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A Look At The Clans, Part One

A Jade Family Snakeoil SalesmanHere we are with another look at the forthcoming Far West tabletop role-playing game. Over the next month, we’ll be taking a multi-part look at the secret society factions in the setting: The Clans of the Far West. In this installment: The Jade Family and The Rangers.

The Jade Family

The Jade Family is a loosely-affiliated organization of nomadic con-artists, beggars, fortune-tellers, entertainers and thieves, all of whom take the family name “Jade” to indicate their allegiance to the “life.” Regardless of actual blood ties, members of the Jade Family refer to other members as “Cousins.” The Jade Family’s strength lies in their wide network, which makes them perhaps the premier information-gathering organization in the Far West. They have their ears to the ground throughout the Far West, particularly within the wandering underclass. As a popular saying goes, “Not every beggar is Jade, but the Jade speak to every beggar.”

The Jade Family possess a unique form of secret communication comprised of whistled tunes. The tunes impart information, context and a complex coded set of call-and-response which is taught to each Cousin, so that they may ‘speak’ to fellow Clan members merely by walking down the street seeming to whistle idly. This code has never been deciphered by any other Clan, or the Empire, and no member of the Jade Family has ever broken their vow to keep it secret.

The Elder of the Jade Family is a figure shrouded in mystery — he is known only as Slim Jade. Nobody can say with any certainty that they have met him. Tales indicate that he is a thin older man, who walks with the assistance of an ancient gnarled stick, and constantly carries (and drinks from) a bottle of cactus wine.

Cousins of the Jade Family display a wide array of martial styles, as befits a Clan with a greatly varied membership. The signature kung fu of the Jade Family, however, is the mighty Dog Beating Stick, a style built around the use of a shortened staff, stick or cane, which is wielded with one hand.

The Rangers

“No Falsehood shall pass my lips;
For my Heart is True.
No Injustice shall pass my sight;
For my Aim is True.
The Wicked shall meet my Wrath;
For I Ride–
And Justice rides with me.”

This is the Ranger’s Code. Sometimes called ‘The Knights of the Far West’, this nearly monastic order of gunslinger/knights are dedicated to serving Justice, rather than any particular government. Their loyalty to their Clan and their Code caused them to run afoul of the Empire, and the Rangers were rounded up, outlawed, arrested and/or killed. Today, they are legendary, wandering the Far West, outlawed but still serving their Code. They have become, to many in the Far West, a symbol of a more righteous age now long passed. To the Empire and those loyal to it, a symbol of insurrection.

Nobody knows who, if anyone, leads the Rangers any more. Their Forts have all been burned, or at least all of the ones that were known. New Rangers are no longer trained in schools but, if they are deemed worthy, they are taken as deputies by individual Rangers, who teach them the Code, the lessons of the Law, and the Rangers’ signature kung fu. Only then are they permitted to wear the silver star that marks them as a Ranger… and signs their death warrant.

The martial art of the Rangers is known as Eight Compass Way (often referred to simply by non-members as “Ranger Gun Style”) — a form built entirely around the use of firearms. Pistols and rifles are used as offensive, defensive, ranged and hand-to-hand weapons, in a style designed for one Ranger to take on many opponents coming from any direction (“Eight Compass” referring to the four cardinal and four ordinal directions).

4 Comments

  1. […] look at the secret society factions in the setting: The Clans of the Far West. Last time, we examined The Jade Family and The Rangers. In this installment: The Preachers and The Foxglove […]

  2. Claire Redfield says:

    Ooh, I really like the Clans so far. I would like to make a Ranger, I think, a cowgirl adventuress and heroine. Also, I think maybe a Foxglove would be fun, for the other side of the coin.

  3. Doomedpaladin says:

    Mmmmm… Equilibrium-style Gun-fu…. yummy.

  4. […] may have no Clan allegiance, or serve the interests of the Empire. For more information, see four part look at the Clans, here on the website, or Chapter V: Pilgrims On The Dust Road in the rulebook. […]

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