Many of the rank-and-file focus on petty larceny and similar, it's only the higher up members that engage in actual felonies like murder. Unpredictable members are known to do things like hijack radio broadcasts to praise the Endbringers for killing unbelievers. Kidnapping and forced marriage is also common, especially for the Mathers branch.
The Fallen are allegedly incestuous, supposedly to increase the possibility of having powered children, regardless they have several very powerful members in their group. Members are frequently swapped around to provide greater manpower for physically weaker factions. Similarly, arranged marriages are also common among the various family units that make up the Fallen.
The Fallen's beliefs vary quite widely. Whether they actually believe in Endbringer worship and what that means to them varies between each branch, each group or family unit and the individual members. Only about half of them truly believe in Fallen ideology; the rest simply use it as an excuse.
Ideas that a true-believing Fallen member might believe included "humanity deserves to be wiped out", "so-and-so deserved to die at the hands of Behemoth", or "the world would be a paradise if the Simurgh were to achieve full influence, if we only let it". They might also celebrate specific Endbringer attacks for their casualties, although the Fallen were - perhaps tellingly - never known to actually interfere to help their gods.
The Fallen of Wichita were particularly religious. They mingled obscure interpretation of Bible tracts and Endbringer-worship, along with a belief that only the powerful were "worthy" and would be spared.
Following End of the World, some Fallen members claimed to have predicted it and attempted to warn humanity through their antics.
The Fallen are an interrelated group of families powered and un-powered, based in the southern states that essentially function as terrorist cells, being multiple self-motivated groups with a unifying direction, their number made up of a mix of normal and parahuman members.
This independence extends to things like costume choices, some dressing up in elaborate superhero costumes while others largely keep to civilian clothes, only using intricate masks or elaborate tattoos to distinguish themselves as capes.
The Fallen are divided between three main family branches, each roughly corresponding to the "worship" of a specific Endbringer. A fourth branch was in the midst of coalescing, focused on some of the newer Endbringers, but fell through when Gold Morning rolled around. Splinter groups and offshoots from the three main branches are common.
The Crowleys emulate Leviathan, and are known for being little more than jackasses and trouble makers. Some later claimed that this was an attempt to spread the word of their message of the approaching End of the World.
The eldest Crowley brother was exiled for going too far and committing murder in 2011. He made a brief return as leader of the branch in late 2012 or early 2013, and then killed two of his own family members.
The middle brother and sister were known for networking with the other clans, trading some of their members for McVeays who needed to escape the attention of the law and brainwashed Mathers victims.
Jake Crowley, the youngest brother, was a "party animal" with four wives all half his age.
While the group has been specifically targeted by the PRT, the organizations response depends on how active and dangerous each individual group is. While action against the Fallen is usually met with approval they have not been removed yet thanks to the villain group being a flexible decentralized organization.
With the Amnesty the response has shifted to a more hands off approach.
Around the end of 1992 a new threat emerged, one that even the vaunted heroes couldn't deal with. This gave groups of various disaffected people dedicating themselves to this new threat, and its later siblings.
They provided an outlet for those mad at the system, the crazy, and the ones who just wanted to crack some skulls. In time the Fallen would have children who they could then raise in the environment and indoctrinate them into their way of thinking. Those children would develop powers as well.
The Fallen became drivers of chaos and conflict this netted them benefits from their shards.
No member of the Fallen is on record has having actually tried to break the Unwritten Rules by attacking during an Endbringer attack, such as to assist the Endbringer in their goal. However they have not followed the unwritten rules either and evaded confrontations with Endbringers.
Members of the Mathers branch, kidnapped a group of Wards with the intention of marrying them off to members of the Fallen. This incident received international attention.
The Crowley branch situated itself around a settlement named Canaan a few bus trips and a long car ride outside The City. Their recruiters were sometimes found at a Bet-Gimel portal, pitching the Canaan settlement to refugees. This group were allegedly led by Jake Crowley.
Both 'Mama Mathews' and the 'Crowley Brothers' were mentioned as one of main villainous influencers.
◈ The Fallen are a criminal group that exists primarily in the Southeastern United States, but possess reach and influence well beyond these locations. The group has openly committed virtually every crime on the book, with an emphasis toward kidnapping, property damage, assault and murder. The group achieved international notoriety with its apparent worship and adulation of the Endbringers, high media visibility, cult-like tactics and periodic kidnapping of notable figures. The Fallen remain in the top five of the PRT’s priority targets and in the top fifteen targets for organized superhero groups worldwide. It is estimated as fourth largest parahuman organization in North America.
The Fallen are organized into a loose family structure, with three primary branches. Each branch devolves into sub-families and extended families, and due to a combination of parahuman powers, a very loose cell structure and diehard loyalty, tracing down and eliminating the core leadership has proved fruitless. Splinter groups and offshoots are common, and when recruitment doesn’t prioritize the young and impressionable (see kidnapping, below), it favors the ultraviolent, anti-establishment, and unhinged.
◈ Currently [As of timeskip] the Fallen maintain three family branches, hereafter referred to as the McVeay, Crowley, and the Mathers families. Each of the families (very) loosely affiliates themselves with one of the three Endbringers, likely with their meetings, rituals, or inter-family language playing into this and reinforcing it.
Valefor's family branch, the Mathers (led by his mom), is the sort to use master powers to control others. They're the 'Simurgh' branch. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 2.02.12.2The Fallen Based in Southern states, the Fallen are a gang of alleged Endbringer-worshippers, though many surmise this is simply a way of garnering attention. Most members tend toward vandalism and petty theft, with only the more prominent, higher-up members actually committing murder or trying higher-end crimes. Allegedly commit incest to better their chances at giving birth to more capes. - Cast (in depth)
Similar to the Herren Clan, they're a group of families with some members having powers, based around the southern states. They figured out that people with powers tend to have kids with powers, and are making the most of it. This leads to families with strong threads of a particular power type running through them. Coin toss as to whether a given member believes what the cult is saying or not, that humanity deserves to be wiped out, so-and-so deserved to die at the hands of Behemoth, or the world would be a paradise if the Simurgh were to achieve full influence, if we only let it. It's telling, perhaps, that they don't actively interfere when the Endbringers come rolling around, though they might celebrate from the sidelines and try to get media attention. They're loosely based on the Westboro Baptist Church - they want attention and the Endbringers are a sore spot for the vast majority of people around the world, an easy target. Depending on the family and the area, the approach differs. One might commandeer a radio station and and spewing vitriol over the airwaves, praising the latest Endbringer attack for the casualties. Another might call in another family from another area, then raid a small town with two or so heroes (or bait out a hero) to kidnap the heroes and induct them into the family, so there's more powers running through the bloodline. They're hard to stamp out, unpredictable, and tend to live on the fringes of society, where they're harder to track and heroes need to devote far more effort to squirreling them out. There's also a tendency to give more power to the lunatics and assholes, because it furthers their nebulous agenda. In a more abstract sense, shards love conflict, and the fallen are very good at feeding it, so the fallen get rewarded by the shards. Breadth and depth. - Comments by Wildbow on information regarding secondary characters
“Which family branch were or are you?” I asked. I turned to the couple. “Three branches, each loosely themed after one of the Endbringers. There was a nascent fourth in twenty-thirteen that was based on one or all of the other three, but I missed the memo on that.”
“Crowley,” the guy said. “We were the jackasses.”
“McVeays were the ultra-religious, more violent ones, loosely themed after Behemoth,” I said. “Mathers were the ones themed after the Simurgh. They’re still around too, they did a lot of the kidnappings of kids and capes, with intent to force marriages. Then you have the Crowleys, who were a little bit more than jackasses. Stirring panic, scaring people, violence.”
“To draw attention to the imminent end of the world,” the guy with the tattoos said. “Do you want us to apologize for trying to get people’s attention and failing? Or should we not have tried? We were right.” - Excerpt from Flare 2.1
↑ 6.06.16.26.3Formerly led by Kimaris, this particular group of the Fallen is more along the lines of a redneck cult, as contrasted with other groups that may play up the ‘worships Endbringers’ element without actually believing in it. Mingling Christian beliefs and Endbringer-worship into a singular set of ideas, they espouse the idea that mankind is being purged and only the worthy, the powered, will be spared. With this in mind, even within the family, the unpowered have generally been treated as disposable, particularly those who’ve reached a certain age and are much less likely to trigger.
As a result, idiosyncrasies develop in individual family units, as they strive to be more worthy by largely invisible metrics. Lots of obscure interpretation of bible tracts. Behaviors of the families with strong lines of powers running through them are taken to extremes. Those who have powers have no shortage of the unpowered (particularly powered men and unpowered women) throwing themselves at them, as the only real way to obtain worth in ‘the family’ without powers is to bear powered children. Marriages between the powered are often arranged, to sire better children. Relations and marriage between cousins is not unheard of, though this group is slightly less incestuous than some, and tries to draw on the other branches of Fallen for wives. - The Fallen, for Fallen Son
↑ 7.07.17.27.3At this stage, PRT assets are tied up following the ramifications and ripple effects of the Echidna incident. Chicago is dealing with the loss of Myrddin, so can't really send people.
More like the PRT puts out the call, heroes volunteer, and heroes that are 'floating' (that is, not assigned to a department or office due to juggling of rosters) might well volunteer for the task.
That's the good news. Bad news? This kind of incident has happened before - so something like it could still happen in your campaign. Even with the PRT devoting resources & tons of public pressure, it was an uphill battle to find the kids. The Fallen are slippery, and the reason they haven't been wiped off the map is that they utilize a cell structure and have some cover from parahuman abilities. Valefor's mom in particular. A thinker doesn't want to go scanning tracts of rural/unpopulated area for missing kids if it means a chance of seeing her looking back at them. Because if they do, then they'll likely end up in a brief coma followed by a year and a half of something like being convinced the walls are bleeding spiders. She has kids with buds from the same shard and farms them out to other branches of the family in exchange for some muscle (Eligos being some of that). Not that same degree of punishment or screening, but stuff in that general vein.
If you set things earlier, then Myrddin still has stuff to deal with, and but it's liable to be a more organized team with more inherent teamwork, and higher expectations they'll be able to find the kids, before realizing it's tricky & there are traps in wait. As a GM, it would be left more up to the PCs as the larger groups run into stumbling blocks. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 8.08.1Powers are more diverse than that for a family unit. Lots of intermarriage and cross-budding.
See the Fallen of Wichita here - a background information document for a Weaverdice player who was playing a recently triggered member of the family. Gives a sense of who they are, how they operate, lots of inter-family politics, etc. Some of the stuff there is based on stuff they shared about personality (reaction to Rosier), other stuff written with the fact that the character is a teenager in mind (focus on girls).
Heavy undercurrent of energy manipulation for this subset of the McVeays, but there's some emotion manipulation, teleportation, master stuff, and other stuff in the midst of it.
This particular family, who has thus far just been a bunch of dealers and heavy-hitting troublemakers on the periphery of Wichita, is undergoing a shift in leadership and consequently, a shift in methodology. What he's seeing going on in the background is a lot of the old deals re: marriage being invalidated, and shuffled around. Brother being proposed for marriage with sister (Gressil and Rosier, for example) - and if the families don't like that... they can step up and kidnap prospective husbands and wives for the kids. Sights thus fall on the local junior heroes as the family starts to talk themselves into this.
Not sharing Valefor's mom's power, as she's interesting enough I want to keep her in my back pocket. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 9.09.19.2Keep in mind, though, that many big cities will leech parahumans from surrounding areas. So the top 75 or so cities in the US have more parahumans. The smaller cities have less.'br> Kansas City (#36 in the US) has a higher population, helped by the fact that it's drawing in more people. I wouldn't call it one of the 'smaller cities' for parahuman numbers, as a result. Only St. Louis and Wichita are sorta-kinda bringing in the random parahumans from nearby regions.
' would peg it as being around the same numbers as Brockton Bay pre-Leviathan fight. Maybe a few more. There's a population of Fallen nearby to blame for the 'few more' - primarily Valefor's mom & that family branch.
In my notes for Kansas City, the Fallen raided the city to pull off a distraction and then another contingent kidnapped a group of Wards, with intention of marrying them into the Fallen. International attention ensues. This could be a background event or event for the players to deal with. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑The Fallen must not have been terribly far behind him, as they arrived less than a minute after he did. Valefor and Eligos.
Valefor wore a delicate-looking mask without eye-holes: a woman’s upper face with closed eyes. Beneath the mask, he had a sly, perpetual smirk with tattoos that colored his lips black and extended from the corners. The ink depicted fangs poking from thin lips that nearly reached his jaw, the points alternating up and down. His costume was almost effeminate, with white and silver feathers featuring heavily on flowing white clothes that clung to his narrow body, including a corset that drew his waist in.
The costume was meant to invoke images of the Simurgh, no doubt. Crass. Eligos’ costume wasn’t so fine, suited more for a brawl, but it, too, conjured up thoughts of an Endbringer: the Behemoth. Obsidian horns that swooped back over his head, heavy armor that resembled rhino hide in texture and claws built into his gloves. - Excerpt from 20.y (Interlude; Accord)
↑Notes on Appearance: don’t immediately go to Valefor & the appearance in Brockton Bay for inspiration. That’s one unit of the family, and this is a different branch. I would suggest something closer to standard clothing with each person making their own masks (think of the band Slipknot for direction) and bearing heavy tattoos with demonic, endbringer, or religious iconography, reference, and text. - The Fallen, for Fallen Son
↑ 12.012.112.212.3“Eldest brother was a murderer, got ousted from the family for that, back in twenty-eleven, when the Fallen were still minor. But around the time their numbers swelled in twenty-twelve, early twenty-thirteen, he got accepted back, head of the Crowley branch. He killed two of his own family members after that. I think that matters a lot, since if he’s in charge, you can’t really call yourselves mere jackasses.”
“Okay,” I said. “Middle brother and the sister were pretty skeevy too. They didn’t kidnap anyone directly, but they networked with the other families, gave shelter to some McVeays who needed to duck the attention of the law, and they traded a few of their family members for some of the kidnapped minors and capes the Mathers family had. I’d be concerned about going to that camp.”
↑ 13.013.1“The little brother,” the guy with the tattoos said.
“The party animal,” I said.
“That’s what we’re about!” were the shouts. There was more of a raucous response from the other reinforcements. Cries and shouts of ‘party’. People throughout the crowd were looking.
“He’ll try to steal your girlfriend before he makes you welcome!” I had to raise my voice to be heard. The people who were pushing forward made it harder for me to see the couple. “It’s not worth it. You can look him up at a library. Jake Crowley! Four wives, all half his age!” - Excerpt from Flare 2.1
↑The unwritten rules that govern the fights and outright wars between ‘capes’ have been amended: everyone gets their second chance. It’s an uneasy thing to come to terms with when notorious supervillains and even monsters are playing at being hero. - Ward synopsis
↑ 15.015.115.2Article: Fallen: What You Need To Know & Forum Thread The Fallen operate as a cult and they’re one of the largest cape groups around. The article doesn’t talk about it directly, but the forum thread has some great posts on the subject (see page 3 and 12). Their recruitment numbers are swelling and I (and others!) think it’s the amnesty that’s letting them get away with it. There’s a lot of talk of Lachlan Hund [article linked] elsewhere and there might be a court case revolving around what others are saying was a powers-assisted abduction. Totally Fallen M.O. for years prior, family says Lachlan never showed any pro-Fallen sentiment before this. - Excerpt from Glow-worm P.3
Hero,” Legend spoke with the smallest tremor in his voice, “Call for help, as much as you can get.” - Excerpt from Interlude 15.z
↑It's worth stating that one of the underling ideas driving the formation of groups and ideological factions in the Wormverse is the notion that some people get a voice where they otherwise wouldn't. Give an immense amount of power to a (relatively) random section of the population and you'll see certain shifts in the overlying sentiments.
All the more so when you think that a parahuman with aspirations might latch on to an idea, concept, or group to get reputation, resources, and contacts. - Comment by Wildbow on Sufficient Velocity
↑“I… I don’t really know. It’s supposed to be ten times easier to get powers if you’re second generation. But we don’t have research on third generations yet. It’s only pretty recently that we had the first third-generation cape on record. The baby in Toronto.”
“Didn’t hear about that,” Kayden said. She frowned. “A baby?”
Peter’s eyes fell on Aster. “Oh. Wow. Is she third generation too?”
“Pay attention,” Justin said.
“The… yeah. Each successive generation seems to produce younger capes, by lowering the barrier to entry, the severity of the requisite trigger event.” - Excerpt from Queen 18.y
↑“Let’s talk business,” Skitter said. “Whether you like it or not, the Undersiders have prior claim on this city.”
“A matter of a week and a half,” Valefor said.
“Prior claim,” Skitter repeated herself. “We have rules, and if you bend or break these rules, we’ll be forced to act.” - Excerpt from Interlude 20.y
↑“If you want another option, we’ve got a settlement at Canaan. Small city, even. Or a big town. We’ve got extra rooms, food, and dangerously strong alcohol. We’re still trying to figure that out.”
I heard the rustle of papers.
“Canaan?” I asked.
“Yes. Have you been?”
“I’ve heard stories,” I said. I turned to the couple, “I’m ninety percent sure the Canaan area is Fallen territory. Outskirts of the megalopolis.”
“We’re not really holding fast to all of that anymore,” the guy with the tattoos said. “We said the world would end, we tried to draw attention to it, the world ended, we were right. Now we make the best of things.”
“That seems like a pretty skewed take,” I said.
He rolled his eyes as he looked away from me. He turned back to the couple. “You have the directions. Easy to catch a bus to New Haven, catch another bus to the Hartford Stretch. Go to the address, we almost always have someone with a ride waiting there for the buses, to drive you into Canaan. The hard work has been done, it’s easier, it’s more fun, and there’s actual community. It’s one of the things that’s strangely missing from most parts in this city. You’ll notice that.” - Excerpt from Flare 2.1
↑The Fallen were the subject of an early draft of my superhero writing (centered around a character that happened to be named Imp). They came up while I was discussing other groups in the setting with Gavin Williams, I was thinking of who to inject here, and decided to go with one I’d already fleshed out some. - Comment by Wildbow on Chrysalis 20.1