Cape Diable Organization Profile: The Rougarou

Hoo boy, this turned out to be a long one. In the beginning I just wanted to create cool, thematic factions for my upcoming campaign, but I really wanted to capture the feel of the many different enemy factions in something like City of Heroes, if anyone remembers that game. I also have a tendency to put together too much backstory for a lot of my campaigns, and it sometimes comes in handy! I’d love thoughts on what I’ve put together. I’m trying out a couple things stat-wise for the various NPCs and I’ll certainly let people know how they work in practice once the game starts up.

Oh, and some quick context. Cape Diable is the geographical name, while Port Diable is the actual city that takes up much of the cape. It’s sometimes referred to as The Devil’s Cape to help distinguish the two. It’s about two hours south of New Orleans on a fictional spit of land. The city was founded by supervillainesque pirates in the early 1700s and has always been the Gotham to New Orleans’ New York. The game is set in the modern era, however, just post-Oblivaeon. The city was hit hard in his invasion and an accident (or deliberate action) during the crisis by one of the local superheroes ended with the death of all the previous heroes of the city and a significant portion of it’s emergency services. Thus, new heroes must arise, that’s the premise for the campaing. Without further ado, the Rougarou, the Bayou’s Baddest Bad Boys.

Organization Name: The Rougarou

Main Criminal Activities: Weapons dealing, growing and selling marijuana, smuggling, car and boat-jacking, protection rackets, illegal gambling, prostitution and assorted petty crime

Number of Members: 1500, 3000 including affiliates and accomplices

Organization Leader: Duke LeBarron

Notable Figures: Bethany “Bubbles” Bonaventura, Candace “Candy” Freedom, Remy Simeus, The Magpie

Headquarters: the Dorada, a 300ft franken-yacht

Strengths: Numbers, mastery of the sailing and the bayou, many safehouses, good morale, mechanical skill, diversification of operations

Weaknesses: Organization, computers, lack of advanced crime specialists, almost no metahuman muscle

History: The Rougarou date back to the founding of the city of Port Diable. When the Crimson Council, pirate founders of the city, went to war over pardons for their crimes, the Privateer faction won, and drove the supporters of the renegade faction out of the city. Those supporters met up with some of the smugglers and outcasts that lived in the bayou north of the city, and created their own communities. Always out of step with society, these groups lived in relative separation from the rest of Port Diable…until Prohibition. When sale of alcohol was made illegal dozens of stills were put up almost overnight deep within the bayou, and a half dozen different swamp gangs began selling their moonshine. Eventually, however, one gang, the Rougarou, clawed their way to the top, on the backs of their high quality hooch, propensity for violence and deep bench. Since then the Rougarou have engaged in all manner of criminal activity, though they tend towards seedier crime, with some exceptions… During the Cold War they did a brisk business sailing down to Cuba with holds full of American goods, which they then traded for Cuban cigars to sell to the buyers up north. In the 80s they brought cocaine in via secret ports along the Louisiana coast. But today, they focus a great deal of their efforts on broad criminal activities, though they do a brisk business meeting cargo ships at night, transferring illegal guns over to their smaller boats, and then bringing those guns back to their secret docks. There are few seedy criminal bars, pawn shops, strip clubs or chop shops that aren’t at least kicking up to the Rougarou, at least that aren’t controlled by other gangs. The organization is particularly active near the northern tip of the Cape, where the city ends and the bayou begins.

Style and Organization: To be a Rougarou is to be wild. Or at least, that’s what they say. No one should object to a Rougarou tying one one, going all out or partying till the dawn. But it’s still expected that he’ll wake up the next morning and get his shit done, or else. The Rougarou have a lot of tattoos, a lot of baseball caps and a lot of particularly stylized cars, preferably of the muscle variety. But they prefer boats. The city Rougarou tend towards more urban styles, but are still generally pretty recognizable. A lot of them prefer wolf imagery in their tattoos, van decals and boat noses. Despite their absolute redneck stylings, they don’t care much about your ethnicity, an artifact of their origins as a loose tribe of outcasts and outlaws from all walks of life. They only care that you know how to party. Following your own style is a Rougarou central tenet, so there is absolutely no standard type of weapon, vehicle or method of crime, though there certainly are some…default choices. Most Rougarou belong to a crew that practices a particular type of crime, and the various crew bosses answer to Rougarou captains, who in turn answer to bosses who answer to Duke LeBarron himself. As long as the money keeps flowing, you don’t commit the sort of crimes that get the city turned against you and you play ball when the level above you asks, most crews are left to their own devices. That being said, Duke is trying to push the organization away from direct violent crime and towards facilitation. He says it’s more practical in the long term.

Character Profiles

Leader

Name: Duke LeBarron

Age: late 30s?

Height: 5’10

Weight: 150 lbs

Distinguishing Marks: Stylized wolf tattoo covering most of his back, coral snake tattoo curling up right arm, tattoo of an alligator on outside of left thigh, bullet wound on upper left shoulder, old knife scars covering hands

Description: Duke LeBarron is a tall, wiry man of indistinct ethnicity. He has sharp features and usually sports a neatly trimmed black goatee. He wears several silver rings of various shapes and tends to prefer loud, tight clothing, often made of leather or alligator hide, and usually wears a cowboy hat.

History: The rumor has it that Duke LeBarron is a direct descendant of one of the chief smugglers that moved pirate plunder north out of Port Diable and sold it to various fences and merchants. The rumor also has it that he’s a direct descendant of one of the members of the Crimson Council, the pirate captains that founded the city. The rumor has it that he’s the bastard son of the Devil and Marie Laveau. Frankly, if half the rumors about Duke’s parentage were true, his family tree wouldn’t make any damn sense. His real history is a mystery to most, but that’s how Duke prefers it. He came out of nowhere almost twenty years ago as a punk kid with a lot of style, just as much swagger and very big dreams. Many chalk his success up to pure luck, but in truth Duke works just as hard as he parties. And damn, he parties hard. Before he shot his way to the top of the Rougarou he successfully ran a massive car theft ring, built his own smuggling fleet (literally, out of junked vessels) and negotiated with Baron Blade and didn’t get stabbed, shot or disintegrated! He also was able to keep the local capes and the local cops off the back of the Rougarou through deft maneuvering and a willingness to cut people loose. That being said, he’s beloved of his gang, as the faction has never been more prosperous. Duke bases himself out of the Dorada, his floating pleasure yacht/fortress. It’s not nearly as decadent as it sounds, he oversaw the construction of it himself out of a junked pleasure cruiser, an old WWII gunship and a lot of spare parts. Oh, and Duke LeBarron is almost certainly not his real name, but no one knows what the real one is.

Stats: Duke is a d12 elite lieutenant with the following special abilities

AWHOOO!!: Duke can boost up to 3 allies with one Boost roll, and does so at a +1

Git Back In There!: whenever a Rougarou minion nearby successfully makes a save, bump it up a die to a maximum of it’s cap.

Roleplaying Tips: Duke is a hedonistic, cocky party animal who likes to get in peoples’ faces, flirt with the most attractive and keep the rest off-balance. He makes a rockstar seem tame. But at least half of that is an act, designed to keep people unsure of his motivations and goals. When his back is to the wall he gets real serious, real fast and he can be brought out of his usual swaggering persona if you can get him to engage in topics he really likes, such as boat-building or certain indy rock and punk bands. If you are on his good side, he’s likely to be quite protective of you. If you betray him, he’ll try to bury you in the deepest darkest bayou he knows.

Notable Bosses

Name: Bethany “Bubbles” Bonaventura

Age: 24

Height: 5’3

Weight: Never you mind!

Distinguishing Marks: knife scar on left lower side, pink rose tattoo on upper right back

Description: Bethany is a lean, athletic blonde with attractive,”All-American” features. She tends towards shorts and light clothing.

History: Benny “The Butcher” Bonaventura was one of Boston’s most notorious Mafia hitmen, supposedly taking out dozens of separate targets for his Don. He was a feared and beloved figure. Until he turned state’s evidence, and blew his entire crime family wide open. Relocated down south, away from his family’s influence, Benny took his wife, Barbara, and his daughter, Bethany. Bethany was old enough to remember when her family lived in a beautiful house and never wanted for money, and this, coupled with certain…anti-social personality traits meant she had a hard time fitting in. Benny, on the other hand, was about to climb the walls. He hated living in a small town working a normal job, and channeled his frustration into teaching his daughter “the skills she’d need in life”. In this case, marksmanship, boxing, knife-fighting, stealth and other violent and criminal skills. By the time she was fifteen Bethany was feared by her entire school and she had been thrown out by seventeen. She decided that crime was the life for her, and her beloved daddy practically encouraged it, hoping silently to live vicariously through her. She bounced around from crew to crew until she ended up with the Rougarou, and her BFF Candace. She rapidly became the go-to woman for acts of sudden and extreme violence, destruction and terror. Talent is recognized, especially if it hangs around with Rougarou nobility and Bethany quickly became a recognized lieutenant in the organization.

Stats: Duke is a d10 elite lieutenant with the following special abilities

Whirlwind of Violence!!: Bethany can attack up to 3 different targets and does so at a +1

They Bring a Knife, You Bring a Gun: Bethany can boost herself and make it persistent and exclusive

Roleplaying Tips: Bethany plays the violent coquette but in truth she struggles to relate to people the way most folks do. But her criminal friends seem to like the killer blonde thing, so she sticks with it. She really does like fighting, guns, knives and big fights though, and is constantly sizing up the opposition to see if she could take them. Candace is her best friend and she’d do anything for her, but tries to play the importance of the relationship off. She still has a little bit of a Boston accent even after all these years. Oh, and they call her Bubbles because of the gum, she can’t get enough of the stuff.

Name: Candace “Candy” Freedom

Age: late 27

Height: 5’7

Weight: 132 lbs

Distinguishing Marks: beauty mark at the right lower side of her mouth, wolf tattoo on lower left forearm, shotgun with flowers coming out of the top on outer left side

Description: Candace is a muscular African-American woman with elaborate dreads that drop to just below her neck. She’s striking and memorable, and favors cargo pants, light jackets with red color schemes and tank tops

History: Candace’s family have been with the Rougarou for generations. Descended from escaped slaves and local Native American tribes, her great-grandfather was a top shine runner during the prohibition, her grandfather a crew boss and her father was one of the men to cut a deal with the crashing remains of the Soviet Union after the Berlin wall fell to smuggle leftover Soviet arms into the States. Candace has grown up with all the toughest and meanest old members of the Rougarou family as her beloved aunts and uncles, and she has learned from them well. She has always had a particular fondness for the more mechanical side of the weapons trade, modifying gang weaponry, seeking out new avenues for modern combat technology to use and sell and building armored cars and fast, quiet boats that are armed to the teeth. She met her BFF Bethany a few years ago and Candace’s keen eye for talent found someone who needed purpose and was very good at a very select few things. Candace oversees many of the Rougarou arms deals.

Stats: Candace is a d10 elite lieutenant with the following special abilities

F****** Surgeon With This Shotgun: Candace gets a +2 to Attack rolls.

This One’s A Little Experimental: Candace gets a +2 to Boost rolls

Roleplaying Tips: Candace is cool and she knows it. Nobody would accuse her of being “professional” but she does know how to keep her head and is a keen judge of character. She just likes big guns and big cars and big boats too much to truly be a consummate criminal professional. She’s very loyal to the idea of the Rougarou and their history, and is more likely to take actions that represent what she thinks they should be rather than what they are.

Name: Remy Simeus

Age: 42

Height: 6’5

Weight: 280 lbs

Distinguishing Marks: ritual scarring along the front of his chest, elaborate tattoo of a skull at the center of chest, bone tattoos along fingers and along the back of hands.

Description: Remy is a tall, stout Haitian man with a shaved head, big round face and incredibly piercing eyes. He favors stylish, tailored summer suits and tasteful and expensive jewelry. He walks with a cane but he doesn’t need it and usually just uses it to club people or gesture wildly. He has a tendency to smile widely but it usually doesn’t reach his eyes.

History: Remy Simeus doesn’t remember Haiti. He was born there, his family says, and lived the first parts of his life there, but his family fled the dictatorship when he was very small. Going to live with family in Cape Diable, Remy’s family weren’t rich, or well-connected. His parents worked long hours and left him in the care of his grandmother. She instilled in him two very important things. First, a love of old stories and legends, especially about the strange and mystical things that surround Cape Diable. And second, a deep understanding of certain magics that she had practiced for many years. She was a hedge-witch, but Remy ate up what she had to teach and as he grew older, he tried to learn more. But magic is a fickle path, and he made certain enemies and cut certain deals on his path to power, and now he’s had to become something of a consigliere to Duke to keep those enemies off his back. He’s been in countless back alley magic shops, secret cult bases and old archives looking for magic but he still hungers for more understanding, even as he realizes he doesn’t have much natural talent for it.

Stats: Remy is a d10 elite lieutenant with the following special abilities

Cheval: Remy boosts at a +3.

Whistlin’ Up Spirits: Remy can summon spirits to fight and protect him, rolling his die twice and summoning d6 spirit minions up to the value of the lower of the two rolls.

Roleplaying Tips: Remy IS a consummate professional. He’s the cool head telling the rest of the Rougarou thugs and lunatics that maybe they should show caution. He’s come to have a certain exasperated fondness for his boss and his fellow captains and he knows he needs them, so he tries to keep their heads above water. He has a tendency to wax poetic about the topics he’s interested in, so if you get him going he may regale you with some story about a haunted house or a possibly-demonic serial killer, and generally will assume you are into it as much as he is.

Rougarou Henchmen Types

Rougarou Thug: The humble Rougarou Thug isn’t much to write home about. Usually a petty criminal of some kind that might not even typically be part of a crew, he’s usually been rounded up for a big throwdown or for intimidation value. Kind of dangerous in large numbers if only for sheer volume of fire/number of swings.

D6 minion

Watch My Back, Boys!: gets a +1 if other Rougarou minions or lieutenants are around, -1 if there are none.

Rougarou Legbreaker: The cream of the crop, so to speak, of your Rougarou street team. These guys have been around the block a few times and picked some fights along the way. They know where their weapons are and what to do with them…sort of, but mostly rely on hard-won street fighting experience and raw courage to get by.

D8 minion

Hella Scars: +1 to their save rolls

Rougarou Gunner: These fellas cut the moonshine and bought guns instead. A lot of guns. They generally aren’t the best shots but they also don’t buy the kinds of guns that require them to be so. Sawed-off shotguns, AKs and Tech-9s are the word of the day, and you don’t call in a crew of these guys unless you are ready with the spackle, mop and paintbrush to clean up afterwards.

D8 minion

Enough For the Whole Class: Can attack up to two targets on his turn.

Rougarou Arms Dealer: These guys are the merchants of death, but they’d scoff at such a pretentious title. They specialize in arsenals, whether it’s a medieval torch stuck in a jar of moonshine, an M16 with literally every attachment or a grenade hurled from a Jai Alai gauntlet. The fact that they are smart enough or charismatic enough to be trusted with such a vital part of the Rougarou economy, however, usually means they don’t just rush in where fools fear to tread.

D8 lieutenant

This One’s Just a Loaner: Boosts are persistent and exclusive.

Rougarou Bomber: It’s probably for the best these guys aren’t that common. When something has to get shot up, you call a bunch of foot soldiers. When something needs to be GONE, you call one of these guys. The ones that can lay claim to the respect of their peers when it comes to explosives and survive with most of their fingers intact are ones to reckon with.

D8 lieutenant

Here Comes The Boom: +1 to attack rolls and can attack up to three targets.

2 Likes

This is a great crew, and I love the use of Rougarou as their theme; it’s a well that not a lot of people go to. I also love the lieutenant mechanics for them.

One question - I’m guessing from the vast size of this organiztion that Cape Diable is practically at Rook City-levels of criminal activity? The Rougarou are about the same size as the entire Italian-American mafia families nationwide.

EDIT I got curious and did a bit of digging, and apparently at their height the gangs of Chicago included about 5% of the population (150,000 people, including affiliates!) so never mind!

I’m glad you like them! I was reading about cryptids because my friend is obsessed with Mothman ever since Fallout 76 and thought the name was cool and thematic. I threw in the “special” mechanics for the named lieutenants because for all their blast and bluster, this is not a street level game. It’s mid-level Spider-Man, not low-level Daredevil. The Rougarou are a vast and powerful group but any big confrontation with them will feel more like the climax to an action movie than a comic book. So I didn’t build any of the leaders as supervillains. The later profiles I’m working on all have metahuman muscle of one kind or another, and I’m debating how much to include from the character sheets for those bad guys.

That being said, I do have some brief notes on upgrading them. I think I had Duke down as some sort of Overlord, but also the possibility that he was just a werewolf. Remy would be a Creator villain. I don’t know if I could come up with some sort of specific dual boss mechanic for Bethany and Candace but I’d certainly try.

As for the Rougarou numbers, I went back and forth a lot on those. During the course of writing this I think I changed the numbers six or seven times. In the end, I stuck with the ones I’ve got because the group is very large, but not at all centralized or well-led. A lot of the criminals in the city are counted in those numbers because they are loosely affiliated with a Rougarou crew. It’s almost a franchise instead of a gang. Also, they are spread out all over the bayou as well, and the numbers include family who run safehouses, imprisoned members and petty criminals that have done a little work for the organization.

Anyway, I would love to hear from anyone else, but I also have to keep working, I promised more of these. Which do people/Friv my first fan want to see next? The Minutemen. The Society of the Inner Eye. Or Myrmidon Security. Your vote counts!

I’m always gonna pitch my werewolf villain whenever someone brings up werewolves.

Teleporting Werewolf Bruiser: the Wherewolf

2 Likes

I agree, this is very cool stuff, and presented well for anyone who wants to try using it in their own campaign. :smiley: