Shadows of Detroit
“We represent the pinnacle of human evolution. We are tougher, stronger; we are survivalists. Mankind is terrified of his own inevitable extinction, and that fear is represented by prejudice and anger. To say that we are merely Orks and Trolls or that we are merely metahumans glosses past the main point. That we are a species set apart from humans, and we are poised for greatness in this brave, new age.” – Urguck, Asher Grand Chief
“I just liked breaking things.” – Pollywog, retired Asher founder.
To call the Ashers a group of violent thugs is an unfair and nasty thing to say about violent thugs all over the world. They are named after their primary philosophy: “So long as it is not of us, burn all to ashes.” Nobody knows when exactly they formed, and most modern students of Detroit’s history believe the gang was actually created because of an uneasy agreement made between a number of similar “goblin gangs” that arose in response to the anti-Ork sentiment that overtook the city during the riots. Indeed, the unusually high percentage of Detroit’s residents that were transformed during Goblinization generated some of the most heated anti-metahuman prejudice in the history of the UCAS.
By the time the smoke cleared after the First Crash, the Ashers – or something very much like them – had turned into a real organization. At first, the group defended the rights and lives of metahumans, particularly “goblins” – that is to say, Orks and Trolls – which they felt (correctly) hard been persecuted. Some of the earliest founders saw themselves as a cross between gangsters and civil rights leaders; but the combination of a hard life and constant danger caused many of the louder and angrier members to rise to prominence. Over time, the group changed its philosophy, and wavered between revenge-cult and pseudo-intellectual hate club. The rage and destruction was and still is often rationalized as the behavoir of “genetically superior” meta-humans enacting their “right to self-fulfillment”, though this has ever been a thin excuse designed to dress up what is essentially an anarchistic credo.
Before 2060, most of the more reasonable members of the Ashers had been forced out; their best and brightest political minds were either killed or driven into exile. Fortunately, by that time, a generation of familiarity had cooled anti-metahuman feelings a great deal. By 2072, the best and brightest simply don’t bother to join the Ashers in the first place. Most politically active Orks and Trolls consider the Ashers to be an a dangerous threat to their reptuations and objectives at best, and a dangerous threat to everyone, everywhere, at worst. For their part, the Ashers view other, less volatile groups to be race traitors, pansies, and counter-revolutionaries. A few remember a time when the Ashers stood for more than just breaking store windows and stealing guns, but the young ones don’t know anything else, and many turn to the organization because they feel alone and ashamed.
Asher territory is sprinkled throughout West Detroit, but the heart of their best known turf lies in the most Western reaches of Ganger Haven. Unlike Mafia and Yakuza turf, Asher prime-territory is strictly off limits to non-members, though in practice it tends to be limited to only a couple of blocks and even then, the limitation tends to be, “Have tusks or get out.” Ashers are the go-to gang for heavily restricted items, such as artillery, explosives, human trafficking, and hardcore drugs. Their renegade status affords them the ability to deal in items that the other gangs consider too dangerous even for a criminal syndicate and if any group embodied the “enemy” that Ares is fighting in order to take over Detroit, it would be the Ashers.