The symbol for the hexads is a dragon inscribed on a regular hexagon. They claim to be ancient servants of the dragon, acting as its agents in the shadows. Some sages claim this symbol is a wriggling huan to, not a dragon. Thus, the hexads are seen as presumptuous at best, pernicious or worse in all likelihood.
Each gang has its own variations and additions to this symbol. Such symbols mark territory, and many gangs use unobtrusive tattoos. Members do not dress in any identifying manner.
It is important to note that hexads and tongs are not the same, though they may appear so, and it usually matters little for their targets and victims. Hexads may be criminal in their pursuits
HistorySome say that the hexads began in Boshan, but they have been in existence for many ages. Whatever their claims, they are now involved in activities across Kralorela.
In Boshan, the hexads claim to be descendants of the followers of Bright Spear, an early hero of southern Kralorela. They hark back to a man named Loo Pianhsing, a mystic follower of Bright Spear. Master Loo has visions of troubled times Kralorela’s future and taught the skills and rituals necessary for such events. His six followers are said to have founded the lineages of the Hexads. Women have played a part in the hexads, even as leaders, throughout its existence.
Many hexads espouse an anti-centralization ideal: “Love the emperor but not his officials.” Across the empire, the hexads have always gained influence during times of weak central government or large-scale conflict. They flourished during the False Dragon’s Ring and found renewal during the depredations of the Pentans, usually working against the evil invaders.
Today they flourish as criminals, local patriots, and anarchists.
OrganizationA hexad group refers to its leader, its gang boss, as the “Dragon Head.” Different groups tend to be autonomous unless united by a strong leader. Lieutenants are known as “Dragon Claws,” while their strongest men are called “Dragon Feet.” Regular members are collectively the Dragon’s Tail. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of other draconic terms and mystical jargon litter the speech of hexad men and women. Such specialized language and many numerical codes disguise much of their activity
Lieutenants tend to control a dozen or so followers. Sometimes these might be just a mix of thugs and street youth. Another lieutenant might have only followers skilled in a particular set of skills or crimes.
Dragon Heads and Dragon Claws provide for their followers in much the same patronage system that dominates so much of Kralori society. Hexad members can expect to eat and sleep for free through the boss’ influence. Special events call for greater largesse, and loyalty tends to remain high.
Members of a hexad are bound by strong oaths, usually sworn on the blood of the new member. Some groups add more complex rituals. The Baopan Hexad of Sha Ming, a small but skilled band of criminals, has an elaborate initiation ritual that culminates in the applicant cutting his arm and allowing several drops of blood to fall into a large cup of wine, from which all members drink. The new member then passes beneath the spears of his brothers while reciting the oath of the hexad.
For example, “6” is a member, “66” is a higher official of the hexad, and “666” is a hexad chief. “To hang the lantern” is to become a follower of a chief.
PracticesHexads are primarily involved in smuggling and distribution, protection rackets and extortion, counterfeiting, gambling, and prostitution. Some also include major thefts, murder for hire, and drug smuggling and sales. Few hexads engage in all such fields of malfeasance, and many have legal activities as well.
Hexad members favor simple weapons like cleavers and machetes, though fists are most commonly used in conflicts. They tend to limit their violence to one another, as they feud over territory and privileges, rather than inflicting it on the general population.
Ritual executions tend to involve the Sixty Sacred Cuts, no one of which is immediately lethal. More degrading is to bury someone alive; this is usually only done against treacherous members.
In addition to the efforts of local law enforcement, hexad members, especially bosses, are in constant danger of falling too deeply into the Four Vices and becoming or being drawn into the tongs, the agencies of the vile Huan To.
Some Prominent Hexads of KralorelaThere are hundreds of hexads spread across Kralorela. Some are local to a single neighborhood or small town, while others spread their influence and activities from one end of the empire to the other. Most are moderate-sized and modest in their ambitions.