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Thursday, January 21, 2021

A Nameless Skirmish Wargame Theme for 28mm Miniatures (or whatever else)

Art by Michal Rachwal
There's been a rising popularity for trend and style-focused 28mm skirmish war games. Being the unfunny and unoriginal trend chaser I can sometimes be, here is an idea which was first outlined at random on the One Pages Rules discord. It currently doesn't have any models to show because its a random idea. Right now, I'm thinking just using Warstuff should the game ever evolved beyond a pipe dream.

The Underworld

It is the place lost, tormented or maligned souls end. It is seemingly endless in its variety of horror, grim landscape and tormenting darkness, from forests of bones to ashen deserts under a black moon-like midnight sun. Broken cities of the dead scatters around it, dragged from across time and space if not perhaps the multiverse. It is not Hell but it is not Heaven either but rather a grim purgatory. As mankind fight and kill to survive in life so too does it in death, as the lost souls fight over whatever echoes of the worlds above make it down there and would-be petty immortal tyrants try to carve themselves domains. Its inhabitants are but shades which vary in form, some almost life-like and others withered and skeletal. Others are twisted and monstrous, having abandoned their humanity through madness or their quest for antediluvian powers which are hidden in the Underworld. 

A suitable theme for a warband is generally centered on some higher concept rather than simply the dead of a specific culture and era, although kindred spirits in their condition of death gather in similar warbands. Themes should centered around a form of death, a state of death or a reflection some high concept in relation to it. Some ideas for warbands discussed or proposed include, but aren't limited to:
  • The Martyrs: The Underworld is not the true afterlife, they claim, but another transitory state of suffering. Their numbers include folks of all faith united in a new theology of death. Through self-suffering, self sacrifice and acts of righteousness they hope to free themselves from that temporary existence. They are monks and pilgrims in tattered robes and demented flagellants as much as they are knight-errant, paladins and Bodhisattva of the dead. Many believe them to be deluded fools in denial.
  • The Faceless: The Great War. The War to End All War. World War 1 and the atrocities of it are often overshadow by the war which followed it. The Faceless are these poor men sent to die in the trenches and to kill for a war no one understood and who suffered the dehumanization of mass warfare and the horrors of mechanized warfare. They wear their tattered uniforms of different countries, united in death, their faces twisted and featureless safe for holes. The most twisted of them are fused with machinery. They fight and fight, less mortal shades and more an abstract embodiment of senseless war.
  • The Ghouls: Taking cues from the myth of Wendigo and Ghouls, this warband consist nearly entirely of monstrous ghosts which lost their humanity and would be made from various miniatures of their namesake. In the Underworld, there are only cold deserts. The Ghouls were born of starvation either pre or post-mortem, the latter of which being ghost driven mad by their inability to 'fill' themselves with something their psyche needed, irrelevant of it being actual food or not.
  • The Forgotten: Souls of the lost, forgotten and the pariah of societies across time. In death, their spectral bodies are fading and falling apart or coming undo in strands of ectoplasm. To anchor themselves they scavenge the ghostly echoes of items, from important tools to useless things such as teddie bears of children. They remake their bodies by wrapping their broken bodies in such junk which has deep symbolic meaning to them and enable them to feel something again and eke out a form of existence.
  • The Furies: Mankind has always craved order, even when that order is unfair or a complete lie. The Furies are ghosts which believe themselves to be demons or other spirits which exist to torment the other dead for their past crimes in life and now their transgression of the impossible laws of the dead. They either garb themselves with fearsome masks or mold their shape into that demons or avenging angels (sometimes both at the same time). Their weapons are whips, thorns, police batons and the axes of executioners.
  • The Greedy: Material wealth has had power across history. Many societies across time buried their dead with possessions, either to own in the afterlife or to offer gold for passage to the afterlife. These greedy and craven ghosts desire more in the afterlife be the tyrannical and corrupt finding themselves lacking in death or those who never had anything in life spitefully desiring to steal from others. They garb themselves and/or forge armor from the stolen goods of others, especially spectral gold used to pay to enter the Underworld.
  • The Companions: Skeletal and decrepit shades of warriors of the ancient world(s) when being a warrior meant more than being thrown into the meat grinder. Back in their time, they were warrior-princes, heroes and conquerors fighting for glory. They were either themselves great heroes which inspired entire armies to follow them to battle or themselves the trusted companion of these great heroes. Ancient and skilled but still very much clinging to their humanity they garb themselves in echoes of fabled relics and serve mighty ascended God-King shades.
  • The Rippers: History is replete with individuals which derived pleasure from the act of killing, which eventually developed into the modern concept of the serial killer with the coming of the still-speculated-about Jack the Ripper. Named after their archetypal 'father', this warband is composed of crazed killers which are very close to losing their complete humanity and many emaciated beasts and prowling monsters hunt alongside them. The more human members favor horrible weapons which evoke displays of senseless slaughter, such as giant serrated blades, rusty meathook spears and chainsaws.
  • The Drowned: Water cover most of the world yet it remain the most alien place on Earth: a strange, dark and alien realm which humanity cannot conquer. Those who fall to its briny depths are lost forever inside the darkness. The Drowned are the dead of the seas of the underworld, claimed by its alien depths. The Drowned are less the dead sailors and explorers they were in life and more creatures of the dark and unknown, their bodies mixed with echoes of sea life.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Grimdark Future: Retro Walkers

The original trio.
The Dreadnought may very well be the second most iconic image of the Space Marines army, next to the humble (and now sadly obsolete) basic Space Marines clad in its armor. They are known today as big, boxy walkers which function as a mobile sarcophagus and are exclusively used by Space Marines and their variations with the exception of the Orks crude mockery of these machines, other faction/races having since diverged in the design, function, loadouts and stats of their own mechanized walkers. Yet it wasn't always so. In the early days of Warhammer 40 000, in the hallowed days of the first edition, the Dreadnought was a much smaller and more humble machine used by a variety of Imperial factions, in addition to these rules also being used for Orks and Eldar walkers before their mechs developed in a different direction.

These rules enable someone to field Imperial Dreadnoughts in all their Rogue Trader silly glory for Grimdark Future, allowing non-Battle Brothers to field these walkers: famously nicknamed Chuck, Eddie and Fury. There are miniatures on the market and 3d prints which are quite similar in size, scope and options to these classic designs, should one bother to look around.

Imperial Battle Walker

Factions: Battle Sisters, Dwarf Guilds, Human Defense Forces, Infected Colonies, Inquisition, Machine Cult, Machine Cult Defilers, Ratmen Clans, Rebel Guerrilla, Soul-Snatchers Cult, Vile Rattus Cult

Name

Qua

Def

Equipment

Special Rules

Cost

Battle Walker [1]

4+

2+

2x Battle Fists (A3, AP(2), Stomp (A1, AP(1))

Fear, Tough (6)

150pts

Replace any Battle Fist:

Battle Fist (A3, AP(2)) and Storm Rifle (24”, A2)

+5pts

Heavy Flamethrower (12”, A6, AP(1))

+5pts

Heavy Machinegun (36”, A3, AP(1))

+10pts

Plasma Cannon (36”, A1, Blast(3), AP(2))

+15pts

Missile Launcher – pick one to fire:

HE (48”, A1, Blast(3)) AT (48”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3))

+20pts

Heavy Fusion Rifle (24”, A1, AP(4), Deadly(6))

+25pts

Laser Cannon (48”, A1, AP(4), Deadly(3))

+25pts

Replace any Storm Rifles:

Flamethrower (12”, A6)

+5pts

Fusion Rifle (12”,A1,AP(4),Deadly(6))

+10pts

Upgrade with one:

Camouflage (Scout)

+5pts

Jump Pack (Ambush, Flying)

+15pts

Armor Plating (Tough (+3))

+50pts

Thursday, January 14, 2021

One Page Rules: Scenic Insanity

Warning: alien cactus ahead.
With a title like 'Scenic Insanity' you know these are going to be imbalanced and weird terrain rules. The name is taken from the main inspiration, a section of the same name from the original edition of Warhammer 40 000, the quite weird and whacky not-quite-there-yet Warhammer 40 000: Rogue Trader. These terrain rules are weird, often oddly specific and designed to add additional mayhem to the table and as such are better suited to be rolled randomly for a campaign battle or a random skirmish rather than more balanced competitive play.

Scenic Insanity

After choosing the mission type/rolling for the mission but before deployment, roll on your Scenic Insanity table (more information below on how to make your own) to determine what bizarre terrain will plague your table. Then roll again to determine its placement. It is recommended that your number your 'normal' terrain then roll the appropriate dice. Then replace the terrain piece with the Scenic Insanity terrain. For added mayhem you may instead assign a number to your Objectives Markers: then place the Scenic Insanity terrain around the Marker, turning this critical point into a dangerous quagmire or worse. You can also roll for more than one terrain type, if you want.

New Rules: Unit Classification

These optional terrain rules refer to a variety of unit type, such as 'Infantry' or 'Walkers' or 'Tanks'. Now obviously to some extent figuring out what is what can be boiled down to simple logic and guess work. Still, for those who want slightly clearer rules on what type of unit is what, there are some guidelines. Of course, there are exceptions to everything. Just agree with your opponent in advance. Generally speaking, anything which is a squad of units or a hero is Infantry, unless it is mounted on a bike or something similar. Anything with Tough(6) or higher that isn't infantry is obviously a Vehicle. If the Vehicle has legs, its obviously a Walker.

Optional Rules: Saving Throws

If someone is looking for a bit of an old-school feel, then they can assign Saving Throws values to their units. Normally, terrain which requires a roll of some kind tend to simplify to a Quality roll. However, for some added imbalance and chaotic nature, you can assign some Saving Throw values to units. It should be noted that Saving Throw rules are not balanced and exist to add further randomness alongside the scenic insanity. It is very likely that some units have unfairly high saving throws in some areas. The usual rules for Age of Fantasy/Grimdark Future apply as usual, so Saving Throws are capped at a maximum of 2+ and cannot go lower than 6+.

A game need not to make use of all Saving Throw at once, as obviously the amount of special terrain in a single mission is usually just a single type of annoying Scenic Insanity. Unit saving throws are as follow:
  • Reflexes: How fast a unit is at evading something. A unit's Reflexes Saving Throw is equal to 5+, modified as follow: if the unit is Fast/Very Fast (these two don't stack with each others) or Strider it gain +1 to Reflexes and if it is Slow it has -1 to its Reflexes. Non-bikes Vehicles, Monsters , Walkers and units equipped with heavier armor such as Destroyer Armor (or similar analogous gear) default to 6+.
  • Toughness: How tough the unit is physically. A unit's Toughness Saving Throw is equal to its 5+, modified as follow: if the unit has Regeneration or Shield Wall (or similar defense abilities) it gain +1 to Toughness. Monsters also gain +1. If the unit has Quality 4+ or lower it has -1.
  • Armor: How tough the unit's armor is against the most intense of hazards. This goes above and beyond the simple Defense saving throw and represent the worst kind of dangers which can turn even a Battle Brother into a pile of chunky salsa. A unit's Armor Saving Throw is equal to 5+, modified as follow: If the unit has Regeneration, Shield Wall or similar defensive abilities it gain +1. If the unit has Defense 3+ or lower, it has -1 to Armor saves while a unit with 2+ Defense gains +1 to its Armor Save. Vehicles default to 2+ and cannot modify this value.
  • Luck: How plain lucky a unit is. A unit's Luck Saving Throw is equal to 5+, modified as follow: a Hero gain +1, as does any unit with a Veteran ability (such as Veteran Infantry). Halflings in Age of Fantasy gain +1 to their Luck, as they are lucky little bastards.
In addition to these fairly universal Saving Throws, here are a few other ideas just for fun.
  • Intelligence: How smart the unit is at problem-solving and understanding the danger of their environment. Orcs/Orks would obviously be penalized with this kind of Saving Throw.
  • Systems: Used as a special Saving Throw for Walkers or combat robots of some kind to resist things such as hacking or EMP.

Building Your Own Table

What types of insane and bizarre terrains you choose to use depend on your game and setting of choice. A futuristic game could be set on an alien planet inhabited by xenos scum or the choking Underhive and this would greatly affect what type of terrain is used and what form it could take, which offer different modelling opportunities. Someone who plays a more modern (yet infamous) fantasy game set in various Realms is going to have more use for more exotic, high fantasy terrain types which reflect the various locales of the Realms.

Here are three sample tables of Scenic Insanity, using a simple d6 to roll which is picked.

D6

The Underhive

Demonic World

Realm of Fire

1

Spawning Nest of hungry Underhive vermin

Spawning Nest of unspeakable creatures

Slippery Terrain in the form of hardened glass

2

Explosive Terrain of flammable barrels

Large Spikes of jagged demonic altars

Morpho Rocks of magically infused volcanic rock

3


Slippery Terrain of garbage piles


Morpho Rocks of unstable reality


Explosive Terrain of unusual glowing crystals

4

5


Rust Hazard from toxic vents


Warping Field of pure demonic energies


Boiling Terrain of superheated lava and/or mud

6


Exotic Dangerous Terrain

This is the catch-all category for Dangerous Terrain which is often specific to one unit type when it come to its dangers. The forms it take are quite endless in the variety of insanities and the dangers they offer:
  • Spawning Nests: Exotic alien monsters breed or nest here and this piece of terrain represent either their den or some sort of spawning pool. Spawning Nests is Dangerous Terrain for Infantry and requires a Toughness Saving Throw to avoid being eaten alive. Vehicles can just crush through the nest unimpeded.
  • Slippery Terrain: Glass planes? Strange alien mucus? Fungal growths? Not only is this terrain slippery/difficult to navigate but a fall may spell doom. This terrain is Dangerous Terrain for Infantry and requires a Reflexes Saving Throw to not die.
  • Large Spikes: These spikes are large and noticeable enough for infantry to avoid, but is Dangerous Terrain for Vehicles and Walkers and requires a Reflexes Saving Throw less they take damage.
  • Rust Hazard: There's some strange, toxic nonsense here which can severely eat through something's armor. Rust Hazard is Dangerous Terrain which affect Vehicles and Walkers and requires an Armor Saving Throw to not take damage. However, each time they pass the Saving Throw they get -1 to their Defense for the rest of the battle.
  • Morpho Rocks: Morpho rocks appear stable but in truth they are a strange and exotic substance which distort and warp, flowing like liquid when applied pressure to. Morpho Rock is too fluid to even evade and requires a Luck Saving Throw. Infantry which fails this save are lost, instantly killed while Vehicles become trapped and must make a Saving Throw each turn: on a success they free themselves. Vehicles which are anti-gravity can traverse it as Difficult Terrain as if they lacked Strider.

Boiling Terrain

This terrain is dangerous and takes the form of something like lava, thermal discharges, strange alien primordial soups or geothermal vents. The release of the burning air is particularly dangerous to any living creature which isn't native to it. Boiling Terrain is Dangerous Terrain to Infantry and requires the usual Dangerous Terrain test. Alternatively, it can require an Armor Saving Throw. In addition to its base danger, there is a one in six chance that the Boiling Terrain might suddenly have a build up and release its deadly content. Each turn, roll a d6. On a roll of 1, the Boiling Terrain violently explodes and all units in a  2d6+6" radius around and inside the piece of terrain must test dangerous terrain as it rain hot boiling mess on everyone and everything. Following this explosion the terrain behave as it normally does and will not explode for the rest of the match.

Explosive Terrain

By itself, Explosive Terrain isn't dangerous. If left alone it will generally not be a threat. However, should fighting occur around or inside it, then it risk going up in flames and taking the lives of those fighting in such a risky area. The most common form of Explosive Terrain are combustible materials of some kind, such as gas tanks or reactors. However it can also include exotic alien plants. When a unit shoots at/from inside Explosive Terrain, there is a one in six chance that it will explode. An explosion of this terrain generate automatic hits (how many depend on how large the terrain piece) with AP0, which hit everything in a 2d6+6" radius.

Warping Field

The influence of interdimensional forces and/or disgusting toxins are incredibly strong here. Those exposed to such nightmares will find their flesh twisting and reshaping in extremely unnatural ways. Any Infantry unit which enter this Difficult Terrain has a one in six chance/must make a Luck Saving Throw each turn to be mutated into some sort of monstrosity which lose all reason and attack its team mates without mercy. Failure turns the unit into a Demon Spawn (see the Havoc army lists) which operates under the AI rules and is hostile to both players. The AI rules for One Page Rules can be found here.

If playing with squads, then the squad must make an immediate morale or become instantly routed as the fear, confusion and madness which follows (as well as the violence of it all) makes the squad run with its tail between its legs as one or more of their former team mates has become a ravenous beast.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Worlds Without Number and the Sine Nomine Shared Universe: The Nine Immortals

A short(?) sequel post to this one, which discussed how the various Sine Nomine games could actually be a form of shared universe. This idea was one I used (in an earlier, cruder form) when running my old Godbound game, where Red Tide was made into a distant Realm to the custom one I was using.

The Nine Immortals

Art by M-Ing.
First described in Red Tide, a Labyrinth Lords supplement (and as far as I'm aware, one of the earlier Sine Nomine products), the Nine Immortals are the main deities of the Ninefold Celestial Empire and are described as nine semi-abstract beings (each tied a color and key domain) which appear to be the result of a composite of a centuries-old, if not a millennia-old ever evolving empire constantly syncretizing various beliefs into key archetypes.

In truth, the Nine Immortals (under this version of a shared 'verse) are not simply an accumulation of beliefs, although this does describe them perfectly at the same time. The Immortals began as part of a subsystem or alteration to the Legacy by ancient posthumans seeking to achieve a perfect system which would encompass all aspect of human nature and society, perfectly organized and maintained and they share many common roots with the ancestors of the Ren people found in Godbound. These systems for a perfect and virtuous society began as disturbing totalitarian systems which counted various aspects of people's very lives and nature and while there were indeed malicious roots to it, in time this system would break and reform. Ancient space colony algorithm which calculated the ideal way of life, ideal routine and more of people aggregated into more complex systems of artificial intelligence. Yet as much as these systems were cold, callous artifices which sought to control every single aspect of near posthuman life they also began to subtly change. The exact history and trajectory of these ancient systems are quite unclear and lost to time but some rare sages of Latter Earth believe that these social systems became so all-encompassing in their attempt to simply measure human lives and souls that these very concepts it sought to regulate in turn contaminated the system. From revolution to bloody coup to attempt at peace to more totalitarian rules to more bloody coup, the leftover of these all encompassing systems became more human-like. Human imperfections, archetypes and beliefs infected what was once mere synthetic thought control.

The next evolution of the system came from the concept of Made Gods and Arrayed Godbound, which became icons and eidolon, representing various concepts and social ideals. Great thinker, philosopher kings and also horrific tyrants emerged from this era but they too tapped into the same leftover synthetic systems which had connected society and evolved from a purely electronic form to something more complex as what would become the Legacy truly developed. The Nine Immortals are born of the synthetic patterns combined with human belief. They themselves aren't really self-aware beings but rather exist as thought-form or massive Iterum-spanning idea-spheres as egregores. They are recurring archetypes combined with a broken social control system which has evolved into myth-made-reality. Anywhere that has the influence of these proto-Ren people often tap into this system of archetypes and ideas, which has real power. Generations of Godbound, Legate and Imperator have subsumed themselves (often accidentally) into these 'power grids', which empower Clerics of the Nine Immortals across many worlds. What began as a cold system to crush human will and subordinate it has been taken over by human thoughts, emotions and ideas. It rules over them as God(s), but it is a set of Gods which are entirely controlled by humans. This create a rich tapestry of belief, ideas, heroes and gods which is ever-living and evolving.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Unnamed Wuxia Sandbox Setting: Eastern City and Character Origins Part 3

Just a because a city looks cleaner, safer and more 'orderly' doesn't make it any less terrifying. On the opposite end of that trade road and main gateway into the Empire's more populous lands is the Eastern City. Its people love to frame themselves as more traditional, orderly, educated and less barbaric than their neighboring city but it is little more than a face, for this seemingly more quiet city is also host to great violence and cruelty. Its cruel masters fancy themselves as more loyal and patriotic to the Emperor yet ultimately possess a very selfish and self-justifying philosophy.

The East City

Art by Yujiang J
The Eastern City is clad in a veneer of civilization, compared to its westward cousin. However, in spite of looking more calm, orderly and clean it remain just as much a place of misery and poverty. Very little truly ever change across the lands, after all.

It is the place where travelling scholars, poets and artists enter the region of the sandbox. It is also where foreign goods disappear from the region forever and into Imperial lands and where soldiers and magistrate arrive when the region somewhat attract the Emperor's attention. Yet just like the West City, its people are corrupt and self-serving and have learned to navigate the politics to ensure food, money and more conveniently vanish before it ever enter the gates officially. Then bandits and the West City are blamed. Underneath their mask of being law abiding, honest and loyal the folks of the East City are increasingly hostile to the Emperor for they believe they know better and that, perhaps, the Empire would be better off under a more direct influence from their best thinkers.

Artist unknown.
The Jade Society

Skills: Martial Arts and Scholar
Style: Shower of Flowers
Virtues: 
  • Piety (Legalism?)
  • Xin (Honor)
  • Chou (Revenge)
Officially the Jade Society is a twin-branched society, with one hand being scholars, merchants, priests and various nobles of some variety while the other hand consist of loyal and patriotic soldiers. As the counterparts to the Righteous Bulls the two overlap quite a bit in that they both frame themselves as Emperor-loyal and righteous folks. The difference is that the Righteous Bulls frame themselves as heroes of the common folk (which they harass and oppress just as much) while the Jade Society frame themselves as more noble and less willing to consort with lowlife and stranger. Both are ultimately self-serving criminal societies with martial artists. The Jade Society believe that the land and its people have gone astray and are increasingly in need of a strong, guiding hand which just so conveniently happen to be them. They are hoping to slowly convince Imperial authorities to side with them and 'reform' the Eastern City, although this reform would easily come off as extremely bloody and oppressive to anyone not in their good graces. While they may appear as kinder and more refined than the brutes of the Righteous Bulls, anyone who seriously offend the Jade Society can expect a spectacularly painful death.

While they are not as numerous as the Righteous Bulls, they boast many more gifted martial artists in their rank. The Jade Society, for all its flaws and smugness are nonetheless defenders of the people, albeit in their own way. They strongly despise bandits, raiders and sorcerers. This has put them at odds with the Bulls and the Exile clan, the latter of which they view as little more than the dangerous remains of an upstart group of corrupt would-be-bandit-kings.
  • While it may not initially appear as such, the Jade Society are expected to be an antagonistic faction in their own way. Their loyalty is to themselves and their own self-proclaimed ideals and it is very likely any wandering hero-type character might take offense to their cruelty or dislike of certain practices. Someone who pick the Jade Society as Sworn Enemies is likely to be someone they have wronged in the past. In particular, a member of the Beggar Sect is an enemy of the Jade Society by default.
  • Ex-members of the Jade Society are those which have fled the group, as it rarely tolerate dissent against its more orthodox teaching and ideas. Becoming a convert to Buddhism (or even worse, something even more exotic!) is also a surefire way to get kicked out of the Jade Society.
  • It is possible to work as allies to the Jade Society and something akin to a 'freelancer'. However this would automatically make the character and enemy of the Righteous Bulls, Beggar Sect and Exile Clan.

Artist Unknown.
Black Claws Assassin

Skills: Detective, Scout and/or Thief
Style: The Black Claws Assassins lack any particular style of their own and simply steal and teach whatever they can!
Virtues:
  • Xin (Honor)
  • Chou (Revenge)
  • Hen (Ruthlessness)
Little more than cruel killer for hire and assassins, the Black Claws are nominally aligned very loosely with the Jade Society not out of any sense of true loyalty but simply through their connections. It was with the help of the Black Claw Assassins that the Jade Society helped accelerate the downfall of the Exile Clan and it is with their help that they can sometimes get rid of people who are a bit too loyal to the Empire. While it isn't quite the case just yet, the Black Claw Assassins hope to one day completely consume the Jade Society from the inside and rule them as their puppet master. For now they are loosely-speaking allies, although some branches fight each others here and there. They have little love for the Righteous Bulls or the Beggars either, which they see as little more than idiotic scum. They also have little love for incompetent Imperial forces or authority figures which they might deem weak and inept.

The Black Claw Assassins, for all their cruelty, are at least honorable if only by assassin standards. While the organization as a whole can be cruel and uncaring, individual members are expected to show a modicum of loyalty, respect and reciprocity to those which do help them. However given their twisted nature, most Black Claws Assassins are left to self-define how exactly this code of honor manifest. For some it simply boil down to 'You help me so I won't stab you in the back' while others go as far as to give their lives for the loved one of a fellow warrior of their sect. It is likely that its lower ranking members are more honorable than their vile superiors but, as always, loyalty is a must.
  • Much like the Jade Society, the Black Claw Assassins make excellent Sworn Enemies and are well suited to an antagonist role. Being killers of all stripes, they have quite the high body count and have enacted many extermination of growing sects or schools which might upset the balance of the region. In addition, members of the Righteous Bulls and Beggar Sect are instantly enemies to the Black Claw Assassins.
  • The Black Claw Assassins are an incredibly varied group and their various sub-groups can cover a variety of assassin archetypes, from brutal masked thugs to brothels secretly training its ladies to be dangerous killers. Any character could have one point been a member of the Black Claw Assassins and should this option be chosen they are going to have problems even setting foot in the East City.

The Beggar Fraternity (East City Branch)

Artist unknown.
While nominally the same faction as the Beggar Fratenity of the West City, these members navigate somewhat different local politics. The Eastern City is notoriously cruel to its beggars at the worst of days and cruelly indifferent in the best of days. The poor, the infirm and the insane are quite disliked as degenerates by the Jade Society and the Black Claw Assassins. The Righteous Bulls are somewhat easy to avoid and trick but Jade Society's dislike (and inability to get rid off) of the beggar population in the East City make things more difficult.

As a result, many of the members of the Beggar Sect in the city are part what is called the 'clean cloth' division and are members of ordinary society secretly trying to help those in need and the Beggar Sect. Many of them hide among traders, merchants and couriers who travel the countryside to and from the twin cities. Others work as woodsmen or similar outdoor jobs which invariably bring them back to the city to exchange their goods.