Feints & Gambits
Fey Court Gameboard
The eternal balance of the Summer and Winter Courts of the fey is governed by the turn of the seasons and the cycle of nature. But there is still a pecking order between the Courts, and fierce competition and one-upmanship. And while the fey range all across this world and many others, in many ways, Ireland is their spiritual home and heart – this is where they feel most at home in the mortal realm, and where they have chosen to play their games.
If Ireland is their chessboard, Dublin is the centre of the board, the squares most important to the evolving game. It is here that they meet in their competitions and challenges, moving the mortal inhabitants and institutions as pawns on their vast board, scoring strange victories and engaging in esoteric contests, counting coup and keeping score. And woe to any who attract their interest, or seem to be a valuable piece in play.
The Inquisition was the public face, and it got out of control. There has always been a faction within the Catholic Church that has known and understood the supernatural threats to humanity. That has taken up arms to stand between the supernatural threats and the defenseless mortals. Since the middle ages, they have been called the Malleus Maleficarum – the Hammer of Witches. They support the Knights of the Cross, the Venatori Umbrorum, and any other group that stands against the darkness, though always from secrecy.
The Malleus in Dublin, however, has been conditioned by decades and centuries of conflict, both supernatural and mundane, and have grown to distrust all supernatural creatures, shooting first and asking questions later. They have a reputation among the magical side of Dublin for taking a scorched-earth approach to dealing with any perceived threats and, while mystic creatures with proven track records of helping mankind may be granted a stay of execution, they are still considered to be the enemies of God – and thus, of the Malleus.
Aspect: Suffer None
Faces: Sister Mary Simon, Friendly Combat Nun
Remnants of the Troubles
Unionists and Nationalists – the Orange and the Green – have been battling in Ireland for centuries. Lines are drawn between North and South, between Catholic and Protestant, between Irish and English. Ostensibly, the Good Friday Agreement ended the violence between the two camps, but everyone knows it’s just not that easy to stop generations of hatred and mistrust. Grudges can last for years, and memories are long. Blood feuds don’t stop just because the politicians say they do.
In addition to the general lingering feelings, some fringe elements from both sides of the question feel betrayed by the truce and compromise. These radical groups, though few and small, have sworn to continue their war, fighting for causes and goals that many in the war-weary populace no longer care about.
Aspect: Ours To Win
Faces: Sean Miller, IRA Splinter Leader
The New Invaders
Like many countries in the western world, Ireland has had a vast influx of immigrants from the war-torn countries of Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. These waves of new people, with new cultures and beliefs, have brought along their own problems with them – organized crime, grudges, conflicts, and secrets. Faced with resentment and bigotry, these groups tend to band together into their own little communities and gangs, trying to protect themselves an hold onto their cultural identities in the face of pressure to assimilate.
A new threat has come along with these immigrants – the fierce spirits of the Russian steppes, the African savanna, the Cambodian jungles. By far, the most numerous are the dark creatures from the tales of the northern forests of Siberia, led by their ogre-queen, Baba Yaga. These Russian creatures work to carve their own bloody foothold in the nation, with the aid of the Russian mob, fighting a hidden, underground war against the native fey.
Aspect: The Tenth Wave
Faces: Baba Yaga, Iron-Toothed Ogre Queen