Flintlocks & Fireballs
- The Moctarim background replaces the Shifter race; Leopard Guardians replace razorclaw shifters, and Puma Guardians replace longtooth shifters.
- Shifting doesn’t represent a physical change, but a psychological one. Putting on the mask doesn’t actually turn you into a leopard. It just psyches you up for a fight.
- The Moctarim background represents the religiously-inspired Mocte insurgents, not the everyday citizens of Mocte.
Tension had been building in the city-states of Mocte since their occupation by the Empire. Moctarim, the official religion, has been banned, its temples pulled down and its holy books burned. The old form of Moctarim is lost to senescense now, but the bits of it that people remember are a powerful symbol: in particular, the rite-of-passage ritual of killing a puma or a leopard and crafting a mask from the skin, for use during religious ceremonies.
Nobody is quite sure what caused the Mocte riots: they may have been a copycat act inspired by the Arakesh rebellion, or they may have been an act of opportunism, or they may have simply been because too many people had been pressed down too hard for too long. But the Moctarim masks were a key symbol in the riots, giving birth to a number of hotheaded young insurgents eager for a return to Mocte’s glory days.
The Empire put down the initial Mocte riots with sustained heavy artillery; most of Mocte is now a disaster area. The Moctarim are fighting a far more haphazard guerilla war than in Arrakesh: while the Arakesh rebels are fighting to defend their home, the Moctarim are fighting to lash out at the Empire that wronged them. But with no supply lines or infrastructure, this simply makes them that much more difficult to root out. Their primary target has been the Northern Line, which passes through the Mocte Province on its way to the colonies in the far north. Right now, the Empire simply doesn’t have the manpower to guard all of the Northern Line, with the effect that trains are no longer being run and nobody much is coming in or out of Mocte.
You can read a first-hand account of the Mocte insurgency by a Moctarim warrior here.