Concept: Undying Madame (Jiang Shi from the Night Horrors book)
AKA: No one who has any interaction with her is aware of any other name for her than Grandmother or Madame Wu. Young men of the Tongs tend to refer to her as “The Old Bitch” but none have ever said so to her face and lived.
Desc: her physical form is that of a typical Jiang-Shi. Clawed bird-like hands, nasty teeth, green and white fur and so on, She presents herself most often in the form of a Chinese woman in her 60’s. Still upright and thin, if a little bit birdlike. Her mien is fairly cold and stern and this is the face she shows to most of her underlings. A visitor might be shown a markedly sexual seeming of a much younger Chinese woman. Likely to be scantily clad and seemingly ready for action. If she shows you this face, she means to eat you.
History: Chinatown, in this city, isn’t exactly huge, but like most places that have one, it is, like unto another world entirely. And there ARE people who will be born, live, and maybe even die there without learning a word of English.
Some decades ago, Grandmother was a living human woman. She wasn’t born or raised her, but she came here with her brother. Her brother was working for the railroad company and met an ugly and unpleasant end. When this took place, Grandmother turned to the only profession that a young woman in a foreign country could turn to. Prostitution.
It’s kind of rude to say so, but she had a talent for it. and soon, she was running her own place and her male children and female children kept the business running as she grew older...But as Grandmother grew older, her hunger for more life became an obsession. Such obsessions lead to studying creepy old stories in creepy old books. And when she found what she was looking for...Or rather what she THOUGHT she was looking for. She acted on that knowledge using the heart of a virgin would-be customer to the house.
From that point onward, Grandmother was a shadowy presence. Never truly interested in running the Triad, she would often encourage one of her living offspring to seek that top spot and then would make certain that their competition would meet horrific ends. Usually under her own teeth. Grandmother only wanted a nice little bordello of her own to run and maybe a few other little places as time went on. Grandmother isn’t greedy. She knows that she won’t be able to corner the market on prostitution with other organized crime outfits in the city. Although, she HAS been making it much harder for street hookers to stay independent. The Black Feather Tong has orders that if they can take a street whore off the street without witnesses , that Grandmother will pay a bounty for each one they bring her alive. Some of them, end up loaded up with horse and pressed into service in Grandmother’s low overhead porn production facility. Those women are the lucky ones.
Occasionally, word gets around to the street pimps that Grandmother is making trouble for them. Usually, there’s one or more pimps who try to go brace her in her lair. They never return of course.
Attitude: I provide a necessary commodity to the community. In exchange, I expect to be left alone.
Skills: Grandmother is a horror in combat, possessing the equivalent of 2 resilience, 2 vigor and, 3 celerity. She also possesses the Jiang-Shi Abilities: Dust on the Wind, The Hidden Grave, Mask of a Thousand Faces, and The Wicked Visage. She has multiple instances of the Living Anchor merit (her mortal descendants in the triad and the tong.) and an unmarked grave in a disused and old corner of the oldest “potter’s field” in town. That grave borders on a part of town that sees a number of disappearances every year anyway. She’s got decent dots in Brawl. And although her lower soul is in control, she’s taken the time and effort to acquire a business degree’s worth of knowledge. Also: she’s got plenty of streetwise and takes time to visit each of her living anchors surreptitiously. She tends to know what going on in and around the neighborhood like a spider at the center of a great big web. She keeps an eye on her little empire and ruthlessly stomps on any incursions into it. The men who run the triad are terrified of her, but they are thankful that she doesn’t seem to want much or cause the sort of trouble that can’t be dealt with...so far.
Gear: Rarely needs more than a flip phone and a tiny notebook written in Chinese to get things done. In recent years, she’s returned to smoking because she can vape now. She couldn’t abide even the sight of an open flame.
Home: Owns most of 3 city blocks in Little Hong Kong. Her tiny empire is part of an amalgamation of tenement buildings. Tiny apartments cheek by jowl with a restaurant or two, and areas where her tong boys drink and play cards. Her area is smack in the center of the joining of 4 buildings. This was done to enhance certain geomantic properties. (In fact, if you happen to possess the Ordo Dracul book with the merit “Geomantic Nexus” it would not be out of place here.) The other benefit of this arrangement is that makes it very difficult for outsiders to even find ,much less assault the place without having to deal with the number of innocent people, who have little to no idea what’s going on in their midst.
Circle: Grandmother takes a maternalistic if utterly twisted, interest in her offspring. She’ll work tirelessly to smooth the road for her great and great-great grandchildren. Granted, they are only mortal and not very bright at that, but with Grandmother to show them the way, they cannot fail. Grandmother occasionally has trouble with blood relations of her doing things that she doesn’t find traditional. Like dating white women or having sex with men. These things tend to get bloody fast.
“Come in...I felt we should meet and clear up some misunderstandings...”
And then, of course, she’ll show you her nasty teeth. If your character has anything to do with the skin trade, Grandmother is like one of those jerks in the prison yard. She’ll come around and fuck with you until you find a way to make her stop.
* “You are my favorite. If you want...I can make certain you will rise to the top of the Triad.”
It’s certainly possible that your character might be related to Grandmother by birth or marriage. This could make your life really complicated. Please note that I have made an understatement of some depth.
*Has met Don Pentangelli at a function where the head of the Triad was making their annual renewal of agreements. The Triads produce opioid drugs and trade with the mob for guns. At the time, she was able to discern that mystically, the Don is well protected.
* The Vermillion House seems to be aware of her. She is also aware of them. At present, there have been no overtures on either side. Their spheres of influence haven't overlapped.
* If Detective Bela Janofski was aware that the legends about Grandmother aren't bullshit, he would likely be her own personal inspector Javert. As it is, he is investigating hooker disappearances and Narcotics, and Organized Crime task force keeps getting in his way.
* Old man Parker had the first contract with the city for the burial of indigent persons. Grandmother's actual tomb is way out in the back 40 of Parker Mortuary and Black Creek Cemetery