Archive for January 29th, 2009

Triad Violence

2009 Jan 29

Yesterday, I found some enlightening statistics on triad murders in HK.

  • 75% of them are single men killing other single men with bladed weapons (traditionally cleavers and machetes),
  • only 5% are shootings,
  • 10% are bludgeonings,
  • 10% involve women somehow and the ones involving women are usually revenge arsons that target multiple people,
  • most of them take place in relatively public spaces like “entertainment venues” (relying, I guess, on the threat of retaliation to prevent people from testifying in court or helping the police identify attackers).

Notes to Myself

2009 Jan 29

There are three kinds of characters: PCs, NPCs, and SCs (scenery characters). NPCs can become PCs if PCs die; SCs can become NPCs by being given ‘connection’ traits.

‘Connection’ and ‘position’ traits can be strong, weak, or destroyed. When gambling, traits are strained when you test them to draw a card and your total score drops; not, as previously described, when you do not improve your ranking relative to another character.

Add 25s (Traitors) to the very bottom of the triad hierarchy.

When gambling, you can only test a ‘position’ trait if your character has a higher ranking position (and, consequently, a higher number in triad numerology) than the character who currently has the highest total score; it doesn’t matter which gang the character is in, just the character’s relative position within it. You can test a ‘position’ trait as many times as you want, but you risk straining it each time.

Macanese or mixed-ethnicity PCs must start as 49ers (ordinary members), since triads originated as anti-Manchu secret societies and place a lot of emphasis on ‘Han brotherhood’ and ethnic blood ties. Macanese NPCs can hold any rank in a gang except for Mountain Lord and Deputy Mountain Lord. There is no cap on the rank Macanese PCs can attain during play.

‘Connection’ traits can only be tested once per gamble? I think so.

PCs can be fine, injured, or dead. PCs are harmed when they lose a gamble in which the ‘unreasonable demand’ is their death. These are known as ‘deadly gambles’ but don’t necessarily have to be deadly for both sides. Consequently, healthy PCs must lose two ‘deadly gambles’ (without healing in between) to be killed. However, if one character in a gamble declares that they are intending to kill another, the targeted character should be given the opportunity to change their own ‘unreasonable demand’ (since it may be their last), including making the gamble deadly for their opponent(s). Attempting to kill multiple characters in a single gamble is certainly possible, but it is unlikely to succeed when all the targeted characters are given the opportunity to change their demands and team up against the would-be multiple homicide.

NPCs and SCs can be killed by PC saying so; NPCs can also kill SCs this way. If an NPC tries to kill another NPC, they must win a gamble against the NPC. SCs can be saved from instant death by quickly giving them a trait or two (turning them into NPCs), but must immediate enter into a gamble that may end in their death. Can NPCs be upgraded to PCs to avoid a similar fate? I’m not sure.

When framing a scene, first determine which general district is it taking place in.
• Fátima – Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Macau proper
• António – St. Anthony Parish, Macau proper
• Lázaro – St. Lazarus Parish, Macau proper
• Catedral – Cathedral Parish, Macau proper
• Lourenço – St. Lawrence Parish, Macau proper
• Taipa – Our Lady of Carmel Parish, the island of Taipa
• Coloane – St. Francis Xavier Parish, the island of Coloane
• Chuhai – Zhuhai, the Chinese city immediately opposite Macau
• Heunggong – the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, just a quick hydrofoil ride away
• Shamchun – Shenzhen, the Chinese city immediate opposite Hong Kong
• Far Away – deep in the mainland, Malaysia, Japan, Portugal, the UK, the US

The first scene is set on the hydrofoil between HK and Macau (in liminal space!). The characters are guarding and delivering 14K assets that are being transferred to Macau before Hong Kong is returned to China. The players should determine what these assets are (wealth, people, guns, etc.) When in doubt, make it a suitcase full of priceless ceremonial artifacts used in triad rituals from the time of the Qing Dynasty.