Who are the Network of Masks?
An organization of ambitious but mostly bungling brigands, the Network of Masks are the flashy and theatrical resistance fighters with barely a clue. These citizens of Gothic City have decided that the only way for their community to truly prosper within the Empire is to control its own without interference, so they have taken it upon themselves to conduct underground activities to help the less fortunate prosper, steal from the rich, and combat Legion’s most ruthless members…unfortunately they have no idea on how to do any of it.
A City Molded by Oppression…and Dollars
Gothic City is one of the Empire’s largest bourgeois cities, built on a foundation of fair business, trade, and supply of precious metals to the Empire. Where it once was a thriving urbanizing area in the days before Legion’s takeover, it has since exploded and become one of the Empire’s largest non-military cities that was not at one time a royal capital.
However, under the stagnant rule of the Empire, constant oppression from leaders elected by Lord Murder’s heads of state ensure that every living being in Gothic City pays the price for the Dark Lord’s version of peace. Bribery, blackmail and racketeering are commonplace on every street corner – so long as Lord Murder’s representatives have their pockets lined with enough gold, Legion is more than willing to turn a blind eye to the evil actions of its people.
A Dark Mask Rises
The people tell a story of a hero – a man whose soul turned as dark at the midnight sky during one fateful night when the city was at its most vile. As the tale goes, this one begins with the stench of corruption. A few years ago, Death, the Minister of Propaganda, came to town to declare one of his yearly citywide hero emergencies and let loose his detachment of Legion to seek out this “unknown threat” – a time which meant unruly oppression of the people, for even the slightest good deed could be taken as heroic in nature.
During this time, local street gangs had begun setting up official “Herowatch” liaisons with the militia, in an effort to extort even more money from the local working class. So long as Legion was given a cut, the street gangs could pretty much do what they pleased. One of the local street gangs happened upon the docks where the father and mother of the Hero were closing up shop in their little textiles shop, working late in order to make ends meet. The gang threatened the father with violence if he didn’t hand over a “service fee” for keeping the streets safe for him and his wife to walk home. The father refused, and a fight broke out – one that revealed the clever man had been armed with a repeating firearm from one of the far-off islands that he called a “gun”. The gun shot and wounded all of the members of the gang, sending them fleeing into the night. The next day, the father and wife were charged with “heroic acts of bravery” by the militia and were sentenced to immediate hanging.
The son swore revenge and began training to transform into the very icon of vengeance he sought to become, but quickly came to realize his even on his best night, his athletic ability and fighting prowess was on par with a drunk octopus. Instead he took the massive inheritance owed to him through various insurance policies his father had taken out on him and his business, further invested into it, and worked hard to turn it into one of the most wealthy textile importers/exporters and tailors in all of the Empire. With practically enough money to buy Gothic City from the Empire, the self-styled “Captain Moneybags” began to pay people to do the actions he sought to perform in order to combat the forces of darkness that threatened the good city folk. Not picky in whom he hired, the ranks swelled with masked rebels fighting for truth, justice, attention, violence, amusement, and looking good in a cape. The tales of seeing a shadowy figure in black after terrorist acts against the Empire began to surface within the walls of the inns and taverns around the city – and The Network of Masks was born.
While not entirely too bright thanks to loose recruiting standards, the Network of Masks has actually been causing problems for The Empire in Gothic City. Captain Moneybags has purchased the services of a number of “freedom fighters” in order to fight the forces of the Empire – but most of them aren’t any better than he is. However, there are a few “lieutenants” of note who hold some form of power in the unknown hierarchy of the Network of Masks…if they have one at all.
The leaders of the Network of Masks are:
- Captain Moneybags: Also known as “The Banknote of Vengeance”, Captain Moneybags is the inheritor of a massive fortune after the unfortunate execution of his parents. A millionaire playboy who hides under the guise of his costumed identity, his massive wealth purchases many different state-of-the-art weapons and mercenaries to make the NOM a dangerous and powerful force…but neither he nor about 98% of the members of the Network of Masks are very good at using any of them.
- Luther Bombard: Actually more accurately known as “The Midnight Bomber”, Luther is a low ranking captain who has never really climbed up through the ranks because of his bloodthirsty need to kill. The Bomber is an expert at infiltration and demolition, but couldn’t open a safe if it was unlocked and knew which way to turn the handle. Currently he’s used as a diversion for the NOM’s real activities, but the people of Gothic City believe him to be an insane serial bomber who wishes to kill them all…which is technically correct. Luther works for the NOM because he knows the benefit of working under a disguise while protected by the NOM means he can kill most people and get away with it. For this he was sent away to Southern Cross to get out of NOM’s hair.
- Olive and Eel Gemin: Twins who use the dangerous and rare magical art of Circle Transmutation. They believe they are destined for some great cause, and they’ll explain it to you in great detail any chance they get. When Olive and Eel cast a spell, they both must be present to create a circle between them. They can change forms to almost anything imaginable, and despite being children, are two of the most powerful members of the Network. However, their power comes a price of “Even Exchange” – if one twin changes into something cool, it must be balanced by something awful happening to the other. An example would be if Olive turned her arm into a blade, Eel would have his leg turn into an equal length of rope. Olive and Eel pose as street urchins, but live in a small hovel that is actually quite posh, and act as information gatherers for the NOM.