The Shanghai Seven: Red Fury – a pulp villain for Unknown Armies

Who are the Shanghai Seven? What do they want? What do they represent on a cosmological scale? Are they as powerful as is rumoured? Do they work for the New Inquisition or any other major player?
Over the next weeks we shall meet the Shanghai Seven one by one. We might not learn immediately, how everything …

As the illegitmate daughter of a black farmer and a Chinese prostitute, Rachel Wong’s path was set to lead downwards rather than anywhere up. She was given up for adoption, which only meant she was raised in an orphanage and never experienced anything similiar to human compassion or love.

Often bullies and downright maniacs tried to force themselves upon her, yet she never became a victim. Sheer force of will and a ruthlessness and cunning more fit for one of the many predators of the Louisiana swamps of her childhood, kept her alive and well. Yes, she actually did and felt well, slowly rising to the top like an alligator in the thick and muddy waters of the bayou. Not once did Rachel try to run away from the orphanage. The paranoid, claustrophic, violent and remorseless surroundings were second nature to her.

After the state’s childcare system had run its course, Rachel took on many odd jobs and lived a rather uneventful and dull life.
She was more than that, though. Not a blunt instrument of fate, but a weapon with an edge sharpened by her life. So as she was transporting pigs and chickens in a van, a storm suddenly came over her and her cargo. The street became indiscernibable from the adjacent river, everything became anything, then nothing and Rachel Wong died.

And was brought back to life, the legends say. What happened next, could never be truly established. The most probable scenario involves Rachel being rescued from drowning by a swamp-dwelling vodoo priest, who plied his trade in the villages and towns nearby. He took a shine to Rachel, nursed her back to life and took her up as his student.
Rachel was fascinated. However, she remained skeptical, until something must have changed.

She killed her teacher and saviour and disappeared for almost a decade only to re-emerge as the feared and fearsome Red Fury, captain of the pirate vessel “Mother”.

Rachel is almost diminuitive in size and stature. Her skin has the colour of caramel and her high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes betray her Asian heritage. Dressed sensibly in jeans, boots and a tanktop, black hair cut short, Red Fury does not look very imposing.
A look into her completely red eyes though, will strike fear in most men’s heart. She radiates an unsettling calm and temper, whenever she murders whoever is in her way.

Almost ghost-like does the “Mother” prey on unsuspecting ships in America’s inland waters. A crew of huge black men led by Rachel herself seemingly randomly descends upon their victims, kills every single passenger or crew member, but one and disappears without any trace.

As focused as Rachel herself seems to be, clearly looking for SOMETHING, the nature of the object of her desire is obscure.

Rachel Red Fury Wong
Rage stimulus: Weakness. Rachel’s life has been full with tragedy and even though she might not always have come out up top, her emotional toughness made her pull through. Rachel sees her soul, her feelings and her body as being tempered into an edge by the fire which was her life. People acting frail, weak and brittle are infuriating to her.
Fear stimulus: (Self) Rachel is her own harschest judge. Her fear of failure often manifests itself as needless brutality and ruthlessness towards herself and others.
Noble stimulus: In her own mind she sees hersels as a tutor and mentor to people, who experienced similiar hardships as her own. She takes them under her wing and will try to help them become strong and independent.

Body: 65 (Strong enough to split a human skull with a machete)
Speed: 60 (nimble, quick and hard to pin down just like an otter)
Mind: 70 (analytical, cold, calculating)
Sould: 70 (spiritual)

Designer’s note:
Simply put, Unknown Armies lacks pirates.
Asian smugglers and pirates are a staple of adventure/pulp serials. Rachel Wong is my attempt to translate this idea into Unknown Armie’s America. Instead of the mysteries of the Far East, I thought vodoo – at least as depicted in pulp novellas – can serve similiar purposes.

The way I want to set the Shangai Seven up, is to have them represent certain pulp villain archetypes, without the specific trappings of my “Shanghai Seven” idea, so that they can also be used in different settings/campaigns, and in the end tie them all together with common motivation, agenda etc.
Hopefully this works for you, the reader as well.

Unknown Armies and related names are the Intellectual Property of Greg Stolze and John Tynes and protected by Copyright. These items have been used unofficially and quoted exclusively as reference with no infringement on any associated rights intended and without implying endorsement by the copyright holder. Other contents of this articles are published under the following license:

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Unknown Armies und damit verbunde Namen sind Geistiges Eigentum von Greg Stolze und John Tynes und urheberrechtlich geschützt. Diese Elemente wurden inoffiziell und ausschließlich als Referenz zitiert ohne die Absicht damit verbundene Rechte anzufechten und ohne eine Billigung durch den Rechteinhaber zu implizieren. Andere Inhalte dieses Artikels werden unter folgender Lizenz veröffentlicht:

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