For this installment, we’ll continue our look at the Clans — the rival organizations, sects and schools which are available as Bonds for player characters and NPCs in the campaign setting of Far West. These will round out the examples provided in the main rulebook, and will appear along with a section on designing your own Clans to fit the setting.
The Red Right Hand: A group of zealous religious adherents who believe that they act as the vengeance of God on Earth. They strike at any target viewed by their superiors as deserving of God’s wrath. The inspiration for this Clan is a combination of the Danites (the “avenging angels” of the 19th century Mormons) and the Hashshashin, the fanatical followers of Hassan-i-Sabah, the Old Man of the Mountain. They are skilled with many weapons, and their specialty is fighting from horseback.
The Jade Family: Inspired by the Beggar Clan of kung-fu legend, the North American “Travellers”, the Gypsies and the travelling Medicine Shows of the Old West. This is a loosely-affiliated organization of nomadic con-artists, fortune-tellers, entertainers and thieves, all of whom take the family name “Jade” to indicate their allegiance to the “life.” Regardless of actual blood ties, members of the Jade Family refer to other members as “cousins.” Like the assassins of the Foxglove Society, the Jade Family’s kung-fu specializes in the use of everyday items as weapons.
The Mariachis: I was watching Robert Rodriguez’ Desperado the other day….which is, despite its modern setting, an archetypal Western, through and through. I began to think that it would be fun to bring in the mariachis as a Clan, especially given the scene towards the end of the film, when Banderas’ character calls in two other musicians, each of whom is also armed to the teeth…hinting at an organization of such men. I had also been looking for some group that could serve as my analog for the Wudang swordsmen. I began to wonder what “El Mariachi” would look like if he specialized in swordplay as well as guns….and, given that he was played by Banderas, the answer lept immediately to mind: ZORRO! So here we have them — Far West‘s equivalent of the first-edition D&D bard (the badass one…remember? When you encountered a bard back then, you were terrified), mixing elements of the Wudang, Zorro and El Mariachi — a brotherhood of travelling musicians, keeping stories and songs of hope and heroism alive for the common people, and, as needed, rising to defend the people with sword and gun….
The Twin Eagle Security Agency: One thing that readers have asked in relation to the clans that I had already detailed is whether or not I was going to create a version of The Pinkertons. Well, here they are. Combining the Pinkerton National Detective Agency with today’s Private Military Corporations (PMCs) and the mercenary bands of the kung fu novels, we have a private security force that can be hired by anyone with enough to offer them. Like Lee Van Cleef in the Sabata films, or Robert Conrad as James West, members of the Twin Eagle Security Agency are “citified” dandies who rely on steampunk gadgets and flashy weapons as the tools of their trade.
Next installment, we’ll take a look at some of the new skills that I’m adding to the FATE system, and the stunts that accompany them.
Luis Bacalov (feat. Roberto Fia) – “Django.” Brilliantly over-the-top, Bond-theme meets Spaghetti Western music from the 1966 film.
Lam Chi Ziong – “Wong Fei Hung (Once Upon a Time in China)” – an all-time classic.