The Pits are a series of massive chasms that lie beneath the city of Metrix. Through centuries of excavation, miners have uncovered a network of underground passages, carved into the bedrock by subterranean rivers and streams. Yet the mining corporations of Metrix have allowed fumes and toxic waste to accumulate beneath the earth, staining the waters a fetid black.
While the Iron Assembly works to keep relative peace in the city above, they turn a blind eye to the depths of the Pits. In the shadows beneath the earth, a lawless society has taken shape. Thieves, mercenaries, smugglers and slavers have built their homes here, offering their services to anyone with the coin to pay.
The people here are hardened, cynical and weary, with sunken eyes and skeletal figures. Makeshift lanterns light the paths to their ramshackle shelters, built from the waste that falls from above. From scavenger to hardened criminal, every last resident of the Pits will do whatever is necessary to survive.
The main entrance to the Pits, the Maw is known to the people of Metrix as Pit 2. Once the site of a massive strip-mine operation, Pit 2 is now abandoned, its entrance shrouded beneath the district of Coppertown. The denizens of the Pits use the Maw as a gateway to the world above, using an old mine cage to travel between the underground and the city of Metrix.
In the Pits, there are no laws, no enforcers, and no protection from the criminal underworld. Despite being several steps removed from the city above, the dubious connection between the two regions ensures that ‘tallics continue to be used as a form of currency - even in the Pits. While the Midtown Markets may provide all different kinds of wonders for sale, in the Pits, you can find anything for the right price.
Metrix has banned a number of substances, devices and materials, too dangerous to be allowed free reign within the city. In the Pits, however, no such rules exist. Anyone who wishes to get their hands on the banned or taboo can go to the smugglers of the Pits, who can source anything from lethal poisons, to potent drugs, to human test subjects. The demand for volatile explosives, unstable reagents, and deadly gadgets ensure that the smugglers of the Pits are always in business.
While most in the Pits are workers-for-hire, offering to complete any job for the right price, mercenaries are well-known for their power and brute force. The mercenaries of the Pits usually work within a company, operating as part of a larger team. They are versatile freelance fighters who can fulfill a variety of roles, from guards to contract killers, intimidation to extortion. The most famous of these companies is the Blackjack’s Mercenary Corporation, which provides an intermediary between contractors and mercenaries.
While both assassins and mercenaries can be hired to kill, assassins are specialists, having honed their skills to a fine edge. They are quick, quiet and discreet, eliminating their target with deadly efficiency, often disguising the assassination to avoid rousing suspicion. Assassins are most often hired by citizens of Metrix, sent to dispatch an enemy or opponent without drawing the attention of the Iron Assembly.
Similarly to the detectives of Metrix, information traders will seek out intel on behalf of their clients by any means necessary. While detectives have some semblance of a moral code, nothing will get in the way of an information trader gaining the intel they desire. Extortion, kidnapping, torture and murder are all perfectly reasonable ways of extracting information.
Information traders are usually incredibly private and reclusive. Their line of work earns them plenty of enemies, some of whom number among the most powerful players in the Pits. As a result, many information traders border on paranoid, working through a proxy and refusing to reveal their face to clients.
Apothecaries are individuals with some amount of training in alchemy and potion-making, selling their wares to the denizens of the Pits, which range from healing tonics and poultices to poisons and drugs. Ill from the mining fumes and lack of sunlight, weak to disease and infection, the denizens of the Pits have little choice but to rely on the work of apothecaries, however questionable their intentions might be.
Apothecaries are, of course, not the only ones to be using the people of the Pits for their experiments. It is not uncommon for the scientists and doctors of Metrix to seek test subjects, and the Pits provides an endless supply, free of charge.
The gangs of the Pits dominate the underground, taking control of entire tunnel networks or, in some cases, areas of the Maw itself. To cross any one of the gangs is to sign your own death warrant, and many of those foolish enough to make this mistake are dead within the hour.
Members of the Freakshow have an odd fixation with dregs, the mutated creatures of the Pits; even going so far as to mutilate themselves in an attempt to resemble them. Freakshow territory is found in a much deeper area of the Pits, comprising multiple abandoned mineshafts. They have been known to protect their territory with dregs kept on chains, unable to escape, but capable of attacking anyone who comes within range.
A gang of pyromaniacs with a penchant for setting everything on fire, and a love for explosives. Its members have an extensive collection of burn scars, thanks to their complete disregard for fire safety. Their territory is marked with trigger-sensitive flamethrowers, fire traps, lava pits, and plenty of explosives. Any trespassers in Torched territory are quickly reduced to piles of ash and charred flesh.
Known for their unusual fixation with bones. Numbskulls can be easily identified by the skullcaps they wear, carved from the bones of their victims. Their armour usually combines metal and bone fragments. The cave network claimed by the Numbskulls closely resembles a catacomb; the walls are lined with bone, skull fragments littered across the floor, the stone streaked with a greasy coating of bone marrow and brain matter.
Members of this gang tend to wield a number of explosive devices, though their name comes specifically from their habit of stuffing grenades into the open mouths of their enemies. Their favourite method of torture is using a crowbar to remove the bottom jaw, however much this might affect their ability to gather information. Jawbreakers are scattered throughout the Maw, with no official territory save a group of houses near the water.
The Blockheads favour melee weapons, using clubs, bats and hammers to crush their opponents. They’re obsessed with brute force, and all members of this gang are tall, broad-shouldered, and built like a tank. Almost ten years ago they took control of an entire sector of the Maw, eliminating a number of smaller gangs to claim their territory. They’ve controlled the sector with an iron fist ever since.
Blackjack’s Mercenary Group
The Blackjack’s Tavern is well-known throughout the Pits, not only for the drinks they serve, but for the services that Blackjack’s provide. The Tavern is the central hub of the Blackjack’s Mercenary Group, the largest mercenary organisation in Rathe.
Unlike other groups, Blackjack’s do not hire mercenaries themselves, instead acting as an intermediary. Once they receive a contract, it is posted on the noticeboard for all to see. Anyone who wishes to take the contract speaks to the tavern’s handler, Greenbird, for further details. The first to complete it and return with proof is paid in full.
Blackjack’s have a unique system for identifying the skill and talent of its mercenaries. Every mercenary who accepts a contract is given a card, identifying their level of skill within the organisation. Each consecutive card rank allows its owners more perks within the Tavern, with the most elite mercenaries possessing a one-of-a-kind individual card. Stealing cards from other mercenaries is allowed, if you can manage to pull it off.
The mysterious head of the Blackjack’s Tavern. Not much is known about Greenbird, though there are plenty of rumours to fill in the gaps. Greenbird has been running the Blackjack’s Tavern for close to fifteen years, and thanks to his efforts, business is better than ever. He runs the tavern with an iron grip, keeping mercenaries in pay and contracts flowing. While the Blackjack’s Mercenary could choose to replace him at any time, Greenbird's smooth operation of the tavern ensures that any replacement they could possibly find would pale in comparison.
Greenbird maintains his power through intel, using both respect and fear to keep the tavern under his thumb. He is adept at gathering information, trading in intel to keep tabs on everyone who might cross his path. By keeping an eye on those around him, he has the ability to identify threats in advance, and stay one step ahead of the opposition.
As the largest mercenary group in the Pits, Blackjack’s keeps tabs on all of their freelance mercenaries, inventing a unique system of identification to track each of the mercenaries working contracts on their behalf.
At the top of the hierarchy are the Pins, twenty-two mercenaries possessing unique cards representing their position within Blackjack’s. Usually, these are given to the mercenary by Greenbird himself, and retrieved upon their death - however, should someone manage to kill one of the Pins, they are allowed to take their card and claim their position. Only one of each Pin card can exist at any time.
The rest of the mercenaries in Blackjack’s fall into this category, the stacks. The stacks are split into four ‘types’ - Jacks, Batters, Coppers and Cups. Anyone completing a contract for the first time will be given an ace of one of the four stacks, and then can move up through the stack as they establish themselves within Blackjack’s.
Marks are contract cards, given to a mercenary when they take up a contract. They act as an indicator of the difficulty or complexity of a job, a way to keep track of mercenaries working on the same contract, and are required in order to turn in a contract and receive the reward. Nobody knows exactly how many variants of marks exist, with each contract assigned an archetypal card to represent that job.
An order of assassins, the Spider operates in total secrecy, its services available only to those who know of its existence. Its assassins are raised from youth, taken from the streets and from orphanages, their skills honed to forge them into the ultimate weapon. While there are rumours speculating which deaths they may have been involved in, no assassination carried out by a spider has ever been witnessed or proven.
A mysterious cult found within the depths of the Pits, members of L'Apocalypta can be found throughout Rathe. L'Apocalypta believes that the end times are coming, an event which will awaken the latent powers of Rathe and split the world asunder, throwing all into chaos and destroying humanity in the process. They believe that they are helping to prepare humanity for the coming apocalypse, by creating small amounts of the chaos that humans will face, thus training them for what is to come.
Wars, disease outbreaks, man-made disasters, revolutions and full-scale invasions; many of the darkest events in Rathe’s history can be attributed to L’Apocalypta. Despite their influence, and the suffering they have caused, the cult remains incredibly secretive, and very few are aware of its existence.
The Pits is plagued by toxic sludge and chemical runoff from the city above. It runs through the rivers, seeping into the soil and working its way through the underground. While every denizen of the Pits is exposed to the toxic environment on a daily basis, some are unfortunate enough to be exposed to a larger dose. A collapsed tunnel, a mining accident, steamtech failure or simple human error can cause all kinds of dangerous chemicals to overflow into the Pits, damning everyone they touch to the same dark fate.
Dregs are the result of these accidents. Once human, they have mutated beyond recognition, irreparably damaged and transformed into something that barely resembles their former selves. They are mindless, soulless creatures, who operate on the sole purpose of survival, attacking anything in their vicinity and eating anything in order to stay ‘alive’.