BleakerMUCK: Factions

The Big Who's Who 

BleakerMUCK currently has five prominent factions, representing the ruling power of the city and the four larger groups that have carved themselves out their own territories through trade and service. Though Zero Tolerance holds sway over Bleaker near-absolutely, the four factions referred to as 'guilds' still wield their own style of influence in what passes for the political sphere. These four other groups are the Merchant's Guild, the Assassin's Guild, the Slaver's Guild and the Entertainer's Guild. (Smaller groups, such as the Stone Band and shapeshifter clans, do exist and are covered toward the bottom.)

Major Factions

Zero Tolerance

The fastest path to the top of the ruins is perhaps the most obvious, though all a part of Zero Tolerance know that none of them will ever truly sit at the pinnacle so long as Mr. Zero continues to hold sway. Though what they deliver is barely more than vigilante work in their administering of justice, the right price can bring forth the right verdict for an individual, though they can count on the price rising the next time they seek the same outcome.

All but a few of the public services fall under Mr. Zero's direct control (clinics, electricity, water and a scant few others on the outskirts of the city), and so he has all but assured a rule as tyrant of Bleaker, Zero Tolerance as capable as his fingers that probe the streets as they are the tight grip that enforces his rule. Fear and paranoia are all the tools that are needed to keep the rabble in line, and be it through compensation or intimidation one may discover their closest ally is feeding information on their every move to a Zero Tolerance servicemen, who in turn may use that information to climb the ladder of success. Just the mere whisper of this method of information gathering is enough to enforce obedience amongst all the classes, and damns the efforts of those who resist Zero's stranglehold to paranoid and secret gatherings that are too frightened to expand or rise up. So it is, and so Mr. Zero's rule stretches onwards.

To those in the upper level, Zero Tolerance is a police force. To those below they are cells of gangs acting like corrupt deputies, extorting the denizens of those trying to make a living into forking out their hard-earned money in the form of credits. The only solace the downtrodden can take, is that these gangs are far from united. To earn Zero's favour on must stand out, and so the gangs seek each other's demise to increase their own power and standing in the lower levels. This is a cold comfort, for even if one gang is wiped out another is sure to rise up and enforce its own twisted version of self-servicing order on the lower level populace. 

Assassin's Guild

Even in the dark times that Bleaker resides in, the weight of actively taking another's life with one's own bare hands is too great for many to carry. However, the conscience of most men can push aside such guilt so long as the act is neither performed by their hands nor seen by their eyes. Bucking for power amongst all levels of the city those that can afford it can trust only one entity to ensure the death they require is meted out with confidentiality and efficiency.

The assassin's guild, led by their eccentric Guildmaster Patrick Fabrizio, are second only to Zero Tolerance in the blame laid for deaths in the city. With the slave's guild one can expect to see their friend or family member appear in shackles, with Zero Tolerance the body may be left in the street as a message. When the Assassin's Guild operates in Bleaker, finding a body is unlikely, and searching for it entirely unhealthy.

By far the smallest guild in membership, Patrick Fabrizio ensures the survival of his fraternity of murderers by refusing no one who can pay for their services. By favouring no one, the guild offends no one to the point where they seek its destruction. This openness extends to the missions, as often killers clash with conflicting missions. As such Fabrizio earns through blood the survival of his guild, and weeds out the weaker from his elite organization. It is this way the Assassin's Guild has always operated, resting balanced on the tip of a knife. 

Merchant's Guild

Humankind as Bleaker knows it, rests in a small and isolated place that languishes under the rule of its titan. But as ever the hearts of men are not easily crushed no matter how great the stress upon is, as the Merchant's Guild forges a path of dim hope for a more optimistic future. Though the waters are dangerous and the landscape inhospitable, those of brave heart and strong constitution venture forth to earn their own wealth by discovering items of practicality or antiquity that can be put to coin and distribution back in Bleaker. The lost remnants of the old order can still be put to use be it mechanical, artistic or historic, and the Merchant's Guild brings ever more conveniences to those that can afford it. It is by this way that living is improved at a slow and painful pace, but all the same improved.

Such a boon for the people of Bleaker turns into a profit for the Merchant's Guild, and to protect their assets they hire mercenary forces in much the same way that Zero Tolerance does to protect the asset that is the city itself for Mr. Zero. Indeed, clashes between the two organizations are not unheard of in Bleaker's streets, and though the Merchant's Guild has not a force capable of overthrowing or even denting Mr. Zero's rule the service they provide and the forces they do wield ensures that any clashes that could escalate are disowned by the rulers. Truly, were Zero Tolerance to attempt to stamp out the Merchant's Guild as a threat (a threat they do pose), the risk of earning the ire of the people would be too much, and the invincible aura of Zero Tolerance would be forever broken even if their enemy was defeated.

All merchants operating in the guild pay their services for goods rendered to the guild and to the Guildmaster that co-ordinates it all. Factories held in equal share with Zero Tolerance produce the necessary supplies in suitable numbers to keep the populace paying good prices for their food and comfort. Services extend beyond mere trade however, as protection in the form of guards and bodyguards are requisitionable to those that can afford it, and the pay for one whom signs on with the Merchant's Guild as armed muscle means that there are ample bodies to spare between hiring duties and duties guarding caravans and expeditions outside the city.

In spite of an image as the bastion of hope for humanity in Bleaker, the Merchant's Guild still operates in its own interests behind the adulation it receives. Most who leave on expeditions do not return to the city, and the guild is not forthcoming in explanations that are consistent or reasonable. Rumours and gossip fly about of deals made with the less reputable guilds, and acts performed against individuals by Merchant Guild mercenaries that match the brutality of any Zero Tolerance enforcement. Regardless, the service of the guild and its position on the political sphere of Bleaker ensures its position as the prominent hope for the people, and the lesser of the evils that plague its walls. 

Slaver's Guild

Life in Bleaker is harsh, and for all the comfort that is offered by the Merchant and Entertainer's Guilds and the limited sense of security granted by Zero Tolerance, one terror remains that takes advantage of the morally relaxed times. To the Slaver's Guild a man is but another business opportunity where it is not what he has that is up for grabs but what he is instead. Lead by James Muldoon by ancestral right, the Slaver's Guild captures, buys and trades human beings to serve as servants, cheap labor or other more sinister roles that ignore all basic human rights. All slavery is controlled by the guild, and all seeking to trade in slaves must pay a tithe to the guild or risk harsh and dire consequences where death seems like a blessing. The fees themselves are minimal, a mere safeguard to ensure all trade is kept under careful watch to avoid competition and usurping by possible rivals.

Slavers are generally the richer of the city's population, the most decadent and conscience-less of the people whom operate their business in the lower levels. To have the right to keep a slave one merely needs to first buy a license from the guild, and from there the rules that bind acquisition and treatment of said slaves are minimal at best. A soul with no friends or influence is fair game, useful mutants a prize that garners a high price while shapeshifters are a commodity bought specifically to be abused.

Slave trade is plied from the guild, and its auction stand in the bazaar where broken and empty victims of the guild are bid upon like the pieces of meat they have been reduced to. To those less inclined to operate as slavers the guild still offers gainful employment in the form of hunters. Indeed, James Muldoon is more than happy to hire the able and armed to work for him in the pursuit of their living goods and of escaped slaves, as the hunters provide a strong armed deterrent against the dwindling anti-slavery groups of the city. If one seeks aid in returning a lost or stolen slave to their possession the Slaver's Guild is more than happy to assist in the tracking and capturing. A message always must be sent to those unable to protect their freedoms.

"You belong to us."

Entertainer's Guild

One would think that in a place as harsh and cold as Bleaker, all thoughts of retaining humanity's arts would be not only hard to bare fruit from but also strongly discouraged. The harder of Bleaker's citizens would agree upon this, but yet there are those who grasp at the thin hope of humanity regaining what it lost. Unlike the Merchant's Guild who do this through recovery of the objects of the old days, the Entertainer's Guild encourages humanity to flourish and return to indulgences of old. From playwrights to comedians, poets to prostitutes, actors to tale-tellers; the Entertainer's Guild seeks to recapture the human soul, as corrupt and crushed it may be, in the hopes to return through comfort and small enlightenment the inspiration required to bring about a rebirth. A lofty goal perhaps, but the Mistress of the Guild Mara Phoenix strives for it nonetheless.

Less strict than the other guilds, the Entertainer's Guild asks not for a fee from members but for collaboration and donation. Like all the guilds the Entertainer's Guild must make deals, and also runs its own agendas that sometimes require assistance or diplomatic persuasion, and who better to perform such acts than those who specialize in the stirring of emotions and the placating of flesh? As such those with merit are accepted, but one's position in the loose formation of the guild is not entirely based upon talent.

Looked upon favorably for the raising of spirits they perform (and the relief from boredom they grant the upper class), the Entertainer's Guild wears a mask of performance that belies the intent of its Mistress. A staunch opponent of slavery, Mara Phoenix is believed to operate in secrecy to aid anti-slavery organizations (as small and lacking in influence as they are). The fact that the Slave's Guild hasn't responded to rumours of this effect violently suggests that they are but whispers in the wind born of paranoia or hope, but the animosity between Phoenix and the leader of the slaver's guild James Muldoon suggests that both sides are locked in a dance of feints and tense motions to the point that some would see it more as a duel.

 Minor Factions

The Blood Meridian 

 The Blood Meridian is a feline shifter group in direct opposition to Fenrir's Children. They believe in individual freedom, where might makes right. All should yield to those more powerful, or be eliminated for upsetting the natural order. The Blood Meridian encourages shifters to make a stand for their natural 'gift' and take their place in society by force. Most members doe not look down upon all non-shifters, as they may prove their individual worth by strength, though they have nothing but contempt for hunters. To the Blood Meridian they are nothing but intolerable genocidal terrorists, and their leader, Desmond Cusick has called for their complete annihilation for their crimes.

Fenrir's Children

Fenrir’s Children are a collection of inner-city wolves headed by Navarre Eberhardt, who helps settle territorial disputes between packs, tempering blood feuds and promoting harmony between shifters. Navarre’s long-term goal is to improve the relationship between shapeshifters and Truebloods, but not all members of the group subscribe to his beliefs. Membership isn’t something that’s monitored because it isn’t something that can be regulated; if you belong to a pack, you’re automatically part of the community. If you don’t, there’s still a strong chance that the other wolves will consider you one.

Terminology
Wolf Lord – Alpha of alphas. Not all packs listen to the Wolf Lord’s authority, but most consider his word Law when it comes to blood feuds and territorial disputes. Anyone can challenge the current leader for his position at any time, but this is actually quite rare; when fights do occur, they’re usually to the death.

Greyback – Greybacks are notable, respected members of the werewolf community. To earn the title, one can either: lead a pack or reach the age of forty-five. Occasionally, the Wolf Lord will grant the title to those who he feels are particularly deserving.

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