This installment, a look at a few of the Clans that we’re presenting in Far West, as well as “behind the scenes” commentary about the inspirations.
Rival schools, sects and clans are a huge part of the wuxia genre, and therefore will be something that will feature in our western-wuxia mash-up as well. These organizations will be available to Player Characters to take as Bonds. The write-ups will feature an overview of the Clan, giving it’s general focus, goals, and its signature weapons and kung fu style.
The Rangers: Sometimes called ‘The Knights of the Far West’ — a nearly monastic order of gunslinger/knights, dedicated to serving Justice, rather than any particular government. The inspiration for this clan can be found in a combination of The Lone Ranger, Stephen King’s Gunslingers, and the Knights Templar. Their kung-fu is based entirely around the use of firearms — they can actually defend as well as attack using the Gun skill (shooting an opponent’s bullet out of the air!).
Their loyalty to their own order caused them to run afoul of the Empire (shades of what happened to the Templars), and the Rangers were rounded up, outlawed, arrested and/or killed. Today, they are legendary. Wandering the Far West, outlawed but still serving their Code:
“No Falsehood shall pass my lips;
For my Heart is True.
No Injustice shall pass my sight;
For my Aim is True.
The Wicked shall meet my Wrath;
For I Ride–
And Justice rides with me.”
The Iron Dragons: Railway agents. Inspired by a combination of the armed escorts of wuxia fiction (warriors who hired themselves out to protect caravans and such) and the Railroad “bulls” of the West. The Iron Dragons defend trains, cargos and rail travellers from bandits and other dangers. Some members of the clan own and operate small independent railway companies, who often find themselves at odds with the Steam Barons — the rich industrialists from back east who own the largest Railways. Their signature weapon is a pair of batons.
The Preachers: Imagine a combination of the classic western preacher and the Shaolin monks (and maybe just a bit of Shepherd Book from Firefly), and you have this Clan. Religious mendicants, tending to the needs of the flock. They often serve not only as priests, but as healers as well, well-versed in Qigong (controlling and altering the flow of qi within a body through various methods), pharmacology, and more. When called upon to fight, a Preacher will go unarmed, or perhaps use a simple staff.
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. Inspiration for this clan came from Josie, Trixie and the various whores of Deadwood, the Hung Fa (Red Flower) society, Aya Ueto and her companions in Azumi, Zhang Ziyi’s courtesan in House of Flying Daggers and the girls of Oldtown (from Sin City). The women of the Foxglove use weapons that can be disguised within their trade: scarves, fans, needles, etc.
There’s a taste. I’m still coming up with more — it’s a process of pondering the classic sects and clans of traditional kung fu and wuxia films that ring a bell when I think about them in the context of the spaghetti western, which then causes all sorts of riffs and ideas to start jumping around in my head. Got any suggestions?