June 2011



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A Look At The Clans, Part Four

Here we are with another look at the forthcoming Far West tabletop role-playing game. Over the few weeks, 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 Twin Eagle Security Agency and The Iron Dragons. In this installment: The Wandering Stars, and The Mariachis.

The Wandering Stars

Itinerant philosophers, rootless warrior poets, and mystics seeking attunement with nature; all long held traditions culturally supported by the Empire, the members of which were hard pressed to make any sort of decent living whenever they drifted into the territories of the Periphery and on into the Far West. Those that honestly seek harmony with all beings, though, seem to have the darndest luck. The Far West is a massive place, vast beyond easy reckoning, and mostly uncharted. There are no truly accurate maps of the lands west of the Last Horizon, much less any showing the countless ranches, settlements, outposts, towns, quarries, monasteries, camps, mines, hovels, forts, and other such habitations. Fortunately, some bright soul noted long ago that if these insight seeking mooncalves were determined to wander, they could at least makes themselves useful by learning about and carrying messages to all these far flung locations…

The men and women who founded the Clan of the Wandering Stars thought this a grand idea. The Wandering Stars are the famed vision-seeking couriers of the Far West who legend tells will travel where dragons fear to tread with a song on their lips if they have a message to deliver. They are instantly recognizable by the beautiful butterfly tattoos that adorn their hands and forearms, each unique, speaking to the soul of the Wandering Star that bears it.

In order to carry out their sacred charge the Wandering Stars are carefully neutral, no matter what their hearts may tell them. While many of them would be swift to assist wounded farmers after a bandit raid, for all their martial skill, they would not lift one brightly colored finger to stop it in progress. There are, of course, exceptions for defense of self or messages or if they have taken on a charge to deliver something or someone.

Leading a group like the Wandering Stars is an exercise not unlike herding cats – enormously frustrating and nearly pointless. To lead the Stars, one must lead by example, and the senior Star known as Tumbleweed is definitely that. A portly, jolly man seemingly in his 50s, Tumbleweed travels between the Periphery, the Thousand Mesas, and along the Eagles’ Claws, carrying mail bags, news, and good cheer. One looking at him would never guess that he had mediated three bush wars, stole gold from an Imperial stockade to help ranchers during a particularly hard year, and famously once defeated an avalanche – all this while at least mildly drunk.

The Wandering Stars are particularly fond of the various drunken styles of martial arts as they enjoy “seeking insight in the bottle”. Their signature kung fu though is the beautifully random Fluttering Fist, a graceful style consisting of slow sweeping movements, followed by unpredictable blindingly fast jabs that continually strike from unexpected quarters.

The Mariachis

Among the people of the Thousand Mesas hide the inheritors of an ancient legacy, the last remnants of a band of troubadour knights who fought for justice in dark times far, far to the East and well over a thousand years ago. They are the Brotherhood of Steel and Song – the Mariachi. When the people that would eventually settle the Thousand Mesas passed West, members of the Mariachi secretly travelled among them.

There have always been those who oppress anyone they perceive as weaker than themselves, the Mariachi exist to stop them. They are champions of the downtrodden, friends of the needy, the desperate, the wrongfully accused. Of all the Martial Clans of the Far West, none are as loved by the people as the Mariachi, or as hated by the more rapacious Steam Barons and the greedier agents of the Empire for the Mariachi are swift to redistribute the wealth of oppressors back to the people.

The Mariachi have long been masters of concealment, hiding their skills behind the smiling face of a wandering musician or cloaked in the shadows. Their acts of courage are frequently performed in darkness or behind an identity concealing fox mask. The leaders of the Mariachi are referred to as “the Heart and the Blade” – supposedly, the greatest musician and most skilled warrior among their ranks.

While many Mariachi know and use various kung-fu styles, their signature art is called the Dance of Steel and it comes from a different culture entirely. The Dance of Steel is a bold fighting art combining lightning fast weapon attacks with a whirling, movement obscuring cloak. It is a beautiful, but lethal, style. The Mariachi favor weapons that can be concealed about their persons or hidden in instruments or their cases: from cleverly designed pistols, rifles and swords, to whips disguised as belts or throwing knives amidst their finery.



  1. Richard "A Little Bit Frightening" Logue says:

    I’m really liking the clans so far. I think the Rangers are my favorite, but the Wandering Stars are a close second. Are there more than eight clans? Are there going to be rules or suggestions for making new ones? Will there be clan books in the RPG book lineup at some point?

    • admin says:

      There are many clans, and we present the larger ones. There are rules for creating new ones, yes. We are not planning on doing sourcebooks like “clan books” for the Adventure Game.

  2. Apocryphon says:

    Mariachi? I hope to see a bit of Robert Rodriguez’s trilogy in the Far West! ¡Caballeros y desperados!

  3. […] T.S. and Gareth came to the rescue with an answer. They presented me with Amble, a Wandering Star artist with a fierce love for the untamed Far West, keen to record the majesty and beauty he had […]

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