Friday, June 19, 2020

Troika UVG! Further conversion notes


So as I mentioned a while ago, I'm running a UVG game with the Troika ruleset.

I'm not going to do play session reports, but here is what has happened over the last oh, 6 sessions or so:   So far they've gone to the Last Serai, managed to make a killing on vodka, and are regrouping at the violet city for a new voyage.  They have befriended a porcelain prince, the chicken warrior has accidentally joined a revolutionary group AND another porcelain prince is after his body, the inquisitor has a low-grade vome infection and they now have 2 motorcycles.  The group is very keen on finding a Behemoth pearl for Cubina - for some reason they really latched on this side quest hard.  Maybe because they all tried to save the were-pug and failed badly on their rolls?  But I already have plans for this quest now.  I didn't know where campaign was going to go, and it may still veer off in different directions, but well the players have a goal and that's great.

Play-testing is very important, and I thought I should report on my rules finding.

First, my conversion table is... a bit harsh.  It works OK with luck checks but not so much with skill checks, so I've tweaked it:


2d6 1d20
2d6 1d20
Fumble Fumble
Fumble Fumble
-6 1
-6 1
-5 2-3
-5 2
-4 4
-4 3-4
-3 5
-3 5-6
-2 6
-2 7-8
-1 7-8
-1 9-10
0 9
0 11-12
1 10-11
1 13-14
2 12
2 15-16
3 13
3 17-18
4 14
4 19
5 15-16
5 20
6 17-18
6 21+
7 19

8 20

9 21+

Critical Success Critical Success
Critical Success Critical Success

It's not perfect, but it's better.

Second, the gun damages is *wild* in Troika! and I have a few thoughts about that.

A: armor is *essential* - even a little bit will greatly enhance player survival.  It can also enhance the survival of villains (but don't give every mook armor).

B:  A better "fix" would be to revise damage... but that's a lot of work, and I'm going to wait for that, because it would mean looking at *all* the Troika! weapon damage.

C:  I will allow players to spend 500 XP to gain 1d3 stamina UP to a maximum of 24.  After that, it's 1000 XP.

Third, a new weapon - the humble revolver:

1- 2 3 4 5 6 7+
# shots Weights range base cost
Revolver 2 2 3 4 7 9 13
6 1/3 stone near 75

Lastly I will note that I am collaborating with David Schirduan (ie Technical Grimoire), we are exchanging notes on play tests etc, and he will be publishing a new version of his conversion guide - as he is infinitely better at layout than I am, that should be a far better documents than my rambling blog :P .  We aren't aiming on having identical rules, but I'm confident that our mutual work will make each version better - peer review isn't just for science..   Also, Coins and Scroll is forging ahead full metal on UVG, so read his blog!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Stygian Library remastered on Kickstarter (+ some UVG/Troika! stuff)


Another short post today - but one that is time sensitive, so I need to do it!

A while back, I reviewed the Stygian Library.  You can go read the review if you wish, but tl,dr, it's a *very* good adventure that I very highly recommend and my players loved it.  It's a must have.  But what if you wanted a paper copy?  Or one with more original art?

Well now you can!  It is now on Kickstarter, and it's already backed.  It's closing in 6 days, so don't delay!

In other news, the Troika!/UVG game is going well (… if  you ignore the difficulties of gaming online vs in person and other such challenges), but I can tell you that the table I showed here as my first attempt at converting a d20 to a 2d6 works properly in the sense that it converts the rolls, but not so well in the sense that I don't like the results.   For example, someone can do a skill check on the nose (made by zero) and that translates to a 9.... which is often a mediocre or even bad result.   I think I was too concerned by the misfortune table, which is based on luck, which tends to be higher than advanced skills.  I'll post more about this later, but just in case you wanted to follow my example, beware of this.

This, incidentally, shows the value of playtesting!  No matter how clever you are, nothing beats actually testing something.  I think I will have to tweak the numbers a bit, and then more importantly, have *two* tables - one for luck check, and one for skill checks.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

"Real life" adventuring gear

There are things in D&D that are … mistakes.  Like studded leather, it didn't exist (it's miss-interpreted brigandine).   But it stuck around.  And there are probably many others like this.

So it's nice, once in a while, to look at things.  People think that adventurers fight.  But the thing they do most is *travel*.  And traveling can be hard.  You can die of exposure.  So how did they do it back in the day?

Well... I don't know either.  But I found this on the web, and it's *very* inspiring:

I know my posting a link is not high quality content, but this quarantine has been hard.

Some things I note of import:

Food carried was light and dehydrated (oats) and carb rich.  A bit of salt was also carried - both flavoring but also to restore salt loss via sweating (if you "run out of salt" you will feel a lot of fatigue).  The goal here was not to have you full day's worth of calories, rather to have a bit of food to keep you going.  This would not have been sustainable over longer distances, but made a lot of sense.

Tools are more important than weapons - especially tools to repair  your gear, make a camp and make fire.  Tool that can act as weapon are probably great.  The same goes for armor.  Lightweight stuff that is multi functional is best - like a leather/sheepskin vest.

Making camp takes time!  Picking a good spot is important.  And a good spot for shelter may not be a good spot for defence.  Having a watch to keep the fire going when cold is probably as important as keeping watch for enemies.  

edit:  Thank  you Anne for the suggestion re imbedding :)

edit 2:  Spells like mending and prestidigitation would be *super useful* for adventuring.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Grimoire inspiration!

So when I started working on the Petit Albert translations, I had a number of goals and hopes in mind - some was historical research, some was the hope to create a resource that would be usable for gaming material.

It seems that my efforts have paid fruition, and some others have started using it as a source/inspiration for their own game!  I am *very* honored to see this happen - it is quite gratifying to have my work be of use to others!

First we have the reddit user The Secret Dino created a list of magical items clearly inspired by my work:  (see the thread: - I may update this entry if they have more material)

Second the very talented and frequent collaborator Words for Yellow posted this music-inspired list of magical rituals, which clearly have roots in the Petit Albert's formulas.  That bell-based spell?  Ooof that is something!

Both have created fascinating work, and I also note in a lot more concise form than the somewhat long-winded and rambling Petit Albert text... and that's a good thing!  It makes it far more useable in a game :)    This is a great example of the DIY/collaborative nature of the OSR, and it's a pleasure being a small part of it.

Lastly, you may note that Words for Yellow wrote that post for the Secret Jackalope 2020, organized by the OSR Discord server.  I too am writing one, and mea culpa, I am already late.  But I do have something coming up!  Something UVG related too.... stay tuned.

edit:  I don't think I had any effect on this, but this is wild and should be read anyway!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Troika! - UVG - Rules conversion notes and new Backgrounds

So I decided to run the very intriguing UltraViolet Grassland setting by Luka Rejec, using the very zany Troika! ruleset.

At first I thought this would be easily accomplished.  The flavor of Troika! and the UVG setting really do merge well.  The inventory system is *remarkably* similar.  And there is a *very* useful rule conversion document at the Technical Grimoire.  Easy Peasy right?

Well... not 100%.   First there are some lacks in the conversion document - things that were not addressed.  Second, I feel that some changes to the Troika! rules should be made both for UVG but also "in general".   I intend for this post to be a "living document" - I'm going to add to it as I go along.


 I've made some comments about the Troika! rules in the past, and now that we've played several games, I feel confident in making the following changes:

1:  Troika! characters can be rather incompetent, and this is *especially* true if you have a base skill of 4 (the range is 4-6).  I had implemented a rule with a skill range of 5-6, but it still left the characters with a skill of 6 quite better than the characters with a skill of 5. 

To help this, I've split the basic Skill into 2:  Physical Skill and Mental Skill.  When creating a character, the player assigns one with a value of 5 and the other with a value of 6.  There is no need to assign advanced skills to mental of physical, rather which one to use will depend on the situation.

Example:  Colonel Sanders has a physical skill of 6 and a mental skill of 5.  He also has an advanced skill of sword of 2.  In a fight, a physical challenge, he would have a total sword skill of 8.  However, if he was trying to see if a new sword was a good purchase; it would be a mental check, meaning his total sword skill would be 7.

2:  Luck is very important in Troika! To "even out" luck scores a little bit, starting characters roll luck as 6 +2d3, vs 6 + 1d6.

3:  To generate new characters in an existing game, so that they aren't too far behind the others, the following procedure is followed:
:  Get a new character randomly (either using the existing Troika! characters or using the 1d40 table in UVG - the GM will then have to make one).  
b: The player can improve the advanced skills by 3 points, spreading as they wish but without increasing any advanced skills above 3
c:  The player can add one new advanced skills at a rank of 1


1: One of the big challenge is food and healing.  Troika! characters heal fast, eating food (provisions - which they can carry up to 14 unit in a strange "parallel" inventory) heals 1d6 and sleeping heals 2d6 stamina.  But in the UVG there are frequent misadventures (you step on a nail, you lose 1d3 life type of deal).  If these were easily fixed, they would become almost meaningless.  Also, supply management on a caravan becomes a lot easier if people can carry 14 meals for "free" on top of their equipment.

So clearly the inventory and the healing system have to be tweaked.

After speaking with David Schirduan about this issue (thanks David!) we came up with the following fix:

Traveling in a caravan is *not* restful stuff.  You need a week off in a safe place (or being taken care of by someone else during a halt) to gain sleeping-based healing.  One could also posit that the UVG's conditions are not entirely friendly to human life - people heal slower than in other places?  The same rules apply to luck "healing".   edit: I note that there is a "rest after a week of travel if nothing happened" and I would allow that too, but it's not reliable.

As far as eating food and inventory, first of all the parallel provision inventory is gone.  1 sack = 1 weeks of supply (mostly food). 1 day of food = 1 ration = 1 stone.  Eating your normal amount of food keeps you healthy but doesn't heal you.  Eating more heals 1d6 per ration - and you can't eat more than 3 rations a day (there are limits on how much  you can gorge  yourself).  This limits healing to 2d6 stamina per day *and* makes healing via food a difficult choice - you need those supplies to reach your destination!

I was a bit hesitant about this - this *really* limits healing in the UVG!   However, there are still ways to restore luck (pocket gods) and the UVG has the VC Healing Lotion for 40 cash as a further source of healing.   So I think it's livable.  This hasn't been play-tested, so I will update as we find out how well this works.

2:  There are a number of 1d20 "skill check results" table to see what you get after a relevant skill check (market research, carousing etc).  While these tables are well done, they aren't "standardized" - meaning on one table you have a result on 1-2, another result on 3-6, while another table has a result on a 1, on 2-3, on 4-7.... this makes converting from 1d20 to 2d6 *really hard*.  If there was one reason above all others to not use Troika! for UVG, this would be it.  David was stumped by this challenge, and so am I - it seems I'm going to have to convert each bloody table at a time.

Edit:  I tried converting these one at a time and it's ridiculous.  What I've done is created a table that convert the results.   Now, it won't fit all times - and when it doesn't, just roll!  Or pick.  Whatever.   I figured that the worst someone could fail by is rolling an 11 with a skill of 5, and the best is rolling an 11 with a skill of 12.

Are the numbers right?  I don't know.  I'm a bit concerned about charisma check being luck checks (luck tends to be higher than advance skills) but the best way to find out is to playtest it - and now we will, because I can move on from trying to make dozens of bespoke tables!  Will tweak as needed, but for now:

2d6 1d20
Fumble Fumble
-6 1
-5 2-3
-4 4
-3 5
-2 6
-1 7-8
0 9
1 10-11
2 12
3 13
4 14
5 15-16
6 17-18
7 19
8 20
9 21+
Critical Success Critical Success

So double 6 is a fumble, double 1 a critical success.  0 would be rolling equal to your skill/advance skill rating.  -1 is missing the roll by 1, +1 is making the roll by 1 etc etc.

EDIT PART DEUX:  I redid the table, go see it here!


There are 40 proposed backgrounds in the UVG, and I'm not going to convert them all!  But here are 2 that are being used in our game:

Dwarven Wine vampire priest

Why are you in the UVG: Nightly dreams of a lost world
what do you have: Grey cube that weighs five times more than lead

Background:  You are a priest of a sinister cabal of Wine Vampires.  The Wine Vampires suck alcohol from the blood of the inhebriated, and control a very significant network of vinyards.  Vampire Wines are renowed; rich and ruby red, revitalizing for they grow from source-rich soils infused with the flesh of creation.  They increase in value further west you go (ie deeper in the UVG). 
Nominaly, you are claiming to your superiors you are working to expand the markets west.  In reality, you have been troubled by nightly dreams of a lost world, which you feel compeled to find.

Advanced skills
- Tempting Goblet 2
- Skeletal counsel 1
- Iron hand 2
- Leech 1
Advanced Skills
- Vintner 2
- Crossbow fighing 1
- Metalworking 1
- Marketing 1

Possession:  Grey cube that weighs five times more than lead (encumbrance: 1 stone)
Crossbow, 20 bolts
Fur robe (light armor)
iron short sword
Brass Chalice
1 casket (1 "sack") of vampire wine (trade good)
3 bottles of vampire wine
pouch of grape seeds. 

New Spell:
Tempting Goblet (2):  Splash wine on a foe, and the loss of such a fine vintage will demoralize them.  The foe received a -1 skill penalty to all skill checks (including attacks) *and* a -2 penalty to luck/skill checks to resists effects until the wine dries

Undercover rainbow inquisitor

Why are you in the UVG: Portents of a deadly machine demon
what do you have: Platinum necrogoggles that reveal undead

Advanced skills
Disguise 2
Linguist 2
Pistol  2
History 1
Tracking 1
Sneak 1
Awareness 1
Old Tech 1

pistol: Inquisitor Squirtgun
Platinum necrogoggles that reveal undead
Ballistic Linen Suit (light armor), only 1 slot equipment (vs 2)
30 squirt round
5 tiny vials of acid
5 tiny vials of holy water

Inquisitor Squirtgun 2 2 2 4 6 8 12  (when empty)
The squirtgun is a pistol that holds 5 shots and fire liquid-filled rounds.  It is not a particularly powerful weapon by itself, however when the round is filled with a suitable payload it can be more dangerous.  Use of a noxious substance such as acid adds a flat 2 to the damage, other subtances may be more harmful or inefective.

edit:  I've been asked if this has been play tested - this is being play tested now.  I have a game ever 2 weeks and we had our first UVG session already.  So if this doesn't work, this will be edited, there will be a new post etc :)

Lastly, I would be remis not to note the great UVG resource that Coins and Scrolls is.

(Required disclaimer: this post an independent production by me and is not affiliated with the Melsonian Arts Council.)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Petit Albert Grimore: Some Alchemy

Apparently, this month is the Alchemy Carnival!  What better way to celebrate than continue my long project of translating the Petit Albert, focusing this time on spells that are particularly "alchemical" in nature.

An ointment by which one can be exposed to fire without being burned.
It has been many centuries since trial by fire has been used, where criminals were to prove their innocence via exposure to fire. However, it was decided that this was not legitimate - who are we to ask God to intervene to protect the innocent? Also, there were frauds during these trials, the custom has thus been entirely abolished.

Ancient historians say that the activity of fire could be suspended. Here is the most reasonable means I could create: One must mate an ointment composed of hibiscus sap, fresh egg white, plantago seeds, powdered lye and horseradish sap. Crush and mix together well, and put on parts of the body needed to be protected from fire. Let the ointment dry, and reapply a total of 3 times. After that, you will be able to easy withstand a trial by fire without being injured.

speaking of fire....

To Make Greek Fire

This fire is so violent that it will burn all things to which it is applied and cannot be extinguished - neither with urine, strong vinegar or sand. It is made with live sulfur, tartar, tragacath (? sarcocole), alcohol (?), heated common salt, pentreole (?) and common oil. All these compounds are boiled together, until they consume a piece of cloth put within. It must be stirred with an iron spatula, and this composition must be made in a courtyard and not inside, because if a fire were to start it would be impossible to put out.

Historically, there is great uncertainty about how Greek fire was made. The uncertainty will remain, as I don't know what several of these ingredients are (sorry!) Pentreole *might* be a form of petrol?

To turn one self's invisible with the use of a fixed (solidified) mercury ring

There are reports of the famous Gyges , who gained the thrones of Lydia by the use of a magical ring, which made him invisible, thus allowing him to easily commit adultery with the queen and kill the king. Cabalistic sages have given us the method of making rings which have the virtue of invisibility.

This important operation must be started on a Wednesday (in French Mercredi, day of Mercury... but in English, day of Wotan) in spring, under the auspices of Mercury, when it is know that this planet is in conjunction with another favorable planet (the Moon, Jupiter, Venus or the Sun). Using a well purified and fixed (solidified) mercury, a large ring will be crafted, fitting the middle finger of the hand. In this ring a small stone, found in the nest of a hoopoe, will be set.

Around this ring you will engrave the following words

Jesus passing + in the middle of them + went on his way +

You will then lay the ring on a small plaque of fixed mercury, and you will prepare the perfume of Mercury. The ring, resting on the plaque, will be exposed to the vapors of the perfume three times in a row. The ring will then be wrapped in a piece of taffeta of the color corresponding to the appropriate planet (the one in conjunction with Mercury) and then put into the nest of the hoopoe where the stone was taken, and left there nine days. The ring will again be exposed to the perfume of Mercury, and will then be kept in a small box made of fixed mercury, to be used when needed.

To use the ring, put it on your finger, with the stone facing outward. The stone has the virtue of being so fascinating to the eyes of onlookers that you can be amongst their mist without being seen. If you want to be seen, twist the ring so that the stone faces the inside of your hand and then close said hand into a fist.

I'll note that for a complete recipe, I should give the recipe for how to "fix" (solidify) mercury *and* how to make the Mercury perfume, but this would be ridiculously long. Given the complexity of this formulae, one can doubt if it was ever attempted.

The author gives a modification of the recipe, involving the wrapping of a ring with the hairs of a furious hyena, in the following pattern.

He then gives a counter to the invisibility ring - another ring!:

To make a ring that will counter the invisibility ring

As there are no poison in nature without its antidote, the sage providence of the Creator has made all things in proportions, thus no artifice is without remedy. IF you want to ward yourself against the effects of the cabalistic mercury ring, you will make a ring in the following manner.

The ring will be made with lead, well purged and purified (the procedure being explained earlier in the book). In this ring you will set the eye of a young weasel, that has been with child but once. On the ring you will inscribe the words:

Apparuit Dominus Simoni

This ring will be made on Saturday, when Saturn is in opposition with Mercury. You will make three times the Saturday perfume and you will then wrap the ring in a piece of a funeral shroud. You will burry it in a graveyard for 9 days. After retrieving the ring, you will make three times the perfume of Saturn and use them.

Those who invented the ring used the principle of antipathy which is found between the maters which compose these two rings, with such opposed effect. In fact, nothing is more anathema to the hyena than the weasel. And Saturn is almost always in opposition with Mercury - when they meet in one of the Zodiac signs, it's almost always a bad omen.

A rather topical one: 

A balm against plague

This recipe is against the plague and any contagious illness. It was a present from a king of Spain to his daughter, Queen of France, that I obtain from her first
(main?) doctor, and anyone can make it due to its great facility. (... we'll see about that!)

You will rake well twelve roots of black salsify, you will cook them in three pints of white wine, while covering the pot well to avoid excessive evaporation. Once well cooked, you will press them through a cloth. To this liqueur you will add the juice of 12 lemons, half an ounce of ginger, half an ounce of cloves, half an ounce of cardamom, half an ounce of agarwood; crush everything well. You will then add an ounce each of the following herbs: rue leaves, elderberry, salvia and blackberry. You will make this all boil together at a low simmer, until a quarter has evaporated. You will then pour it promptly through a double cloth, then you will store in a jar made of strong glass and well sealed.

You will drink in the morning without food for nine days, about a third of a pint. By this mean, you will made resistant against bad air, even if you were to frequent the plague-afflicted. For those already afflicted by a contagious illness, they will add to this drink the juice of root of bulbous
(?) and of knapweed (not sure of the species here), from which they will decant a good theriac; and with this they will purge themselves of the mortifying venom. And to those who have the charbon (skin lesion caused by cutaneous anthrax), they will crush the leaves of blackberry and of elderberry with mustard seed, they will form a poultice on the charbon and, with the help of God, will heal.

Alas, this does not work against the plague or any modern pandemics... I mean I shouldn't have to say that, but with all the scams going around @_@ (don't you *dare* sell this as a cure!!)

Finally, the *classic* alchemical work, to make gold. There are 6 such spells in the book (ie less spells than love spells or fish-catching spells), here is one of them:

To change lead into fine gold:

There are people who reject the method that the wise chemist Falopius left to change lead into fine gold, because it seems too easy for such an important work. However, he is not the only philosopher who spoke of such a similar method: Basile, Valentin & Odomarus said almost the same. No matter, here is the way: You will infuse a pound of couperose de Cypre
(copper sulfate) with a pound of foundry water (well clarified by filtration), this infusion must last 24 hours so that the couperose be completely dissolved. You will distill it by filtration through pieces of clean felt, and afterwards by with an alembic in a bed of sand heated by fire. You will conserve this distillate in a jar of strong glass, well sealed.

You will then take an ounce of good fine silver
(quicksilver?), that you purified in a crucible, covered to stop evaporation, when it starts to boil you will add an ounce of fine leaf of good gold, and you will immediately retire the crucible from the fire. This being done, take a pound of fine lead, purified by the following method: Take a pound and 4 ounces (you will need excess because of losses). Melt it, then quench it in a strong clarified vinegar. You will melt it again and quench it in the juice of swallowwort; then melt it again and quench it in salt water. The last melt will use a strong vinegar, said vinegar having quenched quicklime prior to use.

The purified lead will then be melted, and then you will incorporate the mixture of gold and fine-silver
(quicksilver?) that you prepared and mix well together these three things with an iron wire. When all is well mixed, add an ounce of the couperose water and let everything digest on the fire for a short period of time. When this has cooled, you will find that the composition is now good gold.

Good luck on making gold!  (and yes, this spell was easier than the other ones...)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Law Enforcement in the Yellow City.

There was a thread on the Yoon-Suin Reddit today asking about what the response to a disturbance would be, and what was law enforcement like?  My players had the same question. So I thought - why not publish that?  Enjoy!

It bears remembering that only the Slugmen's lives are protected by the law, and only they are allowed to own property (as in real estate).  Crime against slugmen by non-slugmen are seen as an attack against the system, and are *not* tolerated.  Slugmen care far less about crimes against non slugmen…  However, this doesn't meant that the city is in a state of near anarchy.  This is in part due to a number of semi – formalized institutions and individuals that help maintain some kind of order.  These can vary a lot from district to district, and the system is *far* from perfect... but the city runs.  Factors that maintain order include: 

  • Slugmen Magistrates.  Slugmen Magistrates usually deal with commercial/tax related issues, and formal dispute between Slugmen Houses.  However, some of them are... meddlers and will insert themselves in human disputes/crimes, frequently dispensing fines.  Some are also asked by humans to resolves disputes between themselves.  Slugmen magistrates who perform this do so because of a sense of civic duty, because they are bored, or because they are hoping for bribes (some are corrupt, some aren't).
  • Slugmen in general.  As they go about their business they frequently are accompanied by guards, and this has a temporary but effective crime suppression effect.  This lead many slugmen to believe that there is less crime than there actually is.
  • Slugmen House:  Even the feeblest House employs a few dozen guards and stout servants, who keep an eye out in the immediate area around the House's compound.   These guards also look out for each other in their private lives – a guard's family having trouble will normally have no difficulties finding a dozen colleagues to assist them.
  • Holy Men in general:  Somewhat similar to slugmen, perhaps less noticeably so.  Will also act as magistrate between poorer humans.
  • Some cults in specific:  Some cults have their followers and holy men act as informal police forces.  The "Toadies" (followers of the Justice Toad) are infamous for this, but there are a number of others.  The followers of the Bull of Battle patrol the Pointed Dock District with near military discipline.  Armed followers of the Patron of Bakers (the "Rhinoes") will intervene if asked to.  The followers of Meti, the Sword Sage, take a dim view of those who abuse violence for their own gains, etc etc.  Even the holy men of Garlock can keep crime down, as hated criminals make great sacrificicial victims that few will mourn.
  • Club Men stables sometimes help put crime down as many fighters have humble origins and some want to "give back" to their communities.
  • Thief Takers – private individuals or small gangs who are hired to deal with specific thieves to get goods back or capture the suspect.
  • Bounty hunters of all kinds.   More than one crimelord has been stopped by one of the Council Houses putting a 10 000 ruppee bounty on his/her head to make the problem go away.  Smaller bounties are frequently put up by various individuals.   Assassins may also be hired privately.
  • Rent Collectors.   In some districts they have some order-maintenance activities on top of their rent-collecting duties.  Rent collectors are rarely liked, but they do have the ear of the slugmen house and thus have a certain authority. 
  • Hired Mercenaries – sellswords can be hired to patrol an area for a time.
  • Protection Rackets – some of these are semi legitimate and actually *do* protect the area.  The "Old Comrades" mentioned was such a group.
  • Local Tough – a man/woman (perhaps with a few followers) asked to take care of a problem. Mostly in poor districts.
  • Local street gang – sometimes the devil you know is the best you can get.  Again in poor districts.
  • Angry mobs. Public execution by a riled up populace do occur.