The Yorkman/Issue 001
Welcome to the first complete edition of the Yorkman! All comments, criticisms, accusations of libel, etc., are gratefully received via e-mail. Also, feel free to discuss the articles on the talk page.
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Thanks - The Yorkman Team
This issue originally piloted on 15/08/06, and then completed on 20/08/06.
Predators in "Wrong Island" Shock
Following the recent split of the infamous Gangsters of York, former leader Eminem1 formed a breakaway group called the 'Predators of Killer Island' and laid claim to a small islet off the Shartak coast.
Unfortunately, the island had already been claimed, and extensively fought over, by the Royal Expedition and the Discordian Cargo Cult, so Eminem decided to put into action a "military style plan" to drive their competitors from the island using "hardly any violence at all".
At least one Predator infiltrator was exposed and barred from joining the Royal Expedition, and both forces swiftly deployed troops to the disputed isle, ready for a long and bloody war. As the days passed, however, the expected conflict failed to emerge, and contact between the two sides had still not occurred after a week.
Now, the Yorkman can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that the would-be foes are on completely separate islands. Misinformation from an unknown source had led the Predators to believe that the island they had occupied to the south of York was Shark Island, which is in fact several days trek to the west.
The Royal Expedition's Minster for Military Affairs described the situation as "deeply confusing" and admitted that our revelation "explains a lot".
Latest News: Conflict Looms
Despite no longer being a target for the Predators, the future of Shark Island looks anything but quiet. The Scurvy Crew of The Hell-born Strumpet have laid claim to the oft-disputed islet, and although they have promised not to initiate hostilities with any group over the island, it seems unlikely that any of the groups that have invested so much time and effort in controlling the area will peaceably allow it to become a watering-hole for the pirate community.
Although largely comprised of pirates themselves, the Discordian Cargo Cult are known for their antagonistic tendencies, and inside sources have revealed that the Scurvy Crew have sought peace with the Royal Expedition in the expectation of a conflict with the cultists.
Whether this offer is accepted remains to be seen, but if not, Shartak's largest clan will be pitted against the oldest in what may become the largest conflict the island has ever seen.
North-South Divide Deepens
Internal feuding continues to plague the settler communities of Shartak, as mutual suspicion and dislike between the southern camps and the shanty town that has grown up around the shipwreck on the northern coast deepens.
In response to the formation of suspected Order of Patriots front group 'The Pirate Hunters', several prominent pirates have called for all-out war upon York and Derby, under the banner of the newly-founded 'Jolly Roger Gang'. The JRG stress that they are acting only in self-defense as a response to the actions of anti-pirate paramilitaries, but their stated aims seem to point to aggressive action against the south, possibly leading to raids upon York reminiscent of the first pirate invasion of York.
Only Durham remains neutral, tucked safely away on the western peninsula. The town sees few pirates, and those that make the long trek there are more often peaceable traders and explorers than the bloodthirsty killers commonly encountered in Derby and York.
"I had some trouble fitting in at first", says reformed pirate and honorary Durham Pistoleer Patch, "but most people here are welcoming and open-minded. The only real problems we have round here are with habitual murderers such as Buffy871, and the Pistoleers have been doing a great job keeping folk like that out of town. Arrhh."
Ammo Shortage Hits York
Local businessman Trader Harry describes the situation as "dire".
"As soon as I get new stock, its gone", he tells us, looking fraught and worried. "People have even stopped taking potshots at my dog. Some friends of mine are considering the viability of recycling the used rounds that get dug out of people up and the hospital, but without a reliable source of gunpowder they're useless. If we don't find a solution soon, this town'll be crawling with pirates again."
Our researcher joined a dozen other scavengers in York's normally reliable ammunition hut, but a day's desperate searching turned up only a handful of bullets and two empty rifles, doubtless discarded by other frustrated marksmen.
Opinions are divided as to the cause of the problem. Although increased demand looks to be the most likely reason, many are quick to point the finger. Accusations of stockpiling have been levelled at everyone from the Order of Patriots to the Colonial Police.
"It's those blasted traders", moaned one anonymous source, "taking all our guns and selling them to the savages. Now what are we going to shoot back with when they come to drive us into the sea?"
"I really don't have time for this", commented a passing guerrilla who did not wish to be identified. "I've got an ecosystem to save, dammit."
In related news, locals have noted a recent decline in shooting incidents around town. Machete killings, however, are on the up.
Through our reporting team in Derby, the Yorkman has managed to secure a rare interview with the infamous Tom Failur, the 'Butcher of York'. Tom is probably the most notorious pirate on Shartak following his controversial exploits in York. Today, he talks openly about his role and experiences in the Mercenary's Guild, one of the most feared groups on the isle.
Everyone on Shartak is aware of the Mercenary's Guild and what they do, but what sort of person tends to join the Guild, and what motivates them to apply?
- People join from all sorts of backgrounds and for all sorts of reasons. Many are people who like to kill for fun and see a way to get rich doing it. Each member gets an equal share of any jobs we do, and some may get bonuses if they have performed particularly well. The fame also depends on how many kills a person get, like myself earning the title of 'Butcher of York'.
How do non-members tend to react upon learning that you are a Merc? Is there any sort of social stigma associated with joining the guild, or does it bestow greater status upon you?
- Most people view us as no better than psychopaths. They forget that most of the time we only kill if we are paid to - I never harm another person without a monetary incentive. So long as they don't make any rich enemies, people have nothing to fear from us.
One of the most common tasks for your guild is of course bounty hunting. For what sort of reasons do people end up with bounties on their heads? Do You have any favorite 'unusual' reasons?
- Normally it is just if they have pissed someone else off in one way or another, especially if they are hindering the work of clans. Unfortunately we have not yet recieved any funny requests such as "ABC123 because he has an ugly face".
Once a bounty has been placed, how do you go about collecting it? How do you go about tracking down the wanted man?
- We rely on information from helpful civilians to help us track victims. Then we avoid tedious tracking that cannot be specific enough to be useful.
The first Mercenary's Guildhouse, near Czechy's Tavern in York, was recently closed. What made you choose York as the site of your first Guildhouse?
- It was simple convenience. That was where Erados and Wojciech (the founders) were when they started the clan.
Tom Failur's activities in York are a matter of local legend, yet details remain scarce. What was Tom's mission? Why were the twenty or so people that he killed targeted?
- I cannot reveal the specifics of missions past or present. However, the mission was definitely a success.
Moving on, several groups were strongly opposed to Tom's activities, notably the Order of Patriots. Was there animosity between the two groups beforehand, or did the Order object purely due to your employment of pirates for this task?
- The Order is a group dedicated to the protection of York. They view us as murderous fiends so do hunt us whenever we are near by.
Did your ongoing feud with the Order become a significant issue with regards to your operations in and around York, or were you still able to operate 'business as usual'?
- The Order did do a very good job of keeping me dead. I cannot speak for other members. Calling the shaman, walking to York and then dying does get tedious after a while.
According to some rumors, Order of Patriots figurehead W B Hazen was attacked several times by your operatives. Is there any truth to the speculation that guild leaders posted an open bounty on his head using money either from the own pockets, or from guild funds?
- Many members dislike WB Hazen due to his hate of us so did place bounties on him or just kill him for fun. I can confirm he was killed many times though.
How did you react when the Patriots started offering bounties on the heads of their enemies to the general public? Did you feel threatened to be on the other end of your methods?
- It was bound to happen. People can attack us if they like. But it will likely lead to being placed on our bounty list and possibly repeatedly killed.
The Order have claimed frequently that their bounties, plus the actions of W B Hazen, 'drove' you from York. Is there any truth to this assertion?
- We had finished our job in York and had a job awaiting us on another part of the island. Simple as that. If we were being paid to be in York then that is where we would be.
The other group you feuded with in York was of course the Colonial Police. Is there any truth in the accusations of a covert war between your clans?
- Their job is to stop murders. Ours is to commit them. Obviously we are not going to see eye to eye.
- Personally I was never killed by any CP officer. I have since revisited York and been treated with friendship by them. I think they understand that we are no danger to the streets of York unless paid to. They even considered paying us to help them track down criminals.
So, all things considered, why did you decide to leave York for pastures new?
- Gotta go where the work is.
What plans do you have for the future of the guild? Are you decamping to another town, or will you return to York sometime? Where do you see the guild, a year from now?
- Once this job is complete we will probably settle down for a bit in another town and wait for another job. No doubt at some point in the future we will return to York.
- In a year from now I see the Guild as pretty much the same, except larger and richer.
Historic Sale of Legendary Sword
York was recently the proud host to the first ever sale of the legendary Heavy Sword, in a transaction believed to have involved almost a thousand gold coins. Royal Expedition member Elena Barton took her place on the island's rich list by selling two of the sought-after weapons via Trader Harry, who is thought to have charged a heavy broker's fee for his part in the deal.
For many people, this was the first proof of the existence of the Heavy Sword, which can dish out as much punishment as a rifle in the hands of a trained user. The location where the weapons were found remains a closely-guarded secret, despite sums of up to 400gc being offered for such information.
Three-Headed Monkey Spotted Near Derby
According to the claims of local alcoholic and layabout Georgii, the fabled Three-Headed Monkey of Shartak has been spotted to the west of Durham. Georgii had been wandering for several days in the area known as The Dunes, apparently in an attempt to find his way home after a heavy drinking session with friends, when he stumbled across the beast performing what he describes as "some sort of funny dance".
Georgii's claims have been disputed by several locals, especially those who claim to know him well.
"I wish I could have it stuffed", he sighs, taking a melancholy swig from a bottle of cheap rum. "I'd make a fortune."
|The Order of Patriots|
|The Jolly Roger Gang|