The Zeitgeisteskrankheit, commonly called the Geist, are a spectral race of people malevolently reborn into the universe following their genocide at the hands of the callous Gunnar-Grim and their terrible StarForge. Before the dwarves came into their galaxy to rob them of their very existence, the Geist were a collective of races spread through dozens of star systems. They were known as creators, races of builders and forward thinkers, and their combined technologies were impressive and vast. They were peaceful and, together, they danced among the stars gifting all with whom they made contact the wonder of their Creativity and the knowledge of their Constructions. They had the incredible ability to mold reality itself, to brikbuild whatever they could imagine, and their power seemed as limitless as their imaginations. They were a fundament of peace, tranquility, hope, harmony, and never ending growth. Perhaps they were born into the wrong universe.
Origins of the Geist
When the Gunnar-Grim came with their hobbled StarForge, they saw the way the very stars themselves were lit up with the bright energies so lovingly crafted by the races who lived there. They saw a fine opportunity to repair their godlike vessel, to return its power levels to the point where it could self-repair and replicate matter which required no small measure of reserve energies. At first the then-Geist (whose name has now been lost to history forevermore) were happy to oblige and sent their best and brightest to treat with the clan. But they quickly realized the brutal horror the worldship represented, for the StarForge was no ordinary vessel. Its name was no exaggeration. They learned it had the capability to create entire star systems when at full capacity and the dwarves, who fancied themselves a creator race as well, saw it as their never ending duty to expand the universe. That seemed wonderful to the then-Geist, at first, until they realized how damaged the ship was and how much energy it would consume in order to repair itself. The amount was orders of magnitude beyond what they were willing to share and they soon saw how unrelenting the dwarves were in their lust to get it.
The first blows of a full-fledged galactic war were exchanged when the StarForge consumed it's first planet, the populated world Eyun in the Xi System. The then-Geist were horrified but the dwarves had already discarded the pretense of cooperation and rationalized that the LifeForce of the creatures on populated planets would serve to repair the ship better and faster. The dwarves pressed relentlessly forward and the races of the galaxy were completely unprepared for their level of viciousness and cruel efficiency. Some of the less powerful races ran and hid on their homeworlds, hoping to be bypassed or forgotten. Most were not. The races of power rallied however, banding together and directing their energies against the StarForge and its savage masters. But they were Creators and they didn't know how to destroy. They sought to rearrange, to remake the StarForge into Eyun II, a tribute to the lost souls there but the dwarves were too canny and too ruthless to allow it. They adapted with the sheer ability of long experience and, while the then-Geist managed to slow the ship's regeneration, they could never destroy it. Systematically, and in a very brief period of time, the Gunnar-Grim ate world after world, system after star system. They could not be stopped and, eventually, they ate the then-Geist too.
The final battle was decisive and, in the end, the StarForge completed its genocidal campaign in a single, bold maneuver that murdered the then-Geist to a man. The effects of their victory, though, were unexpected. The Creative energies inherent in the races had become corrupted, twisted by the conflict and the injustice of its people's murder. The Gunnar-Grim had come to embody all that the races hated. The way the dwarves casually destroyed did not, in the eyes of the dying people, justify whatever they later created. The entire process was an affront to everything the people held dear and that was insult added to injury of the most grievous kind. Their own energies, tainted by this undying hatred, saved them from eternal death but damned them to eternal unlife as maddened spirits forever haunted by the parody of a gift that once enriched the universe. The energies reached out and trapped the souls of the now-Geist in a hyperphasic state of reality, binding them to an incorporeal form, and imbuing them with the sheer force of Destruction. A shockwave of psychic trauma emanated from the site of the final battle throughout the galaxy and beyond and where it passed, there grew the physical manifestation of their anguish, the element known as Ecto-115. Spirits awoke in the nether regions of space and the Zeitgeisteskrankheit were blasphemously born into the universe. Which the universe probably saw as a much more fitting arrangement.
Unit Types and Abilities
All of the Geist are Ghosts to some extent or another. A Ghost is incorporeal by nature but some have the unique ability to breach the veil of death and physically manifest in the realverse. A byproduct of a Ghost's presence in the realverse is ectoplasmic energy. All Ghosts carry at least a small reservoir of this energy within but when they are incorporeal, it is instead called ectoplasmic potential (because it is not yet "real"). Breaching the veil requires a large expenditure of ectoplasmic energy if it is already available (such as Ecto-115, its byproduct, or the presence of a particularly powerful Ghost who is already manifested) or ectoplasmic potential if it is not. It should be noted that Ecto-115, the permanently real manifestation of ectoplasmic energy, is like supercharged ecto-energy for Ghosts, which is why so many of them are unwilling to part with their Fetters. However, since ectoplasmic potential is such a diluted form of ectoplasmic energy, it requires truly copious amounts to affect even the smallest ghost-like ability. While many Ghosts do not have the ecto-potential to manifest on their own, groups working together can pool their resources to manifest another. Interestingly, The Geist do not typically have this problem, as we shall see. In any case, ecto-energy is a pure tool to a Ghost and he can shape it and use it as he sees fit.
Also called Haunts, these are Ghosts who are not powerful enough to manifest on their own, do not own Fetters, and are not attached to a Spectral Lord. They often still contribute ecto-potential, for whatever good it does recipients, and they serve as excellent spies and scouts due to their essentially permanent incorporeality. It takes a lot of time, training, and effort to build one's reserves, so many Haunts remain trapped at this level for years before being accepted into the regular ranks.
Sometimes called Shadows, Shades are Haunters that have chosen to take a different path rather than joining the rank and file of the legions. These incredibly sneaky, sly Ghosts instead develop their stealth powers as their reserves grow. They learn how to expand their own incorporeality to mask the presence of corporeal troops, objects, or even entire locations. Some even learn psychik powers; most often, these are of talents that have to do with mind manipulation and control but many Shades learn TK just for the fun of it. Shades make for the Geist's foremost scouts and spies.
Ghosts are the most common and basic unit type in the Geist armies. They often have very small ecto reserves but most have Fetters (typically weaponry) that allow them to manifest freely and save back their own energy for combat. Ghosts commonly use the energy to boost their own physical abilities. As creatures of relatively low power, they remain some of the Geist's most versatile troops and are capable of fielding multiple roles, from battlefield positions to operating the Geist Capital Ghost Ships. As Ghosts grow in power, they tend to become more specialized and they lose that flexible disposition.
Poltergeists are Ghosts who have expanded their ecto reserves somewhat and have chosen to specialize in using their ecto-energies to violently interact with the external environment and the enemies within it. Simplistically, they are akin to spellcasters and so their Fetters are often modeled after armor or items like amulets, books, and orbs. Some Polters choose further specialization on growing their ecto reserves but many are dead obsessed with simply gaining more power. That is, they seek exponential expansion of their own ecto reserves.
Wraiths are commonly the direct result of a basic Ghost growing his ecto reserves. This kind of creature focuses its power on itself, as usual, but the massive ecto-energies being used result in far more than simple boosts. Wraiths are capable of truly terrifying physical feats of martial prowess. As they grow in power, Wraith deeds become truly legendary and downright heroic. Exceedingly powerful Wraiths are sometimes called Eidolons.
Spectres are Ghosts who have chosen to specialize in Fear. Their terrible visages destroy enemy morale and their auras of horror can leave those rare few enemies who survive the encounter with nightmares for years. Their power lies in sheer, unadulterated terror. They are anathema to life, driven by a truly twisted desire to consume and destroy it wherever it exists. If ever there was a shock trooper, the Geist's Dread Spectres are it.
Phantoms are truly harrowing units, capable of breaching the veil with frightening ease. They make use of this extraordinary talent by blinking back and forth between corporeal states. They're damn near impossible to hit and wicked fast, seemingly teleporting all over a battlefield from any given direction at any given time. Some Phantoms have expanded their abilities to include other illusory magiks in order to aid in misdirection and distraction.
Revenants are Ghosts with the power of possession. While Revenants do have a knack for absconding with the bodies of minifigs and other sentients, this results in a constant struggle as the host mind attempts to reassert control and buck the intruder. Many Revenants instead use their Fetters to animate the dead and possess their corpses. Skeletons are a favorite for most because of their unearthly appearance. A very few Revenants have taken the time to craft host bodies directly from Ecto-115, which serve as their Fetters. These Ghosts are exceedingly unnerving to enemies, not only because of the threat of possession, but also because their host bodies serve as a buffer between them and oblivion. Ghosts are already notoriously hard to destroy (destroying their corporeal form merely sends them back across the veil for a rest until they can regenerate their ecto reserves). Revenants remain fresh when their host bodies hit the dirt. Very powerful Revenants have the ability to possess multiple host bodies at once.
Spectral Lords were the most brilliant minds of the people that became the Geist. They were the foremost engineers, scientists, philosophers, and futurists. They were the best and the brightest and, as such, were corrupted the worst. Spectral Lords are unlike any other Ghost and they are the reason the Geist are such a threat to the rest of the living universe. The Lords are permanently corporeal. They cannot ever cross the veil. Lords give off ridiculous amounts of ectoplasm and so, merely by being present, can bring entire Geist contingents and capital ships across the veil at no cost to them. Interestingly, it is not their ability to "spawn" armies that makes them so useful to the Geist but rather their ability to transport them or, more accurately, their Fetters across spacetime. Those Fetters mean the army can spawn itself, which means a full fighting force. Given that the "army" of the Geist is, in fact, all its peoples and that those people once populated an entire galaxy, its worth considering that full fighting force indicates a great deal more than its conventional meaning.
Spectral Lords are the lynchpin to the Geist collective. Killing one won't necessarily hurt the Ghosts but it sure as hell will slow them down.
The Advance of the Spectral Threat
- As of R. 2,012, the Zeitgeisteskrankheit are still embroiled in war with the Ketir-Iah and the Gunnar-Grim in the Devoid Sector over their own resource, Ecto-115. Surprisingly, they do not attack the relatively few bystander systems in the Sector.
- As of R. 2,013, the Zeitgeisteskrankheit gain some ground in the Devoid Sector's Ecto Conflict, destroying dwarven garrisons in Geirdriful System and helping to lay waste to Eir System. They lose some ground to the Ketir-Iah, however, whose magik seems a potent, if slow, weapon against them. The sorcerers have moved to encircle both armies.