The Parliament of Hours
The Gangs of Montmarais are a number of disparate groups, organisations and guilds that divert power with the various districts of the city for their own gain.
Gang culture is not unique to Montmarais, but the level of control that gangs exercise within that city is very rarely found in other cities. Arguably, the origin of the gang system was the collapse of the Capetian and Brusich Empires, and the city-state culture that rapidly rose in their wake. During the many battles fought between the Empires, control of Montmarais switched hands from the Capetian to the Brusich and back again several times over the course of many years – as a result, a large part of the population were citizens of one or the other of these factions, and accordingly, ideological differences led to schisms in the power and government of Montmarais. Coupled with the proximity of the Occitorio archipelago, and an influx of people from that area – a culture already disposed to government by city-state – resulted in a smorgasbord of various claims to power and authority. When the empires dissolved in A571, the city was left in a power vacuum, where each and every organisation that had the means to assert control, did. Over time, these organisations grew, fell, were challenged, overthrown, and battled amongst themselves, until the city reached its present state of development in the gangs’ power plays.
Gangs are, by and large, semi-legal entities; they are not granted authority or permission to “rule” over the district(s) that they claim by any authority, but they do possess the power to control the district in one way or another, usually through a mixture of manpower, capital, raw might, social standing and business connections. They are not necessarily always street gangs – in fact, some gangs are guilds, legal/mercantile companies, former military cadres, and so on.
Alliance, War, and Neutrality.
Occasionally, gangs will come together in an agreement or compromise with one another called an Alliance. The terms of a Gang Alliance vary enormously, but more often than not, there are clauses regarding one gang coming to the other gang’s aid if threatened, and sometimes clauses that allow for members of either gang to walk on the other gang’s turf unimpeded. Alliances are rare, however. Gangs can also declare War with one another – in this instance, it is made known that members of one gang will be given no quarter and no mercy if engaged in a dispute with the other gang. Gang War usually escalates to the stage that within a matter of weeks, only one of the gangs will remain alive. The standard connection between gangs is that of Neutrality – this does not mean that hostilities or will not be carried out against other gangs, but merely that the standard of “survival of the fittest” is in operation.
A major aspect of gang culture is the idea of “turf”. The city of Montmarais is split into thirty-three districts (thirty-five, if the outlying hamlets are included), each of which is “owned” by a particular gang. Gangs often do not legally own the districts they lay claim to, but instead consider that district as part of their “turf”. Gangs can own more than one district, but a district is never run by more than one gang. With a few exceptions, members of gangs are not allowed to step onto another gangs’ turf; death is not an uncommon punishment for this transgression. Ordinary citizens unaffiliated with gangs are allowed to roam freely, but many gangs impose restrictions on citizens with considerable social standing within other districts from entering their territory, in case they are working alongside their district’s gang.
List of Gangs
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and may not contain gangs that The Rook do not have information on. Also note that the list is continually being updated.Nord
- The Warrant of the Home Ward: A group made up of former police officers. Their symbol is their bold white-and-gold armor, and they control the districts of Bonquartier, La Propriesse and Réconfort.
- The Civilian Corps: A renegade group of civilians opposed to gang rule. Their symbol is an armband with a stylised ‘C.C.’ for ‘Civilian Corps’. They control the districts La Ligne and Méandres.
- Ackroyd and Goodfellow: A gang disposed towards forging short- and long-term contracts, bargains, and deals as their Alliances. Rumoured to have strong ties with the city’s legal and municipal happenings. Their symbol is a scroll-shaped tiepin and they tend to wear business attire. They control the district of Debouillis.
- House of Poppies: A gang operating out of a brothel, who count among their clients many of the city’s elite – and are rumoured to employ their services for well-to-do residents of other districts and other gangs. Their gang symbol is a poppy. They control the district of Hartellerault.
- The Rook: Your gang is an Adventurer’s Guild that has seen a boost in activity ever since the collapse of the Brusich and Capetian Empires. With the broad, country-spanning war over, people are now once again turning towards smaller-scale conflict and promises of urban adventure. The Rook identify themselves with checkerboard patterns, or with small Rook-shaped emblems, and they control Gardien.
- The Red Row Artifice: A group of artificers that previously kept themselves out of gang culture, but have recently become more territorial. Their gang symbol is a cog; they control the district of Soindres.
- Institute of the Smoke Cage: A secretive gang, rumoured to be made up of assassins. Their symbol is a badge that gives off a minor smoky aura, as well as a stylised black tattoo that resembles smoke; they control Brumaire.
- Cien-Tet: “The Dog-Headed People”, a mixture of gnolls, elves, and disaffected city dwellers who have run off to live in the Fens to the east of Montmarais. This gang largely keeps to itself unless gangs attempt to enter the Fens uninvited, or try to take their turf – which is uncommon, as their turf consists of abandoned, derelict industrial buildings. They identify themselves with some tribal symbol – such as fur, a necklace of teeth or similar; they control the Upper Marcage, Central Marcage and Lower Marcage.
- None Listed
- Palace: A gang that seems to exist only in rumours and hearsay. Their symbol is unknown; they control the district of Lenoire, and also possibly Solitaire, though the latter is more actively governed by the various minor street-gangs within.
- Hospitalier: A gang devoted to providing medical assistance to those involved in gang-wars. They control no turf, but hold a large number of Alliances that allows them to walk through many parts of the city unchallenged. The Hospitalier identify themselves with equal-armed crosses.