Originating on Luchax Secundus, a hive factory planet in decline on the spinward edge of the Onus Region sub-sector, the Palaestra began its’ life as little more than organised pit brawls for a bored and creative society of workers. The principles of Luchax Secundus favour form over function, and the system is known for producing some of the most famous artists, acrobats and artisans of the modern age, so it is no wonder what passes for blood sport on most planets had became an interstellar sporting spectacle in such a short amount of time.
A match is a high-octane mix of ultra-violence, breath-taking acrobatic feats and grand theatre. It’s gladiatorial combat with capes and glitter. It’s not just about winning, but doing so with flair and passion, and collegiates from the Palaestra are taught both form and function as a result. The gruelling training regime never slows, with novices working just as hard as the veterans, until they can perform incredible feats of grace and strength.
When the Maesters deem a collegiate worthy, they create an identity for the novice to assume - a mask, a personality, a background straight out of Onus myth and legend. When the mental conditioning the collegiates go through takes hold, they no longer remember who they were before the Palaestra, only the mask remains. Assuming the collegiates make it through this, they are granted the title of Palaestra Lucha and allowed to compete at events in Exedromes across the sector.
Collegiates quickly find themselves working for all manner of employers, as the Palaestra bookkeeping world is a treacherous one. The smartest often get singled out by the Inquisition for their unique blend of acrobatic skills and social standing. What better way to serve the Emperor than crushing his enemies in a sequinned headlock?
Carthax Romance and Wrestling Edit
The entertainment at Carthax Romance and Wrestling (CRAW) works slightly differently to other promotions in the Imperium. A higher emphasis is placed on the stories being told than usual, so although the action in the ring is legitimate (despite having its naysayers) the actions of the stars before and after matches is usually scripted to a certain degree.
Before matches the opponents will sit together and discuss their entrances and promos and then decide what will happen after the conclusion of the match depending on which of them is triumphant. Most of the time this is a simple celebration as the loser departs the arena (how they do this depends if they can stand or not) but can range from the Rudo (bad guy) ambushing the victorious Técnico (good guy) and (now in a staged manner) beating them down, the Técnico having an elaborate victory celebration as the Rudo leaves licking his wounds, or two Técnicos showing their mutual respect after a hard fight, shaking hands and celebrating together.
It is common for the performers to come up with four or five after match pieces each and then decide which one to go for in the moment, depending on the reaction of the crowd and the condition of the performers after the match. Performers from around the system all hope to be booked on one of CRAW’s shows as they know that the man (or woman) across the ring from them will not (usually) be out to seriously injure them, after all the stories told cannot progress with only one actor, and if the story doesn’t progress they don’t get paid!
On very rare occasions a match will have its outcome predetermined. The two scenarios in which this usually occurs are;
- when a performer has been injured to an extent where they require an extended rest period, in this case the performers will stage in a way to ensure the safety of the injured wrestler and have them appear seriously injured at the end of the match to explain their absence.
- when performers are in an extended feud and agree to stage a match in order to further the feud. This could range from the Rudo cheating to beat an opponent that seems to be outclassing them, or the Rudo performing against a friend or partner of their rival and appearing to injure them to the point where the rival Técnico must run out and save their friend.
These staged matches are very rare and must be cleared with management beforehand to maintain the reputation of CRAW.
Famous Palaestra Rudos Edit
- El Poder Negro – The evil authority figure in CRAW, the top Rudo and current Mega champion. Poder Negro is a seemingly perfect combination of speed, strength, technique and is willing to cheat to win. From a story perspective he appears to manipulate the booking of matches to further himself and gain heat with the crowd.
- Orka – what is known in the business as a ‘Rudo Monstruo’, Orka is a giant. 7’5", 350 pounds of pure muscle, he has never met an opponent he hasn’t dwarfed. Orka’s gimmick sees him paint his entire body green and wear a mask with a caricature of the xenos’ massive teeth and red eyes. Orka uses his muscle to dominate the ring, but his lack of speed and technique has seen him bested (twice in 5 years) by smaller, quicker opponents.
- El Gran Jefe – El Gran Jefe plays the character of a despicable Arbitrator, cheating to win by using his (imitation) shock maul on opponents when the referee is distracted on incapacitated. He often beats down his opponents after his matches, whether he wins or loses, and is a master at getting the entire crowd to boo him. El Gran Jefe attempted a Técnico run as a no-nonsense law enforcer a few years into his career, but the crowd didn’t buy it and he returned to being Rudo.
- Pizarra Dura – more of a comedy act than a real threat, none the less Pizarra Dura plays an important role in the promotion. Pizarra Dura will usually appear mid-way through the show and rile up the crowd, taunting whichever hab is most local or mentioning a rival hab in a positive way. When the members of the audience on the front row are just about to jump the barriers and attack Pizarra Dura themselves a Técnico will run in to a great cheer and see Pizarra Dura off swiftly with a flashy move. This is done to keep the crowd engaged for the second half of the show.
Famous Palaestra Técnicos Edit
- El Poder de Oro – The long term rival of El Poder Negro, seemingly him equal (or slight superior) in every way but is unwilling to cheat due to his code of honour. From a story perspective he is the rightful booker of but has had his position and title stolen from him by El Poder Negro, and most of their feuding revolves around El Poder de Oro trying to regain control of his company.
- Abrir Los Ojos – a performer whose agility is unmatched, performing feats in the ring that seem to defy gravity, a crowd favourite. Finishing his opponents with his patented springboard double corkscrew moonsault or the painful cross-leg crab submission hold, is there anything Abrir Los Ojos can’t do?!
- Colmillo Helada – Possessing a harder, brawling style than the rest of the performers, opponents are often caught off guard when Colmillo Helada’s outstanding technical abilities surface. Rather than a true Técnico, Colmillo Helada plays a tweener (anti-hero), Colmillo Helada is able to change crowd opinion of him almost at will to play Rudo depending on the story/personal whims, but always brings his hard hitting brawling style to the arena.
- Jinete áspero – A Técnico who shows all the ability to be the Mega Champion, however fate always seems to conspire against Jinete áspero and he loses almost all of his matches. Once immensely popular, the crowd now struggle to get behind Jinete áspero as they know he is probably going to lose, but he maintains a strong and vocal fan base who appreciate the matches he puts on and his skill between the ropes.
Using the Palaestra Lucha Background Package in Dark Heresy Edit
You may acquire up to one Background Package at Character Creation. You cannot go back and select a package later in your character’s Career. Background Packages are entirely optional and you should always get your GM’s permission before selecting one for your character
Start with +5 S and -5 Int
Start with 2D5 Insanity Points
Count as Trading Class for purposes of income
Gain the Leap Up, Catfall and Peer (Hiver) talents
Not just for show: The character always gets a +20 bonus to any Grapple or Knockdown tests they make due to their Palaestra training and extreme athleticism.
No man behind the mask: The character struggles to be anything but the larger-than-life personality they have moulded themselves into and always suffers a -20 penalty to any Deceive or Disguise tests they must make.