who study the Dominion on Golarion go mad from the effort, leading mainstream scholars to deem most sources on the subject unreliable at best.[18] Nonetheless, irrefutable traces of the Dominion's past and present influence on the world are readily found by those who know where to look, and even the texts and scholars most detached from reality still offer truths about this distant group. Libraries in Katheer, Omash, and Sedeq all reportedly contain works about the Dominion in their stacks, as do private libraries across the Inner Sea region, including a collection in Egorian.[19]

Known scholars on subjects related to the Dominion of the Black include:

Other works

The following texts are of unknown authorship.

References

A major article on the Dominion of the Black is in Valley of the Brain Collectors.

  1. Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, and Mark Seifter. (2018). Overview. Doomsday Dawn, p. 3. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-087-3
  2. Elaine Cunningham. (2009). The Drowned God (Dark Tapestry). The Final Wish, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-185-5
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mike Shel. (2014). Valley of the Brain Collectors. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 7-8. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Mike Shel. (2014). Dominion of the Black. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 67. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
  5. Michael Kortes. (2007). Entombed with the Pharaohs, p. 23. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-052-0
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jason Bulmahn et al. (2014). Occult Mysteries, p. 6-7. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-649-2
  7. Mike Welham. (2013). Doom Comes to Dustpawn, p. 3-4. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-504-4
  8. Michael Kortes. (2008). The Pact Stone Pyramid, p. 20. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-145-9
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 Mike Shel. (2014). Dominion of the Black. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 66. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
  10. Josh Colon et al. (2015). Occult Bestiary, p. 57. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-767-3
  11. Mike Shel. (2014). Valley of the Brain Collectors. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 53. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Mike Shel. (2014). Dominion of the Black. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 68. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
  13. James L. Sutter. (2008). Into the Black. Children of the Void, p. 55. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-127-5
  14. Mike Welham. (2013). Doom Comes to Dustpawn, p. 4. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-504-4
  15. Mike Welham. (2013). Doom Comes to Dustpawn, p. 12. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-504-4
  16. Jason Bulmahn et al. (2014). Occult Mysteries, p. 30. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-649-2
  17. James Jacobs. (2011). Cults of the Dark Tapestry. Wake of the Watcher, p. 62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-311-8
  18. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 116. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  19. 19.0 19.1 Mike Shel. (2014). Dominion of the Black. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 65. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8
  20. Mike Shel. (2014). Dominion of the Black. Valley of the Brain Collectors, p. 69. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-704-8