Cryptix Organization in wow that's a lot of stars | World Anvil

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February 3229

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Current Date
February 3229

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wow that's a lot of stars is a sci-fi setting about adventure, exploration, and discovery. Every person, place, and thing has a story to tell, if you listen closely.   Setting Intro | Visitor's Guide | Author's Intentions
Content Warning: Drug use Addiction Gun violence
A pile of rubble is all that remains of the Gradiose.   Two months ago, the luxury casino towered above the high-end Residential neighborhood, wrapped in gardens and pools to grant it and its surroundings added privacy.   One month ago, it was the final bastion of Galendra's longest-surviving gang. Cryptix had been a constant presence in the city for a century, promising reprieve from the stress of daily a cost. Galendrans decided they were no longer willing to pay.   Now many are realizing what they took for granted, and are wondering if maybe they had it better than they thought. Maybe stability was worth the price.


Cryptix started in 3118 with a handful of people dealing in narcotics. Their specialty was a substance they called Crypt, which put its user in a deep, relaxed state for several hours. However, in its pure form, Crypt was dangerously addictive, causing users increased anxiety and aggression unless under its effects. Cryptix laced more common narcotics with it, granting users the added relaxation with fewer of the drawbacks.  
You can't stop death. But you can enjoy yourself before he arrives.
— Cryptix propaganda
This occurred at a time of deep concern. Humans from other planets had arrived in spaceships, claiming to want an alliance but demanding Nisorans follow their laws. If they agreed, millions would be put out of work as their products or methods would become illegal. If they disagreed, there was risk of war.   The new drugs, sold by people with their faces tattooed into skulls, helped people of Galendra relax despite these threats. In their success, Cryptix quickly grew in members and expanded in territories. They supplemented their income through casinos and gambling halls, branding themselves as the group that made life bearable, however short it was.

Dealing In

The House Always Wins

Cryptix members got several benefits for joining: They were paid better than most factory workers were, and often for work that was less dangerous. The tattoos awarded them a degree of power over and respect from other Galendrans that many sought. Loyalty to Cryptix meant not being extorted for "protection fees", and members always came to each other's aid, even if it risked their lives.   But there was no escape once someone joined. Members were given rations of Cryptix drugs to prevent overdose, but the withdrawal of quitting could be deadly. Medical detoxification and tattoo removal were expensive, and leaving meant having to pay "protection fees" once again. Most didn't get far enough to worry, as Cryptix was especially unkind to so-called traitors, and they often ended dead before long.

Stacking the Deck

Even when residents wanted to fight back against Cryptix, many found themselves unable to muster the energy. Cryptix dosed public water in their territories with a drug they called Control - it had a minor effect of making people more relaxed and complacent.   It also had the potential of terrible side effects, including the potential of stroke-like symptoms that could result in permanent brain damage, memory loss, and lasting issues with emotion regulation.   For those who knew what fighting against Cryptix entailed, many decided being under Control was the lesser of two evils.
By 3200, Cryptix had surpassed its competition. They were the main dealer of most narcotics. Their gambling dens ranged from neighborhood pool halls to multi-story casinos, and many were used for shady deals by locals and off-worlders alike. Everyone across Galendra knew to pay special attention to those with skull tattoos across their faces, and no tattoo parlor could be bribed enough to give fake ones.   The respect they earned was out of fear. Cryptix's focus on loyalty made most members fanatics. They rarely accepted surrender from other groups, and their own members would fight to the last before admitting defeat. Many joined the group for the power it gave them, and side effects from their drug use made many unreasonably violent. They demanded "protection fees" from those who lived in their territories, demanding funds to prevent untold bad things to happen to the home and family.  
Yet as awful as Cryptix was, they knew how to maintain a territory:
  • They kept infrastructure like roads, pipes, and tracks in good condition, and hired workers from unions like Nisora United to do it.
  • They invested in parks and schools, and always took extra effort to keep children safe.
  • They usually kept violence to a minimum in their territories, their reputation alone deterring most attackers.
  • They focused on supply chain, keeping healthcare providers, grocers, and other vital locations well-stocked.

Did you know?

Cryptix has never owned more than a third of the city. The one time they attempted to push past this, they quickly suffered several losses and shrank to a fraction of their prior size.



After learning of Control, the Gal Pals created an antidote they called Chaos. If deployed the same way Control was, through a territory's water system, it would remove the symptoms of Control without the withdrawal risks.   They first overtook a location Cryptix called The Well, where Control was manufactured and deployed. Then they worked with the Wyre Rats to oust Cryptix from territories, deploy Chaos, and release residents from the drug. The more territories they freed, the more people joined the fight against Cryptix.

Cashing Out

When the Gal Pals attacked the Grandiose knowing it was Saimon's last refuge, Skullder let Elvira run the show. After the Gal Pals killed her, they fell into Saimon's trap: a locked room filling with toxic gas, with the gang leader gloating from the other side of bulletproof glass.   Believing Saimon would destroy Cryptix, Skullder intervened with a bullet through his boss' head. He released the Gal Pals and gave them an ambiguous warning about the building's imminent explosion. Leaving them, he retreated with trusted officers, and hasn't been seen in Galendra since.
Starting in 3228, everything Cryptix built came undone. Saimon, having been in power for thirty years, was not accustomed to losing. He lashed out in retribution for minor losses, in turn taking larger losses, some more public than others. With her virtual intelligence spy network, Cordelia Isoto continued fanning the flames of his paranoia, spreading rumors and secretly providing weapons.   Saimon's two most trusted officers, Skullder and Elvira, had always been two sides of a coin, and their differences grew as the situation worsened. Elvira reveled in violence and encouraged further shows of force lest others think Cryptix weak. Skullder preferred more subtle action, and advised restraint until the time was right.   With false information from Cordelia's VIs, Saimon followed Elvira's methods to his own downfall.  
Saimon paced across the circular window. Behind and beneath him was the main gambling hall, still a mess but void of bodies.   The plan failed. Instead of being publicly punished for their betrayal, the traitors were freed. By intruders. By these "gal pals".   "We need to show them why nobody fucks with Cryptix," Elvira said, tapping her nails on the table's surface.   "If we respond at all," Skullder said from the other side of the room, "we're proving that they won tonight. Leave them, and we can focus on bigger fights."   "You'd have us appear weak?"   "It's not weak to ignore lesser concerns."   "It's weak to let our enemies--"   "Find them," Saimon interrupted from the window. "Find their homes. Find where they think they're safe."
— Coping with failure

Dead Money

What at first seemed a victory has developed into a series of other problems. Communities already struggling have been hit worse, but even the more affluent areas are feeling the sting of the power vacuum left in Cryptix's wake. Across Galendra, people are beginning to realize what stability the gang provided. Some claim to have seen Cryptix officers throughout the Residential District, but even the lower-ranking members have only been told to wait for orders.  
Open territories host daily gunfights between small gangs vying for territory, causing further damage to buildings and harm to communities.
New gangs don't know how to maintain any territory they gain. Funds they forcibly acquire go to their own desires instead of repairs.
Those released from Control are lashing out at others in anger. They're fighting against newer gangs, but provide no solutions themselves.
Some have been raiding former-Cryptix facilities, certain there's stashed wealth and drugs that now lay unclaimed by absent officers.
Most drugs Cryptix supplied were addictive, leaving many to suffer through withdrawals now that there are no more suppliers.
Whatever form it may take, it's certain that Cryptix will rise again. Less certain is whether that will be a good thing.


Related Items
Related Campaign(s)
Campaign 2: The Gal Pals

The House

Cryptix always has a single leader supported by several officers. The leader determines the direction the gang should take, and the officers determine how that will happen.  
Saimon Oktavius IV
Character | Jun 7, 2024

(Draft, coming soon!) Former leader of Cryptix, recently killed.

The most recent leader ran Cryptix for over thirty years, and by the end of his reign had two key officers: Skullder and Elvira, chosen for their efficacy, loyalty, and differences in approach.  
Character | Jun 7, 2024

(Draft, coming soon!) New leader of Cryptix after killing its prior leader.

Calm and calculating, few predicted Skullder's betrayal. Since killing Saimon and taking over the group, he and many high-ranking Cryptix members have disappeared from the spotlight.     Elvira was known for her temper and violent nature. Most assumed she and Skullder would kill each other, but she was instead killed by the Gal Pals.  

The Table

Cryptix has had many opponents throughout its reign. Few are still remembered, their gang tags long since faded and covered. Others linger.   Occasional border squables mask a truce between the Union and their biggest employer. With both groups recently undergoing severe setbacks, it's unclear what will fill the space instead.   Cryptix's level of control over its territories and members is anethema to the Wyre Rats' core beliefs of individual liberty. It looked like Cryptix would destroy the Rats for good, until the Color Bombs saw a resurgence in aggression among Wyre Rats.

Author Commentary

Revoking Agency
It was a difficult decision to have Skullder kill Saimon instead of a PC. As you'll read in Skullder's article, most player interaction with the Cryptix leaders was trying to convince him to usurp his boss, not kill Saimon themselves. This seemed the best way to honor that.
The Truth
From Trey's article, we know he worked out a truce between Skullder and K-Ra to rebuild the city. The general populace of Galendra, however, are unaware of this backdoor deal.

Cover image: by Aaron Lee, Nick Ong, Norah Khor
Character flag image: Cryptix gang tag by Rin Garnett


Author's Notes

This article was written as part of WorldEmber 2023. Follow the link to learn more.   Special thanks to Annie Stein for helping me with the CSS on the tabs!

Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 11, 2023 18:47 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I like the little extra information under the heart and diamond. This was a really great article, and I love that it's exploring the consequences of what is happening now the gang has fallen.

Dec 12, 2023 22:29 by Rin Garnett

Thank you! When I realized I had four sub-headings, I had to make them match the suits of a deck of cards :D continues the poker theme

Jan 14, 2024 19:12

Oooh, very interesting to see how the weakening of the cartel seemingly brought more bad than good. I really like the small animations in the articles, they're not distracting from the reading but add a little life to the article, well done!

Hoo~ Hoo
Jan 18, 2024 17:35 by Rin Garnett

Power vacuums can be just as bad as those who had power before, but there's always the chance something better will fill the space. And thank you for the note on the animations! It's good to hear they're not too much :)