|“||It was not so long ago when Arachnos freed you from that stinking prison in Paragon City and brought you here to be tested. You have clawed your way out of the filth and made yourself a name here on the Rogue Isles - a name to be feared and respected.||„|
|~ Kalinda, congratulating a Destined One.|
The Rogue Isles are a fictitious archipelago nation in the videogame City of Heroes. It is the base of operations for the terrorist organization Arachnos and the designated area of explorations and missions for villainous characters.
The Isles are stated to be somewhere North-West of Bermuda and a few dozen miles off the the US cost. The island chain is officially referred to as the Etoile Islands but due to the lax set of laws governing them became a pirate haven during the 17th century and cementing the more familiar nickname "Rogue Isles". Since it's founding days the Rogue Isles has become a haven for money laundering, escaped convicts, smugglers and black-marketeers. President Marchand's cabinet of Port Oakes was one of the closest things to an organized government for the Isles but Marchand was disposed by Arachnos. After Lord Recluse assassinated Arachnos's former leader, Weaver-One, and ascended as leader he choose the Rogue Isles as the site of his rising empire of super-villainy.
With Arachnos in charge of the Isles, a new government was established, many Isles were given their own rulers loyal to Arachnos, the most well-known of such is the mad-scientist Doctor Aeon, governor of Cap Au Diable. Other ruling parties pledging fealty to Arachnos include the Marcone crime family, Kirk Cage, Johnny Sonata and Marshal Brass. Some Isles only have the Arachnos Arbiters to keep and oversee Arachnos laws but have no actual government, instead trusting said isles to whatever super-villains are ambitious enough to seize power for themselves. Because Lord Recluse is almost religiously a Social-Darwinist the Isles enjoy a state of organized anarchy with base laws like killing non-powered civilians and racial discrimination being outlawed but broader laws like theft, gang wars, drug use, smuggling, weapons development and murder among super-villains all not only being perfectly legal but expected, provided said criminals are strong or smart enough to successfully commit said acts. Religion is illegal in the Rogue Isles as Lord Recluse considers acknowledgement of any being higher than himself as treason.
The Arbiters that enforce Arachnos's laws are completely loyal to Lord Recluse and protected by his clout. While most Arbiters are well trained Arachnos veterans they are sworn to be unbiased and help any super-villain with potential that seeks their aid, even villains that are known enemies of Arachnos. Arbiters may appear to be benign but their iron-clad loyalty to the notion of Survival of the Fittest and loyalty to Lord Recluse above their own lives does yield them some protection; Arbiters are considered the living will of Lord Recluse and so attacking one will prompt all local Arachnos forces to drop what they're doing for the sole purpose of to hunting down and killing anyone who dares attack the Arbiters. Most super-villains and normal citizens support Arachnos because of the protection it offers against far more sinister and uncaring potential villains like Nemesis, the Circle of Thorns or the 5th Column, who would surely seize power if Arachnos was not around. Under Arachnos' rule the Etoile Islands have been recognized by the United Nations as their own country. Arachnos keeps the U.N.'s possible humanitarian concerns in-line with bribes, hypnotic suggestion devices and Lord Recluse's silver tongue. As an officially recognized nation of the U.N. the Rogue Isles is legally protected from raids by Lord Recluse's arch-enemy, the hero, Statesman and his fellow heroes of the Freedom Phalanx. Only hard-core evidence or dire threats to the world can give Statesman the leeway to personally set foot on the Rogue Isles, making the Isles a haven for super-villains.
Basic Laws of the Rogue Isles
- Don't attack an Arbiter: The trade off to Arbiters being completely unbiased in helping the strong progress is repaid by seeing to it anyone who tries to harm them is met with the full force of Arachnos storm-troopers.
- Civilians are off limits: No killing, torturing or experimenting on non-powered civilians; As far as Arachnos are concerned taxes are equivalent to protection money, so paying them is submission to and contract with Arachnos and the citizens of the Rogue Isles and they will kill anyone who endangers said contract. (super-villains/heroes, non-powered heroes/villains and powered civilians are acceptable however).
- No racism, sexual or ethnic discrimination: In the eyes of Lord Recluse racism is wrong, not morally - it is simply incorrect. As Arachnos is made-up of mostly humans of various mixed races who can reliably kill/destroy death-bots, mutants and demons, the very notion that birth limits someone's capabilities is obscene to Lord Recluse and his Darwinian philosophy.
- No religion: The notion of any being higher than Lord Recluse is considered treason in the Isles so all Churches, Mosques, Synagogues and temples of any kind will be promptly burned to the ground. Shrines will be torn down and anyone found praying may be punished.
- Punishment for breaking these laws ranges from being fined to being shot into the sun, and anything in-between.
Since Arachnos runs the Rogue Isles and the organization has a hard-core Survival of the Fittest policy, that extends to their own people, any further rules are purely advisory and any villain that gets away with things like theft or murdering an Arachnos officer is acceptable if they do it well enough to get away with it. One is free to say steal a mad-scientist's dooms-day-device, however said mad scientist is permitted to shoot any intruders on sight and neither will suffer consequences from the authorities even if one of the parties in question was part of Arachnos. You CAN legally get away with banging up someone's car in the parking lot, but they can hire assassins to come for you in the middle of the night and kill you. So the following policies are more laissez-faire terms than actual laws.
- Obey Lord Recluse.
- No stealing Arachons assets.
- No harming Arachnos personnel.
- No harboring or consorting with known enemies of Arachnos such as the Longbow, Nemesis or the Circle of Thorns.
- No one but Arachnos is permitted to have or create time-travel technology, this applies to magically induced time-travel as well.
- All up in coming Villain Groups must register as such and pay petty taxes to Arachnos.
- Already well established super-villains seeking sanctuary from their native country's laws in Rogue Isles must pledge their loyalty and a large amount of money to Arachnos.
- No murder in public places (murder in private homes, back alleys or fortresses-of-doom are permitted though).
- Mercy Island is the drop off point for escaped prisoners busted out of jail by Arachnos and set free to run wild on the Isles. Mercy is one of the most chaotic zones but with a very low threat level; The logic is that the freed villains surviving long enough to out-grow what Mercy has to offer is a screening method to assure only the strong, clever and ambitious survive in the Isles to be of use to Arachnos later on. The Arachnos Seer Kalinda is stationed on Mercy to size up any villains with potential. Making even villains who are possible threats into assets is one of Arachnos' specialties, which is why Kalinda tries to set up Arachnos contacts with such candidates immediately.
- Port Oakes is in the midst of a constant turf war between The Family and the Mooks, two shards of the once mighty Marcone crime empire. Arachnos has a bureaucratic office in Marconeville at the center of the cape for registration of Villain Groups. The North of the cape is Villa Montrose where the Mooks cling to their last real zone of influence in the Isles and the site of many attempted sieges by the Family. Port Oakes is a huge area for smuggling and has a very prosperous black-market for villains to make special orders at.
Cap Au Diable
- Cap Au Diable is the most prosperous looking city in the Isles It boasts tall skyscrapers of Aeon City that overlook the more residential areas of Haven and New Haven below. Doctor Aeon's home office for his private mad-science corporation Aeon-Corp is located in the center of the city where he is constantly at work either building and mass-producing Arachnos's military-ware or just pursuing his own projects. The city is home to the Power Transfer System, Aeon's power system that costs pennies a day to run and powers the entire city endlessly and even supplies power to other high security areas of the Isles. New Haven is home to the W.S.P.D.R. News headquarters and Aeon University, the world's foremost university of super-science with the least moral oversight. There is also a thriving black market in the area and a nominally' priced plastic surgeon/butchers one can hire, provided the notion of who the new face came from isn't an issue. High above the city on Mount Diable, characterized by it's almost devil-horn-like plateaus, lurk the Circle of Thorns who practice their rituals on the isolated and dangerous peaks of the dormant volcano.
- Sharkhead Isles is a major military, mining and shipping depot for the Isles. A decent black-market presences can be found at Port Recluse. A massive semi-slave-labor forces works the mines of The Pit for any and all of the rare living magical crystal known as Blood Coral under the dominating reigns of the Cage Consortium. Any criminals too weak to get away with their heists are punished for their weakness by being sentenced to years as Scrapyarders, sold to the Consortium as miners, engineers and low level workers. Scrapyarders are payed next to nothing, forced to live in unhealthy conditions and put in extremely hazardous areas by the Cage Consortium in their quest to mine the Blood Coral. The Cage are an interdependent company allowed to mine Sharkhead in exchange for regular contributions to Arachnos and pro-bono maintenance work for Arachnos. To the far west of the Isles is the massive graveyard Potter's field, where Circle of Thorns and the Banished Pantheon hide to practice necromancy and other dark rites.
- The Nerva Archipelago is a smaller island-chain in the larger archipelago of the Rogue Isles. The Nerva Archipelago is site of Crey Industries' main offices in the Isles. Crey not only collects and experiments on the monstrous Devouring Earth from the nearby forest of Primeva but also uses the area as an off-shore account office for Crey assets. Though the heroes of the Longbow think they won Agincourt in-spite of Arachnos' best efforts the truth is Lord Recluse has allowed the Longbow to set up base in Agincourt to keep their presence contained in the Isles rather than putting up with constant attempted invasions. Villains passing by Agincourt are not under Arachnos' protection and tread there carefully, knowing they risk capture. Lt. Demitrovich, the second in command of the Longbow stationed in Agincourt, is in-fact in Arachnos' pocket and while she refuses to wholly sell out her superior officer she can be persuaded, for the right price, to inform on and sabotage Longbow operations provided it is not in any way overt enough to be tracked back to her. To the far, far, north passed Agincourt and the the forests of Primeva on the small isolated Thorn Isle a great tree grows, the Tree of Thorns, hub of the Circle of Thorns power. The real power of Thorn Isle can be found beneath the tree where the Circle of Thorn's temple intertwines with the roots of the ancient evil tree. Thorn Isle is kept isolated by Agincourt and in turn Agincourt is kept too wary of Thorn Isle to fully organize an assault on local Arachnos offices on the mainland.
- St. Martial is a bevy of private business and the site of the illustrious Golden Giza Casino. Though the Giza is officially owned by a cut-out everyone knows in truth the main entertainer, Johnny Sonata, runs the place. Sonata sold his soul for his golden voice years ago and is holding out on paying up the Wailer Demons he made the pact with, as a result the Wailers have appeared in St. Martial to collect on the dept. Arachnos has given Johnny Sonata the aid of their Mu mystics to place massive demonic wards around the Golden Giza. The Mu wards around the Giza make it the only place on the isle untouchable to the Wailers protecting Johnny from his demonic creditors. In anger over Sonata's evasion from them the Wailers plague most other parts of the isle in protest. Johnny Sonata has become Arachnos' main supporter in St. Martial so money is funneled to Arachnos from the massive vacation spot. While there is an Arachnos military base to the south west of St. Martial, the rest of the island surrounding the Golden Giza has become a massive tourist trap siphoning off what money it can from the casino's patrons. Most of the businesses surrounding the Giza pay protection money or are outright fronts to the Family, who maintain the area as figurative and literal gangster's paradise.
- The great seat of power for Arachnos, Grandville is a massive metal fortress of doom built over the slums of the residents. To the north of the mainland is a giant man-made island, called The Fab, that serves as fabrication complex for Arachnos' armory. The cables connecting from building to building in the city's peaks are called the Tangle. The Tangle is a psychic enhancing transmitter that allows the Seers/Widows of Arachnos to form and maintain a psychic net that connects to the minds of all high level Arachnos officers. The Seer Network allows Lord Recluse to communicate, send up alarms or even directly dictate actions to all high level officers and elite soldiers of the Rogue Isles in an instant with a literal thought from the comfort of his cloistered stronghold. The residents of Grandville live in poverty in a slum simply called the Gutter. The poor of the Gutter are attended to by the charitable Haven House with it's director Westin Phipps. In truth Haven House is an Arachnos front used to sift through potential distends, rebels and freedom fighters. Westin Phipps poses as a kind egalitarian standing up for the poor non-supers stuck in the slums but in truth is perhaps the evilest being in Grandville if not the Rogue Isles as a whole, and that includes Lord Recluse! Westin Phipps' "pity" doubles as reinforcements of how pathetic the people are and he keeps most of them too insecure to attempt anything. Phipps has potential threats to Arachnos captured and shipped off in the middle of the night blaming such disappearance on various super-villains while playing the beleaguered good Samaritan. Arachnos' experiments with attempting to create a clone army of Lord Recluse have given birth to the feral mutant race known as the Arachnoids, apparently attempting to reproduce the divine elements in Lord Recluse's blood is an impossibility. The feral abominations of the Arachnoids plague the Gutter of Grandville but are torn to shreds when attempting to enter Spider City.
A mile high wall around Spider City mounted with canons and Arachnos ballistas keeps most threats out and if any such threats do appear a well armed, city sized platoon is dispatched to annihilate the nuisance. The reenforced underground bunkers of the city not only provided shielded locations for various research and security labs but make tunneling under the city an impossibility. Grandville's television network has achieved sentience (possibly as a side-effect of the Tangle) and invisibly guards Grandville against interdenominational threats, which it can detect through the unique overlapping frequency it's thoughts exist on. Although the TV does not serve Lord Recluse it does consider the residences of Grandville it's viewers and thus protects them against any outside threats, assuring that even teleportation is not an effective method to enter Grandville. High up above the Tangle in Arachons' main tower in Spider City sits Lord Recluse and his Patrons:
From the nigh-impervious fortress at the center of Grandville Lord Recluse and his Patrons unleash various projects and schemes to defeat the heroes of Paragon City once and for all, seconded only to their lofty goals of complete world domination.