The criminal protagonists of Dusk City Outlaws might have plenty of skill and influence, but they don't go about their illegal business unopposed. In today's installment, we're going to take a look at a few of the groups that provide opposition for your crew while on the Job. Some of these threats are ever-present, while others only pop up from time to time, either in a specific scenario, or when the Judge introduces a plot twist or complication.
With all of the money that flows through New Dunhaven, it should be no surprise that the wealthy and powerful spend some portion on that to protect their wealth and power from the cartels. Private security guards are common in New Dunhaven, and their duties range from on-site protection to acting as bodyguards for individual nobles. Private security does not endure the scrutiny that agents of the Crown do, and they tend to be less disciplined, less skilled, and also less restrained in dealing with the Right Kind of People than a member of the City Watch would be. They occasionally have contentious relationships with the Watch as well, and many Crown investigators will turn a blind eye when private security officers get roughed up or humiliated by the cartels.
The City Watch
The City Watch is the primary arm of law enforcement in the city. On the streets, City Watch officers patrol in pairs or small squads, keeping an eye out for criminal activity and responding to citizen complaints. Their role is to enforce the law, and to arrest anyone that flouts the Crown's authority. District precinct houses belonging to the Watch have small jails where criminals are held before being transferred to the Castle, the fortress-like prison overlooking Longharbor. The City Watch also employs investigators whose job is to seek the criminals responsible for breaking the law, collect evidence, and both direct the officers of the Watch to make arrests and provide the Crown barristers with enough evidence to convince a magistrate to convict.
The Spiders are the city's secret police. Before the Arrangement went into place, the Spiders were a criminal cartel. When the Black Council formed, the Spiders refused to abide by the Arrangement and turned Crown, offering their skills and knowledge of criminal methods to the legal authorities in exchange for pardons and employment. This betrayal cut the cartels deep, causing one to flee the city and another to collapse entirely due to having so many of its members arrested and executed. Now, the Spiders use their knowledge and experience as criminals to hunt the members of the cartels and enforce the Crown's authority in secret. They often operate independently, but can predict cartel activity based on their own history.
When a crew avoids justice for long enough, the Crown will frequently put bounties out on their individual members. Bounty hunters are private citizens, licensed by the Crown to hunt down and apprehend criminals and bring them in for arrest and trial. Most bounty hunters are independent operators, though some work in pairs, whose only income comes from cashing in bounties. They are usually highly skilled, well-prepared, patient and well-armed; few bounty hunters would take to hunting down the Right Kind of People without an arsenal of weapons and plenty of rope, manacles, and other tools of the trade. Bounty hunters frequently strike when a member of the crew is isolated from the others; taking on a whole crew at once is a good way for a bounty hunter to get killed.
The Dredger Detective Agency, whose members are usually just referred to as Dredgers, is a private investigative organization that specializes in detective work and security. Unlike most private security, Dredgers are highly skilled, intelligent, and usually at the top of their field, and they charge a commensurate amount for their services. The Crown contracts the Dredgers when their investigators have failed to apprehend a particular criminal and a bounty has gone unclaimed for too long. Dredgers are also occasionally employed by nobles or wealthy merchants for investigative and security operations where a skilled hand is needed to lead. The Dredgers are also the only private citizens that are allowed by law to carry firearms, a result of a negotiation between the organization's founder and the Crown many years ago.
In many ways, the Blooded are the ninth cartel that rules over the criminal underworld of New Dunhaven, though they do not abide by the Arrangement or respect the authority of the Black Council. The Blooded are criminals who do many of the same things that the cartels do, and their turf covers a large swath of the southern reaches of the city. Yet despite being criminals, the Blooded are not the Right Kind of People; they prey upon the other cartels, fight openly with them, and are enemies to all of the cartels of the Arrangement. They oppose the Crown and the cartels alike, and engage in criminal activity that is more overt, more violent, and more predatory than the cartels typically sanction. They prey upon the law-abiding citizens in their turf with open hostility, and instead of trying to work subtly and stay out of the view of the City Watch, they invite conflicts with the Crown with open antagonism. When a crew is on the Job, the Blooded will often try and steal the score out from under them, and can be disruptive to any crew's plans.
The Endless Dawn
Though they would call themselves "concerned citizens" when asked, the Endless Dawn are nuisances at best and vigilantes at worst. A grassroots organization of private citizens whose stated mission is to keep the streets free of criminal activity, the Endless Dawn began as a neighborhood watch organization that spread throughout the city. Unfortunately, as the group's membership swelled, its mission drifted, and now the Endless Dawn is largely dominated by angry, aggressive private citizens who want to take the law into their own hands. Most of the time, this amounts to little more than busybody neighborhood watches that stick their nose into the cartels' business, but Endless Dawn activity that has gotten out of control has occasionally led to riots and worse. Reckless in their supposed righteousness, the Endless Dawn occasionally harasses law-abiding citizens suspected of being criminal informants or cartel agents, though often this is just an excuse for one citizen to take out a grudge on another.