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[Bowery Dogs] Silver Syndicate

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  • [Bowery Dogs] Silver Syndicate

    The Burning Jacks

    [fake, silver dollar]

    It's all about the money.

    Well, not really. Money is just one form of a greater thing. This is the same about influence, about status, about connections. All of those has something in common- they are forms of pure potential, unlimited power, the ability to bring the world great good- and evil. After all, power by itself doesn't care who use it, it simply acts. Those who behind- the ones who shape it into form- are the ones who choose if they would build or destroy, rise or fall.

    It's all about the power- and those who crave it.

    This is the main feature of the Silver Syndicate. Officially, it is a small investments company, grounded in New York City. Most people never heard about it, although they seem to lay their hands on the flow of a lot of money. Those who know a thing or two about the company's dark shadows know better- that messing up in the stock market is not enough for them. They bring the change by their own hands. They walk the streets of New York and "offer their help" to small business, and they don't take no for an answer. They don't force them to pay protection- at least, not in the way other groups do. Instead, they want the owners to let them "manage their money" and "invest their resources" for "great profit". They also don't like competition- they break legs and slit throats and make sure that "accidents" would happen to any one who stands in their way. They maintain healthy connections with other criminal organizations, more than happy to "lend them an hand" and "optimize their projects". The smart ones know to keep their connections with the Syndicate as minimal as possible- they already devoured they share of smaller gangs and organizations, and it seems they are still hungry. If they caught you in their clawed hands, don't try to ask the police for help: they already bought enough of the corrupted cops, and they have an army of lawyers who make sure their hands would always be "clean".

    You may think that the Syndicate would hate those rumors and try to stop them. It doesn't. Sure, it don't want them to spread too much, but they want to make sure there are enough of those dirty secrets out there in the streets. After all, people love to feel smart- as if that small secret they learned is all that there is to know. It makes people think they understood the whole darkness, when they have simply stumbled into a very, small shadow.

    It's all about the power- both in body and spirit.

    It has all started in the 70's- harsh time to be in New York. A number of small gangs has stumbled through the streets during those times, fighting each other like mad dogs while being in the constant threat of bigger players in the underworld. One of those small gangs has named itself as the Burning Jacks- no member was older than 25, and many have been in the streets since their childhood. One of their members was a young boy could Donnie- who by himself was around 17 years old. Donnie wasn't the leader of the group, or even one of the more charismatic members, but he always had an head for numbers, which is why the rest of the gang found him useful. One day, the gang has stumbled upon a new rival in the block- a new gang who has invaded their territory. As expected, a brawl has quickly started between the two groups. Names were called. Knives were drawn. Just the regular business.

    Except of one thing- the new gang wasn't really a gang. They weren't humans- they were werewolves.

    Before anyone could have reacted, the challengers changed before their eyes- their hands turned into claws, fangs sprouted instead of teeth. The Jacks' knives and bullet did nothing to their muscular body, which regenerated as quickly as it was hurt. in less than five minutes, all the members of the Jacks were torn apart, and their remains were taken by the monsters and thrown to the East River- except of one. In the mid of the chaos, Donnie managed to hide- yet although he saw everyone he ever knew getting torn into pieces, he wasn't horrified. He was enchanted. He didn't thought on the blood and terror and death- all he could have thought about was "how could I turn into that?"

    Unfortunately for him, he discovered it wasn't possible- yet he found out about it only later. The first thing he did was searching for information about the new gang- that meant him turning to old enemies and future rivals. In order to avoid doing so, he did the only thing he could- he used the fact that no one knew about the death of his friends, and acted as if the gang is still active. He used that pretendence in order to recruit new members while submitting the phantom gang into a number of other gangs in the same time, turning himself into an important information broker. When he got enough members, he split them apart into a number of new "phantom gangs", using them as scapegoats in order to gain all the intelligence he needed. He worked quietly, slowly, making sure not to draw the notice of the bigger fish in New York, until eventually, he came in contact with what he searched for- hunters.

    The hunters he found were a small compact, one who simply moved through the streets and beat up things worse than mobsters- vampires, witches, and- most importantly- werewolves. He offered his men to the compact while lending them his skills, which they accepted gladly. Yet, while he was hunting with his new companions, he didn't planned to do so forever. He was obsessed with shapeshifters, and that obsession grew into the who spirit world. He read the few books the compact had on the subject and used their resources to get new ones. He hunted down a witch and broke her fingers until she was willing to him what she knew about the Shadow. He sold his own people as ghouls and blood dolls to vampires in order to get their connections and information. And while doing it all, he used the resources of the compact in order to improve his natural skill for mathematics- something he used in order to eventually become the de facto leader of the small compact and devour it from the inside.

    5 years has passed before he manged to get himself into that position, and than he decided to finally execute his plan- attacking the old gang of werewolves. Armed with silver and relying on numbers, the hunters of the compact thought they have a good chance- yet Donnie knew the truth. He saw as those skin changers ripped apart a human with their bare hands. They couldn't attack them as a pack.

    They had to separate them.

    They used traps. They assassinated them in their beds. They kidnapped their mortal loved ones and used them as a bait. Eventually, Donnie himself has stood against the last member of the pack- when suddenly, the werewolf chanted words in unknown language. Before their frightened eyes, a being has taken shape- a great monster made of steel and concrete. A creature created by New York's own ambition taken form. The great totem of the pack, a spirit of innovation and civilization. Seeing the hunters scream with fear, the werewolf laughed- yet one stood still. It was Donnie. He just stood there, looking for a long moment at the terrible totem- until he drawn a single item our of his pocket, an objected he waited years to acquire. A single coin- or more exactly, a fake coin, created by David Hartley himself. "By the laws of your own kind, I may break you apart" he said to the great spirit "yet, I offer an alternative" he pointed at the surprised werewolf "life are your currency, and you Ban respects that. I'll give the coin to the river, and you would give me your service- "he pointed at the changed "and his life. Do we have a deal?"

    The werewolf didn't even had time to scream as his former totem ripped out his heart.

    After sealing the pact by putting the coin in the changer's mouth and throwing him to the river, the group has finally started to prosper. Under the influence of their new patron, not many rivals- both criminal and supernatural- could have stood in their way. However, Donnie knew that such success won't live long when he'll get into the league of the big syndicates, and so it changed its attitude: he started investing money in the stock market, using his shadowy friend in order to make sure he won't suffer loses which were too big for him to handle. The money he earned he invested again at discovering more information about the Shadow and seeking more spiritual alliances. Eventually, he understood the true nature of the spirit world- that the acts in the physical resonate in the Shadow, and that the Shadow influence the world. With that in mind, he decided to rebuild the city- and maybe even the whole world- yet he had to deal with those who hunted down his spirit allies and stood against his vision. And in order to remember that cause, he named his organization after their ban- the Silver Syndicate.


    Since then, the Syndicate has survived and even prospered. They devoured many of their rivals, using them as pawns against each other or simply destroying them. They made sure to offer the regular sacrifices to their patron spirits, taking over Loci and even creating whole new spiritual ecosystems in which only the spirits they want to prosper would- spirits of innovation, of success, of power, using for that both active social shaping and drugs. Donnie is still alive, and he still manage the delicate investments of the organization. While he is already at his 50's, he is still strong and his mind is still sharp. He wish to live to see his dream come true, yet he already made plan for his own death- and how to escape it. Lately, he got his hands on a complicated ritual- one which may grant him immortal life. There is a risk, of course- but if he'll take that chance, he may get more power than he ever dreamed off..

    It's all about the power- and what you are willing to do to get it.

    Status:
    0- Congratulations! You got promotion! After long months of work in the company, you finally know the truth- that you don't just work with numbers of break legs, but also need to chase down spirits and hunt down werebeasts. Want too quite? Oh, too bad- you should have read the fine prints. At least you are not totally helpless. You may spend merit points on the Resonance Endowment.
    000- you managed to survive that far! we can expect many great things from you! You get Contacts for 2 dots among criminal organizations. You also get an Honorary Rank of 1 while related to the Concrete Beasts's Choir (the group's totem).
    00000- It seems that recruiting you was one good investment- and you are one among hundreds of happy costumers! It is time to get some of the profits back, right? You get Resources for 3 dots. Don't ask from where the money came. You don't want to know. You also get and Honorary Rank of 2 while relating to spirits of the Concrete Beast's Choir.


    Endowment: Resonance (1-5)
    This is the basic nature of the Shadow- one side influence the other, which in turn influence the first. Those changes could be big, but they are usually small and silent, building step by step until it is too late and a whole snowball falls on your head. By understanding that delicate nature of reality, the members of the Syndicate can transform the world into a new form- if they have enough time.

    Each Endowment is bought as a separate 1-5 merit, and has a tag which represent the kind of Influence the hunter wish to extract upon the world- Happiness, Violence, Growth, Decay, Prosperity, Death. By spending Willpower and rolling Occult+Status:Syndicate, the hunter may force that Resonance upon a physical object which suits that Resonance (knife for Violence, for example, or a coin for Property). Failure means the attachment failed, and you suffer -1 modifier for any future roll, Dramatic Failure would attach the opposite Resonance while Exceptional Success would give you you WP back. Once establish, the item would start drawn spirits of the right Resonance toward it in [6 - Resonance] days, which would use their Influence and powers in order to strength that Resonance into real events. The hunter may try to use the Resonance in order to draw a specific spirit, but he would suffer -2 modifier unless he holds its Bane. In order to stop the Resonance, the hunter must destroy the item (although if the spirits where long enough, the Shadow has changed enough to sustain itself and would require banishing the spirits away). The hunter has no power over those spirits more than any regular human, (unless their are connected to their Totem's Choir, as detailed in Status).
    Last edited by LostLight; 10-13-2015, 07:15 AM.


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  • #2
    Would you allow a member of the Syndicate (at least a rank 3 one) to practice Mortal Shamanism of Pendragon?

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    • #3
      Notice that the highest Rank one can get is 2- Status 1 doesn't grant an Honorary Rank. Other than that, Donnie is undoubtedly a Shaman, although I assume most of the conspiracy are not- after all, it would make their Endowment kinda redundant, and many are less interested in the Shadow than worldly wealth. Of course, it is not my place to say which homebrew system you can use with which homebrew organization, but if you do decide to let them use Mortal Shamanism, make it into their Endowment.


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      • #4
        Heh, I thought this was about Max Roman's pack, also named the Silver Syndicate.

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        • #5
          As cool as it was Donnie 's stunt, is a Totem allowed to betray its pack just like that?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nofather View Post
            Heh, I thought this was about Max Roman's pack, also named the Silver Syndicate.
            Is not of Silver Syndicate the leftovers of Apocalypse group? And did not they resonate with Storm Lords ideology?

            Maybe both Roman and Donnie wanted to call they groups this because there were larger faction - Lodge maybe - in history of this name that left only scraps of knowledge to uncover? And both leaders want to emulate the more ancient group?
            Last edited by wyrdhamster; 10-12-2015, 10:03 PM.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Raistlin View Post
              As cool as it was Donnie 's stunt, is a Totem allowed to betray its pack just like that?
              It's rare but not unheard of. It's more likely if the pack binds a more powerful totem than they really should, which seems to be the case in this. In a pack with a stronger bond with their totem, totems have been known to cling to the last member and help rebuild.

              Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
              Is not of Silver Syndicate the leftovers of Apocalypse group? And did not they resonate with Storm Lords ideology?
              I have no idea if there's such a thing in Apocalypse, but it seems unlikely there's a connection. Especially since there is no in-world link between the two settings. Max Roman is an Iron Master, and most Storm Lords in the area oppose the idea. And the Silver Syndicate was just the name of his pack. His goal is the protectorates, the idea that multiple packs in an area should work together rather than face everything on their own. He started it because of the Gurdilag and the new threat it represents.
              Last edited by nofather; 10-13-2015, 01:23 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by nofather View Post

                It's rare but not unheard of. It's more likely if the pack binds a more powerful totem than they really should, which seems to be the case in this. In a pack with a stronger bond with their totem, totems have been known to cling to the last member and help rebuild.
                yep, that's the case.

                Also, it seems that my lack of knowledge in my Werewolf lexicon finally betrays me. I didn't knew there was such a pact in Forsaken and/or Apocalypse. I wonder if I should change the name (like, into Argentum Syndicate or something) or maybe do some tie to the group.. or just assume that two groups can use the same name without knowing about each other :P


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                • #9
                  Stereotypes:
                  Cheiron Group- "Of course you want to invest in them! Just look on their growth in the last few years! This is the time to buy, buy and buy.. what, you are against animal experimentation? Don't worry! I have a contact in there and believe me- their products are with zero animal cruelty! Now sign here, please"
                  Bear Lodge- "I know what you your situation, friend! After all, who can understand your life like a fellow wolf hunter? You know what my hunt taught me the most? That you always need insurance. You want me to contact you we one of our subsidiary "Vigil Insurance?" They have a great policy which is perfect to your situation!"
                  Keepers of the Source- "I'm telling you, the deal is almost sealed- there are simply a few.. complications about purchasing the asset. Apparently, a bunch of crazy hippies try to announce the place as some sort of "reservation". But don't you worry- I we have already takes measures in order.. change their opinion on the subject"
                  Hototogisu- "we have branches all over the world, you know- but we can't get a foot hold in Japan. My manager told me they are working on it, but those guys insist on keeping us out. Oh well, you can't take over the world!.. yet"
                  Raziel Ltd- "It dangerous to invest in weapon companies- although their situation seems to be stable. In fact, no matter how much bad is the situation, they seem to escape it- their value doesn't go up, or down. It's static, as if someone makes sure to maintain that situation. I don't like it at all"
                  Office of Lord Steward- "I'm sorry, I'm not authorized to agree to such terms and conditions. I recommend you to talk with my manager. She won't be here in the next month, and is currently unavailable. Please, stay patient and try again later"

                  "I'm sorry, it's not personal- but either you stop messing with our assets, or that we shoot that silver bullet in your head. What do you choose?"
                  Last edited by LostLight; 10-14-2015, 02:20 PM.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    yep, that's the case.

                    Also, it seems that my lack of knowledge in my Werewolf lexicon finally betrays me. I didn't knew there was such a pact in Forsaken and/or Apocalypse. I wonder if I should change the name (like, into Argentum Syndicate or something) or maybe do some tie to the group.. or just assume that two groups can use the same name without knowing about each other :P

                    Hehe. Max Roman's a wealthy businessman, with Resources 5. His company is, naturally, the Argentum Corporation, and they're headquarters is in the top of the Argentum Building.

                    But yeah it's entirely fine to just have two groups with the same name, plus Roman's group is in Denver and influence in the Rockies, so completely different places.
                    Last edited by nofather; 10-13-2015, 08:09 AM.

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                    • #11
                      oh- in that case, it's fine. However, I must say that it makes a funny possibility of a copyright lawsuit done between the two companies about who has the right to use the name. Now I must wonder if supernatural organizations has a special court for such things :P


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        oh- in that case, it's fine. However, I must say that it makes a funny possibility of a copyright lawsuit done between the two companies about who has the right to use the name. Now I must wonder if supernatural organizations has a special court for such things :P
                        I suspect Roman would not settle himself with a lawsuit. Reasonable as he may be, pissing off a werewolf who faced down a friggin´ Idigam by sullying the name of his pack is not a good idea.
                        Last edited by Raistlin; 10-13-2015, 04:48 PM.

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                        • #13
                          well, I think that if Roman were to know about the Syndicate sharing his pack's name, that actually may be exactly what he would do- you can't kill companies with claws and fangs, you kill them with trade blocks and legal measures. While one on one Roman is undoubtedly stronger than Donnie, killing him won't make the company change its name or create any lasting impact. If you want to take a company down, you need to fight it on its own field.

                          again, that is if he'll even bother. This is a big World of Darkness, and if it could handle 2 Arcadias, having two Silver Syndicates is a piece of cake :P

                          EDIT- also, I'm pretty sure that if he'll ever hear about the Silver Syndicate, he won't be annoyed about their name as much as the fact that the group carrying the name is messing up with the spirit ecology for profit and kill rival werewolf packs which pose a threat on their turf.
                          Last edited by LostLight; 10-13-2015, 07:06 PM.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                            EDIT- also, I'm pretty sure that if he'll ever hear about the Silver Syndicate, he won't be annoyed about their name as much as the fact that the group carrying the name is messing up with the spirit ecology for profit and kill rival werewolf packs which pose a threat on their turf.
                            This is exactly why I pointed to possible common heritage - both groups ( hunters Compact and werewolves pack ) work with Shadow as way to make profits and powerbase ( well, pack is much more selfless in this ). So maybe some historical roots to some long destroyed Lodge about power?


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                            • #15
                              Beats me- Like I've said, Werewolf is not my specialty. I think that each ST can decide by his own whether the two are connected or not, and if they are then how. If someone has more knowledge about the Roman's Syndicate and has thought on the subject, he can feel free to share- just remember that (for now) Donnie is mortal with a few tricks on his sleeves. The didn't lived long enough to be a part of an ancient organization or carry an old legacy. If share an heritage, it comes from the spirit world- unless Donnie simply read about the subject in one of his books and decided to honor such ancient Lodge by using its name.


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