A Look At The Clans, Part Two
Here 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. Last time, we examined The Jade Family and The Rangers. In this installment: The Preachers and The Foxglove Society.
Religious mendicants, tending to the needs of the flock. Whether they wear the stiff collar of The Ecclesiarchy (the state religion of the Empire), or serve the myriad of animist spirits, ascended immortals, and petty gods of the various folk beliefs, their concern is the spiritual well-being of their congregations. In the farthest and most remote regions of the frontier, they often serve not only as priests, but as healers as well, well-versed in pharmacology, first aid, and controlling and altering the flow of Spirit within a body through various methods.
In many small settlements, the people owe more loyalty to their Preacher and fellow congregation members than to any government, which makes this Clan one of the more powerful within the Far West. While the official priests of the Ecclesiarchy technically owe fealty to the August Throne, and the personage of the Emperor in his role as the Head of the Church, the reality of life out beyond the Periphery finds these men far from the offices and temples of the Ecclesiarchy, with little to no official support. As such, even adherents of the state religion find themselves within the ranks of this Clan, whose presence is more keenly felt here in the Far West, and whose support can be depended upon. Still, from time to time, there is tension within the Clan, between the Ecclesiarch priests and the less formal men and women of the cloth with whom they share membership.
When called upon to fight, a Preacher will go unarmed, or perhaps use a simple staff. The secret style taught by the Clan is the Giving and Receiving Hand — a style which teaches the Preacher to focus his Spirit into his hands, allowing them to deliver mighty blows and even block swords. It is rumored that the Masters of this style can even block bullets with their bare hands.
The Foxglove Society
A secret society of assassins, hidden within the ranks of the Far West’s “sportin’ ladies” — prostitutes and courtesans. The Foxglove Society takes as its emblem the beautiful foxglove flower, source of the deadly poison digitalis. “Always respect a lotus girl,” the saying goes, “for you never know when she might actually be a Foxglove.”
The Foxglove Society are the best assassins money can buy — they are not easy to find, nor to contact. They only reveal themselves when two conditions are certain: one, that they already know that they’re likely to take the job, and two, that they can comfortably remove the client if he proves to be a problem. There are few so foolhardy as to cheat or otherwise make an enemy of the Foxgloves, and those few that do are seldom heard from again.
The women of the Foxglove use weapons that can be disguised within their trade: scarves, hatpins, fans, needles, etc. Their kung fu, Hidden Current, is built around the use of improvised weapons and environmental awareness. Chessa By Damn, the legendary creator of the style, was said to have single-handedly killed two dozen bandits of the Lost Hope Gang after being presented naked before them as tribute. It is claimed that she slaughtered the entire gang using a string of beads that she snatched from the neck of the gang’s leader.
But of course, no witnesses survived. So who can say?