The Johannas

The Greatest gang on Mort

By Morton T. Smith


Something that hasn‘t been touched a lot in SLA are the street gangs. A couple of years ago I ran some adventureswhere players were gang members in the Johannas one of the biggest gangs in DownTown. This stuff is in no way concrete but I thought some people might want to throw it into their game (I would like it to be noted that a lot of these ideas and characters were not all mine)

The Johannas base their gang heavily around a kind of heirarchy that is controled at the top by a man named Prince Jasper. Under him are some very dangerous individuals indeed called ”Bone Shakers" these are the Johannas feral Ebbons who act as Generals for the gang. There are roughly 200 Bone Shakers alot of which might control their own ”micro" gangs.As you might be assuming the Johannas are an incredibly powerful gang, in-fact if they pulled their resources you could class them as quite a dangerous soft-company. These shear numbers keep the Johannas Feral Ebbons safe from SLA‘s clutches, because the havoc the gang could start if they became upset makes SLA wary of interfering (for the moment, the gang bears no direct threat to SLA and they also help to keep the smaller gangs under control).

The Boneshakers base a lot of their power around what you might call a kind of Voo Doo cult, taking a mish mash of Ebb beliefs and DownTown cults to make up their own muddy beliefs. Bone Shakers primarily use Glyph cards that they either create or buy from the black market. As I said they have their own way of interpreting things so it is unlikely that a SLA Ebon will be able to understand a Glyph Card a Bone Shaker has made.

The Cafe Royal itself is the Johannas headquarters (if you can call it that). The Cafe is actualy quite a small place (by SLA standards) being only three stories high and only able to hold about between about 1500 to 2000 people. The Ground floor is exactly what the sign says outside a cafe. This is where the Bone Shakers and other personalities from the gang will meet to socialise and discuss plans. There is usualy a stream of messengers going to and from the cafe, it is full of smoke and if a character can get in she will find some of the best drinks and drugs in DownTown.The Second floor is the official meeting place for the gangs leaders, but generaly it‘s used for overspill from the cafe below. The third floor is Prince Jaspers ”throne" room, which is kept dark (sight gets reduced to about 10) and hot. This is where members will come to have sex, do dangerous drugs or pay their respects to Jasper. The Cafe itself is guarded by feral Ebons and well equiped foot soldiers while the throne room will be guarded by two or three of Jaspers most trusted and powerful Bone Shakers.

Bone Shakers and Prince Jasper

Ordinary gangmembers

The foot soldiers of the Johannas are different from most DownTown scruffs. For a start they are well fed and consequently reasonably fit. The gang is kept well informed at all levels and so it can be very hard to try and bluff even the lowest gang member. All members of the gang are given a fair share of anything they get, but a lot of the better or rarer equipment and effects is offered to the core gang as a mark of respect. This makes the core gang quite formidibal because all the cool stuff like Fen ARs and the occasional Blitzer end up at the Cafe Royal (its rumoured that someone sits on the roof with a Fen 400 Surekill although thats just a rumour of course :) Your standard Johannas gang member will have lots of trinkets and fetishes on their clothes, either sewn on, worn or painted on to their clothes. All members take tattoos and scars very seriosly with the most prised being the ”skull" a DNA hallmark granted by one of the Bone Shakers upon joining the gang. These can be found anywhere on the upper torso, but most members will have them on their knecks. These are also used to show rank in the Johannas (more=better) and many will refer to their ”necklace" as a symbol of respect and loyalty. Most will carry small fire arms and edged weapons. Nearly all Johannas will carry a serated blade somewhere on their person. The foot soldiers see themselves as superiors to all other civilians and rival gangs. They walk tall and have the bravado and swager of the ruling class.

Bone Shakers

The Johannas have a lot of Feral Ebons in their ranks and they base a lot of their culture around these individuals. SLA OPs refer to all Johanna Ebons as Bone Shakers, but within the gang itself it is a title of leadership. A Bone Shakers ”skull" will cover their whole face like a mask. This symbol is taken almost religiously by the Johannas and to mock it is to invite a grat deal of trouble (usualy a great deal of death too).
Of the roughly 200 ”true" Bone Shakers about 20 will be members of the central gang (usualy the most powerful) while the rest will control their own micro gangs. Bone Shakers try to carry their Glyph Cards as decks of cards. The ones that are created within the gang could be considered works of art and as much time will be spent over the aesthetics as the power itself. A common symbol found on them is that of a crow. Bone Shakers will dress in most clothes, but a great deal of their legs and arms (especialy hand and fingers) will be tied in black bandages. Theres no real reason for this, it just helps to control muscles and stray fingers (like a gymnast might do). Bone Shakers sometimes wear top hats or bowlers which they treat like their crowns and adorn with crows and black cock ferathers.


Prince Jasper (the Prince)- Prince Jasper is a very viscious and dangerous character. He has a great love of ”making examples” of those who do not bend to his will and at times this will even stretch to SLA ops (although he is careful to leave his mark, but little evidence). A common practice is to strip the offender, tie them to a sewer entrance and slit the soles of their feet from toe to heel, scatter black feathers (then leave them to whatever comes out).
The Prince is very charismatic and will can run rings round most in a conversation. He is a warrior by nature and would rather die than relinquish his position. Jasper will allways turn up to fights that have some personal effect on the gangs territory or respect.

Residing in the Cafe Royal, Jasper rules the gang like a king. His word is law and the Bone Shakers see that it is respected. This aside it is Jaspers fairness that keeps him in power, he knows that there is enough for all and greed on his part would eventualy see him overthrown. Every member of the gang is free to do as they wish unless Jasper states otherwise.

Hate- Hate is considered the most powerful Bone Shaker in the Johannas she holds position as one of Jaspers two body guards. Standing nearly 7 high she makes quite an impressive figure. Hate is quiet and contemplative and has respect from all the Bone Shakers, she, like Jasper, treats those under her with respect and fairness. Hate spends the majority of her time resides in the down stairs cafe, gathering information that can then be passed onto Jasper. If trouble seems to be on the horison (and Hate is usualy the first to know) she will be found in the Throne room.

Bim- Bim is Jaspers second bodyguard, but standing at only 59” he can seem a little comical next to Hate. Bim is also quiet, but he is to the point where not even the other Johannas know him well. Bim is secretive, but also dangerous. If Bim looses patience and consequently his temper the out come can be devestating. Jasper is more than a little cautious of Bim, but the terror he holds with everyone else makes him a very useful stick to swing. Bim and Hate both trust each other implicitly, a fact that Jasper is unaware of from both their cold natures (if he did know, it would make him very nervous). Bim actualy has a few other secrets, for a start he‘s an ex SLA op and his real name is Arial. If invistigated it will turn out that Arial disapeared from SLA after going mad in a street and killing anything (men, women, children) that moved. Arial worked for the Johannas as a Prop before joining the gang.