Dog Eat Dog


McLaren was a big, square, and hard man around forty years of age. His most notable features were his large hands, a shaggy mane of reddish-brown hair, and a jagged scar running across his throat. His face was impassive and his eyes were flat and lifeless. He spoke little and moved quickly.

McLaren carried a large knife in a back belt sheath and a Smith & Weston Model 66 revolver in a police holster. He typically did not wear armor.


Twenty years ago, McLaren was a young member of an outlaw motorcycle gang who had already built a reputation as a vicious and cunning street fighter. McLaren’s club was one of those that joined George Goddard in taking control of Sydney following the chaos of the Riots. The youthful McLaren made a strong impression on Goddard and was selected for the Duke’s personal guard.

McLaren enjoyed his new position and served the Duke well. When Shinichi Toshido was hired to train the Duke’s forces, McLaren leapt at the opportunity to improve his skills under the tutelage of a master. Working harder than he ever had before, McLaren became Toshido’s top student and was soon assisting him in the training of the Duke’s soldiers. Shortly thereafter, McLaren was made captain of the ducal guards.

McLaren stayed loyal to the Duke during his long descent into madness, but had enough sense to stay out of the fray when Shin Toshido attempted to make Goddard pay for his crimes. During the power struggle that followed the Old Duke’s death, the guardsman threw his support behind Adam O’Dowd and was instrumental in the former accountant’s ascension to the dukedom. McLaren continued to serve as the leader and trainer of the Duke’s personal forces.

A few years back, McLaren got into an altercation with another prominent Sydney citizen that left the other man dead. Because of his service to the New Duke, McLaren was banished instead of executed. A small band of loyal followers accompanied the former guardsman into exile.

Within days, McLaren and his gang encountered a pack of bandits operating out of an old factory in Auburn. McLaren took over the group with little effort (after dispatching their leader in ritual combat) and used the knowledge gained from the Old Duke and Shin Toshido to organize the raiders into a formidable fighting force. Out of respect for the Duke, McLaren’s band never operated within the Duchy and instead focused on the small communities located in the outskirts of the territory. The Auburn Slavers, as they came to be known, where the terror of New South Wales.

At least until they encountered the Pingberra Regulators. A chance encounter with an escaped slave led the lawdogs to conduct a devastating raid on the Auburn stronghold. Almost all of the slavers were wiped out and nearly everything of value confiscated – including the slavers’ families. McLaren and his top lieutenants were not at home during the raid but managed to get the drop on the Regulators when the returned to finish looting the compound. However, the lawmen managed to come out on top and McLaren barely escaped with his life.

McLaren and the Regulators would clash several times over the next few months as the slaver sought to rebuild his forces. Ultimately, McLaren was betrayed by one of his less reliable allies; the Regulators stormed his new base of operations at Blues Point Tower and wiped out his fledgling gang.

McLaren himself was captured. The posse from Pingberra chose to execute him by hanging. They left McLaren’s body dangling from the balcony of his own bedroom, a sign marked “Slaver” hung about his neck for all the world to see.

McLaren was a cold and empty shell of a man. He displayed an almost pathological single-mindedness while “on the job”; when not working, he showed little interest in anything save satisfying his baser needs. While not a sadist, he was utterly lacking in empathy and saw other people as either tools or obstacles and would kill without hesitation to achieve his goals. His only redeeming quality was that he would not double-cross those he worked with, as he had developed a sense of pack loyalty from decades spent in motorcycle gangs and militias. Anyone who betrayed McLaren in turn, however, could expect a horrifying reprisal.


AFTERMATH! - Cities in Dust Preterite