The Union

There is a spire in the heart of the City where even the most powerful tread lightly. Its inhabitants are not people of great note; they did not come to this City of their own accord, instead dragged by loyalty or terror along with their overlords and masters. But do not make the mistake of ignoring them. They were formed in violence and liberation. They have rejected the tyranny of masters and found themselves new family. Their skills are their own to use, and their services are available to the highest bidder. On their own they are weak, but together they could topple anyone. They are the Union.


When overlords and conquerors, heroes and liberators flee to this city they don't always do it alone. Minions, disciples, mooks, thugs, honoured soldiers and crafty advisors; servants and followers make up far more of the city's intake than great heroes and villians. Whether their loyalty meant they would follow past the point of no return, or they were cast down along with the master, these underlings find themselves in a dark world where their master was no longer all-conquering, but struggling to scrape together a living.

Some henchmen and women, those motivated by love or faith or loyalty, stay with their master and helped them establish themselves in the city. Not every overlord is so deserving; those that rule by fear and strength soon find that given sufficient motivation, their underlings will realise their strength in numbers and cast them down. Such was the case with the soldiers of the liche Trake, who found little reason to sacrifice themselves when rivals came for the liche's phylactery some fifty years ago. These minions, now in control of their lives again, set out to carve their own niche in the city, but soon found their struggle wasn't over; the city was full of minions were living free but struggling to survive alone, or still slaving under cruel taskmasters.

Underground and in the slums they made alliances, shared information, and gathered weaponry. In a series of daring attacks that stunned the city they murdered the mage Aescorax and the warlord Hamulas, and rescued the dozens of slaves they were keeping in hellish conditions. As the city's power brokers and intelligentsia panicked at this unexpected threat, they struck again, claiming one of the towers in the heart of the city as theirs. The next few weeks were tense, as violence was threatened, reputations crumbled and alliances were made. In the end, however, the proverb that the city absorbs what it does not destroy rang true, and the city's great and powerful decided they would rather this rabble feel recognised and respected than turn angry and violent.

Thus it was that The Union was formed; a group created from the rebellious servants of the powerful and the corrupt, part support group and part labour group. In the city's political struggles, they remain mostly neutral, offering their services to whoever's willing to pay. For almost any skill imaginable there's someone in the Union who learned it to please their dark master, and so they're highly in demand. Anyone who takes this service for granted soon learns to regret it; the Union was born in bloody rebellion, and there's no faction in the city that can match them when they act as one.


The Union has a very loose organisation. To join, you just need to be sponsored by a current member, and swear allegiance to the Union forsaking any previous ties. You'll have few duties required of you, but there's one big expectation; that when there's trouble, and someone starts making trouble for the Union, you'll stand with your friends and fight back. Union members usually self-organise into groups of similar interest, and these gangs then go out into the city to find employment and make a living.

Non-compulsory but strongly encouraged is attendance at the weekly meetings at the Tower, heart of the Union. There members can raise any grievance or concern they wish before the assembly, and try and argue the gathered members round to their view. If they're successful the chair of the meeting, the closest the Union gets to a leader, will ratify the proposition, and send it out to the Union members. In such a way are the policies of the Union decided. The Union doesn't normally meddle in the politics of the city; its members serve no particular ideology, saving their own freedom to work for whoever they choose and stand by their fellows. This neutrality should not be confused with passivity, however. The Union's brokers are highly influential, and they don't need to remind the City's powerful that they could easily raise the charges of the vital services the Union provides if matters do not go as the Union desires.

Why Play With the Union?

  • You like the idea of being part of a great union of like-minded individuals, working to get rich off the city's struggles.
  • You want to play someone crucial to the workings of the city, someone with quirky skills who's paid well by the powerful to keep the city going.
  • You like the idea of playing traditional minions and lackeys given new-found freedom.

How Powerful Are You in the Union?

The Union doesn't have a hierarchy or command structure, instead forming into loose groups according to shared interests. You can always call on the help of the other people in your group, so long as you don't push it. As you do favors and help out other members of the Union, you'll build up a reputation that will allow you to call in greater assistance, all the way up to the entire Union marching as one to help you out. To start with, you won't have as much power and influence as you would in other factions, but as you build up your reputation you will see why the City fears angering the Union.


The Liberators

AKA Sewer Rats, Radicals, Firebrands

“Ooh, that looks like a nasty wound. Best sit down a bit. I bet you're wondering, how did this happen to me, Khutar, Despoiler of Worlds? Where did my magic go? Well, think back. Who was it who I always sent to clean the library? Who knew where every single one of my caches was kept? Who did I routinely curse for my own amusement? And who has just realised they don't need to live like this? Yeah, I see that recognition. Now your servants are free, and you have nothing to your name. Best start running.” - Jute the Rat, Liberator and wanted man.

The Union began in revolution, and though it's calmed since it still has its radical wing. The Liberators are the militants who hide in the city's undesirable districts, watching and judging the overlords that treat their underlings with contempt and violence. Once they've seen enough, they start seeding revolution into the target's workforce, getting them to consider upheaval and betrayal. When everything's ready they strike, bringing down the boss and welcoming the minions into the Union. They're not angels; they're very quick to strike if they reckon they can take the overlord down, no matter if their crimes were a lot more minor than initially thought. And sometimes, a benevolent master may find himself on the wrong end of a revolt as the Liberators help themselves to his funds. Still, there's enough people living in terror in the City that the Liberators will always find a place.

The Civil Service

AKA Engineers, Janitors, Handymen

“Don't matter if your the Dread Lord of This or the Liberator of That. You're still going to need need pipes and plumbing, a roof over your head, a floor under your feet. Best pony up, 'less you want to do it yerself.” - Sally Greendale, shift head.

Someone's got to keep this city in working order, and it's not going to be the ones who never had to get their hands dirty. A large portion of the Union has found that they can live comfortably simply by using their skills in construction and labour, exorcism and pest control to keep the City going. If you need something built, repairs done, piping fixed or wards enscribed, they're the ones to call. In recent years they've even managed to construct for themselves a dozen or so printing presses, and every day put out a newspaper to keep the City up to speed.

The Honorable Company of Associates

AKA Legbreakers, the Firm, the Free Army

“Sir Gerard, I was most pleased to hear that you had requested our services. Having looked over the unfortunate's record I can quite understand why you would want this insult dealt with. Now, would sir prefer the malcontent be slightly, severely or permanently reprimanded?” - Alberand de Montmerercy, ex-butler and assassin to the powerful.

Within the members of the Union, there are many who view their new lives less as liberation from slavery as going freelance. Among this group, which tends to have chilly relations with the Liberators, the most ruthless are the group known as the Firm. In their previous employment, they were their master's thugs, assassins and soldiers, and now like the Civil Service they are happy to help any client, for a price. They're the closest thing to a standing army in the City, and they answer to no-one except the highest bidder. If that doesn't scare you, it should.

The Free Crescent

The Union has very little territory in the center of the city, saving the great tower where the Union was founded and which still serves as their headquarters. Most of their territory is on the edge of the city, the parts where nobody who could be a threat to the nascent Union would care if they were seized. This area, nicknamed the Free Crescent, has steadily expanded over time; the influx of minions into the city has been steady, and they all need places to live. Most of the Free Crescent has been converted into living space for the Union's members, but there are also storehouses, workshops, barracks and libraries where the Union's best and brightest work on their personal projects.

union.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/02 12:40 by jamesi
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