|“||Strength through undying loyalty.||„|
|~ Motto of the terrorist group Arachnos.|
Arachnos are a major terrorist organization in the City of Heroes universe as well as the ruling force of the Rogue Isles, the setting for City of Villains prior to the two games merging into one shared package - they are a spider-themed super-force who are controlled by the arch-villain known as Lord Recluse.
Within the Rogue Isles, Arachnos exist to enforce Lord Recluse's extreme dystopian rule, in which fledgling villains are trained in the ways of Lord Recluse and his allies - despite Arachnos being in charge of said training they are also enemies to fledgling villains as Lord Recluse believes in a "survival of the fittest" regime, thus Arachnos thugs often roam the streets and attack the very same villains that higher-up members of the organization train and work with.
The barbaric nature of Arachnos is known to the rest of the world and feared, making them the enemies of any peace-loving hero or law-enforcement agency in the world.
Recluse becomes Lord Recluse
Lord Recluse was not always Lord Recluse but originally was called Recluse, before that still he was a man named Stefan Richter. Stefan and his best-friend/foster brother Marcus Cole searched and found the legendary Well of the Furies and inherited the powers of the gods of old from it becoming divine beings themselves. Marcus inherited his divine essence from Zeus and Stefan his from Tartarus. The two became avatars of the previous embodiments of such divinity and became influenced accordingly by them. Marcus became egocentric an self-righteous while Stefan grew to embrace anarchy and cruelty. At first the two worked together in light of their past but when Marcus could no longer abide Stefan's plans, to gain wealth and technology by any means possible to change the world, he took on the name "Statesman" and left Stefan to fight crime and make up for his time helping his mad friend. Statesman became the modern era's first real super-hero. Stefan recognized a losing, or less than worth it, battle and packed up his operations and left his home, Paragon City, with Statesman on patrol. Stefan felt considerably betrayed and infuriated by Marcus's actions and swore to return one day and make Marcus pay for so easily turning on him just because of something as insubstantial as a conscience.
It would be years before Stefan returned to Paragon, one of the many powers granted to him was an agelessness and longevity, possibly even immortality, a possibility he never intended to fully test. During his absence Stefan had been continuing his life of crime and building his resources to one day return to his home and rule it once he had the power to put Statesman in his place. Stefan was made ultra-intelligent and used his wits to commit perfectly executed crimes across Europe, taking on the alias of "Recluse" just as Marcus had "Statesman" and named for the deadly spider as Stefan considered himself a deadly unnoticed predator bidding his time and spinning his webs. To satisfy his ambitions Recluse put his accumulated money and technology to the use as an entrance into the small Italian assassin's guild Arachnos. Arachnos was a budding assassin's group that had been around a few years prior to Recluse's arrival but had already proved competent enough to assassinate various heads of state. Recluse wished to join as a member and used his ill-gotten wealth to buy his way into Arachnos's fold. Recluse spent years as an Arachnos assassin but also helped shape the organization from just that of a small group of assassins out for money into an criminal troop on it's was to a military organization.
For his work The Weaver, head of the group, promoted Recluse numerous times until he was one of The Weavers right hand's along with Red Widow the psychic assassin. Recluse earned enough trust from The Weaver to convince him that Arachnos could run it's own country if it struck the right area and usurped it's resources. When The Weaver inquired on the right location for such a move Recluse suggested a place that was guarded by some great peace-keeper, some one whose defeat would break the spirits of those who relied upon them. The place would need to be small enough for Arachnos's fledgling military to hold with ease but enough recognition to be seen as a prize worth-having; Recluse was of-course encouraging Arachnos to take Paragon City and managed to get The Weaver to give the orders.
Recluse's plan was to place undercover soldiers in all the major security areas as police, guards, bodyguards and so on. Military troops were to lay in wait in secret bases to overtake Paragon and Arachnos's commanders were to spy on and ultimately hold hostage the city's decision makers. Upon arriving to make the preparations for the operation Recluse also re-immersed himself in Paragon's criminal underworld. Recluse wished to turn the criminal underworld into one united force, one which would stand with him. The current shadow ruler of Paragon's criminal underworld was the Super Villain, Nemesis, a modern day Moriarty who had a tight grip on all the gangs. Recluse began winning Nemesis's agents to his side, for where Nemesis sought absolute subservience, Recluse promised freedom to do as one pleased on condition their efforts aligned with Arachnos's plans. Recluse wore a helmet and body armor to both protect his identity and enforce his person to most weapons. By the time Recluse had won over Paragon's criminal underworld and helped them out from under Nemesis's thumb The Weaver had gotten the troops into place and given Recluse the go-ahead with his plan. The plan was simple, once the forces were carefully gathered up, Recluse would openly confront Statesman, Paragon's great protector and patriotic first citizen, the battle would earn the attention of all law-enforcers and media and the military, criminal militia and spies would all issue a surprise attacks against Paragon's key players.
Recluse had the Marcone crime family create a massacre in downtown Paragon. Statesman arrived to stop them as Recluse knew he would, at which point the throng of mobsters all stepped aside to reveal the presence of their organizer, the super-villain Recluse. Marcus recognized the voice of his former friend, whom Marcus had not heard from in years. Recluse made his grand proclamations and then engaged Statesman in open combat there on the streets of Paragon. Recluse was the first real super-villain Paragon City had seen other than Nemesis, but even Nemesis made a habit of using others to do his work and never engaging in open combat. Even with his immortality and high-quality body-armor Recluse found what he was mentally, Marcus was psychically and the fight was a losing one. This however was neither unforeseen, nor unacceptable, Recluse did not need to win, though of-course he intended to, the role of the fight was to drain Statesman's otherwise untested strength and exhaust him to the point where he would be unable to do anything, thus win or lose, Recluse would effectively neutralized Statesman while Arachnos seized the city from behind the scenes and with their main forces gathered on a distraction. But then it happened; Arachnos attacked on signal from The Weaver. They attempted to attack the law-enforcers and aspiring heroes there at the scene of the battle. Recluse saw the battle commence and Statesman refocused his attention on fighting Arachnos's troops. Recluse knew that at that point the battle could not be won, for instead of using Recluse's grand stand as distraction, The Weaver had instead used it as a rallying point. Recluse saw that the troops were overpowered in open battle with Statesman and the other law-enforcers all working together and escaped in the chaos.
Paragon had won but the impact Recluse left had shown them that there was a new breed of villain out there. Statesman began heading up a peacekeeping task-force called The Freedom Phalanx to combat super-villainy, Recluse's attack was turned in on itself to better prepare the city. In Recluse's mind this not only foiled his plans but made his prize well guarded from that point on, severely impeding future attempts to take it. Shortly after the failure Recluse had Red Widow, whom he had long since taken on as a lover, kill The Weaver for his incompetent handling of the situation. With the death of The Weaver, Recluse became the supreme commander of Arachnos and re-dubbed himself "Lord Recluse".
The Rogue Isles
Once Lord Recluse had gained the reigns of Arachnos for himself he began to quickly restructure Arachnos's remaining resources. Recluse started recruiting more and more criminals from wherever possible into Arachnos. Red Widow remained his loyal number two and used her psychic talents to routinely check the loyalty of new recruits to ensure their dependability and promote the mind-set to the type of work Lord Recluse would to have them do. Before long Arachnos's resources were rebuilt from the Paragon City siege debacle and Lord Recluse used them to undertake a proper raid, one against the Etoile Islands. The Etoile Islands were an archipelago to the north of the Bermudas which had a very poor government infrastructure and became a haven for pirates and scoundrels, so much so they were frequently addressed as "The Rogue Isles". The President of the archipelago nation was named Marchand and operated off Port Oaks section of the Isles. Marachand's cabinet had power on Port Oaks but viewed the surrounding areas as so abundant with crime as to be unworthy of government mostly.
Lord Recluse had Arachnos attack Port Oaks directly, within a day the port was under Arachnos control and it drew out a fight at Marchand's capital building. Marchand's loyalists put up a fierce fight for their government only to find that Lord Recluse had intentionally drawn out the fight to distract Marchand while he had acquired all the surrounding territories officially controlled by Marchand but which he had long since given up on trying to maintain. Once the Etoile Isles were occupied by Arachnos bases Lord Recluse had his forces close-in on and subsume Port Oaks entirely. Port Oaks was the last holdout but Lord Recluse had felt it unworthy of him and created his own metal fortress on an Isle he dubbed "Grandville", Port Oaks was instead converted to a processing center for bureaucrats and immigrants, with Marchand's headquarters turned into a records building and control of the area turned over to Lord Recluse's previous allies the Marcone crime family.
Each of the Rogue Isles was given a different purpose by Arachnos, and an outlining government was given to each to allow Arachnos supreme order and control over the isles, however just because Arachnos had control did not mean it needed to enforce it. Under Lord Recluse's leadership, Arachnos was refocused by the policy Lord Reclused had used to win over criminals in Paragon. Arachnos let most of it's criminals continue to do as they wished, unlike Marchand's cabinet, Arachnos demonstrated it could enforce it's full control at any time, however as long as the criminals of the Etoile Islands' goals did not conflict with Arachnos', Arachnos was more than willing to openly allow drug trafficking, weapons development, gambling, prostitution, black magic and many other activities that other governments would consider crimes. This flocked numerous criminals, normal and meta-human, to the Isles as the super-villains 'Land of opportunity'. Lord Recluse has already gotten The United Nations to recognize The Etoile Islands as their own nation and thus gotten Arachnos approved as a legal "National Security Force" for the territory.
First Paragon City, Then the World!
Lord Recluse's end goals, and by extension those of Arachnos, are to take over the world and transform it into a society like that of The Rogue Isles, one ruled by crime and anarchy. Lord Recluse aims to make Paragon City the first of the civilized world to fall to Arachnos. With Paragon being the home of most of the world's meta-humans, who flocked to the city similar to how super-villains had flocked to the Isles, capture of the City will remove the area capable of putting up the most resistance and thus start a domino effect that can cause the U.S. government to fall. Since Arachnos is effectively already an officially recognized world power at the U.N., gaining control of the U.S. starts a new era of world order with Arachnos at the helm, a path that starts with Paragon City.
The connections to the U.N. are perhaps the only thing keeping Arachnos from organizing what would be a war-crime scale invasion of U.S. soil. But though Archnos has made no official play for Paragon City it has made numerous raids that have been organized to plunge various parts of Paragon into chaos. Seizing Paragon City has placed a rather specialized demand on Arachnos with Lord Recluse as it's high commander; Lord Recluse does not wish Statesman to die, not until Paragon City has fallen. Lord Recluse is not willing to let his archenemy become a martyr and would rather wait the years it may take to seize Paragon out from under it's main hero's protection, than bring the fight directly to Statesman and risk immortalizing him in the hearts of the people as their last hope. Statesman must not simply fail to save Paragon, he must be made a symbol of the beginning of the end, one which not only demoralizes the people but turns Marcus Cole's ego in on itself, as he sees those who suffer because of his failings, then and only then is Lord Recluse prepared to permit Statesman to die, when all he fought for has fallen around him with him powerless to fix it.
The demands of Lord Recluse's vendetta place a very long path before Arachnos to follow. However with the growth, stability, security and moral Lord Recluse has given them, Arachnos is prepared to follow their megalomaniacal mastermind to hell and back, and in some cases that has been a quite literal itinerary.
- Ghost Widow - Arachhnos Patron: Head of the Widows.
- Captain Mako - Arachnos Patron: Lord Recluse's personal assassin.
- Scirocco - Arachnos Patron: Head of the Mu.
- Black Scorpion - Arachnos Patron: Lord Recluse's security chief.
- Arbiter Daos - Senior overseer of the Arbiters.
- Doctor Aeon - Head of Arachnos's research division, governor of the Cap Au Diable territory.
- Wretch - Ghost Widow's hulking body-guard and lover.
- Barracuda - Captain Mako's right hand fish mutant.
- Ice Mistral - Scirocco's icy protege.
- Silver Mantis - Black Scorpion's kinky sidekick and girlfriend.
- Marshal Brass - One of the highest ranking overseers of the Arachnos Soldiers in the Isles, Baby-sits Doctor Aeon for Lord Recluse.
- Olivia Darque - Marshal Brass's secretary and assistant.
- Kalinda - Widow. Psychic who predicted the 'Destined Ones' as she dubbed them, villains with world changing potential and keeps an eye on all new prospects entering the isles.
- Westin Phipps - An Arachnos interrogation and information expert working undercover as a philanthropic social worker, who uses his position sift though the down trodden, deal with potential rebels and destroy what little hopes arise.
Arbiters are bureaucrats, inquisitors and law enforcers of Arachnos. Arbiters are considered second in power to Lord Recluse himself, refusing one is equivalent to refusing Lord Recluse, even Patrons, Lord Recluse's four feared high-commanders, are required to comply with an Arbiter. There are dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of Arbiters but they all share the same high-position. Standards to become an Arbiter are high and the troops who make it to the position have not only proved their skills over, time and time again but also have willingly submitted to continued 'conditioning treatments' to ensure they all share Lord Recluse's mindset with his success and theirs' being one and the same for them. This means that though they may appear benign bureaucrats and desk jockeys, they are not wasted on idol functions and one of the few officials that Arachnos will back with all they have. What little order exists in Arachnos exists because of them and thus they are too precocious to be taken lightly. Arbiters carry their own weapons and armor but in truth their greatest weapon is their clout, a clout greater than any super-power, one attached to the scope, authority and dreaded wrath of Lord Recluse himself. As all Arbiters are trained with the same stoic commitment to keeping Arachnos running smoothly the multiple officer's never come into conflict with each-other even though they all share the exact same rank.
Arachnos Soldiers are the base troops of Arachnos, the main three divisions are Bane Spiders, Crab Spiders and Wolf Spiders. Often called, Spider Soldiers, the Arachnos Soldiers make up the base of the armies Arachnos wields, thousands of men and women who possess elite military training, with the weapons and armor to back it up. Wolf Spiders are the lower foot-soldiers and attend to lower security areas with assault rifles, sniper rifles, bombs, bayonets, net-guns, stun guns and armor high quality enough to take over two dozen high powered bullets before wearing thin. Those who graduate the lower ranks and submit to the reconditioning needed to assure their loyalty are promoted to either Bane Spiders or Crab Spider troops. In addition to their normal gear and an armor upgrade, Bane and Crab Spiders get new specialized training and gear. Bane Spiders are trained as stealth troops and given optic camouflage devices that renders them invisible to the eye and radar. Wolf Spider soldiers who sign up as Crab Spiders are given cybernetic augmentation that connects their spines to four metallic spider talon each of which function as both a laser cannon and an impalement tool, one they can activate as if they were natural limbs. Bane Spiders are used for assassination missions and Crab Spider are used for more open combat.
Widows are Arachnos's psychics that train as spies and assassins. Until recently all female. Widow training is based on those who take to psychic training most easily and as such even slight changes in brain chemistry can make or break a candidate for it's training. Male brains had slightly less active psychic lopes and so until training techniques advanced in the mid 2000s Widows were always female. Widows were gathered as children and put into Arachnos psychic training programs through-out their childhoods into adulthood. Those with even the slightest of sixth-sense are detected by current seers, who send soldiers around to collect and train them as new Widows. Potential Widows are motivated very quickly to embrace their talents to access the psychic parts of their brains for the sake of their own well-being. Widows become either Night-Widows or Seers. Night-Widows use their psychic power to accentuate their military training, such as avoiding a punch before it is thrown or altering a foe's perception to actually render themselves invisible. Seers are Widows that take to their psychic training so well that their martial training actually takes a backseat to a Widow becoming a master mentalist. Seers can project psionic blasts that can directly harm the minds of their opponents, see into the past, future and minds of others and even use mind-control. Though their mind-control abilities are only temporary, half a minute of psychicly induced friendly-fire among an opponent's forces can easily work to an Arachnos's troop's advantage if implemented at just the right time,
The Mu are an ancient order of mystics that pledged their loyalty to Lord Recluse in exchange for protection from a rival order known as the Circle of Thorns. The Mu are an ancient heritage that got into a blood feud with the Circle of Thorns millenia ago. When the Circle returned as an order of powerful warlocks with a hell goddess on their side and able to cheat death by body hopping from one poor civilian to another, the Mu decided to seek their own semi-divine sponsor for protection, Lord Recluse. Arachnos represents the security of the Mu people and thus they ply their magic for Lord Recluse as Arachnos's formal battle mage force. All Mu possess sensitivity to mystical and psychic phenomena, telekinesis and the ability to negate energy with what they call Mu bolts. Mu bolts are magic that manifests as red arcs of electricity from the caster. Mu bolts will drain a mage just as easily as it will a mutant or robot of it's energy and it only takes a few rapid bolts to completely rob a hero, of any origin magic or otherwise, of all their super-power. Mu can also preform a variety of rituals to influence energy and forces in a general area on a fundamental level, however these rites are long and complex and tend to require a great deal of effort that makes them impractical in battle, thus Mu rites are only used for specific and well outlined events planned to generate unnatural disasters.
Robotic drones, and cyborgs built in the style of hovering/walking man-sized metal spiders. Arachons drones are stationed at every Arachnos base to kill identified hostiles while allowing authorized personnel to pass though with impunity. Arachnos drones possess little more than recognition CPU's as their operating systems however the more advanced Arachnobots are controlled by fully functioning A.I.s. Arachnobots are mini-tank, man-sized spider droids that possess a payload of lasers, raze-sharp talons and web cartridges. The most advanced of Arachnos's mechanical-menaces are the Tarantulas. Tarantulas are Widows who have been bio-engineered into spider-mutants and then given cybernetic augmentation that replaces more than half of their twisted bodies. Tarantula brains are hard-wired to access the psychic part of it, the twisted monstrosities are Widows who do not embrace their talents and thus used as a motivator for the Widows to complete their training and prove their worth as psychics. Tarantulas possess the firepower and durability of an Aracnobot with the psychic talents of a rudimentary Widow and the savagery one would expect of a spider-mutant. They are at heart predators whose only real remaining human thoughts are dedicated to recognizing the Arachnos pecking order. Tarantulas may be able to mentally assault a foe or calculate large number-files in seconds but socially they are so far gone, most do not even bother putting up the illusion of human empathy.