The Underground Organization in Lapis of Nicodem | World Anvil

The Underground

Underground is a general term for all illegal activity within the borders of Jilvayna. While many underground actions have a detrimental effect on citizens, not all do, and some criminal organizations, such as the rebellion or tech-infused health clinics, are considered inherently good due to the efforts made to improve Jilvaynian life.   The underground refers to the pickpocketing street rat as well as the sophisticated syndicates. Because it encompasses so many different types of criminals, most citizens have a neutral attitude towards the underground in general, though they can have deep hatreds for a particular incarnation, such as guttershanks.

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Types of Criminals

  There are several different types of criminals. Some are bit-players, others have immense social and political power.  
Common Criminals

  • Guttershank
    Term used for the lowest rung of adult criminal. These are the druggies who steal only to buy another hit, people who sell children for bits, the poor who normally have no recourse but to commit crimes to survive. Most guttershank activity is considered vile and detrimental, and while much of it is, the term primarily reflects the social status of the perpetrator than the actions they perform. In larger cities, guttershank is used for criminals in the poorest neighborhoods, while shank is used in most others.
  • Hunter
    While technically chasers, many hunters perform non-legal activities for the underbosses. The term is slowly becoming a criminal one rather than a justice-oriented one.
  • Rebel
    While rebels consider themselves on the side of truth and justice, King Gall's court considers them criminals and traitors. Gall, however, does not have a good reputation, and in Jilvayna, the average citizen prefers a rebel to a palace sycophant.
  • Ringshank
    Ringshanks are general criminals in a criminal organization. They complete most of the work for the underground.
  • Shank
    General term for an adult criminal.
  • Street rat
    Street rats are assumed to do some sort of minor criminal activity to get by, whether that is stealing bread, picking pockets, or breaking and entering. For the most part, it is too much of a hassle to bother bringing children to 'justice', and general societal consensus is to let the kids be. Whether they admit it or not, most people know how unfairly poor children are treated in Jilvayna, and tend to let bad behavior slide due to guilt in ignoring the problems.
  • Underboss
    General term for leaders of underground organizations. Some have only one underboss, and some, like the Minq Syndicate, are large enough to have several. Underbosses have worked their way up to the top of these organizations, and are considered crafty and dangerous.
  • Underdoc
    Doctors and healers who run underground clinics using tech. Their goal is to help all who need healing, and are highly regarded in society. Unless they have done something incredibly bad (like kill their patients), it is considered ill luck to turn a clinic in to the throne, and people have lost their lives for doing so.
  • Undershank
    Refers to shanks who only work for underground organizations. While a general term, it most often refers to people on the lowest rung of the criminal organization ladder who complete small tasks, run errands, shopkeep in the underground markets, and the like.
Uncommon Criminals

  • Leader
    Term used to refer to the head of the Jilvayna rebellion. Faelan holds this title at present. He is one of the most sought-after criminals in Jilvayna, and the throne has a very high stake on his head. It galls them that the majority of citizens consider him a hero rather than a villain.
  • Modders
    A specific type of techie who performs tech body modifications. Dentheria considers them the most dangerous criminals, even above synbosses, and they expect their vassal states to hold them in similar regard. Gall's guards are unaware of any modders in Jilvayna.
  • Synboss
    The leader of a syndicate. There is only one synboss per syndicate, no matter how many countries it spans, and they wield immense power. They can alter Dentherion politics, which affects all countries in the empire. At present, no synboss lives within Jilvayna's borders.
  • Techie
    Term used for shanks skilled in the use of tech. Since tech is outlawed and seen as a danger to society, techies are among the most wanted of criminals, but also the least likely to be apprehended. Even hunters are wary of people who understand tech weapons and can wield them effectively.
  • Terrboss
    Term used for underbosses in charge of specific territories within their criminal organization. These territories, depending on the organization, may be a city, parts of a country, or the entire country. A few span several countries. It is falling out of favor among criminals in Jilvayna, who simply refer to terrbosses as underbosses, oftentimes adding a number to denote rank (first underboss, second underboss). In general, guards hate the modern use of underboss, because it muddies the waters concerning their high-stake targets.
Some members of the Underground are famous. Faelan, the Jilvaynan rebel Leader, is held in higher regard than King Gall in much of the country. His rebel co-hort, Jarosa, who is the Veritiate Deathknell of the Meint and Ramiran Skulls leader, is a hero because her religious organization brings medicine to the commoner throughout the Dentherion Empire.   Jo Ban Jano, the Minq Jilvaynan terrboss, has a reputation throughout the Dentherion Empire as a sophisticated syndicate leader with ties to the Lords' and the Second Council.   Others have a more local reputation. The Lells would not be the Lells without streetrat Rin's constant presence.

Criminal Terms

  • Clinic
    Few have the means to afford a doctor or healer legally. Doctors and organizations who are concerned about the well-being of Jilvayna citizens build clinics that are literally underground and hidden from casual view. They service all members of society, whether they have the ability to pay or not. Most clinics receive charity monies from citizen organizations or philanthropic nobles who expect returns for their effort. Often they provide the only proper care the poorer people receive.
  • House
    A House is the headquarters of a criminal enterprise. The term was specifically chosen by the Minq to be common enough that speaking of it in mixed company would bring no unwanted attention.
    Jilvanyna rebels have conscripted the term to refer not only to their headquarters but to their meeting places in general. Larger cities like Jiy and Coriy house rebels and their families in their Houses.
  • Ring
    A ring is a smaller division of a syndicate or a stand-alone, small criminal enterprise. Several rings can be found in cities, and towns might have one or two. Active countryside rings tend to have large territories, but far fewer people to glean money from. Rings are headed by underbosses. Rings that are divisions of syndicates can have several underbosses, while stand-alones normally have one.
  • Syndicate
    A syndicate is a large, multi-national criminal organization led by a synboss. They have more power than proper authorities in some places due to sheer numbers. They have vast and varied interests, and not all are illegal.
    Syndicates are broken into smaller units called rings. Rings are led by one or more underbosses. Some old syndicates are attempting to retire the ring concept and institute new terms for their divisions, because too many crass, young underbosses have conscripted the word to define their disorderly and vile enterprises. This is especially true of the Minq, who have hundreds of years of criminal activity behind them, and who see upstart underbosses as annoying idiots who bring the guard's attention to all illegal pursuits through incompetence.
  • Turntail
    Turntails are guard informants. Syndicates tend to use them, smaller rings tend to kill them. Syndicates hate the attention those deaths bring, and retaliate against the ring underbosses.
  • Undermarket
    Undermarkets are places shanks and underbosses purchase illegal goods. Most merchandise is legal, but scattered among the 'up and up' are tech merchants who sell Dentherion weapons. Most undermarket tech items are inferior and easily broken.


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Sep 28, 2022 15:42 by George Sanders

I get the feeling for how important the underground is with all the names associated with it!

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Sep 28, 2022 16:21 by Kwyn Marie

Yeah, it is! The underground is part of daily life in Jilvayna, mainly due to the medical help underdocs and clinics provide (which is technically illegal). Hard to see someone saving your life as evil.   Thanks for reading!

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