A while ago my friends and I started a Necro campaign and to keep track of what was going on we decided to have a Reminiscence Narrative. Rather than an underhive paper or somesuch, the Narrator (an unknown OAP who was most probably involved with the gangs) is recounting life during the proceedings. Sadly our campaign never really got off the ground due to several people moving house, but I always had a soft spot for our OAP!
To that end, I thought I’d share the reminiscence with you. Parts 1 and 2 are an introduction to the area (known as Otherside) and several of the key NPCs who were involved. Part 3 introduces the first of the gangs, Van Saars, Delaques, Escher and some Ratskins. Sadly that’s as far as it went.
I warn you now, most of this is in old-timer speak, but this is an old timer with a filthy mouth, so if you don’t like swearing, sexual references, or really bad puns look away now. On the other hand, if this is the sort of thing that makes you giggle then read on! Also, most of the censored words should be read as something fecal I suspect.
Now then lad, I hear you’ve been askin’ questions about the Flood, about the Dam and those that went through to the Other Side. Is that right? It is?! Now what d’you go digging up ancient history for? What right you got going through people’s past, looking for stuff that’s been buried away, ain’t there enough sufferin’ in the world already? Perhaps they buried it for a reason.
Now you’re new here so I’ll give you some free advice; don’t go stickin’ your nose where it ain’t wanted. You’ll get it shot off or summat, and you know what they say ‘bout men with no noses. So just drop the questions and leave the past in peace.
What’s that you say? Wildsnake? Ha, what’s a molerat like you doing with a bottle of that eh? Next you’ll be tellin’ me you’re a spryer come to steal my spine. What? Well I’ll have one if you do. That's it. No no three fingers and a thumb will be fine.
Well colour me sidewise and spitroast my cousin, that’s the real deal. ****, why din’t you say so boy! Emperor almighty pull up a stool and make yerself comfy. I’ll tell you whatever the hell you want. So what was it you was askin’ about? The flood? Well shut up and listen good.
Now anyway back when, long before you were born, when my great grand-dame was still a juve with a full head of hair and all her legs, this place was called Damnation. See it was called that on account of bein’ a pun, what with us being at the foot of the dam and this place being a fully functioning community, a nation of sorts.
Now I ain’t sayin’ it weren’t a shithole, but they had a trader, a well, a bar, hell they even had a little shrine to the Emperor his self. Had a mighty big graveyard too but that weren't nothing special. Anyway the point was that this place was a nation, all united under a man called Pastor John. And the town accepted everybody, Orlocks, Escher, Van Saar, Goliath. Well, not Goliath, but pretty much everyone, and we was mostly happy. Plus the, what was it Pastor called it? racial harmony, meant that Doc Jones always got plenty of business, what with them stabbings and the shootings and the maimings.
Now Damnation had lived like this for generations, and as far as any of them could tell, they were goin’ to live like this for generations more. Only thing is, none of ‘em saw the Flood. See the dam was a pretty definite line in the sand, weren’t no two ways about it- that wall was the end of the line. Even now its still pretty damn impressive don’cha think? Haha. Now my granny told me this story, an’ she said that she remembered way back when; this scientific fella came to town, all suited up with an auspex bleeping away. He told the people that the dam contained almost fifty cubic kilometres of water, which if you don’t know is a hell of a lot! Now they didn’t believe him; not because they were stupid pig ignoramuses or what, but ‘cause the town knew that behind the dam there weren’t no water reservoir, it were a sewage overflow lake. Nevertheless he insisted that the water was Damnation’s ticket to riches beyond its craziest wildsnake dreams.
Speakin’ of, don’t mind if I do. Ahhh yeah, that’s the stuff. So this science man starts an expedition, tryin’ to scale the dam wall. Now you’ve got eyes young’un, that wall is higher than a ratskin on badger-dust and the expedition was pretty hard going. The story says they got half-way up and realised the wall were too smooth for them to get a good grip. And that’s when they started plantin’ bombs.
Now you ask most townsfolk an they’ll say this is what caused the flood. Some outsider messin’ with nature bringin’ hell down on Damnation. But my granny told me different. See at the same time as everyone were watchin’ the science man to see if he were gonna fall, a couple of Orlock boys decided to go for a joyride. Proud of their mining heritage the knuckle draggers din’t just steal a buggy, they went for a ride in the old excavator from the Crawnfield mine. Now a machine as big as that has a turning circle looser than a overused hooker, and the minute those boys stuck the thing in reverse, the flood was inevitable.
No matter how much they moved that little wheel up in the cab, they couldn’t stop the digger hitting the dam. And when 15,000 tons of premium grade plasteel connects with low density concrete, there’s only one way things are gonna end. And when the concrete is the only thing holding back a veritable ocean of ****, that ending ain’t a happy one.
So that was the flood. Hundreds died, drowning in a faecal tsunami. My granny got lucky- she were up on the roof of the shrine, prayin’ that the scientist would fall so that she’d win her bet with cousin Everit. The scientist did fall; being smacked in the face by a wall o’ crap ‘ll do that to you. But Everit were dead too, so it din’t matter much anyway.
Like I said, that were when my granny were a child, just old enough to carry her own stubber. By the time my parents were born, the Flood seemed just like another part of the town- they din’t question it, just took it as read. Damnation really was a shithole. So much so that some o’ the younger folk began thinkin’ about moving on. An’ in the winter of ‘85 some nut suggested heading through the crack in the dam passing on to the other side so to speak.
It were mostly juves that tried it at first, and mostly they didn’t come back. Any thought that they’d found a way through was a misapprehension, quickly put to rights when you found them floating face down in the soup a few days later.
By the summer things were different mind. The heat from the ‘cyclers started to dry out the flood, and soon there was a thick crust of solid **** coatin’ the land. Now this did nothing to endear Damnation to the locals, but it did help them get out. See the crust were thick enough to be walked upon and that’s what people did. They picked up their stuff and walked along the dried ****, out to the dam, and then through to the other side. I ended up over there a few months later.
Now I know whatcha really interested in. You wanna hear about the gangs, about the psycho nutjobs that went out there lookin’ to carve out their own little slice of heaven. Well my boy you’re in luck. See I knew quite a few of those nutcases personally. Though how an’ why is none of yer business, But if you wanna hear that story well then, you’d best get me some more wildsnake and settle in. This ain’t no five minute rush job, this is an epic; a tale of love, hatred, revenge and maybe at the end, a little redemption. So you still interested, or is that too much for your attention span? Alright, don’t say I din’t warn you now, it’s gonna be a long night...
If you wanna understand what went down in Otherside, y’need to understand the geography. Physical and political if you catch my drift. The first pioneers through the dam didn’t know what to expect. Some thought the reservoir would still be half-full, and chock with giant man-eating crapsnails. Others put money on Otherside being a land of milk and honey, while some, and this my particular favourite, believed that beyond the dam there was an ocean of human teeth. Never did understand the reasoning behind that one myself, anyway the important thing was all of ‘em were wrong.
Here, pass me that chuba pipe would ya? Thanks, want some? Suit yerself, now where were we? Oh yeah, geography. Firstly, Otherside was not as large as the scientist had calculated. Somewhere along the line he must have picked up an extra 0 or summat, because the volume of the tank weren’t 50 cubic kilometres, it was 5. Now that’s still a pretty big tank mind you; two day’s travel from one end to the other, and a morning’s from side to side. Would have been easier going if it had actually been a tank, all flat and featureless, only it wasn’t.
Just like everything else down here, the tank were something else before it were a tank. In fact when they’d built the reservoir all them centuries ago, they’d just walled off a section of the hive. Roads, hab-blocks, factories, didn’t make no difference, they just built a wall around it. Of course lots of it had been flattened by several billion tons of ****, but most of it had survived. The residents hadn’t though; it were empty of people, at least that’s what we thought.
What? Yeah I’m gettin’ to that bit you mole smacker, look if you you’re gonna keep interuptin’ I ain’t gonna tell you nothing. Like I said, to understand the gangs you gotta understand the geography. So basically Otherside was a slightly smellier version of everywhere else in the underhive, only it weren’t filled with the likes of you and me. It was empty, untapped, pure, and like a big titted virgin in a brothel, it wouldn’t stay like that for long.
Hundreds spewed forth into Otherside, just as the **** had spewed out way back when. There were prospectors, gangers, ex-cons, ex-lawmen, you name it, everyone wanted a slice. But of all the people I met or saw, there were three that stood out above all the rest: Big Al, Trader Vic and Marge Le Barge.
Big Al were what they used to call a ‘respectable businessman’ which is to say he weren’t respectable and his business were none of yours. Mostly though he was a pimp, running the Red Parrot club built on top of an old factorum cooling tower. He used to claim that the Red Parrot was the first gen-u-ine brothel and strip joint in all of Otherside. Of course what he meant was it was the first brothel not to burn down in mysterious circumstances. Anywho, the girls were mostly clean and fairly pretty, plus the Parrot had running water and complimentary mudnuts. Al used to hold fights on the roof too. The winner got a free ride while the loser got a free flying lesson. D’ya know a grand total of zero fighters learned to fly before they reached the bottom of the cooling tower? Tragic really.
So that was Big Al, six foot eight of beard, booze and bad breath. He had teeth sharp enough to rip out your jugular, of course being a businessman that were a trick he practiced rarely, preferring to bleed people dry in the financial sense. Probably why he didn’t see eye to eye with Vic.
Vic was a guilder, a caravan owner by trade. The stories said that on one of his many travels he met a little young beauty called Marisha, and spent a night of passion with her before travelling off on his journey. About a year later he found himself back in her neighbourhood and Marisha had a surprise for him. Well that was that, Vic sold up and decided to settle down, that is to say he decided to settle down as far away as possible from Marisha and the child, but it’s the thought that counts ain’t it!
Now as far away as possible turned out to be Otherside, and using his contacts in the guilds Vic started to build up a new trade empire. Shifting goods all through the territory, selling to anyone with the credits and the lack of dignity to deal with the man. To say he had a monopoly would be playin’ to his ego, but suffice to say if you bought something in Otherside, somewhere, somehow Vic made money.
Vic was a man of many flaws and little else stitching them together. Fat, sweaty and vain, the man used to put up signs above his trade houses so that everyone knew who their saviour was when it came to needing food or ammo. Didn’t do him any favours though; it only made his places easier to spot and then torch in the name of common decency. He never worked out who were responsible, choosing to blame Marge instead, which only pissed us off even more.
Marge Le Barge never did wrong by nobody. Wassat? All them folk what she killed? They had it coming and don’t let nobody tell you different.
Marge was what you might call the Guardian Angel of Otherside. She’d gone out there with her flock, nearly 40 families, looking for some kind of promised land, or at least somewhere free from murder an’ stuff. Well that were basically like lookin’ for a brain cell in a Goliath’s skull, but somehow they survived long enough to find the barge.
No-one knows what the barge was for, or how it came to have a broken back but no-one really cared. Marge and her settlers found it and turned it into a sanctuary. A light in the wilderness if you’re feeling poetical. She and her followers repaired the bulkheads and weapons and turned it into a nice little community. They offered shelter to any and all who asked, and all you had to do in return was say a few prayers to the Emperor and not rape, maim or kill anyone she liked. I seem to recall them was the rules; no swearing, no raping, no maiming and especially no killing. Now if you knew what was good for you, you said your graces, didn’t make eyes on her girls and kept your hands to yourself. If you did that she’d patch you up, feed you, say a few prayers for you and you’d be on your way. No one ever asked why she did it, or why she knew all about doctorin’, or owned a Godwyn-Diaz pattern boltgun and wore power armour come to think of it. She was always just Marge. Marge Le Barge, the Guardian Angel of Otherside.
And so endeth the geography lesson, not that you’ve been listenin’; I saw you dozin’ off about half way through. I bet you ain’t heard a word I said. Wassat? Hmmm, well maybe you have been but the least you could do is look a little more attentive. You wanted me to tell you this. What? Hmm? Yeah I’m getting there, like I said, once you ‘preciate the geography you can understand the gangs.
Now gangs rise and fall like expensive hookers at a rodeo; one minute they’re riding high, whoopin’ and a hollering, and the next they’re face down in the dirt, their panties round their ankles, squealing like a molerat. What you grimacing for boy? Dont like the idea of an old wrinkly like me getting intimate with a fine upstanding lady of the night? Well this is my story and I’ll tell it how I want.
Now to continue my analogy, the other thing about hookers is they all got these fancy names like Crystale or Sherry-Lee or Brian, but at the end of the day it don’t matter. No-one cares, no-one remembers, and the same goes for the gangs.
That said there were a few that stick in the mind; perhaps not the luckiest or the mightiest, but those with the most interesting stories.
Take the Tannhausers for example. They were a cold bunch, vicious too. Ex-Van Saar caravan guards who made a habit of hunting down their enemies and putting a lasbolt between their eyes. Now this was all well and good only they got so over excited with all the executions they sorta forgot to guard the caravans. ‘Ventually their bosses got so fed up with the loss of cargo that they sent ‘em down to the underhive with a mission to ‘expand and protect Van Saar interests’.
To say that the Tannhausers had enemies would be putting it mildly. They racked up all manner of vendettas and grudges, their most bitter being with the Lennox Girls. A bunch of Escher ladies that singlehandedly redefined crazy. They were also gorgeous and worryingly good at stabbing things.
Once upon a time the girls had been proper Escher debutantes, real matriarch material you know? But somewhere along the line they got themselves captured by a bunch of Goliaths. Words can’t describe the horrors those girls went through, still are going through in some cases. Anywho their presence in Otherside means their imprisonment weren’t the end of the story. All I’m saying is that when they got out, the fires behind them burned for weeks.
Now as well as... What? I already told you, the names ain’t important, weren’t you listening to a... What? Fine, the Tannhausers were named after their leader, cruel mother by the name of Mikael Tannhauser, though most called him Jaeger, and no I don’t know why they called him that so shut up. As for the Lennox girls, they took their name from the bastard that made them into what they are. Lennox was their pimp, or their shrink I can’t really remember. Now let me get back to my story.
The Tannhausers and the Lennox Girls met shortly after crossing into Otherside. They’d both started carving out their own little empires and it was only a matter of time before they bumped into one another. Their first meeting ended up as something of a clusterf**k. The Tannhausers got a bloody nose and crept home to lick their wounds, but the Lennox Girls took a nasty hit; Babydoll, their leader took a belly full of lead and was dead before she hit the ground.
The gangs agreed to a truce, long enough to swap prisoners and earn a bit of cash, but both sides knew it weren’t a long term deal. It wouldn’t be long before blood would be shed in Otherside once again.
As it turned out though, it weren’t Lennox blood. In fact, aside from a missing finger, it weren’t Tannhauser blood either. In fact, no-one really knew who the new boys in town were, all anyone knew was that at the end of the day, two of them were lying face down in pools of their own blood.
Some said the bodies were Delaques on some sort of reconnaissance mission, others figured them for Orlocks, and a few even claimed that there weren’t no gang at all, and it was all just some Tannhauser BS made up to scare their rivals. Haha, I remember that day. Some barfly was bragin’ about how he’d heard Jaeger planning the tale with his men, how he’d even chopped of Stern’s pinky to make it all real, when Jaeger hisself walked right into the bar. He dropped one of the ganger’s heads right into the drinkers lap then shot him in the gut with his plasma pistol. I tell ya, there ain’t nothing like the smell of crispy fried flesh and ozone to make a person feel alive.
Of course all this was really just the preliminaries. The sideshow before the main dance if you get me. Hell, this was before any of us had even heard the name Squatting Zombie. Wassat? Names ain’t important? Why who told you that boy? Names is the most important thing you got in this shithole we call a hive. If y’ain’t got a name then y’ain’t bin remembered. And if no-one remembers you, you clearly weren’t important. Pffft, Names. You young’uns know nothing. What now? Who’s Squatting Zombie? Who’s Squatting Zombie? Hell am I goin’ deaf or summat? How can you not know that? Emperor son, you gotta lot to learn. Tell ya what, you go buy me a beer, and I’ll tell you about Squatting Zombie...
Sadly that’s the end, for now at least, you never know what might happen in the future. If there’s some interest I might post up some of the terrain I made. Whatever the case, I hope you enjoyed this little piece of Necromundan memoirs.