From CoH Comic Index
Arachnos is the name of a major criminal organization that currently runs the Rogue Isles.
(From the City of Heroes website)
Built upon the notion that only the fittest should survive, Arachnos was formed in the early part of the 20th Century in Italy.
Although the true history of Arachnos remains shrouded, this organization was around long before “Il Recluso” wrested power away from its original founder, “The Weaver”.
It remains unclear exactly how Lord Recluse took over the global network of Arachnos though betrayal and murder surely played a role. After taking over, Recluse subtly shifted Arachnos’s priorities and interests to better suit his own ideological goals.
After ruling Arachnos for many years, Recluse went underground to weave his web of deceit before eventually emerging as the “legitimate” leader of the Rogue Isles.
Now he controls the Isles and is, technically at least, considered a political figure—though he privately relishes the rare times he’s able to get blood on his hands. Ruling a nation has allowed Lord Recluse to create armed forces, purchase military hardware, and even research alien technology.
Covertly, his agents have spread throughout the world, he has spies or contacts in every major “villain group,” and Paragon City is the juicy fly wiggling at the fringe of his growing web. Recluse will not rest until he has wrested the City of Heroes from Statesman’s grasp.
Key Members of Arachnos
Organization of Arachnos
Lord Recluse currently rules Arachnos with an iron fist demanding blind loyalty and unswerving devotion from those who survive long enough to serve him. Under his guidance, Arachnos has become a multi-faceted and deadly group, skilled in information control, blackmail, espionage, and assassination, made up of both mortals and super-beings. They boast a potent military force and employ—overtly and covertly—numerous supers in a wide variety of roles.
The most basic Arachnos soldiers are the Wolf Spiders, the official government enforcers of the Rogue Isles. For the most part, they ignore petty crimes unless they have been hired to protect or watch over a particular client’s interests.
Little more than legalized thugs, Lord Recluse recruits legions of desperate souls to fill their ranks, then puts them through a rigorous training program that emphasizes loyalty, brutality, and discipline, in that order.
Certain operatives are able to advance to either the Crab or Bane Spider class.
Crab Spiders serve as advanced versions of Wolf Spiders and are actually recruited from their ranks. Functioning much like SWAT teams, they are dispatched to deal with high-level threats. Their arsenal includes the infamous Spider Backpack, which consists of mechanical arms with built-in weapons.
Bane Spiders are also advanced versions of Wolf Spiders, but their emphasis is more towards strength and defense. They are psychically linked to each other and serve as elite guards to Lord Recluse.
Widows and Night Widows
Widows were originally female assasins of Arachnos, with the most famous of these being Ghost Widow, but in recent years this group began to induct male assasins. The first of these was known as the Widowmaker. Widows have razor-sharp claws surgically implanted in their hands. These blades not only slice through even the toughest metals, but they also contain toxic acids that can cause additional damage over time.
Eventually Widows are given the opportunity to develop into either Night Widows or Fortunatas. By staying in the Widow category, they are able to retain their implanted blades plus develop additional psychological skills to conceal themselves and disorient the enemy.
Fortunatas are full-blown mystics, gifted with psychic powers that few can resist.
Fortunatas are recruited from the Widow ranks. Their razor implants are removed and they are emersed in mystical energy that give them sight beyond sight.
They serve not only as the mystical forces, but also as the interogators for Arachnos. The most powerful of Fortunatas are called Seers. These people can see into the future, although their prophecies are not always crystal clear and often can cause trouble if misinterpreted.
Some Fortunatas can later voulenteer for cybernetic augmentation and become Tarantulas.
Even more powerful than Fortunatas are the Arachnos Mystics, descendents of the long-lost Mu.
These twisted Mu Guardians pulse with the blood of their slaughtered ancestors in their veins. They have read unholy tomes, visited other planes of existence, performed dark sacrifices too terrible to mention, and even given up much of their physical existence to become masters of the mystic arts.
Tarantulas are the ultimate level of Fortunatas. Fully emersing themselves into a mixture of magic, science, and psionics, they forsake their humanity and become spider-like creatures.
The Tarantulas were also the inspiration behind Recluse's master creation, the Jade Spider.
While these Arachnos agents will ignore minor infractions, major crimes draw immediate action. In the eyes of Lord Recluse, anyone reckless enough to commit murder, grand larceny, or acts of mass destruction is either uncontrollable or powerful enough that he wants to control them directly. Woe to the Arachnos agent that crosses the line far enough to bring the dreaded Arachnos Arbiters into the matter.
Arbiters are considered to be the voice and will of Lord Recluse. While some such as Arbiter Sands serve as his representative outside of the Isles, most Arbiters are found in the various locations of the Isles, serving as judge, jury, and executioner of any infraction against Arachnos.
These are the only people in Arachnos that will not take action against the "Destined Ones".
Like the Arbiters, Fateweavers are an elite group of Fortunatas that serves as the voice and will of Lord Recluse. Using Mu Magic with their advanced psychic powers, they are the people who craft the legendary Mu Prophecy which determines the fate of Arachnos and of the Isles themselves.
The authority of the Fateweavers transcends even that of Ghost Widow herself, although they fear Ghost Widow more than they do anyone else in the Isles.
In the "Limelight" story in the "Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight" series, it is revealed that the Fateweavers and Arbiters once tried to replace Ghost Widow by creating a new form of dark mystical Fortunata. The end result is the child known as Crystal Burke.
Governors and Marshals
Outside this extensive military organization, every island has a civilian Governor and a military Marshal. The Governor decides the island’s domestic affairs while the Marshal rules all matters of security and defense.
In a dispute, the Marshal has seniority. Both are appointed directly by Lord Recluse. Failure is not tolerated, and turnover is quite high, particularly among the Governors.
Standing somewhere between the Governors and Lord Recluse himself are his lieutenants, sometimes referred to as the "Arachnos Patrons". Unlike their counterparts in the Freedom Phalanx, Recluse's lieutenants don't bother dealing with task forces or helping out the minions. They are content in carrying out their own plans, provided those plans don't run contrary to those of Arachnos, and only helping out those who truly show potential through their own infamous deeds.
At the head of it all is the tyrant himself, Lord Recluse; ruling all of Arachnos in order to maintain tight control over the Rogue Isles.
As he protects his territory from the meddling of Longbow and other do-gooders from Paragon City, Recluse also prides himself in being one step ahead of Statesman and the Freedom Phalanx as he continues to weave his intricate plans for world conquest.