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Ethnic Gangs

by Ville Lähde

Here's a few notes on the Foreign Quarter from our ongoing game. Next Thursday we will have a big showdown in the FQ, as the PCs track down Tegell. I sketched a few ethnic gangs and their leaders, so they might be useful to you:

"The Breakwater", the Ierendian gang that controls the easternmost blocks of FQ. They are led by the ex-pirate Zila, who was landlocked after se broke her leg in a battle and was "voted out" from her captain's seat. Zila is no beauty, with a lot of scars, but she is quick as a cat and deadly. She has organised a protection racket in the area and wants to take over areas from other ethnic gangs. She has five experienced fighters from her pirating days and twelve lesser thugs.
HQ: an old warehouse with a good tactical location, inside fashioned ship-like

"The Swords of Kalim", the more aggressive one of the Ylari gangs, controls the southern and the eastern blocks of the Ylari area. These areas have a more prominent nomad population, with a lot of tents, tent pavilions and other such semi-temporary structures. The Swords are led by Ahmad Al-Azred, a fanatic follower of the Kin faction. He despises city-dwelling Ylari. (Ahmad figures also in the Specularum series adventure "Omens and Portents".) The gang extracts revenue from the locals, but due to the ascetic lifestyle of Ahmad's followers, they do not need much. Their main motivation is not economic but cultural: they want to keep the area free of infidels and hazar. Ahmad has 24 nomad warriors in his "court" and is a hard man to reach. He has dark, deep-set eyes and a cruel voice. He likes to keep long uncomfortable silences to reveal the true nature of the people he is dealing with.
HQ: Bivouac erected in a ruined area.

"Myrrh of the Night" is a rich but relatively small prostitution racket led by Narim Muskalin, an Ylari aesthete and bohemian. He is a true hazar: a city-dweller who has been cut from his Alasiyan roots, at least as far as the nomads are concerned. Narim employs a motley crew of prostitutes of various races, sexes and persuasions, who are protected by a dozen Ylari goons. Forays by the Swords of Kalim to purge the hazar areas of the Ylari district tax his strength and wallet, and he has thus forged an alliance with the dwarves, long-time cultural friends. He has also developed a nasty addiction for the dwarven mushroom moonshine, resulting in the occasional fit of berserk rage.
HQ: Brothel "Myrrh of the Night"

The dwarven gang has no name, as they do not need one. They are led by the seasoned veteran Kartak, one of the most ill-tempered men in the whole Specularum. His voice has been scarred by decades of a nasty habit he picked in Ylaruam: he drinks dwarven moonshine by mixing it with some hot cooking oil simmered in hot chili peppers. Kartak and his friends thrive by selling hallucinatory mushroom moonshine and protect the local dwarves at no cost. Currently they are also protecting Narim's gang, as Kartak likes city-dwelling Ylari. He hates Ahmad Al-Azred, as he considers him a hypocritical, utterly boring religious fanatic who would not know a good party even if he was tied to a chair and forced to have a good time. But there is no harm in trying...