Crime, Corruption and Extremism.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 21 posts
Thu 6 Apr 2017
at 16:06
Crime, Corruption and Extremism
There are four primary gangs in Sharn, in an uneasy balance.

The Boromar gang is run by halflings, and tends toward smuggling, counterfeiting, fencing stolen goods, and the like. They have some ties to House Jorasco and House Ghallanda, which makes them tricky to go after directly.

Daask is a monstrous gang, in the literal sense. Its members are mostly the kinds of things D&D heroes are known to fight, that can also manage enough civilization to form an urban criminal group: ogres, harpies, gnolls, goblinoids, etc. They're into strong-arm kinds of crime. They're tough to take on mainly because they're... tough.

The Tyrants are a gang of changelings, which presents lots of complications in terms of hindering their efforts. They specialize in infiltration and information gathering, which keeps them out of opposition with the other gangs, but puts them in direct opposition to House Phiarlan and House Thuranni. The Tyrants also offer services to those who need to change their identities.

House Tarkanan is composed of beings who have aberrant dragonmarks (including some of those being who have recognized dragonmarks but who are not members of the corresponding race). This allows them to engage in some unique criminal opportunities and thus stay out of competition with the other gangs. However, they are constantly hounded by the legitimate Houses, who would see this group obliterated.

All of these gangs employ members who aren't typical of the leadership, but notice how distinct these groups are. The "true" members of each group - halfling, monster, changeling, marked - can prove themselves to each other rather easily and can't easily pass as members of the other gangs. The gangs' primary members also pretty clearly excel at different things, letting the gangs carve out niches and not have to compete with each other.
GM
 GM, 23 posts
Thu 6 Apr 2017
at 17:41
Crime, Corruption and Extremism
Gangs have a hard time surviving without some sympathy from the community, and without some kind of cooperation or interaction with authorities. Besides offering their various illegal services, the gangs - even Daask - each put some effort into seeming beneficent.

The Tyrants, using their information network, will sometimes offer to locate and turn in other changelings, when one is suspected of a crime. Often (especially when the changeling is dead) the authorities only have the gang's word that it's the changeling in question, or that a changeling was actually responsible. But this builds some goodwill, casting them as the "good kind" of shapeshifters.

With their connections to changeling pleasure dens, the Tyrants have ample means to bribe and compromise members of the guard or others who might persecute them.

Boromar Clan uses their pull with Jorasco and Ghallanda to bring healing and hospitality services to the poor, or those affected by disaster. This is an especially good public relations move when Boromar actions (unbeknownst to the community) caused the disaster in the first place. The clan is also in a position to bribe with those House services.

Daask and Tarkanan are somewhat less able to garner good will, but both have been known to turn in their troublesome members. Daask claims to keep the monster population from getting riled up an out of control, but that's mostly a protection racket and doesn't sway many people. Tarkanan, since the Houses hate them already, sometimes cast themselves as allies of those the Houses would oppress or ruin, but even when their aid is authentic, the Houses usually get their way, with Tarkanan growling at the injustice and stirring up disapproval of the Houses, which is almost always the popular mood somewhere in Sharn.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:58, Fri 07 Apr 2017.

GM
 GM, 28 posts
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 01:02
Crime, Corruption and Extremism
One of House Tarkanan's more subtle and creative programs involves bringing heirs from different Houses together in order to get one of them pregnant by the other. For just as the Houses fear the potential of such offspring, so House Tarkanan believes that such a child might bear an aberrant mark that, if it could be controlled, Tarkanan could use it to gain an upper hand and come out of the shadows.

This operation involves the witting and unwitting cooperation of the Tyrants, and other operatives who are adept at keeping eager couples from catching on too quickly to who the other is. They often pick on members who are already trying to keep out of the public eye.
GM
 GM, 48 posts
Mon 17 Apr 2017
at 18:03
Crime, Corruption and Extremism
Daask is becoming a force to be reckoned with in wide Breland, but as an organization they're most proud of the foothold they have in Sharn. The City of Knives (as many Daask members refer to Sharn) gives Daask an opportunity to intimidate its way into the hoi-polloi and start forming semi-legitimate business arrangements with those who value money over the nuances of civilization.

In the meantime, Daask's strength is... strength. Some of their higher-ups see the value in not getting their own hands or hand-equivalents dirty, but the gang's foot-soldiers - orcs, shifters, goblinoids, lycanthropes - revel in it, and it's a key leg of the gang's overall strategy.

When your employees and associates are literal monsters, it's important to keep them happy, and some of them, despite attempts to steer them in other directions, are only really happy when their diet consists of "manflesh" where "man" can mean most any of the readily digestible sentient, "civilized" races. If that flesh can come fresh and seasoned with abject fear or, better yet, be served kicking, a gang-member whose tastes run that way can be safely considered loyal... for a little while.

Some of the leadership is also partial to this kind of a diet, and when the boss wants her comfort food, it's best to supply it right quick.

Hence some of the danger of the streets of Sharn. As much as it's a point of light in a dark world, one is not guaranteed to be safe from monstrous depredations. The guard do what they can, but the city leadership isn't above doing a gruesome calculus, and striking a balance between allowing the city's monsters to feed on occasion and having regular, larger-scale internal monster raids.
GM
 GM, 120 posts
Wed 17 May 2017
at 04:26
Drugs
Daask has been making inroads in the drug trade, probably due in part to the fact that their leaders are hags. Bubble, bubble, and all that. Their main product is dragon's blood, which enhances sorcerer powers and dragonmark abilities.

Boromar clan deals in a substance called absentia, which is highly illegal and lets the user sense all the senses of a randomly chosen person within a mile and can induce somnambulism in the user's own body. Or so it's assumed: in reality, sometimes a Quori spirit enters the user's body and uses it for some purpose.

Dreamlily is a psionic beverage that tastes like one's favorite drink and induces absolutely peacefulness for hours, but erodes one's will over time. No one is quite sure where it comes from.
GM
 GM, 210 posts
Wed 5 Jul 2017
at 17:28
Drugs
Dragon's blood augments the abilities associated with dragonmarks, in not entirely predictable ways. Rituals performed while under its effects tend to be empowered in effect or lengthened in duration or both. Numbers associated with dragonmark feats can often be increased by 1 or even 2.

The effects of an extreme overdose are not well understood. At least initially, the user is rendered almost catatonic, but their mark becomes hyperactive and its power operates without conscious effort on the part of the bearer, particularly if the bearer is under threat. A Mark of Handling will cause attacking beasts to run off or even die out of extreme fear, and will call down creatures to defend the bearer. A Mark of Passage will teleport the bearer out of danger. A Mark of Storm will protect its bearer with lightning and thunder.
GM
 GM, 212 posts
Thu 6 Jul 2017
at 15:28
Drugs
Dragon's blood is new enough, and targeted specifically enough (only toward people with dragonmarks) that the public and law enforcement either don't know much about it, or don't care. The rich (which is how anyone with dragonmarks is thought of, though that's not really the truth) presumably know what they're doing.

The Twelve, the council of the dragonmarked houses, is leery of the drug. While their fortunes have been made on the basis of essentially unearned magical ability, there's a sense that alchemical augmentation of such abilities is questionable, even without the risk of addition, side-effects or having to deal with Daask.

Ironically, the tightest strictures against the use of dragon's blood are those of House Tarkanan, whose members are forbidden from using it.