Standard Issue Withstander Field Guide: The Nihl
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Nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of the Islands prospering. We hold this truth to the highest degree of importance and swear that no entity, no single person, no group of individuals will ever stand in the way of it. Despite this, there are many threats to the Last Place. Some may argue the meteors of detritus left over from planets long gone could cause the most physical damage. Many a knight must be ever vigilant to not meet with their counterparts from this dimension. Perhaps that immediate immolation is the greatest danger, leaving no one capable enough to protect what's left of the universe. A very persistent philosopher reminds me that the mind can be a terrible foe, that we must do everything we can to combat desperation, fear, hate, and most importantly, giving up.

To all that, I say the Nihl wraps all of these things in a nice little bow and dumps it on your doorstep hoping you step on it. This group, which was originally considered a minimal threat, has gained an alarming amount of traction in such a short period of time. It helps that, while there is a technical "true branch" of the group, its ideas and philosophies have been morphed and misunderstood by countless offshoots. Some of these offshoots are barely an inconvenience while others could pose an even greater threat than the original Nihl. Enclosed is an essential guide detailing common Nihl subsections and common weapons used by these fungal adversaries.

May your armor withstand any harm. For the Last Place, anything.

— Immanuel Tarion Brandt, Withstander Psion

Nihl Growth

A common strategy the Nihl utilizes is a cocktail of fungi and mosses called Nihl Growth. The Islands possess countless caverns, which the group no doubt uses to cultivate the growth, in addition to various safe-houses used as groweries. Some strains are specialized to eat through wood and stone or corrode metals. Another strain was made to attach to living hosts, taking mere days to sap the energy from their host. A particularly nasty strain was even found eating the flesh of a Holder. This fungus spreads over most surfaces and has been observed to mutate into other strains in order to spread and consume more if given enough time.

It is imperative you aren’t contaminated by the growth or any spores it may spread, otherwise, you may contribute to its infestation by hosting it on your armor. If you’re at a point where avoiding contamination isn't an option, there are still options. Whether you have discovered a colony of Nihl growth or have been infected, there are various materials that are effective in eliminating the fungus.

  • Treant Sap
  • Bleach or Vinegar (do not mix)
  • Salt Water found on the planet of Brésh
  • T'mon Stomach Bile
  • Liquid Nitrogen
  • Mistletoe, if given a chance to grow over the growth

The Nihl have used various methods of transferral, but there are two common ways that have been used. First, they will cultivate a small patch of the growth and move it into some type of bag or box, and leave the container in a public area. The container acts as a sort of bomb because once the growth fills it, the pressure becomes too great and the container explodes coating the surrounding area and citizens with spores. A second, more offensive, strategy often involves the use of a sling and a more developed ball of Nihl growth. This isn't as common as the first, due to the danger involved in using a dangerous substance in a more intense scenario, but some offshoots prefer it.

The Nettle

The Nihl's work with decomposers doesn't stop with the growth. Theorized to have originated from the original Nihl, utilizing chloromancy and mind-melding magicks, the Nihl have created beings called the Nettle. The Nettle are typically short, ranging from 3 to 3 1/2 feet, covered in green moss, and yellow eyes. Variations in size, coloration, and eyes have been observed, so never discount your intuition when it comes to spotting a Nettling. These creatures are not incredibly intelligent on their own, but some Nihl cultists have the ability to tap into the minds of the creatures and lead multiple Nettlings on raids, captain Nihl starships with Nettle crew, or complete tasks the Nihl would otherwise not want to risk themselves.

Hopefully, with our interference, these creatures will be all the public has to encounter when it comes to the cult, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't be treated as less-than threats. The Nettle aren't completely mindless, which means they can be tricked, despite their tunnel vision when not being lead by a Nihl mind-melder. Try and find out what their objective is, perhaps even gain their trust, if possible. If the Nettle are being directed, however, the only option is battle. Not much holds these together, only moss and greenery, so they can be defeated with general ease, but their real strength comes in numbers. Do not allow yourself to be surrounded, lest the sheer numbers overpower you. When it comes to Nettle, never discount their ability to surprise.

The Cultists

Perhaps the most dangerous are the people that look like any other citizen, ones that walk by you every day indistinguishable from some soul trying to get through the day. In truth, there are plenty of individuals who truly have no idea what the Nihl truly has planned. Only the most dedicated devotees are clued in what the Nihl want. Whatever reasons or lenses or perspectives they give, their end goal is to truly end everything. Repeating their claims here only would serve to help them. Whether that means destroying everyone and everything by themselves or somehow negating whatever protects this place from what happened to the rest of the universe.

Unlike the Nettle, these are real lives at stake, and every life no matter how disagreeable is precious these days. Killing should only be taken as a last resort unless otherwise specified, injury considered only in some dire circumstances. Capture is key. It bears repeating that many people, not fully aware of what the Nihl intends to do, were initially alone, they felt abandoned, and the Nihl is their only family now. They will fight tooth and nail for a cause they don't fully understand.

It would also be prudent, necessary even, to be able to discern the misled from the leaders, either psychopaths, deeply traumatized, or true-believers, these are the dangerous people that are the ringleaders of the cult. These people are fully aware, and thus fully capable for the many criminal acts made under the Nihl's name.

Most Wanted

Demetrius: MK II
Maroon and dark purple plating, pointed head with one optical screen, modified limbs (mostly scrap metal used to increase the bulk of arms and legs), slick body. Used to be a secretary droid from a now forgotten planet, Demetrius usually recruits from the mecha slums on Blackrock. For every recruit made, various other half-lifes disappear.

Mister Serenity
Light blue skin with darker blue freckles, black sclera with small white dots in the eyes, lighter blue hair, thin antenna, doesn’t go anywhere without a wide-brimmed hat. Serenity's origins and place of operations is unknown, although he only seems to operate in populous islands. Serenity is connected to multiple deaths of prospective Nihl members.

Loriel Reminanz, the Oathbreaker
Wears Withstander armor that possesses the appearance of a prismatic oil slick, is formless without the armor. Loriel used to be one of the original Withstanders, but was somehow convinced the Nihl were in the right. Loriel has been witnessed leading raids or guarding other high-level targets. She is to be considered extremely dangerous.

Pol’ck Ra Sh’n
Bipedal lion, white fur, cloudy eyes, mane slightly floats, gender non-conforming, often accompanied by a cloud of spores. Pol’ck is the name of a god of the tabaxi race, but it is unconfirmed if this individual is that god. They are highly skilled in chloromancy and mind-melding, and is theorized to be the creator of the Nettle and the one who teaches the process of controlling the creatures.

This individual is listed here as a formality. To the public, they do not exist, and to the Nihl, they are a legend. Supposedly the leader of the original Nihl, this being possesses the ability to gather power, enough to destroy an Island if the cult-soaked dialogue is to be believed. Other than word-of-mouth, there is zero evidence of Nihl, which leads us to believe they don’t exist. Be ever vigilant when it comes to this person.

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